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The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
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
















Thursday, 31 July 2014
A Musical Interlude: Got A Date With An Angel (Hal Kemp Orch., voc. Skinnay Ennis)
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Listen here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
State Department Claims "No American Is Proud" Of CIA Tactics
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Here.

Really?

How do they know?

Did they ask you?

They didn't ask me.

Don't count me among those Americans -- apparently all of them, according to the State Department, without exception -- who is "not proud" about "what the CIA did."

My, how some presume.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Kurds In Syria And Iraq: "We Shoot ISIS Fighters Like Sheep, But..."
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Posted on 07/31/2014 7:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Flag-waving protesters block London road tunnel with dozens of cars in 'Free Palestine' rally
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Hugh posted this video clip earlier this week. Meanwhile in London many of us sent it to our MPs, the mainstream newspapers, the police, Transport for London, the Mayor's Office, anything that moved frankly. At last a newspaper, the Daily Mail, has taken some notice.

Protesters filmed themselves blocking a London road with dozens of parked cars as they called for Israel to relinquish its grip on Gaza amid concerns the community is becoming 'radicalised' Drivers parked their cars, honked their horns and shouted 'free free Palestine', bringing the major commuter route in east London to a standstill. 

There are several Youtube accounts hosting this video clip - this one has fewer views, but I believe it to be the better sound quality. 

The demonstration took place on July 20 in the Blackwall tunnel which connects Greenwich in south London with Tower Hamlets, an east London borough with a large Muslim population, police confirmed.

The footage of parked cars covered in Palestinian flags and the word 'Gaza' emerged on YouTube early this week and has been shared on Facebook more than 6,000 times. 

It is unclear how long the tunnel remained blocked during the incident. 

Condemning the protest, Conservative Tower Hamlets councillor Andrew Brown told MailOnline: 'My main concern is that the community is being radicalised by all this. It is obviously very concerning. It's something I'm worried about. There are issues in other parts of the world like Ukraine and Nigeria - and there are issues in Tower Hamlets.  But there is a danger in Tower Hamlets that we are focussing our attentions on one part of the world. Mayor Lutfur Rahman put a Palestine flag outside the town hall. . .Last night at our council meeting, we spent 45 minutes speaking about Gaza which meant we ran out of time to talk about GP surgery closures. We need to ensure we maintain a balanced view.'

If any of us get replies that can be made public I will update this site. What is making us particularly angry is that stopping in the tunnel, even after making a simple mistake like running out of petrol, can and does incur a hefty fine. Many of the registration plates of these cars are clearly visible. Others will be visible on the CCTV cameras inside and at the tunnel entrances. Most if not all of those cars can be traced. Home Secretary Teresa May must ensure that they are.

Update Friday 1st August. The free London paper Metro says

A spokesman for the Met Police said: ‘We were aware of a demo on Sunday, 20 July 2014. There are no criminal offences arising from this video.’ Exactly why I told my MP to ensure that Teresa May insists that the police do something.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been contacted by Metro.co.uk for a response.

 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Dominique De Villepin "Refuses To Be Silent In The Face Of Israeli Massacres"
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Here.

He supports Israel's right to exist, of course, he yields to no one in his support of Israel, but...

But he can't understand all of the ways and means of Hamas war propaganda, aided and abetted by members of UNRWA and the UN. Some are merely stupid, some are evil. I'm not sure why Dominique de Villepin is incapable of seeing through the propaganda -- the endless pictures of "suffering" children, the immediate attribution of all explosives to the Israelis when there is plenty of evidence of Hamas rockets falling short of Israel and landing in Gaza, the deliberate encouragement by Hamas of civiians remaining in the most perilous places, the very places from which the Israelis have tried in every way possible (leaflets, phone calls, maps showing places to go to, "knocks on the roof") to encourage them to leave, and the deliberate placing of rockets, and other weaponry, in or next to mosques, UNRWA schools, and other places where they assumed, not entirely correctly, that Israel would refrain from firing but from where they could fire, with impunity, on members of the IDF.

Bref, he accepts Hamas's version of events, Hamas's numbers on dead and wounded, Hamas's description of those dead and wounded. But what is it that leads him to do so? What is it, in the past of Hamas, or for that matter of its wholly-owned subsidiary UNRWA, that entitles them to be believed? There is nothing.

