DANIEL GREENFIELD: THE PERFECT PRISON

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ There are as many ways to look at a man as there are at a glass of water. Either half empty or half full. Either people are basically good or they are basically rotten. And all theories of government come down to one view or the other. If people are basically good, then they […]

MARK STEYN:THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336343/massacre-innocents-mark-steyn The Newtown killings ought to occasion a little modesty and circumspection. ‘Lullay, Thou little tiny Child, by by, lully, lullay . . . ” The 16th-century Coventry Carol, a mother’s lament for her lost son, is the only song of the season about the other children of Christmas — the first-born of Bethlehem, slaughtered […]

ANDREW McCARTHY: THE FISCAL CLIFF AND THE MIDDLE EAST

http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/336356

Washington is so broken that our enemies no longer need to make things up to embarrass us.
When your dissolute political establishment sinks to the point of being fit for lectures from Chinese Communists on spending restraint, and from erstwhile Soviet revanchists on foreign-affairs modesty, you are at rock bottom. Welcome to Washington.
Remember two summers ago, the depths of the last Beltway debacle on out-of-control borrowing that charted the course for today’s latest Beltway debacle on spending and taxes. It was then that China’s rulers blasted Uncle Santa for our “debt addiction,” our failure to observe “the commonsense principle” that a nation, like a family, must “live within its means.” At the time, U.S. sovereign debt — of which China is, not coincidentally, a major holder — had been downgraded below triple-A for the first time ever.
The Obamedia, fearing that their hero would be irreparably harmed by this signature achievement, reliably promoted a false narrative: Conservative “extremists” were refusing to extend the president’s tapped-out credit line, sending shivers through the bond markets. In reality, the explanation for the downgrade was not the contretemps over the statutory “debt ceiling”; it was the astronomical debt itself. The ceiling was significant only because it occasioned convincing proof that Washington is not serious about addressing our spending crisis. When you are borrowing to pay the interest on prior borrowing, it is time to cut spending — drastically. Washington won’t even consider it. That is what signals to creditors that our “full faith and credit” may not be credible. When you are burning through other people’s money because you’ve already spent your own people’s money for the next few generations, promises to pay are not very reliable.

NATIONAL SECURITY ROUNDTABLE: THE CONNING OF A NATION:Unaccountability by Accountability Review Board By Bing West

http://nsroundtable.org/as-we-see-it/the-conning-of-a-nation/

Behold anatomy of a failure (aka incompetence), courtesy of an inept government, led by an inept Commander-in-Chief (see below).Note the Obama Administration’s use here of a common practice known in the confidence or con racket as “cooling out the mark.”

Very fitting for a bunch of thugs from Chicago. Very disappointing for a once great nation. RS

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/336057/unaccountability-accountability-review-board-bing-west#

After a 13-week investigation, the State Department “Accountability Review Board” has concluded that no one is responsible for the breakdown in security that resulted last September in the deaths of four Americans at the Benghazi consulate. To avoid a repeat of such an attack, the Board recommended more money and more Diplomatic Security (DS) guards.

While stating that there was no protest prior to the attack by terrorists, the Board did not address why U.N. Ambassador Rice, President Obama and other officials had repeatedly implied that the attack was sparked by protesters angered by an obscure anti-Muslim film posted on YouTube.

The Board concluded that “the lack of non-lethal crowd control options precluded a more vigorous defense.” It’s not explained why a terrorist attack merits a non-lethal response. The report was hopelessly vague in describing the actions of the Americans on-scene, whether they had engaged in a heavy firefight, killed any terrorists or if the Diplomatic Security agents ever fired their weapons. When the DS agents, overcome by smoke inhalation, left the consulate, they did come under enemy fire, and in response the CIA agents on-site provided covering fire.

In the event, Ambassador Stevens was missing from 2200 (4 PM Washington time). The report said an Arabic-speaking male called at 0200 to say an American had died at the hospital. But the Board stated that some suspected the call was a ruse to lure Americans into a trap. It was not until eleven hours later that a body delivered to the Benghazi airport was positively identified as Ambassador Stevens.

