By Prof. Barry Rubin
A major problem in debating about international issues nowadays is that it is so often hard or even impossible to respect our adversaries. It is quite possible to disagree with someone but to be impressed with their ability in constructing arguments, their grasp of logic and facts, their getting things partly right to the point that it makes you adjust your own thinking. Yet nowadays one is so often confronted with deliberate lies, huge factual errors, and just totally illogical claims.
When I am attacked for something I have written-which happens far more rarely than I expected, I am almost always shocked and genuinely perplexed at how very secondary points are chosen for vicious denunciation. The latest example is one sentence, out of a full article, in which I say that Hamas is worse than the Germans in World War Two because the Nazis did not use their people as involuntarily human shields and place ammunition dumps in residential buildings.
Although I didn't mention this in the article, there was a very specific reason for my making that point. I am writing a book on my family and their town during World War Two. I was reading an account by a Soviet army partisan about a military action in which his unit attacked a small town in eastern Poland. The Germans had taken over the Polish Catholic church and fortified it as a defense post.
The battle happened at night and there were no civilians in the building when the partisans attacked it. Still, for a moment I was taken aback because of my own democratic and moderate upbringing and education. After all, the Germans had massacred thousands of Jews in these villages. And I had just read how they had burnt down a Polish family's home-with the family inside-because the peasant husband had given two partisans some water to drink that day. Yet to use a church as a military fort struck me as a bit shocking.
Then I reflected that this very day a mosque had been bombed by Israel's air force after being identified as a Hamas weapons' depot. I had previously written that Hamas wanted civilians to be casualties because this provided good media coverage and international sympathy. And it is notable that as Hamas goaded Israel into war it made no provision for shelters or civil defense for its own people.
Palestinian Media Watch has reprinted a speech made by Fathi Hamad, one of the top Hamas leaders, on the movement's own Al-Aqsa television station from February 29, 2008. He stated:
"For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: "We desire death as you desire life.'"
How can one explain that the Nazis never behaved in such a way? This is actually an interesting question and one that tells us something very important about the contemporary world. German soldiers fought bravely and German civilians bore up under tremendous sacrifice mainly because they were patriotic. While their cause was unjust, they supported Hitler mainly out of a belief that Germany should be "over all," as the old national anthem put it. They felt victimized by the victorious allies in World War One.
A secondary motive was in the more specific aspects of Nazi ideology: its view of the Germans as a master race, fighting a global battle with the Jewish enemy, and so on.
As nationalists, though, they had to love their country, at least in their own interpretation of it and excluding all the Jewish citizens of course. They wanted prosperity, happiness, and empowerment for the German people. Consequently, the German army and government viewed it as their duty to protect the people. And if they were the master race, all the more need to protect them.
And that is why-if they had ever thought of it-the Nazis would not have deliberately exposed their people to even more suffering by using them as human shields or stockpiling bombs and bullets in their residential buildings. However chauvinistic and inhumane extreme nationalism can be to others, by definition it has to believe itself to be serving those who it identifies as its followers, constituency, and even subjects.
Of course, Hitler led his people to disaster and in the end inflicted tremendous suffering on them. When they realized this fact, the great majority concluded that their ruler had failed them and surrendered or concluded that they had been wrong and the regime was a mistake.
But radical Islamism is different. Its goal is not to exalt its people-Palestinians or Muslims, as such-but to implement God's will. God is above the people. And the deity must be served no matter how many of the people, even Muslims, die or suffer. Thus we see the massive bloodshed in the Algerian civil war and the terrorist attacks against other Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Even an anti-Israel demonstration in Iraq was hit by a suicide bomber recently.
Thus, there is this tireless emphasis on martyrdom, and people can be martyred even if they don't choose that for themselves. What is startling-and like so many significant facts gone unnoticed in much of the world-is that Hamas never had any program for social development, quality education, improved health, or anything else but warfare for the Gaza Strip. Its only concern was to wage a war of extermination on Israel, no matter how much time and how many lives it cost.
