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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 27, 2009.
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
US President Barack Obama has told the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy"

From The Times
US President Barack Obama has told the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy" and renewed his pledge to travel to make an address in the capital of a major Muslim nation.
In his first interview with Arab television since becoming president, Mr Obama told the al-Arabiya television that his administration would adopt a more comprehensive approach in its relations with the Muslim world.
He also said that Israel and the Palestinians should resume their peace negotiations and he praised Saudi King Abdullah for putting forward an Arab plan for peace in the Middle East.
"It is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what's happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan," Mr Obama told the Dubai-based Arabic cable TV channel. "These things are interrelated."
Mr Obama said his administration had begun to fulfil his campaign promises by naming former US Senator George Mitchell as a Mideast peace envoy and sending him to the region within days of his becoming president.
"Ultimately we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what is best for them. They are going to have to make some decisions," Mr Obama said.
The President noted that he had lived in Indonesia for several years while growing up, and said his travels through Muslim nations had convinced him that regardless of faith, people had certain common hopes and dreams.
"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy - we sometimes make mistakes - we have not been perfect," Mr Obama said.
"But if you look at the track record ... America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that."  (I can think of over 3000 reasons why not, but then I'm not the newly elected president of the US.)
"We're going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital," Mr Obama said. "We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening as well as speaking to the Muslim world.”
Mr Obama did not give a time or a venue for his visit to a major Muslim capital.

Posted on 01/27/2009 2:30 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Israeli soldier killed, breaching Gaza truce

GAZA (Reuters) - An Israeli soldier was reported killed close to the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in what Palestinians said appeared to have been an attack by gunmen in breach of ceasefire declarations made over a week ago.
The Israeli military, which maintains censorship on casualties until next of kin are informed, said a bomb went off close to forces on the Israeli side of the border fence near the Kissufim crossing in the central Gaza Strip.
It declined to comment on casualties but Al Arabiya television said one soldier was killed and three were wounded.
It would be the first Israeli death since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in the coastal enclave on January 18.
Palestinians living near Kissufim crossing told Reuters they had seen a small group of gunmen, numbering two or three, moving toward the border fence early in the morning mist. They later heard explosions and gunfire shortly after 8 a.m. (0600 GMT). They did not see gunmen return.

Posted on 01/27/2009 2:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Lord Ahmed and Fitna

In my post here about the cancelled screening, in the House of Lords, of Geert Wilders’ Fitna, I wrote that I was surprised by the lack of publicity. I wondered if Lord Ahmed himself might be the source for the story, which appeared originally only in the Pakistani press. It seems I was right. From Brussels Journal, with thanks to Esmerelda:

A member of the Lords intended to invite her colleagues to a private meeting in a conference room in the House of Lords to meet the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an elected member of the Dutch parliament, to watch his controversial movie Fitna and discuss the movie and Mr. Wilders’ opinions with him.

Barely had the invitation been sent to all the members of the House when Lord Ahmed raised hell. He threatened to mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr. Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organizing the event to court. The result is that the event, which should have taken place next Thursday was cancelled.

Lord Ahmed immediately went to the Pakistani press to boast about his achievement, which he calls “a victory for the Muslim community.”

A victory for the Muslim community, but a defeat for British democracy where topics to which Muslims object cannot even be debated. That, apparently, is what one gets when one accepts Muslims into the House of Lords.

That this was a private meeting explains the lack of publicity for the proposed event. “Private” is not the same as “secret”, but security would need to be tight if Mr. Wilders was to visit the House of Lords in person. The organisers did not intend this as a public event, but by threatening 10,000 Muslim protesters, Lord Ahmed made it into one. I hope the event will go ahead at a later date, although if it does, much greater security will be required than was originally the case.

It is unclear why Lord Ahmed crowed to the Pakistani press, rather than the British press. Perhaps he feared that the British press might bring up the dangerous driving sentence that Lord Ahmed faces next month. The absence of crowing on the Muslim Council of Britain website is also puzzling.

Incidentally, the Brussels Journal has one of those doe-eyed Muslimas advertising the “International Muslim Matrimonials Site”. Presumably it has no control over the advertisements, which pop up mechanically at sites where the word “Muslim” is used frequently. Whatever the reason, it jars.

Posted on 01/27/2009 5:27 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Stating the obvious

Sometimes the obvious needs stating. From the comments to Con Coughlin's piece in The Telegraph, which pace Melanie Phillips, is not a shill for Hamas. The piece is on the BBC Gaza Appeal controversy:

Hamas caused the problem. Israel did not attack the parts of Palestine controlled by Fatah, because Fatah has not attacked Israel recently - at least, not sufficiently to provoke a response.

If Israel were truly the warmonger that the BBC-Guardian axis claims it is, then surely it would have attacked the Fatah-controlled areas too. Something even more obvious is stated in the following comments:

The Gazans have no need for public appeals for this self inflicted disaster. The UN waits in the wings with billions of other people's money. Hamas businessmen must be salivating at the rebuilding profits to be made. And the UN won't be alone. Other agencies/donors are lining up no doubt, to outdonate each other. Besides, Gaza is all but adjacent to some of the world's richest countries: Arab, and muslim. No shortage of funds there should brotherly - and highly affordable - generosity manifest itself. One way or another, the dosh will flood in. So what's the publicity for? Where's the need? No. It's not Gaza's misery that requires selling and bankrolling. It's Darfur's.


Why are the Brits being asked for cash in the first place? I've no doubt that the middle east, which is awash with oil money, can spare a few quid for their brothers in Palestine. It has seemed to me that the rest of the muslim world in the middle east has been; grossly affronted, outraged, offended, shocked etc etc etc, and all those other things that seem to afflict Muslims the minute anyone breathes in their direction. I would image that they would all be rushing to give generously to the Palestinians, in fact I would imagine that Palestine would shortly have more money than it knows what to do with because of course the likes of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria will be fighting to donate to the poor Palestinians.....right? What’s the point of us giving our money? It'd just be a waste.

 More than a waste - it would be aiding the enemy.

