Are you meek, are you proud, will you stand down or speak out? Will you walk/roll to your death or die in defense of your freedom? We each have a choice and Islamic terrorism is testing us!
Anti Semitism begins on campuses among the intellectuals and then spreads and can consume society.
Click on: http://youtu.be/gAyFlByb64M
Will Obama cave vis a vis Iran? Is Iran playing us for a fool? Obama's record is discomforting. (See 1c, 1d and 1e below.)
Sowell asks what kind of election are we having - local or national? (See 2 below.)
Should Republicans win in November and capture The Senate my prescription would be:
a)They should be pro-active. This will strengthen their hand in the 2016 election because, in all likelihood, they will be running against Hillary.
Hillary has name and face recognition, a husband who hungers to live in The White House again, the press and media will go all out for her and The Dems will do everything in their power to retain the presidency and they are better at technology in running a slick campaign. Finally, she would be the first female president and that has cache.
b) Consequently, the Republicans should pass these reforms at the minimum:
1. pass meaningful tax reform and simplify the entire tax system.
2. revise Obamacare and bring about rational reform in the way Americans receive health care.
3. correct our immigration laws and secure our borders.
4. finally give serious consideration to eliminating government intrusion in education and our ability to become self sufficient in energy ie. get rid of the Department of Education and The Department of Energy
Then tell voters the next reforms, under a Republican President, will be to rebuild our military, balance the budget, change laws with respect to Social Security and Medicare and radically alter Dodd - Frank.
If Republicans are serious about doing what is best for the nation the above is absolutely mandatory.
If, on the other hand, Republicans sit on their thumbs they will lose in 2016 and deservedly so.
In implementing what I have espoused, Republicans should be reasonable in their reforms and do so in a manner that will enlist many rational partners from the other aisle. The above can be done if Republicans sublimate their egos to the interests of the nation.
This may also entail stronger leadership in the guise of Speaker and in Senate Leader.
Off to Pittsburgh - another reprieve for my memo readers!!!
1) WASH POST : US AIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISIS ISN'T ACHIEVING ITS AIMS
TWO MONTHS after the United States began airstrikes in Iraq, and two weeks after they were extended into Syria, the forces of the Islamic State are still advancing. Last week they captured the Iraqi towns of Hit and Kubaisa, northwest of Baghdad. On Tuesday they appeared close to overrunning Kobane, a strategic city on the border between Syria and Turkey that is populated by Kurds. The enemy victories are happening in spite of U.S. and allied airstrikes and resistance from local forces. They suggest that the U.S. air campaign is failing to achieve the minimal aim of stopping the expansion of the Islamic State — much less “degrading” and “destroying” it.
Why can’t the U.S.-led coalition prevent a ragtag insurgent army from overrunning large towns? The answers speak to the limitations imposed on the military campaign by President Obama as well as the continuing political complications of fighting the Islamic State. Military analysts point out that U.S. strikes on Islamic State forces around Kobane have come late and in small handfuls — not enough, as of Tuesday, to turn back thousands of fighters armed with tanks and artillery. In contrast with the successful 2002 air campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. pilots cannot rely on Special Forces spotters to identify targets. Mr. Obama has ruled out such ground personnel despite requests from military commanders.
Kobane has also been a victim of the ambivalent approach to the war of the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which says it supports the fight against the Islamic State but has so far refused to join it or even to allow U.S. planes based in Turkey to carry out missions in Syria. Erdogan’s government is reluctant to help the Kurdish militia in Kobane because it is allied with a Kurdish rebel group in Turkey, even though Turkey has a truce with its Kurds. Turkish tanks are positioned on a ridge overlooking Kobane but have not joined the battle; instead, Turkish troops have been trying to stop Kurdish reinforcements from crossing into Syria.
1a) Klinghoffer Jews: Proud, Terrorist-Humanizing and Meek
Peter Gelb has generated a drama worthy of an important new opera about the American Jewish community. And here, inThe Jewish Press, is an exclusive of the cast and the story line.
Gelb is the managing director of the Metropolitan Opera. It was Gelb's decision to stage John Adams' opera about the terrorist murder of a disabled, elderly American man, Leon Klinghoffer. The Arab terrorists shot Klinghoffer in the head and in the chest and had him and his wheelchair thrown overboard as evidence of their unyielding position to swap innocent lives for convicted terrorist Arab prisoners in Israeli jails.
Klinghoffer was selected for the sacrificial murder because he was a Jew. Not an Israeli, but a Jew.
John Adams, along with Alice Goodman (born a Reform Jew, now an anti-Semitic Anglican minister), who wrote the heinous librettos, in their own words, set out to "humanize" the terrorists. That is thegoal of the opera.
For the past six months, a stalwart collection of grass roots activists, largely based in the New York City area, have been working to inform a critical mass of Americans that it was a grotesquely offensive decision to stage the Klinghoffer opera (falsely titled: the "Death of Klinghoffer" - he didn't just die, just as Daniel Pearl did not just die - each was murdered because, as Jews, they were powerful propaganda tools).
Should a dramatist decide to write an opera about the sturm und drang on the streets of New York regarding the Klinghoffer opera, there would be three distinct types being cast.
PROUD KLINGHOFFER JEWS
The first type to be cast would be what we'll call the Proud Klinghoffer Jews, PKJ. This is a new group of actors/activists on the scene. These are the ones who have been forged in the crucible created by years of passive Jewish leadership and streetwise but unwieldy passion. It has been unleashed by the staging of what many consider an inciteful (not insightful), anti-Semitic, philo-terrorist opera at a time of rising anti-Semitism and global terrorism. There would be starring roles amongst these singers.
One, certainly, would be Richard Allen, the fifty-something New York businessman who - completely against type - has emerged as the ultimate grass roots Jewish, effective pro-Israel activist. Allen is not a grandstander; he prefers to remain in the background, dishing out credit to his fellow activists the way most ringleaders dish out criticism. Instead of claiming credit, Allen gets the job done. The man is the ultimate terrier - he puts his teeth in the calves of organizations whose acts harm Israel, and does not let up until he has accomplished more than anyone thought possible.
