November 01, 2002
I'm Relieved That Colin Powell Seems to Be in Charge

The American Prospect's weblog makes an interesting--and very relieving and reassuring--observation: it looks as though Colin Powell is in charge:


TAPPED: November 2002 Archives: ...The Bush administration has evinced a 180 degree turnaround on Iraq. Not on the question of whether or not to invade, but on the question of how to go about doing so -- they've gone from a go-it-alone attitude to haggling with France and Russia over a Security Council resolution. Now the president is ducking his original black-and-white talk -- remember all that Axis of Evil stuff? Yep, so do we -- in favor of pronouncements that can only be described as Clintonesque. "[I]f [Saddam] were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations," Bush said in a recent press conference, "the conditions that I've described very clearly in terms that everybody can understand, that in itself will signal the regime has changed." Not that there's anything wrong with that! The change is welcome. And using the threat of force to get inspectors back into Iraq is a more sensible plan than some of those advocated by the more juvenile hawks, like the one where the U.S. would parachute a few thousand special forces into Baghdad and take Iraq without firing a shot. But what's fascinating is that this shift was forced on the Bush administration not by Democrats -- who should have been enumerating such a policy months ago, as soon as it became clear that Iraq had displaced terrorism as Bush's chief foreign policy priority -- but by internationalist Republicans such as Brent Scowcroft, Chuck Hagel and of course Colin Powell. (You could probably even throw Henry Kissinger in there.) You may recall a time when Kristol and other noted hawks blasted The New York Times for having the audacity to suggest that there was a divide among Republicans when it came to Iraq. Well, there was -- duh -- and guess what? The internationalists won. So far. Expect a nasty cover article in The Weekly Standard soon explaining how corrupt doves have perverted Bush's once-noble foreign policy.

Posted by DeLong at November 01, 2002 11:34 AM | Trackback

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Be afraid, be very afraid.

Wasn't it Powell who was "in charge" when we brillantly let Saddam go the first time?

Posted by: Mike on November 1, 2002 11:43 AM

We'll see in a couple of months whether the "moderate tone" is a response to election-time focus group research or whether it's an actual change in direction. I hope it's the latter, but much of what I'm hearing points to the former.

Posted by: Peter MacLeod on November 1, 2002 12:14 PM

Bush deserves credit for listening and tacking direction. The argument was why go alone, why tick off the world? The U.S gains from appearing to work within the community of nations and allowing Europe appear involved.

Some believe this new direction means the Bush white house would not invade Iraq. I believe once inspectors go into Iraq, if they do not get the freedom of movement Bush has demanded then we will attack. Bush has not changed the tone of the goal only the procedure.

To Colin Powell's credit, he has performed the duties of Sec. of State well.

Posted by: Jon A on November 1, 2002 12:23 PM

At least some of us on this side of the Atlantic will find it greatly reassuring to know that Colin Powell is in charge.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 1, 2002 12:27 PM

Think you are wrong. The Administration appears quite determined to change the government of Iraq, and we are now going about gaining as much international support for just that end as possible. Diplomacy is always in order, but there is no reason to suppose policy has been altered. We wish to change the government of Iraq.

Posted by: on November 1, 2002 12:41 PM

“Bush has not changed the tone of the goal only the procedure.”

What am I overlooking? Am I total moron? I don’t see where the Bush administration has backed down to the so-called doves. Nothing has changed. Pushing Saddam to allow the inspectors to go anywhere in Iraq is simply a chess move on our part. We already know that there is a better chance of hell freezing over! It is inevitable that we will be invading Iraq.

We have long been pressuring the wimpy Europeans and the other Israeli bashing bigoted nations comprising the United Nations to go along with us. It now looks that Bush is rapidly accomplishing this goal. Shucks, isn’t that a sign of success? Shouldn’t we be congratulating the President?

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 12:54 PM

There has been no change in Administration policy on Iraq, only an adjustment of "tone" as support is sought about the world for quick disarmament of Iraq or change in government.

The Administration slowly appears to be gaining international support.

Posted by: on November 1, 2002 01:29 PM

“The Administration slowly appears to be gaining international support.”

We seem to be in total agreement. It is very peculiar that some people are describing Bush’s obvious success as sort of failure. At most, his administration is allowing the Europeans to save face.

I also wish to reiterate my point concerning the anti-israeli tone of the United Nations. This world wide organization has issued more pronouncements against Israel than any other country. Doesn’t this make you sick to your stomach. Furthermore, a number of our European allies are at least indirectly responsible for famine in Africa! Please do not take a chance on reading the following article unless you’re able to control your rage. I suggest that you do so only if you are totally sober--or you will likely throw something across the room:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-smith110102.asp

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 01:44 PM

>We have long been pressuring the wimpy Europeans and the other Israeli bashing bigoted nations comprising the United Nations to go along with us. It now looks that Bush is rapidly accomplishing this goal. Shucks, isn’t that a sign of success? Shouldn’t we be congratulating the President?

Perhaps I should have posted that some of us on this side of the Atlantic would find it greatly reassuring to know that Colin Powell is in charge.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 1, 2002 01:47 PM

“Perhaps I should have posted that some of us on this side of the Atlantic would find it greatly reassuring to know that Colin Powell is in charge."

We on this side of the Atlantic are glad that Tony Blair is in charge of the British government. So many of England’s leaders are nothing more than wimpy pacifists. God must truly love the British. Sixty years ago there was Winston Churchill and today there is Tony Blair. Oh, by the way, whatever happened to Neville “Peace in our time” Chamberlain?

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 02:18 PM

>>God must truly love the British.<<

That's why he shaves their Queen!

:-D

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Christian Stijns on November 1, 2002 03:18 PM

>>What am I overlooking? Am I total moron? I don’t see where the Bush administration has backed down to the so-called doves. Nothing has changed. Pushing Saddam to allow the inspectors to go anywhere in Iraq is simply a chess move on our part. We already know that there is a better chance of hell freezing over! It is inevitable that we will be invading Iraq.<<

Unfortunately, you're no Moron. The rest of us is just indulging in wishful thinking about who's in control in Washington. Powell is doing the PR even though I actually think he is truthful about his "dovish" stragegy (isn't ironical that we know think Powell is a dove ? - notwithstanding my respect for him). It's just the right marketing strategy vis-a-vis France and Russia.

But when the trigger will be pulled, I expect the arch-hawks to take the upper-hand again. What you're in denial of David, however, is the (relative I concede)ideological heterogeity of the Administration on these issues.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 03:29 PM

>We on this side of the Atlantic are glad that Tony Blair is in charge of the British government. So many of England’s leaders are nothing more than wimpy pacifists. God must truly love the British. Sixty years ago there was Winston Churchill and today there is Tony Blair.