DANIEL GREENFIELD: THE WEEK THAT WAS

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ FACTS ARE THE STUBBORNEST OF THINGS Of the 5 worst shooting rampages, only one happened in America, and none were carried out by Americans. Of the 5 worst massacres, two were carried out by Asians and one by an African constable. Only two were carried out by white men. The next man on the […]

ANDREW McCARTHY: The Fiscal Cliff and the Middle East

http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/336356 When your dissolute political establishment sinks to the point of being fit for lectures from Chinese Communists on spending restraint, and from erstwhile Soviet revanchists on foreign-affairs modesty, you are at rock bottom. Welcome to Washington. Remember two summers ago, the depths of the last Beltway debacle on out-of-control borrowing that charted the course […]

RUTHIE BLUM: PALESTINIANS BRACE FOR LIKUD RE-ELECTION

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=3095 Palestinians prepare for Israeli elections They are not doing this for purposes of emulation, however. On the contrary, nation-building in the Palestinian Authority has always taken a back seat to nation-destroying. Indeed, while spending all its energy — and other countries’ billions — on trying to take down the Jewish state, the PA has […]

DAVID SINGER:”Palestine: Reunification Trumps Confederation”

http://daphneanson.blogspot.com/ ‘Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan – as existed between 1948 and 1967 – has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict. This follows revelations in the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that the Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, has asked […]

JOHN BOLTON: WELCOME TO OBAMA’S PARALLEL UNIVERSE

http://standpointmag.co.uk/features-january-february-13-welcome-to-obamas-parallel-universe-john-bolton-susan-rice-obama-benghazi

Now that he has been safely re-elected, Barack Obama’s personal foreign and defence views no longer pose any risk to him in domestic political terms. Unfortunately, however, the international risks caused by his radical ideology, naivety and simple ineptness, added to the damage already done in the first term, are increasingly apparent. The Obama Administration’s failures to date cover the full spectrum of national security affairs. At the strategic level, there is utter incoherence in dealing long term with powers like Russia and China, or the swirling morass of conflicts in the Middle East. In the immediate future, the Iranian and North Korean nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes are speeding ahead as regional and global threats, without even effective tactical opposition by the United States and its allies.

These and many other dangers, new and emerging, were all present in Obama’s first term. But only near the end of the long election campaign, in the September 11 terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, did many of the Administration’s failures stand fully exposed to public view. Although Republican political leaders failed to communicate Benghazi’s import to the voters (indeed, they essentially fled from the issue), its significance, domestically and globally, should not be underestimated. To be sure, identifying historical turning points is a tricky business. Events that, in their own time, seem sure to qualify can fade away, while obscure happenings later become, in history’s judgment, major departures. Take Zhou En-lai’s 1972 remark that “it is too soon to tell” about the consequences of the French Revolution. Or perhaps he was referring to the 1968 Paris riots; either way, Zhou’s prudence makes the point.

But with events unfolding at a truly dizzying pace, we must still ask, even if hazardous, whether a turning point occurred on September 11 in Benghazi, with the murder of the American Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three others. Certainly, the attack and its consequences continue to roil the US political debate. Some commentators compare Benghazi to Watergate, noting sarcastically that no one died at Watergate. Neither the bungled burglary nor the terrorist attack materially disrupted the incumbent president’s path to electoral victory, this time despite Obama’s utterly lame explanation that the attack resulted from local outrage over an internet video ridiculing the prophet Muhammad. Nonetheless, the damage to Obama’s second term, as to Nixon’s, could be considerable. Obviously, occurring on the 11th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Libya killings have added resonance, even though the 2012 butcher’s bill was mercifully far lower.

There are, however, clear differences. Both Watergate and the first September 11 produced press extravaganzas, whereas Benghazi and the White House “explanation” initially seemed likely to disappear from the media radar screen. Among the major players, only Fox News kept investigating and reporting new information in the weeks that followed. In Watergate, there was unquestionably a White House-led cover-up to prevent the facts from emerging, which may or may not characterise Obama and Benghazi. The even more worrying truth could be that Obama’s ideological conviction that al-Qaeda has been defeated and that “the tide of war was receding” might simply have blinded his Administration to reality.

