Posted: 22 Dec 2013 05:40 AM PST
“Remember the war against Franco?
That’s the kind where each of us belongs.
Though he may have won all the battles,
We had all the good songs!”
–“The Folk Song Army,” Tom Lehrer
The United States is depending on a partner that denies to the UN that Syria even carried out a chemical attack (See: “Russia: Aug 21 Syria Chemical Attack Was ‘Staged’”). The Asad regime, which has ruled Syria since 1963 (happy 50th anniversary!), has the backing of Iran and Russia.
What do you think is going to happen? These two countries are going to back them up. That means that the United States ultimately won’t be able to do anything to the Asad regime. If Syria’s regime is backed by these two powers that the United States does not want to challenge, it cannot touch them. And that means if the United States does not want to counter them, Asad’s regime will win (except the Kurds, who are actually becoming extremely competent fighters).
If the Syrian regime–which has Iranian, Hizballah, and Russian supporters–wins the civil war, it will have another card. There are seven rebel forces. They include Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Front, and al-Qa’ida. Six of these rebel forces are Islamists. The other is the FSA, the group that up until now the United States has preferred.
Now, who are the moderates? Answer: First, the moderates are backed by the United States, and Europe can be presented as the hope of infidels, or at least Arab nationalists (former Ba’thists).
Many of their leaders are former members of the professional Syrian army. You would think that is a good thing, since they are professional soldiers, but they are the people who were oppressing the Sunnis for many decades. And the fact that they are backed by the West is now an additional disadvantage for the moderates, and they are representing an ideology that they hate. “Infidel nationalists” plus “Western stooges”–this does not put them at an advantage.
The fact that the Kurds keep winning their battles gives them a chance, but if I were a betting man, I would not place the odds of the Syrian rebels so high–at least not the Kurds.
Why not? Because the United States is concluding that the “moderates” are not going to be influential. So the United States will even side with “hardline Islamists.” Clearly the Obama administration had no trouble working with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, until the Egyptians decided they were going to back the military regime to stop it. In Syria, however, there is no military regime that would be acceptable to the Sunni bloc. As for al-Qa’ida, they are going to have to steal weapons for themselves.
So far there are 2 million Syrian refugees and an estimated 200,000 people have been killed. Basically, this will be a Western defeat and a human tragedy. Out of approximately one million Syrian Christians, only about 100,000 now remain.
At an academic conference, an Israeli professor was standing next to an Egyptian academic, and proudly said (to show tolerance), “You know my institute is called the Begin-Sadat Institute.”
The Egyptian says, “Why Begin?”
In the Middle East the “you give an inch and they take 2 miles” principal works for everything. Poor Syria.
Dedicated to Staff Sgt. Major Shlomi Cohen, Killed on the Lebanese Border, December 16, 2013.
Posted: 22 Dec 2013 05:49 AM PST
In the spring of 2000, I was friendly with a nice man, the father of my son’s friend. He was apolitical really, but his father had been a very high official of the Zionist-Marxist party (MAPAM). He had regularly voted for MAPAM or the Communist Party. By coincidence, we once ended up sitting next to each other on a flight.
I thought it would be interesting to discuss politics, which I had never done with him. After all, the Camp David meeting had failed (Yasir Arafat had refused the two-state solution and Israeli intelligence had recordings that he would never do it), and the violent second intifada was launched by Arafat with a Fatah-Hamas alliance of terrorism.
Anyway, to my surprise this soft-spoken real estate agent started screaming:
“Only [Ariel] Sharon! Only Sharon can save the country!”
That year I heard that a lot. Sometimes, as the British philosopher Samuel Johnson said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” That’s the difference with direct engagement with an issue.
A great number of Middle Eastern Arabs and Muslims (perhaps 85%) who think about this issue at all want to destroy Israel–far more than the Germans who wanted to kill the Jews even in 1932! And that is an undeniable fact.
The second fact is that most American public opinion, serious Christians, and absolutely shocked congressional Democrats (and Republicans) who don’t feel comfortable with Obama and Kerry’s policy are the main supporters of Israel. It will be interesting to see if and when the Democrats have to choose between Israel and real dangers to Israel.