The bottom line is that a commitment by Tony Blair to go to war with Iraq will ultimately depend on approval by Cabinet and Parliament and then a supporting popular consensus so long as we retain pretensions to being a Parliamentary democracy. As in America, polls here also report that a majority of respondents believe a pre-emptive attack on Iraq would only be justified with United Nations approval. By reports the our government's lawyers have advised that an attack absent that approval would be unlawful, there being no evidence that Britain is under imminent threat of attack by Iraq. By many accounts, terrorist attacks instigated by al-Qaeda represent a far more potent threat.

>Oh, by the way, whatever happened to Neville “Peace in our time” Chamberlain?

Chamberlain died in 1940, sick from cancer, not long after Churchill became prime minister in May that year. The principal architect of the appeasement policy was Lord Halifax, the foreign secretary. "The fact is that the rearmament programme was seriously begun under Baldwin [as prime minister in 1935 after the Conservatives had won a huge majority at the general election in November that year], pushed along more slowly than Churchill wanted, but more quickly than the opposition advocated. Defence spending, pegged at about 2.5 per cent of GNP until 1935, increased to 3.8 per cent by 1937." [Peter Clarke: Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990; Penguin Books (1997), p. 187]

You may recall that Britain, with Neville Chamberlain as prime minister, declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, failing a response to an ultimatum to the German government to end the invasion of Poland in honour of an unsolicited commitment to guarantee Poland's territorial integrity made by the British government on 31 March 1939. [Norman Davies: Europe; OUP (1996), p.993] Britain's population at the outbreak of war was 40m, half that of the combined populations of Germany and Austria.

I go with Lukacs' assessment: "Britain could not have won the World War; in the end America and Russia did. But in May 1940 Churchill was the one who did not lose it." [Five Days in May 1940; Yale UP (1999), p. p189-]

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 1, 2002 03:35 PM

>>But in May 1940 Churchill was the one who did not lose it.<<

{humour}
Which is phenomenal given the quantities of scotch he medicated himself with!
{/humour}

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 03:42 PM

P.S.

{humour again}
But then again, why would we expect him to be the only Englishman not to consider getting sh$%t-faced after work to be a professional duty...
Bob, note that Hercule Poirot would not have disaggreed I believe ;-)
{/humour again}

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 03:48 PM

'Furthermore, a number of our European allies are at least indirectly responsible for famine in Africa!'

Famine isn't caused by a shortage of food.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on November 1, 2002 03:58 PM

Well, if what David means is that subsidized European food hurts the agricultural sector of developing countries, I fully agree with you. (But note that the CAP is a living dead dating back to self-sufficiency strategies from the Cold War.) And since he is a hardline supporter of an adminstration which has itself raised similar subsidies quite recently, I would like to command him for his heroism!

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:04 PM

Oops: with you => with him

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:06 PM

"As in America, polls here also report that a majority of respondents believe a pre-emptive attack on Iraq would only be justified with United Nations approval."

Why be so concerned with what an anti-Semitic organization like the United Nations thinks of anything? Are you fond of its anti-Semitism? Why do you ignore this unpleasant fact? No other country in the world has been critized by the U.N. as often as Israel. What should that tell you?

"By reports the our government's lawyers have advised that an attack absent that approval would be unlawful, there being no evidence that Britain is under imminent threat of attack by Iraq."

Is this meant to be some sort of joke? There is ample evidence that Saddam will continue to organize terrorist attacks on the Western World. He will never declare an overt war. Our concern should instead be a terrorist with a bomb in his suitcase.

Your comments remind me that soon I must do a favorable Amazon.com community review of Peter Hitchens' splendid "The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana."

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 04:24 PM

I don't mean to say that there is not a good share of who don't understand David's wisdom about why the Bushies are allowing Powell to speak with the loudest voice lately. These guys simply don't seem to know that more than 60% of the US electorate does not want the US to go it alone and without a UN resolution.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:26 PM

>>Saddam will continue to organize terrorist attacks on the Western World<<

For instance? :)

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:30 PM

"Well, if what David means is that subsidized European food hurts the agricultural sector of developing countries, I fully agree with you. (But note that the CAP is a living dead dating back to self-sufficiency strategies from the Cold War.) "

We are in total agreement. The Bush administration made a serious mistake in coming out for steel protectionism. Subsidized food in any of the Western nations "hurts the agricultural sector of developing countries." Wow, if you keep this up---the Europeans won't let you return to the continent.

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 04:33 PM

"These guys simply don't seem to know that more than 60% of the US electorate does not want the US to go it alone and without a UN resolution."

Once again, why should we be overly concerned with the wishes of such an anti-Semitic organization?

Posted by: David Thomson on November 1, 2002 04:37 PM

>>Why be so concerned with what an anti-Semitic organization like the United Nations thinks of anything? Are you fond of its anti-Semitism?<<

David, you are doing more harm to Jewish interests, than even a disvestment supporter could do.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:40 PM

>>Wow, if you keep this up---the Europeans won't let you return to the continent.<<

Well, except for France, Spain, and Greece, I think most Europeans would kiss my feet for an opinion like that :-) You, David, be careful with your opinions in Florida etc.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 04:45 PM

Jean-Philippe,

>David, you are doing more harm to Jewish interests, than even a disvestment supporter could do.

Did you have to tell him ???

Posted by: on November 1, 2002 05:23 PM

David Thompson wins a Margaret Thatcher blow-up doll for being the first to exhume Neville Chamberlain. And in the only the 7th post on the topic!

Did anyone mention that Germany had the most powerful military in the world in 1939?

Carry on...

Posted by: Albatross on November 1, 2002 05:28 PM

Yes, I have written elsewhere on this blog that I am against any measure meant at hurting Israel.

Or do you imply that David knows what the effect of his comments is on people who are borderline anti-Semite and waiting for a "good" reason to make the final step? (That's trippy but not entirely dismissable, at least not any more than any other not-yet-disproved conspiration theory).

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 05:34 PM

This thread is too much fun!

>>Did anyone mention that Germany had the most powerful military in the world in 1939?<<

I believe that's why there will not be any powerful European army before Europeans (and Germans in the first place) get comfortable with remilitarizing Germany. :-7

And if Japan was remilitarized, then America could pull out of its bases on Okinawa. :-D Talk about flying pigs (not that some pigs wouldn't like to fly!)

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 05:39 PM

This thread is too much fun!

>>Did anyone mention that Germany had the most powerful military in the world in 1939?<<

I believe that's why there will not be any powerful European army before Europeans (and Germans in the first place) get comfortable with remilitarizing Germany. :-7

And if Japan was remilitarized, then America could pull out of its bases on Okinawa. :-D Talk about flying pigs (not that some pigs wouldn't like to fly!)

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 1, 2002 05:39 PM

Powell is not in charge, except to the extent he is in charge of a "trifecta" head-fake, intended to take down Powell, the UN, and Saddam.

