In the past five months the number child insurgents has increased almost fivefold in the town of Sangin, to a band of 40, who are used to run weapons, plant bombs and carry out tasks for the Taliban, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
According to military intelligence sources there are about 12 children being routinely used in the Sangin area just to plant bombs.
The Taliban have resorted to the tactic because they know that British troops are unlikely to fire on children planting IEDs (improvised explosive devices). They have also been forced into the change because sophisticated surveillance technology is able to pick up Taliban IED planting teams and take action against them.
On one occasion surveillance cameras picked up two children under 10 walking along the main road with one placing an IED in a hole followed by another covering it up with a bag of stone and earth.
"They know that we won't engage the kids," said an intelligence source with 40 Commando, Royal Marines, based in Sangin. "The kids are less aware of the risks and will to do anything for a quick buck. But it's really exploiting children. The parents are upset they do this but they are very, very intimidated by the Taliban."
On one occasion surveillance cameras picked up two children under 10 walking along the main road with one placing an IED in a hole followed by another covering it up with a bag of stone and earth. . . At least one child has been killed in the last month laying an IED. Two other youngsters from his team turned up at the Marines' base one missing a hand and the other was later found with batteries, tape and wire on him.
"We have child accessories not child soldiers," said Major Ed Moorhouse, commander of Charlie Company, 40 Cdo. "They are entirely indoctrinated from an early age, very battle hardened and the Taliban know that our Western values inhibit us from firing on children."
In another incident that left the Marines deeply shocked a teenage boy, believed to be 14, arrived at a compound where he started chatting to one of commandos. "We were having a joke, he wrote his name on my hand and then asked me if I was an officer," said Marine Tim Jones, 26, a Pashtun speaker. Twenty minutes later the boy returned and went up to the corporal in charge of the patrol who was carrying a radio and detonated a suicide vest. But it is believed the boy put the vest on the wrong way round and caused only minor injuries to the corporal while killing himself.
Children are also used to approach Royal Marine patrols to identify commanders or officers who are then targeted by bombers or gunmen. They will also carry guns or rocket-propelled grenades for the Taliban to be used in ambushes or are asked to connect IEDs to batteries.
Taliban commanders are also thought to develop a "cult of hero worship" around children.
"They are fully aware that we will not engage children except in extreme circumstances," said Company Sergeant Major Buck Ryan. "I feel for the children. I have a 14-year-old son and to think of him doing something like that, to kill people, is horrific. Life is cheap out here, there's no question of that."
Another example, from another source - Ross Kemp on Afghanistan, on the subject of the local water supply.
“The well is surrounded by an old oil drum; the ‘rope’ is a tyre that has been split and meticulously unwound. It’s an ingenious piece of engineering. The only problem is that when it goes wrong the elders send little girls down to fix it. . . girls are valued less in Afghan society and it’s a potentially dangerous job".
Israel has every right to close its border to a belligerent neighbor intent on eradicating it.
Bowing to misguided international pressure, particularly from the West, the government lifted nearly three years of restrictions on civilian goods allowed into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The restrictions had been imposed in reaction to the repeated launching of missiles into the Negev. This decision hardly makes any strategic sense because it helps Hamas, an ally of revolutionary Islamist Iran. Both are anti-Western forces focused on destroying the Jewish state.
The easing of the blockade reflects the success of a Hamas propaganda campaign to depict the situation in Gaza as a humanitarian disaster.
While Gaza is not prospering, the standard of living there is generally higher than in Egypt – a little-noticed fact. The ability of this Goebbels-type propaganda to entrench a tremendous lie in the consciousness of the international community testifies to the continued vulnerability of naive Westerners to sophisticated psychological warfare, and to the complicity of much of the Western press in this enterprise.
The step taken by the government also significantly helps Hamas strengthen its grip on Gazans, as it controls the distribution of any goods entering its territory. Moreover, even if Hamas allows for a general improvement in the daily lives of all Gazans, this reduces the incentive for regime change, which should be part of the Western goal. Strengthening this radical theological regime in the eastern Mediterranean defies Western rational thinking.
