Reason won many of the West’s greatest victories and advances, but faith secured them. I’m not talking solely about religious faith, though that’s a big part of it. I’m talking about what Richard Weaver called the “metaphysical dream of the universe” — a profound understanding of What Is that transcends reason alone.

As Malcolm Muggeridge said, life isn’t a process; it’s a drama, and we too often tend to understand things in theatrical terms. The champions of Holocaust denial are eager to employ reason (or what passes for it) because they understand that creating even a morsel of reasonable doubt is a huge victory for their anti-Semitic faith. There is part of the human soul that wants to believe that there are evil conspiracies afoot. Why feed them solely for the sake of a good argument?

Whether it’s Holocaust denial or the dream of a Marxist society, we believe lies not because we have to but because we want to (another Muggeridgeism). Or as Burke put it: “Politics ought to be adjusted not to human reasonings but to human nature, of which reason is but a part and by no means the greatest part.” Shouting that all taboos should be questioned out of a fashionable assumption that taboos are suspect doesn’t necessarily lead to a world where valuable taboos are reaffirmed.

Rather, a dogmatic obsession with questioning dogma means that even the victories are open to second-guessing through reason. But reason alone cannot restore what toppled faith has lost. A truly advancing society hammers down dogmatic victories. It doesn’t constantly tear them up to check that the spikes are secure. Indeed, the mere act of checking loosens the spikes.

I’m running long so I’ll just hand the baton off to Chesterton:

Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated. But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there has been in the past, or will be in the future, such a thing as a growth or improvement of the human mind itself, there still remains a very sharp objection to be raised against the modern version of that improvement. The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. When we hear of a man too clever to believe, we are hearing of something having almost the character of a contradiction in terms. It is like hearing of a nail that was too good to hold down a carpet; or a bolt that was too strong to keep a door shut. Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.

If then, I repeat, there is to be mental advance, it must be mental advance in the construction of a definite philosophy of life.

Everything Is About the Holocaust Except the Holocaust


Dear Reader (including those Dear Readers who do not hold your reading dear and as a result thought I forgot the Dear Reader gag last week, when in fact I very subtly wrote “Deer Reader” with a link to a deer reading. Get it? Ye of little faith! Nothing says comedy more than a bibliophilic odocoileus virginianus, am I right?),

I am not going to dwell long on Charlie Crist. With his baseball-glove skin and white hair, he looks not unlike a career beachcomber who spends his days with a metal detector in search of treasure he’s convinced himself he deserves and he will tell you all about it if you make the mistake of sitting next to him at the counter at the local diner. Whenever I see him on MSNBC or NBC, he looks like the same kind of eccentric, only dressed up for one of his many court dates.

Except for his eyes. He’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes.

Anyway, sticking with the beachcomber thing, lingering too long on the subject of Charlie Crist would be like waving a metal detector over the same patch of sand over and over again. All you’ll find is a few bits of detritus, a bottle top or two, some dead things, maybe an old condom, and then beyond that, there’s just nothing, layer after layer after layer of nothing. The texture of the nothing may change — he’ll grow wetter and tend to smell more — but there’s no golden prize to be found, because like that treasureless patch of beach, the defining quality of Charlie Crist is that there’s simply no there there. He is an oxymoron (often with a silent “oxy”): He is a man defined by what he is not, including his lack of manhood.

I bring this up because earlier this week Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog wrote a post with the less than economical headline: “Charlie Crist didn’t leave the Republican party because of racism. He left it because he couldn’t win a primary.”

Crist apparently went on Jorge Ramos’s show on Fusion TV and said: “I couldn’t be consistent with myself and my core beliefs, and stay with a party that was so unfriendly toward the African-American president, I’ll just go there.” Crist added: “I was a Republican and I saw the activists and what they were doing; it was intolerable to me.”

Now, this isn’t merely a lie. We are used to politicians telling us they can and will “eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse,” that they won’t take money from lobbyists, that they can give you seven-minute abs in six minutes and all of that. This is different. This is the sort of lying that makes God look over the top of his morning newspaper the way a dad looks at his kid when the boy’s making fart sounds with his armpit at the breakfast table. This is the kind of lying you expect of Vichy politicians as they run into the room after hastily putting on their “Vive la Resistance!” T-shirt for the first time.


