The Bookworm Beat (9/18/14) — The Non-Islamic Edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingYet another day where I start with an apology for not writing more or writing sooner. I had what I think is a fairly severe arthritis flair-up, loaded myself up with anti-inflammatory meds, and took a long nap. Thankfully, I’m feeling better and moving easier, so it’s time to write! Here goes:

Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s slo-mo rush to not-war

After years of hiding his head in the sand, Obama has suddenly realized that there are dangerous people out there, and they’ve got their guns aimed at us. He’s now desperately trying to rush us slowly into something that looks like war, acts like war, and talks like war, but isn’t actually war, and he’s not going to listen to any advice from old fogies like generals or admirals. Jonah Goldberg suggests that, given Obama’s ignorance, reluctance, denial, and ineptitude, Obama might want to slow that “rush” down a little:

We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists.

Although we shouldn’t forget that there is one man brave enough to step up and say there is a war go on — John Kerry! Yes, John “Jen-jis Khan” Kerry, has announced that there is a indeed a war going on, between ISIS and . . . not not the United States or the West. (Fooled you!)

Instead, John “yes, there is a war” Kerry has announced that ISIS is at war with Islam. No wonder the folks at Power Line are wondering whether John Kerry is actually a GOP agent, working hard to discredit the Democrats.

Also on the subject of not-War, you can’t afford to miss Daniel Greenfield’s “Don’t Mention the War.

The horrors of war by lawyer

When I reviewed Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War, I said:

[I]f the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

It’s not just on the battlefield that the lawyers’ innate caution is bolloxing things up with it comes to fighting a fast-moving, deadly, and determined enemy. Daniel Henninger explains that way up the line, at the Obama command level, lawyers are also interfering with what should be battlefield strategies (emphasis mine):

The complex elements of modern American warfare include not only sophisticated ground-based troops but air power, unmanned drones, electronic surveillance, and the capture and interrogation of enemy combatants. Every one of those elements of U.S. military power has become a litigation battleground.

[snip]

However intellectually interesting these disputes over our rights and values, each adds another thicket of legal consideration before, or even during, military action. There are now 10,000 lawyers in the Department of Defense. The legal staff assigned to Gen. Dempsey alone could fill a law firm. No one goes to war in this country until those DoD lawyers—plus lawyers at the Justice Department and White House—define in detail the parameters of battle.

The U.S. military has become a giant Gulliver wrapped in a Lilliput of lawyers.

Indeed, the White House has just announced the our nation’s top lawyer himself — that would be Harvard Law Review editor Barack Obama — will have to sign off on every single strike in our not-war against Islam:

The president hasn’t yet given the green light for an attack on Islamic State militants in Syria, but the U.S. military campaign against the group there is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control–going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes.

Do you remember Jodi Kantor, in The Obamas, telling about Obama’s devotion to his own skills:

Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.” (p. 66.)

Now we can add something new to Obama’s list: In his own estimation, Obama is a better military adviser than people who have actually studied and gone to war.  This is what happens when a man of few distinguishing qualifications starts believing the media’s PR about him.  He’s not just a “black Jesus,” he’s also the second coming of Alexander the Great.

Funny illnesses cropping up all over

I mentioned at the top of this post that I might have had a serious arthritis flare-up. It’s entirely possible, though, that I’m actually getting sick. A lot of wacky illnesses are circulating, not the least of which is the hitherto “unknown in America” mystery virus hospitalizing kids all over the place, which is not a common “back to school” feature.

A Power Line reader has suggested what we’re all thinking: Is this a byproduct of the sick, illegal kids the Obama administration has been shipping all over the US? Perhaps what we’re seeing here is the indigenous people’s revenge: after 300-400 years, they’re going to wipe us out as surely as Europeans did back in the 16th and 18th centuries, when they exposed vulnerable indigenous populations to diseases that had become tolerably endemic in European cities.

The Israel yardstick

I told my mother that an ideology’s approach to Israel tends to be an extremely accurate way to measure whether it’s a good ideology or not. Look anywhere in the world, and wherever you find Israel-haters, you’ll find racism, totalitarian impulses, homophobia, misogyny, a fondness for euthanasia against any vulnerable populations, etc. Knowing this, it’s worth thinking about the implications flowing from the Democrat party’s ever-increasing hostility to Israel.

More evidence that, when he scratch a Leftist, you find an antisemite

Etsy.com, an online sales collective for artists, recently banned the sale of any goods that reference the Washington “Redskins” on the ground that the team’s name and logo are so offensive it would pollute the site to carry them. Etsy, however, is perfectly happy marketing swastikas. Read all about Etsy’s peculiar biases and preferences here.

