Global Chaos — a Byproduct of the Failure to Confront Evil: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, July 21, 2016— A generation ago, the term evil had meaning. There were no bleeding hearts — certainly no Jews — who minimized the malevolency of the Nazis. Evil was evil.
Western Universities: The Best Indoctrination Money Can Buy: Dr. Denis MacEoin, Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2016 — In asking why Western civilization has been the greatest in history, many point to European and, later, American military power…
Anthropology: Abandon All Truth Ye Who Enter: Philip Carl Salzman, Daily Caller, July 19, 2016— In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics.
Can You be Jewish and Liberal? The Evidence Says: Not So Easy: Shmuel Rosner, Jewish Journal, July, 2016— What kind of question is this?
AIPAC’s Moment of Decision: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, July 12, 2015
UNESCO and the Denial of Jewish History: Ricki Hollander, Algemeiner, July 19, 2016
Pro-Israel Campus Groups: UC Irvine ‘Dragging Out, Burying’ Investigation Into Violent Anti-Israel Protest: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, July 18, 2016
The Sterile, Vapid, Chauvinistic Alley of Identity Politics: Rex Murphy, National Post, June 11, 2016
Candidly Speaking, July 21, 2016
A generation ago, the term evil had meaning. There were no bleeding hearts — certainly no Jews — who minimized the malevolency of the Nazis. Evil was evil. Today, as moral relativism dominates, the world has effectively abandoned the concept of evil, replacing it with a “sophisticated” political correctness in which aggressors and victims are frequently considered moral equivalents. For example, critics of Islamic terror are accused of Islamophobia.
There is “shock “at the mass murders and beheadings by Islamic fundamentalists but we are told that it is misleading to describe such behavior as “evil” because this diverts attention from the real source — colonial exploitation. We also repeatedly hear the mantra that social and economic suffering cause desperation and provide the incentive for jihadi recruitment. Yet the majority of ISIS terrorists operating in Western cities are university graduates from middle class families. Moreover the Western governments, whose countries now face terror attacks from “sleepers” and home-bred ISIS supporters, bury their heads in the sand and refuse to face the reality of the evil enemy of Islamic fundamentalism incubated in Muslim communities whose rank and file is unwilling or fearful to expose the jihadists in their midst.
At the core of this is the refusal to identify and confront the Islamic fundamentalist threat as a global evil seeking to destroy the Judeo-Christian moral heritage and substitute democracy with Sharia law or the caliphate. This evasion of using concepts such as good and evil is evidenced by the treatment of Israel which, in this context, is truly the canary in the coal mine and spotlights the global descent into amorality. Thus for example: Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East region — a society based on law and equality and unqualified freedom of expression. Despite hostile Arab neighbors seeking its destruction, it provides full political equality to all its citizens Arab and Jew alike. Visit a hospital, shopping mall or park to appreciate how outrageous it is to employ terms like apartheid in Israel.
Contrast this with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, where basic human rights are denied and where a criminal society promotes terrorism. Its mullahs glorify “shaheeds” and mothers proudly boast about their martyred children on TV and express the hope that more of their offspring will follow. The PA and Hamas provide substantial pensions to families of those killed while murdering Jews or jailed in Israeli prisons. Schools, city squares and football clubs are named in their honor. Moreover, every time a Jew is murdered, spontaneous celebrations erupt in Palestinian streets. Truly a culture of death.
Yet the global community continuously applies moral equivalence to Israel democracy and the criminal Palestinian society. Evil is ignored. Two Israeli prime ministers, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, were rebuffed by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas when they offered the Palestinians 97% of the territories previously occupied by the Jordanians. The “right-wing” Benjamin Netanyahu made far more extensive concessions than Yitzchak Rabin was ever willing to contemplate, including support for a two-state policy subject to security guarantees and Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinian objective remains to terminate Jewish sovereignty in stages by demanding concessions without any reciprocity. Yet the global community — headed by the Obama administration — at best blamed both sides equally for the breakdown in negotiations but usually held Israel responsible. Again, a denial of evil and the application of moral equivalence.
The Middle East region is reminiscent of the Dark Ages with half a million innocent civilians butchered and over 4 million displaced from their homes. Instead of addressing these atrocities, the Obama administration leads the pack in demonizing Israelis for home construction in Jewish neighborhoods. This obsession over “settlements,” which other than Jerusalem comprise 3% of the territories formally administered by the Jordanians, is utterly bizarre. Nobody would argue that an Israeli Arab is prohibited from building on property he purchased. However, Jews who bought land legitimately over the so-called Green Line are criminalized. How grotesque it is that an Israeli extending a terrace in his Jerusalem home could lead to sanctions while a few kilometers away, murder and mayhem continue unabated.
