My Reaction to the Supreme Court Jerusalem Ruling

I wrote this on Facebook just now, in a comment:

I don’t understand why anybody cares what a bunch of deadbeats on a bench think of what should accepted as the “capital” of another group of deadbeats in the knesset. Well, I understand it. People think the deadbeats’ opinions matter and have some cosmic meaning on something. I just think it’s stupid, and it won’t affect anyone’s life, and people can still (!) amazingly, consider Jerusalem the capital of the universe if they want to, and politicians, whether they are on the bench or in the knesset or in jail or on the moon, don’t matter.

Iran’s “Evil” and the Fear-Based Incessant Warmongering of Right Wing Jews

The backing to this post is the video below. The point of the video, in a single sentence, is that Iran is now fighting ISIS, which is a good thing. They are fighting ISIS because Iran is Shiite and ISIS is Sunni. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Who cares. I certainly don’t.

Ron Paul asks the question, very basic. If Iran is fighting ISIS, shouldn’t Israel send her a thank you note?

Well, yes, they should. It should be hand written by Netanyahu with profuse apologies for badmouthing the Iranians. No, not because the Iranians are good amazing great liberty-focused people. But because it would be good for peacemaking and dialing back the possibility of bombs flying and people here and in Iran getting killed who have nothing to do with a spat between loudmouthed warmongering schmucks like Netanyahu and Khamenei.

Why is it that when I or someone like me even suggests that Netanyahu, instead of drumming up war fever on Capitol Hill, write a nice letter to Zarif or Khamenei, just thanking them for fighting ISIS, or for saying that Iran doesn’t want to nuke Israel? It would be nice. A nice thing. Maybe it would calm things down. Maybe it would decrease the chances of war by 1%.

Are there security concerns against sending a letter, for God’s sake? What is wrong with talking? Why do Jews, especially, under Netanyahu’s or AIPAC’s spell insist that peaceful overtures to Iran are the worst possible thing that anybody can do, and anyone who even suggests saying nice things instead of war language is a sympathizer with terrorists?

Here’s what I want, from the Israeli government, to the Iranian government:

Dear Persian People,

Hello, Benjamin Netanyahu here. I realize I’ve been such a dick lately, but it’s because I’m really worried about your nuclear program and the words of your past president Ahmadinajad. I believe he said something about wiping Israel off the map, which made me nervous and upset. Could you explain that please? Maybe I misheard, or misread. But I recently read that your Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said he does not want to nuke us. That was very nice, and I appreciate it. I also read that you are now fighting ISIS on your borders. I thank you for that. I offer Israel’s financial assistance and intelligence cooperation if you wish. It could be discreet, you wouldn’t have to tell anyone.

I would like to invite you to chat on the phone about this any time, and perhaps we could have a meeting on Skype about how to mutually tone down the rhetoric, and perhaps we could save our countries a war or two. Let me know!

Sincerely Yours,

Bibi

Does this mean Israel has to ignore the nuclear program? No. It simply means Israel should make peaceful overtures, because it’s a nice thing to do. That’s it. Can we do that?

No, because someone will accuse me of sympathizing with ISIS now. Even though IRAN IS THE ONE FIGHTING ISIS RIGHT NOW.

Why Terrorism Exists, OR Why do they Hate Us? A Lesson in Pshat versus Drash

It’s about time I addressed this question head on. (Apply directly to the forehead!)

This all began last night when some guy responded to my post quoting Mohammad Zarif, FM of Iran, as saying that he was not interested in bombing Israel. In response, he brought up some guy I’ve never heard of, I think it was “Hitler” or some such name, and said that I would have defended him, too.

He then accused me of having sympathies with ISIS. Now, I haven’t seen brainwashed McCarthyism so blatantly expressed by human drones in response to something I’ve written. Nevertheless, I don’t “unfriend” people because I think it’s childish, no matter what they call me. The only exception is if I or my family is physically threatened, which has never happened.

But anyway, before this guy started saying I’m part of ISIS for quoting an Iranian who doesn’t want to bomb Israel, another friend of mine, let’s call him “Dave” asked a very good question. Why, in my opinion, did the September 11th attacks happen, and why are there suicide bombers? It’s not a very common question because most people assume they already know the answer. But most people are wrong, even and especially about this very basic question.

Before I answer, I once knew a guy at Brandeis named Bert Cohen. I thought he was nuts. This was around 2003 at the beginning of the Iraq War. I was a full blown neocon back then, rooting on the American bombing of Iraq. Bert was absolutely against, and he would go around campus wearing a baseball cap with a bunch of antiwar pins in it, every day, all the time. One pin I remember was “Don’t bomb my Muslim friends!” He was a doofusy guy in general and people just saw him as the campus idiot.

I interviewed him once for the Brandeis Justice newspaper about his antiwar views. I remember going through a list of wars with him and asking if any of them were justified. He kept saying no, for the same reasons that I now agree with. It’s all a racket to expand the power and ego of a few politicians that use their subjects – and their “enemies” – as human fodder. That’s really about it.

Then we got down to World War II and he said that that was “close to a justified war” but not totally. I remember being stunned at what I thought was pure insanity.  Now I try to go back to that moment and I try to think why was I so stunned? Why did his words sound so insane to me? Why, now, do they sound so correct, absolutely right, and self-explanatory?

Yes, some of you who read this think I’ve lost my mind. I get that. I can’t prove that I haven’t because one human mind judges another, and there are never any third parties. Even if God came down and told me I wasn’t crazy I would still be interpreting that through my mind anyway.