The entrenchment of Hamas rule in Gaza amplifies the schism in Palestinian [Arab] society and strengthens Hamas’s influence in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. It is also a slap in the face of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who demanded the blockade’s continuation. Hamas’s achievement here further undermines whatever ability – albeit a very limited one – the Palestinian national movement had to move toward compromise with the Jewish state.
THE INTERNATIONAL pressure that led to the decision also indicates a gross misunderstanding of Israel’s predicament and its legitimate right of self-defense. Israel totally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, hoping that the Gazans would focus their energy on state-building and achieving prosperity.
Gazans could have decided to try to become a Hong Kong or a Singapore.
Yet Hamas turned Gaza into a political entity engaged in waging war on the Jewish state by launching thousands of missiles with the specific intention of harming civilians.
Ironically, Hamas demands that Israel allow a supply of goods into the Strip.
It is legally and morally outrageous to claim Israel is responsible for the Gazans, who are no longer under occupation and who have supported the rule of Hamas in great numbers.
After the 2005 withdrawal, Israel’s responsibilities – stemming from previously being an occupying power – ended.
Since Gaza is an enemy country, it does not deserve any special treatment from Israel beyond its legitimate steps taken in pursuit of selfdefense.
Israel, like any other sovereign state, has every right to close its border with a belligerent neighbor.
Moreover, it has no obligation to provide water, electricity, fuel or access to food and/or medical supplies to its enemies. Why on earth should it aid those that want to eradicate it? The bewildering and hypocritical international response to Israel’s attempts to prevent war material from reaching Gaza, as manifested in the criticism surrounding the Gaza flotilla incident, should be of great concern to Jerusalem. Again, we see the successful application of propaganda whose objective is to deny Israel its legitimate right of selfdefense.
This campaign is part of a larger plan designed to neutralize the superior capacity of the West, and Israel in particular.
Instead of easing the blockade, the government should have announced its intention to exercise its sovereign right to close the border with Gaza and halt the transfer of any goods to its enemy within several months.
Israel must make clear to the world that it refuses to accept responsibility for the welfare of Gazan residents, particularly since they are employing violence against the Jewish state.
The period leading up to the actual border closure should be used to establish alternative routes of supply via Egypt, which also borders Gaza.
Egypt is unlikely to welcome such a development because it prefers to keep the Gaza hot potato in Israel’s lap. However, the Egyptians are much more adept at dealing with the Gazans, whom they ruled in the past.
The Palestinians [ Gazan Arabs] in Gaza and elsewhere are not only Israel’s problem, but constitute a regional headache.
The writer is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. This article first appeared on www.bitterlemons.org and is reprinted with permission.
In other developments, the story we first broke on June 1 about the Rutherford Reader and their problems after being accused of "hate speech" has been picked up by Fox News and Nashville's Newschannel 5. Read Jerry Gordon's interview with the owner of the Rutherford Reader, Pete Doughtie, here.
Watch this You Tube video of Pete Doughtie WTVF Interview
Watch this Nashville WTVF News Channel 5 - CBS segment on the controversy surrounding the intimidation of free speech of The Rutherford Reader and its publisher, Pete Doughtie of Murfreesboro. It is about an economic boycott of distribution of The Rutherford Reader by Distributech, Krogers Supermarket, a KFC outlet because of a single allegation of hate speech against Muslims and Islam in articles printed from third party sources on The Reader's front page. The interview shows the local community rallying to Doughtie and The Reader's Defense.
Former Muslims United co-founder, Dr. Wafa Sultan was in Amsterdam this week to provide expert testimony in the Amsterdam Court ’show trial’ of Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV (Freedom Party) and courageous critic of Islam. Wilders had taken stands critical of the Koran, in favor of controls over Muslim immigration to the Netherlands and even a so-called tax on Sharia head coverings for Muslim women. He has in the view of many fellow Dutch and supporters in the West of being falsely accused of engaging in hate speech and racism. Wilders nearly trebled the tallies of the PVV in the June 9th general election winning more than 24 seats in the new Hague Parliament. Wilders has rejected offers to join a Conservative coalition in the wrangling to form a new ruling group.