In campaign season, Bush is the Uniter. Then he reverts to Cheerleader whipping up the crowd for the Big Game.

The real boss may still weigh in. If the polls turn too stormy, Rove will have to cancel the invasion.

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on November 1, 2002 06:07 PM

>>Did anyone mention that Germany had the most powerful military in the world in 1939?<<

Hitler's war strategy was really rather stupid from his own benighted perspective.

There is a truly nightmare scenario in which Nazi Germany consolidates hold of western mainland Europe and mobilises industrial resources there for war before attacking the Soviet Union or launching an invasion of Britain. There was substantial slack in Germany's own industry - production of war planes peaked in the winter of 1944/5 despite allied bombing - and the Vichy government in France was entirely willing to collaborate in the war effort.

As it was, the invasion of the Soviet Union was seriously botched with troops poorly equipped for winter fighting. The systematic maltreatment of people in the occupied parts of the Soviet Union alienated a population which in several parts, such as the Ukraine and Belarus, had initially welcomed the invading German army as liberators. What was achieved by declaring war on America? With more resources put into submarine warfare Britain might have been starved into submission - as it was the outcome of the Battle of the Atlantic only became clear towards the end of 1943. With Britain incapacitated one way or another there could have been no Normandy invasion bringing a war on two fronts.

With rather more intelligent analysis and better planning WW2 could have gone very differently from Hitler's perspective, bringing a horrific outcome for the rest of us.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 1, 2002 06:59 PM

Your comments remind me that soon I must do a favorable Amazon.com community review of Peter Hitchens' splendid "The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana."

I wasn't sure whether your earlier comments were taking the michael. This one pushes me to believe that you are, since one could only invoke Christopher's more silly (because more sober) brother in absolute jest.

And I propose the Neville Corollary to Godwin's Law, whereby it is stated that as a thread on military action progresses, the probability tends towards 1.0 of someone (usually American) invoking Neville Chamberlain in a manner that indicates his or her utter ignorance of 1930s history.

Posted by: nick sweeney on November 1, 2002 08:05 PM

>>As it was, the invasion of the Soviet Union was seriously botched with troops poorly equipped for winter fighting.<<

What I still don't understand is why one of Hitler's generals didn't remind him of Napoleon's Russian debacle (or perhaps they did?). To which my answer so far has been that megalomaniacs live to prove they can succeed where everybody else has failed.

Also, had Hitler not been anti-Semite, Einstein would not have moved to Princeton in the early 30s and then might not have deemed it crutial to warn the US that Hitler was working on the nuclear bomb. I like to think Einstein would have warned the US regardless, and that his pacifism would have pushed him to emigrate to the US anyway. But history is such a chaos, one never knows the outcome of a (here admitetdly unrealistic) counter-factual.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 2, 2002 12:37 AM

"These guys simply don't seem to know that more than 60% of the US electorate does not want the US to go it alone and without a UN resolution."

Did the person who wrote that actually have a conversation with any of that 60%?

I live here in America. I was born and raised here. I work in academia, but have family and friends out in the Real World (tm). I'd be willing to bet that I have slightly more of a direct sense of American life than some of the people here who are confidently talking about the great pro-U.N. American majority.

Even in academia, it is far from the case that everybody is a dove, perhaps because a Hell of a lot of my colleagues are Jewish and are grudgingly finding themselves very glad Bush and not Gore is in the White House right now.

Outside of academia and of enclaves like Berkeley or the Upper West Side, there are *really not a lot* of Americans who are thrilled with European posturing just now, or who really want the U.N. to have a veto on a U.S. invasion of Iraq. I've heard pro-Bush, pro-Iraqi-war talk in an all-black barbershop, which is not exactly where I'd have expected to hear it if I hadn't seen the tremendous popular response after 9/11/01 in this country. More than a year after the WTC destruction, I see people flying flags on their cars or posting them on their places of business who wouldn't have been doing so before. And I see the left being appalled that they can stage rallies against the war, but cannot get the bulk of the country to agree with them. The Democrats caved on Bush's war resolution because, even though their *donors* wanted a veto, they were absolutely terrified of the popular vote.

From the Euro perspective, that's a description of frightening and self-centered jingoism, of course, because it is axiomiatic that American patriotism can never be good. Fine. I won't argue that point; one can't argue with a negative adjective.

But even the Eurofolk, if they want to look squarely at reality and not live in their own private daydream, should at least make themselves face a cold fact: we Americans stubbornly see ourselves as a distinct country, and are strangely more willing to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt than we are the European left. No doubt 60% of us would *like* the U.N. to support us; why not? But being mildly inclined to prefer U.N. support doesn't mean that the U.S. population agrees even with the British electorate that U.N. support is in any sense necessary.

Hate that if you want, but face it if you want to be adults and not be deluded. We're just not Europeans. We don't, by and large, agree with Europeans.

An instance of the basically clueless approach that Eurofolk seem addicted to when dealing with America: the Europeans have repeatedly called George Bush's approach a "cowboy" one. Now, I'm sure that's some sort of ferocious, paralyzing disgrace if you call somebody that on the Left Bank. But you know what? It just makes most of us here think that Bush must be doing something right. "Cowboy" here is not an insult. It's something most American men are secretly ashamed of not resembling *enough*. If you want to *boost* Bush's polls here, keep up the "cowboy" expostulations. If you want to make an impression here, though, you'd best start by not using terms of discourse that show contempt not merely for who won the White House in 2000 but for what a great many of us Americans in our hearts feel we are.

I could go on at great length about this, but I'm sure what I've written has already earned me enough unhappy reactions. So I'll stop -- after reiterating: don't kid yourselves. America isn't Europe. We don't worship the same wooden idols you do, or collapse in shame at the same taboos you seem to have. Give yourselves a free clue and stop fantasizing that we're like you. We're not.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz on November 2, 2002 01:28 AM

Erich,
>So I'll stop -- after reiterating: don't kid yourselves. America isn't Europe. We don't worship the same wooden idols you do, or collapse in shame at the same taboos you seem to have. Give yourselves a free clue and stop fantasizing that we're like you. We're not.

Your apprehensions are quite misplaced. Europeans as a category are not a naturally conformist entity in national values and aspirations. Diversity prevails. In addition to a pre-eminent status in science and technology, America is esteemed by moderate opinion in Europe because of something encapsulated by President Theodore Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally unreasonable to the American public." In short, America is well regarded because it manages to contain without fracture a remarkable pluralism which, in Europe, has ensured the persistence of nation states over centuries despite recurring but abortive attempts at integration.