The underlying problem with “Chef,” written, directed by and starring Jon Favreau is that he is the big enchilada and he has very little zing. The plot is so derivative that it seems pre-eaten and the film must rely on the personalities of the performers rather than smart dialogue or character development; in this category Favreau is missing both seasoning and charisma. To make matters worse, he has cast Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johannsen as the two women in his life; you’d need someone with the screen presence of a Ryan Gosling or a young Jeff Bridges to play opposite these smoldering females – not a tattooed schlub who’s not too interesting outside the kitchen. We’re living in weird times when unattractive men like Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Seth Rogen are big box office stars playing schlemiels who become the love interest of extremely beautiful women. In real life, such women might very well be interested in these actors but only because they are so successful – not for their looks or sad sack qualities.

As substitute for missing or uninteresting dialogue, Favreau offers a Latin soundtrack that’s upbeat and rhythmic and would be fine on a 1/2 hour segment on the food channel or as background music for vacuuming. As the young son looking for a relationship with an absent father, Emjay Anthony is sincere but unbelievable to anyone who’s been around a 10 year old nowadays. Not since the early Mickey Rooney movies have I seen a kid who was eager to clean up a greasy food truck (clubhouse for Mickey) or one who would rather be a short order cook for long hours as opposed to playing video games or hanging out with his friends. As for John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale, they have stock parts of ethnic fillers and get to use many curse words casually. Oliver Platt and Dustin Hoffman deserve mention for their hair only.

Reviewers have mentioned the subtext of this movie as Favreau’s showing what he can do with a small indie film instead of huge mega hits like Iron Man for which he wasn’t chosen as director in its latest iteration. I’d prefer to think that he’s a big guy who clearly enjoys eating and thought it would be fun to build around his relish for great grilled cheese, Cuban pork and Texas barbecue sandwiches. The food is festive – the movie more like re-heated leftovers.


A pro-active Aliyah policy (the Jewish ingathering to the Jewish state) was Israel’s most effective engine of growth and posture of deterrence. It catapulted the Jewish state from 650,000 Jews in 1948 to 6.5 million in 2014, from a $1.5bn economy in 1948 to $300bn in 2014, from a technology devoid country in 1948 to a commercial and defense technological powerhouse in 2014 (second only to the USA), from an insignificant military power in 1948 to a leading global military power in 2014, from a misperceived strategic liability in 1948 to the most reliable and capable ally of the US in 2014.

All Israeli prime ministers, from Ben Gurion (starting in 1948) through Shamir (ending in 1992), enforced a pro-active Aliyah policy in defiance of the demographic and bureaucratic establishments, crowning Aliyah as Israel’s top national priority. They followed in the footsteps of most of the Zionist leaders from the late 19th century, who realized that Aliyah was the soul, flesh and lifeline for the reconstruction of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel. They did not engage in reactive policy, which would focus their attention on the absorption of the Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel). Rather, they were preoccupied with a pro-active policy, generating waves of Aliyah in the aftermath of the wars of 1948-9 (from Arab countries), 1956 (from Poland) and 1967 (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), in the early 1960s (from Morocco) and the 1970s (from the USSR and Eastern Europe), from 1950 through 1995 (from Romania), during the 1980s and early 1990s (from Ethiopia) and during the 1990s (from the USSR). The groundwork for the arrival of one million Olim during the 1990s was carried out by Prime Minister Shamir during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Thus, they triggered waves of Aliyah totaling 3.5 million Jews, leveraging windows of opportunities, caused by ideological, social, economic, military, diplomatic and political regional and global developments in Israel, the Arab World, the USSR, Eastern Europe, Argentina and the USA (the US Congress played a critical role in liberalizing Soviet emigration policy). While most of the 3.5 million Jews aspired to emigrate anyway, it was Israel’s pro-active policy which facilitated emigration and guided them to the Jewish state, rather than to the US, Europe, Canada or Australia. It was Prime Minister Shamir’s pro-active Aliyah policy (e.g., pressuring the US to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and recruiting the US Senate to pressure Moscow to allow Jewish emigrants to fly only to Israel), which eliminated the 80% dropout rate of Soviet Jews, who used to emigrate from the USSR but avoided Israel. The pro-active Aliyah policy was responsible for Israel’s unprecedented growth, surging the Jewish state to the top of the OECD countries, demographically, economically, scientifically, technologically, medically, educationally, agriculturally and militarily. Without the pro-active Aliyah policy, the Jewish state would not have qualified for OECD membership, and possibly would not have survived the lethal challenges of the last 66 years.


