Every so often we come across a secular Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist’ who argues that Zionism is not Judaism and vice versa. Interestingly enough, I have just come across an invaluable text that illuminates this question from a rabbinical perspective. Apparently back in 1942, 757 American Rabbis added their names to a public pronouncement titled ‘Zionism an Affirmation of Judaism’. This Rabbinical rally for Zionism was declared at the time “the largest public pronouncement in all Jewish history.”
Today, we tend to believe that world Jewry’s transition towards support for Israel followed the 1967 war though some might argue that already in 1948, American Jews manifested a growing support for Zionism. However, this rabbinical pronouncement proves that as early as 1942, the American Jewish religious establishment was already deeply Zionist. And if this is not enough, the rabbis also regarded Zionism as the ‘implementation’ of Judaism. Seemingly, already then, the peak of World War two, the overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regarded Zionism, not only as fully consistent with Judaism, but as a “logical expression and implementation of it.”
In spite of the fact that early Zionist leaders were largely secular and the East European Jewish settler waves were driven by Jewish socialist ideology, the rabbis contend that “Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism.
Those rabbis were not a bunch of ignoramuses. They were patriotic and nationalistic and they grasped that “universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism.” The rabbis tried to differentiate between contemporaneous German Nationalism and other national movements and they definitely wanted to believe that Zionism was categorically different to Nazism. “Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil.” But as we know, just three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the new Jewish State launched a devastating racially driven ethnic-cleansing campaign. Zionism has proven to be militaristic and chauvinistic.
Shockingly enough, back in 1942 as many as 757 American rabbis were able to predict the outcome of the war and they realised that the suffering of European Jewry would be translated into a Jewish State . “We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society (a Jewish State).”
Some American patriots today are concerned with Israeli-American dual nationality and the dual aspirations of American Jews. Apparently our rabbis addressed this topic too. According to them, there is no such conflict whatsoever. All American Jews are American patriots and all American decision makers are Zionists. “Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.”
Back in 1942 our American rabbis were bold enough to state that defeating Hitler was far from sufficient. For them, a full solution of the Jewish question could only take place in Palestine. “Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe. “
But there was one thing the American rabbis failed to mention – the Palestinian people. For some reason, those rabbis who knew much about ‘universalism’ and in particular Jewish ‘universalism’ showed very little concern to the people of the land. I guess that after all, chosennss is a form of blindness and rabbis probably know more about this than anyone else.
ZIONISM AN AFFIRMATION OF JUDAISM A Reply by 757 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Rabbis of America to a Statement Issued by Ninety Members of the Reform Rabbinate Charging That Zionism Is Incompatible with the Teachings of Judaism
THE SUBJOINED REPLY was prepared at the initiative of the following Rabbis who submitted it to their colleagues throughout the country for signature: Philip S. Bernstein, Barnett R. Brickner, Israel Goldstein, James G. Heller, Mordecai M. Kaplan, B. L. Levinthal, Israel H. Levinthal, Louis M. Levitsky, Joshua Loth Liebman, Joseph H. Lookstein, Jacob R. Marcus, Abraham A. Neuman, Louis I. Newman, David de Sola Pool, Abba Hillel Silver, Milton Steinberg, and Stephen S. Wise.
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED RABBIS of all elements in American Jewish religious life, have noted with concern a statement by ninety of our colleagues in which they repudiate Zionism on the ground that it is inconsistent with Jewish religious and moral doctrine.This statement misrepresents Zionism and misinterprets historic Jewish religious teaching, and we should be derelict in our duty if we did not correct the misapprehensions which it is likely to foster.
We call attention in the first place to the fact that the signatories to this statement, for whom as fellow-Rabbis we have a high regard, represent no more than a very small fraction of the American rabbinate. They constitute a minority even of the rabbinate of Reform Judaism with which they are associated. The overwhelming majority of American Rabbis regard Zionism not only as fully consistent with Judaism but as a logical expression and implementation of it.
Our colleagues concede the need for Jewish immigration into Palestine as contributing towards a solution of the vast tragedy of Jewish homelessness. They profess themselves ready to encourage such settlement. They are aware of the important achievements, social and spiritual, of the Palestinian Jewish community and they pledge to it their unstinted support. And yet, subscribing to every practical accomplishment of Zionism, they have embarked upon a public criticism of it. In explanation of their opposition they advance the consideration that Zionism is nationalistic and secularistic. On both scores they maintain it is incompatible with the Jewish religion and its universalistic outlook. They protest against the political emphasis which, they say, is now paramount in the Zionist program and which, according to them, tends to confuse both Jews and Christians as to the place and function of the Jewish group in American society. They appeal to the prophets of ancient Israel for substantiation of their views.
TREASURING the doctrines and moral principles of our faith no less than they, devoted equally to America and its democratic processes and spirit, we nonetheless find every one of their contentions totally without foundation.
Zionism is not a secularist movement. It has its origins and roots in the authoritative religious texts of Judaism. Scripture and rabbinical literature alike are replete with the promise of the restoration of Israel to its ancestral home. Anti-Zionism, not Zionism, is a departure from the Jewish religion. Nothing in the entire pronouncement of our colleagues is more painful than their appeal to the prophets of Israel—to those very prophets whose inspired and recorded words of national rebirth and restoration nurtured and sustained the hope of Israel throughout the ages.
Nor is Zionism a denial of the universalistic teachings of Judaism. Universalism is not a contradiction of nationalism. Nationalism as such, whether it be English, French, American or Jewish, is not in itself evil. It is only militaristic and chauvinistic nationalism, that nationalism which shamelessly flouts all mandates of international morality, which is evil. The prophets of Israel looked forward to the time not when all national entities would be obliterated, but when all nations would walk in the light of the Lord, live by His law and learn war no more.
Our colleagues find themselves unable to subscribe to the political emphasis “now paramount in the Zionist program.” We fail to perceive what it is to which they object. Is it to the fact that there are a regularly constituted Zionist organization and a Jewish Agency which deal with the mandatory government, the Colonial office, the League of Nations and other recognized political bodies? But obviously, even immigration and colonization are practical matters which require political action. The settlement of a half million Jews in Palestine since the last war was made possible by political action which culminated in the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. There can be little hope of opening the doors of Palestine for mass Jewish immigration after the war without effective political action. Or is it that they object to the ultimate achievement by the Jewish community of Palestine of some form of Jewish statehood? We are not so bold as to predict the nature of the international order which will emerge from the present war. It is altogether likely, and indeed it may be desirable, that all sovereign states shall under the coming peace surrender some of their sovereignty to achieve a just and peaceful world society.
Certainly our colleagues will allow to the Jews of Palestine the same rights that are allowed to all other peoples resident on their own land. If Jews should ultimately come to constitute a majority of the population of Palestine, would our colleagues suggest that all other peoples in the post-war world shall be entitled to political self-determination, whatever form that may take, but the Jewish people in Palestine shall not have such a right? Or do they mean to suggest that the Jews in Palestine shall forever remain a minority in order not to achieve such political self-determination?
PROTESTING their sympathy both for the homeless Jews of the world and for their brethren in Palestine, our colleagues have by their pronouncement done all these a grave disservice. It may well be that to the degree to which their efforts arc at all effective, Jews who might otherwise have found a haven in Palestine will be denied one. The enemies of the Jewish homeland will be strengthened in their propaganda as a result of the aid which these Rabbis have given them. To the Jews of Palestine, facing the gravest danger in their history and fighting hard to maintain morale and hope in the teeth of the totalitarian menace, this pronouncement comes as a cruel blow.
We do not mean to imply that our colleagues intended it as such. We have no doubt that they are earnest about their fine spun theoretical objections to Zionism. We hold, however, that these objections have no merit, and further that voicing them at this time has been unwise and unkind.
We have not the least fear that our fellow Americans will be led to misconstrue the attitudes of American Jews to America because of their interest in Zionism. Every fair-minded American knows that American Jews have only one political allegiance–and that is to America. There is nothing in Zionism to impair this loyalty. Zionism has been endorsed in our generation by every President from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and has been approved by the Congress of the United States. The noblest spirits in American life, statesmen, scholars, writers, ministers and leaders of labor and industry, have lent their sympathy and encouragement to the movement.
Jews, and all non-Jews who are sympathetically interested in the plight of Jewry, should bear in mind that the defeat of Hitler will not of itself normalize Jewish life in Europe.
An Allied peace which will not frankly face the problem of the national homelessness of the Jewish people will leave the age-old tragic status of European Jewry unchanged. The Jewish people is in danger of emerging from this war not only more torn and broken than any other people, but also without any prospects of a better and more secure future and without the hope that such tragedies will not recur again, and again. Following an Allied victory, the Jews of Europe, we are confident, will be restored to their political rights and to equality of citizenship. But they possessed these rights after the last war and yet the past twenty-five years have witnessed a rapid and appalling deterioration in their position. In any case, even after peace is restored Europe will be so ravaged and war-torn that large masses of Jews will elect migration to Palestine as a solution of their personal problems.
Indeed, for most of these there may be no other substantial hope of economic, social and spiritual rehabilitation.
THE freedom which, we have faith, will come to all men and nations after this war, must come not only to Jews as individuals wherever they live, permitting them to share freedom on a plane of equality with all other men, but also to the Jewish people, as such, restored in its homeland, where at long last it will be a free people within a world federation of free peoples.
Of the 757 Rabbis listed below, 214 are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform); 247 are members of the Rabbinical Assembly of America (Conservative); and the rest are affiliated with the Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox) or the Union of Orthodox Rabbis. The total represents the largest number of rabbis whose signatures are attached to a public pronouncement in all Jewish history.
To see the scanned image in PDF format with the list of signers, click here
Note: A version of the above statement was released to the press on November 20, 1942. By that time 818 rabbis had signed on. It appears in Samuel Halperin’s The Political World of American Zionism. (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1961) 333.
Many of us non-RC traditionalist all over the world had awaited the news from Rome with some trepidation. In the end it turned out to be rather good. Pope Francis, the first non-European Bishop of Rome since Gregory III (d. 741), is universally described as “modest” and “moderate”—which is much preferred to the dreaded “bold” or “courageous,” in the sense that those words are used by the global media.
“He lives like a monk in a small apartment, travels by bus, and detests all vanity,” Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro told me when he heard the news. His Grace has visited Buenos Aires repeatedly in recent years as the Orthodox Diocesan Administrator, but he has not met Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who was mostly in Rome on those occasions. “I’ve heard from many local people, however, both lay and clergy, that he radiates a burning faith,” says the Metropolitan and adds that his simplicity and compassion for the poor go hand in hand with doctrinal firmness.
Two examples illustrate this dichotomy. When Pope John Paul II appointed him a cardinal in 2001, Bergoglio appealed to affluent Argentines not to fly to Rome to celebrate his investiture but instead to donate to charity the money they would have spent on air fare. In 2010 he furiously opposed Argentina’s legalization of same-sex “marriages,” arguing that children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother. In a letter to the faithful he spoke strongly: “Let us not be naïve, we are not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner reacted by saying that his tone was reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”
After an unprecedented 35 years of non-Italian pontificates, many observers had expected the Italian contingent in the College of Cardinals to insist on one of their own. Jorge Bergoglio is as close to being an Italian, however, as is possible for a straniero. He was born in Argentina in 1936 to first-generation Italian immigrants, speaks Italian without an accent, and has a deep grounding in Italian culture, arts and literature. At 76, Pope Francis is significantly older than expected by laity or predicted by punditry. His election is a compromise which will keep most traditionalists contented, if not exactly enthused, while giving the reformist zealots another decade or so to select a strong, charismatic candidate for their long-planned onslaught. Pope Benedict’s sudden decision has caught them off-guard and unprepared.
Among the congratulatory messages sent to Francis, the one from France’s President Francois Hollande was remarkable for its cold, Christophobic rudeness. Hollande said that France, “faithful to its universal principles of liberty, equality and fraternity,” would continue its “dialogue” with the Holy See for “peace, justice, solidarity and human dignity.” That country used to be Christian, once. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, on the other hand, made an innocent mistake when stating that the new pope’s “choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe.” As a Jesuit—the first ever to become pope—Bergoglio was guided in his choice of the name by the co-founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Francis Xavier.
If you wonder, why the world is so confused and incoherent, look no further then the concept that All Truth Is Local. “Cultural Relativism is the view that moral or ethical systems, which vary from culture to culture, are all equally valid and no one system is really “better” than any other. This is based on the idea that there is no ultimate standard of good or evil, so every judgment about right and wrong is a product of society. Therefore, any opinion on morality or ethics is subject to the cultural perspective of each person. Ultimately, this means that no moral or ethical system can be considered the “best,” or “worst,” and no particular moral or ethical position can actually be considered “right” or “wrong.”
This viewpoint is patently absurd on face value. Yet much of humanity uses “words like “pluralism,” “tolerance,” and “acceptance” in a loose way in which modern society defines these ideas has made it possible for almost anything to be justified on the grounds of “relativism.”
The article by Gene Howington, Ethical Relativism: A Good Idea or a Path to Anarchy? – cites a compelling example of an indisputable immorality performed that resulted in the deaths of innocents.
“One of the strongest arguments against ethical relativism comes from the assertion that universal ethical and/or moral standards can exist even if some practices and beliefs vary among cultures. In other words, it is possible to acknowledge cultural differences and still find that some of these practices and beliefs are wrong. Consider that although the Aztec had a society that was in some ways more advanced that their contemporary European counterparts, that their practice of human sacrifice is simply wrong.”
Most people seldom analyze their personal behavior in light of such extreme historic atrocities. However, many live a life of individual relativism. The OBJECTIVITY, SUBJECTIVITY, AND MORAL VIEWS site poses the danger of accepting a situation ethics and the risk of adopting the dead end captivity of iconoclasm.
“Individual relativism is close to, but should not be confused with, moral nihilism. An individual relativist takes standards seriously perhaps even by going so far as establishing a strict, or burdensome moral code for himself or herself. Under this position, we view the code as binding only for that one person. A nihilist, on the other hand, believes that morality is an illusion. Nothing is really binding, even a code one establishes for oneself. Nihilism about any subject is difficult to overcome, if overcoming it means giving a nihilist reasons adequate to change his or her belief, because the nihilist can continually reject the basis for our reasoning. We may claim that an objective moral code is needed for proper social function, to avoid harm, to do good, to preserve integrity. The nihilist keeps telling us that all of this is an illusion or that each involves an imposed standard.”
Is there really a difference between a personally devised ethical system, which inescapably descends into an abstruseness of conflict and indiscriminate conduct, and the nihilistic delusion that no moral behavior is attainable? Admittedly, each act of moral conscience is individual, but when society promotes a cultural relativism mystique, in order to establish an egalitarian moral neutral acceptance, the glue that binds civilization together breaks apart.
The conventional basis that philosophers acknowledge as foundational for any culture that accepts a deity, is natural law. The University of Tennessee provides an impressive summary of moral thought, in MORAL PHILOSOPHY THROUGH THE AGES.