I’ve never shopped at Etsy, nor had I planned ever to shop there, so I can’t make a statement by boycotting the site. But if I did shop there, I’d immediately stop doing so.

One Leftist anti-Semite just got the recognition she deserves

Over at the Watcher’s Council, council members have voted for this week’s weasel, a Leftist anti-Semite and all around idiot. You’ll have to visit the site to see which specific Leftist, antisemitic idiot won, though.

Jewish gun organization surviving in different form

I believe every Jew should own, or at least know how to fire, a gun. (I also believe all Jews should know self-defense.)

I only recently learned that there was a Jewish pro-Second Amendment in the US, called Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. Unfortunately, through a disastrous combination of ill-health and health-related fatalities, the JPFO looked as if it was going under. Fortunately, though, those still able to manage the group realized that they needed to reach out for help. The JPFO is now merging with the Second Amendment Foundation, a forty-year old organization with 650,000 members. Yay.

More evidence, if you needed it, that climate change is faith, not science

We’ve discussed here before the fact that, because climate change is a non-falsifiable theory, it’s religious in nature, not scientific. If you’d like further evidence of the fact that climate change must always be accepted as core truth, no matter how the data changes, get a load of this AOL news headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say.” And yes, the “news” story attached says just that: global warming means global cooling — Praise be to Gaia!

The scientific consensus was wrong AGAIN

I’ve never liked artificial sweeteners, since I think they taste nasty. Also, while I’m not one of those people who insists on all-natural, all-organic food, I viscerally felt that the body handles real sugar better than fake stuff. In my mind, it was better to eat real sugar in smaller amounts, rather than to load up on artificially sweetened food.

A doctor acquaintance of mine ridiculed me. His argument? If you ever go to a medical conference that offers both sugared and artificially-sweetened soda, the doctors will all go for the artificially sweetened stuff.

Well, in another blow to conventional wisdom amongst scientists, it turns out that artificial sweeteners mess with the body’s chemistry, contributing to obesity and diabetes among other things. Let’s just say that I’m not surprised, either about sweetener’s dangers or about the scientific community being wrong again.

The Orwellian nature of campus “free speech” zones

You and I like this poster:

America's first amendment area

Over at Penn State, however, the campus authorities wouldn’t like anything about that poster. Although they have a “free speech” area, it turns out that they only allow such speech as they’ve previously vetted and permitted to occur in that area. And we wonder why American college students come out dumber than they went in, despite their glossy patina of Marxist catch-phrases.

A lost America

Caped Crusader sent me the link for a beautiful elegy for an America lost:

We, largely rural kids of the small-town South, represented without knowing it a culture, an approach to existence, and a devastating principle: You can’t impose decency, honesty, good behavior, or responsibility. They are in the culture, or they are not. If they are, you don’t need laws, police, and supervision. If they are not, laws won’t much help. And this is why the US is over, at least as the country we knew.

Read the whole thing here.

I should add that the kids in my community have a good culture too. They don’t run to gangs, they work hard in school, and, except for drugs and alcohol, they’re generally law-abiding. But rather than seeming like the face of America, they often seem like an aberrant group, peeled out of the 1950s, with a stop-over in the 1960s to pick up on the drug culture.

Andrew Klavan takes on Obama’s contention that ISIS/ISIL/IS is not Islam

This isn’t one of Klavan’s best, and I’m not surprised. The administration has cut itself adrift from reality, and it’s hard to parody lunacy. Nevertheless, Klavan gives it the old college try and it’s still a fun video:

Appalled by its brief moment of decency and morality regarding Israel, the WaPo bounces back with pure antisemitism

The Washington PostTwo days ago, I lauded the Washington Post for publishing a rare anti-Hamas editorial.  I say “rare” because Israel supporters have long felt that the Washington Post has consistently slanted its news to be hostile to Israel.  This hasn’t been done too overt a way.   Instead, it manifests itself in spin, subtle digs, and put downs to the Israelis, balanced by unreasonable praise for the Palestinians.  American Thinker has done a good job of catching these digs, slights, rubs, sneers, and disses.

That’s why, as I said, it was so surprising to read what surely constitutes a common sense, even morally correct, editorial about the current war between Israel and Hamas:

SO FAR Hamas’s military campaign against Israel has been a dismal failure.

[snip]

Why would Hamas insist on continuing the fight when it is faring so poorly? The only plausible answer is stomach-turning: The Islamic movement calculates that it can win the concessions it has yet to obtain from Israel and Egypt not by striking Israel but by perpetuating the killing of its own people in Israeli counterattacks. More than 200 people, including a number of children, have already died in Gaza; Hamas probably calculates that more deaths will prompt Western governments to pressure Israel to grant Hamas’s demands.

