H.L. Mencken’s “Days Trilogy,” Chapter XIX, “Pilgrimage.”

AUTHOR EDWARD CLINE…FRIEND AND E-PAL FOUND THIS GEM FROM H.L. MENCKEN-“Here’s another excerpt from H.L. Mencken’s “Days Trilogy,” Chapter XIX, “Pilgrimage.” In 1934 he visited the Mideast, stopping in Egypt and “Palestine,” then under the British mandate. He contrasts Jewish lands with Arab lands. Very instructive. Thought you’d be interested in this excerpt. Not much has changed, at lest in terms of Muslim character. (pp. 578-580) ”

” These [Jewish] colonies interested me greatly, if only because of the startling contrast they presented to the adjacent Arab farms. The Arabs of the Holy Land, like those of the other Mediterranean countries, are probably the dirtiest, orneriest and most shiftless people who regularly make the first pages of the world’s press. To find a match for them one must resort to the oakies now translated from Oklahoma to suffering California, or to the half-simian hillbillies of the Appalachian chain. Though they have been in contact with civilization for centuries, and are credited by many fantoddish professors with having introduced it to Europe, they still plow their miserable fields with the tool of Abraham, to wit, a bent stick. In the morning, as Fellman [a Jewish guide HL befriended in Jerusalem] and I spun up the highroad to the north, I saw them going to work, each with his preposterous plow over his back, and in the evening, as we went westward across Galilee, I saw them returning home in the same way. Their draft animals consisted of anything and everything – a milch cow, a camel, a donkey, a wife, a stallion, a boy, an ox, a mule, or some combination thereof.

Never, even in northwestern Arkansas or the high valleys of Tennessee, have I seen more abject and anemic farms. Nine-tenths of them were too poor even to grow weeds: they were simply reverting to the gray dust into which the land of Moab to the eastward has long since fallen. As for the towns in which the Arabs lived, they resembled nothing so much as cemeteries in an advanced state of ruin. The houses were guilt of fieldstone laid without mortar, and all the roofs were lopsided and full of holes. From these forlorn hovels ragged women peeped at us from behind their greasy veils, and naked children popped out to steal a scared look and then pop back.

Of edible fauna there was scarcely a trace. Now and then I saw a sad cow, transiently reprieved from the plow, and in one village there was a small flock of chickens, but the cows always seemed to be dying of pellagra or beriberi, and the chickens were small, skinny, and mangy.

These Arab villages were scattered all about, but most of them were on hilltops, as if the sites had been chosen for defense. Sweeping down from them into the valleys below were the lands of the immigrant Jews. The contrast was so striking as to be almost melodramatic. It was as if a series of Ozark corn-patches had been lifted out of their native wallows and set down amidst the lush plantations of the Pennsylvania Dutch. On one side of a staggering stone hedge were the bleak, miserable fields of the Arabs, and on the other side were the almost tropical demesnes of the Jews, with long straight rows of green field crops, neat orchards of oranges, lemons, and pomegranates, and frequent wood lots of young but flourishing eucalyptus. Fat cows grazed in the meadows, there were herds of goats eating weeds, and every barnyard swarmed with white leghorn chickens. In place of the bent sticks of the Arabs, the Jews operated gang-plows drawn by tractors, and nearly every colony had a machine shop, a saw-mill, and a cannery.

VICTOR SHARPE: The Howling Hyenas of the Left, and the Silent Lambs of the Right

It is always a delicious moment when progressives (the current politically correct name for left-wingers, socialists, and Marxists) have to admit their falsehoods.

Such is the case with the same progressives who relentlessly repeated the lie during the administration of President George W. Bush that no WMDs were found in Iraq and that, therefore, the reason for the U.S. going to war against Saddam Hussein was a lie. Remember the left-wing slogan: “Bush lied: People died.”

But a bizarre decision by Republican consultants and presidential advisers NOT to provide the evidence that there were indeed WMDs allowed the Left to falsely demonize the Bush administration and deeply harm the Republican party. However, more of that later.

The “progressive” slogan “Bush lied: People died” has finally been proven to be a monumental lie itself. The New York Times – hardly a bastion of unbiased and objective reporting – recently posted an article by C.J. Chivers confirming that indeed Hussein’s stockpiled weapons of mass destruction were found during the Iraq War and that buried under the desert sands may be yet more undiscovered WMDs.

Not a happy thought when much of those sands now lie within the territory occupied by the Islamo-Nazi head choppers of ISIS.

In fact, thousands of shells and bombs containing chemical and nerve agent weapons were found, along with some 500 metric tons of yellow cake uranium, which was subsequently shipped out by U.S. forces to Canada for disposal.

According to C.J. Chivers, “From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.