Posted on 01/27/2009 5:56 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
More On The Obama Interview

It is significant that the first formal interview that Pres. Barack Hussein Obama gave was to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya. Notice that the interview done in the early evening, yesterday, and was embargoed for release until 11 PM, EST. While touching on threads of his own Muslim origins and Muslim extended family while appealing to ordinary Muslims, Obama conveyed a sense that he was one of them and part of the ‘ummah’ - the community of believers. While stating that he will hunt down extremists of whatever religious stripe, that seek to destroy us Obama projects himself and his ’smartpower” diplomacy as being in furtherance of official dhimmitude, something that manifested itself in the second term of the Bush Administration that I wrote about in the New English Review-see “Bush and Islamofacists Detente in DC”

By emphasizing that his special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, will ‘listen’ is a message of appeal to Arab street and the Saudis about “peace’ flowing through Jerusalem with the establishment, if such can be had, of a Palestinian state, and an Israel walled up behind the borders of the 1948 War Armistice line. By being ‘humble’ Obama has capitulated to the caterwauling of the Arab street and the Mullahs in Tehran pursuing their annihilatiionist nuclear project aimed at eradicating the Jewish state. Within less than one week following his inauguration, Obama has revealed his Middle East agenda. Israel is on the cusp of electing a new government on February 10th. We’ll see if the new government formed in the Knesset general election vote will send a telling message to Obama and the Muslim world that Israel will not become the sacrificial lamb to Islam.

More on the interview here.

Posted on 01/27/2009 7:21 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: It Ain't No Fault Of Mine (Roy Fox Orch., voc. Nat Gonella)
Posted on 01/27/2009 8:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Egypt Shows Its Hand

Two-faced Egypt, meretricious and "moderate" Egypt, has warned European nations not to help patrol the waters off of Gaza in order to interdict weapons shipments from, inter alia, Iran. The warning by Egypt -- a country utterly dependent on American aid, and Western armaments -- shows, for those who understand, that Egypt does not wish to make things any easier for Israel, and that any sign of Western solidarity, any sign that the West is beginning to act in concert in support of a measure that goes "against Muslims and Islam," is to be prevented.

It is Egypt that has been playing a double game in Darfur, carrying the ball for the Muslim side, and preventing any effective -- i.e., Western or, especially, American -- action to halt the Arab Muslims from killing or driving out of Darfur, non-Arab Muslims, because Egypt, and its fellow members of the Arab League, do not want the mass-murdering or the driving-out to stop, until the area is made safe for the Arab push into, seizure of, the territories that once were entirely populated by black Africans. The history of the Sudan has been, in the past century, the history of the slow but inexorable Arab takeover of what, a century ago, was largely a black African nation, but now thoroughly subjugated to Arab Muslims in the north who are stealing the revenues from the oil found in the south, and intend to do the same with the resources of Darfur. And any Western military intervention will be thought of as an "attack on Islam." 

Similarly, though the Egyptians claim to desire a cutoff in arms to Hamas, for years Egyptians have been involved in profitting from the tunnel-digging and smuggling (often going into business with Gazan Arabs).., The Mubarak regime, for its own reasons -- worry over the effect within Egypt, and on the power of the Ikhwan, if Hamas should be perceived to have triumphed -- wishes to weaken Hamas. But it does not want, for any reason, any Western powers acting in concert against any Muslim nation or group, not in Darfur, and not in the waters off of Gaza. 

The Europeans should, nonetheless, relentlessly go right ahead. It will be a salutary lesson. It will remind the Arabs and Muslims that even Europeans have a limit to how long they will be fooled and inveigled, and how much they will put up with from the blague of Egypt, the Arab League, tutti quanti. And let the lesson also be applied in Darfur -- where effective action by NATO, halting the downward push of Islam, could do much to hearten black African Christians and animists, relieve them of their worries and, what's more, put center strage an issue that will expose the Arabs and Muslims as, in fact, full supporters of the Sudanese Arabs and their mass-murdering, and reveal, for many who still do not understand, that the victims of Jihad are not limited to the Great Satan or the Little Satan, but extend to all non-Muslims everywhere. Let dots be connected, and then let thoughts be connected, so what links Darfur to southern  Thailand, to Mumbai, to murders in Amsterdam, Madrid, London, Moscow, Beslan, New York, and Wahsington, will be well understood,and the sources for Muslim attitudes found in the texts, and the tenets, of Islam.

Posted on 01/27/2009 8:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Offical Iranian News Agency On Cruel Western Mistreatment Of Holocaust Deniers
From MEMRI: 
Official Iranian News Agency Criticizes the West's Harassment of Convicted and Alleged Holocaust Deniers

Following the arrest of alleged Holocaust denier Frederick Töben early last month in London, the Iranian official news agency IRNA published, on October 29, 2008 a two-part article, titled "West's Treatment with Critics of Holocaust is Shameful."

Following is the article in full, in the original English(1):

Part I

"Those Who Claim There Was Mass Killing and Slaughter of Six Million Jews by Germans During WWII in Europe – Should Have At Least Appropriate Documents to Prove It"

"[The] persecution, conviction, and imprisonment of scientists and independent intellectuals [is] prevalent in the West, Secretary of World Foundation on Reviewing Holocaust Mohammad Ali Ramin said on Wednesday.

"Ramin said [that the] arrest of Fredrick Gerald Töben, in early October 2008 in London airport for criticizing the nature and effects of [the] Holocaust has worried the world['s] independent scholars and intellectuals.

"Dr. Töben is an independent researcher and thinker in the field of 'Contemporary History of Europe,' and also is the member of the International Fact-Finding Committee of Holocaust, and is the founder of 'World Foundation for Reviewing Holocaust' who believes just like others that Holocaust dossier should be re-examined and re-surveyed.

"Who should be condemned? Don't you think that those who claim there has been mass killing and slaughter of six million Jews by Germans during the Second World War in Europe should have at least appropriate documents to prove it? Or perhaps that the researchers and those who make interrogation and inquiries should be condemned or punished?

"Indeed, what was the crime of scholars and scientists such as Ernst Zuendel, David Irving, Prof. Robert Fourisson, Prof. Roger Garaudy, George Theil, Wolfgand Fröhlich, Gerald Hornish, Siegfried Verbeke, Horst Mahler, Vincent Reymouard, Juergen Graf, Fredrick Töben, Sylvia Stolz, Pedro Varela, Germar Rudolf, and... or other scholars, scientists, lawyers, people's representatives, and Western citizens? What exactly are the European politicians doing by expanding unfounded allegations and falsified and unsubstantiated ideas or preventing the expansion of any liberal ideas of researchers for finding the truths – except trying to encourage people to accept what they have quoted in the press and mass media regarding [the] Holocaust."

