Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why American Muslims are Different

Michael Lumish

I've been on a Mordechai Kedar kick lately and he has some interesting ideas on the difference between "radical Islam" and "moderate Islam." Kedar, who is a scholar of Arabic Literature at Bar Ilan University in Israel, suggests - along with Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, by the way - that Islam is Islam.

There is no "radical Islam."

There is no "moderate Islam."

There is only Islam.

There may be divisions within Islam between Sunni and Shia and (my favorite) Sufi Islam, but there are no hard separations between anything that can reasonably be called "radical Islam" and that which we call "moderate Islam."

Think of it as more of a continuum of violence, all of which has a home within Islam.

An Islamic State (IS) murderer of children and raper of young girls is just as Islamic as a peaceful, mystically-inclined Sufi.

So, what accounts for the differences? Why are American-born Muslims, for example, generally, although obviously not always, peaceful, hard-working, and well-educated - what we would call moderate - while other Muslims, particularly some of those in the Middle East, and increasingly those in Europe, entirely out of control?

Kedar, who obviously well-knows the Koran in the original Arabic, suggests that it is an exceedingly contradictory book - I found it incomprehensible, myself. There is no coherent narrative. - and therefore one is likely to take from it what is encouraged within the culture one is raised in. There are parts of the Koran that are downright liberal, such as the idea that there should be no compulsion in religion. Although, you turn a page and suddenly there is compulsion, unto death, to submit to the authority of Muhammad.

In the Koran, there are other gentle suggestions such as the punishment which calls for the chopping off of one foot and one hand from opposite sides of the body. (Try not to think about it.)

However, if you were born and raised Muslim in, say, San Francisco there is an excellent chance that you would simply be another guy on a commute into the office downtown or to Silicon Valley. If you were a devout Muslim, having been raised in an open-minded part of the world within a local Muslim culture that reflected that, chances are your style of Islam would also reflect that.

You, in other words, would not likely be screeching for Jihad in the streets. You would not burn down churches merely because they are churches.

However, if you were born in a part of the world where people are killing one another over family honor or burying women accused of adultery up to their necks for the purposes of a good stoning, your interpretation of the Koran and the Hadiths and the Sira would reflect that.

It is not that, as Obama claimed, the Islamic State is un-Islamic. On the contrary, if anything those boys are uber-Islamic. They are going all the way back to the 7th century and it doesn't take much imagination to figure how much fun the Arabian Peninsula was in the 7th century. But this is not "radical Islam" because the Islamic State ideology is fully consistent with the historical behavior of Muhammad, the allegedly perfect example for all Muslims.

If anything it is a more orthodox, traditional form.

But the Muslim in the office next door in downtown San Francisco, if he is devout, is also a Muslim.

Then the question becomes, if the cultural environment is such a key factor in determining what type of Muslim one will emerge as, what accounts for all those French and German and British jihadis?

Well? Europe screwed up and is getting more and more screwed up by the day.

By allowing, or encouraging, these enclosed Muslim enclaves in their major cities they ensured that the next generation of European Muslims, who come out of those ghettos, are far more likely to interpret the Koran in jihadi fashion.

That was a big mistake and one that I bet we are well on our way to repeating in the United States.

And, needless to say, by flinging open the doors of Western Europe to violently dysfunctional Middle East Muslim cultures, European political leadership guaranteed the rape and murder of their own people.

Angela Merkel, as it turns out, should never have been let anywhere near public office.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Raw Material Podcasts # 2: Palestinian Emirates

Michael Lumish

The Raw Material

Heya guys, this is Michael Lumish coming atcha from the beautiful Oakland hills just across the bay from San Francisco the land of pokeymon go.

I don’t know if you guys know what this is, or not, but it’s essentially a game in which you use the optics on your cell phone to augment natural reality as you search for little pokeymon monsters.

What it really means is that you have idiots wandering around the bay area tripping over curbs, walking into passing bicycles, knocking people down in the street, and occasionally getting smashed by a MUNI bus.

But what I want to talk to you guys about today is an alternative to the two-state solution being promoted by professor Mordechai Kedar – who is a very well known figure among those of us follow Israel – and who is well-respected scholar of Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University in that country.

Kedar, and others, have been working through this idea of quote unquote Palestinian emirates.

In fact, you can read more about the proposal at Palestinianemirates.com

Kedar’s idea is that the nation-state, as it was imposed upon the Middle East by such little matters of the Sykes Pico treat of 1916 in which Britain and France, with some mutual cooperation with Russia, divided up the Middle East into spheres of influence and then into the various mandates, including the mandate for Palestine, and then into artificial states which, for the most part, have since failed.