Watch this ringing defense of Wilders by Dr. Sultan in this Dutch pv1 video interview courtesy of FaithFreedom.org.
A commenter comments under my post on where [some of] the three trillion dollars has gone: " Hugh, where does this statistic of 'three trillion' dollars come from? I thought that only a trillion was spent on Iraq."
Here's where, or just one of the places where, for there are now many others saying the same thing:
The Times of London:
February 23, 2008
The three trillion dollar war
The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have grown to staggering proportions
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes
The Bush Administration was wrong about the benefits of the war and it was wrong about the costs of the war. The president and his advisers expected a quick, inexpensive conflict. Instead, we have a war that is costing more than anyone could have imagined.
The cost of direct US military operations - not even including long-term costs such as taking care of wounded veterans - already exceeds the cost of the 12-year war in Vietnam and is more than double the cost of the Korean War.
And, even in the best case scenario, these costs are projected to be almost ten times the cost of the first Gulf War, almost a third more than the cost of the Vietnam War, and twice that of the First World War. The only war in our history which cost more was the Second World War, when 16.3 million U.S. troops fought in a campaign lasting four years, at a total cost (in 2007 dollars, after adjusting for inflation) of about $5 trillion (that's $5 million million, or £2.5 million million). With virtually the entire armed forces committed to fighting the Germans and Japanese, the cost per troop (in today's dollars) was less than $100,000 in 2007 dollars. By contrast, the Iraq war is costing upward of $400,000 per troop.
Most Americans have yet to feel these costs. The price in blood has been paid by our voluntary military and by hired contractors. The price in treasure has, in a sense, been financed entirely by borrowing. Taxes have not been raised to pay for it - in fact, taxes on the rich have actually fallen. Deficit spending gives the illusion that the laws of economics can be repealed, that we can have both guns and butter. But of course the laws are not repealed. The costs of the war are real even if they have been deferred, possibly to another generation.
On the eve of war, there were discussions of the likely costs. Larry Lindsey, President Bush's economic adviser and head of the National Economic Council, suggested that they might reach $200 billion. But this estimate was dismissed as “baloney” by the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. His deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, suggested that postwar reconstruction could pay for itself through increased oil revenues. Mitch Daniels, the Office of Management and Budget director, and Secretary Rumsfeld estimated the costs in the range of $50 to $60 billion, a portion of which they believed would be financed by other countries. (Adjusting for inflation, in 2007 dollars, they were projecting costs of between $57 and $69 billion.) The tone of the entire administration was cavalier, as if the sums involved were minimal.
Even Lindsey, after noting that the war could cost $200 billion, went on to say: “The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.” In retrospect, Lindsey grossly underestimated both the costs of the war itself and the costs to the economy. Assuming that Congress approves the rest of the $200 billion war supplemental requested for fiscal year 2008, as this book goes to press Congress will have appropriated a total of over $845 billion for military operations, reconstruction, embassy costs, enhanced security at US bases, and foreign aid programmes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the fifth year of the war draws to a close, operating costs (spending on the war itself, what you might call “running expenses”) for 2008 are projected to exceed $12.5 billion a month for Iraq alone, up from $4.4 billion in 2003, and with Afghanistan the total is $16 billion a month. Sixteen billion dollars is equal to the annual budget of the United Nations, or of all but 13 of the US states. Even so, it does not include the $500 billion we already spend per year on the regular expenses of the Defence Department. Nor does it include other hidden expenditures, such as intelligence gathering, or funds mixed in with the budgets of other departments.