The traditional underpinnings that apply Aristotle’s precepts, to Christian teachings are found in Aquinas Natural Law Theory. Aquinas’s account of natural law appears in his “Treatise on Law,” a section of his several thousand page Summa Theologica (1a2ae q. 90-144).
“In short, for Aquinas, all moral laws are ultimately grounded in God’s unchanging eternal law, and we discover general rules of natural law through intuition. Legal experts then deduce more specific rules of human law from these, and in scriptural divine laws we find examples of both general and specific rules. Since we don’t have access to the complete list of eternal law, from our limited human perspectives morality begins with a search for the general rules of natural law. But where do we begin looking for the general rules of natural law? Aquinas says that we must look to human nature as a guide:
… [each human being] has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law. [Summa Theologica, 1a2ae 90:2]
According to Aquinas, when God created us he gave us natural instincts that reflect the general moral principles of natural law. There are two distinct levels of morally-relevant instincts. First, God implanted in us an instinctive intuition that we should pursue our proper human end. Second, God implanted in us a series of instincts that define our proper end as living, reproducing, and rational creatures.”
Now the relevance of submitting yourself unto the authority of divine design is rare in an age of godless cultural relativism. Without a willful acceptance of inspired purpose and rules for prescribed conduct, the barbarism of immoral nihilism is inevitable. Politically, the rages of wicked government repression become institutionalized, and a much greater cruelty, than most cleric domination abuses. One need not be a defender of any particular faith to accept the fundamental inherent autonomy of your being within the world. Your plight is often proportional to your circumstance, but your morality or lack thereof; is directly tied to the nature of your created soul.
The ontogeny of every individual is a product of social environment, mortal will and providential inspiration. Most of temporal society is geared to combating political disputes or fostering phony promises. Personages cope according to their singular talents and determination to compete. Many reject, from this equation, the role and influence of the muses consorting with your own mythology. Notwithstanding, the very mention of obedience to Almighty God and the submission to His natural law, bears the risk of being burned at the stake of the cultural relativist.
Thinking About Obscurity suggests: “Obscurity is the idea that when information is hard to obtain or understand, it is, to some degree, safe.” Alas, this seems to be the current condition of embracing natural law in an age of cultural relativism. Asking for divine inspiration that seeks eternal reason or using your natural instincts to discover everlasting principles, is hidden from the nihilist and their relativist cousins. Their condescending attacks against religion stems from their own inadequacies, while they spend their energy on convincing themselves of the illusion that a world without God is safe for their own form of Nahuatl liturgy sacrifices.
Dr. Edward Younkins provides a strong defense of Western Civilization in his essay, “Why the World is the Way It Is: Cultural Relativism and It’s Descendents”. By including, “Multiculturalism, racism, postmodernism, deconstructionism, political correctness, and social engineering are among cultural relativism’s “intellectual” descendents”, into this mistaken value system, the stage is set for his valid conclusion.
“In reality, the superiority of Western culture can be objectively demonstrated when cultures are appraised based on the only befitting standard for judging a society or culture—the extent to which its core values are life affirming or antilife. Prolife culture recognizes and honors man’s nature as a rational being who needs to discern and produce the circumstances that his survival and flourishing require. Such a culture would promote reason, man’s natural rights, productivity, science, and technology. Western culture, the prime example of this type of culture, exhibits levels of freedom, opportunity, health, wealth, productivity, innovation, satisfaction, comfort, and life expectancy unprecedented in history.
Western civilization represents man at his best. It embodies the values that make life as a man possible—freedom, reason, individualism, and man’s natural rights; capitalism, self-reliance, and self-responsibility based on free will and achievement; the need for limited, republican representative government and the rule of law; language, art, and literature depicting man as efficacious in the world; and science and technology, the rules of logic, and the idea of causality in a universe governed by natural laws intelligible to man. These values, the values of Western civilization, are values for all men cutting across ethnicity, geography, and gender.”
That so many pseudo intellectuals not only reject this timeless assessment and actually rebel against the natural order of society, demonstrates why the world is such a mess. Diversity of ethnical relativism cries out for a methodical demise. The cultural suicide of civilization is really a crisis in valid moral values.
There is little safety left on a planet that surrenders it individual responsibility to the collective and forgoes any duty to fulfill ones natural purpose. The progressive slough that society proceeds upon only demeans the whole. Abandoning the quest for universal ethics denies our instinctive intuition. In order to fulfill our nature as a rational creature, humanity must believe that rightful moral principles are ubiquitously applicable.
Damascus – Iran is expected to meet with other world powers in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss its nuclear program. Discussions that the occupiers of Palestine fervently hope will not be successful. It is toward this end that their key demand this week to the US Congress, the White House and the European Union is “to cast responsibility on the Iranians by blaming them for the talks’ failure in the clearest terms possible.”
According to the Al-Monitor of 3/19/13, Israel also demands that the countries meeting in Kazakhstan “make it perfectly clear that slogans such as ‘negotiations can’t go on forever’ are their marching orders to the White House, and they want the Kazakhstan attendees to act “so severely that the Iranians realize that they face a greater threat than just Israeli military action.” “The message must be that this time the entire west, behind Israel’s leadership, is contemplating the launch of a massive military action.” Unsaid is that “the entire West” is expected to confront Iran militarily while Tel Aviv’s forces will mop up Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria if necessary.
Pending the above arrangements, Israel this week is further demanding that the Obama White House issue another Executive Order dramatically ratcheting up the US-led Sanctions against Iran and Syria while it prepares for a hoped for “ game changing international economic blockade, including no-fly zones enforced by NATO.
To achieve yet another lawyer of severe sanctions, and at the behest of AIPAC, a “legislative planning” meeting was called by Congressman Eliot Engel, who represents New Yorks 17th District (the Bronx) and who is the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (Florida’s 27th District), Chair of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. The session was held in a posh Georgetown restaurant and participant’s included representatives from AIPAC, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain plus half a dozen Congressional staffers.
Congressman Engel has co-sponsored virtually every anti-Arab, anti-Islam, anti-Palestinian, anti-Iran, and anti-Syrian Congressional broadside since he entered Congress a quarter-century ago. His campaign literature last fall stated: “I am a strong supporter of sanctions against those who repeatedly reject calls to behave as responsible nations. (Israel excepted-ed). I have authored or helped author numerous bills which have been signed into law to impose sanctions against rogue states including Iran and Syria.” Ros-Lehtinen and Engel led all members with AIPAC donations on the House side in last fall’s Congressional elections. They are ranked number one and two respectively as still serving career recipients of Israel-AIPAC’s “indirect” campaign donations.
Some Congressional operatives accuse Rep. Ros-Lehtinen of being a bit lazy and neglecting the bread and butter needs of her Florida constituents. But others argue that it depends on which constituents one has in mind. Her election mailings and her Congressional website claim that the Congresswoman “led all Congressional efforts tirelessly to generate votes to block what she views as anti-Israel resolutions offered at the former UN Commission on Human Rights.”
A big fan of US-led sanctions against Iran and Syria, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen introduced the Iran Freedom Support Act on January 6, 2005, which increased sanctions and expanded punitive measures against the Iranian people until the Iranian regime has dismantled its nuclear plants. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen also introduced H.R. 957, the Iran Sanctions Amendments Act, which she claims “will close loopholes in current law by holding export credit agencies, insurers, and other financial institutions accountable for their facilitation of investments in Iran and sanction them as well.” In addition, H.R. 957 seeks to impose liability on parent companies for violations of sanctions by their foreign entities. She also co-sponsored H.R 1357 which requires “U.S. government pension funds to divest from companies that do any business with any country that does business with Iran.” Her campaign literature states that, “She was proud to be the leading Republican sponsor of H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act. This bill applies and enhances a wide range of additional sanctions.”
In addition, last year Illeana introduced H.R. 394, which enlarges US Federal Court Jurisdiction regarding claims by American citizens their claims in U.S. courts. Unclear is whether she realizes that one consequence of her initiative would be to open even wider US courtroom doors to Iranian-Americans and Syria-Americans who today are being targeted and damaged by the lady’s ravenous insatiable craving for civilian targeting economic sanctions.
But Ileana and Elliot appear to be fretting.
So is Israel.
The reasons are several and they include the fact that the US-led sanctions have failed to date to achieve the accomplishments they were designed to produce. These being to cripple the Iranian economy, provoke a popular protest among the Iranian people over inflation and scarcity of food and medicines, weaken Iran as much as possible before adopting military measures against it, and, most essentially, achieving regime change to turn the clock back to those comfortable days of our submissive, compliant Shah.
Zionist prospects for Syria aren’t any better at the moment. Tel Aviv’s to intimidate the White House into invading Syria have not worked. Plan A has failed miserably according to the Israeli embassy people attending the Engel-Ros Litinen’s informal conflab. Neither did the “how about we just arm the opposition” plan that originated last year with David H. Petraeus and was supported by Hillary Clinton while being pushed by AIPAC. The goal was to create allies in Syria that the US and Israel could control if Mr. Assad was removed from power. Moreover, the White House believes that there are no good options for Obama. It has vetoed 4 recent Israeli proposals including arming the rebels and is said to believe that Syria is already dangerously awash with “unreliable arms.”
The recent shriveling of Israeli prospects for a dramatic Pentagon intervention in Syria reflect White House war weariness. And also Israel’s predilection to bomb targets itself in Syria, as it did recently to assassinate a senior Iranian officer in the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Hassan Shateri. Contrary to the false story that Israel attacked a missiles convoy, some unassembled equipment was damaged but that was not the primary target according to Fred Hof, a former U.S. State Department official. Gen. Shateri was.
Making matters worse for Tel Aviv, the Israeli military is reportedly becoming skittish due to its deteriorating political and military status in the region and its troops have recently completed subterranean warfare drills to prepare them for a potential clash with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, the Jerusalem Post reported on 2/20/13. “Today during training, we simulated a northern terrain, that included what we might encounter,” Israeli Lt. Sagiv Shoker, commander of a military Reconnaissance Unit of the Engineering Corps, based at the Elikim base in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon explained. Shoker added that his units spent a week focused on how to approach Hezbollah’s alleged underground bunkers and tunnels in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley quietly and quickly. Israeli forces commander Gantz has been complaining recently to the Israeli cabinet that Hezbollah Special Forces are gaining much valuable experience in Syria fighting highly skilled and motivated al Nusra jihadists and his troops may not be prepared to face them on the battlefield if a conflict erupts. It has been known since 2006 that Israeli soldiers “are having motivation deficits” as Gantz and others have complained.
Ordinary citizens in Iran and Syria with whom this observer met recently, including some with whom he has shared lengthy conversations while posing many questions, cannot ignore the burden of the US-led sanctions in various aspects of their lives. Nor can the Iranian or Syrian governments or their economic institutions. At the beginning of the summer of 2010, and even more so since the summer of 2012, the US-led civilian targeting sanctions imposed were significantly tightened by the Obama administration and its allies. The administration realized that the sanctions imposed on Iran until then were ineffective and understood that Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear power capability would quickly leave the US with no alternative than the acceptance of a nuclear Iran. But the administration, according to former State Department official Hof, believed that unless it took more drastic measures against Iran, Israel would launch a military strike against Iran which would likely destroy Zionist Israel- a prospect not every US official and Congressional staffer privately laments. Congressional sources report that the White House now feels that Iran has achieved deterrence and that Israel would be dangerously foolhardy to attack the country.
While Israel advocates an economic blockade of Iran and Syria, under binding rules of international and US law, economic blockades are acts of war. They are variously defined as surrounding a nation with hostile forces, economic besieging, preventing the passage in or out of a country of civilian supplies or aid. It is an act of naval warfare to block access to a country’s coastline and deny entry to all vessels and aircraft, absent a formal declaration of war and approval of the UN Security Council.
All treaties to which America is a signatory, including the UN Charter, are binding US law. Chapter VII authorizes only the Security Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability.” It permits a nation to use force (including a blockades) only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the “right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member….until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”
As International law Professor Francis Boyle reminds us, Customary International Law recognizes economic blockades as an act of war because of the implied use of force even against third party nations in enforcing the blockade. Writes Boyle, “Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.” America approved these Declarations, thereby are became binding US law as well “as part of general international law and customary international law.” US presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy, called economic blockades acts of war.
So has the US Supreme Court.
In Bas v. Tingy (1800), the US Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of fighting an “undeclared war” (read extreme economic sanctions). It ruled the seizure of a French vessel (is) an act of hostility or reprisal. The Court cited Talbot v. Seaman (1801) in ruling that “specific legislative authority was required in the seizure. In Little v. Barreme (1804), the Court held that “even an order from the President could not justify or excuse an act that violated the laws and customs of warfare. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that a captain of a United States warship could be held personally liable in trespass for wrongfully seizing a neutral Danish ship, even though” presidential authority ordered it.
“The Prize Cases” (1863) is perhaps the most definitive US Supreme Court ruling on economic blockades requiring congressional authorization. The case involved President Lincoln’s ordering “a blockade of coastal states that had joined the Confederacy at the outset of the Civil War. The Court….explicitly (ruled) that an economic blockade is an act of war and is legal only if properly authorized under the Constitution.”
Iran and Syria pose no threat to the US or any peaceful law abiding nation. Imposing a blockade against either violates the UN Charter and settled international humanitarian laws as well as US law. It would constitute an illegal act of aggression that under the Nuremberg Charter is the designated a “supreme international crime” above all others. It would render the Obama administration and every government of other participating nations criminally liable.
Contrary to what the occupiers of Palestine may fantasize, if the White House wants an economic blockade of Iran or Syria it must declare war, letting the American people be heard on the subject and convince the UN Security Council to pass a UNSCR under Chapter 7.
The White House cannot legally, morally or consistently with claimed American humanitarian values continue to target civilian populations with economic sanctions on the cheap.
Upcoming Scientific Publication: “governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation.”
In a peer-reviewed paper by the American Institute of Biological Sciences titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” (available ahead of print), to be published in the march 2013 edition of the Institute’s yearly journal BioScience, a group of well-known scientists calls on government and scientists to start with the planned social engineering of “norms” and “values” in regards to environmental policies. In addition, they propose putting into effect all sorts of environmental fines and regulations in the spirit of Agenda 21 to hasten the social acceptance of increased governmental control. Also, they propose that the scientific community as a whole should align itself with government “through a concerted effort to change personal and social norms”.
The group of scientists involved in the upcoming publication include two Nobel Prize winners, economist Kenneth Arrow and political scientist Elinor Ostrom, as well as behavioral scientists, mathematicians, biologists- not to mention population scientists, the most well-known of whom are Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen C. Daily- whose professional relationship dates back to the Ecoscience days. The authors start out by stating:
“Some have argued that progress on these (global environmental) problems can be made only through a concerted effort to change personal and social norms. They contend that we must, through education and persuasion, ensure that certain behaviors become ingrained as a matter of personal ethics.” Stating that education and persuasion are insufficient to accomplish behavioral changes, they note:
“Substantial numbers of people will have to alter their existing behaviors to address this new class of global environmental problems. Alternative approaches are needed when education and persuasion alone are insufficient. Policy instruments such as penalties, regulations, and incentives may therefore be required to achieve significant behavior modification.”