Western leaders and their media display cowardice when they grovel to the Islamists in their reporting of terrorist atrocities with their implications that terrorist acts like the stabbing to death of a 13-year-old girl in her bed in Israel are “resistance to occupation”. It is despicable when U.S. and European representatives remain silent at the U.N. as the PA president receives standing ovations after delivering his blood libels against Israel and denies any connection between Jews and Jerusalem. When they support or abstain from U.N. resolutions demonizing or delegitimizing the Jewish state, they become active accomplices to evil. Moral equivalence — which is the order of the day in relation to Israel — was a precursor to a global collapse of confidence among rank-and-file masses in democratic countries…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Dr. Denis MacEoin
Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2016
In asking why Western civilization has been the greatest in history, many point to European and, later, American military power, the strength of the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese empires, their command of the oceans, or the progress brought about through the Industrial Revolution. Today, of course, there is a general trend to picture Western achievements in a uniformly negative light, often for valid reasons, including our use of slavery or the mistreatment of so many Native Americans. This negativity is, however, highly selective. Why, for example, are Western Christian empires considered a blight on mankind while the great many Muslim empires of the past — which lasted over a much longer period, engaged in the largest and longest-lasting slave trade in history, sought to impose one religion over all others, and placed enormous barriers on rational thought from about the 10th century — regarded as a blessing?
The greatness of the modern West owes much to those discoverers, conquerors, and traders and to the worldwide enterprises they built — just as the Islamic empires had their explorers, traders, and international networks (as in the great Sufi orders). Important civilizations were created in both realms: great urban developments, great architecture, the first universities, great poetry, great art, great philosophy, a flurry of scientific and mathematical activity in the Muslim middle ages, and then in the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution in Europe. The tendency of modern liberals to wring apologies out of governments for the actions of their ancestors, from the slave trade to Orientalist depictions of the peoples of Islam, is a pointless attempt to re-write history. There are, of course, no calls for Muslim governments to apologize for anything from their slave trade to the early Arab conquests.
The modern world of the West is a product of a period that created the greatest advances in human history: the Enlightenment. From that era we can date the beginnings of the most important strengths of our modern world. It is these strengths, in spite of the many blessings they have bestowed and their role as buttresses for cohesive societies, that are derided and often attacked from the Islamic sphere as well as by forces within the West. It is not hard to remember what those strengths are: liberal democracy, human rights, religious tolerance, international instruments for the managing of conflict, women’s rights, minority rights of all kinds, legislation out of political debate, an abhorrence of tyranny, freedom of thought, belief, and speech, critical inquiry, freedom of the press and other media, secularization that permits freedom of religious worship, and safety for the authors of opinions that dissent.
Of these blessings, the most important would seem the last: freedom of thought, belief, and speech, critical inquiry, freedom of the press and other media, secularization that permits freedom of religious expression, and safety for the authors of dissenting opinions. Without them, none of the others would last. There is also another, closely related to them: academic freedom. The liberation of the universities from the 18th century onwards from restrictions placed on scholars by kings and churches, the use of censorship to maintain the status quo, the blocking of scientific advances by appeals to scripture or the power of the clergy or simple traditionalism and all the other forces of obscurantism, meant a quantum leap, not just in the physical sciences, but in all areas of human understanding, from politics to society to philosophy and to religion and the arts. We owe more than we often imagine to the freedoms of academia: that a teacher or researcher may not be censored, dismissed, or financially ruined for expressing his opinions; that publications, whether books, monographs or entire learned journals, be free to include critical, even controversial content, and that controversy itself, far from being an impediment to a search for truth, is an essential mechanism for that search to take place.
This process did not take hold in the Islamic world, where, as mentioned, rationality was dismissed in favour of faith, from public and scholarly discourse early on. Starting with an internal dispute between rationalists and theologians of a fundamentalist bent, the shift from fairly open enquiry was shut down when the dogma of the Qur’an’s “uncreatedness,” perfection and infallibility was established. Questioning was a risk to faith; it was safer to avoid hellfire by accepting all aspects of sacred scripture and law without a “wherefore?” or “why?” This doctrine of infallibility and the dangers of reason were promulgated by the most important thinker in the history of Islam, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111). According to this doctrine, God acts at every instant within every atom, destroying and creating as He wills, so that it is impossible to predict just what will happen at any given moment — thus precluding the need or worth of rational enquiry. It is this conclusion that creates the fatalism which denies any human responsibility for the slightest action or exercise of personal will…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Philip Carl Salzman
Daily Caller, July 19, 2016
In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics. Among those who produced sound, grounded research were Fredrik Barth on the Basseri nomads, William Irons on the Yomut Turkmen, Lois Beck on the Qashqa’i confederation, William Lancaster on the Rwala Bedouin, and A. S. Bujra on Yemen. I had the privilege of carrying out field research among the Baluchi tribes of Iran.