Tony Blair is projecting a genuine vein of national sentiment in Britain in supporting America in concerns over Iraq's possession of WMD, a position not commonly shared in other parts of Europe to the same degree - France has been insisting on amendments to America's draft resolution for the UN Security Council while Schroeder, as German Chancellor, was emphatic during recent elections that Germany will not become involved in any war against Iraq. Britain's Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, in a recent press interview, was clear that he believes the government of Israel has taken a tragic path. That is a view evidently not widely held across America but it does have resonance in Europe. As a fact, the European Union in the 1990s has been a major source of funding aid for the Palestine Authority. The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, then and more so later, was and is seen as a tragic halt to the essential peace process, especially because the perpetrator was an Israeli extremist and the settlement of Palestinian lands has continued to the point where it has just brought down the recent Israeli government. In the UN debate on the future of Palestine in 1947, the then British government famously abstained warning that partition would be the cause of continuing conflict. And so it has proved.

None of that suggests Europeans are collectively fantasizing that they are like Americans. Quite the contrary - Europeans are more inclined to want to preserve their cultural identities against erosion by intrusive American culture, hence restrictions in places on imports of American movies and populist attacks on Macdonalds. The reason importance is accorded to seeking United Nations approval for pre-emptive action against Iraq is because that institution was created after WW2 to ensure that supremacy of international law and the consensus of an international community prevailed over unilateral pursuit of national interests by military force.

By reports, polls in America and Europe suggest popular opinion still supports that vision. From what I read of American press online, it would seem opinion is divided on the priority that the Bush administration accords to a pre-emptive war against Iraq over managing the fragile recovery of the economy and continuing to deal with the very real threat from al-Qaeda terrorism, instanced by the recent outrage in Bali, Indonesia. A war against Iraq will not remove that threat and European chattering classes, if anything, are apt to regard proposals for war as mainly prompted by oil interests. A brief in The Economist of 14 September noted that Iraq has the second largest identified oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 2, 2002 04:18 AM

The heck with invoking Neville Chamberlain, let's invoke Harry Belafonte.

If Powel had backbone, he would have resigned from the Bush administration long ago. Pretending that he's the main spokesman for the Iraqi situation when the chickenhawks are clearly in control is nothing but embarrassing. Bush has lost support of all key players (notable Turkey and Kuwait, from which he'd have to launch an invasion) and anti-war sentiment in the US is high.

We need a regime change of the unelected warmonger, and we should do something about Saddam Hussein too.

Posted by: Dave Romm on November 2, 2002 04:51 AM

Why is my central question concerning the anti-Semitism of the United Nations ignored? This institution has criticized Israel more than any other country on this earth. How can this be justified? Why the silence?

Posted by: David Thomson on November 2, 2002 07:03 AM

Jeane Kirkpatrick on the equitable nature of the U.N.:

Kirkpatrick blasts UN's anti-Semitism
By MELISSA RADLER
NEW YORK

Reminiscing on her four-year tenure at the United Nations under Ronald Reagan, former US Ambassador to the UN Jeane Kirkpatrick said this week that while serving at the international body, "I felt for the first time in my life that I could understand how the Holocaust happened."

Kirkpatrick, who headed the US mission to the UN from 1981-85, criticized the UN's "nearly unbelievably insulting and outrageous" treatment of Israel during a keynote speech at the Zionist Organization of America 2002 Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner, held Sunday evening in New York.

"The United Nations hasn't really improved much in the years since I was there, and it hasn't really improved much at all with respect to Israel," said Kirkpatrick. She said that when she first began attending Security Council and General Assembly sessions as America's ambassador, "I was very deeply shocked by the simple anti-Semitism that pervaded the place." The anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment she was exposed to at the world body was "mysterious," and "very, very strange," she said.

"We need to speak out about the calumny spoken at the UN," she said, noting that in addition to condemning anti-Jewish hatred emanating from Arab countries, Western European nations, such as France, should be taken to task for failing to halt anti-Semitism at home.

"We must tell the truth. We must tell the world about what happens that is dangerous to the people of Israel and the Jews of the world."

Kirkpatrick praised Israel for taking risks for peace numerous times during its half-century history. "The state of Israel has taken more risks for peace than any state in the world, and has received very few rewards for those risks for peace," she said.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1035817158894

Posted by: on November 2, 2002 07:31 AM

Bob Briant wrote:

"Britain's Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, in a recent press interview, was clear that he believes the government of Israel has taken a tragic path."

This is a complete misrepresentation of what Sacks actually said. His concern was over the position he believes that Israel has been forced into by Palestinian intransigence.

There is something in the European gentile that is revulsed by the thought of Jews defending themselves. They are far, far happier when Jews are marching into the gas chambers by the millions, silently and uncomplaining. And, of course, they are completely underwhelmed at no longer being able to put the Jews at such a severe disadvantage by such actions as Britain's mendacious immigration policy into Palestine in 1939, or by locking up the survivors of Auschwitz in concentration camps on their arrival in Palestine post-1945.


Posted by: on November 2, 2002 07:42 AM

"The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, then and more so later, was and is seen as a tragic halt to the essential peace process."

No doubt, Briant, like most staunch haters of Israel, was asleep when Israel made the most generous concessions at Camp David and Taba.

Posted by: on November 2, 2002 07:48 AM

"In the UN debate on the future of Palestine in 1947, the then British government famously abstained warning that partition would be the cause of continuing conflict. And so it has proved."

More of Briant's one-eyed animus.

Perhaps if Britain hadn't been so in thrall to that viciously anti-Semitic Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, and so incredibly biased in favour of the Arabs then the conflict might not be continuing to this day.

Having fought a war not for the Jews but in spite of them and having hardly lifted a finger to assist the Jews who were being subjected to genocide, Britain, who had she been invaded herself would have acted no better than any other European nation and possibly worse, still laughably believes that she is being objective about Israel. In reality, she smells just like the perfidious Albion of old.

Posted by: on November 2, 2002 07:56 AM

Yeah, they were so sure about trouble in Palestine but have absolutely nothing to say about their utterly hopeless partition of India; or there other countless screw-ups around the globe. 'Sfunny how they only want to turn the clock back as regards Israel and no one else. No prizes for guessing why.

Sally

Posted by: Sally on November 2, 2002 08:34 AM

Mr Anonymous and Sally have followed David in delivering a series of canards which appear to be quacking all the way back to the left side of the pond. Strange, that. We could go over the eye-splitting attempts by '' to re-parse Jonathan Sacks, or the 'generous offer' of Barak that Gush Shalom has exposed to be nothing of the sort; or nention the Nazi sympathisers in the Ergun, or the Zionist terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering innocents under the British mandate; or the ignorant slander of Bevin. But when dealing with blinkered Likudnik ideologues, it's usually better to let the bullshit outreek the claims of perfidy.