Kedar reminds us that the major points of identity and realms of loyalty within the Middle East traditionally revolved around family, clan, and tribe with power exerted by a strong man who we call a sheik, and of course, with the entire system under the umbrella of Islam.

This is more or less the way things operated for 13 centuries before the Christian Europeans finally beat back the Muslims and won that contest, at least temporarily.

We’ll see what the future holds.

But as Kedar also reminds us, following the misnamed Arab Spring – which, btw, Barack Obama compared to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

I love this quote.  Obama said on May 19, 2011

"There are times in the course of history when the actions of ordinary citizens spark movements for change because they speak to a longing for freedom that has been building up for years. In America, think of the defiance of those patriots in Boston who refused to pay taxes to a King, or the dignity of Rosa Parks as she sat courageously in her seat."

Rosa Parks, really? Because what the Arab Spring really brought the world was the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the disintegration of any number of Middle Eastern countries the following of which may be entirely unsalvageable.

These include Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Yemen and Syria, which, from what I can tell, is the worst of them all.

It’s difficult to know if these countries are reverting back to pre-European state model, but given the strength of 1,400 years of Sharia, it seems quite likely.

Furthermore, even if Middle Eastern states based on the European model were thriving, why would the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East allow a Palestinian-Arab army, vowed for its destruction – and thus essentially the genocide of the Jews – on its border?

Some would argue that any such state would be demilitarized via international law.

But as Louis Renee Beres argues over at the Gatestone Institute, there will be no demilitarized Palestinian-Arab state under international law, because such law are swiss cheese.

In short order, the Palestinian-Arabs would circumvent such laws either legally, via loopholes, or illegally via deception.

This being the case perhaps Israel should go with the “Palestinian Emirate” model.

Thus Israel, and perhaps western countries, would approach a number of the local sheiks - where there are significant Palestinian-Arab populations – and offer them sovereignty in a model not entirely dissimilar from the United Arab Emirates.

If it’s good enough for them and if they can make a go of it there is no reason why the Palestinian Arabs can’t.

It sure beats endlessly banging our head against the two state solution for murder in return.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Palestinian Nationalism

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}

PalflagAlmost everyone recognizes the "Palestinians" as a nation, but the main question is whether or not they will ever create a state?

The general idea among most westerners is that peace can only be achieved via the two-state solution (TSS). There are prominent voices that disagree, such as Caroline Glick and Martin Sherman, both of the Jerusalem Post - Sherman, it should be noted, is also a prominent contributor to Jews Down Under - but the general consensus among western governments, including, of course, the Obama Administration, is that the only viable solution is the creation of a Palestinian-Arab state to represent the "Palestinian" nation.

In a recent piece for the Gatestone Institute, Louis René Beres discusses the fact that Israel will only accept a Palestinian-Arab state on its borders if it is demilitarized. Anyone who thinks that such an Israeli requirement is unreasonable can simply go beat sand because there is no way that the Jews of the Middle East are going to live under the threat of a Palestinian-Arab army on their border.

However, he also points out that even if such a provision were agreed to by Abbas and his people it would never hold up. As an Emeritus Professor of International Law at Purdue University, he probably knows what he's talking about. The take-away is that under international law - whatever that is, exactly - there are all sorts of means and methods by which the Palestinian-Arabs could bypass anti-militarization provisions.

When, and if, the Palestinian-Arabs ever agree to a state for themselves it will not be demilitarized.

On the contrary, its primary function will be that of a big Arab club against the Jewish minority in the Middle East.

This being the case, it raises the question of why Jewish people are under any ethical or moral obligation to recognize "Palestinian" nationhood to begin with?

This is why more and more of us are putting the word "Palestinian" in quotation marks.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Jewish people, and friends, to recognize an alleged nation that only came into existence within living memory for the specific purpose of undermining Jewish sovereignty on traditional Jewish land.

The "Palestinian" nation is distinct from the rest of the Arab world in only one significant way.

Its purpose is to kill Jews.

That's it and that is all.

Benedict Anderson, who was a highly regarded political scientist and historian at Cornell University (just recently deceased) suggested that nations are "imagined communities" i.e., social constructs.

If this is true - as in historically accurate - then there is no more obvious case than the Palestinian-Arabs.

The bottom line is that the Jewish people, anywhere in the world, are under no obligation to respect a people who came into existence "as a people" for the sole purpose of destroying the Jews.