Proposing that “effective policies are ones that induce both short-term changes in behavior and longer-term changes in social norms”, the collection of prominent scientists assert that “government is uniquely obligated to locate the common good and formulate its policies accordingly.”
The upcoming report however stresses that scientists are given the tools to have a hand in
“government policies intended to alter choices and behaviors” such as “active norm management, changing the conditions influencing behaviors, financial interventions, and regulatory measures.”
Each of these policy instruments potentially influences personal and social norms in different ways and through different mechanisms. Each also carries the danger of backfiring, which is often called a boomerang effect in the literature—eroding compliance and reducing the prevalence of the desired behaviors and the social norms that support those behaviors”.
“Eroding compliance”, it is called. Anticipating that an increase in regulatory interventions by government are sure to create resistance among the target population, the scientists express confidence that their recommendations “can be carried out in a way that abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability.”
Despite these on-the-surface soothing words, the authors stress that government (and the scientific community) should ultimately “move beyond” public consent when it comes to top-down regulations imposed on the American people:
“Some have argued that regulations are inherently coercive and cannot or should not exceed implied levels of public permission for such regulations. An alternative viewpoint is that governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation”.
By admitting they are willing to “move beyond existent levels of public permission” to push ahead with draconian environmental policies, these prominent scientists (among whom we find two Nobel laureates and one Paul Ehrlich) have proven their willingness to deceive the American population for their “environmental” control model. As Aaron Dykes put it while interviewing Lord Christopher Monckton,, the environmental “cause” is nothing more than “an absolute valued pretext for their absolute control model”.
The engineering of public “norms” serves not so much any environmental cause, but another one, namely that environmental policies, even draconian ones, will finally be perceived by the US population as being consistent with their own personal norms.
The way in which government may go about it shifting norms, the scientists argue, is by on the one hand “managing norms” through “such things as advertising campaigns, information blitzes, or appeals from respected figures”. The other aspect involved is the use of financial incentives and disincentives with the aim of conditioning the public to accept an increasing governmental control over personal behavior. The paper continues by saying that the best way to alter existing behaviors is through persuasive government regulations “such as penalties, regulations, and incentives” in order to “achieve significant behavior modification.”
“Fines can be an effective way to alter behavior, in part because they (like social norm management) signal the seriousness with which society treats the issue.”
By extension, the authors express hope that behaviors and values will “coevolve” alongside increased government control in the form of state regulations and “fines”:
“A carbon tax might prove effective even in the face of near-term opposition. What needs to be assessed is the possibility that behaviors and values would coevolve in such a way that a carbon tax—or other policy instrument that raises prices, such as a cap-and-trade system—ultimately comes to be seen as worthy, which would therefore allow for its long-term effectiveness”
In the context of this idea that shifting norms will “coevolve” alongside increased government regulations, the authors state:
“Each of the government interventions can influence both personal and social norms, although they do so through different mechanisms. Only social norm management directly targets norms. Choice architecture, financial instruments, and regulations can all alter social norms by causing people to first change their behaviors and then shift their beliefs to conform to those behaviors.”
In other words: the scientists propose arousing the concept of cognitive dissonance in the minds of people in order to guide the herd towards “proenvironmental” citizenship.
“When it comes to environmental issues”, the scientists write, “two different types of social norms are at play in these dynamics: social norms of conformity or cooperation and proenvironment social norms. Only the first type need be present to induce proenvironment behaviors (although proenvironment personal norms may emerge from this through, e.g., cognitive dissonance, experience, or associating the positive feeling from social approval for an act with the act itself).”
In the upcoming publication the concepts of peer-pressure and cognitive dissonance are being brought into the equation as effective norm-determining factors:
“norms of conformity and cooperation are far more universal than are proenvironment norms and are therefore far more powerful in inducing proenvironment behaviors that do not conflict with preexisting values or preferences. In other words, proenvironment values are not a necessary prerequisite to proenvironment behaviors.”
While the authors express their hope that government expands control through all kinds of environmental regulations, they argue that scientists (especially life scientists) should align with big government, join forces in an unrelenting campaign to gradually create changes in behavior so environmental policies will be more easily accepted over the course of some time.
“Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms”, the group asserts.
“many of the empirical studies cited in this article originate in law, psychology, economics, behavioral economics, anthropology, political science, and sociology. We know, for example, that the effective management of any commons requires sensitivity to local conditions, sound monitoring, graduated sanctions, and conflict-resolution mechanisms.”
Who better to guide the sheep towards “good environmental citizenship” than those scientists specialized in social engineering:
“Life scientists have a role to play in this by extending their existing theoretical analyses. To be effective, scholars of all stripes will have to extend their capacity to collaborate with decision- and policymakers in order to ensure realism and relevance.”
The scientists would, in such an environmental dictatorship, also have a monitoring capacity:
“Scientists could effectively examine how combinations of different policy interventions and of the relative timing of deployment play out.”
The paper is concluded with three distinct recommendations to both scientists and governmental agencies:
“(1) the greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists in periodic environmental policy assessments; (2) the establishment of teams of scholars and policymakers that can assess, on policy-relevant timescales, the short- and long-term efficiency of policy interventions; and (3) the alteration of academic norms to allow more progress on these issues.”
This entire publication is a clear and unmistakable sign that a scientific dictatorship is emerging under the pretext of environmentalism. More government control through regulations and fines combined with a proactive scientific community, brainwashing people into accepting this increasing governmental control where they would otherwise reject it. And guess who should be the coordinating body of this scientific dictatorship, according to the report:
“Teams might be supported by permanent entities that maintain communication with policymakers; these will differ among nations but could be attached to the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies in the international context. One potential model is a national commitment of scientific talent in the service of United Nations agencies.”
The United Nations. Of course!
“These teams could also be charged with anticipating crises and evaluating potential policy responses in advance, since detailed evaluation in the midst of a crisis may be problematic; such emergency preparedness would probably focus on the immediate effects of policies on behaviors rather than on changing social norms, because this is likely to be of greatest relevance in a crisis.”
All this talk of putting the UN behind the steering wheel of American government and the American scientific community points to the coming of age of the dreaded scientific dictatorship, against which many observers have warned us.
Source: Jurriaan Maessen | BlacklistedNews.com
A cri de coeur from a student at Damascus University…
Damascus - This observer has learned from time in this region that if one wants to learn what is happening on the ground politically and socially it is fine to speak with government officials, journalists, long tenured academicians, NGO’s, and people on the street. But I have learned that one of the best sources of objective information comes from university students. As explained to one official the other day, if ones sit with half a dozen graduate students one is sure to witness and benefit from a spirited, challenging exchange with varying points of view and few expressed without having to justify to the others one’s positions or interpretation of events.
It is for this reason that when this observer gets the chance he heads for a college in Damascus.
Today in Syria, from the streets and cafes to the Universities, a main subject of discussion and one that is nearly universally judged immoral and illegal are the US-led sanctions that in effect, are targeting the civilian population.
Partly as result of these brutal sanctions, today four million people in this country need of some type of humanitarian aid and as of today, there are 637,958 registered refugees inside Syria who are in need of emergency help, a 57,000 person increase from last year at this time.
The fighting here has obviously contributed to the continuing crisis faced by the civilian population. For example, the increasingly dangerous situation means that the World Food Program has evacuated its staff from Homs, Aleppo, Tartus Qamisly and other areas. The reason is that the past three months saw a sharp rise in the number of attacks on WFP aid trucks, which have also been hit by fuel shortages. Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency has just reported that the number of refugees fleeing the violence in Syria has leapt by nearly 100,000 in the past month. Both the Syrian Arab Republic Red Crescent Society and other NGO’s-foreign and domestic- are stretched beyond their limits and are struggling with approximately 10,000 more people in the areas they are able to assist every month being added to those in desperate need of help.
Virtually all the NGO’s here attest to the fact that if the US-led sanctions are lifted or even suspended until the spring, it would be a humanitarian gesture consistent with American claimed values. To continue to allow the dying and suffering under the weight of these sanctions suggests that we in America have learned nothing from the results of similar sanctions imposed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The deeply inhumane US-led sanctions prevent businesses from re opening, investments from being made, financial transactions, re-supply, and other necessary economic activities which means the basic necessities such as mazot fuel to heat homes, is very hard to come by as well as bread in many areas. These shortages are the direct and foreseeable results of the sanctions and rebel sabotage, as to a lesser extent of Lebanese, Turkish and other smugglers buying up the supplies and spiriting them across the borders to cash in on black market price gauging.
As a result of the sanctions, food prices have soared beyond the means of much of the Syrian civilian population. Too many of the young, old, infirm, and impoverished are dying monthly, according to Nizar, an English literature major, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of these sanctions.
The single rational foreigners visiting Damascus hear from Washington, and what the Obama administration is telling EU countries that are becoming concerned, is that the sanctions are vital to achieve regime change in Syria and when the government falls–to be replaced but who knows what or who– the US will then lift the sanctions and remove its boot from the throats of Syria’s students and civilian population.
Nizar takes another view. “If terrorism is the killing of innocent civilians for political goals, then your government, the world’s claimed expert on terrorism is very guilty of massive terrorism and doesn’t need to lecture anyone on this subject because this is exactly what they are doing with their sanctions in my country.”
The fervent wishes of the US-Israel and certain other governments to the contrary, regime change is not likely to happen anytime soon in Syria according to most of the students this observer meet with, and it’s the next four months that are critical they insist-starting today.
Syrian students follow local and regional events closely and a common view is that from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan and even some on capitol hill in Washington, are coming multiple signals that all are in consultation via their intelligence services with Syria’s government in order to reach a solution because they finally concede that, despite funding and aiding the rebel panoply with guns, money and training, these countries, including Egypt, that the regime will survive and that the al Nusra type salafists would not be satiated by the fall of Syria but would quickly turn on Doha, Riyad, Amman, the UAE and other countries in the region.
History instructs us those sanctions do not cause regime change and those affected are not the ones wielding power. It’s the wretched, the poor, the huddled refuge seeking to survive, to paraphrase Lazarus’ inscription on our Statute of Liberty who we are being ground into early graves by American government imposed sanctions.
The political goals of the sanctions imposed on Syrian civilian are one thing. The reality, quite another. US sanctions, some still in place against Cuba, after more than 53 years were a failure, as were US sanctions in China, Vietnam Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and now Syria, to name a few.
“They are all about unbridled vengeance, not rational consequences as offered in press releases from US government agencies” explained Samer, a business major from Aleppo.
Once more, much of the world including this region, as well as history will condemn the United States for these brutal economic crimes against a defenseless civilian population. Equally, among American citizens and others I have met recently in Lebanon, Egypt and Libya, who know what is happening on the ground in Syria. The overwhelming percentage does not accept and will never accept targeting innocent civilians, whether by drones or sanctions. They express feelings of shame, not just for the past 11 years of unnecessary, criminal wars of choice in this region but for the current and continuing sanctions crime against the Syrian people.
The hatred that our government has brought to itself over more than 15 years of targeting civilians is intensifying daily because those suffering and dying here in Syria due to starvation and the effects of the now freezing temperatures in Syria, do not blame their government nearly as much as our American policy makers apparently hoped for. Rather, they blame, quite correctly, our government.
As one observer noted this week, “The tents are drenched. Kids are crying. Puddles of water are all over…I am walking; my shoes are covered with rainwater. I can’t remember being so cold. I don’t even want to think about more than half of those living in my area. Something has to be done.”
We American are demonstrating yet again to the world that we have the power to destroy civilian populations. But we are better than that as a people. And in the words of Oregon’s late Senator Wayne Morse, “each one of us has a personal obligation to change, by all legal means necessary, our governments criminal acts.”
Sitting at our table in the student union refectory at Damascus University on 1/9/12, Rana, a passionate and, on that occasion indignant, history student majoring in American history and culture may have reflected accurately the views of many on Syrian campuses these days.
Rana wished out loud to us that she could tell Barack Obama face to face: “Mr. President, in 1987 on the 750th anniversary of Berlin, your predecessor Ronald Reagan, spoke about the importance of human dignity and challenged Russian leader Gorbachev, to “tear down this wall.” In 2013, we students and our families from Damascus, the city of Jasmine, which was inhabited as early as 8,000 BC, and whose livelihood, opportunities and hope you are destroying today for no sane reason, urge you to ‘tear down these sanctions’, come to Syria, visit our campus, and engage in dialogue with us.”
The Syrians are a great people. Rana, and her student colleagues, are a credit to Syria and to all humanity.
A few thoughts rushed through this observers mind when he saw a distraught looking woman sitting alone, tightly holding two babies, at one corner of the vast parking lot of the central Damascus bus station known as Al-Soumariyeh. It is from here where inexpensive transportation can be had for those traveling west, east, north and south.
One thought was about a character out of a Charles Dickens novel and the other was ‘waif, frail, malnourished, frightened’, so the lady, holding the babies appeared. She managed a polite but weak smile as I passed and she said “hello.”
Long story made short, the lady and I chatted and it turned out that Souha was fleeing the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood on the southern edge of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. This is one of the ‘hot-line’ areas of Yarmouk, where on 12/16/12 approximately 400 Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) militia fighters joined by various other salafist jihadists defeated Palestinian “popular committees” fighters supposedly loyal to Ahmed Jabil’s, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-GC (PFLP-GC). There are various unconfirmed estimates of how many ‘General Command’ fighters defected during the fighting to the rebel forces, but the PFLP-GC admits that some did. Also in the camp are some fighters from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front (PFLP).
Souha who is studying English literature, had lost her husband and was trying to travel to Ein el Helwe refugee camp in Saida, Lebanon. She had the name of a distant relative, she thought was still living in Ein el Helwe, but she was unsure how to find her but knew that she desperately needed to get out of Syria.
Nearly 70% (UNWRA puts the figure at 90%) of the 180,000 Yarmouk camp residents in the 2.1 square-kilometer camp area have, as of this morning fled. This figure was provided by, Anwar Raja, politburo member of the ‘General Command” with whom this observer had a three hour meeting during the night of 12/18/2012 inside the north edge of Yarmouk. Any camp resident with a MTN or Syriatel mobile phone got a text message, from the Syrian military to leave the camp for their own safety.
Souha asked me if I had heard about the problems of the Palestinian people and explained that she fled the bombing at Yarmouk camp and that most of her neighbors also scattered. Some of the thousands of refugees who continue to flee Yarmouk can be seen today near central Damascus, and sitting in the streets of Midan. These areas are still safe. Other are huddled in parks and camped under concrete underpasses, in schools, mosques and basically anywhere they can find a spot. Many are sleeping on sidewalks at al-Sabaa Bahrat square. A friend and I spoke last night to a family of four who had only thin UNCHR blankets for the night.