"Psychological War Against Those Who Seek [T]he Truths Regarding [The] Holocaust... Will Lead To Further Problems For Zionism?"

"Is it possible that by suppression of independent researchers and intellectuals, they try to pursue Western societies to accept the arbitrary and despotic claims concerning [the] Holocaust? Does this mean that by the dismissal of critic scientists and scholars from scientific centers or by discharge of liberal intellectuals from European judicial, executive and legislative powers who protest against Holocaust, all the claims concerning Holocaust could be true? Or will [this] create further stability for these countries?

"Don't you think that psychological war against those who seek [t]he truths regarding [the] Holocaust, or persecution, torture and trial of intellectuals, or arrest and imprisonment of political activists, and negation of those who protest against foreign domination over Europeans' destiny, will lead to further problems for Zionism? What is going on today in Germany, Austria, France, Belgium and Switzerland against truth-seeking individuals and people who fight 'Zionist Domination?' Nothing rather than creating fear. But this trend would further divert the 'detest against Israel Zionism dominating over Europe and America' towards 'detest against Jewish and Judaism.' (to be continued...)"

Part II

"Is It Possible to Construct Prisons Worse than Guantanamo All Over Europe for Capturing Those Who Are Against [the] Domination of Israel and [the] U.S.?"

"According to the experiences of the last 3,000 years, these kinds of unpleasant acts will lead to further reactions of people against arrogant domineers and tyrannizes.

"Today, Fredrick Töben, who is Australian, would be arrested in London Airport and imprisoned for expressing his views about [the] Holocaust. So what would be the next reaction of liberal Europeans who are against [the] domination of America (the U.S) and Israel?

"Is it possible to construct prisons worse than Guantanamo all over Europe for capturing those who are against [the] domination of Israel and [the] U.S.?

"Is it possible to continue the political serial killings and massacre against opponents of American, Israeli and British domination? Particularly after [the] brutal assassination of Uwe Barschel (prime minister of the province of Schleswig Holstein), Petra Kelly, and General Gerd Bastain (founder of Germany's Green Party), Edwardo Aniely (Muslim martyr intellectual and son of an Italian capitalist), David Kelly (senior expert in the U.K.'s Ministry of War) and, recently, Joerg Haider (the national politician elected by the people of Austria).
"The silence of the press vis-à-vis the imprisonment of significant European scholars and intellectuals who are indeed trying to find the facts, such as Töben, Stols, Hornsik, Rudolf, Forehlich, [and] Zuendel, and [the] conviction of Garaudy, Faurisson, Verbeke, and Reynouard, and others, have made all the knowledgeable people worried regarding the continuation of these cruel acts."

"European Countries... Should Not Sacrifice Their Valuable Ideas Only for [the] Ill-Intended and Unreasonable Demands of the Zionists"

"The question is, if the European intellectuals are arrested and condemned only for expressing their ideas and thoughts, then what would be the conduct of European citizens in the future?

"Don't you think that as a result of these [instances of] suppression, severe punishment, despotism, oppression and assassination, there will be uprising and broad-based violations?

"The World Foundation on Reviewing Holocaust, while expressing its concern vis-à-vis all these events, recommends that all states, parliaments and judicial powers of European countries make their best efforts in order to preserve 'the main European values after medieval ages,' which are: 'freedom of expression' and 'freedom of thought' and 'respect for human rights' and 'democracy.' They should not sacrifice their valuable ideas only for [the] ill-intended and unreasonable demands of the Zionists.

"The World Foundation requests all the politicians, judges, writers, intellectuals and European press to support the independent researchers and critics who follow the dossier of [the] Holocaust, vis-à-vis the accusations of the Zionists and their followers, and to help the International Fact Finding Committee find the truth."

(1) IRNA (Iran), October 29, 2008. The text has been lightly edited for clarity; subheadings added by MEMRI.

Posted on 01/27/2009 8:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
ACLU Says U.S. Government “Smears” ISNA With Terrorist Associations

From the GMBDR:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued a statement accusing the U.S. government of a “smear” by associating the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) with terrorism. According to the statement:

There is absolutely no direct evidence that ISNA has any ties to terrorist organizations, including Hamas, and any implication to the contrary is nothing but guilt by association created by the U.S. government through its illegal and false accusations. In fact, after the government made its original public smear, it admitted to ISNA’s lawyers in private that the government has no evidence of wrongdoing by the organization. “By publicly smearing this organization without providing a forum for ISNA to clear its name, the government has acted with blatant disregard for its constitutional rights - and perpetuates a controversy based on no evidence. The government’s action is particularly deplorable because the charge it makes is so inflammatory that it has caused the organization’s reputation and good name to be dragged through the mud. We will continue to fight to ensure the government fulfills its constitutional obligation to set the record straight.

In fact, investigative research shows that ISNA has a long record of support for Hamas and Islamic JIhad, both designated by the U.S. as terrorist organizations. Such support has included but not limited to:

  • Ideological and financial support to Islamic Jihad by Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) Chairman Taha J. Alwani. FCNA is a subsdiary of ISNA.
  • Ideological and financial support for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and its successor organizations, believed by the U.S. government and civil courts to be engaged in fundraising for Hamas
  • Support for the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), part of the Hamas support infrastructure in the U.S.
  • Organizational ties to the ties to the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI), a Chicago area institution which was found responsible by a Federal court in the death of an American civilian in Israel and to be engaged in raising funds and money laundering for Hamas.

The same investigative research shows that ISNA was created by leaders of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), itself an outgrowth of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. Much of the ISNA leadership comes from backgrounds associated either with the Egyptian Brotherhood, Saudi Arabian religious organizations, or the Jamaat -e- Islami (JEI), the large Pakistani Islamic political party founded in 1941 by Islamic ideologue Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. Although it does not disclose the source of its funding, ISNA is known to have received substantial funds from Saudi Arabia and the organizations maintains ties to the major Saudi “Wahhabist” organizations such as the Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), major components of the global Muslim Brotherhood in addition to global Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the U.K. and Germany. ISNA frequently acts in concert with other U.S. Brotherhood organizations and has recently been named in government documents as part of the U.S. Brotherhood.