So far, the tactic is not working. Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Tuesday condemned Hamas for rejecting the cease-fire and “us[ing] the innocent lives of civilians . . . as shields.” But Hamas’s commanders, who have burrowed into underground bunkers, appear to be doubling down. They are urging civilians who have left their homes to return, including some 15,000 who evacuated the northern part of Gaza in response to Israeli warnings.

[snip]

To its credit, Israel has used sophisticated technology, including targeted text messages and dummy warning missiles, to minimize civilian casualties. But innocent people will inevitably be killed in attacks on launchers and missile factories that are purposely placed in densely populated areas. The right response of the international community is not to surrender to Hamas’s despicable tactics but to continue insisting that it unconditionally accept the cease-fire proposed by Egypt.

Maybe my reading skills have degraded lately, but I read the above to mean that the Washington Post editorial board understood that Hamas is deliberately placing its citizens in danger because that’s the only real weapon it has in the war against Israel:  pictures of dead bodies used for propaganda purposes.  The editorial board also seemed to understand that Israel is making every effort to avoid killing the citizens Hamas pushes into the line of fire.  Was it possible that the editors were actually bothering to read the brilliant opinion pieces Charles Krauthammer has been writing on the subject?

Apparently it was not possible that the editors were exposing themselves to moral decency.  Indeed, it appears that, just like a fat person ending a virtuous diet with a grotesque bout of binge eating, The Washington Post, have experimented briefly with virtue, didn’t just get back to subtle sneers and misrepresentations, but instead opted to launch itself straight into out-and-out antisemitism.  And that’s why you will find this video on the Washington Post’s internet site:

Sadie, who sent the above video to me, says that you can make your feelings known by sending an email to letters@washpost.com or by mailing a letter addressed to The Editor, The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20071. Sadie adds, “The Washington Post prefers that letters be kept to two hundred words or less. I can’t decide on “DROP DEAD” or “UP YOURS” one hundred times.”

I guess we now know the WaPo’s unofficial motto: “The American paper that Hitler would have loved to read.

The new attack on Israel is a reminder that we must never stop engaging with Leftists

Father and son shoutingThe single most effective opposition to the movement to turn Israel into a pariah state is for people actually to go to Israel.  Once there, they see that it is a free, dynamic, pluralist society, that is deeply respectful of human rights.  This explains the newest outbreak of antisemitism in America’s universities and churches:  marginalizing people who dare to see Israel for themselves.  Over at Commentary Blog, there are two stories about just that, one coming out of UCLA, and the other coming out of the Presbyterian Church.

Traditionally, both Jews and conservatives have shied away from fights.  The time to shy away is over.  As Ben Shapiro showed when he decimated boycott/divest/sanction supporters at UCLA, every time the Left hits out, conservatives must hit back twice as hard and twice as often.

One of the things Charles Martel and I talked about yesterday at lunch was the fact that Leftist are perpetual adolescents.  This is obvious in a lot of ways:  they’re short-sighted, short-fused, emotional, deeply invested in shallow takes on serious issues, given to ill-conceived hero-worship, etc.  The other thing that they have in common with adolescents is their laser-like focus on their personal needs.

I think I’ve mentioned here before a book I once read about parenting techniques to use on challenging teens.  Eighteen years after the fact, what has stick with me is the author’s point about a teen’s focus versus an adult’s focus.  Adults focus on lots of things:  a job, a household, the children’s needs, an elderly parent’s needs, community work, and sometimes even their own needs.  Teens, however, focus only on one thing, which is their emotional need at that specific moment.  While you’re juggling myriad responsibilities, both temporal and intellectual, your teen is thinking “mall” or “party dress” or “Cancun.”

In the political world, conservatives, like adults, tend to think in terms of responsibilities, while Leftists, the adolescents, think in terms of emotional needs.  Responsibilities place demands on you; emotional needs place demands on everything else.

What this means is that, if the Leftist’s emotional need is to destroy Israel, he will tackle it with the same ferocity and single-mindedness one sees in the teen demanding that trip to the mall.  If one argument fails, he will shift effortlessly to the next one and then to the one after that.  Meanwhile, if you, the adult/conservative, have won the first argument, you’re not automatically gearing up to defend against any subsequent arguments.  Instead, you’re foolishly thinking that the issue is over and that you can move on to your next responsibility.  Silly you.

In the battle between teen and parent, the book’s author suggested acknowledging the teen’s argument without ever engaging:  “I understand that all your friends are going to the mall, but in our house, the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.”  “I understand that you feel this is unfair, but the rule is that you can’t go to the mall on a week night.”  You’re Teflon and, faced with this consistent, impregnable line of defense, the teen eventually runs out of arguments, especially because you won’t engage him substantively.