Souha said she was afraid to seek safety in a Mosque because they are no longer a safe refuge and she explained that she passed about a dozen bodies on the steps and front ground next to the Abdul Qader Al-Hosseini mosque as she left Yarmouk.
Happy to learn that there are actually non-stop vans going from central Damascus to Saida, Lebanon, without having to change vehicles, we found the driver, agreed on a price of 30 LL (about $ 45) for Souha and the same price for her two babies. I insisted on a two-for-one price for the little ones and since it was starting to get dark, the nice fellow agreed. I gave Souha what money I had and also contact information for friends in Lebanon who I knew would help her.
As the van pulled off she waved from the window and I could not help thinking that she may not get much help from the Lebanese government on arriving. Yet I knew that Palestinians there would assist her. I recalled the words of the late murdered Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad) when he explained nearly three decades ago, to this observer and the American journalist, Janet Stevens,: “At the end of the day, we Palestinians can rely only on ourselves.” I did not dwell much on his words at the time but since then I have come to understand very well what the great Resistance leader meant.
Yesterday morning I assumed Souha was in Lebanon and had arrived to Saida. Then I began to hear the unsettling news of long lines at the Maznaa crossing from Syria into Lebanon. The news got worse. Thousands of Palestinian refugees were lined up, some waiting for 10 hours or more to cross and many being refused entry into by Lebanese General Security because of “inadequate documents.” Many right now are being forced to return to Damascus.
Lebanon has an international humanitarian duty to ease entry and to assist refugees, as required by well-established and globally accepted international law. But with the exception of Zionist occupied Palestine, Lebanon has the worst human rights record toward Palestinians than any country on earth. The Lebanese Parliament still refuses to grant Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the elementary right to work or to own a home. Even though according to various economic studies, if Palestinians could work, they would help dramatically to build Lebanon’s weak economy.
During the morning of 12/19/12 the news got even worse regarding Souha. Someone from Reuters sent me a published photo showing her stuck on a bus at Maznaa for over 12 hours. According to one report she was forced to return to Damascus. Wherever Souha is she is hopefully someone is helping her.
Ahmed Jebril, an ally of the Syrian government is blaming foreign paid terrorists for the attack that is forcing the emptying of Yarmouk and also the rather quick defeat of his fighters. He and his GC staff told this observer that the General Command had no plans to attempt to return to Yarmouk. Reports from the camp claim that more than half of the GC’s 1000 fighters, mainly younger ones, defected to the rebels. It is difficult to know the truth, but it is fairly clear that Yarmouk has substantially been emptied and that government forces are surrounding the camp, presumably in preparation for a massive counter-attack and or aerial bombardment.
One statement that Ahmed Jebril, who contrary to a New York Times report, has not fled to Iran or Tartous, made that is probably accurate is that “As Yarmouk goes, so goes Damascus. As Damascus goes, so goes Syria”. Jabril’s aid Anwar Raja said that the camp will be used by the rebels to destroy the airport and to launch their “final assault” into the center of Damascus. They showed this observer fragments of ‘home made’ weapons similar to those collected from around Syria by military intelligence who in late October briefed this observer.
Teachers are specifically told not to do all the obvious things that teachers have traditionally done through the centuries. There’s a lot of talk about being more passive, about becoming a guide or facilitator.
Did anybody tell you to learn a lot and take charge of your classroom? (You probably weren’t even required to major in the subjects you will teach — surely that’s a bad beginning.)
Didn’t you dream of teaching kids a lot of interesting, exciting stuff and making them ready to be successful in the world?
First step, make sure you know a lot of interesting exciting stuff so you can teach it. Second step, clean all the fashionable nonsense out of your mind.
Get back to what works. How about the 3 R’s? How about Geography, History, Science, and Literature? How about anything factual and substantial? How about essential knowledge? When in doubt, teach something!
Schools today are too often set up to teach little. Don’t you see it all around you? To a bizarre degree, the Education Establishment is in a war against substantive education, and in a war against teaching and teachers. An elaborate form of effusive non-teaching is becoming the rule.
The Progressive idea (a very silly one) is that teaching is all about techniques and process. Here’s the theory: if you know the techniques, you can teach anything. This is obviously not true. You can only teach what you know yourself.
Progressives said that what you actually teach is unimportant. They took the emphasis off content, off what children should learn.
Instead, they put all the emphasis on arranging the desks a certain way, on having the teacher perform in a certain way. Everything is style, acting, hype, and psychological manipulation. Telling kids where the pyramids are is considered a waste of time.
To see through all the anti-intellectual chatter in the public schools, all you have to do is flash back to the last time you attended a really good lecture or watched a great program on the History Channel. You settled back in your chair and somebody who was really informed and passionate about a subject talked to you in a way that was just totally spellbinding. At the end you had learned all this exciting stuff; and that new knowledge is still exploding in your brain.
It doesn’t matter whether the subject was cooking, heart surgery or Greek battles 25 centuries ago. The expert taught. You learned. That’s what is supposed to happen in a classroom. It would if only the Education Establishment would get out of the way.
Here is a short checklist for teachers who want to be great teachers:
Be an expert on your subjects. Be the most informed person in your classroom by far.
A sage on a stage is exactly what students need and deserve. If not you, then who?
Teach more than required. You never know what will strike a spark. Facts reinforce each other. (Facts by themselves are lonely creatures. They are most easily learned in large familial groups. To give just one simple example, it’s easier to talk about tools you might use to build a house or foods that grow on a vine that about all tools or all foods.)
Finally, be suspicious of fads. Older teachers will tell you that new fads are continually pushed down on the teachers. A few years later, gone! It didn’t work, so here’s a new fad. Knowledge does not go out of fashion. It always works. So just stay focused on what kids need to know. For one example out of 1,000, they need to know where the pyramids are.
Good teachers are the hope of the future. Sure, there is a public-speaking aspect that teachers need to be good at. But almost everything else is knowing your subject, and then communicating what you know with love and conviction to your students.
(For a basic K-12 curriculum, see “A Bill of Rights for Students 2012” on the writer’s site Improve-Education.org.)
The EU’s unilateral sanctions come after the United States targeted Iran with a set of sanctions against the country’s Central Bank and a number of individuals and companies and threatened to penalize the foreign firms and banks which have financial transactions with Iranian counterparts.
The sanctions are not unprecedented and unexpected for the Iranians, as the United States began to cut off its economic deals with Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which toppled the Washington-backed Shah; however, what is new and surprising is that the United States and its European allies are extraordinarily intensifying the sanctions, tightening the noose around the ordinary Iranians who are unquestionably the innocent and silent victims of the West’s vitriolic animosity with Iran.
Perhaps what the majority of people in different countries think about Iran’s nuclear program which is the main cause of the West’s hostility with Iran is inspired by the mainstream media’s coverage of the developments in the country. After the painful 9/11 attacks which was followed by George W. Bush’s initiation of the War on Terror plan, the corporate media began to disseminate and foster anti-Iranian sentiments as part of their agenda for demonizing the Muslims and Muslim-majority countries. Iran was dubbed as one of the elements of the so-called Axis of Evil by President Bush during his 2002 State of the Union address and a venomous media campaign against Iran was set in motion afterwards.
Aggrandizing the shortcomings and internal problems, frequently accusing the country of violating human rights, propagating the idea that Iran has become an isolated and reclusive country and portraying a distorted and falsified image of Iranian people and their lifestyle constituted the core of Western mainstream media’s coverage of Iran over the past years. Such a biased coverage laid the groundwork for the United States and its allies to put an excessive pressure on Iran, work to further isolate the country, adopt crippling sanctions against her and even drum-beat for a possible military invasion with the final objective of a regime change in Tehran.
President Bush and his successor who came to power with the flaunting and pompous slogan of “change” identically pursued a policy of antagonism with Iran and although the latter had vowed to take up reconciliation and détente with Iran, he exactly imitated what his predecessor has done.
On September 30, 2006, the U.S. Congress ratified the Iran Freedom and Support Act which allocated $10 million to anti-Iranian groups both inside and outside the country who were seeking to overthrow the Iranian government.
On May 27, 2007, Daily Telegraph quoted intelligence sources as reporting that President Bush had given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran. According to the British paper, Bush had signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a campaign of propaganda and disinformation intended to destabilize and eventually topple the Islamic Republic government.
Bush’s plan also included covert support for notorious terrorist gangs such as Jundallah and MKO which over the past years have carried out several terrorist operations across Iran, claiming the lives of tens of innocent civilians. The main goal of these cults is to sabotage Iran’s security and pave the way for the United States and its allies to invade Iran and implement their perilous plans for the country.
According to an ABC News report published on May 22, 2007, some former officials in the Bush administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that the U.S. government had designed plans for manipulating the value of Iran’s currency and damaging its international financial transactions.
They also unveiled that the U.S. government which has been involved in several regime change operations in such countries as Syria, Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Greece, Chile, Argentina, Afghanistan, Turkey, Poland and Nicaragua since the World War I had authorized a $400 million covert operation to create unrest in Iran, especially following the 2009 presidential election in which the defeated candidates claimed that the results had been rigged.
At the same time, however, the leaders of the United States and the European states who imposed upon Iran a set of relentless biting sanctions hypocritically talk of friendship with the Iranian nation and state that they seek rapprochement and camaraderie with Iran.
In his March 2009 videotaped message to the Iranian people on the occasion of Persian New Year (Nowrouz), the U.S. President Obama adored Persian culture, civilization, arts and literature and overtly cajoled Iranians with the aim of persuading them to confide in the United States and its policies vis-à-vis Iran: ” In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place… Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world.”
Thereafter, he turned to the leaders of Iran to reach out to them directly: “we have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.”
President Obama appreciated Iranian culture and talked of his commitment to diplomacy and negotiations with Iran; however, by the end of the same year, he authorized the renewal of the long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against Iran, provoking a wave of anger and disappointment among Iranians.
In the following years, President Obama recorded similar videotaped messages on the occasion of Nowrouz, and despite the fact that his tone got unsympathetic over time, he still insisted on his being concerned for the Iranians and their “rights.”
With regards to Iran, the Western politicians, including President Obama, seemingly follow a modus operandi of “divide and rule.” They want to separate the Iranian government and people and pretend that they care for the interests of the Iranians, and at the same time, oppose the policies of the government; a government which they say has long repressed its own people, while the reality proves otherwise.
Now, the gist of Iran-West standoff can be expressed this way: the United States and its allies demand that Iran should give up its nuclear rights and make other concessions. Iran doesn’t accept these demands, calling them illegitimate and beyond its liability. The West doesn’t spare any effort to punish Iran: sanctions, assassination of its nuclear scientists, passing resolutions in the UN Security Council, psychological operations and other punitive measures. Iranians have firmly tolerated the pressures to show that they don’t give in to bullying. The future is unclear and blurred; however, what is certain is that the ones who bear the burden of West’s hostility toward Iran are the ordinary people.
The sanctions have targeted Iran’s medical sector. Aside from the official data which show that many European countries have banned the shipment of different medicines to Iran, my personal observations prove that Iran is direly running out of sensitive medical products, including medicine for psychological patients, those who suffer from various types of cancer, diabetes, hemophilia, thalassemia, multiple sclerosis and heart diseases. I’ve personally encountered patients who needed medicine from countries such as Canada and Belgium, but as a result of the sanctions, they couldn’t find them. Aren’t such diabolical sanctions contrary to the principles of human rights? Why don’t those who preach human rights and democracy take the fact into consideration that banning the export of medicine to a country whose people are in dire need of such products is simply a collective punishment of innocent civilians?
Every year, tens of Iranian citizens are killed in painful air accidents, which is a direct result of the U.S.-engineered sanctions against Iran. According to the U.S. sanctions which were implemented almost 30 years ago, the European aviation companies are not allowed to sell aircrafts to Iran and the aging fleet of Iranian airlines cannot accommodate the growing demand of the people for safe and secure air travels. According to the chancellor of Amir Kabir University of Iran, the country needs at least 600 civilian aircraft, but no country sells Iran such a huge number of aircrafts and the people always travel via Iranian airliners in an atmosphere of trepidation and anxiety.
Overall, what is clear is that the sanctions game started by the U.S. and its European allies has no winner. It simply blackens the image of the Western superpowers in the eye of Iranian people and makes them believe that the United States and its cronies cannot ever be trusted.
The latest spectacle of disgusting posthuman monsters in expensive suits squandering other people’s billions—while displaying nothing but studied contempt for hoi polloi whose blood is their sustenance—is sickening and infuriating. Déjà vu all over again. Never mind the regulators and government officials with whom they are in existential cahoots; the bastards will continue doing their thing as surely as the Muslims will go on murdering Christians, and lung cancer cells will go on multiplying. It is their vocation.
So should they be killed? The thought is tempting and rather appealing, the imagination runs pleasingly wild. On reflection it has to be rejected. Provided we accept the morally necessary assumption that for all their sulphurically scented traits, the Bankers are “humans,” we cannot escape the Raskolnikov dilemma.
The Russians are the last civilized nation to take literature as seriously as life, and they will be the last to subject that heritage to the deconstructivist butchery of effeminate idiots with minor-college PhDs. This is to their credit because Raskolnikov should be seen as a living person living a real life in New York, or London, or the Midwest today. This real-life person—a teacher, a corporate bureaucrat, a construction engineer, a retired policeman, or a housewife…—should be forgiven for wishing Bankers dead. But their all too understandable sentiment is essentially the same as that of the Red Commissars of 1917 and their heirs everywhere As Dostoyevsky understood decades before Lenin, it is dangerous; understandable; but not justified.
The Bankers should be discredited, tarred, and feathered, stripped of every last cent of their ill-gotten gains, and put to work on a Californian orange farm—absolutely!—but they should not be killed.
A bit of history. I was 15 when I visited St. Petersburg—then still “Leningrad”—with a Belgrade high school tour. My purpose was to go in quest of Dostoevsky, my favorite writer, whom I had just started discovering at that time. He wrote Crime and Punishment on the banks of the Neva—one of the best structured, intricately multi-layered novels of all time. (I even named my son Theodore in Fyodor Mikhailovich’s honor.)
It was early July and the White Nights of the North were at their whitest, and the days were sunny. Yet the essential gloomy essence of the place—thickly felt in the courtyard of the building the author inhabited when writing his masterpiece, and in which his tortured hero Raskolnikov lived—could not be concealed. Behind the layers of Soviet decrepitude, one could sense the splendor of Peter the Great’s design. Such splendor makes up not for joyful livability. The city was essentially unchanged since the 1860s (minus some 1941-44 German-inflicted damage, not too visible) and its misty distances looked flat and indistinct against the pale backdrop of the Northern sky behind and the rising mist of its many waterways and canals in front. St. Petersburg is the most European city in Russia and the most inherently perverted for being so. Dostoevsky’s novel embodies the worst aspects of both cultures that offer two poles of one civilization.