In this same point, we have a very important clue for the international-albeit greatly exaggerated-reaction against Israel. Unable to comprehend that people would behave in this way, many Westerners assume that Hamas really wants a nice, peaceful state in which Palestinian children play happily. As is often said, doesn't everyone want a good life of material prosperity and happiness for their kiddies?
Yet right at the start, on the success of the Iranian revolution almost thirty years ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini warned us that anyone who thought the Islamic revolution was about lowering the price of watermelons understood nothing.
And that is the problem with our adversaries in the Western debate. True, they hate us-meaning Israel or America or the West in general-and despite the very principles and institutions that have brought them freedom and a comfortable life. This is, of course, the basis for a political battle. What is truly disconcerting, however, is that they understand so very little about the world, common sense, logic, honest debate, the nature of democracy and dictatorship, and the nature of the real adversary against-irony of ironies-we are protecting them.
A SENSE OF REALITY
By Prof. Barry Rubin
When you actually hear what the anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-Western forces say, it reveals just how inaccurate is their analysis, often allowed to be given without contradiction in much of the media. Here are two quotes from Yahoo coverage of anti-Israel demonstrations:
1. Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate. "The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation," he said.
Yep! End that occupation and all the shooting will stop. As you know, it was Israel's end of occupation in south Lebanon that led to attacks by Hizballah. And Israel's end of occupation in the Gaza Strip that led to attacks by Hamas. And Israel's agreement with the PLO and withdrawal from part of the West Bank raised the level of terrorism there (at least for about half of the last 15 years). No doubt if Israel withdrew completely from the West Bank....
But in logical terms, of course, if you believe that "occupation" causes violence--rather than, say, revolutionary Arab nationalist and Islamist movements that sought total victory--you MUST argue that these are defensive reactions. Of course, they are aggressive ones.
2. Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel's actions. "What's going on in Gaza is not right ... It's not a coincidence that it's going on in Iraq, in Chechnya, in Kashmir. It's just about going on everywhere. It's almost a direct insult to every single Muslim," he said.
Iraq: Saddam Hussein has repressive dictatorship, Saddam attacks Iran, Saddam attacks Kuwait, terrorists today kill mostly other Muslims in a Sunni-Shia battle. Yes, so why blame America?
Chechnya: One could argue that this is an occupation issue--the Russians have been there for about 150 years-- but the Chechnya rebels have deliberately targeted Russian civilians and killed their own moderates who tried to work out a deal. At any rate, one can contrast Russian methods-leveling the capital city and killing many thousands of civilians-with Israel's, with Hamas admitting 85 percent of the casualties in the current campaign are its soldiers and most of the rest victims of its policy of turning civilians into involuntary human shields.
Kashmir: Radical Islamists backed by Pakistan murder Indian civilians and carry out terrorism in India. To my knowledge, the Indians never used harsh repression in Kashmir, certainly not before the start of a terrorist war there.
And how about:
Massacres of Christians in Indonesia; of Christians and Buddhists in Thailand; of Christians in the Philippines; and of Christians and Shia Muslims in Iraq; and of Christians and Druze and Sunni Muslims in Lebanon; and of fellow Muslims in Algeria and Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and of course al-Qaida attacks including September 11; and the London subway bombings, and the Bali bombing; and the Spanish commuter train bombings; and the Mumbai attacks; and the murder of animists and fellow Muslims in Sudan; and so on.
Once upon a time in the West there were institutions which challenged and corrected a factually ludicrous world view. Now, alas, they often further it. And of course, this isn't the first time-even in living memory-that the world has faced such movements, such falsehood, such places:
"But ideas can be true although men die,
And we can watch a thousand faces
Made active by one lie:
"And maps can really point to places
Where life is evil now:
"In Time of War," W.H. Auden, 1939
And now: Kabul, Tehran, and Gaza under Hamas rule. But common sense does prevail. The truth is that the demonstrations have not been impressive in Europe and America, both in size and in the ability of the anti-Israel forces to mobilize non-Muslims in any serious numbers.