Unfortunately, in the real world, the mature conservative cannot use this Teflon approach with the adolescent Leftist.  That’s because the battle isn’t just being fought between the two combatants; it’s being fought on the public stage, with the winner taking all in public opinion.  Just as is the case in a trial against the lawyer from Hell, no matter how stupid or unprincipled his arguments are, you have to challenge every one of them on the merits because you’re not really arguing with him at all.  Instead, you’re performing for the judge.

The same is true in politics.  No matter how heated the argument between two individuals seem, they’re not really fighting each other.  They are, instead, are performing for the American public.

 

Indoctrination at schools focuses on fantasy ills, while simultaneously denying reality

GaslandAmerica’s educational institutions aren’t taking antisemitism seriously — despite the mount of proof (often from the killers themselves) showing that tens of millions have died from antisemitism over the centuries.

Meanwhile, as antisemitism surges unchecked on America’s campuses, schools are taking very seriously fracking, even in the absence of any proof that it’s killed any one, ever.

It’s possible that schools aren’t taking antisemitism seriously because, at least in some schools, denying it is part of their curriculum: Witness the now-infamous Common Core assignment in the Rialto Unified School District directing all 8th graders to read Holocaust denial literature and than write essays denying the Holocaust.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: this Common Core assignment took place on the watch of an Interim Superintendent named Mohammad Z. Islam. The District’s story is that Islam knew nothing about the assignment and was appropriately shocked when he learned what had happened. There’s no reason at this point to disbelieve that assertion.

Islam, 57, grew up in Bangladash, where he saw the damage done by denying people access to education. He’s a finance guy, and worked as the CFO in the San Bernardino school district. He was then invited to step into the Rialto district after the former superintendent “retired” following the district accountant’s arrest for embezzling $1.8 million. Islam was seen as the antidote to chaos and corruption. Islam could well be a stand-up kind of guy. In that case, it’s very unfortunate that he has a name that many people consider consistent with a belief system that denies that the Holocaust happened.

What’s quite obvious is that more and more American public schools are abandoning classical education — when that looks to facts and analysis — in favor of a Leftist hodge podge of propaganda on everything from climate to the Holocaust.

The dangerous rise of anti-Semitism on American college campuses

Swastika at UC DavisThis is a useful companion piece to my earlier post about the antisemitic images making the round on Facebook, comparing Jacob Rothschild to the incredibly evil Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.  Guest-posting at The Independent Sentinel, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin looks at the rising anti-Semitism on America’s college campuses, and she does so in a very clever way. Rather than just pointing to the acts of anti-Semitism, she compares the college and media responses to anti-Semitism, versus the same institutions’ responses to anti-Black, anti-gay, anti-Hispanic acts.

Found it on Facebook: Mean-spirited or something much worse?

Maybe this is just a mean-spirited mash-up of a guy who really does look like The Simpsons‘ Monty Burns and who happens to be very rich.  Nevertheless, the  mere act of caricaturing rich Jews carries with it the stench of antisemitism.  Moreover, to the extent this mash-up doesn’t stop with a picture comparison but, instead, presents the Rothschilds as the secret puppet-masters people behind all wars and all money . . . well, I have to say that there’s a strong whiff of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion behind this one.

What’s your opinion?

Rothschild and the new antisemitism

Hashem yinkom damo/Hashem yinkom dama (May Hashem avenge the blood of the three killed in Kansas City today) *UPDATED*

We’re fortunate in America that anti-Semitic violence is not the norm (although it is the most common anti-religious violence in America), but it still happens.  Evil doesn’t need a reason, but so often evil finds its justification in antisemitism.  Today, an elderly man, his 14-year-old grandson, and an unrelated woman died violently solely because they were Jewish.

I hope that they rest in peace, and I very much hope that there is some divine retribution, not just for the man who carried out those acts, but for all the people around the world who remain wedded to violent antisemitism.  You don’t have to like the Jews — just as I don’t have to like you — but you don’t get to kill the Jews just because you don’t like them, just as I do not get to kill you, whoever or whatever you are, just because I don’t like you.  In a righteous world, we’re allowed bad feelings, but not  bad acts.

UPDATE:  Irony seems like the wrong word for the fact that neither William Lewis Corporon, nor his grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, was Jewish. The style of their deaths still makes them martyrs to antisemitism and the fact of their deaths still makes for a painful, incomprehensible tragedy for their family and friends.