THE SOCIALISM OF FOOLS-THE LEFT AND THE JEWS: DANIEL JOHNSON…A DIALOGUE WITH NICK COHEN AND ANTHONY JULIUS ****LONG BUT WORTHY

http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/4803

Daniel Johnson: Our subject is the Left and the Jews. A famous phrase from the 19th century—I think it came from the German social democrat August Bebel—was that “anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools”. If that was true then, there are still plenty of these fools around today. Just as in the 19th century, when leading figures of the Left such as Karl Marx set a bad example in their writings about the Jewish people, so today we have a problem on the Left. Where does this come from? Why does it exist? For so many years, the Left, if we define it as beginning with the French Revolution, was seen as the friend of the Jewish people, of emancipation, toleration and equality. But the problem, I think, stems from something which Isaac Deutscher, a great icon of the Left, called the “non-Jewish Jew”. The price to be exacted in return for emancipation and full equality was that Jews should give up everything that was distinctive and specifically Jewish. For years, most on the Left did not believe this, but some did. Karl Marx, above all, began the trend towards anti-Semitism on the Left. These leftist thinkers saw thousands of years of Jewish tradition, religion and ritual as in some sense a burden to be sloughed off.

In today’s world that attitude still exists, but it has been hugely exacerbated by the unholy alliance that we have found among elements of the Left-not, by any means, among everyone-and the forces of Islamism. A whole new dimension has been created. We began to see this most visibly in the 1960s after the Six-Day War, when anti-Zionism morphed into the “new anti-Semitism”, as it has often been called. In this country today, and indeed across the West, anti-Semitism is no longer the preserve of the extreme Right. It has become embedded even in the respectable salons and newspaper offices of the Left.

Nick Cohen: This discussion is like wading into a minefield. Because what do you mean by Left? As Daniel suggested, there are all kinds of shades of opinions on the Left, on this as any other issue. It is like saying, “The Right and the Jews”. You can’t debate without generalisations—you can’t write without generalisations—so it is certainly true that there are anti-Semites on the Left. But it is equally true that left-wing thought can lead to conspiracy theorising. The late 20th century saw the collapse of socialism. From the 1880s through to the 1980s, you would have none of my problems of definition about talking to the Left. If you were left-wing, you were a socialist of some sort. Socialism died before the Berlin Wall came down. All over the world, people were giving up on socialism, not least Communists, especially in China and Russia.

You then have a problem with people who are raging, often with very good reason, against injustice in their society, who call themselves left-wing. What do you do next? How do you explain defeat? One way to explain defeat is a kind of conspiracy theorising. You see this in Britain a lot: people opine on the reasons elections are lost, because of Rupert Murdoch and the Tory press brainwashing the electorate. Lots of people on the Right, for instance, keep saying that the reasons the Tories keep losing elections (and they still haven’t won one, incidentally, not even against Gordon Brown. I would have thought that if you missed that goal you might as well give up football completely) is because of the BBC and the liberal media.

It is quite easy to get into conspiratorial ways of thinking. As soon as you start thinking like this, Jews come along, particularly when confronted by an injustice like that suffered by the Palestinians. It is very easy to go from explaining defeat and injustice to saying that there is a Jewish conspiracy which controls British and American foreign policy and runs secret levers of power.

There is one point I would pick out—as I am from the Left—and that I want to emphasise, and I want to do this strongly: you cannot say that it is anti-Semitic to be utterly opposed to the building of settlements on the West Bank, for instance, or to otherwise criticise Israel.