That essential gloom of the place (which I have not visited since but I don’t believe has changed) provided a perfect setting for the novel which is the essential key to understanding the dilemma of our postmodern times. Raskolnikov rails against the social injustice without being a Marxist (not even knowing that the author of Das Kapital exists), adores Napoleon as the 19th century model of superhuman greatness but does not seek l’Empereur’s glory for himself. His obsessive quest for “justice” becomes tangibly personified in the old usurer whom he finally kills—premeditatedly murders her—as an act of ontological retribution.
“I wanted to kill without casuistry, to kill for my own sake,” Dostoevsky has him say reflecting obviously his own passions, “it was not money I needed but something else…I wanted to know, and to know quickly, whether I was a worm like everyone else, or a man. Shall I be able to transgress or shall I not? Shall I dare to stoop down and take, or not? Am I a trembling creature, or have I the right?”
But Raskolnikov soon discovers he is not a superman capable of enacting his own moral laws, and the lesson has been re-learnt at a great cost by Dostoyevsky’s heirs in the horrible century that followed his death. On the other hand, Raskolnikov is not satisfied with the lower-category claim that because the victim was a horrible, laecherous hag (the usurer was ugly, unlike many of her well-groomed Wall Street heirs), her death was for the good of all. The key issue is that Raskolnikov is utterly unable to live with what he has done; he is going neurotic verging on insane; and in the fullness of time, he willingly makes a full confession to a police inspector who knows his soul. Porfiry Petrovich is not playing games—but merely leading him along the way to inner release that comes with confession.
This dilemma—can we be Gods?—is at the novel’s heart, and at the heart of the crisis of our civilization. And that is why we should let the bankers live, which is not to say we should try to destroy them and all they stand for.
Unlike the Communist mass murderers of the past century, Raskolnikov sees clearly his tragic predicament through the prism of a distinctly Christian hate of cunning commerce and ruthless profitmaking. Being prepared to use violence against those who destroy the meek and the pure of spirit for Mammon’s sake, but NOT being a secular revolutionary—he IS what the Rulers of the World fear the most.
But in the end, with a Russian twist that is essentially pan-Christian, he repents and realizes that “Thou shalt not kill!” takes precedence. And the end of the story is the new beginning, as he serves his sentence in Siberia, accompanied by his long-suffering Sonia: “Here begins a new story, the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his rebirth, of his gradual transition from one world to another, and of the revelation to him of a new, hitherto quite unknown reality.”
This is a blueprint for our own rebirth and renewal in the dark times ahead. And screw the bankers.
Postcolonial, feminist and gay studies share many similarities to the extent that some academics regard these fields as theoretically and ideologically complementary. These fields of study are primarily concerned with politics, the structure of hegemony, the oppressed and the mechanism that brings about injustice. It is only natural then, that these realms of thought, primarily concerned with prejudice and injustice, would become key instruments in our understanding of Zionism and Israeli oppression.
Without questioning the intellectual validity and the theoretical substance of the postcolonial spectrum of thought, it is clear that some contemporary leading trends within this realm of studies emphasize the role of ‘White male’ and the ‘phallus’ as being at the core of contemporary Western society’s malaise. So the next question is almost inevitable –Where does it leave the ‘White male’? Or more anecdotally, am I, a person who happens to be wrapped in pale skin and is also attached to a white phallic organ, do I bear responsibility for centuries of European genocides? Would my responsibility lessen once I decide to chop my male organ off? Am I, or any other White male, left with any authentic ethical role? Or are we biologically doomed to be the epitome of every wrongdoing of the Western society for generations? The astute postcolonial theorist may suggest that ‘Masculinity’, ‘Whiteness’ and the ‘Phallus’ are mere symbolic representations rather than ‘things in themselves’.
Some postcolonial and feminist theoreticians would argue that imperialism, like patriarchy is, after all, a ‘phallo-centric’, ‘supremacist’, ‘White’ ideology that subjugates and dominates its subjects. This is an interesting and even intriguing statement, yet I am not so sure that it is valid or at all relevant to our understanding of Zionism and the crimes committed by the Jewish state. Zionism and Israel are clearly supremacist ideologies, yet is AIPAC’s push for a war against Iran ‘phallo-centric’? Is the Zionist appetite for Palestinian land ‘patriarchal’, or inspired by any form of ‘phallic’ enthusiasm or even ‘Whiteness’? Is the ‘War against Terror’ that left about one and a half million fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan, ‘phallicly’ orientated or is it the White male again?
Let’s face it, Zionism, Israeli politics and Jewish Lobbying are not particularly ‘phallo-centric’ or ‘patriarchal’. They also have little to do with ‘Whiteness’. Zionism, and Israel are actually primarily ‘Judeo-centric’ to the bone. They are racially driven and fuelled by a particular supremacist culture that is inspired by some aspects of Talmudic Goy hating and some sporadic (and false) Old Testament (false) interpretations. But this is exactly the verdict the postcolonial scholar attempts to prevent us from reaching. It is especially embarrassing because Israelis and Zionists openly draw their inspiration and expansionist enthusiasm from Jewish culture and texts, which they interpret in a very particular self-serving manner.
In spite of the fact that this discourse, in its current form, is pretty much, irrelevant to our understanding of Zionism and Israel, this postcolonial discourse is still, very popular amongst some anti Zionists and in particular, Jewish anti Zionists. The reason is pretty simple; it is effective in diverting attention from the real issues; it disguises the magnitude of Jewish power, Jewish politics, the inherent ‘Jewish’ nature of the ‘Jewish State’ and Jewish intellectual hegemony within the west and the Left in particular. Within the realm of the postcolonial discourse we are not even allowed to mention the ‘J word’, let alone criticise Jewish lobbying or Jewish power structures.
In fact, the postcolonial discourse, allows its acolytes to talk endlessly and passionately about Israel and Zionism without saying anything meaningful. It allows the Left to refer to Zionism as ‘settler colonialism’ in spite of the embarrassing fact that no one actually knows where or what exactly is the Jewish ‘mother state’ is. Postcolonial scholars also encourage us to refer to Israel as an Apartheid state in spite of the fact that Apartheid is a racially driven system of exploitation of the indigenous. The Postcolonial enthusiast would obviously turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel is not interested in exploitation of the Palestinians. It prefers to see them gone. Hence, since it aims to get rid of the indigenous, Israel should be realised as an avid follower of the Lebensraum (Living-space) philosophy. From that perspective at least, Israel should be equated with Nazi Germany rather than with South Africa.
The postcolonial discourse, in its current form, allows its anti Zionist enthusiasts to spin endlessly. They can refer to Israel and Zionism without actually disturbing, hurting or even touching Israelis, Zionists and Jewish political structures. The postcolonial theorist is basically engaged in an attack on an imaginary phantasmic construction that has zero relevance to Zionist ideology or Israeli politics whatsoever. It is basically an advanced form of an intellectual onanism.
Like Rabbinical Judaism and Stalinism, the postcolonial discourse is extremely intolerant towards dissent and criticism. It surrounds itself with a defense wall, operates as an intellectual ghetto. In fact, it also invented political correctness just to police and curtail, by means of self-censorship, any freedom of expression.
Arab and Palestinian Postcolonial Scholarship
One of the most influential postcolonial thinkers was Palestinian- American literary theorist Edward Said. Said’s polemic, Orientalism (1979) was a deeply profound attempt to grasp the West’s vision of the Orient, the colony and Islam. The term Orientalism, as coined by Said, covers three interrelated meanings. First, it names the academic study of the Orient. Secondly, it is a form of deliberation that constitutes the Arab as the ‘other’. Thirdly, it is the structures that maintain Western domination over the Orient.
Being an outstanding creative intellect, Said engaged in a vast examination of a multitude of Orientalist discourse. His writings refer to political and historical texts as well as literature and media. Said obviously realised the immense importance of cultural criticism and cultural studies.
Confusingly, some of Edward Said’s Palestinian and Arab successors seem to oppose the very field of study Said championed. For example, as much as Said was immersed in deep cultural examination and discourse analysis, Palestinian activist and academic Ali Abunimah recently claimed the following.“We should be very clear in condemning explanations which try to blame a culture or a religion for a political situation.“ Abunimah basically believes that culture doesn’t explain ‘anything at all’. It seems to me that Abunimah, who often integrates the term ‘Orientalism’ into his political statements and tweets, is apparently unfamiliar with the intellectual core of Edward Said’s thought and methodology.
Ali Abunimah is not happy at all with my reading of the conflict. This is understandable and totally legitimate and furthermore, he is not alone. Other exiled Palestinians seem also to be very concerned. Their outrage at my argument that Israel is not a European style colonial state implies that they fear the end to a discourse in which they have invested so much. Some of those Palestinians were very happy to add their names to the list of book burners who demanded my disavowal. This was indeed a very sad turn – futile, yet, at the same time both revealing and predictable. Though those Arab and Palestinian scholars criticized my work for being ‘racist’ without providing a single racist comment by me, it was disappointing to discover that, it was in fact their writing that was actually saturated with biological determinist comments and peppered with blunt racism.
Recently we came across a video of cultural BDS leader Omar Barghouti exploring some ‘postcolonial’ ideas. He for instance, insisted that “the white race is the most violent in the history of mankind.” This is an outrageous sweeping generalization especially since , Barghouti surely knows that Zionism is Judeo-centric and has very little to do with Whiteness. It is not the degree of ‘Whiteness’ that constitutes the racist element within the Israeli legal system, it is rather the ‘degree of Jewishness’ that makes an Arab Jew privileged in comparison to a Palestinian with a very similar skin colour. Omar Barghouti is studying in a ‘Zionist’ Tel Aviv university (while asking the rest of us to boycott the same university). Seemingly, he has internalised the Zionist academic postcolonial jargon and has integrated and implemented some biological determinist and racist ideas into his pro-Palestinian political thinking.
And Omar Barghouti is not alone. Assad Abu Khalil, AKA The Angry Arab, is another postcolonial enthusiast who also engages in a similar racially driven approach. In his blog post White Man and Paul Newman, Angry AbuKhalil writes “the White Man is not a racial category–or it is not merely a racial category but also a political and epistemological category.” Not only does Angry Arab agree that the ‘White Man’ is partially a racial category, he even goes as far as linking skin colour with a political stand and even epistemology.
Of course, I realise that being an Arab academic in a Zionised American or British university is a tough mission. I guess that for some time the postcolonial discourse was the only possible template that allowed a criticism of Israel and Zionism. But the time is ripe to move on. We’d better now call a spade a spade. It is time to call Israel what it is, namely “The Jewish State”. The time has come to ask what the Jewish State is all about and what is the true meaning of the Jewish symbols that decorate Israeli tanks and airplanes? The time has come for us to grasp that the Jewish Lobby is a primary threat to world peace.
But can we do it all while being thought-policed by the rigid boundaries of the postcolonial realm? Can we talk about Jewish identity politics while some prominent Palestinians activists attempt – to block any discussion on Jewish culture & power? My answer is yes we can, and we’d better make every possible effort to liberate our discourse from the Judeo-centric postcolonial grip.
Whiteness, The Jew & The Queer
In the last few weeks I have wondered why Omar Barghouti attacks the ‘White race’? Is it really necessary? Couldn’t he just refer to the ‘West’, America, Orientalism or the ‘British Empire’? Why does Angry Arab fight the White man? Is it really an elementary political category? Does the introduction of racial categories and biological determinism serve the Palestinian cause or Arab liberation? I decided to jump into the water and immersed myself in some contemporary texts about whiteness and postcolonial theory. I thought that it may help me to understand the emergence of such thoughts.
Following the recommendation of my friend and musical partner Sarah Gillespie, one of the first texts I picked was Richard Dyer’s ‘White’. Dyer is a respected film scholar and a leading writer on the topic. It didn’t take more than five pages before I stumbled upon a very interesting passage that opened my eyes. In the next few lines Dyer speaks about his childhood friendship with a Jewish pal and the impact it had on him.
“The key figure here was a Jewish boy at school, whom I’ll call Danny Marker. I used to visit him and his family in Golders Green, a Jewish neighbourhood of London. I knew by then that I was a homosexual and I envied Danny and his family-they too were an oppressed minority, whom, like queers, you could not always spot; but, unlike us, they had this wonderful, warm community and culture and the wrongfulness of their oppression was socially recognised. I now believe that there are intellectual and political problems with making and analogy between Jews and queers, between ethnic and sexual discrimination, but I am trying to say how it felt then. I envied Danny’s ethnicity and wanted to be part of it, indeed, felt at home with it.” (White, Richard Dyer, White Pg 5)
In The Wandering Who, I wrote extensively about the clear ideological and theoretical continuum between Zionism and other marginal thoughts. I explored the deep ideological similarity between Queer theory and the Jewish national aspiration. On the one hand we notice a legitimate and reasonable call against injustice – the Zionist and the Queer theorist demand to become ‘people like other people’ a call obviously understood and supported by many. But on the other hand, we also detect another forceful demand – to maintain and preserve uniqueness and differentiation. As one can imagine, the humanist call for equality can easily clash with the forceful self-centric, clannish demand for preservation (especially when celebrated on the expense of others).
However, Richard Dyer explores here another special affinity between the queer and the Jew. As a homosexual he expresses a clear and innocent envy of his Jewish schoolmate’s social landscape. Dyer notices that in spite of being oppressed, the Jews have managed to form a “warm and wonderful community and culture.” Dyer’s feeling at home within the Jewish family nest may explain why Tel Aviv has become a Gay capital. It explains why some prominent Queer activists feel so strongly and positively about the Jewish State, Zionism, Jewish culture and Jewishness in general. But it also may explain why some Arab and exiled Palestinian secular academics, feel some affinity to the Jewish dominated anti Zionist postcolonial nest. Operating as an intellectual ghetto, it may also retain some Jewish characteristics, it is probably a ‘warm community’ as Dyer describes it. It may even be that some Palestinian postcolonial secular academics would feel more comfortable in Tel Aviv University than in Al-Azhar University in Gaza.
I obviously understand it and I am far from being judgmental. But am I naïve to expect Palestinian activists and intellectuals to ensure that the, ‘wrongfulness of Palestinian oppression’ be widely and ‘socially recognised’ by the masses, rather than by a few postcolonial Jewish Anti Zionists? It is time for our discourse to leave the ghetto.
I guess that in order to achieve such a goal, we must transcend the decaying postcolonial discourse or else completely revise it. We must drift away from any form of marginal ideology. We must be able to deconstruct Jewish texts and Jewish cultural discourse with the same vigor that Edward Said deconstructed the European canon, whether it was Charles Dickens or Lord Balfour. We actually better locate the issue of Palestine at the forefront of the battle for a better world, humanity and humanism.