Because there are so many costs that the Administration does not count, the total cost of the war is higher than the official number. For example, government officials frequently talk about the lives of our soldiers as priceless. But from a cost perspective, these “priceless” lives show up on the Pentagon ledger simply as $500,000 - the amount paid out to survivors in death benefits and life insurance. After the war began, these were increased from $12,240 to $100,000 (death benefit) and from $250,000 to $400,000 (life insurance). Even these increased amounts are a fraction of what the survivors might have received had these individuals lost their lives in a senseless automobile accident. In areas such as health and safety regulation, the US Government values a life of a young man at the peak of his future earnings capacity in excess of
$7 million - far greater than the amount that the military pays in death benefits. Using this figure, the cost of the nearly 4,000 American troops killed in Iraq adds up to some $28 billion.
The costs to society are obviously far larger than the numbers that show up on the government's budget. Another example of hidden costs is the understating of US military casualties. The Defence Department's casualty statistics focus on casualties that result from hostile (combat) action - as determined by the military. Yet if a soldier is injured or dies in a night-time vehicle accident, this is officially dubbed “non combat related” - even though it may be too unsafe for soldiers to travel during daytime.
In fact, the Pentagon keeps two sets of books. The first is the official casualty list posted on the DOD website. The second, hard-to-find, set of data is available only on a different website and can be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. This data shows that the total number of soldiers who have been wounded, injured, or suffered from disease is double the number wounded in combat. Some will argue that a percentage of these non-combat injuries might have happened even if the soldiers were not in Iraq. Our new research shows that the majority of these injuries and illnesses can be tied directly to service in the war.
From the unhealthy brew of emergency funding, multiple sets of books, and chronic underestimates of the resources required to prosecute the war, we have attempted to identify how much we have been spending - and how much we will, in the end, likely have to spend. The figure we arrive at is more than $3 trillion. Our calculations are based on conservative assumptions. They are conceptually simple, even if occasionally technically complicated. A $3 trillion figure for the total cost strikes us as judicious, and probably errs on the low side. Needless to say, this number represents the cost only to the United States. It does not reflect the enormous cost to the rest of the world, or to Iraq.
From the beginning, the United Kingdom has played a pivotal role - strategic, military, and political - in the Iraq conflict. Militarily, the UK contributed 46,000 troops, 10 per cent of the total. Unsurprisingly, then, the British experience in Iraq has paralleled that of America: rising casualties, increasing operating costs, poor transparency over where the money is going, overstretched military resources, and scandals over the squalid conditions and inadequate medical care for some severely wounded veterans.
Before the war, Gordon Brown set aside £1 billion for war spending. As of late 2007, the UK had spent an estimated £7 billion in direct operating expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan (76 per cent of it in Iraq). This includes money from a supplemental “special reserve”, plus additional spending from the Ministry of Defence.
The special reserve comes on top of the UK's regular defence budget. The British system is particularly opaque: funds from the special reserve are “drawn down” by the Ministry of Defence when required, without specific approval by Parliament. As a result, British citizens have little clarity about how much is actually being spent.
In addition, the social costs in the UK are similar to those in the US - families who leave jobs to care for wounded soldiers, and diminished quality of life for those thousands left with disabilities.
By the same token, there are macroeconomic costs to the UK as there have been to America, though the long-term costs may be less, for two reasons. First, Britain did not have the same policy of fiscal profligacy; and second, until 2005, the United Kingdom was a net oil exporter.
We have assumed that British forces in Iraq are reduced to 2,500 this year and remain at that level until 2010. We expect that British forces in Afghanistan will increase slightly, from 7,000 to 8,000 in 2008, and remain stable for three years. The House of Commons Defence Committee has recently found that despite the cut in troop levels, Iraq war costs will increase by 2 per cent this year and personnel costs will decrease by only 5 per cent. Meanwhile, the cost of military operations in Afghanistan is due to rise by 39 per cent. The estimates in our model may be significantly too low if these patterns continue.
Based on assumptions set out in our book, the budgetary cost to the UK of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2010 will total more than £18 billion. If we include the social costs, the total impact on the UK will exceed £20 billion.