Another player - probably a baritone would be cast - is Jeffrey Wiesenfeld. Wiesenfeld is a businessman but also a seasoned political operator, having worked in the D'Amato, Koch and Pataki administrations. More of an "insider" than Allen, Wiesenfeld sits on the board of the City University of New York (where he's made waves of his own as a principled pro-Israel Jewish New Yorker). It is Wiesenfeld who is usually the master of ceremonies at the larger, more effective and unequivocally pro-Israel Jewish rallies in New York.
And a newcomer to the stage: Leonard J. Weiss. The ultimate White Knight who, very publicly, bolted from what had been his beloved Metropolitan Opera. Weiss, recognizing the stench of moral decay, chose to very publicly redirect the money he had been donating to the Met to assist in helping his new comrades create a public astringent, hoping to cleanse the rot.
And Weiss has led the way for other Jews to stand up against this desecration of art. Eugene Grant, a real estate developer, announced that he was suspending his $5 million gift to the Met.
Then there are several indefatigable grass roots players who have been involved in pro-Israel activities for decades. People like Dr. Marvin Belsky, Dr. Paul Brody, Beth Gilinsky (who practically single-handedly forced the New York City to come to grips with the anti-Jewish animus surrounding the Crown Heights riots in 1991), Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For a Safe Israel, terrorist victim and now rights activist Sarri Singer and Liz Berney, a trusted deputy of Zionist Organization of America's executive director, Mort Klein.
There are others, a growing number of them, who would comprise the PKJ chorus.
The polar opposites of the PKJs would also have to be cast. These would be referred to, in short-hand, as the Anti-Klinghoffer Jews.
TERRORIST-HUMANIZING KLINGHOFFER JEWS
Peter Gelb, of course, is the man responsible for bringing the Klinghoffer opera to the Met, and the man who has thus far successfully convinced his board members that the Klinghoffer opera must be staged. He will have a starring role as one of the sinister bad guys. Every one of his lines will contain the words "artistic freedom" and "art as insight," as if glorifying murderers of old disabled Jews is akin to speaking truth to power. It is Gelb and his cronies who have retreated into the would-be-laughable-if-not-so-offensive stance of guardians of the First Amendment for refusing to "censor" the opera.
No one has asked the Met to criminalize the words used in the opera, no one is suggesting that Adams or Goodman be jailed for lionizing the villains and ridiculing the victims. Rather, the Met has been asked to refrain from glorifying terrorism. And Gelb et al have refused.
In 2005, the Toll Brothers luxury homes builders took over from Texaco as the corporate sponsor of the Metropolitan Opera's international radio network. The Toll Brothers are Jewish, and the executive director, Robert I. Toll, sits on the Met's managing board. The Annenberg Foundation is another major corporate sponsor of the Met's radio network, and Leonore Annenberg, the former chair of the Foundation, was also on the Met's managing board.
While Gelb decided to pull the live streaming of the Klinghoffer opera (but only well after it was already in the lineup and only after the initial wave of criticism), it is difficult to imagine that major funders of any part of the enterprise could not have made their views known - and had an impact - on Gelb's grinding in his heels about staging this opera.
MEEK KLINGHOFFER JEWS
The final major type to be cast is one that, sadly, has the widest pool of potential players. This type is called the Meek Klinghoffer Jews. These are the ones who really probably wish there was no Klinghoffer opera, but who are too uncomfortable raising their voices at all about anything, including anti-Semitism, but most especially when that anti-Semitism is dressed up in fancy clothes. Like at the Metropolitan Opera.
While the grass roots activists began organizing against the Klinghoffer opera last spring, it wasn't until September - September! - that the mainstream official Jewish organizations finally got around to saying anything publicly about the travesty.
What they came up with is a good letter in terms of calling the opera what it is. For example, it mentions that the "opera's juxtaposition of terrorists and their victims on the same moral plane is gravely inappropriate," and pointing out that "anti-Jewish attacks and expressions of hatred against Jews have reached frightening levels around the globe, and innocent American journalists have been cruelly beheaded by radical Islamists."
But, undoubtedly because the letter-writers were aiming for as broad a group as possible, the letter reads like more of a "oh, this is too bad" letter, rather than a "this is unacceptable!" letter.
The organizations whose leadership signed the letter runs the gamut from the stalwartly supportive of most strongly pro-Israel activities, such as the National Council of Young Israel and the Religious Zionists of America, all the way to the surprising appearance of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, various New York-based JCCs, JCRCs and even the president and the chair of the board of the UJA Federation of New York.
For example, it says the opera "runs the risk of legitimizing terror." Runs the risk? Just a risk? Then there is a truly tiny slap that lands on nobody in particular. This happens in the second paragraph of the letter, regarding the timing of the staging of this opera in New York at this time:
it could well have been anticipated that this production, and the sensitivities around its story, would generate divisiveness. The disappointment and negative reaction that is now playing out is therefore not surprising.It could, it might, it would, but nowhere is the money line: Don't stage this abomination!
Gelb and his small chorus of T-HKJs may be a bit upstaged when certain New York Jewish "communal leaders" are revealed as members of the board of the Metropolitan Opera.
There are two members of the board of the Met who are bona fide Jewish communal leaders. One isStanley M. Bergman. Bergman is not only a Met board member, he is the president of the American Jewish Committee!
The AJC chose not to sign on to the communal mainstream letter to Gelb. Instead, it penned its ownletter of criticism, and its executive director signed a letter which ran in the New York Times. The AJC used strong words in its letter, but whether Mr. Bergman was made aware of them, or of the AJC's official pronouncement of "profound disappointment" in the Met staging this travesty remains unknown.
The other Met board member who plays a second role in this drama is Linda Mirels. Mirels sits on the advisory board of the Met, but she is also the president of the executive committee of the UJA Federation of New York and is even a signatory on the MKJs' letter. Whether either Bergman or Mirels made an effort to convince Gelb or the other board members that the opera is simply in terrible taste and should not be staged is unknown.
What is known is that neither of the two who appear in dual roles have followed the lead of either Leonard Weiss or Eugene Grant and publicly stated that funds earmarked for the Met would be either withheld in protest or diverted to support the free speech of the protesters.