The third factor was that such a large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews–an incredible proportion, to be honest. It is surprising but also not really so surprising. It must be confronted; and it need not be answered by more words but by political movements and by pressure.
Why are Jews so far to the left in general? Historically, it is no mystery. The Jews in the nineteenth century were modernists, supporters of change and development, because, after all, traditional society did not really have a place for them.
Second of all, the Democratic Party made a serious effort to get immigrant and other urban ethnic votes.
Third, the New Deal was very good for Jews and was strongly supported by them; many government agencies were first staffed by Jews at that time. Also many academics, journalists, and other service professions and trade unions were working government-created jobs.
Fourth, of course, was the fight against fascism led by the Democratic Party in that era. You would think that the Democratic view is out of date, but of course it is not, for example, because of cultural trends. It is just unfashionable to be Republican, whereas Liberal Democratic politics are associated with all that is smart, good, and stylish.
It is equally important to keep in mind that Jews are very sensitive to racial and religious discrimination. So why is antisemitism that is connected to popular liberal politics so easily overlooked, exploited by the modern left into minority can do no wrong?
Let’s look at Reverend Wright. Despite the fact that Reverend Wright was obviously involved in potent antisemitism, saying in a 2011 speech in Baltimore, “The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal… place,” then continuing to state that “To equate Judaism with the state of Israel is to equate Christianity with [rapper] Flavor Flav.” These comments, however, were forgiven because of his connection to Obama’s campaign: crime, never punishment.
Today, there is a very bizarre division among Jews in the United States. There is a serious lack of Jewish causes among leftist Zionists. Namely, activists are either pro-Israel and traditional liberals or moderates, or they are leftists that belong more to the extreme left wing–which is unfortunately disproportionately common. I should think the historical far-left communist experience should be sufficient to scare Jews (remember the oppression of Soviet Jewry). The fact is that the academics, journalists, and public advocates who are involved are more often than not Jewish. I actually fear reading the bylines and quotes in publications, because I know that Jewish names are so often attached to “progressivism.” Yet why is this?
Some causes may be obvious. Both fascists and extreme nationalists have of course been hostile to Jews, even for example as far back as the Dreyfus affair. Yet you would think that Jews were knowledgeable about history. Naturally, Jews are sympathetic toward minorities and more sensitive toward racism. And yet why do Jews automatically think that the state is their friend? The state has often been helpful but has also often been the enemy. Still, many Jews are directed to professions and high-level academic achievement, which tends to focus on statist-finance involvement.
Actually there is no question that there is still antisemitic bias in the U.S., most often seen among the left with their lack of sympathy for Jewish causes and dishonesty in dealing with Israel policy, often in anti-Israel bias. Israel is by far the country that others are the most unfairly biased toward–higher than any bias against Muslims. Yet this is not recognized by Jews, because it makes radicals look better. And, of course, if this is a real bias than the fact that some Muslims want genocide is not taken seriously, especially in university classes.
Let’s look at the facts. FBI statistics report that in 2012, 62.4% of hate crimes in the United States were against Jews, who make up about 2-3 percent of the U.S. population. Close to two-thirds of the 1,340 religious hate crimes were thus anti-Jewish. In other words, the chance of Jews being persecuted for their religion is about 40 times as likely.
Muslims were the number-two targeted group victimized on a religious bias, with 11.6% of hate crimes being anti-Islamic. Although the statistics available on Islam are not detailed, Muslims make up roughly 1 percent of the population (the last Pew Report, in 2010, estimated the Muslim population in the United States at 2.9 million, but the number has grown).
In other words, Jews–who are not easily identified except for the 10 percent of which are Orthodox–are about 40 times more likely to be victims. Of course only claims that are reported to the FBI are published. Incidentally, the intermarriage rate of Jews is also now over 70%.
The question then is: Is anybody going to wake up to this or not? Are Jews going to realize that the two-state solution is only desirable if it really brings full peace? And if peace were achieved, would Middle Eastern Arabs no longer want to try to wipe out Jews and Israel? If so, the Jewish Democratic vote will change drastically. But have no doubt that many public officials, journalists, and especially academics will as a priority or out of ignorance place Jews and Israelis in jeopardy.