Let me digress a little bit more before dealing with the core question. I think the answer as to why I thought Bert was so crazy back then, and the reason that McCarthy types say I have ISIS sympathies now, has to do not with logic, or anything cerebral in the conscious area of the brain. It has to do with something much more reptilian than that. If you’re on the other side of the fence with foreign policy (meaning not the libertarian one), then when someone like me says something like Muslims are not the problem and it’s the US that’s the problem, some form of reptilian disgust goes off like “I’m so sick of these people, how can they THINK this?” Then the cerebral conscious brain protects whatever is deeper inside and tries to “explain”, logically, why these disgusting positions are absolutely wrong, and people like me are going to cause the “collapse of Western Society”.

What I’m saying is the thought process is first emotional disgust and revilement, followed by logical explanations that seek to soothe the emotions. Not the other way around. I can say this with confidence because I used to be these people, and from what I see, this is how they still act.

So why did I change? I can only guess, because one can only psychoanalyze oneself so far. Here’s my guess. On the night I discovered Ron Paul, I was looking up partial birth abortions, or late term abortions or whatever you want to call them. I was just curious about what all the argument was about. So I looked it up, and I ended up on Ronpaul.com, on this page. At that page was this paragraph:

Many people feel very strongly about the issue of abortion, and once they make up their minds they rarely change their opinion. If you are undecided and/or open-minded, check out this page and this site for more information about abortion, including images and a description of medical procedures.

So I clicked on those links.

There were these diagrams, not pictures, just diagrams, of doctors inserting giant syringes inside a baby’s head while the body was literally outside the birth canal (hence partial birth), and sucking the baby’s brains out while the body was squirming.

Just looking at the diagram, I almost threw up. I think it hit the same region of my reptilian brain that went off every time I saw Bert Cohen and reviled in disgust about this crazy Muslim sympathizers and America-haters. Before I could open my mind to Ron Paul’s view of the world, my reptilian brain had to prepped, so to speak. It was prepped.

Then I clicked back, read what Ron Paul had to say about it. Then I looked up what Ron Paul thought of Israel, and found this post. With this paragraph:

If Israel believes that Iran might one day become a nuclear power and that such a development would be against her interests, Ron Paul would not stop Israel from doing whatever she deemed necessary to defend herself. Israeli assassination squads are already operating within Iran, and several Iranian nuclear scientists found themselves torn apart by mysterious explosions over the past few years. Ron Paul did not interfere. In fact, he would not even prevent Israel from initiating a devastating nuclear attack on Iran.

And that was it. I was converted.

What happened then was that I became open, on principle, to anything Ron had to say. Not that I agreed with everything and still don’t, but I became open to it. So when he said something about foreign policy, namely that Iran should be left alone and America should stop inciting wars, I no longer had that reptilian “HOW CAN HE SAY THAT??” visceral emotional response. I didn’t agree with it at first because I thought Iran was a threat (and still do, which is why I support Israel getting rid of its nuclear program) but I listened. And allowed it sit in my brain and cook, without kicking it out with some programmed feeling of deep-seated disgust.

The source of that visceral emotional response is from decades of propaganda, pledging allegiance, listening to my father’s sermons every week about how wonderful America is, hearing all my Rabbis say that it’s a “Medinah Shel Hessed”, whatever it was, it was something everyone agreed on. America is great, everything it does is awesome, it is the hope for the world, the beacon of freedom.

Now that I didn’t shove it out, I had time to let it sit. And I let it sit. And I began to question all my underlying assumptions about this great thing, “America”. Once I allowed the questions to sit there, it was only a matter of time before I had to come to the conclusion, based on the raw facts, that America is responsible for millions of deaths. Ron spoke facts about military bases and military budgets and invasion of defenseless countries and all of it was true. It’s not like neocons try to say that America doesn’t have the most foreign military bases in the world. They admit it, and try to justify it like it promotes freedom.

But I couldn’t stomach the “promote freedom” stuff anymore, when it was so obvious by the facts who is the occupier and who is the occupied. America is the Empire. They have conquered the world. Their bases are everywhere, they bomb everything, especially Muslims. Even if you’re a neocon you cannot deny that. They just do. Justify it however you want.

Why do they hate us?

Now, the question, why do they hate us? We have all been trained to believe that they hate us because they are Muslim extremists who want Sharia law everywhere and want the 13th Imam (whatever that is) to return and everyone to worship Mohammad. That’s why there’s terrorism, because of Islam. And Islam hates freedom.

But stop for a second and ask yourself, does that make any sense? It repeats what you have been taught about the goodness of America, but does it make any sense?

The problem is, if you are on the neocon side and you question for a second whether or not it actually does make sense, then you’ll hit that reptilian center of disgust again and you’ll have to shut off the questioning and just accept it. So let’s try a different approach.

Pshat versus Drash

Among religious Jewish circles, there’s a serious problem of confusing Pshat and Drash. Pshat is the simple explanation, and Drash is more of an exegetical, fancy explanation, to define it loosely. From grade school, frum Jewish kids begin to blur the distinction between Pshat and Drash, very early on, and are not taught the essential difference between the two. First graders at Mesivta or Beis Yakov come out thinking that Drash is Pshat and are never taught the difference. To put it simply, Drash is based on Pshat. Without Pshat, there is no Drash. Period.

There is always a source in Pshat for the Drash. You can’t have Drash without Pshat. Got it? Here are a few examples.

The Drash, or Midrash, is often used to resolve a contradiction in the text. For example, during the Song of the Sea (אז ישיר) in one verse it says that the Egyptians floated like straw in the Red Sea. In another it says they sank like lead. Now, the pshat is that it’s a song, a poem, and the poet wanted to use different words in the song, just like when you write a poem you generally use different expressions. The drash is that the relatively righteous Egyptians sank like lead. The really bad ones floated like straw and took longer to die.

Now, the song doesn’t say that the bad ones floated and the good ones sank. That’s just the drash. It says they floated and it also says they sank. The drash comes in to resolve the contradiction – did they float or did they sink? They can’t do both. But without the words “straw” and “lead” the Rabbis would have zero basis to say that the good ones sank and the bad ones floated. Midrash is never woven from whole cloth. There is always a source for it in the text.