FIRST AMENDMENT BOGEYMAN
A final note: it has been said that at least some Jewish leaders who recognize the disturbing aspects of the opera refrained from coming out more strongly against it because of "First Amendment" concerns.
Let us slay that bogeyman right here. The First Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, which was added to the U.S. Constitution shortly after its ratification.
The Bill of Rights protects U.S. citizens from actions by the government. The government could not, consistent with the First Amendment, shut down the Metropolitan Opera for staging something that profoundly disturbs the sentiments of a major segment of the community. But people who are supposed to be Jewish leaders are not barred by the First Amendment from calling for what they think is right. And claiming to use the First Amendment as a shield in that way is simply an act of ignorance or cowardice or both.
The first group has already been cast. The PKJs will be starring in another protest outside the Metropolitan Opera on Monday night, Oct. 20th. That is the first night that the Klinghoffer opera will be staged at the Met. Join the PKJs.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
Summer in ParisAs the sound of “Death to the Jews!” filled the streets this summer, much of the French elite averted its gaze or blamed the Jews for their own misfortune. Do Jews still have a future in France?Police officers chase rioters in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles on July 20. Several Jewish-owned stores were burned. Pierre Andrieu/AFP/Getty Images.ESSAYOCT. 5 2014About the authorRobert S. Wistrich is professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he heads the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism. He is the author ofA Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010).On July 13, the eve of Bastille Day (a national holiday in France), a mob laid siege to the Don Abravanel synagogue in the Eleventh district of Paris. The “protesters,” mainly of North African Arab origin, had broken off from a larger demonstration supported by a small band of left-wing allies—Communists, militant anti-Zionist Trotskyists, a few environmentalists, and trade unionists—waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Death to the Jews” (Mort aux Juifs) along with the Islamist battle cry, Allahu Akbar!The synagogue, located in Rue de la Roquette, was filled with about 200 congregants who were forced to barricade themselves within as the rioters, some of them armed with chairs, clubs, and knives, sought to break their way in. They were held off by a small group of policemen, Jewish activists, and members of the Jewish Community Protection Service. But it took three hours for the siege to be lifted, and then only thanks to the very belated arrival of special police reinforcements. For some, the event evoked memories of Kristallnacht, “Night of the Broken Glass,” the November 1938 Nazi rampage throughout Germany and adjacent lands—an exaggeration, no doubt, but testimony to the scale of the trauma inflicted.The surrounding days saw no fewer than eight attempts to invade, damage, or set fire to synagogues in the Paris area. Already on July 11, two days earlier, a synagogue in Aulney-sur-Bois had been firebombed during Friday-night services. A week later, in the northern suburb of Sarcelles (known as “Little Jerusalem”), with its large Sephardi Jewish population, a failed effort to set the synagogue aflame led the enraged rioters to burn cars and destroy a Jewish-owned pharmacy, pizzeria, and other stores. In a scene reminiscent more of the Middle East than of Western Europe, the police needed recourse to water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to subdue the attackers.Not that France was alone in the democratic world in witnessing an escalation of anti-Jewish violence during this summer’s conflict in Gaza. From London, England to Sydney, Australia, from Boston, Massachusetts to Santiago, Chile, the chorus of anti-Israel protest—often spilling over into anti-Semitism—could be heard world-wide. In Great Britain alone, over 200 anti-Semitic incidents were registered in July, a record for a single month. In Germany the anti-Israel mood was particularly visceral, with a visiting imam in Berlin inciting Muslims to slaughter the Zionist Jews and demonstrators screaming slogans like “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight!” Protesters in Antwerp, Belgium, marched while reportedly chanting threats to “kill the Jews.” In Malmö, Sweden, the synagogue was vandalized for the third time in a year, swastikas were painted on Jewish-owned shops, and Jews were insulted on the streets.But none of these incidents caused the same devastation as in France, where, according to official statistics, no fewer than 527 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the months from January through July of this year, double the number for the same period of the previous year. Violent acts were especially common, increasing by 126 percent. And no wonder: a variety of factors, starting with the respective sizes of its Jewish and Muslim populations, combine to make France a special but also an emblematic case for a European Jewry whose overall future now seems to be under a menacing cloud.I. Jihadism Hits HomeAt perhaps 600,000-strong (recent estimates place it lower), the French Jewish community accounts for fully half of the Jews presently living in the European Union. But if France’s Jewish population stands out for sheer size, its Muslim population is at least ten times greater, anywhere from six million to perhaps as high as eight million: easily the largest such concentration in the EU, and constituting about 12 percent of the total French population (and a much higher percentage of France’s younger generation). Like most of France’s Jews since the 1950s, French Muslims immigrated principally from the country’s ex-colonies in the Maghreb—Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco—augmented later by Muslims from West Africa as well as from Turkey and Iran.These immigrants and their progeny have proved particularly receptive to anti-Semitic as well as anti-Israel propaganda and incitement. Things have grown progressively worse in this respect ever since the onset of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000 and the growth of a massive Muslim presence in Europe, but there is a prehistory here that is now largely forgotten. French (and European) Jews first became victims of Arab rage against Israel between 1979 and 1983, when Palestinian groups and their local allies carried out a campaign of terrorist attacks.For example: on October 3, 1980, a bomb intended to murder the maximum number of worshippers at the Reform synagogue of Rue Copernic in Paris exploded prematurely, killing one Israeli woman and three non-Jewish passers-by. Around the same time, in another portent of things to come, a pro-Palestinian narrative emerged in France accusing Israel of using disproportionate force, gratuitously killing Palestinian children, and committing war crimes and even genocide. In 1982, left-of-center newspapers like Le Monde, the left-wing daily Libération, the Communist daily L’Humanité, and the Catholic-left Témoignage Chrétienshamelessly denounced an imaginary Israeli “genocide” in southern Lebanon.It is now a truism: to be seen wearing a kippah in public is to invite curses, insults, harassment, and physical aggression.It was during the second intifada (2000-2004) that anti-Jewish violence began soaring to unprecedented heights in France. The slogans behind the violence were by now familiar, mixing classic European