“Israel is the most extraordinary collective achievement of the Jewish people in thousands of years. It is the embodiment of the dreams, faith, blood, sweat and tears of the Jewish people today and throughout time in both spiritual and physical terms. Israel is something that every Jew should celebrate and be thankful not only on Yom Ha’atzma’ut, but every day of the year.”

Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day, is a joyous holiday. In Israel, every year, from Eilat to Metulla, from Tel Aviv to the Jordan Valley, everyone across every spectrum – secular, religious; rich, poor; left, Right, Ashkenazi, Sephardi – is out celebrating.

The reconstitution of the Jewish state, and its growth within three generations from a third world economic and military basket case into a prosperous and powerful country, is among the most astounding success stories in human history. Certainly it is the greatest story of Jewish success since Joshua led a nation of former slaves in conquering and settling the land of Israel some 3,500 years ago.

And today, three generations after the enslavement and genocide of European Jewry and the expulsion of the Jews from Islamic lands, the Jewish people in the Land of Israel have built arguably the most dynamic society in the world.

For the Jews of the Diaspora, Israel’s success should be a source of enduring pride and joy. Independence Day should be celebrated by Jews throughout the world. But in recent years, associations of Israel with joy have become increasingly rare.

As one Jewish student activist put it, the celebration on his campus was nothing more than “a bunch of kids eating cake.”

And at the same time, he explained, many students were posting statuses on their Facebook pages talking about how the day was “bittersweet because of the Nakba.”

The situation was all too similar in campuses throughout North America. Yom Ha’atzma’ut, the celebration of the greatest act of Jewish will in modern times, was marked with a shrug, and small clumps of students eating felafel and humous, and cake.


In this week’s episode of the Capitol Hill soap opera, Lois Lerner, the apparatchik at the center of the IRS jihad against conservative groups, was at long, long last held in contempt of Congress. Amid the farce, the House’s IRS probe is floundering.

Ironically, this happens just as the chamber’s separate probe of the Benghazi massacre has been given a chance to succeed. That is because House speaker John Boehner, after over a year of delay, has finally agreed to appoint a “select committee” to investigate Benghazi. Congress has no constitutional authority to enforce the laws it writes, a power our system vests solely in the executive branch. But a select committee, with a mission to find out what happened — as opposed to conducting oversight through the prism of some committee’s narrow subject-matter jurisdiction (judiciary, budget, education, reform, etc.) — is the closest legislative analogue to a grand jury.

Of course, a grand jury operates in secrecy, as is appropriate for protecting the privacy of the innocent while gathering evidence against the guilty. Congressional investigations are generally conducted in the open by ambitious politicians, an atmosphere that can be as conducive to spectacle as to a search for the truth. As Charles Krauthammer sagely observes, the success of the Benghazi investigation now hinges on the ability of chairman Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) to impose on the select committee the discipline of his long prosecutorial experience — to “keep the proceedings clean, factual, and dispassionate.” But if he can do that, the select-committee structure and focus has a chance of breaking through the Obama stonewall and getting to the bottom of things.

The IRS investigation, to the contrary, remains mired in Capitol Hill’s labyrinth of committees and subcommittees. To be sure, some important information has been uncovered. But the case is languishing. Indeed, during the House’s months of dithering over the contempt citation — which is meaningless from an investigative standpoint, however consequential it may be politically — the Obama administration has busied itself codifying the very abuses President Obama claimed to find “outrageous” and “unacceptable” when they first came to light.

In a competent investigation, one designed to find out what actually happened, Lois Lerner would have been immunized months ago. That is, Congress would have voted to compel her testimony by assuring that her statements could not be used against her in any future prosecution — removing the obstacle of her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.


They are rankled! Upset! Angry! Outraged! Gnashing their teeth! Balling their fists, straining their massaged tendons, and cutting their palms with their manicured nails! They’re really, really mad! It’s unconscionable! We won’t tolerate it! Their Gucci knickers are in such a twist they have a hard time picketing and not walking funny! We just won’t come here anymore!!! Take that, Sultan of Brunei!

How dare the Sultan of Brunei, who owns some of our favorite party spots, want to stone to death gays, and lesbians, and even transgenderites, and people of all sixteen lifestyles who make whoopee outside marriage, or even if they’re not married?? Our kinds of people!!!And isn’t cutting off the hands of thieves just a bit harsh, damn it all? Over here, we let thieves off with a fine and a warning. And that rule about no drinking?? Criminey! Unacceptable! No gambling?? That’s criminal!!!