New editions of the old antisemitism problem at San Francisco State University

My friend Stella Paul got a huge, deserved shout-out at Power Line for her expose of the antisemitic rot at America’s campuses, something that started with a bang right in San Francisco, in 2002.  I mentioned yesterday that this wasn’t anything new to me, since my father experienced it in the early 1970s when he got his Masters there.  My sister reminded me that she too experienced it in the mid-1970s, when she attended SFSU for a few years.

I also remembered that I too wrote something about SFSU’s toxic environment.  I wrote it more than seven years ago, but it’s as pertinent today as ever.  Here are the key parts of that old post:

***

San Francisco has been in the press a lot lately (and inspired some pretty funny Jay Leno riffs) because of Gavin Newsom’s sexual misconduct with his ex-campaign manager’s wife. It’s sordid, it’s sexy, and, at bottom, it’s not troubling. That is, as with all good sex scandals, we can purse up our lips disapprovingly, look for the scintillating, salacious details, and know that, in the grand scheme of things, this story will have absolutely no effect on our lives.

The problem with this sex scandal is that it’s been useful to depress two other, much uglier and more significant stories out of that same city. [You can read more about the first story, involving Holocaust deniers and Eli Wiesel, here.]

The second story goes beyond Western dhimmitude and into the realms of psychotic identification with murderous thugs. A little background first. San Francisco State University (“SFSU”) is an old and once respected San Francisco institution. Its roots go back to the last days of the 19th century. It boasts some famous and some infamous graduates, including politician Willie Brown; comedian Dana Carvey; actress Annette Bening; novelist Anne Rice; sorry-excuse-for-a-comedian Margaret Cho; singer Johnny Mathis; Kennedy buddy and naive conspiracy theorist Pierre Salinger; and conservative writer and radio host Michael Medved,* among others. My father, a nice Jewish guy, was also an SFSU graduate (in the same Masters program as Michael Medved, although their paths did not cross).

Many of our family friends, all of them nice Jewish guys, were professors at SF State too. They were good professors, but they were also all old-time Jewish liberals who felt it was the right thing to do to invite Black Pantherette and Communist Angela Davis to become a professor there. Sadly, my dear old Jewish liberal friends seem to be reaping what they so inadvertently, and with the best intentions, sowed.

San Francisco State University has become increasingly radical, even by San Francisco standards, in the past few years. Palestinian groups, which have been an increasingly dominant campus presence, almost succeeded in having expelled a Russian immigrant who verbally challenged their violent anti-Semitic rhetoric. Eventually, even the University administration, which supported the Palestinian efforts against her, was forced to concede that Tatiana Menaker had done nothing wrong — she was just being persecuted for exposing the dominant anti-Jewish politics at SFSU.

Jews aren’t the only ones in the radicals’ crosshairs at SFSU. Republicans are also a target. In 2004, SFSU’s administration did absolutely nothing when Palestinian student groups violently attacked College Republicans who were distributing Bush/Cheney materials. That 2004 event educated the administration to the fact that, when verbally threatened, Palestinian groups get violent; and assured the same Palestinian groups that, when they got violent, the administration woudl leave them in peace to attack another day.

The campus College Republicans, showing exceptional bravery for a small and persecuted minority (which is what they are at SFSU), have been at it again, trying to exercise their First Amendment rights. This time, they held an anti-terrorism protest on the campus’s “Malcolm X Plaza” (clearly Martin Luther King is too tame for SFSU). Debra Saunders explains the insanity that subsequently ensued:

This story starts with an “anti-terrorism rally” held last October on campus by the College Republicans. To emphasize their point, students stomped on Hezbollah and Hamas flags. According to the college paper, the Golden Gate (X)Press, members of Students Against War and the International Socialist Organization showed up to call the Republicans “racists,” while the president of the General Union of Palestinian Students accused the Repubs of spreading false information about Muslims.

In November, the Associated Students board passed a unanimous resolution, which the (X)Press reported, denounced the California Republicans for “hateful religious intolerance” and criticized those who “pre-meditated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence.”

Now you know that there are students who are opposed to desecrating flags on campus — that is, if the flags represent terrorist organizations.

But wait — there’s more. A student filed a complaint with the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development. OSPLD Director Joey Greenwell wrote to the College Republicans informing them that his office had completed an investigation of the complaint and forwarded the report to the Student Organization Hearing Panel, which will adjudicate the charge. At issue is the charge that College Republicans had walked on “a banner with the world ‘Allah’ written in Arabic script” — it turns out Allah’s name is incorporated into Hamas and Hezbollah flags — and “allegations of attempts to incite violence and create a hostile environment,” as well as “actions of incivility.”

At an unnamed date, the student panel could decide to issue a warning to, suspend or expel the GOP club from campus.