anti-Semitic tropes with radical Islam and hatred of Israel. But the form was different. For the most part, the perpetrators were not operatives of terrorist organizations but were drawn from Muslim immigrant families in the banlieues, metropolitan “suburbs”—more accurately, urban slums—containing high proportions of foreign-born residents and plagued by unemployment, crime, drugs, family breakdown, and gang terror. Much of the violence took the form of pogrom-style mob attacks, spontaneous harassment, and vandalism. But some of it was carefully planned and orchestrated.Although the violence abated somewhat after 2004, two years later French Jews received a chilling reminder of their vulnerability with the murder of Ilan Halimi, a twenty-three-year-old Jewish salesman in Paris. Halimi had been gruesomely tortured to death on the outskirts of the city by a gang appropriately called “Les Barbares.” Although the media, the police, and much of the public stubbornly resisted seeing the murder as an anti-Semitic act, it eventually emerged that the gang leader (Youssef Fofana) was a West African Muslim with Salafist connections who had already focused on Jewish targets in previous kidnapping attempts, and gang members had hurled anti-Semitic insults at the boy’s father during abortive ransom negotiations.Six years later, in Toulouse, home to 20,000 Jews, a thirty-year-old rabbi, his two small children, and an eight-year-old pupil were gunned down at the Ozar Hatorah school, an academy of high repute located in a region relatively free of so-called “inter-community” tensions (the usual euphemism for anti-Semitic disturbances). The twenty-three-year-old killer, Mohammed Merah, a French citizen of Algerian descent, had been born in Toulouse, imbibed Islamist and extreme anti-Semitic attitudes at home, became further radicalized in prison as a juvenile delinquent, and subsequently trained as a jihadist in Afghanistan. His grisly executions, which he recorded on camera, and his own death in a shoot-out with police succeeded in turning him posthumously into a heroic figure to many of the alienated young Muslims in France’s banlieues.Indeed, following Merah’s vicious acts, incidents of anti-Semitic aggression by other Muslims—especially against Jewish adolescents—soared. In Toulouse itself, though messages of sympathy were extended to the grieving Jewish community, Jews were also bombarded with threats and insults after the killings. As for the French general public, the innocent victims were quickly forgotten as the media, in their haste to change course after having reflexively posited the murders as the work of neo-Nazi or far-right extremists, instead soon developed a perverse fascination with the killer.Which brings us to the grim reality of the present and to the actions of twenty-nine-year-old Mehdi Nemmouche, who committed the brutal killings at the Brussels Jewish Museum in May of this year. One of Nemmouche’s four victims, a retired art publisher, had arrived in the Belgian capital only two months earlier, having left her home in France because of the increasingly pervasive anti-Semitic atmosphere there. Instead of tranquility, she met a cruel death. Her assailant, like Mohammed Merah, was a French-Algerian jihadist, born in the northeastern French industrial city of Roubaix —today a mecca of French Islam—and (as it subsequently emerged) had just recently returned from a stint with Islamic State in the killing fields of Syria.The growing presence of such jihadist elements has greatly accelerated the sense of eroding confidence among Jews all over Europe. In France, this is particularly the case for less affluent Jews living in places like Sarcelles or other heavily Muslim-populated suburbs of Paris where their situation has been precarious for some time. It has by now become something of a truism, for Jews living in any area largely populated by Muslims, that to be seen wearing a kippah in public is to invite curses, insults, harassment, and physical aggression. More than anything else, this one homely fact (amply documented inMosaic by such close observers as Michel Gurfinkiel and Annika Hernroth-Rothstein) sums up the somber truth concerning contemporary Europe and 21st-century anti-Semitism.II. The Irresistible Uses of Anti-SemitismNeither the murder of Ilan Halimi nor the Toulouse killings, however, seemed to alert mainstream French society to the gravity of growing anti-Semitism—or, no less significantly, to the exact nature of its 21st-century face. But a wake-up call, of sorts, did come in the form of a mass demonstration on January 26, 2014, known as Le Jour de Colère (“The Day of Anger”). That 17,000-strong march (which I personally witnessed) included a vocal and heterogeneous group of militants shouting slogans like “Jew, Jew, France does not belong to you,” “Jews, get out of France,” and “The gas chambers were a bluff.” These merged seamlessly with the demonstrators’ more generalized expression of anti-elitism, hostility to the French state and its confiscatory taxes, fury at the policies (and the personal life) of President François Hollande, and much else besides. As then-Interior Minister (now Prime Minister) Manuel Valls remarked, it was a dangerous cocktail—the symptom of a morbid climate of opinion linking both left and right extremes against the Republic.In an Orwellian inversion, the mythical “Jewish lobby” in France was accused of seeking a monopoly over public compassion for the victims of genocide.Valls was at least partly right—but the toxic populist brew he described is itself not without precedent in French political history. Moreover, from the 1930s onward, some French politicians have not failed to exploit or abet this mood of bitter discontent, complete with its strong anti-Semitic admixture, even as they express shock and alarm at its potential for havoc. For our purposes here, it may be worth sorting out the main strands from the most recent past as they affect the Jewish situation in particular.In 1990, a historic Jewish cemetery was vandalized in the southern French town of Carpentras. No doubt sensing an opportunity, President François Mitterrand—France’s first socialist president, but soon to become the object of embarrassing revelations about his wartime service to the Vichy regime—marched in a huge demonstration against anti-Semitism and “fascism” attended by some 300,000 people. Conveniently, or obediently, the French media at the time blamed the cemetery desecration on the right-wing National Front (FN), which in fact had nothing to do with it. Evidently, anti-Semitism, now defined by the left as a subcategory of racism or “fascism,” was to be pressed into service as a political weapon against the right.But the uses not only of anti-Semitism, and specifically of the Nazi Holocaust, were to prove both many and irresistible. In short order, French blacks, Arabs, gays, and other minorities were fighting for institutional recognition of their suffering, and journalists, intellectuals, and politicians began equating anti-Muslim xenophobia with anti-Semitism if not with the Holocaust. The turnabout was completed when, in an Orwellian inversion, the mythical “Jewish lobby” in France found itself accused of seeking a “monopoly” over public compassion for the victims of genocide.Thus, it is no accident that since 2000, both Holocaust memorialization and the “Jewish Lobby” have come under relentless attack by Dieudonné M’bala-M’bala, the French-Cameroonian “ex-humorist” who stands at the extreme ideological forefront of the new anti-Semitism in France. Dieudonné claims that Jews themselves, since the days of Abraham, have been consummate and archetypal