Here’s another example. When Pharaoh’s daughter sees a basket floating in the Nile, she sends her servant to get it. The verse says ותשלח את אמתה, she sent her servant, or her “amah”. Now the pshat is that she sent someone else to get it, her servant. The Midrash, however, reinterprets the word “amah” which can also mean “limb” to say that her arm magically grew very long so she could reach out by miracle and get the basket.

So what happened? Did she send her servant or did her arm magically extend farther than humanly possible? The answer is, for the love of God, that she sent her servant. The Drash adds a miraculous flavor to the whole event saying that it was meant to be, very important, watched over by God, therefore it was as if her arm magically extended. But she sent her servant, OK? SHE SENT HER SERVANT. Her arm did not actually grow, OK? Got it? Why is this so damn important?!

BECAUSE!

Because when you try to answer the question of why do they hate us, why did 9/11 happen, why are there suicide bombers, there is a pshat and there is a drash.

And you must never confuse the two. Without the pshat, there is no drash, remember that.

Now, the pshat, the simple reason, the simple explanation, why did 9/11 happen, is that America is all over the freaking world bombing everything and occupying almost every Muslim country supporting ruthless dictators that oppress their poor people. The reason people hate you is that you do bad things to them. The pshat is that everyone is the same. All human beings. They don’t want to be hurt by bullies. Nobody does.

Now, how do the Muslim leaders get people to fight for them? They use the drash, that religious motivation some people have, that America is the Big Satan and and is against Islam and if you go over there and bomb the Twin Towers Allah will bless you and we hate their freedom and their women skimper around in bikinis everywhere and women are allowed to drive cars and they drink alcohol and have no religious morals. That’s the drash. Does it exist? Absolutely. But it ain’t the pshat.

Now if you want to get deeper into the sod of the Muslim equivalent of the Zohar, then they’ll have 72 virgins in heaven and all the rest of whatever they want to believe.

Why is drash of Muslim world domination and 13th Imam the drash, and not the pshat? Because, let’s say America had no bases in Muslim countries. Zero. And let’s say the US army never invaded a single Arab country, ever. Never dropped a single bomb on any Arab, period. Now, let me ask you this honestly, neocons, and answer honestly:

Do you really think, in that case, that Muslim religious fanatics would be able to convince anyone to go bomb the Twin Towers?

If you really think that “terrorism” would exist if America did not conduct wars in Arab countries all the time, for years on end, then you are crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. You think that Bitya’s arm magically extended and that she had no servants. You hopelessly confuse Pshat and Drash like a kindergartner.

But why do you do that? Because if you accept the Pshat as Pshat, then America is ultimately responsible, and maybe all the propaganda you’ve been inculcated with since you were a kid is all bullshit. Because maybe Bert Cohen is right, and you have to reassess everything. So you completely dump the pshat. And along with it you dump anyone who says that pshat is pshat. That they hate us because we kill them. That America started it. That the drash is just drash. And anyone who says that…is “evil,” “lacking basic human decency,” “Paultard,” “egregious” and an “ISIS sympathizer” and would defends some guy named “Hitler”. And if I bring up a quote that says that maybe Muslims don’t actually want to destroy Israel, I’m the insane one.

There is no Drash without the Pshat. Yes, Muslim religious fanatics, especially leaders, will say that they want the 13th Imam and America must be destroyed and American women wear bikinis all hours of the day in all weather conditions. And drive cars.

Muslims are by far not the first group to want to conquer the world and make everyone believe in their religion. And they won’t be the last. And ISIS is not the first group of people to behead their enemies to get a rise out of them.

But in order to conduct a war, you need to convert the masses to believe in it. And masses generally don’t give a damn about countries that do not attack their home. In order to conduct a war, Muslim extremists need a pshat so people fight the war. And the pshat is that American foreign policy started and is responsible for 9/11. 

Muslims are not the first to target civilians in a war (that’s the definition of “terrorism”, no?) America did plenty of that with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sure, America justifies it by saying it saved American lives. Well so does Al Qaeda. Go after American civilians, bankrupt the government, and it’ll stop attacking our countries. I guarantee you that’s what they say. 9/11 saved Muslim lives.

Now, call me crazy, call me insane, call me evil. Whatever you want. But at least I don’t confuse Pshat and Drash.

Think about the Pshat, and please, let it sit in your brain as a possibility, for 5 seconds. Just 5 seconds, consider it. Then you can throw it out. But just give yourself 5 seconds to question everything. Don’t let the reptilian disgust disturb you for at least 5 seconds. And let that doubt about America sit there, undisturbed, for just 5 seconds. And see where it leads you.

And Bert, I’m sorry I thought you were so nuts. You were right.

Iran does not want to Nuke Israel

Those who think Iran would nuke Israel are easily swayed by American propaganda. I would still support Israel destroying the Iranian nuclear reactor though, but not this pandering whining nonsense of Netanyahu constantly crying to the West to “do something”.

RT just interviewed Mohammad Jahad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, on this topic. To preempt, no, I don’t agree with everything Zarif says in this article. Just making a point that the State-controlled US main stream media (state licenses all the airwaves) emphasizes what it wants and ignores what it doesn’t. There will be zero, absolutely zero, American media outlets reporting these comments. And people therefore assume, from what they read in the state-controlled media in America, that Iran for whatever reason wants to nuke everything and reinstate the 13th Imam and other warmongering stupidity.

If Bibi wants to take out the Iranian nuclear program, then shut up and do it and take the consequences. Stop the warmongering US-pandering BS.

These comments, however, I completely agree with. Thank you Zarif for your sanity, at least as reflected in these remarks:

“It is truly, truly regrettable that bigotry gets to the point of making allegations against an entire nation which has saved Jews three times in its history: Once during that time of a prime minister who was trying to kill the Jews, and the king saved the Jews; again during the time of Cyrus the Great, where he saved the Jews from Babylon, and during the Second World War, where Iran saved the Jews,” he said.