But when the hurly-burly's done, when the battle's lost and won, and Israel presents its best estimates, and others, including journalists who were stationed in Gaza, and photographs from the sky, confirm Israel's version, will D. de V. change his mind, admit he was too quick too judge, too excitable, too easily swayed by what others say or think?

No.

There's the sheen, the veneer, but what a limited lad D. de V. turns out to be.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Fitzgerald: L’enlèvement De La France, Ou, L'envelope De La Brasserie Lipp
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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Vue apologises after families 'barred from cinema for not being MUSLIM'
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I have been following the numerous complaints on the Facebook pages of Vue (a cinema chain) and the main Star City leisure complex in Birmingham. They had the ring of truth about them. Now the mainstream press have taken the story and management are having to take the complaints seriously. From the Mirror and the Daily Mail

Furious cinemagoers say were turned away from a busy Vue complex because they weren't Muslim. Leon Jennings, 22, had been visiting Birmingham's Star City entertainment complex with two other friends. But as he tried to enter the Vue Cinema on the site, which includes dozens of bars and licenced restaurants, he said he was turned away by a burly security guard.

Asked why, shocked Leon says he was told by staff the films showing were only for couples and families celebrating the end of Islamic festival Eid. Vue Cinemas have apologised and promised an investigation.

Leon says he and and his two pals were forced to turn around and go home - because "they did not look like they celebrated Eid" and were left feeling embarrassed and discriminated against for being white.

The viewing consultant at a photography studio, from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, said: "I was going there with my pals to the cinema as it was Orange Wednesday and you get two for one. As we drove in the bloke on the gate said to us 'not tonight guys, it's couples and families only'. We thought he was  joking and went and parked up.  We tried to get into the cinema and the security guy stopped us from going in.

"He said we couldn't go in because it was only couples and families celebrating Eid. I tried to point out that there were loads of groups lads who were Asian being allowed in but that made no difference. He said to us we didn't look like we were celebrating Eid. He was making assumptions about my religion and banning me based on my skin colour. "

"It's not like we are trouble makers, we are mature, all dressed respectably and just wanted to go see a film. It will just be seen as blatant racism. You have to admit that if it was done for Christmas there would be uproar. . . "

A Facebook page set up to call for a boycott of Star City has already gained over 800 likes on the social network. Other web-users reported similar experiences on Wednesday - which marked the end of Ramadan, where Muslims fast for a month.

Emma Noakes wrote on Facebook: "My friends family have just been refused entry at VUE cinema as they are not Muslim this is a shocking disgrace. . . This was a lady and her 11 yr old son trying to watch a film in the school holidays. . . "

Zara Marie Smart wrote on Vue Cinema Star City's Facebook page: "Got turned away from here today for 'not being Muslim' I kid you not! will never ever return here and will make everyone aware of the discrimination and humiliation we faced today!"

A spokesman for Vue cinemas apologised. He said: "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to our guests who tried to gain access to our Birmingham Star City cinema. As a company we welcome customers from all religious and cultural backgrounds. We are investigating this directly with the Star City management team as a matter of urgency."

Star City said they were not aware of any of incidents of people being turned away on ground of religion taking place.

Mark Wilson, centre manager at Star City said: ‘Star City is a family entertainment centre open to and enjoyed by all. Star City has enjoyed growing success in recent months and we have a proud record of community involvement. ‘Over the past few days Star City has been extremely busy and the volume of traffic has been very high, causing significant traffic congestion and delays in getting some visitors access into the centre.

‘During the busiest times some visitors have been turned away and there has been some disappointment for some, for which we apologise.  However, there is simply no truth in the recent allegations - the nature of which have no place at Star City.’

The venue ... based in the Aston area of the city, where 87 per cent of residents are from an ethnic group other than white . . . some 392,000 sq ft (36,400 m2) of leisure space, it is one of the UK’s largest leisure centres.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 5:06 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Uighur Imam Of The Unfanatic Kind Stabbed To Death By Other Muslims
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The third, in a recent series of such stabbings.