Posted on 01/27/2009 12:20 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
John Updike Has Died

Boston Globe: John Updike, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, whose jeweled prose and quicksilver intellect made him for decades one of America’s foremost literary figures, died today. He was 76.

Mr. Updike, a long-time resident of Beverly Farms, died of lung cancer at an area hospice, according to his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf Inc...

Posted on 01/27/2009 12:58 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off.
Scientists Not So Sure 'Doomsday Machine' Won't Destroy World

Tuesday , January 27, 2009


Still worried that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole that will destroy the Earth when it's finally switched on this summer?

Um, well, you may have a point.

Three physicists have reexamined the math surrounding the creation of microscopic black holes in the Switzerland-based LHC, the world's largest particle collider, and determined that they won't simply evaporate in a millisecond as had previously been predicted.

Rather, Roberto Casadio of the University of Bologna in Italy and Sergio Fabi and Benjamin Harms of the University of Alabama say mini black holes could exist for much longer — perhaps even more than a second, a relative eternity in particle colliders, where most objects decay much faster.

Under such long-lived conditions, it becomes a race between how fast a black hole can decay — and how fast it can gobble up matter to grow bigger and prevent itself from decaying.

Casadio, Fabi and Harms think the black hole would lose out, and pass through the Earth or out of the atmosphere before it got to be a problem.

"We conclude that ... the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible. Nonetheless, it remains true that the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly >> 1 second) than is typically predicted by other models," the three state in a brief paper posted at the scientific discussion Web site can think of a few other things that didn't seem possible once — the theory of continental drift, the fact that rocks fall from the sky, the notion that the Earth revolves around the sun, the idea that scientists could be horribly wrong.

We're also wondering how often the LHC might create individual black holes, since longer-lived ones have a greater chance of merging with each other, and, um, well, see ya.

If the worst comes to pass, and there's now a slightly greater chance that it might, at least it might explain why we've never heard from extraterrestrial civilizations: Maybe they built Large Hadron Colliders of their own.


In the Dennis  case, which came before the Second Circuit (before being appealed to the Supreme Court) Judge Learned Hand, he of bushy eyebrows, and "The Spirit of Liberty," and the friendship, in Cornish, New Hampshire, with the author of the Glass family stories, offered this calculus to be used in applying the Holmes-Brandeis "clear and present danger test": 

"In each case [courts] must ask whether the gravity of the "evil," discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free speech as necessary to avoid the danger.

Let's do the same here. First, take the gravity of the evil:  the disappearance of this watery globe, down a Black Hole of its own making, or rather, of the making of a few o'erweening members of the human species. Second, take the improbability to do that discounting to present scary value: huge, but just slightly less huge, as of today, then it was yesterday. Now do the multiplication.

Okay, class. Pass those papers forward.

Ah, I see that all of you, to a man, have arrived at the same result that I did.

Yes, you are right. We are right. Let's call the whole thing off.

Posted on 01/27/2009 1:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
Posted on 01/27/2009 1:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Nautical interlude with John Masefield

Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedar wood, and sweet white wine.


Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.


Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, ironware, and cheap tin trays.

The past is a foreign country - at least it used to be. The first verse, in particular, suggests a world now at one with Nineveh and Tyre. "Sunny", as in "Sunny Spain" is now used sarcastically in England, and as for Palestine rhyming with wine, that is not the "Palestine" of today, which has only bottled water and belongs in quotation marks.

Posted on 01/27/2009 2:17 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
What's he up to now?

From Associated Press:

The musician formerly known as Cat Stevens released a charity song on Monday to help the children of Gaza.

The United Nations said the London-born Yusuf Islam recorded a rendition of the George Harrison song "The Day the World Gets Round," along with the German bassist and former Beatles collaborator Klaus Voorman.

All proceeds from the song will be donated to the U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and to the nonprofit group Save the Children to be directed to aiding Gaza residents.

Gaza officials say 280 of the 1,285 Palestinians killed in the three-week Israeli offensive were children. Children make up 56 percent of Gaza's 1.4 million people. The offensive aimed at stopping rocket fire by Gaza's Hamas rulers into southern Israel.

More tired parroting of unsubstantiated figures given by the "Palestinians" themselves.  What is their criterion of "child"?  We have seen "children throwing rocks", which as shown in photos are actually bearded young men in their twenties dropping cinder blocks down on Jews from the tops of multi-story buildings.  How many of the dead children were the spawn of Hamas, killed when their murderous fathers met their justly violent end?  How many were acting, intentionally or without their knowledge, as "human shields" for jihadis firing mortars and rockets next to schools or apartments?

Islam explained on his Web site that he hoped the song would "help remind people of the immense legacy of love, peace and happiness we can share when we get round to looking at mankind's futile wars and prejudices, and start to change our foolish ways."

"...and accept life under sharia, following the one true god, Allah."

UNRWA said the donation would help it continue its vital work in the Gaza Strip.

"This is a fantastically generous act and we hope to reach new audiences in bringing a message of hope at a time when Gaza so badly needs it," said Christopher Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman.

The thousands of dollars earned from this one song may be "fantastically generous" in comparison to the amount of financial aid given to the "Palestinians" by Muslim-majority Gulf nations, but it is a pittance compared to the largesse of the U.S. and European nations, who are not often praised by the UNRWA for being "fantastically generous".

Cat Stevens sold 60 million albums in a prolific musical career that included the hit songs "Wild World," "The First Cut is the Deepest" and "Peace Train." In 1977, he converted to Islam, changed his name and largely distanced himself from popular music.

His new work reportedly includes a completely re-worked version of "The First Cut is the Deepest" featuring ululations by backup singers behind some indecipherable gurlgling sounds, "Behind Every Rock and Tree", "All's You Need Is Hate", "From The River to the Sea", and "This Land Is Our Land" (with simplified new lyrics that merely list all the nations in the world).

He also courted controversy by allegedly funding charities that were fronts for the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israeli authorities have barred Islam twice from entering the country because of his alleged ties to Hamas.

He also allegedly supported the Islamic edict calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie, though he said he was misunderstood.