“We’re not about the annihilation of Jews,” Zarif stressed, reminding the channel that 20,000 Jews reside in Iran “in peace” and even have their own representative in parliament.

“We have a history of tolerance and cooperation and living together in coexistence with our own Jewish people, and with Jews everywhere in the world. If people want to espouse fear mongering to fan such hysteria in the world, that’s to their detriment,” Zarif said.

 

Rachmana Litzlan MeHai Daita / Rachmana Litzlan MeDaita Didach!

A commenter went on a tirade against me in response to my post on Charlie Hebdo. Some of his points are good enough to respond to. Towards the end though it gets hyperbolic, calling me “appalling” and “lacking basic human decency”.

For those who want to see the whole thing, I have pasted it here and respond point by point.

First off, let me say that in written communication where two people don’t see or know each other, things tend to get very emotional and exaggerated. So I try to subtract the hysteria and try to get to the meat of things, because I know that in person he wouldn’t accuse me of “lacking basic human decency”. I really try to avoid this, but when I do get into a heated Facebook comment war with somebody, I just discount the vitriol and don’t hold it against him. People have called me – people I know, not people I only know through Facebook – all kinds of horrible things specifically for my views on the purpose of Holocaust awareness and laws against Holocaust denial. I would still have lunch with these people and stay friends with them.

As you can probably guess if you read this blog, I don’t believe it is a gentile’s responsibility to remember the Holocaust, and I don’t care about Holocaust denial.

But anyway, this kind of hyperbolic language in comments is nothing new. It happened in the Gemara and among the Rishonim and Acharonim all the time. Nasty, horrible comments that we now wrap in a book of Rabbinical humor. What first comes to mind off the top of my head is the boxing line between Chazal “רחמנא ליצלן מהאי דעתה” and the reprisal “רחמנא ליצלן מדעתה דידך!” Or the fact that the Yerushalmi Chazal referred to Hillel HaZaken as “The Babylonian” just as Haredim refer to Rav Soloveitchik as JB. Or the fact that the ראב”ד said of the Rambam that people “better than him” believed that God was a physical being. Or that the Rambam called Rashi (not by name) a moron for believing that it was a good thing that Hizkiyahu buried ספר הרפואות. Or if you want to see some really hysterical language, check out שד”ל on pretty much anyone who disagrees with him.

So anyway, I’ll just take the hyperbolic tone as a continuation of the Jewish tradition of tearing the other side apart through comments. Fine.

As for responding to the comment, first of all, here it is, and I will respond part by part:

You are being obtuse and, though I realise that this is a coping strategy, this is important enough that I shall elaborate.

1) To begin we must detail exactly how outrageous the entire premise of your post, namely the comparison between Charlie Hebdo and Der Sturmer, really is:

(i) Charlie Hebdo is a left wing magazine that takes a pro-immigration editorial line and has specifically called for the banning of the National Front.
(ii) Anti Islam/Mohammed cartoons represent a tiny fraction of Charlie Hebdo’s output.
(iii) Charlie Hebdo has been as rude, or ruder, about many other religions and ideologies, including, to re-iterate, the French far right.
(iv) Muslims in Europe are not a persecuted minority, but a persecuting minority, responsible for an disproportionate amount of both violent and petty crime, gang violence, political violence, pimping, sexual assault and rape.
(v) Muslims in Europe are not a persecuted minority, but the beneficiaries of an ongoing ‘awareness lowering’ campaign by political elites. For example Muslims who commit crimes are almost invariably referred to as “Asian”, even when they are from Eritrea. They also maintain a very effective ‘frontlash’ designed to stigmatise any indigenous Europeans who object to the latest Muslim outrage as leading a non-existent Islamophobic backlash (your own post is a typical example). In addition, they disproportionately benefit from European welfare states.

I agree with all of this, except that Muslims are not persecuted. They are persecuted and they are also persecuting. There is a Muslim problem in Europe. Therefore, what? He doesn’t say. Should Europe expel them all? He can’t say that, just like the MSM in Europe has to call Muslims “Asians” even if they’re Eritrean. How about kill them all? Certainly can’t say that, and wouldn’t support that. Neither would I. Pay them to leave, like the Feiglin plan? Maybe he would support that. We’ll have to ask him. He’s invited to post here directly and I’ll publish it. I would support that, too. Europe pays Muslims to leave voluntarily and go back to…I don’t know…wherever. No problem with that at all.

But there’s also a black problem in America. And there’s a Haredi problem in Israel. Are all these problems absolutely identical? No. Haredim in Israel are not Muslims, and blacks in America are not either. They are all different manifestations of the same problem- welfare, drug laws, forced public schooling, minimum wage laws, gun laws, some of which apply more to some problems and not others. What they all have in common is a festering group of people with similar lifestyles or religious laws whose society is degrading because of government intrusion. Welfare is common to them all. Gun laws mostly to South Side Chicago blacks. Drug laws to blacks and Muslims. The draft to Haredim. Minimum wage to all of them. Get rid of all those things and Muslims will be less violent, Haredim lass insular and defensive, and blacks won’t kill each other as much.

In sum, the comparison with Der Sturmer is utterly ludicrous for all the above reasons. To make it so soon after 12 people were gunned down in broad daylight with AK 47s in what used to be a first world capital, is moral idiocy of the first order. I should also note that you seem barely unable to acknowledge the murder of four Jews shortly afterwards.

The people killed at Charlie Hebdo were innocents, and the killers murderers. Those who killed my Jewish brothers in France have the din of בועל ארמית קנאים פוגעים בו in my opinion. They should all die for their crimes as soon as possible. I’m יוצא now.