We should engage in an inclusive, open intellectual debate that welcomes all oppressed (queers, gays, Arabs, Muslims, people of colour and so on) and oppressors too. At the end of the day, with 50 million Americans living in deep poverty watching 30.000 drones fly over their heads, Gaza is now in Detroit, Newark and Philadelphia. Our solidarity with Palestine can now become a true force of genuine empathy. We don’t now just put ourselves in the shoes of the Palestinians, we actually wear them. We all strive for the same liberty. We are one.
 If Israel is the Jewish ‘Settler State’ we better be informed at last where is the Jewish ‘mother state’ for colonialism is defined by a clear material, cultural and spiritual exchange between a mother and a settler states.
 It would be wrong not to mention professor Joseph Massad of Columbia University. Following his Mentor Edward Said, Massad also writes about the role of colonialism, its structure, its impact and the scars it left behind. Like Barghouti and Abu Khalil, Massad also refers occasionally to skin colour. Yet, unlike Barghouti and Abu Khalil, Massad seems to be far more careful and astute. Rather than falling into the banal biological determinist trap, he seems to critically refer and examine the role of skin colour from structural, social, cultural and political perspectives.
Insurance Without The Policy…
On C-Span Chris Hedges interviewed Alain de Botton about his book “Religion for Atheists”. Alain de Botton was new to me but Chris Hedges has paid a price for standing with his convictions and has used his considerable literary talents to project shreds of truth to power. The title of the book attracted my attention.
Both Hedges and de Botton are smart, well read, and well educated; both bring forth considerable erudition on a variety of subjects. Alain de Botton described the secular world as having voids in several places citing ethics, community, structure, institution, art, and education. In these deficient areas de Botton proposes that atheists avoid the doctrine but use the product of religion to fill the voids.
Botton approaches the Word of God with the same disdain used by many Christians; he is the arbiter, he does the picking and choosing; like a child eating the frosting from a freshly baked cake all he wants is the sweetness. This is, of course, blasphemy and God treats it the same way a mother treats her little frosting thief.
The need that Botton expresses is obvious to a sentient person but escapes the turgid, atheistic intellectuals who regularly claim divine qualities. Every child is born with an innate desire to be the lord of its universe. Removing a baby from its mother’s breast before its stomach is full will result in an irritating tantrum. That totalitarian characteristic will continue as long as the child’s scream is able to control its surroundings. In some adults the scream may be silent but the control is still evident.
Christians are an independent lot. There are very few Indians in the Christian tribe – lots of chiefs but few Indians. This competition for leadership is exacerbated by the prevalent practice of usurping God’s authority by acting as arbiter of His Word. Christians seldom approach the Bible with true reverence. He is the Creator, we are His creation, born in sin and unable to overcome the screams of our infancy we cannot live successfully until we obey His overarching word.
In spite of Libertarian opinion to the contrary, human power will always tend to be tyrannical. For those who doubt, a review of human history will prove my point. We are members of a species that has a history of theft, murder, mayhem, and tyranny. The common man has enjoyed scant periods of freedom in the history of our world. We need government because we are sinners who given the proper opportunity would tyrannize our fellows. We all think we are right, that our opinions are righteous and above reproach. Because we are often wrong but never in doubt, God did not create us to govern ourselves and there is no human being, however brilliant and wisdom filled, that has the proper perspective to govern his fellows – only God can do that!
The late Rousas Rushdoony pointed to the fact that God’s Ten Commandments have gradually been replaced by the Ten Planks of Communism. These secular, collectivist tenets are now encoded in our law replacing the Biblical based legal system brought from Europe by our Founders. The Christian Church should have been a bulwark against this wicked tsunami but without legal standards it was unable to resist. We are beginning to experience the totalitarian chaos and suffering that is the inevitable product of a God hating system.
Christopher Hedges is the son of a Presbyterian minister. He was gifted with a brilliant intellect and received an excellent education. From Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Ct. he earned a degree in English Literature from Colgate followed by a Master of Divinity from Harvard and an honorary doctorate from Unitarian Starr King School in Berkeley, California. Raised in a home immersed in a Christian religious denomination; initiated to higher education at a Baptist College, and intellectually honed at a Divinity School noted for its flawless academics, Hedges was able to resist orthodox Christianity, take a fling at Unitarianism and spend fifteen years working at the New York Times. One would be hard pressed to find a more salient example of progressive religious humanism. Nevertheless, if his owlish round glasses are a symbol of wisdom, they have a large degree of authenticity.
Vehemently against the Iraq War Hedges publically condemned the press coverage. In a speech at Rockford College in 2003 he said, “We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security.” The Jewish owned Times reprimanded Hedges and shortly thereafter he left the Paper, joined a think tank and began writing on his own.
Chris Hedges approaches religion as a divine arbiter of truth. Christian churches throughout the world are full of people who use the same technique. The result is an individualized humanistic religion that deifies the person and defies God.
Evangelical Christians make up the bulk of American Christianity but few understand the importance of being chosen. When the creature chooses the Creator it is a humanist transaction; when the Creator chooses the creature it is a Divine calling.
One of my readers responded to an article about the devastation Jewish leaders have inflicted on the United States with this statement: “Perhaps if we were to expand just a bit, we might come to examine how the notion of being “chosen” by God is the ultimate form of collectivist thinking and can only lead to the destruction of the individual by considering him a part of a group, possessing nothing that exists above and beyond what he was born as, and giving him his worth only by being a member of it. Not only does it elevate some, it must demonize all others and creates an eternal state of enmity and conflict between groups, destroying the natural harmony and spontaneous order which develops naturally between men when they consider each other as individuals, each unique and possessing the same rights and liberties granted them by our Creator.”
Being chosen is intrinsic to the foundation of Christianity. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob always does the choosing. This essential tenet has been lost to the Dispensational cult and has become the illegitimate property of the Jews. I understand that many present day Jews are not related to the Twelve Tribes but that is another subject. What is important is that God chose Abraham and created a nation and a people from his progeny. He promised to be their God and to bless them if they would obey His Commandments. Not only did they fail to obey His commandments but they condemned His only Son, replaced His sacred Torah with the Talmud, and assiduously defied His rule. At the Diaspora God made a final break with them and henceforth the claims to being chosen by those who are not Christians are bogus.
One of the reasons for God’s rejections of the Jews is the humanistic arrogance that crept into their claim of being chosen. God’s chosen people are ordered to lift up the Triune God of the Bible. He is great and we are His servants. Our ways are not His ways and righteousness is a product of His Word not of our thought. Christians are God’s chosen people. Being chosen changes the heart and sets us apart. We are His ambassadors and His Word is our guide. The spirit of the chosen is a spirit of humility.
When I began to watch the Hedges/Botton interview I thought it might be an unusual instance where both participants were Gentiles. However, it turned out that Alain de Botton comes from a very interesting Jewish family. His Grandmother, Yolande Harmer (1913-1959), was born to a Turkish-Jewish mother in Alexandria, Egypt, she ascended socially to the court of King Farouk and was recruited to spy for nascent Israel. Her seductions were so successful that a town square in Jerusalem bears her name. Alain’s father, Gilbert de Botton (1935-2000), was raised by his mother’s parents since both his mother and father were consumed by their vocations. He was a brilliant man who caught the attention of the British and French Rothschild families and was selected to establish their operation in Zurich. Eventually he became President of Rothschilds in New York. Feeling he should be on his own the Rothschilds urged him to start his own business. (Jacob Rothschild provided financing and retained 40 percent of the business.) In 1983 he formed Global Asset Management, a multinational asset management firm. As with many Rothschild associates he became fabulously wealthy.
It is difficult to find information on Alain’s mother who is apparently still alive. Her maiden name was Jacqueline Burgauer; now Jackie de Botton. There is some information that suggests Alain considers her a high maintenance member of the family.
The Bible contains large sections of genealogy which ultimately result in the birth of the Christ. Meticulous genealogy is also kept by leading Jewish families because of the importance placed on their work. Alain has a Sixteen Century relative, Abraham de Boton (1560-1605), who was a famous rabbi and Talmudist. If you open the page you will find that his teacher is listed on the page and if you open the teacher’s page you will find that teacher’s teacher is recorded, etc. Talmudic scholars are important parts of Jewish history and carefully records are kept. This substantial cultural foundation that Jews so meticulously maintain is the exact opposite of the policies they have successfully promoted in the United States of America. Study of the Talmud is considered more important than study of the Torah.
As is sometimes the case, the participants in this interview were more interesting than the interview itself. Several reviewers commended Alain de Botton’s outstanding literary ability. His first book “Essays In Love” was a best seller and got glowing reviews. One reviewer included this metaphor as an example of the content. ”There is an Arabic saying that the soul travels at the pace of a camel. While most of us are led by the strict demands of diaries and timetables, the soul, the seat of the heart, trails nostalgically behind, burdened by the weight of memory…. The camel became lighter and lighter as it walked through time, it kept shaking memories and photos off its back, scattering them over the desert floor and letting the wind bury them in the sand, and gradually the camel became so light that it could trot again and even gallop in its own curious way – until one day, in a small oasis that called itself the present, the exhausted creature finally caught up with the rest of me.”
Alain de Botton is great writer on whose heart the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may be tugging!
Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.
In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.
Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.
Overseas, Menwith Hill, the NSA’s giant satellite listening post in Yorkshire, England that sports 33 giant dome-covered eavesdropping dishes, is also undergoing a multi-million-dollar expansion, with $68 million alone being spent on a generator plant to provide power for new supercomputers. And the number of people employed on the base, many of them employees of Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is due to increase from 1,800 to 2,500 in 2015, according to a study done in Britain. Closer to home, in May, Fort Meade will close its 27-hole golf course to make room for a massive $2 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot expansion of the NSA’s headquarters, including a cybercommand complex and a new supercomputer center expected to cost nearly $1 billion.
The climax, however, will be the opening next year of the NSA’s mammoth 1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center. The centerpiece in the agency’s decade-long building boom, it will be the “cloud” where the trillions of millions of intercepted phone calls, e-mails, and data trails will reside, to be scrutinized by distant analysts over highly encrypted fiber-optic links.
Despite the post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping of Americans, the NSA says that citizens should trust it not to abuse its growing power and that it takes the Constitution and the nation’s privacy laws seriously.
But one of the agency’s biggest secrets is just how careless it is with that ocean of very private and very personal communications, much of it to and from Americans. Increasingly, obscure and questionable contractors — not government employees — install the taps, run the agency’s eavesdropping infrastructure, and do the listening and analysis.
And with some of the key companies building the U.S.’s surveillance infrastructure for the digital age employing unstable employees, crooked executives, and having troubling ties to foreign intelligence services, it’s not clear that Americans should trust the secretive agency, even if its current agency chief claims he doesn’t approve of extrajudicial spying on Americans. His predecessor, General Michael V. Hayden, made similar claims while secretly conducting the warrantless wiretapping program.
Until now, the actual mechanics of how the agency constructed its highly secret U.S. eavesdropping net, code-named Stellar Wind, has never been revealed. But in the weeks following 9/11, as the agency and the White House agreed to secretly ignore U.S. privacy laws and bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, J. Kirk Wiebe noticed something odd. A senior analyst, he was serving as chief of staff for the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC), a sort of skunkworks within the agency where bureaucratic rules were broken, red tape was cut, and innovation was expected.
“One day I notice out in the hallway, stacks and stacks of new servers in boxes just lined up,” he said.
Passing by the piles of new Dell 1750 servers, Wiebe, as he often did, headed for the Situation Room, which dealt with threat warnings. It was located within the SARC’s Lab, on the third floor of Operations Building 2B, a few floors directly below the director’s office. “I walk in and I almost get thrown out by a guy that we knew named Ben Gunn,” he said. It was the launch of Stellar Wind and only a handful of agency officials were let in on the secret.
“He was the one who organized it,” said Bill Binney of Gunn. A former founder and co-director of SARC, Binney was the agency official responsible for automating much of the NSA’s worldwide monitoring networks. Troubled by the unconstitutional nature of tapping into the vast domestic communications system without a warrant, he decided to quit the agency in late 2001 after nearly forty years.
Gunn, said Binney, was a Scotsman and naturalized U.S. citizen who had formerly worked for GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, and later become a senior analyst at the NSA. The NSA declined Wired’s request to interview Gunn, saying that, as policy, it doesn’t confirm or deny if a person is employed by the agency.
Shortly after the secret meeting, the racks of Dell servers were moved to a room down the hall, behind a door with a red seal indicating only those specially cleared for the highly compartmented project could enter. But rather than having NSA employees putting the hardware and software together and setting up walls of monitors showing suspected terrorism threats and their U.S. communications, the spying room was filled with a half-dozen employees of a tiny mom-and-pop company with a bizarre and troubling history.
“It was Technology Development Corporation,” said Binney.
The agency went to TDC, he says, because the company had helped him set up a similar network in SARC — albeit one that was focused on foreign and international communications — the kind of spying the NSA is chartered to undertake.
“They needed to have somebody who knew how the code works to set it up,” he said. “And then it was just a matter of feeding in the attributes [U.S. phone numbers, e-mail addresses and personal data] and any of the content you want.” Those “attributes” came from secret rooms established in large telecom switches around the country. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says.
Formed in April 1984, TDC was owned by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson, and largely run out of Randall’s Clarkesville, Maryland house, with his wife acting as bookkeeper. But its listed address is a post office box in Annapolis Junction, across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the NSA, and thecompany’s phone number in various business directories is actually an NSA number in Binney’s old office.
The company’s troubles began in June 1992 when Paul lost his security clearance. “If you ever met this guy, you would know he’s a really strange guy,” Binney said of Paul. “He did crazy stuff. I think they thought he was unstable.” At the time, Paul was working on a contract at the NSA alongside a rival contractor, Unisys Corporation. He later blamed Unisys for his security problems and sued it, claiming that Unisys employees complained about him to his NSA supervisors. According to the suit, Unisys employees referred to him as “weird” and that he “acted like a robot,” “never wore decent clothes,” and was mentally and emotionally unstable. About that time, he also began changing his name, first to Jimmy Carter, and later to Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf.
With “von Ronsdorf’s” clearance gone and no longer able to work at the NSA, Randy Jacobson ran the company alone, though he kept his brother and fellow shareholder employed in the company, which led to additional problems.
“What happened was Randy still let him have access to the funds of the company and he squandered them,” according to Binney. “It was so bad, Randy couldn’t pay the people who were working for him.” According to court records, Ronsdorf allegedly withdrew about $100,000 in unauthorized payments. But Jacobson had troubles of his own, having failed to file any income tax statements for three years in the 1990s, according to tax court records. Then in March 2002, around the time the company was completing Stellar Wind, Jacobson fired his brother for improper billing and conversion of company funds. That led to years of suits and countersuits over mismanagement and company ownership.