Just so that we can avoid "misunderstanding" his position on Salman Rushdie, and in order to understand the world of ", peace and happiness we can share" under Yusuf Islam's view if we just give up our "futile wars" of resistance to jihad, here are his own words:

In Islam there is a line between let's say freedom and the line which is then transgressed into immorality and irresponsibility and I think as far as this writer is concerned, unfortunately, he has been irresponsible with his freedom of speech. Salman Rushdie or indeed any writer who abuses the prophet, or indeed any prophet, under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death. It's got to be seen as a deterrent, so that other people should not commit the same mistake again.  -  Yusuf Islam, March 8, 1989

G.R.: You don't think that this man deserves to die?
Y.I. Who, Salman Rushdie?
G.R.: Yes.
Y.I.: Yes, yes.
G.R.: And do you have a duty to be his executioner?
Y.I.: Uh, no, not necessarily, unless we were in an Islamic state and I was ordered by a judge or by the authority to carry out such an act - perhaps, yes.
G.R.: Would you be part of that protest, Yusuf Islam, would you go to a demonstration where you knew that an effigy was going to be burned?
Y.I.: I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing 
  -  Yusuf Islam interviewed by Geoffrey Robertson, May 1989

Yusuf Islam has the potential to become a respectable, smarmy spokesperson for the jihad.  He has connections to influential kufirs, and has the admiration of many for his earlier, pre-Islamic work.  He's one to keep an eye on.

Posted on 01/27/2009 1:51 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Pseudsday Tuesday

Quinquereme is a good word.  I am pleased to be the first person to use it at this website, although I could have sworn that somebody, somewhere slipped in a quincunx.


I don’t usually like words ending in –eme. They are often unnecessary, if not meaningless, abstractions. “Phoneme”, for example, doesn’t tell us anything, in an age of literacy, that “sound” or “letter” won’t convey more accurately. “Morpheme” tells us even less. Is it a prefix, a suffix or an infix? And words – should that be lexemes? – fail me when I see the word “sememe”, supposedly a “unit of meaning”. Then there are mythemes – each more Barthesian than the last – and memes, about which I could write reams.


 I came across a new word today: narreme. That sounds a bit nautical – could it be a Narrenschiff, or Ship of Fools? Unfortunately not. It is the “basic unit of narrative structure”:


In interpretative narratology constrained in a framework of Principles and parameters, narration is the projection of a narreme N0, the abstract head of a narrative macrostructure where Nn dominates immediately Nn-1 (Wittmann 1995).


I’m just a girl who can’t say N0. Not even for a NnaN0second.


The word “narrative” is tainted by association with grievance politics. If you’ve got a narrative you’ve probably got a chip on your shoulder:

If elected to the highest office in the land, [Professor Pete Banner-Haley] says Obama would become a powerful symbol for all Americans of what is achievable and also would force major changes to what author Charles R. Johnson calls the "black American narrative."

"What will be the black narrative now? Steeped in victimization, steeped in the consequences of slavery and the stigma of racism for so long, now we have before us a man who well could be the next president," said Haley. "That narrative will have to change."

Haley, in fact, is adding a discussion about that topic to a book he has authored about black intellectuals, one of his research interests.

More on narratives in an article "authored" by Manfred Yarn – sorry, Jahn – here. Narratives in a nutshell below:

Posted on 01/27/2009 2:26 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
You Might Be a Taliban If…

1.   You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
2.   You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.
3.   You have more wives than teeth.
4.   You wipe your butt with your bare left hand, but consider bacon ‘unclean.’
5.   You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6.   You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against.
7.   You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8.   You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9.   You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least one.
- - - - - - - - -
10.   You’ve always had a crush on your neighbor’s goat.

(hat tip: Gates of Vienna  -- I changed their "may" to "might" in the title as in "You might be a redneck if...")

Posted on 01/27/2009 2:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Italy's FGM Problem

Rome, 27 Jan. (AKI) - At least 600 children are at risk of infibulation, an extreme form of female genital mutilation in Italy, according to conservative MP and president of Italy's Association of Moroccan Women, Souad Sbai.

Here is the definition of infibulation:

Infibulation, in modern usage, is the practice of surgical closure of the labia majora (outer lips of the vulva) by sewing them together to partially seal the vagina, leaving only a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood. The legs are bound together for approximately two weeks to allow the labia to heal into a barrier. The procedure is usually done on young girls before the onset of puberty, to ensure chastity. It is usually performed at the same time as female genital cutting (removal of the clitoris). The labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) are often also removed. Infibulation is believed by practitioners to render women sexually inactive, unlikely to engage in intercourse, and the visibly intact barrier of infibulation assures a husband he has married a virgin.

"Every year in Italy there are 600 children, daughters of immigrants, that are at risk of infibulation and it all happens in total silence," said Sbai, while presenting a report by her organisation, Acmid-Donna.

"Here at Acmid-Donna have decided to sound the alarm about infibulation because unfortunately we have noticed that the practice has anything but ceased or been relegated to marginal communities of immigrants in Italy."

Sbai also spoke about the number of infibulated children after the approval of the 2006 Consolo law, enacted to prevent and prohibit female genital mutilation.

"We are particularly concerned about the rising number of infibulated children even after the Consolo law," she said.

However, Sbai said that the law was not enough to stop the cruel practice of female genital mutilation.

"Besides laws, we need to take strong action to oppose this tribal and wicked practice which has nothing to do with religions and is tied only to African cultural traditions," she said.

Sbai also accused Egyptian and Somali imams of influencing the immigrant community and the importance of making public opinion aware of the problem by starting a preventative policy.

Infibulation - the most extreme form of female circumcision is common in many parts of North and Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Somalia, parts of Kenya and Ethiopia.

Italy's 2006 Consolo law banned genital mutilation, also making it a crime for parents who attempt to sidestep the law by sending their daughters abroad.

Posted on 01/27/2009 3:22 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Joel's Journey

If you have children, or even if you haven't, and live in the UK so that BBC's iplayer will work for you, then today's Blue Peter is well worth a look.  The most recent young presenter Joel Defries explored his Jewish roots with the help of his Grandmother who now lives in New Zealand.