2) The next stage is to ask what could lead you to such detestable and foolish pronouncements. This is not difficult. In certain intellectual circles, it has become an article of faith to deny that Islamic fundamentalism is a major global problem, and to argue that, to the extent that it is, it is the fault of western, (mostly U.S.) foreign policy. The reason why people maintain this position is because (i) they oppose interventionist US foreign policy (ii) they are lazy. Whilst there are plenty of cogent arguments to be made against neo-conservatism that take due account of the questions it is designed to answer, these people cannot be bothered. and so simply deny there is any problem with Islamic fundamentalism, or Islam, at all.

Islamic fundamentalism is a major global problem. But which problem is more major? US foreign policy, or Islamic fundamentalism? You can’t beat the math. US foreign policy causes so many more deaths than Islamic fundamentalism that to compare the two is “detestable and foolish” in commenter’s words. US foreign policy has killed millions. Islamic fundamentalism tens of thousands. The only difference is that one is organized by a state and systemetized, surrounded by effective propaganda to make people think that the murder of millions is necessary for their security and “freedom”, and the other is perpetrated by a disorganized mob, both equally murderous, both equally evil.

Maybe he wants to say that US foreign policy is not motivated by religious hatred? I say it is. Christian religious evil. George Bush invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands because of Jesus. Grenada, the Philippines, Panama, Lybia, Mexico, Vietnam, God knows what other countries I’m missing and there are certainly a bunch, all invaded by Christians who think they are “exceptional”. “American Exceptionalism” it’s called. It’s an offshoot of Christian religious doctrine, the same bullshit that led to the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Conquistadores, the slaughter of countless Indians, and now this same Christianity is leading us into yet another cold war with Russia after almost destroying the entire damn planet in nuclear Armageddon in 1962.

We have a serious Christian Fundamentalism problem on this planet. Can the commenter deny that? If he does, he is buying into a very thin veil of “freedom” and “security” propaganda that has no bounds as to what it can justify. Am I to take the Western Side of this battle just because Christians are wise enough to clothe their murder in a few catchphrases? So the US can kill millions as long as it says it’s for “protecting freedom”?

Muslims are different. They kill you and say they hate you, instead of killing you and saying they love you, like the Christians do. Who cares what they say. They both kill you.

The problem is that Islamic fundamentalists continually embarrass their apologists by performing spectacularly indefensible acts, like bursting into a school in Pakistan and shooting a hundred kids, trapping an entire ethnic group up a mountain so they can kill them in broad daylight, or massacring the staff of an obscure liberal magazine because they published some poxy cartoons.

I’m not an apologist for Islamic fundamentalists. They are evil. My suggestion is, stop oppressing Muslims and Muslim countries, and less people will become Islamic fundamentalists. Islamic fundamentalists will burst into a school and kill hundreds of kids in the name of Allah. Christian fundamentalists will bomb the school from the air in a B52 and call it “collateral damage” in the name of “defending freedom”. Either way, the kids are dead. How many children has America killed defending freedom through collateral damage? Just because they say “oops” and “We really love you, sorry,” I’m supposed to turn a blind eye? They’ve killed much more than Muslims have killed defending Allah.

The apologists therefore have to continually one up each other by coming up with ever more outlandish arguments, riding roughshod over whatever principles they started out with. Apparently oblivious to the fact they are making total fools of themselves, and breezily unconcerned with the moral sewer they are wading through, they plumb the depths patting each other on the back for the latest *incite*, of which your post represents a sort of nadir, at least as far as I know.

What is outlandish about what I’m saying? How is it foolish? Is it factually incorrect? I’m the one pointing out that everyone is killing everyone and just justifying it differently, and suggesting that, in order to calm the world down a bitthe Christians should stop killing Muslims, and their governments stop oppressing them through the laws I mentioned above. Is that what puts me in a moral sewer?

There’s a big fight going on. The Christians versus the Muslims. The Christians kill and say I love you. The Muslims kill and say I hate you. The Christians kill children in an organized way with excuses. The Muslims kill in a disorganized guerrilla way. Right now, the Christians are more powerful, so I suggest to the more powerful side to stop inciting the less powerful side. Both sides are equally evil.

So I suggest that Muslims stop killing people, but I am culturally Western rather than Islamic, so I try to convince “my side” so to speak, also because it is more powerful and therefore has more power to stop the fight.

3) Now we come to the last bit, the specific flabbergasting tomfoolery of you. Central to Islamist apologetic is, of course, pointing out all the things that Islamists have alleged good cause to be so very angry about. Now, the main thing Muslims the world over complain about (even more than the Iraq war) is West Bank settlers and people invading their precious Al Aqsa. This is why, with the exception of you and your nameless co-thinkers, all apologists for Islam make a point of demonising West Bank settlers and people who want to go up on the Temple Mount. A quick google search of “Libertarian” websites on the matter makes for grim reading indeed.

Yeah, that sucks. But libertarians yelling at Jewish settlers breaks the NAP not. If anti settler libertarians were consistent in believing in Lockean homesteading theory, they would leave us alone. My “settlement” is not built on Arab land. It was built on vacant land. There is no Arab land besides what is homesteaded by an Arab person. There is no Jewish land besides what is homesteaded by a Jewish person.

But, in truth, they are on much better ground here than with Charlie Hebdo. Jewish settlers really are trying to settle land that is and has been for centuries majority Arab, and arguably violating international law, whereas the French cartoonists were just doing what, depending on how you look at it, has been legal in France, their own country, for two centuries (mocking religion) or forever (mocking Mohammed). Palestinians really are suffering unlike French Muslims who have no real grievances against a country that took them in and gave them a far greater standard of living than they could ever have forged for themselves. Thousands of Palestinians have died as a consequence of dispute ownership of Yesha, no-one has died because French people drew cartoons (unless we count all the people Muslims have killed over it).