The Counter Jihad Coalition Hits the Streets of L.A. — on The Glazov Gang

The Counter Jihad Coalition Hits the Streets of L.A. — on The Glazov Gang
Steve Amundson shares his group’s “public outreach” about Islam on 3rd St. Promenade.


ince he assumed office nearly six years ago, US President Barack Obama has been dogged by allegations of managerial incompetence. Obama, his critics allege, had no managerial experience before he was elected. His lack of such experience, they claim, is reflected in what they see as his incompetent handling of the challenges of the presidency.

In everything from dealing with the Congress, to reining in radical ideologues at the IRS, to handling the chaos at the Mexican border, to putting together coordinated strategies for dealing with everything from Ebola to Islamic State (IS), Obama’s critics claim that he is out of his league. That he is incompetent.

But if Israel’s experience with him is any guide, then his critics are the ones who are out to sea. Because at least in his handling of US relations with the Jewish state, Obama has exhibited a mastery of the tools of the executive branch unmatched by most of his predecessors.

Consider two stories reported in last Friday’s papers.

First, in an article published in The Jerusalem Post, terrorism analyst and investigative reporter Steven Emerson revealed how the highest echelons of the administration blocked the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office from assisting Israel in finding the remains of IDF soldier Oron Shaul.

Shaul was one of seven soldiers from the Golani Infantry Brigade killed July 20 when Hamas terrorists fired a rocket at their armored personnel carrier in Gaza’s Shejeia neighborhood.

As Emerson related, after stealing his remains, Hamas terrorists hacked into Shaul’s Facebook page and posted announcements that he was being held by Hamas.

UK: Iran Lobbies against Sanctions by Samuel Westrop

Over 800 Iranians were executed during President Rouhani’s first year in office.

Leading politicians, British government officials and businessmen nevertheless seemed happy to attend and speak at the Europe-Iran Forum.

On October 15, the Europe-Iran Forum was held at the Grosvenor Square Hotel in London. Citing an “expected rollback of the current international sanctions against Iran,” the event was organized to “properly prepare and evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities.”

Speakers and sponsors of the event included:

Rouzbeh Pirouz, the Deputy President of Iralco, an Iranian company subjected to sanctions by the European Union, which has accused it of “directly supporting Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear activities.” Pirouz sits on the board of the Iranian Heritage Foundation, a British charity established by Vahid Alaghband, an Iranian businessman linked with the regime.

Sifiso Dabengwa, who runs the MTN Group, which anti-regime lobby groups have accused of working to “help the Iranian regime terrorize and oppress its citizens,” and acting as “a complicit partner of the Iranian regime.

Majid Zamani, Chief Executive of Kardan Investment Bank, a leading Iranian financial firm, the three leading shareholders of which are listed on the U.S. Treasury’s sanctions list of Specially Designated Nationals. In 2012, the European Union reported that one of the shareholders, Bank Tejarat, helped finance the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran’s attempts to acquire yellowcake uranium.

Austria: Civil Law vs. Sharia Law by Soeren Kern

Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.

The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its “misinterpretation” by Islamic extremists.

Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.

Leaders of Austria’s Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to “institutionalized Islamophobia.”

Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.

The Austrian government has unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the country’s century-old “Islam Law” that governs the legal status of Austria’s Muslim community.

The proposed revisions—which are aimed at cracking down on Islamic extremism in Austria—would regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran, among other changes.

The government says the modifications would give Muslims legal parity with other religious groups in Austria. But the leaders of Austria’s Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to “institutionalized Islamophobia.

How Anti-Semitism Became a European Social Movement- Anyone can Join—even Jews By Ben Cohen

“Anti-Semitism was born in modern societies because the Jew did not assimilate himself,” wrote the French-Jewish thinker Bernard Lazare in 1894, a few months after the arrest of Captain Alfred Dreyfus on charges of treason. “But,” Lazare continued, “when anti-Semitism ascertained that the Jew was not assimilated,” it reacted in two conflicting directions, simultaneously “reproach[ing] him for it and . . . [taking] all necessary measures to prevent his assimilation in the future.”

This pattern, which Lazare presciently identified as the “fundamental and everlasting contradiction” of anti-Semitism, and which we would call a “Catch-22,” seems to me to lie at the root of the existential dilemma of contemporary French Jews. And not of them alone. At stake here, as Robert Wistrich observes in his masterly essay in Mosaic, is much more than the fate of a single minority community. In the “beginning of the end of French Jewry,” Wistrich writes, we may also be witnessing the “slow death” of the French republican ideal—the collapse, as he put it in his 2010 magnum opus A Lethal Obsession, “of any consensual national project or unifying social bond, let alone commonly shared ideals.”