Here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Hamas: "We Love Death For Allah"
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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
For Non-Americans: Who Was Eric Hoffer?
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You can find out something herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Hoffer. And then you can read his books. Each one is short. Each one is worth reading.
 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Eric Hoffer, On How The World Judges The Jewish State
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Reprinted in today's Wall Street Journal, here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
What is Capitalism?
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You can be sure that they no longer teach this in our universities. At the Library of Economics and Liberty, Robert Hessen writes the entry on Capitalism:

"Capitalism,” a term of disparagement coined by socialists in the mid-nineteenth century, is a misnomer for “economic individualism,” which Adam Smithearlier called “the obvious and simple system of natural liberty” (Wealth of Nations). Economic individualism’s basic premise is that the pursuit of self-interest and the right to own private property are morally defensible and legally legitimate. Its major corollary is that the state exists to protect individual rights. Subject to certain restrictions, individuals (alone or with others) are free to decide where to invest, what to produce or sell, and what prices to charge. There is no natural limit to the range of their efforts in terms of assets, sales, and profits; or the number of customers, employees, and investors; or whether they operate in local, regional, national, or international markets.

The emergence of capitalism is often mistakenly linked to a Puritan work ethic. German sociologist Max Weber, writing in 1903, stated that the catalyst for capitalism was in seventeenth-century England, where members of a religious sect, the Puritans, under the sway of John Calvin’s doctrine of predestination, channeled their energies into hard work, reinvestment, and modest living, and then carried these attitudes to New England. Weber’s thesis breaks down, however. The same attitudes toward work and savings are exhibited by Jews and Japanese, whose value systems contain no Calvinist component. Moreover, Scotland in the seventeenth century was simultaneously orthodox Calvinist and economically stagnant.

A better explanation of the Puritans’ diligence is that by refusing to swear allegiance to the established Church of England, they were barred from activities and professions to which they otherwise might have been drawn—landownership, law, the military, civil service, universities— and so they focused on trade and commerce. A similar pattern of exclusion or ostracism explains why Jews and other racial and religious minorities in other countries and later centuries tended to concentrate on retail businesses and money lending.

In early-nineteenth-century England the most visible face of capitalism was the textile factories that hired women and children. Critics (Richard Oastler and Robert Southey, among others) denounced the mill owners as heartless exploiters and described the working conditions—long hours, low pay, monotonous routine—as if they were unprecedented. Believing that poverty was new, not merely more visible in crowded towns and villages, critics compared contemporary times unfavorably with earlier centuries. Their claims of increasing misery, however, were based on ignorance of how squalid life actually had been earlier. Before children began earning money working in factories, they had been sent to live in parish poorhouses; apprenticed as unpaid household servants; rented out for backbreaking agricultural labor; or became beggars, vagrants, thieves, and prostitutes. The precapitalist “good old days” simply never existed (seeindustrial revolution and the standard of living).

Nonetheless, by the 1820s and 1830s the growing specter of child labor and “dark Satanic mills” (poet William Blake’s memorable phrase) generated vocal opposition to these unbridled examples of self-interest and the pursuit of profit. Some critics urged legislative regulation of wages and hours, compulsory education, and minimum age limits for laborers. Others offered more radical alternatives. The most vociferous were the socialists, who aimed to eradicate individualism, the name that preceded capitalism.

Socialist theorists repudiated individualism’s leading tenets: that individuals possess inalienable rights, that government should not restrain individuals from pursuing their own happiness, and that economic activity should not be regulated by government. Instead, they proclaimed an organic conception of society. They stressed ideals such as brotherhood, community, and social solidarity and set forth detailed blueprints for model utopian colonies in which collectivist values would be institutionalized.

The short life span of these utopian societies acted as a brake on the appeal of socialism. But its ranks swelled afterKarl Marx offered a new “scientific” version, proclaiming that he had discovered the laws of history and that socialism inevitably would replace capitalism. Beyond offering sweeping promises that socialism would create economic equality, eradicate poverty, end specialization, and abolish money, Marx supplied no details at all about how a future socialist society would be structured or would operate.

Even nineteenth-century economists—in England, America, and Western Europe—who were supposedly capitalism’s defenders did not defend capitalism effectively because they did not understand it. They came to believe that the most defensible economic system was one of “perfect” or “pure”competition. Under perfect competition all firms are small scale, products in each industry are homogeneous, consumers are perfectly informed about what is for sale and at what price, and all sellers are what economists call price takers (i.e., they have to “take” the market price and cannot charge a higher one for their goods).