However, anthropologists, including those studying the Middle East, gradually moved away from a scientific perspective toward a more subjective and politicized view. They were influenced in part by Edward Said, who in Orientalism (1978) argued that Western accounts of the Middle East were fabrications invented to justify imperialist invasion, colonial imposition, and oppression of local peoples. This “postcolonial” view blames Western imperialism for myriad problems worldwide, a view which neglects the cultures and agency of people around the globe.
This intellectual revolution has infected anthropology (among many fields) with a dangerous, self-contradictory nihilism that rejects the possibility of objective Truth toward which we may move and posits many different truths held by different peoples — all equally valid. Yet they behave as if their belief in many truths must be treated as The Truth that must not be questioned.
Anthropologists insist on the relativity of knowledge, except when it comes to their own statements, which they take to be The Absolute Truth. One should not, however, expect anthropologists who believe in “many truths” to encourage a diversity of opinion within their university departments. Intellectual homogeneity is enforced, with Marxism, postcolonialism, and radical feminism the principal approved paths to enlightenment. Classical liberal beliefs in markets, liberty, and individual rights are verboten.
So, today, is the once-regnant faith in science itself rejected as the best way of uncovering the truth about anthropologists’ subjects. Witchcraft, oracles, ancient religious systems, voodoo, and just about any pseudo-science that denies the validity of Western systems of thought are championed as equally valid paths to knowledge in fields from botany to medicine. Of course, anthropologists still employ the latest products of scientific research and live as affluent Westerners, but they do not claim that the way they live conforms to their beliefs.
This abandonment of objective methodologies underscores anthropologists’ belief that their discipline is not the science of humankind as upheld by its original practitioners, but a subjective, political commitment to a “praxis” that will liberate the world’s oppressed. The result is deplorably partisan, faux “anthropological” accounts by notoriously partisan writers, such as Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture, edited by Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg, and Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory, by Ahmad H. Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod. Yet past and current “praxis” in such places as the USSR, Eastern Europe, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cambodia, and Cuba, and its consequences for the people concerned, holds little interest to anthropologists.
The same moral and intellectual incoherence underlies anthropologists’ insistence that they do not study culture and cultures since these are invalid concepts from a bygone age. Rather, anthropology’s mission is the study of victims and their oppressors. Among the many “victims,” Palestinians are awarded pride of place, their century of violence against Jews and their public commitment to refuse any compromise or cooperation with others notwithstanding. Israeli Jews, on the other hand, are often characterized by anthropologists, using “postcolonial” Leninist terminology, as “settler colonialists” even though Jews are the indigenous population of Israel, including Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank), are agents of no metropolitan home country, and originate as much from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Russia as from Europe and North America.
Such is the inevitable result of contemporary anthropology, which has jettisoned the objective, scientifically-grounded study of humankind’s cultures in favor of advocating for selected “victims” of supposed Western perfidy. The outcome of this abandonment of the search for Truth is not a plethora of “truths,” but a regnant false Truth that reduces scholarship to advocacy and demands blind adherence to approved yet false narratives. If anthropologists hope to restore the integrity of their field, they must abandon their intellectually flaccid, morally corrupt habits and readopt the scientific objectivity toward their subjects that marked their discipline from its inception.
Philip Carl Salzman is a Professor of Anthropology at McGill University and a CIJR Academic Fellow
Jewish Journal, July, 2016
What kind of question is this? Of course you can be Jewish and liberal. Millions of American Jews prove it every day of their lives. They are – Jewish Americans – the most liberal group in America. And they are – well – Jewish Americans. That is to say: Jewish.
And yet, the question stands. The evidence makes it necessary. The numbers make it real. Not real in the sense that it is impossible to be Jewish and liberal – real in the sense that the combination of Jewish and liberal apparently presents a unique challenge for those of us who worry about the Jewish future. Numbers have this annoying habit of forcing an inconvenient reality upon us. Numbers assembled by Prof. Steven Cohen have often forced inconvenient reality upon us in recent years – and I suspect his recent collection of numbers could do it again.
Cohen presented these numbers at a keynote address at the last NRJE (Network for Research in Jewish Education) annual conference last month. He opened his presentation by sharing the headline that American Jews are “very” liberal. His alternate read as follows: “Does being liberal conflict with Jewish engagement? (Definitely).”