When FIRE took up the cudgels on the Republicans’ behalf, SFSU went even further down the dhimmitude path, and into the realm of Stockholm Syndrome. As Saunders reports:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that stands up for free speech on campus, has taken up the College Republicans’ cause. FIRE sent a letter to SFSU President Robert Corrigan that urged him to “spare SFSU the embarrassment of fighting against the Bill of Rights.” The letter noted, “Burning an American flag as part of a political protest is expression protected by the First Amendment.” And: “Speech does not constitute incitement if a speaker’s words result in violence because people despise what the speaker said and wish to silence him or her.

“By punishing students on the basis of how harshly, violently or unreasonably others might react to their words,” the letter argued, “SFSU would create an incentive for those who disagree to react violently, conferring a ‘heckler’s veto’ on speech to the least tolerant members of the community.”

The university’s response? Spokesperson Ellen Griffin told me, “The university stands behind this process.”

And: “I don’t believe the complaint is about the desecration of the flag. I believe that the complaint is the desecration of Allah.”

To which FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley responded, “It really doesn’t make any difference whether it’s the flag or a religious figure.”

If the College Republicans had denigrated Allah, I would defend their right to do so, while noting I have no use for the gratuitous Islam-bashing endemic in certain circles.

But it is not the students’ fault that Allah is on the Hamas and Hezbollah flags — in a language they don’t read.

Besides, every freshman should know that students have a right to say what they will about any religion, while believers enjoy the right to talk back.

Charles Johnson summed it up the whole thing at Little Green Footballs when he titled his post on the subject “insulting Allah now a crime at SFSU.”

This is truly the world turned upside down. In the sane world, it’s puerile but allowable under the First Amendment to step on someone’s flag to make a statement. (Indeed, in the insane world of the Middle East, it’s de rigeur to burn the American flag on a regular basis for precisely this reason.) However, in the topsy turvey world that is radicalized SFSU, even though Hamas and Hezbollah are murderous terrorist organizations, the fact that they’ve incorporated the word Allah (in Arabic script) on their flags means that those who protest these organizations’ violent acts by using symbolic speech in turn find themselves accused of committing hate crimes and inciting violence.

As I noted above, what happened at SFSU goes beyond the usual dhimmitude. That is, to the extent SFSU mentioned that the flag stopping could “possibly incite violence,” it’s clear that the school, in good dhimmi fashion, learned its lesson in 2004 when the Palestinians actually engaged in violence against speech that offended them. SFSU isn’t going to get in the middle of that fight any more, that’s for sure (“that fight” being any fight in which Muslims/Palestinians are one of the combatant groups).

More significantly, though, the administration’s claim that it is acting to protect the desecration of Allah indicates that this far Left, presumably secular institution, has completely embraced the ethos of a group that is holding it psychology hostile through the ongoing threat of violence. James Lewis, writing at American Thinker, explains what he sees happening to so many institutions and governments worldwide:

Psychiatry is familiar with an odd syndrome called “identification with the aggressor.” It’s sometimes called the Stockholm Syndrome, after the behavior of air passengers taken hostage by PLO terrorists at the Stockholm Airport in 1973, who, when they were rescued, came out singing the praises of their murderous captors.

***

The most infamous examples come from World War II Nazi concentration camps, where some prisoners were placed in charge of others. According to witnesses like psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, these “Kapos” would wear discarded pieces of Nazi uniforms and often abuse their fellow victims. Unconsciously they were identifying with the aggressors, to ward off the awful awareness of their own vulnerability. People do things like that in extremis.

Now look at the behavior of the Left since 9/11, both in this country, Europe, and even Israel. Rather than feel righteously angered by the terrorist mass murder of 3,000 innocent people, large parts of the Left have adopted the aggressors’ point of view. They keep telling us that the Islamic fascists were right to blow up innocent people who had done them no harm; some of them have taken on conspiracy theories, claiming that Bush or Israel really committed the atrocities. At the same time they are in deep denial about the danger of future terrorist attacks on American soil, and blindly refuse to see the rising threat of nuclear proliferation by stateless terror groups. Instead, they “displace” their fear and anger on George W. Bush. To the Left, once Bush is gone, the terror problem will simply and magically go away.

***

The Left claims to value “peace” above all things; but that means that self-defense ranks nowhere. It’s not an option — at least not when Republicans are in office. If we leave out self-defense against Iranian nukes or El Qaida truck bombs, there is no option except submission. That is what “identification with the aggressor” comes down to. It is a Stockholm Syndrome for millions of people — most of the readers of the New York Times and the UK Guardian, just for starters.