Clearly, these assumptions were at odds with both common sense and the reality of market conditions. Under real competition, which is what capitalism delivered, companies are rivals for sales and profits. This rivalry leads them to innovate in product design and performance, to introduce cost-cutting technology, and to use packaging to make products more attractive or convenient for customers. Unbridled rivalry encourages companies to offer assurances of security to imperfectly informed consumers, by means such as money-back guarantees or product warranties and by building customer loyalty through investing in their brand names and reputations (see advertisingbrand names, and consumer protection).

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 2:39 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
French Christian Decency and Hamas Evil
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Goodness and mercy coexist with evil in the world. At a moment when the Hamas terrorists in Gaza have horrified the world with the extent of their evil in using Palestinian children as slave labor to build underground tunnels in Sinai and as human shields in Gaza in their strategy to kill Jews and eliminate the State of Israel, the chronicle of goodness and mercy by French Protestants heroically saving persecuted Jews during World War II in a small farming village is being retold.

The story of the courageous and noble 5,000 inhabitants of the village Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, located in the mountains of south-central France, 350 miles from Paris, has been told several times. It was remembered for its good deeds when it was honored in 1990 by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as a place of Righteous among the Nations. The memories of those deeds are recalled in the new release of a revised version of the documentary film Weapons of the Spirit, written and directed by Pierre Sauvage, who was born in the village in 1944 and hidden there, and in a new book, Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead, that provides an accurate account of events, enhanced by personal diaries and interviews with survivors.

The story of the village is even more compelling because the villagers were reluctant for many years to talk about their heroism that accounted for saving at least 800 Jews, many foreign born (the figure is sometimes put as high as 5,000). The villagers sheltered the Jews, who were in danger for their lives, in private homes, hotels, farms, and schools. They forged identification papers and ration cards, and helped some flee to Switzerland. The Jewish children attended school together with local children, and participated in youth organizations.

Other acts of heroism, individual and collective, took place in the dark years of the war when France was divided and the Vichy Regime established in June 1940 collaborated with Nazis, but the moral consensus exhibited in Le Chambon was outstanding, even exceptional. It is rare these days to speak about actions in tones of moral righteousness and goodness, yet the behavior of Le Chambon deserves to be remembered in this way for its remarkable implementation of Christian ethical principles.

The villagers, essentially Calvinists, descendants from the Huguenots, led by their pastor André Trocmé, safeguarded resisters, freemasons, and communists, and above all Jews. Trocmé himself was a pacifist, believing in nonviolence, but many of his flock were not. It was Trocmé who, after France surrendered to Nazi Germany, said it was the responsibility of Christians to “resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit.” It was also he who protested in a sermon on August 16, 1942 against the roundup of 13,000 Jews in Paris by saying that “the Christian Church must kneel down and ask God to forgive its present failings and cowardice.”

In July 2004 the then French President Jacques Chirac commented that Le Chambon was “the conscience of our country.” The same sentiment is present in the new museum in Le Chambon which records that even during the terrible years of World War II, there were places where people behaved decently. Interestingly, it was the village where Albert Camus lived for a while in 1942 in his attempt to deal with his tuberculosis, and where he wrote the first draft of his book, The Plague. Camus was well informed of the nonviolent resistance in the village. His discussion of the attempts to control the outbreak of disease in the town of Oran is in effect an allegorical representation of Le Chambon resisting Nazi and Vichy anti-Semitic policies.

The opposite form of behavior to this illustration of goodness is that of the terrorist group Hamas. For three weeks in July the war in Gaza has shown the employment of hundreds of rockets by Hamas and the surprising discovery of a considerable number of tunnels built by it for only one purpose, to infiltrate into Israel and kill innocent Israeli civilians. This single purpose is still not understood or is disregarded by many in the “international community” and even in the United States State Department, whose spokeswoman proclaimed it was “important to explain the true facts about what happened.”