Joseph Stiglitz was chief economist at the World Bank and won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 2001. Linda Bilmes is a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Anthony Mijares, who complained to Kroger about the Reader in April, said he saw examples of hate speech in an April "Guest Column."
The column called Islam "evil" and called for an end to Muslim immigration.
"While I respect the works of moderate Muslims such as Irshad Manji ('Faith Without Fear') and Tarek Fatah ('Chasing A Mirage'), I wholeheartedly, unfortunately, must assert that the U.S. must halt all future Muslim immigration, until Muslims acquiesce to living within the legal structures of their host nations rather than striving to restructure nations under an evil, de-humanizing, backward and defiling 12th century ideology, even should this take the next 50 years," guest columnist Justin O. Smith wrote in the April 8-14 issue.
Mijares said the comment left him troubled.
"When The Rutherford Reader publishes the statement that Islam is evil, defiling and dehumanizing, all you have to do is substitute the word Judaism (in place of Islam) and you know what that kind of commentary is without question," Mijares told the Tennessean. "People would get it immediately. That is hate speech."
The joke is, the Koran DOES substitute "Judaism" for "Islam"... and say it is evil and worse...vows to exterminate every last Jew. That doesn't trouble Mister Mijares.
I would say this is an absolutely essential point in this case and in all mosque project affairs. Those who defend the mosque project always use bill of rights arguments. The mosque they defend will trample the bill of rights under the prostrate bodies of the faithful.
--We kick off the show with my recent investigative report about a large Muslim store selling recordings by Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awalaki--just minutes from the White House.
--We then go one-on-one with Michigan Congressman Peter Hoekstra-- a leading voice on Capitol Hill on national security and intelligence issues (5:33 into the show).
--In a hard-hitting interview, Hoekstra told Stakelbeck on Terror the White House is "weakening our national security and making us more vulnerable." He added that, "The president has been undercutting the leadership in Israel on a regular basis" and "emboldening radical jihadists: Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinians."
--Our "War Council" roundtable examines whether Israel will strike Iran's nuclear facilities (14:47 into the show). We then head to Jerusalem for our Inside Israel segment with CBN NewsMiddle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell, to get his take on Israel and Iran from on the ground (19:33 in).
--My "Stak Attack" commentary segment features shocking footage of a prominent Arab leader in Dearborn, Mich., telling me Hamas and Hezbollah are "freedom fighters" and denying that they are terrorist groups. We also examine what makes a Muslim "moderate." (24:38 in)
--This week's "Sharia Flaw" segment exposes an upcoming radical Islamic conference being held outside Chicago. The event will be hosted by Hizb-ut-Tahrir, a terror-liked Islamic group that is banned in parts of Europe and the Middle East, but welcome right here in the United States (23:14 in)
You can also watch my recent report from the Epicenter conference in Philadelhia, featuring Israel's deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon, by clicking here:
Schools are allowing Muslim families to withdraw their children from music lessons because learning an instrument is forbidden according to some Islamic beliefs. Hundreds of pupils are thought to have been removed from state school music classes despite the subject forming part of the statutory National Curriculum.
Parents have no automatic right to withdraw their children from subjects such as music, although legal exemptions exist for religious and sex education.
However, in one London primary school about 20 pupils were removed from rehearsals for a Christmas musical and one five-year-old girl remains permanently withdrawn from mainstream music classes.Some Muslims believe that playing musical instruments is forbidden in the same way that alcohol is banned.
At Herbert Morrison Primary in Lambeth, 29 per cent of children come from mainly Somalian Muslim families. Headteacher Eileen Ross said some parents “don't want children to play musical instruments and they don't have music in their homes. For goodwill I allow that parent to withdraw their child from all music but I am in fact denying the child the opportunity that the other children in the class have,” she told BBC London News.
The Open University's Dr Diana Harris, an expert on music education and Muslims, said she had visited schools where half of the pupils were withdrawn from music lessons during Ramadan. She claimed Ofsted inspectors sometimes turned “a blind eye” to the issue.“Although I wouldn't want anyone to do anything against their religion, I feel there's a lot in music which gives us great joy in life,” she said.