To make things worse, the Left itself is ruthlessly aggressive against conservatives, democratic individuals who happen to disagree with them. There is a true persecutorial viciousness in the Left’s attacks on Republican presidents, from Herbert Hoover to Dwight D. Eisenhower and George W. Bush. Emotionally, these people want to destroy those who defy their demands. Almost all the assassins and would-be assassins of American Presidents since JFK have been Leftists, starting with Lee Harvey Oswald. So their rage is not exactly harmless.

(This is another article I urge you to read in its entirety.)

The way I see it, SFSU has gone from fearing its excitable Muslim students, to actually embracing an ideology that ought, in theory, to be completely at odds with the radical secularism that characterizes the Left. It’s reasonable to believe that this counterintuitive outcome results from the fact that the campus Left deeply fears these new radicals, people whose ideology is much more frightening than the chic Communism that Angela Davis embodied, and they have come to associate with the Islamofascist values as a way of distancing themselves from their fear.

And that’s why, while it’s fun to giggle over a titillating and sordid little sex scandal in San Francisco’s City Hall, the real stories in San Francisco, the ones with repercussions that ripple far beyond the San Francisco Bay, are the ones that took place in a downtown hotel and on a uninspiring little university campus.

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*Funnily, the website that lists famous grads doesn’t mention Michael Medved. I only know he went there because he said so on his radio show.

The insidious reach of the BDS movement

Armed guard at school in IsraelRob Miller writes wonderful things at his blog JoshuaPundit.  Excitingly, he’s now expanded his reach and will be a contributor at the Times of Israel.  He’s off to a rip-roaring start there, with a piece about the way BDS thinking (the antisemitic “Boycott, Divest, Sanction” movement) is so insidious that it’s principles now inform statements from people who have no idea what they’re saying.

As for my claim that the BDS movement is antisemitic, I’ll abandon that position when there are BDS movements against China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaya, Venezuela, huge chunks of Africa, etc. — in other words, when there are BDS movements against other nations that have totalitarian governments that overtly oppress people within their own borders, let alone in land that they won in a series of defensive wars.

Mandela: communist antisemite

I’m still honest enough to give Nelson Mandela major kudos for electing not to turn South Africa into a racially-charged bloodbath when he became president.  He could easily have chosen another tactic, and it speaks well of him that, for whatever reasons, he elected to go the way of peace rather than the way of war.  But….

While I knew that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was an anti-Semite who attacked Israel, I did not realize that Mandela too, like all good Communists, was the worst kind of anti-Semite.  I find that unforgivable.  That is, I can admire and applaud the good Mandela did, but that doesn’t give him a pass on the evil fomented.  A man who embraces Arafat is a bad man, plain and simple.

Oh, and speaking of embracing Arafat:

Clintons and Arafat

Although, after all these years, one could ask, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”  Well, it makes a big difference, but that’s for another post.

Will American Jews listen?

A friend sent me this article by a former Israeli soldier who know works for StandWithUs, an organization that counters the antisemitic and anti-Israel bile that pours forth on American campuses under the banner of the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement.  The hatred he experiences is staggering, all the more so because it is so irrational.  It is pure, undiluted hatred, of the type Jews have had the misfortune to face repeatedly over too many centuries:

To give you a taste of the viciousness of the BDS attacks, let me cite just a few of the many shocking experiences I have had. At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.” When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it. And during a presentation in Seattle, I spoke about my longing for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. When I was done, a woman in her 60’s stood up and yelled at me, “You are worse than the Nazis. You are just like the Nazi youth!” A number of times I was repeatedly accused of being a killer, though I have never hurt anyone in my life. On other occasions, anti-Israel activists called me a rapist. The claims go beyond being absurd – in one case, a professor asked me if I knew how many Palestinians have been raped by IDF forces. I answered that as far as I knew, none. She triumphantly responded that I was right, because, she said, “You IDF soldiers don’t rape Palestinians because Israelis are so racist and disgusted by them that you won’t touch them.”

Such irrational accusations are symptomatic of dangerous anti-Semitism. Yet, alarmingly, most mainstream American Jews are completely oblivious to this ugly movement and the threat it poses. They seem to be asleep, unaware that this anti-Jewish bigotry is peddled on campuses, by speakers in high schools, churches, and communities, and is often deceptively camouflaged in the rhetoric of human rights.

It seems appropriate to include here a link about the medical care Syrian civilians are receiving in Israeli hospitals that turn no one away.

Feel free to be inspired and to donate to StandWithUs, an organization that uses every penny wisely.  (I just gave my mite and hope that it helps.)

A sour, mean-spirited post about Stockholm

We’re slowly moving out of Stockholm, and I have to admit that I won’t be sad to see it go. For reasons I can’t quite explain, it didn’t work for me. It’s definitely beautiful, but, but. . . . But I don’t know what. I just didn’t like it. The kids didn’t like it either, which might have affected my mood.