Yet the true facts have been clearly stated in the Hamas Charter: the Charter of Allah, issued in 1988. Article 13 declares, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” Secretary of State John Kerry is no doubt well meaning in his attempts to achieve a ceasefire between the parties but his priorities are mistaken. He should press for the immediate end to the firing of rockets by Hamas, and the consequent elimination of the rocket stockpiles, and call for the destruction of the network of tunnels, built at considerable cost to infiltrate into Israeli territory and inflict casualties on civilians.

What a contrast between the historical events in Le Chambon and the continuing terrorism and criminality of Hamas. The Protestants in the French village wanted to save lives of Jews; Hamas wants to end the lives of Jews. The heroic Andre Trocmé, when threatened by a Vichy official for sheltering Jews, replied “We do not know what a Jew is, we only know human beings.” No citizen of Le Chambon ever informed the Vichy authorities or the Nazis about those taking refuge. They felt it was their duty as Christians to help fellow human beings.

Hamas does not help fellow human beings. Not only has it used children as human shields, it has also exploited them. An article in the Institute for Palestine Studies in summer 2012 reports that, according to Hamas officials, at least 160 Palestinian children, who were used as laborers, had died in building the tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border in Sinai. It is not clear if children have been used in building the tunnel network directed against Israel, a network that has used 800,000 tons of cement, an amount that could have been more profitably used for domestic purposes.  It is however noticeable that Ismael Haniyeh, the Hamas leader, who owns a 27,000 square foot area of property on the Gaza beach worth more than $4 million, sends his own children to school in Europe.

One can appreciate that the increase in casualty figures has caused alarm among international observers. No one can be happy about the mounting death toll except Hamas, which displays the photos of dead or injured children for international television coverage to gain sympathy for its cause. Yet it is mistaken policy to call for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that will not simply end Israeli military activity, but also grant Hamas concessions on border crossings and finance.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon must know that the argument that both sides have an equal obligation to end hostilities does not reach the heart of the problem. Turki al Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence services, in a statement quoted on July 24, 2014 may have implicitly answered Ban Ki-Moon. He stated, “Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip following its bad decisions in the past.”

The solution can only be the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip so that the terrorist organization Hamas is no longer able to commit evil in its objective to eliminate the state of Israel. The threat of the network of highly sophisticated tunnels, each said to cost up to $2 million to build, must be ended. The world, and particularly the World Council of Churches, should remember Le Chambon.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 1:32 PM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Jewish Warfare: A Traditional Perspective
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Brandon Marlon writes in the Algemeiner:

In the timely hour of battle between Israel and its neighbors, it is helpful to recall the timeless principles of warfare set out in the Torah, Talmud, and rabbinic commentaries that touch upon a variety of combat-related issues still pertinent today.

Canadian scholar Aaron J. Sarna (Boycott and Blacklist: A History of Arab Economic Warfare Against Israel), former chairman of both the yeshiva Ottawa Torah Institute and the Orthodox Jewish women’s high school Machon Sarah, recently took the time to encapsulate some of the voluminous Judaic teachings on conduct during wartime:

What are the main lessons in the Torah regarding going to war?

The Torah’s ideal is peace, but unfortunately war is a necessary evil. Therefore, there is a time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:8). War is armed conflict, either mandatory (divinely commanded) or constitutionally authorized through the judicial authorities at the ruler’s request. War is not fought for its own sake; Jews do not glorify it or call it holy. However, it is a holy duty to wage war when necessary.

In ancient times, wars against the seven Canaanite nations and Amalekites fell into the category of divinely-commanded wars. These wars were history-specific occurrences; those nations today no longer exist because of assimilation into surrounding peoples, or destruction. The only operative part today of this category of war that is divinely-commanded is a war of self-defense.

Some wars of King David, in contrast, were discretionary, at his initiative, to expand the borders or to enhance Israel’s reputation among the nations.

The Book of Esther (9:5) contains an example of a preemptive war waged against Haman’s followers, such war being deemed a defensive one.

Rabbinical commentaries on scripture that touch upon the topic of warfare include:

  1. Whoever attacks Israel, it is as if he attacked G-d (Rashi on Numbers Mattot 31:3).

  2. Victory in battle should be the goal; if not, Jewish leaders must not expose the nation to danger (Ralbag on Judges 6:15, regarding Gideon seeking a sign from G-d that he would be victorious against Midian).