EUROPEANS EMBRACES EVIL AGAIN
Fortunately only some Europeans, mainly Leftists -- but the media amplify their voice. But as Pamela Geller says below, it is hard to believe that ANY Europeans can support a second holocaust -- which is what HAMAS and their ilk aim at
It is hard to believe that while Shoah victims and holocaust survivors still walk among us, that we would witness an evil so severe and grotesque that it would make the rhetoric of the Third Reich look mild. Yes, the Nazis killed millions -- that was the obvious monstrous result of their campaign.
We have not yet witnessed the "final solution" of Islamic jihad -- but there are incontrovertible facts that are blinding. The Nazis hid their crimes. The Nazis pretended to be doing one thing while subversively carrying out its "extermination" of Jews, gypsies, "undesirables", etc. They engaged in rhetoric and obfuscation.
This time is different. The Muslims are not engaging in rhetoric. They are not pretending. They want the Jews dead and they exult in their wild screams of blood lust. Such joy, such happiness at their Jew hating chants from a joyless people.
The Germans went to war, conquered countries and with the help of those weak governments and people annihilated the Jews. The Holocaust was a German initiative subsequently carried out by every nation the Nazis conquered in Europe, with the exception of Denmark. It's not a national initiative this time. It's global........... a wave of evil has washed over this earth like a veritable tsunami and it has colored everything.
I expect this barbarity and Jew hatred from the Arab/Islamic world. It's what they do and what they have always done. But what was the lesson that Europe learned after the holocaust? It was not that evil is bad and that they behaved like monsters, but, as Caroline Glick said in our interview, that " rather that everything was caused by nationalism and therefore what we really need to do is have a European Union that will obviate our need for nationalism so that we can become this transnational gobbletygook and we'll all get together and therefore we won't have another Auschwitz". But really the lesson the Europeans should have been is that "we were evil and we have to be good. And that is the lesson we have to learn and and we have to be able and willing to make moral distinctions and stand up for the good and fight evil and that is something the Europeans refuse to do."
Once again Europe chooses to embrace madness and evil as its central unifying characteristic. And this time England is leading the way. I believe good will triumph over such overwhelming odds and numbers. I know it in my bones, but one has to look at the global landscape and say, at what cost?
Thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators marched in cities across Europe on Saturday to demand a halt to Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip. Protests were held or scheduled in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as the Israeli offensive entered its second week. Kuwaitis also took to the streets, a day after bigger Middle East rallies.
In Paris, police said more than 20,000 demonstrators, many wearing Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves, marched through the city center chanting slogans like "Israel murderer!" and waving banners demanding an end to the air attacks. Similar protests were planned in some 30 other towns.
London police said more than 10,000 people staged a noisy march and rally to urge an end to an Israeli offensive against Hamas militants that has killed at least 435 Palestinians.
In many European cities people waved shoes -- recalling the action of an Iraqi journalist who hurled footwear at U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad last month in a symbolic insult. British demonstrators threw dozens of shoes into the street as they passed the gated entrance to Downing Street, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown lives, and shouted angrily at a line of 40 police officers on guard there.....
Paul Mukerji, 42, from Birmingham, acknowledged Israel had security reasons but called its action disproportionate.
Who dictates the proportion? The jihadis?
"The best way for peace for Palestinians and Israelis is to end the occupation," said Mukerji, who said he had spent six months working with Jewish and Palestinian peace groups.
What occupation? There has not been an Israeli toenail in Gaza since 2005. All lies, lies lies.
Ali Saeed, 24, from Luton, said Western governments had failed to condemn Israel's actions.
Failure to condemn self defense? The will to live?
There is something especially nauseating about the latest Middle East war - scenes of worldwide Islamic protests with photos of Jews as apes, protesters (in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida of all places!) screaming about nuking Israel and putting Jews in ovens, parades of children dressed up with suicide vests and fake rockets, near constant anti-Semitic vicious sloganeering, Gaza mosques stuffed with rockets to be used against civilians - all to be collated with creepy Hamas rhetoric about the annihilation of Israel. This is the world in which we now live.
Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt,and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.
Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world's craven reaction to all this.
Again all very creepy - the stuff of Tolkien's Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised "international community," the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)