You call yourself a Misesian Jew, but here you betray yourself by quoting “international law” and calling unhomesteaded land “Arab land”. You call me obtuse but say that French Muslims are not suffering and have no grievance against a country that “took them in”. I guess blacks have “no real grievance” against America because they have a higher standard of living in America than they would have had in Africa. Right? No real grievance? What about minimum wage laws, gun laws, drug laws, forced public schooling that keeps them in poverty and unable to work? None of that is grievance worthy? Both for the blacks and the Muslims? You’re lucky you come from a people (the Jews) talented enough to rise above all the government meant to push you down, but blacks and Muslims are not as resourceful or lucky.

And here’s you, a Jewish settler who goes up on the temple mount, and therefore the chief object of loathing, both for a billion Muslims and their millions of Leftist and Libertarians supporters, brazenly dumping over the memory of French cartoonists in the most wildly hyperbolous manner possible in a pathetic (and, trust me, futile) attempt to suck up to the freak show internet cult which is the Ron Paul fanboy movement.

I am the Chief Object of Loathing. Because I am the pivot of all of this. I am the top of the pyramid. The Apex. Me and my types are only a bare handful on the planet. I know where I sit. The Libertarian Anarchist Ron Paul Jewish Settler Temple Mount Invader. It all revolves around me and a few others, because I represent what every single side of this murderous conflict hates. Including you.

And yet I sympathize with every single side as well. The libertarians, the Christians, the Muslims, the Blacks, the Haredim. All of them. Strange, huh? This means that I, or someone like me with leadership potential (the closest is Feiglin) am the hope for humanity presently, because only I or someone like me can mediate the conflict. And I’m knocking at Har Habayit to boot, the center of it all.

And on top of all of that, call me a Messianist, but I don’t even believe in the right of the Moshiach to be king! I don’t even say את צמח דוד in my Shmoneh Esrei! I have stated publicly that if the Moshiach is declared and he starts instituting halacha laws, that I will break them!

More than that you imagine that implementation of the Feiglin plan will somehow mollify world Islamic opinion and make Israel less despised by Muslims and American Libertarians, a prospect so patently opposite to reality that one has to suspect you are already in the first stages of meltdown.

Well, I do believe that. Once Feiglin leads the Jewish people, these problems will start solving themselves through the Or LaGoyim model. It will take an economic catastrophe and reset that is in the process of happening.

It’s not too late for you to turn your brain back on, nor repent the appalling forays into the moral gutter you are making. It’s possible to maintain a belief in Misesian economics and Libertarian political theory without signing on to every extravagant and nonsensical canard you come across at LewRockwell.com. All you need is a level head and some basic human decency.

I challenge the commenter to give me his Final Solution to the Muslim Problem. What is it? My solution is to stop killing Muslims and repressing them through government laws. I suggest Muslims stop killing Christians or their Western cultural descendants regardless of whether they are religious or not, but I’m not culturally Muslim, and of the two sides, I believe the West has a better chance at stopping the killing first, despite the fact that they do much more of it.

Rafi, from the moral gutter, signing off.

Charlie Hebdo and the French Kosher Market Massacre

When a bunch of heads of state March in solidarity for anything, it’s time to be afraid. This is what happened today when a bunch of Prime Ministers and Presidents and Premiers and Chancellors and Godfathers and Dons and whatever other gang names there are for these…things, decided to March in solidarity with people, including Jews, who were killed by angry Muslims.

This is a great way for Heads of State to get some support from their slaves at home and then pass a bunch of bills in their respective legislatures to increase their own power at your expense. That is exactly what will happen. They will increase surveillance, attack any liberties you may have that haven’t died yet, and generally raise taxes even faster to support “security measures”. And everyone will cheer it on because, hey, they did the little March in France, so it’s kosher.

Feiglin wrote in his status today one of the more annoying things I don’t like about his way of looking at the world. I will explain in a second why it nevertheless doesn’t bother me so much and does not detract from my support for him.

He wrote about the need to identify the enemy as “extremist Islam” or “radical Islam” or whatever you call it these days, instead of “terrorism”. Well, OK, but how do you fight “radical Islam”? Bomb Mecca? Forbid people from being Muslim? I mean what the hell are you supposed to do? The only way to fight “radical Islam” by the State is to increase surveillance, more patriot acts, spying, bombing more Muslim countries, which the West is doing PLENTY of anyway. So I say that branding the enemy as “Radical Islam” is as meaningless as saying the enemy is “terrorism”.

In order to get people to stop killing you, it is best to stop killing them. All you have to do to get Muslims, radical murderous ones there are, to stop wanting to kill you, is for every Head of State, instead of doing a stupid little march in Paris, to simply get up and announce the following:

Every single soldier and every single military base occupying any Muslim country or near it will be hereby removed forever amen. The bombing of any Muslim country will stop immediately. Every dollar spent to support every Western puppet government in any Muslim country will be cut off forever. Any state official, be it of a government-privileged oil company to a military advisor to any bureaucrat employed by any Western State will be removed from all Muslim countries period, and all Western embassies removed from all muslim countries never to return. All embargoes and sanctions against and economic warfare against any Muslim country will stop immediately with open and free trade for everybody.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Call me naive, but for some reason I believe Muslims, the Radical ones, don’t like the West because the West is doing all this bad stuff, listed above, to Muslims. So if they’d just stop doing it there would be no Radical Islam. That’s how you defeat Radical Islam. You just leave it the hell alone.

As for Israel, once we pay all the Muslims to leave voluntarily, most of them will. Everyone else can stay and live wherever they want, end the occupation, get rid of all check points, and then no more Muslims attacking Kosher Markets in France.

As for Charlie Hebdo and their obscene scrawls of Mohammed engaging in pornography and gay sex, well, if you get shot by Muslims for doing that, don’t be surprised. Not that they deserved to be killed, but marching for someone’s right to publish religious pornography doesn’t really get my Liberty Libido going too much. Am I really supposed to stand up for gay religious pornography? I don’t want to. Call me callous.