  3. An individual and a nation cannot stand idly by while its citizens’ blood is being shed (“lo ta’amod b’dam rey’echa”) (Leviticus 19:16).

Overall, from the Torah’s perspective, a satisfactory peace can only be concluded from a position of overpowering strength—“G-d will grant His people strength, G-d will bless His people with peace”—where the idea of strengthprecedes peace (Psalms 29:11).

In addition, before embarking on war, an offer of peace must be made entailing the enemy laying down its arms and accepting the Seven Noahide Laws (Numbers 21, where Moses first offers peace to Sichon, king of the Amorites).

Furthermore, during the conduct of war, the enemy must be defeated. As King David said, “I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them. I did not turn back till they were wiped out. And I have consumed them and struck them down and they cannot arise, they have fallen under my feet” (II Samuel 22:38).

Notably, failure to drive out enemies from the land if they do not accept a peace offer will be disastrous, a desecration of the divine name: “Then shall those that remain be as pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They shall distress you in the land in which you dwell. And it shall come to pass that what I planned to do to them, so will I do to you” i.e., G-d will drive us out of the land (Numbers 33:55).

Finally, Jews cannot go berserk in the midst of war, but must maintain their humanity because, “Your camp shall be holy” (Deuteronomy 23:14) and because man was created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Morality in combat, known as “tohar ha-neshek”, is required, entailing: no looting, no raping, no harming innocent civilians especially women, children, and other non-combatants, no destruction of crops, no destruction of fruit trees (there are exceptions), no wanton killing (massacres), no scorched-earth policy, no destruction of water supply, no spreading of disease, no destruction of clothing, no killing of POWs, and no torture of captives (unless vitally necessary to prevent a disaster).

Continue reading here.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 12:34 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Hammond Misunderestimates
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A dumb remark, by Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary, here.

Hammond apparently believes that Israel is "losing" support in the West. Is that true? Are the people who are capable of thought -- the others don't matter -- really unable to identify with Israel, to imagine what it would be like to live next door to tunnels from Gaza, with more being busily dug and cemented by the old moles who dig in th'earth because they can't possibly go to work (besides, UNRWA and Western donors have eliminated that need, and Gazans have an annual "income" twice that of Egyptians)? Are people in the West, though subjected to endless Hamas propaganda -- no Hamas weapons or fighters are shown in or near mosques, schools, and so on -- including a campaign to make sure that Western reporters dutifully copy, without questioning, Hamas' figures on dead and wounded, and where only "innocent civilians" (how civilian? and if civilian, just how innocent?) die, because that's what Israel is famous for, isn't it -- killing "innocent civlians"?

 

Before uttering any advice, much less reprobation, to Israel, Westerners ought to do the most obvious thing: put yourself in Israel's place. Remember that Hamas will never stop trying to harm Israel. They did not send 9000 rockets into Israel, since 2005, because they are feeling besieged. They weren't under siege then, with the tunnels wide open from Egypt, and the border open, too. And come to think of it, what kind of "siege" are they under, what kind of "blockade," when Israel has for years, forever, been supplying Gaza with water, electricity, hundreds of tons of food daily, medicine and even, in some cases, access to Israeli medical care. Does that constitute a "blockade"?

Israel is only "losing support," if it is, among those who lack the empathetic faculty, who cannot imagine the existence of Israelis who live with the sound of rockets, and the eerie silence of the earth, with all of its tunnels, and those men, who may be sithering through them today, tomorrow, in a year, in three, with killing Jews the only thing on their mind.

 

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Posted on 07/31/2014 11:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
A Nauseating Nation Of Voyeurs
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Why should these letters be broadcast for the delectation of the vulgus mobile? That affair is none of their affair. No one knows what he meant to her, or she to him. It's not possible to know. Salacious smacking of the lips, and stupid amazement that, pace Larkin, sex was not invented at the same time as the Beatles, disgusts.

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Again, After Many Years
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by Bibhu Padhi (August 2014)


It seems I have lost

your eyes and lips for today—

 

the eyes that looked

at nothing in particular,  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:41 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
The Invaders
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by Dilip Mohapatra (August 2014)


They come creeping and crawling from all corners
you never know who is lurking where
and when will they strike.