In my view, this is what the Israeli government needs to tell the West in a direct and forthright manner.

Given Israeli intellectual clout, economic significance, and military strength, maybe it is time for Jerusalem to tell Washington D.C., Paris, and London to respect their Jewish neighbors and friends.

The truth is that because of Jewish talent, concentrated in Israel, we are developing friends throughout the rest of the world, including Africa and China and Japan (and the rest of south-east Asia) and even Russia and other countries.

"Palestinian Nationhood" is an Arafat legacy and an artificial construction from the long-dead Soviet regime.

Perhaps it's time to bury it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

the wing of small magellanic cloud

Dershowitz Awakens

Michael Lumish

I actually do not mean to give him too much of a hard time - not that he would notice, anyway - but in his most recent bit, published in The Algemeiner and G-d knows wherever else, Alan writes:
eyeOver the past several years, progressive Jews and supporters of Israel have had to come to terms with the reality that those who do not reject Israel and accept the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s unique brand of bigotry are no longer welcome in some progressive circles. And while both the Democratic and Republican parties have embraced the importance of the U.S. alliance with Israel, that dynamic is under threat more so than at any point in my lifetime.

You don't say!

The progressive-left and the Democratic Party have been increasingly pissing on the Jews of the Middle East since they had the temerity to win the 6 Day War in 1967. That was the year that "David" became "Goliath" in the entirely unoriginal progressive-left imagination.

But Dershowitz knows this.

He speaks as if this is some sort-of recent revelation.

It isn't.

Those of us, like the good professor, who follow the haranguing of Israel on a daily basis have known about this progressive-left tendency for decades, now.

The only real question is just what the hell we want to do about it?

My suggestion, as an American Jew, has been to tell the progressive-left, and the Democratic Party, to go screw. I know that is rather crude, and I have friends from Hebron to Sydney that would not approve of such language, but the point stands.
The self-described “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party — represented by radical and often repressive organizations such as MoveOn, CodePink, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter (BLM) — has become openly opposed to the nation state of the Jewish people.
Well, thank Christ someone who matters noticed.

For decades, practically, I thought it was just me.

In any number of venues, for years now, I was saying, "Hey, if you continue to kick the crap out of the Jews we're likely to take off." And then, y'know, they would call me a racist and I would shake my little fist and leave.

What continues to astonish me, however, is the tenacity with which American Jews continue to grasp at the Democratic Party. I have never seen a people so kicked around who continue to kiss the feet of their abusers.

It's disgusting, really.
Using the pretext of intersectionality — a pseudo-academic theory which insists that all social justice movements, except those supportive of Jews or Israel, are inexorably linked — anti-Israel activists have successfully made opposition to Israel and support for BDS a litmus test, especially for Jews, to belong to “progressive” movements focused on a wide range of issues.

I will never forget the surreal moment of passing by the Malcolm X Student Plaza at San Francisco State University as a graduate student in the Department of History and seeing a bunch of black students on a platform featuring an American flag with 50 little Stars of David.

That was interesting, I have to say.

It certainly made an impression.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On acknowledging the enemy

Sar Shalom

One of the images from the Rio Olympics that captured international attention was that of a North Korean and a South Korean gymnast posing for a selfie. It is truly the spirit of the Olympics in which athletes disregard the fact the leader of a fellow athlete's leader regularly threatens to incinerate one's home country, or from the other side embracing the embodiment of American imperialism. According to the BBC, some viewers have asked whether the North Korean gymnast will face consequences from her government when she returns home. The answer, according to the BBC, is that North Korea views such events present "one of the few avenues of public affairs diplomacy available to it," and actually encourages such actions.

This raises the question of why people could think such notions to begin with. Could it have something to do with Arab reactions to Team Israel, such as Lebanon refusing to let the Israelis on the bus it was riding or the Egyptian snubbing of the Israeli judoka's offer of a handshake? In the Egyptian case, if there was any censure at home for the Egyptian judoka, it was for participating in the match against the Israeli at all rather than forfeiting as has so often been done by Arab athletes.

This raises the question as to what is different in the dynamic between the Arabs/Muslims and Israel from that between North and South Korea. It would seem that the difference is in such interactions representing a rare "avenue of public affairs diplomacy" for North Korea whereas the Arabs/Muslims enjoy 24/7 a coddle, coddle, coddle approach all over the world. Perhaps if the Arabs were ostracized like North Korea for their judeophobia, they wouldn't be so punctilious about conforming to that stereotype. Would the Global Progressive Left give that a try? Doubt it!