May the murdered Charlie Hebdo writers rest in peace, but it’s not a good idea to take up their torch out of principle and have Mohamed pose in his next gay film shoot. Just a stupid idea.

In Robert Wenzel’s words:

Most governments are a lot more dangerous then extremist Muslims, but there isn’t a damn one of you reading this post, who is going to fight, today, to death, to protect me against any damn outrageous government regulation.  Not going to happen.

Get over it. Most of the time you deal with violence by staying away from it and not provoking it. A government call for fighting “hate,” is simply a call for growing the ultimate evil organization, government itself.

As for the Jews murdered, there’s nothing I can say but it’s horrible and I hope the West leaves Muslims alone ASAP so the Muslims stop wanting to kill Jews.

Since I know that Feiglin would implement Israel’s part of the Leave Muslims Alone plan – stop taking American money, pay Muslims to leave voluntarily, end the occupation, and give the rest resident status here, I don’t much care that he says “Radical Islam” is the enemy, because I know this is his plan. It would make me much more nervous if I thought he would go on a Muslim bombing spree if elected, which I know he won’t.

Marijuana prohibition kills many, many more people than Islamic terrorism. The FDA kills even more than that. Government has killed so many more people than Radical Islam it’s a joke. What, 200 million people killed by governments since the turn of the 20th century? And how many has “Radical Islam” killed? Tens of thousands at most? No contest.

 

Moshe Feiglin interview posted on EconomicPolicyJournal.com

I helped set up this interview with Robert Wenzel of EconomicPolicyJournal. It’s good that American libertarians should start getting familiar with his name before he gets in power. I’m sure that many EPJ listeners will consider some of Moshe’s views scary, but the fact that he wants America out of the picture and left alone should make them pretty happy.

All in all, Wenzel was pretty courteous to Moshe throughout the interview, and though I suspect he thinks Moshe is a “warmonger”, the two can get along as they both respect the other’s space. That’s the beauty of noninterventionism and national independence where nobody funds anybody else’s issues. At the end he said he wanted Feiglin back on to discuss monetary policy. Very nice.

 

Responding to Likud Anglos’ Daniel Tauber’s “Freedom Agenda”

I know and respect Daniel Tauber, head of Likud Anglos, despite my tone in this rebuttal. He has gotten farther than I have in politics, though I suspect that’s because I hate politics. We agree on many things, but foreign policy is definitely not one of them. This is my response to his Jerusalem Post article that can be seen here. My responses to each paragraph are in bold.

Not long after September 11, US president George W. Bush declared “a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.” No longer would the US support dictators, but would actively push Arab states to become democratic.

So since 9/11, the US has not supported any dictators, but has instead actively pushed Arab states to become democratic? There are two problems with that statement, both of which have to do with reality. First, since 9/11, the US has supported almost every Mideast dictator with US taxpayer money. Both King Abdullahs (Saudi Arabia and Jordan) Qaddafi (when he did stuff Bush liked), Mubarak, Karzai in Afghanistan, who America basically installed by force of big bombs on airplanes (“democratically” I suppose), the guy in Qatar (a dictator who Bush really liked because they let him put bombs in their country to promote freedom in the Middle East), Bahrain, Kuwait, but I’m sure all this dictator support was in order to promote democracy and a free middle east.

If by “actively push Arab states to become democratic” Tauber means “actively push Arab states by force to do whatever America wants them to do” then he’s right.

The policy was based on two primary conclusions: first, that under authoritarian regimes, the Middle East “will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export”; second, the tenets of liberalism were universal and the “peoples of the Middle East” are not “somehow beyond the reach of liberty.”

The Middle East IS a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export precisely BECAUSE America cannot resist collecting oil fiefdoms and annoying Arabs with military bases on their land that they use to manage their ludicrous empire.

Inspiring words, but elections in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Authority (which Bush brought about) led to victories for Hezbollah and Hamas. While some advocates of the “freedom agenda” have hailed the Arab Spring as confirming Bush’s vision, in Egypt, Islamist parties won the parliament and presidency. But that doesn’t mean president Bush was wrong in principle.

Bush wasn’t WRONG in principle. Bush didn’t HAVE a principle. He was simply LYING. He didn’t care about liberty. He was just using the word “liberty” because he wanted to have Saddam Hussein’s handgun framed in the Oval Office as a war prize to show to his daddy so he’d be proud of him for finishing the job. It would have been cheaper to send him to a good shrink so he’d find his father’s approval in a way that wouldn’t cost $1 trillion and thousands of American lives for NO reason.

His argument was essentially a reformulation of the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.” The “freedom agenda” merely applied US support for democracy abroad to the Middle East, where a pro-stability philosophy governed its foreign policy.

This one’s a real kicker. Yes, all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Like the right not to be bombed by foreign countries one did not provoke in any way. What the heck did Saddam Hussein ever do to the United States except unsuccessfully try to defend himself against them in 1991 and 2003? Sure he was a schmuck, but I can’t think of a single Mideast dictator that isn’t. The US has no pro-stability philosophy. If they did they’d leave other countries alone and just trade with them. They have not a pro-liberty philosophy, but a pro-empire philosophy, and will use any excuse to expand. 9/11 was a rather good one. Instead of going after Osama bin Laden directly with a few special forces, killing the guy and calling it a day, they followed the USSR’s example and obliterated all of Afghanistan and decided to make it a US colony.

For those who were indeed inspired by the “freedom agenda,” who, as liberals and humanitarians, still desire the success of democracy in the Middle East, the question is not whether democracy was meant to come to the region. The question is how, in light of subsequent developments, the “freedom agenda” could be modified to ensure that democracy is not merely the rubber stamp on an Islamist takeover.