Posted by: nick sweeney on November 2, 2002 09:39 AM

There is some beautiful news to share this morning. Instapundit highlighted the Liberal New Republic notebook piece arguing that the France should be expelled from the United Nation’s Security Council!:

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20021111&s=notebook111102france

Thank God, that many more Americans are realizing that the French are not worthy of respect. This is particularly exhilarating when these same folks are on the Left side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: David Thomson on November 2, 2002 10:28 AM

“Mr Anonymous and Sally have followed David in delivering a series of canards which appear to be quacking all the way back to the left side of the pond. Strange, that. We could go over the eye-splitting attempts by '' to re-parse Jonathan Sacks, or the 'generous offer' of Barak that Gush Shalom has exposed to be nothing of the sort; or nention the Nazi sympathisers in the Ergun, or the Zionist terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering innocents under the British mandate; or the ignorant slander of Bevin. But when dealing with blinkered Likudnik ideologues, it's usually better to let the bullshit outreek the claims of perfidy.”

The bottom line is this: even if Israel were indeed as vile as the far Left and extreme right believe she is (and I don’t believe this for a moment)---it still would not justify the inordinate criticism leveled at it by the United Nations. Once again, allow me to repeat myself. The UN has blasted Israel more than any other country on this planet! This makes no sense whatsoever.

Also, is Nick Sweeney a member of David Duke’s group? Does he visit the following web site for his information concerning Israel?:

http://www.davidduke.com/

Posted by: David Thomson on November 2, 2002 10:39 AM

It has been my sad but frequent experience to be dubbed an anti-semite by some when I had boyhood friends who came from German refugee families and later girl friends, have been taken as a jew on occasion both in Britain and abroad and have no inhibitions about criticising governments of countries besides Israel, including British governments. However, I suspect I am not alone in believing it to be absurd to necessarily equate criticism of Israeli governments with anti-semitism. In my book, Theodore Roosevelt's assessment (quoted above) applies to any country, not just America. I had hoped we had all passed the time when some could feel it politic to condemn the brutalities of Nazi Germany but not the Soviet Union - or vice versa.

Jonathan Sacks' view that Israel has taken a tragic path does have a resonance in Europe and that likely extends to the assessment of Gerald Kaufman MP, at one time a Labour minister, who lately described Ariel Sharon as "a right-wing thug" but then I tend to refresh my understanding of the Palestine conflict from Avi Shlaim: The Iron Wall; Penguin Books (2000). None of that precludes a revulsion of Palestine terrorism or of the terrorist bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946 which killed 90 people, mostly British public servants, when the principal organiser of that atrocity went on to become prime minister of Israel 1977-83.

The partition of the otherwise secular state of India at independence was also a tragic historic mistake, which has lead on to continuing conflict since. We might have learned that theocratic ideologies lead to intolerance and bad governance. In many European countries it took centuries to shake off the baleful influence of a church making claims to universality. Thousands of Christians were killed or persecuted in that process - as in the massacres of thousands of Huguenots in France. By comparison, England was fortunate in making that transition earlier than most and with less blood letting. Even so, the persecution of non-conforming sects was one of the motivations for the settlement of America: remember the Mayflower? Btw, Queen Victoria much preferred Disraeli as prime minister to Gladstone.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 2, 2002 12:41 PM

I utterly agree that “I suspect I am not alone in believing it to be absurd to necessarily equate criticism of Israeli governments with anti-semitism.” Indeed, it is insane to describe someone as anti-Semitic for merely criticizing some of the policies of the Likud Party. What is your point? It has nothing to do with the United Nation's unfair and exaggerated criticisms of Israel. Also, you have not said anything germane concerning the threat of Islamic militancy. Do you think it’s possible that you might be able to get back to the topic under discussion? Why are you throwing out these irrelevant red herrings?

Posted by: David Thomson on November 2, 2002 01:17 PM

>. Also, you have not said anything germane concerning the threat of Islamic militancy.

I repeat: We might have learned that theocratic ideologies lead to intolerance and bad governance.

The medieval Christian church had theocratic pretensions but then Christ said: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's [Matthew 20]

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 2, 2002 02:44 PM

"I repeat: We might have learned that theocratic ideologies lead to intolerance and bad governance.

The medieval Christian church had theocratic pretensions but then Christ said: Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's [Matthew 20]"

Yes, but when will the radical Muslims "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's...?" The very concept of separation of church and states is alien to this tradition. Do you know something that the rest of us don’t? Did the moderates take over in the Muslim nations in the last five minutes? Gosh, perhaps I better turn on Fox News immediately!

Posted by: David Thomson on November 2, 2002 04:42 PM

Unfortunately, Islamic fundamentalism is not the only religion with theocratic pretensions. There might be fewer conflicts if it were.

One of the important subtleties of England's long history is that thanks to Henry VIII in the 16th century the Church of England was established as part of the state in order to control the church. The head of the established church is a crown appointment - on advise of the prime minister for the last couple of hundered years. Of course, having a state religion looks like a perfect recipe for totlitarianism but, somehow, it hasn't worked that way. On the evidence of attendence at places of worship, Britain is a strong contender for being the least religious country in Europe. By the accounts of travelled observers, only the Netherlands is a close competitor.

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 2, 2002 05:35 PM

This thread brings up a question that I've had in my mind for a while that I can't really understand: why is it that in general, France is a target of such resentment among Americans? I realize that many Canadians resent France because they resent (justifiably, I suppose) Quebec's assertions of cultural independence to the point of violations of human rights (such as banning English signs). As for most Americans, though, I don't get it that much. There are the accusations of France as lacking spine, and being cowards, but I don't really get that. There was, of course, the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 (1870?), in which France performed utterly pathetically, and the Franco-German war of 1939, in which France also performed weakly (albeit, I believe it lost a higher proportion of its population than the U.S.). After the French revolution, however, France attempted world conquest 70 years before Germany even existed, and in WW1, France fought an utterly pointless war and lost half of a generation of young men in it. As far as hawkishness in supporting the U.S. in invading Iraq, Germany seems to be the most dovish nation in Europe, so I don't really understand why people say France is so fanatically anti-war.

Of course, there are also the accusations that France is too impractical and ideological. Perhaps, but hasn't Britain historically made the biggest mistakes concerning ideology-guided economic policy (the labor party's nationalization policies in Britain, Thatcher, etc.)? Granted Britain might have the best economic policies in Europe at the moment (though there are still some areas, like their policy on road excavations, that are bad), and France might have the worst economic policies in Europe at the moment, but from a historical perspective, I'd guess that France is more responsible/rational in economic policy than, say, Britain or Italy, and perhaps a little less so than, say, the Netherlands or Norway.

My main cause for resentment of France is that they created a language (French) in which I must take classes to pass a competency exam.

Why do you suppose France is so resented in GENERAL though? I'm curious. It seems odd to me.