racists. He shares this obsession with his bizarre close ally Alain Soral, a white, pseudo-intellectual, ex-Communist, and ex-National Front activist who today proudly proclaims himself to be a National Socialist à la française. The pair’s mix of left and right anti-Semitism is held together by the paranoid theory of a world “Zionist” conspiracy, a theory that has proved viral in several senses of the word. Even as their videos portraying Jewish domination of the economy, politics, culture, and the media reach an audience of millions, their reputation as convinced Holocaust deniers and admirers of Iran has borne fruit in the form of Iranian financing for their campaign to win membership in the European parliament through the frankly named Anti-Zionist party.Exploiting their notoriety, Dieudonné and Soral have bridged the gulfs among whites, blacks, and beurs (Arabs), between middle-class youth and the impoverished drop-outs of the banlieues, between FN supporters and the far left, and between old-school French anti-Semites and younger immigrants. Crucial to their success has been their ability to link their eclectic, hybrid anti-Semitism to their anti-establishment, “screw the system” politics. The link is symbolized in Dieudonné’squenelle—an inverted Nazi salute and a mutual recognition sign for like-minded followers around the world. As at the January 2014 “Day of Anger,” the many Internet images of individuals showing off their quenelle salutes in front of Jewish memorial sites—whether in Paris, Berlin, or Auschwitz—encapsulate the process by which Gallic “anti-racism,” ostensibly conceived as a tool to counter and prevent anti-Semitism, has been recomposed as gutter anti-Semitism.III. Delusion and DenialEuropean elites seem powerless to respond to this hybrid anti-Semitism, especially insofar as it is connected with Islam. Denouncing the anti-Semitism of Alain Soral has not been difficult—he is, after all, a white reactionary—but the anti-Semitism of Dieudonné is much harder to grapple with. For most French intellectuals, leftist by inclination, to designate any group of blacks or Muslims as “anti-Semites” is considered highly suspect, if not racist and “Islamophobic.” It can also lead to the accuser’s being stamped as himself an “agent of Israel” seeking to cover up “Zionist crimes.”And so, when anti-Jewish violence by Muslims occurs in France, or anti-Jewish hate speech fills the air, the media, intellectuals, and many politicians simply deny its existence—or blame it on the actions of Israel and/or the Jewish community itself. In stark contrast, Muslim youths from les quartiers difficiles (a euphemism for violent inner-city neighborhoods) are never held responsible for their criminal actions, any more than are the Palestinians in the Middle East. Perhaps needless to say, their solidarity with Hamas, complete with its rabidly anti-Semitic “Sacred Covenant” of 1988 and its death-cult call to Islamize Palestine “from the river to the sea,” raises remarkably few eyebrows.When anti-Jewish hate speech fills the air, the media, intellectuals, and many politicians simply deny its existence—or blame it on the actions of Israel and/or the Jewish community itself.Is the French right any better? The answer is at best a qualified yes. Opposition to so-called creeping “Islamicization” in France has traditionally been led by the National Front (FN), which carries significant historical baggage of its own. Under its current leader, Marine Le Pen, the movement has sought to distance itself from the more openly anti-Arab legacy of her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, and its spectacular success in the European parliament elections of May 2014 (it polled first among French parties, with 25 percent of the vote) has made it, for the first time, a possible contender for power. Unlike the far left and some socialists, the FN took no part in the pro-Palestine marches of July 2014, and Marine Le Pen has even made some overtures to the Jews of France.The resistance of the FN to the threat posed by radical Islamists, along with its new emphasis on republican secularism (laïcité), has indeed been welcomed by some Jews. But suspicions remain: in light of the party’s trivialization of the Vichy past, its current links with far-right populist movements in Europe, and its vehement rejection of Jewish communal representation (about which more below), most Jews have trouble seeing it as an ally. Moreover, when public display of the quenelle and Dieudonné’s anti-Semitic performances fell under a government ban, the FN voiced criticism in the name of free speech. (In the past, Le Penpèrewent so far as to express appreciation for the “provocations” of Dieudonné, and a 2005 rapprochement between the two former opponents was well publicized.)But to return to the mainstream elites: in addition to the reluctance to identify Islamic anti-Semitism as such, there is an almost reflexive hostility to Jewish expressions of sympathy with Israel. One of the most common reproaches against Jews who defend the Jewish state has been that of “communitarisme,” which in English means not communitarianism but “communalism.” However inoffensive the term may sound, it is anything but. In French political discourse, communalists are tribal, selfish, and particularist, concerned only with their own community and not with the general interest. This, in some circles, is tantamount to a violation of the “republican contract” of 1791 when France became the first European nation to emancipate its Jews, granting them full civic and political rights on condition that they renounce their former communal autonomy except in the restricted sphere of religious practice.By and large, French Jews adhered meticulously to this unofficial pact until it was brutally sundered by the French state itself in 1940. The race laws instituted by the Vichy regime in that year abolished Jewish emancipation and paved the way for the deportation by French police of 76,000 Jews and their murder in the Nazi death camps.That was almost 75 years ago, and much happened in the decades following the war to restore the old status quo and contribute to Jewish flourishing. But today, and indeed ever since the second intifada, Jews who defend Israel have found themselves consistently branded as tribal communalists. In addition, any rise in anti-Semitism is immediately identified as the product of so-called “inter-communal tensions,” thus creating the appearance that it is the outcome of unresolved issues between French Jews and Muslims for which both parties may be equally to blame. Yet there has never been a single case of French Jews assaulting mosques, Muslim community centers, schools, or individuals because of their being Arab or Muslim, while there have been countless incidents of this kind perpetrated by Muslims against Jews.In other words, the aggression has been in one direction only, something the official mantra covers up and may be intended to cover up. It certainly helps to explain the marked apathy on the part of successive French governments toward attacks on Jews. Between 2000 and 2003, during the high point of the second intifada and of anti-Jewish violence on French soil, ordinary Jews felt increasingly abandoned by the state. And with reason: not only were there official insinuations that Israel’s “aggression” against the Palestinians was the prime or perhaps even the sole cause of anti-Jewish incidents, but leading French officials, from President Jacques Chirac on down, denied that there was any anti-Semitism in France or invented grossly false symmetries between Jewish and Muslim behavior.In Paris this August, I confronted a stark