Despite that drama, Jacobson and his people appeared to have serious misgivings about the NSA’s program once they discovered its true nature, according to Binney. “They came and said, ‘Do you realize what these people are doing?’” he said. “‘They’re feeding us other stuff [U.S.] in there.’ I mean they knew it was unconstitutional right away.” Binney added that once the job was finished, the NSA turned to still another contractor to run the tapping operation. “They made it pretty well known, so after they got it up and running they [the NSA] brought in the SAIC people to run it after that.” Jacobsen was then shifted to other work at the NSA, where he and his company are still employed.
Randall Jacobsen answered his phone inside the NSA but asked for time to respond. He never called back.
In addition to constructing the Stellar Wind center, and then running the operation, secretive contractors with questionable histories and little oversight were also used to do the actual bugging of the entire U.S. telecommunications network.
According to a former Verizon employee briefed on the program, Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, taps the communication lines at Verizon, which I first reported in my book The Shadow Factory in 2008. Verint did not return a call seeking comment, while Verizon said it does not comment on such matters.
At AT&T the wiretapping rooms are powered by software and hardware from Narus, now owned by Boeing, a discovery made by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein in 2004. Narus did not return a call seeking comment.
What is especially troubling is that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to that country’s intelligence service, a country with a long and aggressive history of spying on the U.S.
In fact, according to Binney, the advanced analytical and data mining software the NSA had developed for both its worldwide and international eavesdropping operations was secretly passed to Israel by a mid-level employee, apparently with close connections to the country. The employee, a technical director in the Operations Directorate, “who was a very strong supporter of Israel,” said Binney, “gave, unbeknownst to us, he gave the software that we had, doing these fast rates, to the Israelis.”
Because of his position, it was something Binney should have been alerted to, but wasn’t.
“In addition to being the technical director,” he said, “I was the chair of the TAP, it’s the Technical Advisory Panel, the foreign relations council. We’re supposed to know what all these foreign countries, technically what they’re doing…. They didn’t do this that way, it was under the table.” After discovering the secret transfer of the technology, Binney argued that the agency simply pass it to them officially, and in that way get something in return, such as access to communications terminals. “So we gave it to them for switches,” he said. “For access.”
But Binney now suspects that Israeli intelligence in turn passed the technology on to Israeli companies who operate in countries around the world, including the U.S. In return, the companies could act as extensions of Israeli intelligence and pass critical military, economic and diplomatic information back to them. “And then five years later, four or five years later, you see a Narus device,” he said. “I think there’s a connection there, we don’t know for sure.”
Narus was formed in Israel in November 1997 by six Israelis with much of its money coming from Walden Israel, an Israeli venture capital company. Its founder and former chairman, Ori Cohen, once told Israel’sFortune Magazine that his partners have done technology work for Israeli intelligence. And among the five founders was Stanislav Khirman, a husky, bearded Russian who had previously worked for Elta Systems, Inc. A division of Israel Aerospace Industries, Ltd., Elta specializes in developing advanced eavesdropping systems for Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. At Narus, Khirman became the chief technology officer.
A few years ago, Narus boasted that it is “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” The company says its equipment is capable of “providing unparalleled monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations around the world” and that “Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails, along with attachments, see what Web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice over Internet Protocol] calls.”
Like Narus, Verint was founded by in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob “Kobi” Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations, according to the Jerusalem Post. Among its products is STAR-GATE, which according to the company’s sales literature, lets “service providers … access communications on virtually any type of network, retain communication data for as long as required, and query and deliver content and data …” and was “[d]esigned to manage vast numbers of targets, concurrent sessions, call data records, and communications.”
In a rare and candid admission to Forbes, Retired Brig. Gen. Hanan Gefen, a former commander of the highly secret Unit 8200, Israel’s NSA, noted his former organization’s influence on Comverse, which owns Verint, as well as other Israeli companies that dominate the U.S. eavesdropping and surveillance market. “Take NICE, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology,” said Gefen. “Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse’s main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit’s technology.”
According to a former chief of Unit 8200, both the veterans of the group and much of the high-tech intelligence equipment they developed are now employed in high-tech firms around the world. “Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years,” he told a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha’artez in 2000, “Unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street.” Referred to only as “Brigadier General B,” he added, “This correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental: Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”
Equally troubling is the issue of corruption. Kobi Alexander, the founder and former chairman of Verint, is now a fugitive, wanted by the FBI on nearly three dozen charges of fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and other crimes. And two of his top associates at Comverse, Chief Financial Officer David Kreinberg and former General Counsel William F. Sorin, were also indicted in the scheme and later pleaded guilty, with both serving time in prison and paying millions of dollars in fines and penalties.
When asked about these contractors, the NSA declined to “verify the allegations made.”
But the NSA did “eagerly offer” that it “ensures deliberate and appropriate measures are taken to thoroughly investigate and resolve any legitimate complaints or allegations of misconduct or illegal activity” and “takes seriously its obligation to adhere to the U.S. Constitution and comply with the U.S. laws and regulations that govern our activities.”
The NSA also added that “we are proud of the work we do to protect the nation, and allegations implying that there is inappropriate monitoring of American communications are a disservice to the American public and to the NSA civilian and military personnel who are dedicated to serving their country.”
However, that statement elides the voluminous reporting by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Wired on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Also not reflected is that in the only anti-warrantless wiretapping lawsuit to survive the government’s use of the “state secrets” privilege to throw them out, a federal judge ruled that two American lawyers had been spied on illegally by the government and were entitled to compensation.
So take the NSA’s assurances as you will.
But as NSA director Alexander flies around the country, scissors in hand, opening one top-secret, outsourced eavesdropping center after another, someone might want to ask the question no one in Congress seems willing to ask: Who’s listening to the listeners?
A Conversation of Tyranny…
The “Daily Bell” is a Libertarian internet site that provides news and commentary. Anthony Wile is editor and the page has an impressive list of Libertarian advisors. DB is a foundation that solicits donations.
Libertarian Pages like “Freedom Phoenix”, “Lou Rockwell”, “The Daily Bell” and others provide sources for monitoring the advancement of tyranny in America and throughout the world. I am a Christian, I am not a Libertarian, but the common quest for truth often brings us together.
Some of the DB editorials are marked “Staff report” and although they speak for the site are not signed by a particular writer. DB frequently presents their opinion on the Jewish phenomenon; one article was entitled “The Conversation of Freedom is Not Jewish”.
The writer takes issue with Henry Makow’s opinion that Libertarianism has a Jewish character. DB gives the Philosophy an umbrella that would cover Ayn Rand at one end and Gary North at the other. The DB model is described with a small “L”, different from the formal Libertarian Party. To the accusation that Libertarians eschew social justice DB sites a previous article where they recommended a return to private justice where “people avenge their own via duels, feuds and the like” and “organize around various forms of private theology”. It goes on to chide the antediluvian nature of some of the Jewish conspiracy theories.
However, DB makes a huge error at the outset by labeling Jewish conspiracy theories as “anti-Semitic”. The a-S label squelches all attempts to bring veracity to the Jewish phenomenon allowing the truth to remain hidden. If we allow the a-S label to censor truth we fertilize the common contemporary practice of allowing fantasy to pose as reality. Attempts to squelch free speech by refusing to acknowledge truth creates insoluble problems by making proper understanding impossible.
That said consider this: Jews are a very small minority in the United States. They make up less than 3 percent of our population. However, if I shop at Home Depot I am shopping at a Jewish owned store; if I go to Lowes it is also Jewish owned; Walgreens is Jewish owned as is CVS; every department store carries several product lines that are Jewish owned; Google was a Jewish brainchild; Facebook was developed by a Jewish Harvard student; Jewish interests control money worldwide; education, particularly higher education, has been co-opted by Jewish intellectuals; from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present every U. S. president has been surrounded by Jewish advisors; congressmen cannot get elected without supporting Israel and Jewish interests; T. V. commentators, movie actors, producers, consultants etc. are predominately Jewish; book reviews on C-Span are mostly by Jewish authors; the book publishing industry is controlled by Jews; the media – newspapers, movies, TV, radio, and records – are under Jewish control; and, the intellectual base for classic Libertarianism is Jewish, Rothbard, Mises, and Rand were all Jewish and Mise’s student, Hayek, had Jewish blood through the Wittgensteins. According to one source 87 percent of Jewish children attend college while the United States average is about 40 percent. A third or more of the students at Harvard are Jewish and in my current favorite TV drama the two major characters are played by Jewish actors and all positions of power are held by Blacks or women or both. The facts are astounding – only severe myopia could obscure them. Read more here.
Dr. Stephen Steinlight a respected Jewish thinker has been pilloried by militant Jewish partisans for attempting to ameliorate the immigration debate. In one of his monographs he describes his upbringing: “I’ll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months for 10 formative years during my childhood and adolescence I attended Jewish summer camp. There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colors, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland. Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue, and, like many other Jewish teens of my generation, I spent two summers working in Israel on a collective farm while I contemplated that possibility. More tacitly and subconsciously, I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one.”
Part of the problem is that many Jews among us tend to think of themselves this way: “I am not anAmerican citizen of the Jewish faith, I am a Jew. I have been an American for sixty-three sixty-fourths ofmy life, but I have been a Jew for 4000 years.” Quote from Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, speaking before a rally in New York in 1938.
In our Jewish dominated society complicity with Jewish interests is often a successful business strategy. World Net Daily has become popular and successful supporting Zionism while truthtellers Pat Buchanan and the team of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have dropped from prominence. The erstwhile anti-Zionist publication “Spotlight”, assiduously exposed Jewish shenanigans. It was forced into bankruptcy and silenced. There is tremendous pressure from powerful Jewish quarters to suppress the truth.
Wealth and power are usually products of consistent work to obtain knowledge and to conduct ones affairs in an orderly and profitable manner. Jews have worked hard to get where they are. There is diversity in their ranks but there is also cohesion. They have extensive control of the world’s money supply. From outsiders they extract interest but to their fellow Jews loans are free. Individually they are knowledgeable and interesting to know and claim as friends. If they vested their power in the One True God and were obedience to His Commandments the world would be a far better place. But instead there is a huge downside to their astounding racial success.
Dr. Kevin MacDonald, Professor of Psychology at California State University–Long Beach, is a prolific author who has suffered some nasty episodes for carefully compiling a trilogy of books on the Jewish phenomenon. For anyone interested in studying Jewish history his books are excellent. The Webpage is here. In “The Culture of Critique” MacDonald quotes Walter Kerr, “The literate American mind has come in some measure to think Jewishly. It has been taught to, and it was ready to. After the entertainers and novelists came the Jewish critics, politicians, and theologians. Critics and politicians and theologians are by profession molders: they form ways of seeing.” MacDonald goes on to describe Jews as being ambitious, persistent, cohesive, and group oriented; he cites their “dazzling verbal skills”, their high level of energy, and their strength of conviction, claiming “these traits have been central to Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy throughout history”.
Henry Makow’s use of the word “Illuminate” is an apt description but is meaningless to most Americans. Evangelical Christians imbued with the cultish Dispensational theology consider Jews to be God’s Chosen People. With gossamer piety they proclaim the Second Coming using the man-made nation of Israel as an impetus. With no understanding of Judaism and a tiny, often distorted, knowledge of the Bible they frantically support the theology Jesus condemned. It is the Talmud (Satanic theology) with its hate for the Goyum, its Jewish racial superiority, its promotion of deception, and its gross immorality that guides Zionist leadership.
The impact of Jewish hegemony is not overtly evident in the everyday life of American citizens. It is not understood that the agendas for the major segments of our society are always set by the Jewish mind. No one seems upset that we are never exposed of the genocide of neo-Israel’s Palestinian captives. We have been so thoroughly brain washed that our sympathies automatically go to the Holocaust and the suffering inflicted on Jews by the Third Reich. While neo-Israel steals their land, imprisons them in a gulag, and kills them at will, most Americans believe it is the Palestinians that are culpable.
The brain washing has been so successful that we are not aware that more Christians than Jews were murdered during WWII. There is no lament for the millions of Christians murdered by a mostly Jewish cadre in Russian and by Hitler’s regime in Germany. No movies have been made about the suffering of Christians and few, if any, books have been published on this subject. The emphasis has always been on the Jews. Movies have been presented, a museum has been erected, and a constant bombardment of propaganda has accompanied the Holocaust while Christians and Russian Jewish involvement in their murder has been completely erased from the minds of the public and removed from current history.
Our universities have experienced a similar Jewish brain washing. Multiculturalism, racial factions, sexual liberation, feminism, homosexuality, socialist politics, and politically correct speech have become part of University life. Free speech and freedom of association have been curtailed disallowing the discussion of forbidden subjects. Brain washing in colleges has resulted in a politically correct environment that distorts justice, vies with reality, and fails to provide a full orbed education. MacDonald writes that John Dewey, who was a major influence in forming the American educational system, was “promoted by Jewish intellectuals” and helped establish the New School of Social Research and the America Civil Liberties Union “both essentially Jewish organizations”.
The Christian Church has been the bulls eye of the Jewish target in America. Since the Church forsook its duty to censor the products of Hollywood motion pictures have become progressively more immoral and attacks on Christianity more frequent and severe. Practices forbidden in the Bible are favorably depicted on movie screens; adultery, fornication, infidelity, divorce, and homosexuality are routine. Christian ministers are shown as lustful charlatans, wimps, or fools while secular characters are compassionate, long suffering, and altruistic. The legal attack on the Church has been devastating. Christianity and all of its symbols have been banned from the public square and shoved into captivity behind church walls. One Jewish atheist can destroy Christian traditions that have existed for centuries.
The United States is not the first nation to be overcome by Jewish power. Before WWII Jews were a powerful faction in Germany. Dr. MacDonald quotes I. Deak: “Jews were responsible for a great part of the German culture. The owners of three of Germany’s greatest newspaper publishing houses; the editors of the “Vossische Zeitung” and the Berliner Tageblatt; most book publishers; the owners and editors of the Neue Rundschau and other distinguished literary magazines; the owners of Germany’s greatest art galleries were all Jews. Jews played a major part in theater and in the film industry as producers, directors, and actors. Many of Germany’s best composers, musicians, artists, sculptors, and architects were Jews. Their participation in literary criticism and in literature was enormous: practically all of the great critics and many novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists of Weimar Germany were Jews. A recent American study has shown that thirty-one of the sixty-five leading German ‘expressionists’ and “neo-objectivists’ were Jews.”
The Russian writer Igor Shafarevich writes “that Jews were critically involved in actions that destroyed traditional Russian institutions, particularly in their role of dominating the secret police and the OGPU (Unified State Political Directorate). He stresses the Jewish role in liquidating Russian nationalists and undermining Russian patriotism, murdering the Czar and his family, dispossessing the kulaks, and destroying the Orthodox Church.” Kevin MacDonald says of Shafarevich, “He views Jewish ‘Russophobia’ not as a unique phenomenon, but as resulting from traditional Jewish hostility towards the Gentile world considered as “tref” (unclean) and toward Gentiles themselves considered as sub-human and as worthy of destruction —.”