Julian Elson

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 2, 2002 11:13 PM

Julian,
>Why do you suppose France is so resented in GENERAL though? I'm curious. It seems odd to me.

You could start with "The French Exception" in Foreign Affairs for July/August 2000 or http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20000701faessay65/sophie-meunier/the-french-exception.html for an abstract.

Putting "French exception" or "exception française" into google is fruitful

Recent acclaimed books on this and related themes include: Andrew Jack: The French Exception (2001) and Jonathan Fenby: France on the Brink (1999)

Posted by: Bob Briant on November 3, 2002 01:34 AM

Geeze, Colin Powell isn't even in charge of this comment thread.

Posted by: Dave Romm on November 3, 2002 06:33 AM

Both the French and my German ancestors deserve our ridicule. These two nations have done so much harm with their second rate intellectuals advocating political correctness, deconstructionism, socialism, and a myriad number of other evils. There is one question that I wish I could ask my ancestors: why did you wait so long to leave?

Edmund Burke was right on target. The United States had its glorious revolution while the French radical were torturing and beheading their opponents. Americans embraced a system of checks and balances of their political leaders while the French were infatuated with dictatorships. The Marquis de Sade truly represents the French Revolution.

The French pacifist were greatly responsible for the rise of Hitler. The Fuhrer took full advantage of their gross stupidity. Nothing has really changed. France remains a nation of too many silly people who are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. It’s time to kick the country of Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida off the U.N. Security Council. Thankfully, even the Liberal New Republic is starting to wake up to reality.

Posted by: David Thomson on November 3, 2002 09:48 AM

Dear David, if both the UN and France are evil, why bother kicking France out?

And please help me completing your Worldview chart:

- good guys (in shiny white): Israel, UK, the right.
- bad guys (in somber black): France, Germany, UN, Arabs, the left.
- perfect guys (a.k.a the godly): USA.

Posted by: Chris K on November 3, 2002 04:03 PM

"Dear David, if both the UN and France are evil, why bother kicking France out?"

Both the United Nations and France can be turned around. I merely agree with the New Republic writer that France should be kicked out the Security council. It is now a second rate world power not worthy of this honor--and incapable of carrying out the accompanying responsibilities.

"And please help me completing your Worldview chart:

- good guys (in shiny white): Israel, UK, the right.
- bad guys (in somber black): France, Germany, UN, Arabs, the left.
- perfect guys (a.k.a the godly): USA."

--good guys (in shiny white): Israel, UK, and the moderate Left and Right. You may have more in common with Pat Buchanan than I do. He despises people like me. We are the so-called vile and disgusting neo-conservatives. You definitely wouldn’t want your sister to marry one of us.

--bad guys (in somber black): Leftist French and German politicians and intellectuals---and all Arab extremists.

--perfect guys (a.k.a the godly): USA. That sound right to me.

Posted by: David Thomson on November 3, 2002 06:25 PM

On July 12, 1937 Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary commenting on the partition plan proposed by the British Peel Commission:

"The compulsory transfer of the [Palestinian] Arabs from the valleys of the proposed Jewish state could give us something which we never had, even when we stood on our own during the days of the first and second Temples. . . We are given an opportunity which we never dared to dream of in our wildest imaginings. This is more than a state, government and sovereignty----this is national consolidation in a free homeland." (Righteous Victims, p. 142)

In December 20, 1940 Yosef Weitz wrote in his diary:

"it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both [Arab and Jewish] peoples . . . If the [Palestinian] Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution [after the end of WW II] is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion], without [Palestinian] Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the [Palestinian] Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan [eastern portion of Eretz Yisrael]. For this goal funds will be found . . . An only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution." (Benny Morris, p. 27 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 131-132)

On February 7, 1948 Ben-Gurion while addressing the Mapai Council responded to a remark that "Jews have no land in the Jerusalem corridor" as the following:

"The war will give us the land. The concept of 'ours' and 'not ours' are only concept for peacetime, and during war they lose all their meaning." (Benny Morris, p. 170 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 180)

Posted by: on November 3, 2002 06:53 PM

ABOUT THE SOFT AND THE DELICATE

(Interview with Ariel Sharon published in the Israeli daily Davar Dec. 17, 1982)

By Amos Oz

"You can call me anything you like. Call me a monster or a murderer. Just note that I don't hate Arabs. On the contrary. Personally, I am much more at ease with them, and especially with the Bedouin, than with Jews. Those Arabs we haven't yet spoilt are proud people, they are irrational, cruel and generous. It's the Yids that are all twisted. In order to straighten them out you have to first bend them sharply the other way. That, in brief, is my whole ideology.

"Call Israel by any name you like, call it a Judeo-Nazi state as does Leibowitz. Why not? Better a live Judeo-Nazi than a dead saint. I don't care whether I am like Ghadafi. I am not after the admiration of the gentiles. I don't need their love. I don't need to be loved by Jews like you either. I have to live, and I intend to ensure that my children will live as well. With or without the blessing of the Pope and the other religious leaders from the New York Times. I will destroy anyone who will raise a hand against my children, I will destroy him and his children, with or without our famous purity of arms. I don't care if he is Christian, Muslim, Jewish or pagan. History teaches us that he who won't kill will be killed by others. That is an iron law.

"Even if you'll prove to me by mathematical means that the present war in Lebanon is a dirty immoral war, I don't care. Moreover, even if you will prove to me that we have not achieved and will not achieve any of our aims in Lebanon, that we will neither create a friendly regime in Lebanon nor destroy the Syrians or even the PLO, even then I don't care. It was still worth it. Even if Galilee is shelled again by Katyushas in a year's time, I don't really care. We shall start another war, kill and destroy more and more, until they will have had enough. And do you know why it is all worth it? Because it seems that this war has made us more unpopular among the so-called civilised world.

"We'll hear no more of that nonsense about the unique Jewish morality, the moral lessons of the holocaust or about the Jews who were supposed to have emerged from the gas chambers pure and virtuous. No more of that. The destruction of Eyn Hilwe (and it's a pity we did not wipe out that hornet's nest completely!), the healthy bombardment of Beirut and that tiny massacre (can you call 500 Arabs a massacre?) in their camps which we should have committed with our own delicate hands rather than let the Phalangists do it, all these good deeds finally killed the bullshit talk about a unique people and of being a light upon the nations. No more uniqueness and no more sweetness and light. Good riddance."