And France is hardly the only nation affected. This past summer, raw hatred of Jews rose to dramatic heights in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany (where mobs urged “gassing the Jews”), and elsewhere. When it comes to anti-Semitism, a post-war, post-Holocaust consensus is breaking down all over Western Europe—right alongside the concurrent breakdown of the EU’s promised ideal of a transcontinental, inter-communal political identity. Such an identity might indeed have permitted European Jews to escape Lazare’s “everlasting contradiction”: rejected for being Jewish, lambasted for remaining Jewish. But it may be too late.

Still, however consistent with the past may be the motifs of modern anti-Semitism, it has not been easy to pinpoint the motive force behind its present resurgence. It is not enough to say, as many do, that the main culprit, in France or elsewhere, is “the left,” or “nationalist extremism,” or “the Muslims,” or “the Internet,” or some combination of these. That is to confuse the multiple, overlapping expressions of a problem with the problem itself. I would suggest a different point of departure, one that appreciates the radically new situation of Western Jews themselves at this moment in their history.To see this, it would help to take a preliminary step backward.

In the 19th century and well into the 20th, the Jewish experience of modern anti-Semitism in Europe was defined by three factors: first, discriminatory legislation; second, a marked tendency toward mass violence, either sanctioned or colluded in by the state and local authorities; and third, the fact that Jewish communities were dependent for their security on the states in which they lived.

The last time a set of grand Europeans ideals—the ideals encapsulated in Enlightenment rationalism and the emancipation of Europe’s Jews—broke down, all three of these factors came into play: anti-Semitic legislation, violence, the withdrawal of civic rights and protection. Worse, by the 20th century, anti-Semitism became intimately bound up with the ideological imperatives of totalitarian and revolutionary regimes. Both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, the two states that did more to advance anti-Semitism than any of their European peers, converted mob vilification of the Jews into government policy, shaped on a grand scale and implemented from on high.

Things are very different today. To begin with, the vast majority of European Jews enjoy full civil and political rights and are not subject to anti-Semitic legislation. True, this status is not universal. There are smaller Jewish communities—in Hungary, Turkey, and elsewhere—where anti-Semitic sentiments are stoked or encouraged by governments and political leaders. And there are regimes that manipulate the charge of anti-Semitism for their own political ends, the most pertinent example being Russia under Vladmir Putin. But these are exceptions.

As for mass violence, except for sporadic outbursts (like this past summer in France), it, too, is no longer a fixture of contemporary Jewish existence—which is precisely why it is so traumatizing when it occurs. It is certainly not condoned or encouraged by the authorities.

Most significantly of all, there is a Jewish state that not only is reassuringly capable of protecting the Jews who live there but also provides sanctuary to Jews elsewhere who face threats to their security.

As a result, European Jews today are more protected than perhaps at any time since the French Revolution. Though some of the symbols and slogans of the past have come back to haunt the contemporary scene—witness the revival of both the Nazi image of the Jew as alien predator and the Soviet image of the Jew as conniving tribalist—in no European society today does government initiate or engineer the persecution of its Jewish communities. Many governments, in fact, have designed and strengthened legislation with precisely the opposite goal, pursuing it with a zeal that Americans, accustomed to strong constitutional protections for free speech, might well find disquieting.



When Defamatory Politics Masquerade as Art

The Death of Klinghoffer, an opera that aims to create sympathy for the terrorist hijackers of the Achille Lauro, returns to the New York Metropolitan Opera tonight. Edward Rothstein, reviewing the piece when it first opened in 1991, had some nice words for the conductor and the singers. But he also found the music “either atmospheric or emotionally elementary” and the message, delivered through a contrastingly “empathetic evocation of the [Palestinian] intifada” and mockery of the terrorists’ Jewish victims, politically rigged and morally repugnant. In Rothstein’s summary:

The work itself turned out to be more about its intended reception than about its subject, more a matter of pitch than substance. Without historical insight, without profound revelation of character, without the advertised symmetry [between Jews and Palestinians], without even a coherent libretto and convincing score, The Death of Klinghoffer becomes simply another monument to an avant-garde that is repeating old political and aesthetic gestures while acting as if it is daringly breaking new ground.

September 7, 1991
Review/Opera; Seeking Symmetry Between Palestinians and Jews

All through Thursday night’s New York premiere of the much-awaited “Death of Klinghoffer,” one knew exactly what the creators wanted a listener to think:

Setting the story of the 1985 Palestinian hijacking of a luxury cruise ship and the killing of a wheelchair-bound American Jew not on an ocean liner but in an Erector Set of scaffolding and ramps would treat yesterday’s newspaper reports as mythic, ritualistic repetitions of timeless struggles.