The Muslim Council of Britain said music lessons were likely to be unacceptable to about 10 per cent of the Muslim population, which meant hundreds of children were being withdrawn from classes.
BOSTON — Two theological schools, including the nation’s oldest Christian graduate seminary, announced Tuesday that they’re uniting to form a university to educate people of all religions.
Andover Newton Theological School, founded outside Boston in 1807, and the Unitarian Universalist Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago said they’ll establish an “interreligious theological university” by next year.
The schools will keep their specific faith identities as separate institutions operating under the broad umbrella of the new university, said Andover Newton president Nick Carter. The difference is that students in each school will have opportunities to take classes together and interact with students from other schools that are expected to join the university.
That experience is crucial in working in a multi-faith world, where “interfaith border-crossing skills” are needed, Carter said.
“You can’t open the paper today and not find a story that is grounded in religious difference,” Carter said. “The real question that it begs is, ‘So where do you turn for hope? … Where are people learning how to be true to their own faith, but have skills that enable them to positively and constructively engage others?”‘
The new university doesn’t yet have a name and its governing structure is being devised. Meadville Lombard is selling its four-building campus in Chicago, so the new school will be based at the Andover Newton campus in Newton.
Meadville Lombard will keep a presence in Chicago for students who take classes from home, but must travel to the city periodically as part of their coursework.
So far, only Andover Newton and Meadville Lombard are part of the new university, but Carter said they’re actively looking for other schools.
Various theological schools have incorporated other religions, including California’s Claremont School of Theology, a Methodist seminary that later this year will begin cross-training future Muslim and Jewish religious leaders.
Such moves have coincided with tough times for theological schools, which have been battered by the economic downturn. Last year, the Association of Theological Schools, which represents graduate schools in North America, reported that at least 80 members of have seen their endowments drop by 20 percent or more.
The Rev. Lee Barker, president of Meadville Lombard, which has about 125 students, said the new university will not only expand the educational opportunities for his students, but “gives us an opportunity to achieve financial stability.”
Carter said strengthening finances was “part of the formula” in the move.
“Is it the driving factor? If we didn’t feel like we had an exciting vision to offer to the world, we would not do it,” he said. “We’re not in the business to make money.”
Rabbi Justice Baird of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City, who has studied interfaith offerings of theological schools, said questions remain about training students of different religions in the same place.
Mixing faiths can make a theological mush if schools don’t strike a balance between strongly instilling the richness of their particular faith, while at the same time infusing an openness to other religions students will encounter, he said.
“I think it’s a risk,” Baird said.
Carter said his school’s joint courses with neighboring Hebrew College showed that when students tried to paper over their differences, learning suffered.
“That’s not what’s happening here,” Carter said. “It’s not a watering down. In fact, it’s a clarifying of a distinct identity.”
'Best of times, worst of times: video of welcoming remarks by Jerry Gordon, NER Symposium
Watch this video of Jerry Gordon, a Senior Editor of the New English Review presenting welcome remarks at the Second Annual Symposium in Nashville, " Decline, Fall & Islam", June 18-19th, 2010. Mr. Gordon addressed developments in Europe, the Middle East and the United States pushing back against stealth jihad and Sharia of Political Islam. This was against the background of President Obama's outreach to the Muslim ummah in his Cairo speech of June 2009 and appointments in his Administration of prominent American Muslims. Mr. Gordon also noted the rise of grass roots actions and protests throughout America against Political Islam.
The widespread condemnation Europeans have expressed toward Israel after its commandos boarded the so-called peace flotilla on May 31 - and used force only when threatened with death - signals a desire to turn every Israeli action of self-defense into absolution for the crimes of the Holocaust.
While the European Union and the UN Human Rights Council somehow managed to contain their displeasure over brutal human rights violations in Libya, Iran, Turkey, China, and Russia, both organizations reacted in their standard Pavlovian way to Israel's justified measures of self-defense aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.