"I personally don't want to be any better than Khomeini or Brezhnev or Ghadafi or Assad or Mrs. Thatcher, or even Harry Truman who killed half a million Japanese with two fine bombs. I only want to be smarter than they are, quicker and more efficient, not better or more beautiful than they are. Tell me, do the baddies of this world have a bad time? If anyone tries to touch them, the evil men cut his hands and legs off. They hunt and catch whatever they feel like eating. They don't suffer from indigestion and are not punished by Heaven. I want Israel to join that club. Maybe the world will then at last begin to fear me instead of feeling sorry for me. Maybe they will start to tremble, to fear my madness instead of admiring my nobility. Thank god for that. Let them tremble, let them call us a mad state. Let them understand that we are a wild country, dangerous to our surroundings, not normal, that we might go crazy if one of our children is murdered - just one! That we might go wild and burn all the oil fields in the Middle East! If anything would happen to your child, god forbid, you would talk like I do. Let them be aware in Washington, Moscow, Damascus and China that if one of our ambassadors is shot, or even a consul or the most junior embassy official, we might start World War Three just like that !" ......We are talking while sitting on the balcony of the pretty country house belonging to C. which is situated in a prosperous Moshav. To the west we see a burning sunset and there is a scent of fruit trees in the air. We are being served iced coffee in tall glasses. C. is about fifty years old. He is a man well known for his (military) actions. He is a strong, heavy figure wearing shorts but no shirt. His body is tanned a metallic bronze shade, the colour of a blond man living in the sun. He puts his hairy legs on the table and his hands on the chair. There is a scar on his neck. His eyes wander over his plantations. He spells out his ideology in a voice made hoarse by too much smoking:

"Let me tell me [sic] what is the most important thing, the sweetest fruit of the war in Lebanon: It is that now they don't just hate Israel. Thanks to us, they now also hate all those Feinschmecker Jews in Paris, London, New York, Frankfurt and Montreal, in all their holes. At last they hate all these nice Yids, who say they are different from us, that they are not Israeli thugs, that they are different Jews, clean and decent. Just like the assimilated Jew in Vienna and Berlin begged the anti-Semite not to confuse him with the screaming, stinking Ostjude, who had smuggled himself into that cultural environment out of the dirty ghettos of Ukraine and Poland. It won't help them, those clean Yids, just as it did not help them in Vienna and Berlin. Let them shout that they condemn Israel, that they are all right, that they did not want and don't want to hurt a fly, that they always prefer being slaughtered to fighting, that they have taken it upon themselves to teach the gentiles how to be good Christians by always turning the other cheek. It won't do them any good. Now they are getting it there because of us, and I am telling you, it is a pleasure to watch.

"They are the same Yids who persuaded the gentiles to capitulate to the bastards in Vietnam, to give it in to Khomeini, to Brezhnev, to feel sorry for Sheikh Yamani because of his tough childhood, to make love not war. Or rather, to do neither, and instead write a thesis on love and war. We are through with all that. The Yid has been rejected, not only did he crucify Jesus, but he also crucified Arafat in Sabra and Shatila. They are being identified with us and that's a good thing! Their cemeteries are being desecrated, their synagogues are set on fire, all their old nicknames are being revived, they are being expelled from the best clubs, people shoot into their ethnic restaurants murdering small children, forcing them to remove any sign showing them to be Jews, forcing them to move and change their profession.

"Soon their palaces will be smeared with the slogan: Yids, go to Palestine! And you know what? They will go to Palestine because they will have no other choice! All this is a bonus we received from the Lebanese war. Tell me, wasn't it worth it?

"Soon we will hit on good times. The Jews will start arriving, the Israelis will stop emigrating and those who already emigrated will

return. Those who had chosen assimilation will finally understand that it won't help them to try and be the conscience of the world. The 'conscience of the world' will have to understand through its arse what it could not get into its head. The gentiles have always felt sick of the Yids and their conscience, and now the Yids will have only one option: to come home, all of them, fast, to install thick steel doors, to build a strong fence, to have submachine guns positioned at every corner of their fence here and to fight like devils against anyone who dares to make a sound in this region. And if anyone even raises his hand against us we'll take away half his land and burn the other half, including the oil. We might use nuclear arms. We'll go on until he no longer feels like it...

"...You probably want to know whether I am not afraid of the masses of Yids coming here to escape anti-semitism smearing us with their olive oil until we go all soft like them. Listen, history is funny in that way, there is a dialectic here, irony. Who was it who expanded the state of Israel almost up the boundaries of the kingdom of King David? Who expanded the state until it covered the area from Mount Hermon to Raz Muhammad? Levi Eshkol. Of all people, it was that follower of Gordon, that softie, that old woman. Who, on the other hand, is about to push us back into the walls of the ghetto? Who gave up all of Sinai in order to retain a civilised image? Beitar's governor in Poland, that proud man Menahem Begin. So you can never tell. I only know one thing for sure: as long as you are fighting for your life all is permitted, even to drive out all the Arabs from the West Bank, everything.

"Leibowitz is right, we are Judeo-Nazis, and why not? Listen, a people that gave itself up to be slaughtered, a people that let soap to be made of its children and lamp shades from the skin of its women is a worse criminal than its murderers. Worse than the Nazis...If your nice civilised parents had come here in time instead of writing books about the love for humanity and singing Hear O Israel on the way to the gas chambers, now don't be shocked, if they instead had killed six million Arabs here or even one million, what would have happened? Sure, two or three nasty pages would have been written in the history books, we would have been called all sorts of names, but we could be here today as a people of 25 million!

"Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there, I don't care. And I don't mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal. Then you can spruce up your Jewish conscience and enter the respectable club of civilised nations, nations that are large and healthy. What you lot don't understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it. True, it could have been finished in 1948, but you interfered, you stopped it. And all this because of the Jewishness in your souls, because of your Diaspora mentality. For the Jews don't grasp things quickly. If you open your eyes and look around the world you will see that darkness is falling again. And we know what happens to a Jew who stays out in the dark. So I am glad that this small war in Lebanon frightened the Yids. Let them be afraid, let them suffer. They should hurry home before it gets really dark. So I am an anti-Semite ? Fine. So don't quote me, quote Lilienblum instead [an early Russian Zionist - ed.]. There is no need to quote an anti-Semite. Quote Lilienblum, and he is definitely not an anti-Semite, there is even a street in Tel Aviv named after him. (C. quotes from a small notebook that was lying on his table when I arrived:) 'Is all that is happening not a clear sign that our forefathers and ourselves...wanted and still want to be disgraced? That we enjoy living like gypsies.' That's Lilienblum. Not me. Believe me. I went through the Zionist literature, I can prove what I say.

"And you can write that I am disgrace to humanity, I don't mind, on the contrary. Let's make a deal: I will do all I can to expel the Arabs from here, I will do all I can to increase anti-semitism, and you will write poems and essays about the misery of the Arabs and be prepared to absorb the Yids I will force to flee to this country and teach them to be a light unto the gentiles. How about it ?"

It was there that I stopped C.'s monologue for a moment and expressed the thought passing through my mind, perhaps more for myself than for my host. Was it possible that Hitler had not only hurt the Jews but also poisoned their minds? Had that poison sunk in and was still active? But not even that idea could cause C. to protest or raise his voice. After all, he said to have never shouted under stress, even during the famous operations his name is associated with..."