Posted on 01/27/2009 3:40 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Time To End Jewish Guilt and Masochism

All signs of public opinion in Israel show renewed confidence in the Israeli Army and its code of ethics designed to spare civilian casualties WHEN AT ALL POSSIBLE and a rising support for a victory for Bibi Netanyahu and his right wing allies in the coming Israeli elections. The crocodile tears shed for Palestinian civilians and children are of course an important propaganda weapon used by a weird assortment of Left-wing political and “humanitarian” groups including World War II revisionists such as Pat Buchanan (author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World) who are still bemoaning the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and the fire bombing of Dresden and America’s crime of dropping two atomic bombs on Japan.

Refusing to accept the professional opinion of how no other military in the world has taken so many risks to its own soldiers as Israel in order to minimize civilian casualties in built-up urban areas, these critics are salivating at the prospect of an eventual confrontation between President Obama and Netanyahu who may well win the next election with a centrist-right government. Liberal and Left-wing American intellectuals still celebrating their victory at the polls, especially Jewish-Americans who continue to blindly support Obama, will find it the tragedy of their lives (as Evangelicals have already begun to discern after only one week).
The time has come to end Jewish guilt and masochism – the formula used with such great success by Jewish-American authors and pseudo-intellectuals of the Woody Allan/Seinfeld/Portnoy Complains genre for the past two generations. If there is any human emotion and compassion for the victims, especially children who died in Gaza, why was it not in evidence in Darfur and the Iran-Iraq war where and when hundreds of thousands of MUSLIM and BLACK children were sent to clear minefields or murdered in their beds. Where was the outpouring of grief and charges of responsibility in the Madrid train bombing or the mayhem inflicted on hundreds of passers-by including women and children in Mumbai and the torture of Jews for the sake of sadism alone? The answer is of course that those guilty of their suffering were MUSLIM, ARAB and/or BLACK, and therefore not the subject of any enquiry, U.N. report or Red Cross appeals.  
If JEWS are not involved, there is no NEWS. The behavior of the imams, mullahs, and leaders of Hamas and Hizbollah in recent conflicts, most noticeably in Gaza, is beneath contempt. Not even the Nazi authorities (with the sole exception of Hitler on the eve of his suicide when called upon the German people to lay waste their own country rather than surrender) tried to prevent German civilians from fleeing German cities under Allied bombing attacks.   
Posted on 01/27/2009 7:34 PM by Norman Berdichevsky
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
"This Is What We Hope Will Happen But, Allah Willing, at the Hand of the Muslims"

An extremely bizarre version of WWII.

WARNING: Disturbing Holocaust Footage

Posted on 01/27/2009 7:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: Button Up Your Overcoat (Ruth Etting)
Posted on 01/27/2009 8:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Today We Have Naming Of Pierced Parts

Among some of the semi-demented in the Western world, instead of infibulation, with its chaste sealing up, another practice has become fashionable: the labial piercing. This is all about decadent decoration, and the presumed increase in pleasure for the self-mutilated in question, and her partner. For all I know, it may work, but the very thought puts one in mind of that book by E. B. White and James Thurber - "Is Sex Necessary?"

These stimulus packages are amusingly named, however, and one finds, inter alios, the  Fourchette, the Nefertiti, and the Princess Albertina. This naming of pierced parts been discussed previously at this site:



Posted on 01/27/2009 8:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
McKinsey Miscomprehends And Misleads

Global Warming Can Be Contained for $263 Billion, McKinsey Says
By Alex Morales

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The world can keep global warming in check if nations ramp up spending on energy efficiency, clean power and forestry projects to at least 200 billion euros ($263 billion) a year by 2030, McKinsey and Co. said.

The investment is needed to ensure that global temperatures don’t rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization, McKinsey said today in “Pathways to a Low-Carbon Economy.” Beyond that threshold, nations including European Union members say global warming will become dangerous.

Delegates from 190 nations aim to craft a treaty to fight climate change in December in Copenhagen. Global action covering all sectors of the economy will be needed to contain rising temperatures, New York-based McKinsey said in the 192-page report.

“Without focused and coordinated action, it is unlikely that even the most economically beneficial options will reach their full potential,” Tomas Naucler, leader of the consultant group’s Climate Change Special Initiative, said in an e-mailed statement.


Even if there were not a single puff of smoke coming from the earth from now on, the CO2 in the lower atmosphere, which has not made it yet to the upper atmosphere, is the result of the past fifty years of emissions. The global warming to date is largely a result of the CO2 in the upper atmosphere and that came from the first 150 years of the industrial revolution. The last fifty years haven't yet begun to have their effect on global warming.  

So when McKinsey puts out with great fanfare such a report, it makes people think, wrongly, that if only we are willing to spend this money -- so delibeately unrounded-off, to give it a false, and also comforting, precision -- it merely misleads a public that, let's face it, probably cannot bear too much reality about climate disruption, and what's to come, on this, the earth, where we are all, alas, in the same boat or lifeboat.

Posted on 01/27/2009 8:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
George Mitchell Is Going To Be "Listening"

"I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away," Obama said Monday in an Al-Arabiya TV interview, adding that "what I told him is, start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating - in the past on some of these issues - and we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen. He's going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response."

Is it true that the United States, that the American government, that American policy-makers have not been "listening" enough? Really? Didn't the Bush Administration "listen" to all kinds of Arabs, especially Shi'a in exile, including Kanan Makiya, and Rend al-Rahim, and Chalabi, all of whom wanted the Americans to do what they, and the "secular Shi'a" whom they thought would somehow inherit Iraq, could not do -- that is, end the regime of Saddam Hussein? And were they not ably seconded by Paul Wolfowitz's Arab girlfriend in Washington? 

Oh, but they were "listening" to the wrong people, you will reply. But which Arabs should they have listened to? The Sunni defenders of Saddam Hussein? They didn't listen to the Iranians, because the Iranians were quiet, delighted to think that the Americans might be dumb enough to remove the chief local obstacle to their power, that is to remove Saddam Hussein. But they listened to one group of Arabs.

And indeed, for decades the Americans have been listening, listening, listening. In Washington, they all listened, when they were not picking up the keys to Jaguars, or finding themselves or their family members  or their friends, or their law firms, or their corporations, or the universities in their home states, or their Presidential libraries, recipients of Saudi largesse, to that splendid port-and-cigars fellow, Prince Bandar, and they listened, and listened, as he told them his carefully-tailored explanation for Saudi corruption ("yes, of course, but we keep it within bounds" and "everyone does it, even here in Washington, and we are all men of the world, aren't we?").