My book You Can’t Read This Book deals with censorship, but the greatest fear in Europe for writers and artists ever since Salman Rushdie has been radical Islam. I’m not saying radical Islam has been the only violent force in Europe, but it is the only one which targets writers and artists. I have to take on the notion of Islamophobia, but I can’t say it doesn’t exist, as there are people who hate Muslims because they are Muslims. There are good reasons for people opposing Islamophobia, but you simply cannot say that publishing a book or writing, or making a work of art, or engaging in legitimate criticism about things like the theocratic regime in Iran is a kind of racism. It’s not: it is normal political criticism, and not racist.

Equally with anti-Semitism. You just can’t say that people who are appalled by what the Likud government has done are simply racists. You must do a bit better than that. In a funny way, you let real racists off the hook because you let them hide themselves among the crowd.

DJ: Anthony, is there a problem of the Left and the Jews? How does that fit into the history you tell in your book on anti-Semitism in England?

Anthony Julius: Let me return to something that Nick said. He said, since there isn’t a Left, there is only a historical memory of the Left. What form does that historical memory take? There’s no doubt that until the 1980s socialism spoke principally for a positive project. It was a reconstruction of society, with a certain optimism, and values we associate mainly with the Enlightenment, anti-clerical hostility towards institutions that were thought to be oppressive and benighted.

NC: Absolutely.

AJ: It was a positive project to be a socialist. It was to be committed to something that was about construction, building, substituting something delinquent and infirm with something more elevated, and improving morally and materially the conditions of most people. It would allow most of them to realise themselves, in ways that could only previously have been dreamt of. And that collapsed, in an awfully oppressive sense that there was no alternative to existing arrangements. There was no fundamental alternative to the market economy or mixed economy, no alternative to representative democracy—even though democracy leads to large sections of society being alienated from the political process. We live in an imperfect world. That really cannot be overstated.

There was a disaster in the thinking of the Left, and progressive people in general. The question was, what to do with that disaster? A number of different positions were taken, with a number of different solutions to that problem. First, simple withdrawal into private life—depart from the political field and commit oneself to novel writing or gardening. Plenty of people did that. One comes across people of a certain age—like some us sitting here today—who were firebrands in their twenties. Now they are lawyers or journalists or columnists of one kind or another. Essentially they lead a private life. It is one perfectly honourable solution, albeit a rather depressing one.

There is another option, which is to commit oneself to a form of liberal politics: a new emphasis on human rights, an advocacy of political reform through law reform, championing principles like free speech or free assembly. In other words, they take liberalism and rights seriously, as a very well-known liberal American jurist once said: giving substance to liberalism’s promise.

So that’s another option. For me, that is the best of the options. There is a third option, which is to associate oneself with local campaigns or objectives, to give up trying to reconstruct society and instead to commit oneself to causes. Green politics, feminism, prisoners’ rights, for instance. Not as part of the second project (which is taking liberalism seriously) but rather as a sort of subversive challenge to existing arrangements, leading to who-knows-where. The most important theorist of that kind of post-leftist politics was a Frenchman, Michel Foucault.

And then there’s a fourth position, the one which is most problematical for those of us who are Jews or who make common cause with Jews in the fight against anti-Semitism. It is a kind of impure nihilism, a kind of destructive fury or a perpetuation of the antagonisms of the pre-1989 Left, but without any balancing constructive project, so one continues in one’s war against America as if the Cold War still existed and the Soviet system still existed. But because there is no real alternative, one is led into more and more extreme gestures of anger and hatred and violence.

I think of the four responses I have identified, the fourth is most difficult for Jews: the searching for enemies-the pursuit of the enemy for its own sake. Jews have comprised the major enemy—certainly the major internal enemy—in the imagination of the West for perhaps 1,500 years. Of course, when that then becomes part of a larger political project, anti-Semitism is not terribly far away.

So in my general overview, of the four options following the collapse of the Left, the fourth is the one I would most identify as problematical. I would say, perhaps, in response to Nick, and building on what he said rather than dissenting from it, a more precise title for the problem we are addressing now is not so much the Jews and the Left but the Jews and the post-Left.