It is not difficult to relate the results of Jewish domination in Russia and Germany with what is happening in the United States. The arts and the media is under complete Jewish domination and our culture is being decimated with multiculturalism and massive immigration both promoted by Jewish intellectuals and the organizations they have created. Jews control our government and foreign policies as well as the Federal Reserve which is swimming in profits while our nation faces bankruptcy. America’s moral columns have been destroyed with the banning of social Christianity and the enforced legal status for abortion, homosexuality, and gay marriage. Jews have decimated America!
In 2002 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published his last major work “Two Hundred Years Together”. It has been translated and published in Europe but has been blocked by Jewish partisans in America. Solzhenitsyn was a hero. He died in 2008 but during his life he was an ardent seeker and purveyor of truth. I suspect his book would corroborate the work of Dr. MacDonald.
Americans tend to think these highly talented people are close to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, The One True God, and to think of them as intrinsic in His plans for His creation. Evangelical Christians provide Jews with substantial monetary and spiritual support.
Michael Hoffman’s book “Judaism’s Strange Gods” shatters this illusion by delving deeply into the beliefs that are promoted by the Rabbis. It liberates “the reader from the accumulated shackles of decades of misinformation and shows that Judaism’s god is not the God of Israel, but the strange gods of Talmud and Kabbalah, and the racial self-worship they inculcate”; in the process it shatters the DB opinion that the Talmud and Kabbalah are paper tigers.
Keeping these facts under wrap and destroying honest critiques is not good for our nation nor is it good for Jews. Vishal Mangalwadi, an East Indian Christian, has written a book entitled “Truth and Transformation”, a “Manifesto for Ailing Nations”. His examples of the contagious nature of dishonesty and the devastating results of institutionalized theft on the prosperity of societies breaks new ground in support of God’s overarching moral code. The moral code God gave to those who enjoyed His first love should be their gift to His creation but instead it has been forsaken and replaced with the clandestine cloak of Devilish, Talmudic lies.
Vishal Mangalwadi begins his book by relating a story about his own experience with honesty. Someone told him that a particular country was a good place to do business because its people trusted each other. At first he did not understand why trust was important but later, in Holland, a friend took him to a dairy farm where milk was sold on the honor system with the customer trusted to put the required cost into a bowl; there was not attendant. Vishal said to his friend “if you were an Indian, you would take the milk and the money”. Later Vishal told this story at a meeting in Indonesia where and Egyptian gentleman laughed and said, “We are cleverer than Indians. We would take the milk, the money, and the cows.”
Vishal then began to understand that if people took the milk and the money the owner would need to hire an attendant and the cost of the milk would then go up to cover the cost of the attendant. Further, he concluded “if customers are dishonest, why should the supplier be honest? He would add water to the milk to increase the volume. Being an activist, I would protest that the milk was adulterated; the government must appoint milk inspectors. But who would pay for the inspectors? Me, the taxpayer.”
“If the consumer and the suppliers are dishonest, why would the inspectors be honest? They would extract bribes from the suppliers. If they didn’t get the bribes, they would use one law or another to make sure the sales is delayed enough to make the nonrefrigerated milk curdle. Who would pay for the bribes? Initially the supplier, but ultimately the consumer.”
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” – attributed to Abraham Lincoln, a hero for many Jews. The historic results of Jewish illegitimate hegemony, subterfuge, manipulation, apartheid, and racial arrogance have always been disastrous. It would be a great blessing to world Jewry as well as to Gentiles if Jewish leaders would squelch the self pity, learn humility, and begin to use their considerable talents to bring the world peace, justice, and personal freedom by obeying the Commandments of the God that created them and without Whom they would never have existed as a people. It was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that fulfilled His promise to make them a great nation and it was the same long suffering and merciful God that scattered them at the Diaspora because of their disobedience. Obedience would bring reconciliation, the Talmud and the Kabbalah will not.
DB is right the conversation of freedom is not Jewish; however, it is often tyrannical.
“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.”
Mayer Amschel Rothschild Does DB understand who controls the money and the results of that control?
One of my all-time favorite pieces of literature is this section from Friedrich Schiller’s William Tell:
“By this fair light which greeteth us, before
Those other nations, that, beneath us far,
In noisome cities pent, draw painful breath,
Swear we the oath of our confederacy!
A band of brothers true we swear to be,
Never to part in danger or in death!
“We swear we will be free as were our sires,
And sooner die than live in slavery!
“We swear, to put our trust in God Most High,
And not to quail before the might of man!”
Another personal favorite is the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V:
“This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered.
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile.
This day shall gentle his condition.
“And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
Schiller and Shakespeare called it “Band of Brothers.” The Apostle Peter called it “Brotherhood.” (I Peter 2:17) Call it what you will: without it, no cause will prevail. And that is one of the biggest problems we face in America today: there is very little brotherhood among brothers.
No, not all brothers are part of the brotherhood. The Scripture acknowledges this in Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” And again in Proverbs 27:10, “Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother afar off.” A brother that doesn’t “stick close” is certainly not part of the brotherhood. Neither is a brother that is “afar off.”
The sad truth is, even in the vast majority of churches, brotherhood is virtually unknown. Sitting in a church congregation is no more indicative of brotherhood than sitting in a crowded football stadium. In fact, there might even be MORE brotherhood at a football game than there is in the average church today.
Churches today are literally eaten up with malice, jealousy, gossip, slander, backbiting, faultfinding, ad infinitum. (But the same is true with other establishment organizations as well.) For all intents and purposes, today’s churches make a mockery of all that Jesus taught regarding Christian love and brotherhood. On the whole, it simply does not exist today.
This past Sunday, I delivered a message simply entitled, “Brotherhood.” I encourage readers to watch or download this message at:
For the sake of this column, and for the freedom movement especially, let me issue a clarion call for all of us who call ourselves Patriots. It is absolutely critical that we recognize The Brotherhood of the Free.
After signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said, “We must hang together, or we most assuredly will hang separately.” How right he was!
Our patriot-forebears, this “Band of Brothers,” were as diverse a group of men as would ever be found. They represented virtually every Christian denomination that existed in Colonial America. They also included men who identified with no Christian church or denomination. While most of our Founding Fathers were Christians, not all of them were. But they all joined shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight for liberty and independence. Christians were fighting for the freedom to worship God as they pleased, and non-Christians were fighting for the freedom to not worship God if they pleased. But both fought side-by-side for freedom. Why do Christians today have such a blind spot in this regard?
It doesn’t matter that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, or that Newt Gingrich is a Catholic, or that Rick Santorum is a Catholic. What matters is that not one of them is part of The Brotherhood of the Free. Not one of them has a clue as to what the real principles of liberty and constitutional government are all about. Not one of them recognizes the New World Order, the emerging police state, or the foolhardiness of perpetual war–whatever church they attend notwithstanding!
And that’s the problem with most of our Christian “brothers”: They just don’t get it! And when push comes to shove, most of them will join with the forces of darkness in persecuting real Patriots and freedom lovers. Don’t believe it? Look at how they are treating Ron Paul.
Say what you want about Ron Paul, he is an elder statesman in The Brotherhood of the Free. Ron Paul is in the Brotherhood. He knows what’s going on. He sees the danger. He cares about liberty. He understands the Constitution. He is my brother in the fight!
Do I agree with Dr. Paul about every issue? No! We will never agree with our fellow Patriots about every single issue–neither should we have to. We agree on the basics. We each love liberty and independence. We believe in constitutional government. We despise globalism, corporatism, socialism, and fascism. We recognize a police state when we see it. We recognize the right of free moral beings to make their own personal moral choices. As Christians, we know that only Christ can change the hearts (and thereby, the conduct) of men–NOT GOVERNMENT!
Does anyone find it more than interesting that men such as John Adams, Sam Adams, and George Washington joined with Benjamin Franklin in signing the Declaration of Independence? The Adams boys and Mr. Washington were well known far and wide as men of intense piety and personal morality, while Mr. Franklin was known by everyone to be an incurable ladies man–even in his old age. If John and Sam and George would have behaved as so-called Christians do today, they would have said, “If Ben is signing this document, count me out!” But there they were, side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, fighting for liberty and independence.
I, too, will gladly stand with my fellows in The Brotherhood of the Free. It doesn’t mean that I approve of all that they do. It doesn’t mean that I believe all that they believe. But it does mean as long as they are part of the Brotherhood and are willing to fight for the principles of liberty, I will stand with them!
Joining Ron Paul are thousands of men and women who should be recognized as part of this noble Brotherhood. As did our Founding Fathers, we come from varied walks of life, varied religious persuasions, varied belief systems, etc., but we all share a love of liberty and independence that burns deeply in our breasts.
Accordingly, I am glad to stand with (and to have stood with) Patriots such as Montana State Legislator Rick Jore, John McManus, Dr. Stan Montieth, Howard Phillips, Larry Pratt, Paul Walter, Herb Titus, Bill Olson, Ed Vieira, Judge Darrell White, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Pat Buchanan, Chelene Nightingale, Charley Reese, Scott Bradley, Joel Skousen, Tom DeWeese, Ezola Foster, Sheriff Richard Mack, Alex Jones, Governor Jesse Ventura, Sam Bushman, the late Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage, the late William Shearer, the late Joseph Sobran, the late George Putnam, and thousands like them.
My dear fellow Patriots, we are part of a Brotherhood. As Franklin said, “We must hang together.” If we do, the cause of liberty will prevail. If we do not, the cause of liberty will most assuredly perish.
Is it true that Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality? That He never brought it up, even once? Most of us have heard the line that in the Gospels there’s no record of Jesus condemning homosexuality. There are individuals, especially from the militant homosexual rights movement, who utter this fabrication with all the raw hostility of liberals who think abortion is their God given right.
The “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” argument is meant to bully people into believing that Jesus actually took a benign attitude towards same-sex acts. Liberal’s reason that if Jesus disapproved of homosexuality, He would have said so. Since He never mentioned gay sex, He didn’t condemn it.
Most people, including some Christians, don’t have a clue what Jesus did or did not say on any given subject, let alone what He thought about same-sex practices, so they fall for the “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” lie, hook, line and sinker.
So, do homosexual relationships have the approval of Jesus?
At the very heart of the Christian view of God is the Holy Trinity. (This is not an essay on Christian doctrine, so bear with me.) Classical Christianity has believed that God exists in Holy Trinity, or tri-personality — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not three gods in one. Each Person of the Trinity is fully God. They are one in essence with three separate and distinct personalities. All are infinite and eternal. Jesus Christ, the Son, is the Second person of the Trinity. The Son is in perfect union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are never, nor could they ever be out of union with one another. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The deity of the Holy Spirit is also evident. In Acts 5:3-4 Peter told Ananias that by lying to the Holy Spirit, he had lied to God. Dan Corner offers an excellent way to illustrate the Trinity:
“H2O…is common water-two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. You can freeze H2O and you would have the solid, or ice. You can turn on your faucet and you would have the liquid H2O. You can hear the whistle of H2O that comes out of the tea kettle spout which is steam, but it would still be H2O. H2O can and does exist in solid, liquid and gas. The solid is not the liquid; the liquid is not the gas; and yet all three are of one nature: H2O. And that is exactly how it is with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit.”
Here’s the crux of the matter. Those who try to make their case by arguing, “Jesus never mentioned homosexuality” are either ignorant of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, or they ignore it for the purpose of supporting a hollow argument.
The late Lehman Strauss offered the following insight into the Apostle Paul’s clear teaching on homosexuality:
“In Romans 1:26-31 twenty-three punishable sins are listed with homosexuality leading the list. Paul wrote, “For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26, 27). These verses are telling us that homosexuals suffer in their body and personality the inevitable consequences of their wrong doing. Notice that the behaviour of the homosexual is described as a “vile affection” (1:26). The Greek word translated “vile” (atimia) means filthy, dirty, evil, dishonourable. The word “affection” in Greek is pathos, used by the Greeks of either a good or bad desire. Here in the context of Romans it is used in a bad sense. The “vile affection” is a degrading passion, a shameful lust. Both the desire…and the act of homosexuality are condemned in the Bible as sin.”
In Galatians 1:11-12 Paul provides his qualifications to speak for God: “I want you to know brothers that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” Later he tells how he went to Arabia to be trained “in the school of the Spirit in order that he might receive greater revelations concerning the mysteries of the Gospel of the glorified Christ.”
Paul’s ideas were more than his own speculations. He says his thoughts came directly from the Second and Third members of the Trinity.
What does God the Father say about homosexuality? “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable” (Leviticus 18:22). By their very nature the Son and the Holy Spirit agree with the Father that for a man to lie with a man is detestable.
“It is significant,” says Harold Janz, “that while virtually nothing is written in ancient literature about female homosexual activity, Paul in Romans 1 does. He treats both homosexuality and lesbianism the same and understands both to be wrong for the same reasons. It is important to note…that Paul echoes the words of the creation account in Romans. He speaks of those who substitute images of the creation for the Creator and go “against nature” in committing unnatural acts with one another. Those who do so, he says, are both females and males, using not the usual Greek words for women and men, but the words used in Genesis, “female” and “male.” Paul is saying that we must look back toward the order that God established in creation to recognize where we’ve gone wrong.”
Those who commit unnatural sexual acts with one another go against God’s moral order for humanity. Sadly, men and women who indulge in moral anarchy don’t give a hoot what God thinks! Essentially they’re saying to Him, “Stay out of my life!
Why would God hang around if He’s not wanted?
God weeps over our indiscretions. He wept over Jerusalem because her people killed the prophets and would not turn to Him. Our disobedience also angers Him. The God who wept over Jerusalem is the same God who destroyed Sodom because most of its citizens were moral degenerates.
In Romans 1:25-28 Paul blames moral depravity on men and women who “exchange the truth of God for a lie,” and those who “did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.” When you come right down to it, the immoral individuals Paul was talking about dethroned God and deified themselves! Consequently, He punished their sin by delivering them over to it.
“Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals—these are the very things that destroy them.” (Jude 1:10)
It’s worth noting that the Bible speaks of no “gay” role models. When homosexuality is spoken of it’s always in the negative. Because the Gospels have no record of Jesus mentioning homosexuality the “gay” rights movement would have us believe that He must not have opposed it. From His silence they conclude that sodomy is “normal and healthy.” First of all, sexual relations between a man and a woman exemplify normal behavior. Second, there is nothing healthy about engaging in sodomy. The sexual practices of homosexuals have serious health risks and illnesses.
Although sin shouldn’t be taken lightly, it is imperative for Christians to hate the sin but love the sinner. Even if we disapprove of someone’s lifestyle and/or choices we are expected to treat them with kindness and respect. Bear in mind, though, that withholding what the Bible teaches on homosexuality from someone who’s indulging in risky behavior isn’t loving it’s cowardice, even hateful.
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:8-9)
On Solid Rock Resources – many articles on homosexuality