example of this entrenched attitude and the loaded vocabulary in which it is couched. The center-left magazine L’Expresshad just published a special report criticizing the response of French Jews to the riots of July, riots that included the three-hour siege of the Don Abravanel synagogue and its congregants described at the beginning of this essay. Accompanying the report was an editorial by the magazine’s publisher Christophe Barbier, a prominent journalist and pundit, entitled Les Nouveaux Baal-Zebub (“The New Beelzebubs”). Barbier’s allusion to a medieval name for the devil went unexplained, but I assumed he was warning French Jews not to surrender to the demons of fear.One journalist hinted darkly that, by placing their Jewish identity first, Jews risked playing into the hands of those who had always warned there was a “Jewish problem” in France.I was mistaken. Barbier’s screed began by vigorously attacking the Jewish Self-Defense League, a voluntary organization that had helped resist the rioters and that he contemptuously dismissed as a “communalist [sic] gang” that should be dissolved. Assuming a more solicitous tone, he then assured his readers that such efforts to “defend the tribe” were in any case counterproductive, bound to backfire and to lead only to more violence.But if self-defense was bad, emigration (aliyah) to Israel was worse: in Barbier’s judgment, such a vote of no-confidence in the Republican order represented a virtual desertion of the colors, a “betrayal” (his word) of France. What’s more, it would be a flight to “nowhere,” an “imposture,” reprehensible and cowardly in itself and a disgraceful abandonment of those Jews who chose to remain in France. For good measure, Barbier accused French Jewry as a whole of self-asphyxiation, of “bunkerizing” Judaism and retreating into a self-imposed ghetto: in short, of communalism run amok.And he still wasn’t through. If the Jews abandoned ship, Barbier now insinuated, almost pleadingly, the wound to French institutions would be so great as to leave other communities prey to “barbarism.” Therefore, Jews must stay, resolving to fight anti-Semitism as a point of honor and in the clear interest both of themselves and of Israel (!). In doing so, however, they would have to abjure any support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—a “war-mongering” nationalist—or for Marine Le Pen, lest they encourage a “civil war” in France that would only redound to their harm. Finally, Barbier hinted darkly that, by placing their Jewish identity first, Jews risked playing into the hands of those who had always warned there was a “Jewish problem” in France.These admonitions, at once hysterical and almost breathtakingly candid, were no less representative for that—representative not only in their contortions, which effectively turn the victims of aggression into culprits, but in what they so conspicuously omit. They completely fail to grapple with the central issue of Islamism: a danger to the French Republic and to Europe that is threatening enough, one would think, to dwarf the putative danger posed by 5,000 French Jews arriving in Israel by the end of 2014. Put that modest figure next to the shouting mobs on the Paris streets, and the very real prospect of nearly 1,000 native-born jihadists returning soon from Iraq and Syria after having trained with IS or similar groups, and one begins to grasp the accumulating layers of delusion and denial that paralyze the educated European mind.IV. A Thin Ray of LightIf one were looking for a ray of light in this depressing picture, it could be located—unexpectedly—in the embattled Hollande administration, which has been quite robust in its response to the increasingly violent manifestations of anti-Semitism in France. On July 16, 2014, at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the French roundup of Jews in Paris, many of whom were later transferred to Auschwitz and other death camps, Prime Minister Valls publicly defended his decision to forbid any provocative pro-Palestinian demonstrations and unequivocally condemned any “anti-Semite who hides his hatred of the Jew behind an appearance of anti-Zionism and the hatred of Israel.” This was sharper language than any adopted by previous French leaders, including former President Nicolas Sarkozy.A few months earlier, President François Hollande had been equally firm at a dinner organized by CRIF (the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions) in Paris. Far from denying what was happening in French society, he spoke forthrightly:Jews are being attacked on the streets because they are wearing a kippah. Children in French schools are being insulted because they are Jewish. Synagogues are being desecrated with swastikas. This is the reality of anti-Semitism.On the same occasion, Hollande stressed that the rage manifested at January’s “Day of Anger” was not owing to unemployment, poverty, or hard times. It was, he averred, the old hatred of Jews “searching for someone to take the blame.” If once the anti-Semites were more cautious, now they had come out into the open—marching in the streets, using the Internet to spread their lies and false rumors, performing in theaters, publishing books.Hollande genuinely regards anti-Semitic acts as an attack on France. But even the best intentions will not suffice to overcome three decades of official apathy.I do not doubt that Hollande genuinely regards anti-Semitic acts as an attack on France and the fundamental “values of the Republic.” But even the best intentions will not suffice to overcome three decades of official apathy toward (or passive complicity with) intolerance, indoctrination, insults, and hatred. It seems doubtful, moreover, especially when the president’s own popularity is at such an all-time low, that his views will find much resonance among an increasingly morose and indifferent French public. For a population increasingly battered by social malaise, economic stagnation, and fragmenting politics, the specific ailments afflicting the Jews would appear to be a very low priority.And so, despite the current government’s welcome attitude toward anti-Semitism and the radical Islamist danger, many Jews in France feel themselves trapped. For years they have heard declarations by government ministers to the effect that an assault on the Jewish community is an “attack on France” and “the values of the Republic,” but the violent incidents have continued unabated. Legislation penalizing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial remains severe on paper, yet seems to have little effect in practice. Despite the efforts of government to maintain a more balanced position on the Middle East, at home there remains a great reluctance to name the main perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts for who they are.V. Yesterday, Today, and TomorrowLess than ten years ago, an officially commissioned report to the French Interior Ministry made bold to connect the rise in anti-Semitic violence with the rise of radical Islam. French schools, those time-tested incubators of solidarity with the values of the Republic, were instead, the report noted, becoming the “lost territories of the Republic”—to borrow the title of a book edited by Emmanuel Brenner in 2002. All of the trends manifested across Europe today were already then present in French schools, where Jewish children, adolescents, and teachers were being harassed, insulted, mocked, and abused by Muslim pupils originating from North Africa—young people whom the French state was egregiously failing to integrate into French society or to bring into conformity with the “values of the Republic.”Where did those