Definitely. Conflict. These are strong words that surely justify the question “Can you be Jewish and Liberal?” – strong words backed by evidence. American Jews are “disproportionately liberal, in terms of self-definition,” Cohen says and shows. 51% of them are “liberal” or “very liberal”. They are “secular, in terms of their beliefs & religious participation. About as religious as non-churched Christians.” All this data is based on further analysis of the numbers presented in the 2013 PEW report on American Jewry. 56% of Reform Jews are liberal – 18% of them “very liberal.” 28% of “other Jews” – Jews that do not belong to any denomination – are “very liberal.” Younger Jews are somewhat more liberal. “Jews’ liberalism,” Cohen said, “is not going away very soon.”
So what? The more liberal they are, the less their tendency to be actively “Jewish.” The level of liberalism is high among those who raise non-Jewish children “or who are married to non-Jews.” Liberal Jews feel less responsible for other Jews. They have a somewhat lesser sense of belonging to the Jewish people. Only a third of the “very liberal” (34%) feel that “being Jewish is very important” – compared to 54% of “right of center” non-Orthodox Jews. The “very liberal” don’t belong to synagogues (18%), have less Jewish friends, and tend less than others to fast on Yom Kippur or light Shabbat candles. Their attachment to Israel is markedly lower than the attachment of less liberal Jews.
That is to say: all across the board – feelings, activities, traditions, and affiliations – the liberals show a lesser level of engagement. The correlation between liberalism and disengagement is “modest” when it comes to “feelings” (Feel responsible for Jews in need, Feel a sense of belonging to the Jewish people, Feel being Jewish is very important). It is “strong” when it comes to “religious engagement” (Being religious very important, Kosher home, Shabbat candles usually+, Attends services monthly). It is also “strong” when it comes to “Israel attachment” (Israel essential to being Jewish, Feel very attached to Israel). In other words: liberal Jews feel moderately passionate about being Jewish; but they do not appreciate religion and do not appreciate Israel, and they especially do not appreciate hawkish views on Israel.
If you are a reasonably curious Jew – if you have had a chance to meet with Jews and speak with Jews in the United States – if you haven’t just returned from a mission to Mars – none of this should be a huge surprise to you. I assume that the numbers were not a huge surprise to Prof. Cohen when he assembled the data and analyzed it. He surely is curious enough, has spoken to many Jews (probably too many for his own good), and is still waiting for his turn to go to Mars. What Cohen does with the numbers is not to unearth a shocking revelation, it is to try and force a conversation about an unpleasant reality – a reality that American Jews do not like to discuss.
Why is it so difficult to seriously discuss these numbers and this reality? That’s simple: because often times liberal Jews tend to value their “liberalism” more than they value their “Jewishness” (this is me speaking, not Cohen. I am not sure he’d agree). If the numbers tell a story from which one learns that liberalism and Judaism cannot go hand in hand, the liberals will choose liberalism. So the obvious policy of Jewish leaders and institutions is to avoid this seeming contradiction – to hide it for as long as possible and thus not force the choice on a growing group of Jewish liberals. It is good not to force this choice on liberal Jews, because it is a false choice (somewhat similar to the one often forced on Israel between Jewishness and democracy). It is good not to force this false choice, but it's not good to not discuss these true numbers. These numbers have meaning…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
AIPAC’s Moment of Decision: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, July 12, 2015—Later this month the Republicans and Democrats will hold their respective conventions. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will officially become the presidential nominees. Ahead of the conventions, both parties selected delegates to draft their platforms. The Democratic platform committee convened late last month.
UNESCO and the Denial of Jewish History: Ricki Hollander, Algemeiner, July 19, 2016 —For years, Palestinians and other Arabs have tried to deny the historical record and usurp Jewish holy sites. Their latest attempt to do so takes the form of a Palestinian-Jordanian draft resolution to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, calling for a return of the Temple Mount to its alleged “historic” status quo before 1967 — as if history starts and ends with Jordan’s 19-year, illegal occupation of eastern Jerusalem, during which Jews were expelled from the area.
Pro-Israel Campus Groups: UC Irvine ‘Dragging Out, Burying’ Investigation Into Violent Anti-Israel Protest: Lea Spyer, Algemeiner, July 18, 2016 —Officials at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) appear to be “burying” the institution’s own investigation into a violent anti-Israel protest in May, leaving student demonstrators off the hook for their actions, the heads of two Israel advocacy campus groups told The Algemeiner on Monday.
The Sterile, Vapid, Chauvinistic Alley of Identity Politics: Rex Murphy, National Post, June 11, 2016—Identity politics is an instrument of division and a stew of contradictions. Curiously or otherwise, this thought emerges out of the one of Donald Trump’s many flare-ups, his current denunciations of the judge hearing the case of the university that bears Trump’s name.