The Clarion Project (which unfortunately is dedicated to “challenging ‘extremism’ and “promoting dialogue,” much as many of the Hollywood protesters do), on May 7th reported:

As Clarion Project previously reported, as of April 1, the first phase of sharia law went into effect in the country. Eventually, punishments including the stoning to death for the crimes of adultery, homosexuality and blasphemy and the amputation of limbs for theft will be implemented.

Jay Leno, who participated in the protest organized outside the hotel, said, “I’d like to think that all people are basically good and that when they realize that this is going on, hopefully, they will do something about it … I mean, it’s just … I don’t know. Berlin, 1933? Hello, does it seem that far off from what happened during the Holocaust?”

Other celebrities and business people are joining in the boycott, including comedians Stephen Fry and Ellen DeGeneres, and TV host Sharon Osbourne. British billionaire Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group, said in a tweet: “No @virgin employee, nor our family, will stay at Dorchester Hotels until the Sultan abides by basic human rights.”

Jay Leno, who at one point joined the protests, and speaking without cue cards and with no big adoring audience hanging on his every punch line, mumbled his incoherency about Berlin, and 1933, and the Holocaust. (He really shouldn’t say anything in public without cue cards or a script.) But then his wife, Mavis, has been after the women-brutalizing Taliban in Afghanistan for a long time.

But women are brutalized by Sharia elsewhere in the world, as well, by Islam. Not just in Afghanistan. Try the Sudan, and Libya, and Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, and Iran, and Jordan, and Gaza, the West Bank, Pakistan, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Persian Gulf emirates. And in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, the U.K., Ireland, Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, all those former Soviet Central Asian republics whose names end with “stan.” Austria. The U.S. and Canada. And Australia.

The Clarion Project pointed out this disparity between the outrage over Muslim Brunei and instances of other Islamic nations that have investments in the U.S.

Christopher Cowdray, the chief executive of the London-based Dorchester Collection of hotels owned by Brunei, said it was unjust to single out the Beverly Hills Hotel and its employees. “There are other hotel companies in this city that are owned by Saudi Arabia … you know, your shirt probably comes from a country which has human rights issues,” said Cowdray.

“This is misguided,” Robert Anderson, the great-grandson of the founder of the hotel, told Reuters after the vote. “We should be against human rights violations in all countries, not just the Brunei.”

However, the Sultan of Brunei’s wanting to turn his country into an Islamic prison is nothing new. Islam has been practicing these things since long, long before Brunei was a gleam in the eyes of the Sultan’s ancestors. Since the seventh century.

So, where were all these hair-tearing protesters forty years ago? Or when Islamic terrorists began hijacking airplanes? Why do some of these same protesters run Boycott Israel campaigns, and wish to see Israel torn from limb to limb? Why are they just now becoming “conscious” of Sharia? Have they the teeniest notion of how many hundreds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims have been meted the harshest Islamic “justice” over the centuries?

Perhaps not. While the mainstream media shies away from reporting honor killings, rapes, murders, domestic terrorism and related Islamic activities just in this country, the Internet is awash with news sites that do report these things. Hollywood types don’t read these sites. Their “social justice” mentors advise them not to.

Where was their “Islamophobia” then? Or is it “Islamophobia”? I’m willing to bet that if one asked at random any of the outraged demonstrators against the Sultan if they were “Islamophobic,” they’d scream bloody murder in denial. “What do you think I am? A racist?” Of course, a Malaysian or Brunei Muslim is not of the same “race” as a Pakistani or Arab or Turkish Muslim. Nor even of the same race as a chalk-white British convert to Islam. Still, the charge of “Islamophobia” is attended by the charge of “racism.”

Of course, they don’t condemn Islam. Islam is such a colorful religion, what with all that praying and prayer mats and pretty architecture and flowing garb. It’s all so culturally diverse, you see. Sharia has nothing to do with Islam. Right? They can divorce Islam from Sharia and not be caught condemning Islam. CAIR will never file a slander suit against Jay Leno. Leno was smart. He didn’t equate Sharia with Islam, either. Nor with jihad. Or perhaps he commits the same error, that is, segregates Sharia from Islam.

Edward Jay Epstein: Was Snowden’s Heist a Foreign Espionage Operation?