young Muslims acquire their virulent anti-Semitism? In large measure, it was an integral component of a militant ethno-religious identity, based on hatred of the West, France, and the Jews, that they or their parents brought with them from the Maghreb. This Islamist identity blended a Qu’ran-oriented hostility to infidels with traditionalist contempt for non-Muslims (both Christians and Jews) and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories derived from European sources like theProtocols of the Elders of Zion. What we see today, in other words, is ground that was well seeded early on, fertilized by the global jihad, the rise of Salafism, and the cult of Osama bin-Laden—and then, once transplanted to France, copiously watered by urban anomie, juvenile delinquency, economic depression, and cultural nihilism, not to mention the ongoing crisis of French national identity itself.What we are witnessing is the slow death of the sanctified French model of integration, and with it the beginning of the end of French Jewry.In the 1960s, General Charles de Gaulle could still project a powerful sense of Gallic pride, rooted in the continuities of French history, the global reach of France’s influence, and the country’s successful modernization. But much of this national self-confidence has been eroded in the past 45 years, not least by the failure to control immigration from the Third World or to adapt more creatively to the challenges of globalization. One symptom of these and other failures has been the refusal of French elites to acknowledge, let alone to address, the issue of anti-Semitism or their own conspiracy of silence and acquiescence in the face of radical Islam. Today’s awakening has come 30 years too late.What we are witnessing, in sum, is the gradual fragmentation of the much-vaunted and sanctified French “republican synthesis,” and perhaps even the collapse of de Gaulle’s Fifth Republic. It is as a possible harbinger of this slow death that we can already identify the beginning of the end of French Jewry—hitherto considered one of the great Jewish success stories of the postwar era. That latter event may take decades fully to come about, but its likelihood can no longer be excluded.From my own research and many discussions with French Jews who have just arrived in Israel or are currently contemplating such a move, I have reached a number of conclusions. On the whole, those leaving France believe that Jews have no future there. Though still fond of the country, its beauty, its culture, and its past greatness, they are convinced that something has definitively snapped in the republican model of integration. The French system simply does not work any longer—not for Jews, not for Muslims, and not, critically, for the nominally Christian majority. Jews, however, have experienced a unique period of personal insecurity, a feeling that they are no longer protected by a state that has somehow lost its grip. Even in an Israel at war, the new immigrants tell me that they feel far more secure in the Holy Land, where they are protected by the Israeli army and free to give expression to their Judaism in the public sphere.I have visited France countless times during recent decades; never before did I hear French Jews say so often that they consider Israel to be their homeland. This is new. Something has indeed radically changed. A process that began its incubation after 2000 and gestated slowly thereafter is now finally arriving at its maturity.To be sure, some French Jews would categorically reject these impressions, attributing them to panic, fear, or alarmism. But I think they deceive themselves. The resurgent tide of anti-Semitism is very real in France, and it will not disappear any time soon. This is certainly not the sole reason for emigration to Israel or elsewhere, but it is a major trigger.In that respect, the disgust expressed by many Jews at the consistent disinformation about Israel in the French media, and their genuine anxiety about the frightening levels of Muslim, far-left, and populist hostility to both Israel and themselves strike me as an entirely healthy and normal reaction. In France, as in much of Europe, the freedom to live one’s identity as a Jew has become not only much more limited but also much more perilous. If an image of the European Jewish community is wanted, the emblematic picture today is that of the synagogue in Rue de la Roquette, its congregants huddled within, marauders screaming “Mort aux Juifs” at the doors, the intellectual elites averting their gaze or blaming the Jews for their own misfortune, an apathetic civil society, and authorities seemingly powerless to stem the tide.For some this may be a sad, perhaps even a tragic conclusion. These are feelings I can understand. But I also remind myself that what France loses, Israel will gain.
|DUBAI - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday a nuclear deal with the West was bound to happen and he believed it could be achieved by a November 24 deadline.|
"We have reached consensus on generalities and there are only the fine details to be worked out: whether we would reach an agreement within the next 40 days, if the time will be extended, etc.," the president told his people in a late evening address broadcast live on television.
"Of course details are important too, but what's important is that the nuclear issue is irreversible. I think a final settlement can be achieved in these remaining 40 days. We will not return to the situation a year ago. The world is tired and wants it to end, resolved through negotiations," he said.
"A nuclear settlement is certain," he said, vowing to "apply all our efforts in that direction."
Rouhani, elected by a landslide 14 months ago partly on promises to end hostilities with the West, cautioned nevertheless that "a 12-year-old dilemma cannot be resolved overnight."
Top diplomats of the United States, Iran and the European Union will meet for another round of talks in Vienna later this week to push for an elusive deal ahead of a November 24 deadline.
The United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain, grouped under the P5+1, have already held a series of meetings with Iran to try for a deal that would curb the Islamic republic's suspected nuclear activities in return for a gradual lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran.
The West hopes resolving the nuclear standoff will ease tension and avert a full-scale conflict in the troubled Middle East - with repeated Israeli threats of force to stop its arch-enemy Iran from gaining nuclear weapon technology.
Tehran has denied any such ambitions, insisting that its uranium enrichment program is designed to generate electricity and for scientific research.
A US official said last week a deal was likely by the present deadline, but Western diplomats say the two sides remain divided on such key issues as the future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment, which at high purity could be used to make bombs.
1d) Obama, Congress and Iran
The White House denies the Senate a say on a Tehran arms deal.
Lost in the chaos of the Middle East is that the United States and Iran are fast approaching next month’s deadline to strike a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program. This has been teed up for years as the crown jewel of President Obama ’s foreign-policy legacy. On current course, it’s more likely to end up as another setback to U.S. security.
President Obama’s insistence on consulting largely with himself on the world’s most complex issues is well known. Most troublesome for the outcome with Iran is his rejection of needed support from Congress.