They are nameless faceless
or come in the guise of someone else
and send you unsolicited friend requests on Facebook.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:37 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Three Holocaust Survivors
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Translated from the Hungarian & edited by Thomas Ország-Land (August 2014)

 

1.

Magda Székely

 

            THE PYRE

 

A terrible throne. It hovers above

the vortex of a pillar of fire.

Instead of seraphs and griffins, small figures

bustle below, their bones aglow.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:32 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
If You Could Imagine How Many Times
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by Moshe Dann (August 2014)


“You were always telling me what to do,” Grace wanted to tell her Ex when she saw him down the aisle at the supermarket, looking at the shelf of condiments, his belly resting on the orange handle of a half filled cart, his balding head sparkling under the neon lights. “I wonder what he’s looking for?” she squinted, moving behind the shelf of oils next to the jams and jellies that tempted her. She wondered what else he intended to buy, remembering shopping together when they were still married and she still trusted him, before Diane came along, three years ago, and others Grace didn’t know about, his insurance office buzzing with clients and secretaries, busybusybusy.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:29 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Kosti's Ambrose, Part II
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by Richard Kostelanetz (August 2014)

Continued from Part I.

I is the first letter of the alphabet, the first word of the language, the first thought of the mind, the first object of affection. In grammar it is a pronoun representing the first person and a singular number. Its plural is said to be We, but how there can be more than one myself is doubtless clearer to the grammarians than it is to the author of this purportedly definitive dictionary. Conception of two myselfs is difficult, but fine. more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:16 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Let's Make an Opera
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by Janet Tassel (August 2014)


The following is an abridged version of The Death of Klinghoffer, ostensibly an opera, but really a tedious political disquisition set to unlistenable music by John Adams and his librettist, Alice Goodman. Adams's opera, as you know, takes place on an Italian cruise ship, and the only real action occurs offstage: 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish cripple in a wheelchair, is unceremoniously shot and dumped into the sea by four Palestinian punks.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:11 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Zuked
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by Richard Kostelanetz (August 2014)


In the course of writing my memoir-history about Artists’ SoHo (Fordham U. Press, late 2014), I read several earlier books about lofts and artists in lower Manhattan. Some, to no surprise, were much better than others. The most embarrassing by far was Sharon Zukin’s Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change. The copy I have is a 1989 paperback reprint from Rutgers University Press that acknowledges only on its copyright page an earlier 1982 “cloth” edition from Johns Hopkins University Press. No dates appear in either of the book’s prefaces or in the “Postscript to the Paperback Edition.” The back cover says that Zukin teaches “urban sociology and urban political economy at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.” Later, I learned, she became the Broeklundian Professor of Sociology. A lefty academic she no doubt is.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:06 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Road Kill on a Plate
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by G. Murphy Donovan (August 2014)

 
“Your body will not absorb cholesterol if you take it from someone else’s plate.”
– Dave Barry

Once upon a time, the only question about food was quantity; too much here, too little there. “Here” usually meant America or the free world and “there” was usually the undeveloped or Third World. The clear broth of hunger and poverty has now been muddied by political rhetoric; the “have nots” are now patronized by ambiguous phrases like “the developing world.” Individual victims of poverty are called underserved or less “fortunate,” as if luck or the whims of Gods were in play. If Fortuna plays any role in social improvement schemes, surely she helps those who help themselves.  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 9:02 AM by NER
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Thursday, 31 July 2014
Blaming Islam
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by Richard Butrick (August 2014)

"An idea is something you have;
an ideology is something that has you."
--Morris Berman

A recent article in the Daily Mail graphically covered the gruesome beheadings, bombings and slaughtering of innocents being carried out by terrorist groups under the banner of Islam - just within a month’s period. It also quotes Andreas Krieg, a Middle East security analyst at King’s College London in Qatar, absolving Islam of blame for the current global crises involving Islamic jihadists. He acknowledges that atrocities are on the rise from Iraq to Syria to Nigeria but insisted that the terrorist acts have, “… nothing to do with Islam.” He goes on to blame Islamophobia and disenfranchisement and claims such terrorist groups are just using Islam, “… to further their particular cause. They adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam, but it has nothing to do with the religion.”  more>>>

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Posted on 07/31/2014 8:59 AM by NER
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