Those who know the files he stole think he was working for a foreign power, perhaps Russia, where he now lives.

Edward Snowden’s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story. In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.

The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that only a handful of the secrets had anything to do with domestic surveillance by the government and most were of primary value to an espionage operation.

So far, only the whistleblower version has had immense international resonance. The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian, the newspapers that initially published the purloined documents, won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. The journalists who assisted Mr. Snowden in this enterprise were awarded the 2014 Polk Award for national-security reporting. Former Congressman Ron Paul organized a clemency petition in February for Mr. Snowden, stating: “Thanks to one man’s courageous actions, Americans know about the truly egregious ways their government is spying on them.”

Yet others—until now not often quoted in news accounts—see Mr. Snowden as neither a hero nor a whistleblower. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to the House Armed Services Committee on March 13, 2014, that “The vast majority of the documents that Snowden . . . exfiltrated from our highest levels of security had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities.” Time magazine on April 3 quoted Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, as saying Mr. Snowden was “definitely under the influence of Russian officials.”


Between the River and the Sea there will exist either exclusive Jewish sovereignty or exclusive Arab sovereignty. This is not right-wing extremism or religious fanaticism, merely sound political science.
Following my participation in The Jerusalem Post Conference in New York last month, I received an invitation from Russell Robinson, the CEO of the Jewish National Fund, to make a telephone address to major JNF donors across the United States, assessing the status of the peace process.

I shall devote this week’s and next week’s Into the Fray columns to sharing with Jerusalem Post readers the topics I raised and the analysis I made during that address, which took place as the solemn Remembrance Day drew to a close and the festivities of Independence Day began. (Some minor modifications and editorial tweaks have been made to accommodate the transition from oral to written form):

Shakespeare on the futility of self-deception.

I believe that to adequately comprehend the situation we are in, we must understand the process that brought it about.

At the risk of being flamboyant, I should like to begin my explanation of the foretold futility of the “peace-process” with a quote from Shakespeare’s Richard II, Act I, Scene 3.

Although some might find the connection between the citation and the Arab-Israeli conflict e abstruse, I will explain the relevance shortly, and hope that, like myself, the Post readership will find it instructive in elucidating the defective rationale on which the entire peace process was founded.

The quotation relates to an incident in which Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) is exiled by Richard II (ruled 1377-1399) and is distraught at being banished from his beloved England.

His father, John O’ Gaunt, attempts to assuage his distress by advising him to fend off the hardships of exile by imagining that they do not exist:


Heaven help humanity
On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama received an “Ambassador for Humanity” award from movie director Steven Spielberg, the founder of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.

“Standing up to anti-Semitism is not simply about protecting one community or one religious group,” Obama said in his acceptance speech at the gala, which was held in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Holocaust museum that Spielberg established after making the film “Schindler’s List.”

The president also urged Americans to “speak out against the rhetoric that threatens the existence of the Jewish homeland,” and assured that he would “sustain America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Due to Obama’s appalling treatment of Israel in particular and his disastrous foreign policy in general — both of which have empowered human-rights abusers across the globe — these words ring as hollow as the distinction bestowed upon him by Spielberg.

As a result, conservative pundits have been justifiably taking him to task for his hypocrisy. Obama, after all, is the president on whose watch the Iranian regime is racing towards a nuclear bomb; the Syrian dictator is massacring his people in the tens of thousands with every means available, including chemical weapons; the Turkish prime minister has come out of the Islamist closet to side with forces hostile to the United States and Israel; the Russian president has invaded Ukraine; and the Palestinian Authority is burying the hatchet with Hamas, instead of negotiating its false claims to and ostensible desire for statehood.

These are the most blatant, but by no means the only, results of Obama’s agenda of reaching out to America’s enemies and admitted pride in “leading from behind.” Indeed, they are the fruits of his hard labor, not the blunders of a novice.

Still, there is one key outcome he did not anticipate when handed the Oval Office on a silver platter: that his many years of education at the hands of mentors like radical community organizer Saul Alinsky and Black Liberation theologist Pastor Jeremiah Wright have had the opposite of his intended effect. They did not culminate in the socialist multicultural world-without-borders of his fantasies.

On the contrary, in the world as it actually exists, a weakling in the White House provided a green light for an escalation in sectarian, feudal, religious and — yes — even border wars. Rather than winning brownie points for kowtowing to despots large and small, Obama has earned their utter disdain.