Telling the story in highly stylized language (by Alice Goodman) and music (by John Adams), using formalized gestures developed by Peter Sellars, having Mark Morris choreograph his dancers with hyperbolic poses and frenetic movements would raise audiences’ reactions above knee-jerk notions.

Political Correctness, Morality and California Bill SB 967 By Sydney Williams

In the mid 1960s – around the time I was married and beginning to have children – the counterculture movement moved into high gear. Almost from the first battle at la Drang Valley in the Central Highlands in late 1965, the Vietnam War divided the country. A few anti-war protestors became as violent as those they were protesting against. Civil Rights and Women’s Rights were in full swing. The “pill” was in common usage. Through the haze of marijuana, amid the sniffing of cocaine and dropping of acid, free love made its entrance. Woodstock symbolized that time. Women threw away their bras, as a right of passage, failing to anticipate that a later passage into middle age would require those undergarments for comfort’s sake.

What, I wonder, would former hippies, those who were then young, free-thinking and living in communes and places like Haight Ashbury, feel about Berkley’s requirement that students today give up their sexual freedom? On whose side would Mario Savio appear? Before engaging in any sexual activity, like kissing, necking or something more intimate, California’s new law says that consent must be agreed to in advance.

Consent can “come in the form of a smile, a nod or a verbal ‘yes,’ as long as it is unambiguous, enthusiastic and ongoing” – a statement that itself is ambiguous. The Bill goes on: “A lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.” So much for what we remember of “no’s” morphing into “yes’s,” as petting got heavier! Would a text message be more definitive? Exactly how far will the party of the first part allow the party of the second part to go, before the party of the first part cries out: “This is sexual harassment!”

California Bill SB 967 was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 29th. Berkley defines sexual consent (generally aimed at women) as agreeing to three ‘pillars’: “Knowing exactly what I am agreeing to; expressing my intent to participate; deciding freely and voluntarily to participate.” Formal consent must be received at each step, or it must have been decided in advance, which puts a damper on the instinctual nature of love making. Just imagine Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in “Indiscreet:” As Ms. Bergman falls passionately into Mr. Grant’s arms, he suddenly remembers, so asks, “Have you signed your consent forms?” If she, panting, answers “Yes,” Mr. Grant would then be required to ask, “Are doing this of your own free will?” I suspect the movie would lose some of its spontaneity, even if Ms. Bergman retorted, “Look, Stupid, just get on with it!”



n a spectacular display of ignorance, moral illiteracy and malice, the Swedish parliament voted in favor of unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state in early October. Then, on October 13th, a group of backbench British MPs succeeded in obtaining a symbolic, non-binding vote in the British House of Commons to the effect “that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution towards supporting a negotiated two-state solution”. Similar parliamentary votes on Palestinian statehood are expected shortly in Ireland, Spain, Denmark, France and Finland.

These votes disregard the realities of the conflict. If the Palestinians would recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people (which would mean acknowledgment of the character and permanence of Israel); accept demilitarization of Gaza and the West Bank; change their culture of hatred by amending their founding documents that proclaim their intention to annihilate Israel; forego their unconditional and non-negotiable position on their absolute “right of return” to Israel; cease incitement against Jews and Israelis in their schools, newspapers, mosques, media, summer camps, TV programming and educational system; cease portraying Palestine on their maps as including the State of Israel; cease their acts of murderous violence across Israel; cease justifying violence against Israelis as a legitimate form of political action; cease naming tournaments, marketplaces and streets after Palestinian “martyrs” whose claim to fame is that they murdered Jewish “occupiers” of Palestine (meaning Israelis); cease firing thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers; cease building terrorist tunnels into Israel for the sole purpose of kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians; cease encouraging Islamists to continue efforts aimed at preventing Jews (“settlers”) from visiting the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism and the location of the ruins of the two Temples of Jerusalem; cease referring to Jews as “the descendants of apes and pigs”; cease providing payments to the families of suicide bombers; cease embracing as ‘heroes’ released Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israelis; cease attempting to bring war crimes charges against Israeli officers and officials at the International Criminal Court; cease insisting that the UN Security Council impose a deadline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank; cease playing the victim on the international stage and begin taking responsibility for their own failures, and cease promoting the apartheid, racist idea that any future Palestinian state will be “Jew-free” (as Mahmoud Abbas said in 2010), ……… then recognition of a Palestinian state based on a two-state solution would become feasible.

At this moment in time and for the foreseeable future, however, there is no serious evidence that the Palestinian leadership (be it Fatah or Hamas or both) want a state of their own that will live in peace with Israel as a Jewish state which rests on land they consider to be a sacred part of the Islamic ummah. In fact, there is ample evidence that they will treat anything they get as a staging ground for further attacks on Israel until it has been annihilated or subjugated to Islamic rule.