The Administration is currently leaning on Democrats in the Senate to block an attempt by Republicans to give Congress a say on any Iran accord. In late July, Bob Corker , Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and John McCain —the GOP’s strongest voices on foreign policy—introduced the “Iran Nuclear Negotiations Act of 2014.” The bill compels the Administration to submit any agreement for Senate review within three days of completion.
If Iran walks away from the table without a deal, the sanctions waived last November would be immediately reimposed. The bill also puts in place a quick mechanism to reimpose sanctions in case Iran cheats on a deal. Both provisions are sensible safeguards.
Unlike previous sanctions legislation, this effort has failed to get a single Democratic co-sponsor. New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez , the otherwise hawkish Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has refused to mark up the bill. Democratic skeptics on Iran say they’re holding their political powder to look closely at a final agreement. But by then the White House will be turning up the heat on Democrats to support what Mr. Obama will portray as his signature diplomatic achievement.
On the inaugural episode of Foreign Edition, Bret Stephens and Matthew Kaminski discuss the continuing rise of the Islamic State, the spread of Ebola and the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong.
n his first Inaugural address, President Obama extended a hand to Tehran’s mullahs, and the interim nuclear deal struck last November was the first concrete step toward that goal. Iran froze work on advanced centrifuges, and the U.S. and European Union rolled back some economic sanctions. The two sides were supposed to strike a final agreement by July but extended talks to Nov. 24.
Throughout the negotiations, however, the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to weaken the U.S. negotiating hand. Earlier this year, the White House twisted arms in the Senate to abandon a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by 60 of the chamber’s 100 legislators, that put in place stronger sanctions against Iran in case those talks failed.
Despite Mr. Obama’s opposition, the Senate had led the push to hit Iran’s economy harder, forcing the regime to the table. Noting Iran’s opposition to this year’s sanctions bill, Administration officials said they wanted to send a goodwill gesture to Tehran. As the summer deadline extension showed, the Iranians offered nothing in return.
Under the Constitution, the Senate is obliged to ratify formal treaties with other nations by a two-thirds majority vote. But the Iran deal would be a multiparty agreement, rather than a treaty, and thus doesn’t require Senate ratification. Most sanctions on Iran can also be lifted by executive order.
The real contribution of the Corker-Graham bill is that it gives the U.S. stronger leverage with Tehran. The message it sends to Iran is that Congress won’t sign off on a bad agreement that puts America’s interests at risk and is ready to double down on sanctions, the only pressure Iran understands. Nearby, our Sohrab Ahmari describes how Western commercial interests are already lining up to return to business as usual with Iran.
Leaks out of the talks suggest the Iranians are playing the U.S. and the other negotiating countries for more concessions. Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, last week said that “everything, including an extension [of the November deadline], is possible.” Another delay would give Iran more time to perfect the technology behind a bomb and to create further political pressure from Western business lobbies to ease sanctions. The Corker-Graham legislation prohibits an extension.
The signal the U.S. is sending is that “we need them more than they need us,” a senior European policy maker told us. The Senate bill is the one stick available to change this exceedingly dangerous impression. A smart White House would grab it.
1d) Obama Survival Manual, Intl. Edition
2)-Local or National Elections?
By Thomas Sowell
Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill once said, "All politics is local." That may have been true in Tip O'Neill's day, but some elections are decisively on national issues -- and the Congressional elections this year are overwhelmingly national, just as the elections of 1860 were dominated by one national issue, namely slavery.
In 1860, some abolitionists split the anti-slavery vote by running their own candidate -- who had no chance of winning -- instead of supporting Abraham Lincoln, who was not pure enough for some abolitionists. Lincoln got just 40 percent of the vote, though that turned out to be enough to win in a crowded field.
But what a gamble with the fate of millions of human beings held as slaves! And for what? Symbolic political purity?
This year as well, there are third-party candidates complicating elections that can decide the fate of this nation for years to come. No candidate that irresponsible deserves any vote. With all the cross-currents of political controversies raging today, what is the overriding national issue that makes this year's Congressional elections so crucial?
That issue is whether, despite all the lawless edicts of President Obama, threatening one-man rule, we can still salvage enough of the Constitution to remain a free, democratic nation.
Barack Obama will be on his way out in two years but, if he can appoint enough federal judges who share his contempt for the Constitution's limits on federal government power in general, and presidential powers in particular, then the United States of America can continue on the path to becoming another banana republic, even after Obama has left the White House.
President Obama understands how high the stakes are, which is why he is out fundraising all across the country -- seemingly all the time -- even though he has no more elections to face himself. Obama came to power saying that he was going to fundamentally change the United States of America -- and he intends to do it, even after he is gone, by giving lifetime appointments as federal judges to people who share his view that this country's institutions and values are fundamentally wrong, and need to be scrapped and replaced by his far left vision.
If only Obama's critics and opponents understood this momentous issue as clearly as he does!
The issue is whether "we the people," as designated by the Constitution, continue free to live our own lives as we see fit, and to determine what laws and policies we want to live under.
President Obama's vision is very different. In his vision, our betters in Washington shall simply order us to live as they want us to live -- telling us what medical insurance we can have, what doctors we can go to, what political groups shall be favored by the Internal Revenue Service, with more of the same coming in the years ahead, long after Obama has left the White House.
Critics who deplore President Obama's foreign policies in general, and his weak response to the ISIS threat in particular, as showing incompetence -- and who see his incessant fundraising as just a weird distraction -- fail to understand how different his priorities are from theirs.
Barack Obama understands clearly that his ability to fundamentally remake what he has long seen as a deeply defective and corrupt America in the image of his far left vision depends crucially on having control of the Senate that has the power to confirm his appointments of federal judges with lifetime tenure. His fundraising is key to maintaining the Democrats' Senate majority.
Foreign policy is subordinated to Obama's overriding ideological vision. The president will not risk losing this year's Congressional elections by taking military actions that will alienate his political base. Token military actions can minimize the political losses from other voters.
That people will die while he stalls on military action is a price he is willing to pay. His ordering thousands of American troops into Ebola-infested Liberia shows the same ideologically driven callousness.
The big question is whether those who wish to preserve a free America see the issue and the stakes equally as clearly as Barack Obama does -- and see that this is the overriding national issue of our time, with our votes for Senators not to be confused by local issues.