Posted by: on November 3, 2002 07:27 PM

To the Editors of the New York Times:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village
A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants240 men, women, and childrenand kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen
The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

ISIDORE ABRAMOWITZ, HANNAH ARENDT, ABRAHAM BRICK, RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO, ALBERT EINSTEIN, HERMAN EISEN, M.D., HAYIM FINEMAN, M. GALLEN, M.D., H.H. HARRIS, ZELIG S. HARRIS, SIDNEY HOOK, FRED KARUSH, BRURIA KAUFMAN, IRMA L. LINDHEIM, NACHMAN MAISEL, SEYMOUR MELMAN, MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D., HARRY M. OSLINSKY, SAMUEL PITLICK, FRITZ ROHRLICH, LOUIS P. ROCKER, RUTH SAGIS, ITZHAK SANKOWSKY, I.J. SHOENBERG, SAMUEL SHUMAN, M. SINGER, IRMA WOLFE, STEFAN WOLFE.

New York, Dec. 2, 1948

Posted by: Albert Einstein on November 3, 2002 07:44 PM

Amos Oz *denies* that his interview quoted abovfe is an interview with Sharon...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on November 3, 2002 08:50 PM

Indeed. A quick research revels that while authentic, it is probably not to be attributed to Sharon, but probably to one of his military colleagues.

The confusion would have been introduced by Mondher Sfar, a Tunisian academic with marxist roots, who lives in France. This text seems to be highly popular among Islamists and has for sole rival the infamously anti-Semitic "Protocal of the Elders of Zion."

Some remain suspicious that C. be Sharon, but later in a book, Asmos has the same C. citing Sharon, which is nonsensical. The suspicion arises because Asmos is more surportive of Sharon than he was in the past and because Asmos has never revealed the identity of the interviewe in accordance to the aggreement he had passed with him or her.

Interesting though how fast the wrong info citculates over the internet, and how relatively long it took me to find the correction. Here is one in French (pardon me - use Google to translate it if you need to) that appeared in Le Monde on 06.13.2002.

The collective letter to the New York Times seems to be authentic, however.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 3, 2002 11:02 PM

The post of "Albert Einstein" concerning a petition dated December 2, 1948 is hardly relevant even if it might be legitimate. Nobody ever said that members of the Israeli radical right did not commit a number of atrocities. The main thing we should realize, though, is that Israel has evolved into a democracy willing to address these past wrongs. I hate to quote myself, but in this instance it seems appropriate:

“The bottom line is this: even if Israel were indeed as vile as the far Left and extreme right believe she is (and I don’t believe this for a moment)---it still would not justify the inordinate criticism leveled at it by the United Nations. Once again, allow me to repeat myself. The UN has blasted Israel more than any other country on this planet! This makes no sense whatsoever. “

Posted by: David Thomson on November 3, 2002 11:11 PM

David, I think your point regarding the number of UN resolutions regarding Israel is interesting (it has for merit to flit the usual argument around). Why hasn't there been a similar number of resolutions regarding other countries that violate human rights or disrepect the UN's territorial positions?

I cannot help but think that a number of these Israel resolutions are the result of the systematic disrespect of UN resolutions by Israel itself. It would be nice to know the counter-factual : how many UN resolution regarding Israel would there be if Israel abided by (at least most of) them?

This traces back to the ante-Semitic characterization the of divestment movements like the one lead by Will Youmans. One would like to see such movements be equally raging against all human rights violations. Yet, denying Israel's wrongdoings by pointing to other countries' violations seems to me to be a rather weak argument in defence of Israel.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 4, 2002 08:43 AM

P.S. David, would you please notice that the correction regarding the indentity of "C." in the Asmoz interview was published in a center-left-leaning high-circulation French newspaper... And that it is worrying to read interviews like that one, but perhaps neither more nor less worrying that quotes from Hamas...

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 4, 2002 09:03 AM

“Why hasn't there been a similar number of resolutions regarding other countries that violate human rights or disrespect the UN's territorial positions?

I cannot help but think that a number of these Israel resolutions are the result of the systematic disrespect of UN resolutions by Israel itself.”

The United Nations is simply one of the most anti-Semitic organizations on this planet. Why are you so ignorant of this fact? The evidence of the despicable behavior of many of these members of the U.N. is beyond dispute. Israel is relentlessly criticized for one simple reason: it is a Jewish state! It’s nothing more complicated than that. Many of the horror stories that you’ve heard about are nothing but lies. Have you already forgotten the “Jenin massacre?”

What about those Jewish citizens who attack Israel? These ultra-Leftist idiots are similar to the radical American radicals who despise the United States. A visceral hatred of one’s own country is standard behavior for left wing extremists.

Posted by: David Thomson on November 4, 2002 03:16 PM

Uh... yeah, I remember the Jenin "massacre," and the U.N.'s response to it. They demanded that they be let in to investigate, they went in and investigated, and found that Israel hadn't conducted human rights abuses on the scale that was alleged (i.e. the U.N. said there was no massacre), though they did say there were some human rights abuses, such as blocking medical aid.

The Jenin "massacre" may serve as an illustrative example of Arab anti-semitism, lies, and distortions of Israel, but I hardly see how it shows the U.N. to be such.

Julian Elson

Posted by: Julian Elson on November 4, 2002 09:22 PM

It appears that someone has forgotten about the disgraceful behavior of Mary Robinson, the former U.N. commissioner for human rights. Also, you have conveniently ignored the so-called World Racism Conference held awhile back in Durban. The Jenin “massacre” is only the tip of the iceberg.

The following article might be of interest:

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-rubin052002.asp

Posted by: David Thomson on November 5, 2002 06:38 AM

>>Have you already forgotten the “Jenin massacre?”<<

You mean Palestinians in this camp didn't all die so it does not qualify for human right abuse? Some people were buldozered alive in their homes, and it's not a massacre? Don't try to deny that, Israeli soldiers have proudly reported on this. Why don't you "admit" you don't give a "damn" if some "innocent" Arabs "die"?

Now, when a single Israeli dies, it does not take an hour to make it to the NYT. In comparison, daily deaths of innocent Palestinians (children, women and elderly included) are rarely reported, and even more rarely make headlines. But then again, what can happen to a people that doesn't even have the right to exist, is denied its past, and any meaningful future?

In fact, by historical standards this is one of the gravest and most cold-blooded act of ethnic cleansing conducted by humanity (besides the European "discovery" of America - and that's probably why Americans have a tendency to be sympathetic to Israel.) The level of historical revisionism in this country has reached levels close to those of fascist regimes. Same old, or inexorable fascization of America? I am afraid it is the later.

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on November 5, 2002 06:27 PM
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