And President Clinton listened and listened to Yassir Arafat, the man who visited the White House more, who spent more time with President Clinton, than any other foreign leader or warlord.

And so did Dennis Ross, and Martin Indyk, and Richard Haass, and Aaron Miller -- they've been listening to Arafat, and other PLO people, for years and years. Listening, listening, listening.

And before Clinton, there was Bush, and James Baker, and they listened too. James Baker was particularly keen to listen to the Saudis, our friends, our staunch allies, the ones who had done such fantastic stuff with the Taliban, and the muhajedin, in Afghanistan, and who could forget, what had been an Article of Dumb Faith ever since the Dulles brothers, that Islam was "a bulwark against Communism." A "bulwark against Communism." What more could one ask for, in this world where the only thing that seemed to matter was whether one was with the Bolsheviks, or against them.

Oh, we've been listening and listening to the Arabs raising their eyes skyward in feigned intolerable grief, and grievance, as they spill out their souls about the horror of Israel's existence, and some of them -- Saint Sadat, for example -- use the Americans to wrest every last conceivable concession from the Israelis and then some.

And we don't even have to go to the MIddle East, or send someone such as George Mitchell, to "llsten." We know what will be said. We know all the promises that will smilingly be offered, to finally "make peace" with Israel on terms that, we will be told, will give Israel "peace" but in fact will give it merely a "hudna" or "truce treaty," for according to Islam there can be no permanent acceptance of an Infidel nation-state, and still more intolerable, in the Muslim view of things, is an Infidel nation-state, consisting of Jews, on land once possessed by Muslims and, what's more, smack in the middle of Dar al-Islam. It cannot stand. It cannot be allowed to be. But there is of course a difference between the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, who are realists, and the Fast JIhadists of Hamas, and those who, around the Middle East, agree with Fatah on the matters of timing and tactics, and those who agree with Hamas on timing and tactics. for the Fast Jihadists embrace an immediate or close-to-immediate  military solution. The realists of Fatah, the Slow Jihadists who are all for something like the deceptive " Saudi Peace Plan," on the other hand, recognize the need to change the rhetoric, for the Western audience, and to proceed methodically, to diminish or dimidiate Israel step by step, to finally present it with impossible demands, and thus to pocket whatever concessions Israel makes, and then in the end to demand still more, or, in the alternative, to sign some treaty, to take every concession, and then of course To Do What Muhammad (uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil) Would Have Done, Muhammad who made that treaty with the Meccans at Hudaibiyya and broke it as soon as he could, and declare that Israel was somehow in breach, and it won't be hard to fabricate an excuse. Or, it may be that no such claimed breach need even be invoked. After all, once Egypt had received the third, and final, tranche of the Sinai (together with airfileds and oilfields), it promptly stopped all pretense of honoring its solemn commitments to "end hostile propaganda" against the Jewish state, and relapsed into the anti-Israel position it had never really abandoned, and proceeded to lead the diplomatic offensive against Israel, in concert with other Arab states that had not signed a treaty of peace. So why should the Arabs do anything differently if they manage to get Israel, pressured by the Americans, to give up still more territory than the entire Sinai, and Gaza, even after all that we now know about their behavior? 

The problem is not that there has not been "listening"
 but that the "listening" is merely an occassion for suave deception on the part of Arab interlocutors, some suaver than the rest, but all of them sharing the same ultimate goal, and that goal does not include recognition and permanent acceptance of an Infidel nation-state in the middle of Dar al-islam. It is simply not something even remotely possible for any Arab state or group to accept.

What George Mitchell should be doing, and what everyone in Washington who has to deal with the Arab war (Jihad) on Israel, and with Iraq, and with Afghanistan, and with Iran, and with Saudi Arabia, and with the inexorable islamisation within Western Europe that must be recognized, halted, and reversed, if the West is to survive, is to learn about Islam. That does not require busy flying about, "listening" to this emir or beglerbegs or pasha, each more transparently absurd and meretricious than the next. It does mean sitting still, and reading, and re-reading, not only the textsof Islam, but the commentaries on those texts, and reading not only in the theory  or doctrine of Islam, but learning about the practice of Islam, by studying the histories by Western scholars of of the Islamic conquests of non-Muslim lands and peoples, the conquests that have taken place over 1350 years, and from Spain to the East Indies. Another is to examine closely the treatment of non-Muslims today in Muslim countries, from Zoroastrians and Bahai's and Jews in Iran, to all non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, to Hindus in Pakistana and Bangladesh and the Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir, and of Christians in the Moluccas (in Indonesia) and in the southern Philippines, and southern Sudan, and southern Nigeria (don't forget the Biafra War). And finally, those who would understand the Arab rulers, and the peoples under them, and the centrality of Islam, should listen to the testimony of defectors from the Army of Islam -- that is, the articulate apostates many of whom could appear in Washington at a moment's notice.

"Listening, listening, listening." We've been listening, and the followers of Muhammad, who preached that "war is deceit," are dab hands at molding their words for their powerful Western visitors. We've been listening for many decades. Many American diplomats have been taken in, again and again and again. And we always go through so much, until finally, some at least find that reality sets in, and they are disabused, and they vow not to be so in the future. But this is a new administration. And the fact that George MItchell offers bromides -- "wars are caused by humans, and humans can end them" -- and uncomrependingly likens the permanent Jihad against Israel to the "situation in Northern ireland" (as if the IRA ever threatened the existence of Great Britain, or wished to eliminate physically the Protestant inhabitants of Northern Ireland, or as if Paisley threateend the existence of Eire, or wanted to physically eliminate the Catholics of Northern Ireland), shows how innocent of Islam he is, and at this point in his not-quite-distinguished career (he's been a Washington fixer, mixed up in big-time sports and big-time tobacco, and the presentation of him as a chevalier sans peur et sans reproches just doesn't fit the facts), he ought to have tried to find out something about Islam, and clearly he hasn't. And those who have put their faith in him, it appears, clearly haven't done so either.