NC: Yes. Here’s something else, Anthony. You talk about nihilism and people who have all the fervour of revolutionaries without any particular project, which I think is quite right. Here’s what’s interesting, then—and I mention this in my book, What’s Left?, in the context of us not having a word to describe this. Ideas that appear to be confined to the far-Left can, in moments of crisis, sweep into the liberal mainstream.

People say to me that I stopped being left-wing because of 9/11. I didn’t. I stopped being left-wing in a conventional sense because of the protests against the Iraq war. Tony Blair lost loads of support because of his decision in 2003—but he got me! He’d probably settle for keeping his old supporters but losing me. You saw all these fine people from the liberal Left in Britain march at the head of a demonstration led by George Galloway, a man who even then had saluted Saddam Hussein (the nearest thing you are likely to see in your lifetime to a classic genocidal national socialist tyrant), and the Socialist Workers Party, who supported the Muslim Brotherhood, who are now in power in Egypt and are changing that country. No one said a word about these things. People on the Left, whom Anthony is referring

to as supporting the new liberalism, have adopted pernicious slogans about Jews.

There is a borderless Left, on the margins of British politics. You cannot be a Conservative and cut a deal with the BNP. You can’t form an alliance like this. If it was found that a Conservative Cabinet member had even been in the BNP in his youth, all hell would break loose: I guarantee it. There is a border, a border you can’t cross. There is no border between the far-Left and the mainstream. Paul Berman, a wonderful American writer, wrote a book about the strange way the 1968 generation has gone. He has a lovely description about old, almost certainly Jewish, garment workers’ union members going to warn radicals, who were starting the 1960s movement, that these comrades should have nothing to with Communism. And of course these young students would cry, what do all these all old men and women know? We should start blacklisting people like McCar-thy has been doing, and start saying no to Communism? Of course they weren’t going to start doing that. These were New York socialists.

The older socialists knew one thing. Let a bit of lightning flash across society, and all these reasonable, sensible people would go off and out-Stalin Stalin. That can happen on the Left, and that can happen in Europe. I get this all the time, with people saying, Nick, surely you are tired of talking about George Galloway or the SWP. I say, if I were, I wouldn’t bother.

There are some who, by acquiescing, go along with Islamists who want to kill homosexuals, kill Jews, and kill any Muslim who wants to change their religion or abandon religion, or set up a dictatorial, inquisitorial state. Going along with people like that used to be called being “clerical fascists”, to use very old-fashioned left-wing jargon, that was applied to regimes like Franco’s in Spain.

For this kind of toleration to then infect the mainstream: that is what worries me most now, when it happens. It doesn’t happen so much now—maybe a bit of infection has happened in the US, with the Tea Party—but not in Britain. It is the ability of extremists to zoom into the mainstream, and then when the crisis passes, they will appear mainstream and respectable. We must stop this.

AJ: It is true that there is not the same problem on the Right at the moment. One of the slight anxieties I have about the case of David Irving, whom I acted against, was that it came at the time when really everyone should have been waking up to the problem on the Left or post-Left. Irving represented a gigantic distraction from that, so it was possible to represent a really clapped-out Nazi as a major threat to Anglo-Jewry—when in fact he lived a kind of vampire existence as a spokesman for a defunct regime and a long-dead dictator. I felt somewhat concerned when, in the aftermath, I saw the kind of people who were beginning to be problematical, using the Irving case and the larger phenomenon of Holocaust denial as a means of excusing their own positions and distancing themselves from anti-Semitism in general, saying, “Of course we are very much against Holocaust denial and David Irving.” They presented anti-Semitism as a state-sponsored genocidal right-wing phenomenon, and said it was limited to that.

It is as if anti-Semitism in the imagination of the Left were fixed in 1945, and subsists only thereafter in the form of memory of the Holocaust. This is a problem. However, I don’t quite go as far as Nick in saying that it is hard to imagine, or even impossible, to imagine the Right making common cause with anti-Semites. After all, David Cameron may not entertain a member of the BNP but we know relatively recently there was an issue about alliances in Europe that the Conservative party had formed with far-Right parties.