My main quibble boils down to the fact that the Swedes themselves struck me as products of a society at the end of its line. This perception may have been — indeed, almost certainly was — colored by my disdain for their anti-Israel sentiment, which too often shades into good, old-fashioned antisemitism. I know that there are individual Swedes who don’t subscribe to their country’s pro-Muslim, anti-Jewish policy, but they’re all tarred by the same brush as far as I’m concerned.

I also went sour when we went to their City Hall, a bizarre early 20th century faux Italian Renaissance building, and was reminded that it’s a shrine to the Nobel Prize. For me, the Nobel Prize started its descent into being a brainless travesty when it gave a Peace Prize Yassar Arafat, a mass murderer.

The “Peace” prize completed its slide into the abyss of stupidity when it gave the prize to Barack Obama, immediately upon his election to president when he had done exactly . . . NOTHING. The committee didn’t even have the decency to withdraw the prize when Obama presided over more deaths in Afghanistan than Bush, boasted about personally selecting kill targets in Pakistan, enabled the savage death of Qaddafi (who was an American neutral at the time), allowed the genocidal Iranian mullahs to continue unchallenged in the face of a popular revolt, turned a blind eye the night Americans died miserably in Benghazi, and otherwise contributed greatly to death and turmoil around the world.

And of course, in between Arafat and Obama, the Nobel committee awarded the prize to such luminaries as Al Gore, who has presided over a global warming scam that has snatched food from poor people the world over as their food crops have been used to power people’s cars, even as Gore enriched himself obscenely; to innumerable American-hating communists; to the UN climate change committee that has advanced Gore’s push for global malnourishment; to a rabidly antisemitic Irish president; and to every other anti-American, antisemitic nutcase, fraud, and tyrant the world over. You really cannot admire a country that considers the Nobel Peace Prize to be one of its greatest accomplishments.

The people, too, didn’t recommend Stockholm. Rather than looking like the descendants of Vikings — robust, golden, and powerful — they had a bleached, desiccated, effete look. They are what more than half a decade of government dependence will do to a people. Too many women had a pinched, weasely expression, and too many men looked as if the heaviest thing they ever lifted up was a cigarette. They look dissatisfied, not proud.

Stockholm also smelled bad. It looked clean enough, but wherever one went, there was eau de sewage, or eau de urine, or eau de unwashed bodies. I’ve never been in a tidy city that smelled so foul.

I know I was tired when we set out today. The kids were cranky too. I’d also been given erroneous advice about the weather and was dressed too warmly. Since I run hot anyway, I was sweltering. All of those are enough to make me have a bad attitude. I think, though, that Sweden’s antisemitism really is the filter through which I looked at this little capital. I have no respect for it and couldn’t like it.

Even the architecture didn’t charm me. The city is nice looking, but I didn’t feel that it was more than usually special. Nothing stood out for beauty, or style, or uniqueness, or historical wonder.

Having said all that, Stockholm did have one wonderful thing: the Vasa Museum. During the Thirty Year War, King Gustav II ordered that the greatest war ship ever should be built. The Vasa was a giant ship with two cannon decks, as well as cannons on the main deck. It was decorated with elaborate carvings, many of which were painted in brilliant colors.

When the Vasa left the harbor for its maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, it should have ruled the sea. Instead, when a light breeze hit it, it tipped over, water filled it through the gun whales, and it sank like a stone. It turned out that it had insufficient width and ballast for such a tall, heavily armed ship.

In 1960, a group of Swedes who still had the look of Vikings (strong, blond, and virile) discovered the Vasa locked in Baltic mud that had protected it from worm and decay. They then spent years carefully extricating it from its mud coffin and raising it from the bottom of the sea.

The Vasa emerged from the waters almost perfectly preserved. The paint had vanished, as had the bridge rail, but the rest of the ship was there — including some sails, ropes, clothing, personal items, cannons, etc.

The Swedes have built an amazing museum around the recovered ship. The entire ship is there, rising to the height of seven stories. The museum itself is a seven-story building raised around the ship. On each story, in addition to seeing the Vasa from a different point of view, one can see well-thought-out exhibits that focus on its creation and destruction, the various parts of the ship, the soft materials (sails, ropes, etc.) recovered from the silt, etc. The museum is so spacious and well-designed that it effortlessly absorbs the endless stream of tourists pouring in.

And that’s my Stockholm review — and a sour, misanthropic one, to be sure. Maybe on another day, I would have had nicer things to say, but not today. It just wasn’t my kind of town.