Posted on 01/27/2009 9:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Pierluigi Battista's Editorial In Corriere Della Sera On The Meaning Of Holocaust Denial
Il negazionismo intollerabile

di Pierluigi Battista

Il negazionismo sulla Shoah non è un'opinione personale, la carta d'identità di una congrega minoritaria di lunatici che giocano con la frequentazione provocatoria del Male. Non è neanche più, a differenza dei decenni scorsi, una fandonia che rivendica il rango di controstoria, un vaniloquio travestito da disputa storiografica che ambisce alla riscrittura del passato. Il negazionismo è oramai diventato una poderosa macchina simbolica e ideologica che, contestando lo sterminio degli ebrei di ieri, mette violentemente in discussione il diritto alla sopravvivenza degli ebrei di oggi. Vuole cancellare l'immane debito del passato per destituire di ogni credito l'identità ebraica del presente. Vuole togliere agli ebrei lo statuto di vittime per consegnarli interamente al ruolo di carnefici. Non si comprende l'ossessione negazionista di Ahmadinejad se sfugge la logica che connette la cancellazione dell'Olocausto al progetto di annichilire la presenza degli ebrei e di Israele che è la loro casa: il bisogno di riunire a Teheran l'internazionale degli antisemiti per mettere sotto processo la veridicità della Shoah si giustificava con la necessità di spogliare di ogni legittimità le pretese degli ebrei di oggi.

Ricollocato e rivitalizzato negli schemi di una jihad globale che vuole ripulire il mondo dall'«impurità » ebraica, il negazionismo vecchio stampo riacquista un significato e un'eco sconosciuti nell'infetto recinto neonazista in cui era confinato. Nel percorso di Roger Garaudy, ex comunista eretico passato nello stato maggiore dei negazionisti d'Occidente e infine convertitosi all'Islam, si condensa il senso di questa trasformazione, l'approdo di un pregiudizio ideologico che infine trova il suo compimento in una dichiarazione di guerra: contro gli ebrei, il progetto di annientamento cominciato con la Shoah non è ancora finito. Anzi, può conoscere un nuovo inizio con la distruzione dello Stato di Israele. E' in questa tragica guerra non conclusa che gli ebrei, proprio quando si celebra il Giorno della Memoria, apprendono sgomenti che un negazionista dichiarato come il lefebvriano Richard Williamson («neppure un ebreo è stato ucciso nelle camere a gas») possa diventare, per effetto della revoca della scomunica ai seguaci dello scismatico Marcel Lefebvre decisa da Benedetto XVI, un «vescovo » della Chiesa cattolica di Roma. Conforta certo sapere che nel mondo cattolico le parole di Williamson siano considerate «aberranti» e del resto lo stesso direttore dell'«Osservatore Romano» Giovanni Maria Vian ha sostenuto che «ogni affermazione negazionista è un insulto alla memoria del martirio del popolo ebraico». Ma il negazionismo, appunto, non è un'opinione privata o un terreno su cui possa esercitarsi un legittimo diritto di espressione a proposito di una controversa pagina della storia. Non è un affare interno alla Chiesa (lo è invece la decisione di riaccogliere i lefebvriani), ma una prova di tolleranza verso l'intollerabile. E le comunità ebraiche, saggiamente, non entrano nel merito delle scelte dottrinarie della Chiesa: chiedono solo che il negazionista Williamson non sia più «vescovo». Solo questo, ma niente di meno.

Sbaglierebbero i cattolici a considerare la reazione ebraica come una patologica manifestazione di «ipersensibilità». Non è «ipersensibilità»: è la normale sensibilità di chi, a ragione, si sente ancora mortalmente minacciato. E mentre Bin Laden chiama alla guerra santa contro i «crociati» cristiani e gli «ebrei», l'ebraismo di Israele e della diaspora chiede concordemente il sostegno e l'appoggio della cristianità. Non è per «ipersensibilità» che sono state accolte con incredulo sbalordimento le dichiarazioni con cui il cardinal Martino ha paragonato Gaza a un «campo di concentramento», come se davvero nei campi della morte di Auschwitz ci fosse qualcosa di lontanamente simile alla guerra dei razzi scatenata da Hamas contro i civili delle città di Israele. È lo stesso, micidiale cortocircuito che ha sciaguratamente indotto il governo della Catalogna a ridimensionare le celebrazioni del Giorno della Memoria per protesta contro l'intervento militare di Israele. E' il silenzio assoluto della cultura europea di fronte a grottesche manifestazioni come quelle della civilissima Amsterdam in cui, presenti due deputati socialisti, è echeggiato il lugubre slogan «viva Hamas, gli ebrei nelle camere a gas». Gli Stati dell'Occidente pensano di tacitare la loro coscienza con la retorica ufficiale dei riti della memoria o con leggi censorie ad hoc che dovrebbero mettere la museruola ai nazi-negazionisti. Più che il bavaglio (sempre ingiusto e sempre a rischio di derive illiberali) conviene piuttosto ricordare l'impresa di Pierre Vidal-Naquet, che con il suo Gli assassini della memoria (ora riproposto in una bellissima edizione da Viella) mise stoicamente a freno il suo furore di figlio di deportati nei campi di sterminio e impartì una memorabile lezione agli «Eichmann di carta», mostrando la nullità dei loro pseudoargomenti, demolendo una a una le bugie diffuse nelle loro pubblicazioni, sbriciolando con paziente tenacia ogni parvenza di scientificità in testi («la menzogna di Auschwitz») impregnati di pregiudizi maniacali e di incontenibile odio antisemita. Contro la guerra di sterminio antiebraico caldeggiata da Ahmadinejad l'esempio eroico di Vidal-Naquet potrebbe consigliare una guerra culturale difficilissima, ma appassionante. Potrebbero (dovrebbero?) prendervi parte gli intellettuali dell'Occidente che versano lacrime di commozione assistendo a «Schindler's List», ma restano glaciali e imperturbabili se a Israele viene negato lo stesso diritto all'esistenza attraverso l'infamia dell'invocazione esplicita di un nuovo Olocausto. Non dovrebbe disertare nemmeno la Chiesa cattolica, che pure conosce il dramma della persecuzione patita dove comanda il fondamentalismo islamista, a cui si chiede di non consentire che la malattia del negazionismo possa allignare tra i suoi vescovi, nemmeno come «opinione» personale o privata manifestazione di eccentrica aberrazione. Perché una sciagurata distrazione non diventi, per riprendere le parole di Vian, un terribile «insulto» al popolo ebraico.

27 gennaio 2009



Posted on 01/27/2009 10:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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