The UN Human Rights Council – chaired by none other than Muammar Qaddafi’s government – issued a resolution condemning Israel. Meanwhile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom blasted Israel's "disproportionate" response, and their handmaidens in the European media turned Israel into a punching bag.
The Europeans' vicious attacks on Israel are animated less by the Jewish state's foreign policy than by Europe's ongoing fixation on the Holocaust. What else could explain the presence of posters equating Israel with Nazi Germany at pro-Hamas demonstrations in Vienna? According to one recent German university study, 45.7 percent of the European respondents supported the contention that "Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians."
In their eyes, apparently, maintaining a naval blockade against a government sworn to destroy you – while providing the unfortunate people living under that government with tens of thousands of tons of supplies and humanitarian aid – now equates to looting and butchering six million people.
Wolfgang Benz, the controversial director of the Berlin Center for the study of anti-Semitism, neatly summed up this incongruity on German television when he insisted that "anti-Semitism is different from anti-Zionism."
Benz embraces the European wish to alleviate guilt by denying the weight of the Holocaust. (As the head of a center for the study of anti-Semitism, he's a particularly strange case; the German political scientist Clemens Heni discovered that Benz's beloved academic mentor was the now-deceased Karl Bosl, an outspoken Nazi who contributed enormously to spreading Hitler's ideology.)
Of course, nothing Israel has ever done can even begin to compare to the crimes of the Shoah. But to help alleviate their feelings of guilt, Europeans delegitimize Israel, ignore modern anti-Semitism, and portray Muslims – who number over one billion and whom no one seeks to eradicate from the earth – as the new persecuted Jews of Europe.
Israel's measures against the phony peace flotilla also provided Europeans an opportunity to demonstrate their hypocrisy when it comes to Jews flexing some muscle. Many of these same Europeans, after all, have attempted to shift at least some blame to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust for their own suffering, arguing that the Jews allowed themselves to be carted off to extermination camps without resistance.
That helps explain the crude theory of Ekkehart Krippendorff, a Berlin Free University professor in the 1990s, who wrote in the left-liberal Tagesszeitung, "Imagine if no German Jews had followed orders to assemble at the designated collection points for group transports - a few dozen, a few hundred, maybe a few thousand, the Germans could have dragged individually from their homes and loaded on trucks; but hundreds of thousands? Or imagine that the colonies of hundreds and thousands on the way to the train stations had simply sat down, we call them 'sit-down' strikes today."
Europe is infatuated with passive Jews and memorial events for dead ones. When Jews actually strike back, Europeans cry that they have reacted disproportionately and failed to engage in diplomacy with the terrorist entities that seek their demise.
Europeans also vent pathological guilt about the Shoah by elevating Jewish conduct to a higher standard because of it. The standard European posture toward Israel is to present Auschwitz as a cynical form of cognitive and behavioral therapy. This particular European view has caught on with Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who recently told the New York Times that the Israelis are uniquely positioned to be reminded about the "the dangers and inhumanity of ghettoes [such] as the one we currently witness in occupied Gaza."
The equation of Gaza with the Warsaw ghetto is perhaps the most prevalent analogy used by Europeans in their attempts to shake off guilt about the Holocaust. Consider the German Catholic bishops Gregor Maria Hanke and Walter Mixa, who, while visiting Israel in March 2007, equated it with Nazi Germany.
"This morning we saw pictures of the Warsaw Ghetto at Yad Vashem and this evening we are going to the Ramallah ghetto," Hanke said. To Mixa, Ramallah was "ghetto-like" and "almost racism." While Pope Benedict XVI sacked his Bavarian friend Mixa in April on the basis of financial and sexual improprieties, that view enjoys many proponents across Europe.
The shoddy one-sided accounts of the flotilla raid with which Europeans have comforted themselves, and the continual denial of any Jewish right to self-defense, reveal that many Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.