The scholarly tone of this paragraph really drives me up a wall. Besides democracy itself being a horrible thing (the majority can always vote to kill the minority or take all their stuff in a democracy), no one who calls himself a liberal or humanitarian votes to promote liberal and humanitarian values by slaughtering innocent Arab children. NEVER forget that over half a MILLION Iraqi kids died after the first gulf war due to sanctions against the country that prevented food and medicine from entering Iraq’s borders. In the name of democracy I guess. Madeleine Albright called this a “worthwhile sacrifice” in an interview with 60 minutes in the mid 90’s. Does Tauber believe it was worthwhile as well? I can only assume so. No wonder Bin Laden was able to gather up so much support and enthusiasm for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

First, it should be recognized, as it has been by many, that elections alone do not establish democracy.

Yes, they do, and that’s precisely why democracy is evil. Tauber is confusing democracy with liberty. The latter is the ultimate good. The former is very bad. Democracy is effectively rule by the majority, which is precisely why pushing it in a culture that does not value individual life very highly is a sincerely stupid idea. In a country like the US where liberty is culturally respected at least in theory, democracy is less dangerous, though still pretty bad.

An election can be merely the one-time tool of an anti-democratic group in seizing power. Elections can also be rigged, either by outright electoral fraud or because those in power don’t allow for real opposition. The symbolic power of an election, which Bush realized could draw people to democracy, can also be misused as a method of legitimizing authoritarian regimes.

Yes, this is all true. Which is why Tauber’s “freedom agenda” is inane.

INSTEAD OF merely calling for or endorsing elections, the focus should be on establishing a democratic political culture by offering direct assistance to democratic organizations and pressing states, including new democracies – and pressing them hard – to establish and protect those institutions such as a free media and (non- Islamist) opposition parties.

If you want to press “new democracies” hard, why don’t you go do it yourself with your own money? How do you want to “press them hard”? By bombing them some more? More sanctions that will just end up killing more children? How much is this going to cost? Has it ever succeeded in history? Where is the money going to come from? The Federal Reserve? In case you haven’t noticed, America is the most bankrupt institution in human history.

Second, the collapse of authoritarian regimes in the region tends to unleash extreme anti-Israel forces, which may have even been fostered by the former regimes. This is not just a threat to Israel. If democracy enables those forces to wreak havoc on their neighbors as well as their own citizens that democracy will be artificial and worthless.

All democracies imposed by guns and bombs on cultures that do not value liberty in principle, are ipso facto artificial and worthless. The biggest threat to Israel is actually America itself, while they are busy pissing off so many Arab countries and Israel sits there as the easier target to lash out against in response.

So as part of its push for a democratic culture, the US should make clear, to Egypt especially, that state institutions must be free of anti-Israel rhetoric, that anti-Israel terrorist groups must be eliminated, and that “reviewing” peace treaties, leaving Israeli embassies unprotected from violent mobs and arresting Jewish tourists as “spies,” are all unacceptable.

And how is the mighty United States going to enforce all this? With more bombs and sanctions that will cost the global economy, already in recession, hundreds of billions of dollars? Will taxpayers be forced to subsidize secret CIA and NSA forces in Egypt making sure no Egyptians say anything bad about Israel or they’ll be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay, yet another outpost of the US Empire?

Third, the US itself must not feed the obsession over Israel with repeated attempts at reviving the peace process. This shifts regional attention away from the various states’ many internal problems. These misguided efforts also divert US attention and capital from actually promoting democracy.

Now THIS is a good paragraph. I agree with this paragraph 97.72%, given that there are 44 words in it and I only disagree with one of the words – democracy. Change it to “liberty” and I’m all with Tauber. If only he applied the same logic of America leaving Israel alone to leaving everyone alone who does not attack them, then we’d be in business. It is indeed sad that the only country Tauber wants America to stop meddling with is the very country Tauber himself actually lives in. What about everyone else? Don’t they deserve to not be meddled with as well?

The final and most important reform to the freedom agenda is shifting focus to Iran, the preeminent anti-democratic force in the region. During our conversation, Abrams said it would have been “ludicrous” to think about democracy in the Middle East with someone like Saddam Hussein “sitting in the middle of it.” It seems equally ludicrous to think about democracy in the Middle East when the mullahs are sitting on high in Iran.

Iran WAS a democracy that respected liberty before America decided to get involved in 1953 and depose their leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, due to an oil dispute with Great Britain and install the dictatorial and brutal Shah. It is ludicrous to think about democracy in the Mideast by forcing it with armies on cultures that do not value liberty.

It goes without saying that Iran must be prevented from developing nuclear weapons.

Yes, but what does this have to do with America? Has Iran ever threatened America? America has certainly threatened Iran. Iranian nukes are Israel’s problem. Israel is the one being threatened, not America. So let’s deal with it.

Whether or not Israel unilaterally strikes Iran and regardless of how much damage it does to Iran’s nuclear program, the US must ensure that sanctions are kept in place and be overtly willing to use force itself.

With WHAT money? Sanctions against innocent Iranians for WHAT? Have sanctions EVER stopped governments from doing what the US didn’t want them to do? Can he cite an example? One would be enough. Just one.

The sanctions and military, cyber, covert and other attacks will take their toll on the regime. The mullahs cannot hold out forever as their airplanes threaten to fall out of the sky for lack of replacement parts, food prices rise, their currency is devalued, they are unable to export their most lucrative commodity, and cannot insure their commercial shipping, while also silencing all opposition.

In case you haven’t noticed, food prices are rising everywhere, currencies are being devalued globally, and America doesn’t export anything except papers called “dollars” and “treasuries”. See the chart below. That’s the US trade deficit. What plugs up the hole to bring it back to zero? Paper. When everyone realizes that the paper is actually worthless because America is not good for its debts, the Empire will come crashing down and Tauber will have to follow my advice to leave everyone alone due to complete lack of any alternative.