Sunday, April 3, 2016

Vic Rosenthal is a Menace to Society

Michael L.

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Dennis the Menace 007Not too long ago Laurie and I met some friends for dinner at a sort-of upscale soul-food joint in Oakland. I ordered the southern fried chicken... because I love me southern fried chicken. About fifteen minutes after our food arrived our waitress asked, in passing, "Is everything good?" I - being the pain in the ass that I tend to be - raised my hand and called her over.

"I have a problem with this chicken," I said.

"Oh, I am sorry. What is the problem?," she asked.

"You guys do it better than I do and I really hate that!"

She practically patted me on the head with a smile before moving on to her next table.

This is basically the way that I feel about Rosenthal.

You guys have to check out his most recent piece, entitled "Tolerance and terrorism" at Abu Yehuda and the Elder of Ziyon.

The thing with Rosenthal, that I appreciate, is that he is a straight-shooter.

Listen to this:
The truth is that whether they know it or not, all of the non-Muslim world is at war, a war being fought by unconventional means, but a war nevertheless. The enemy is a loose confederation of Muslim groups, from militias to nations, that agree on little other than that the entire world should be ruled by Islam, and that jihad is the way to bring this about. It is entirely correct to call it a war of Islamic conquest.
"...a loose confederation of Muslim groups, from militias to nations..."

It is not all Muslims and it has nothing whatsoever to do with race or skin color or ethnicity... at least not from our end. This is about a segment of the Muslim population throughout the world that wants to kick your ass in the name of Allah. The reason that they want you dead is because you have refused to submit to their religious dictates and imperatives.

According to Islamists or Jihadis or Islamofascists or advocates for Political Islam - or whatever terminology makes you most happy - anyone who is not on-board with the Caliphatic agenda is worthy of death and that is why they slaughtered those poor bastards in Brussels.

What needs to be most emphatically understood is that none of this has anything to do with payback for the behavior of westerners or Jews.

The Jihadi war against the West, and against the Jewish people, is not some sort-of natural response to western or Jewish imperialism or colonialism because it is Islam, itself, which is the single most successful imperial-colonial power since the demise of the Roman Empire. Within one hundred years of the death of Muhammad, in 632 CE, Arab Muslims poured out the Saudi peninsula and conquered the entirety of the Middle East, while already banging on the gates of Europe.

Rosenthal writes:
Israel is very much on the front line of this war. Her location is highly strategic; she is considered a Western outpost in a region that by rights should be Muslim. She has become symbolic of the struggle since the Crusades. Many Muslims live in the territory Israel controls – that Jews control – a situation that is intolerable for them.
And this why the work of people like Ryan Bellerose is important. He insists, rightly, upon reminding the Jewish people that we are the indigenous population within the Land of Israel.  What both Rosenthal and Bellerose know full-well is that the enemies of the Jewish people - on both the Left and the Right, but most particularly the Left these day - falsely accuse the Jewish people of being interlopers on our own land.

judah arabia
The Elder reduced the issue to its primary structure in this graphic.

This is the message that we need to bang home consistently and without reservation, because it also happens to be historically truthful. This is not open to question. This is not a matter of a little of this and a little of that. No. The Jewish people are the indigenous people of that little part of the world and what much of the western-left is telling us is that Judah is Arabian land.

It isn't.

The Jewish people are willing to share that land with our Arab neighbors, although it might be nice if their media would stop encouraging their children to run out into the streets to stab random Jews for political-religious reasons.

Until the Palestinian-Arabs forgo their Jew Killing Policy they will get nothing, because they deserve nothing.

Israel represents .02 percent of the landmass of the Middle East.


The Jihadis can either accept that or go back to their home in that Islamic Shangri-la, Saudi Arabia.

My guess is that Rosenthal would agree.


  1. On Vic's point about Israel's strategic geographical position, this has always been the case. Have you ever read Paul Johnson's "A History of the Jews"?
    Ryan Bellerose is a treasure. I think too many of us, unsurprisingly, have a Diaspora mentality.

    1. Johnson's "A History of the Jews"? Nope. I have not read that one.

      As for the Diaspora Mentality, I'm not exactly certain what that means or how I would describe it.

      A big part of it, I suppose, is in the inclination to put one's head down before the sensibilities of the majority population.

      In the West, Israel used to have a reputation for being tough. Now - as you know as well as me - it just as often has a reputation as a bully.

    2. Israel used to be respected for being tough, now that same toughness is regarded as bullying. That's my take on it. Israel used to be celebrated for hitting back harder than those trying to destroy her. Now it's (inappropriately) called "disproportionate."

      re: the Diaspora mentality, yes, I think you got the gist of what I meant.

  2. I disagree with Vic Rosenthal on many points. Some especially strongly.

    However, more importantly, it is absolutely impossible to understand the world - and that is enormously true of the Islamist movement - unless one understands *culture*.
    One cannot understand culture without having an interest in how collectivism, tribalism, and clan-culture shape societies. It is pointless to just look in the direction of scripture if one wants to understand the tensions and violence that we are seeing. It would be easier if one could just say the problem is just religion. It is a combination of aspects of religion and culture. And it is necessary to understand all of it.

    And actually - because you referred to the history of the Islamic world - it *is* enormously important how the *perceived* humiliation of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire affected the Islamic world. "Perceived." Just because a cultural response to historical events is inappropriate doesn't mean it isn't happening. There is, as Muslim reformists tell us, a huge "victimization culture" in the Islamic world. And there are interesting reasons for that. That doesn't mean it's *appropriate*. It isn't. But it's very real. Those things can be simultaneously true. Inappropriate, and real. I think it's hugely important to grasp that.

    1. Listening to talks like this is interesting because it touches on many issues:

      Gad Saad talking to Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar.

      Religion, politics and culture.

    2. Hi Kate,

      I take your contributions seriously, but this is one of those comments that I find rather mysterious.

      "One cannot understand culture without having an interest in how collectivism, tribalism, and clan-culture shape societies."

      Culture is a pretty enormous topic which includes virtually all aspects of human behavior.

      I am just trying to pin-point where we seem to disagree.

      You seem to be suggesting that I am over-emphasizing Islam at the expense of these other aspects of culture.

      Is that fair to say?

      "it *is* enormously important how the *perceived* humiliation of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire affected the Islamic world."

      I agree entirely.

      It led to two divergent and mutually exclusive trends. The first was to modernize and the second, with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, was to de-modernize and return to the roots of the faith, thus giving us the modern Jihad.

    3. Mike,
      I don't understand what you find mysterious about that comment. I don't think it is possible to understand Middle Eastern cultures without understanding those particular things. And the enormous impact they make on how those societies develop, and how they find it so difficult to modernize.
      You say culture is "a pretty enormous topic." Well, yes. But that's why it's so important to understand the most significant parts of it in certain contexts. Human behaviour goes beyond the political or religious, it is also psychological. And collectivist cultures often have a collectivist psychology. That is certainly true of much of that part of the world. If you've got time to watch that video, it is interesting on these issues. Both those men escaped the Middle East for the West. And have an interesting understanding of those cultures.
      I do think your emphasis on Islam is too great. Not because it is not reasonable to be interested in where particular ideologies come from, but because - in the context of the Middle East, particularly - the reasons are more complex. Like everything, complex behaviours are likely to have more than one cause. That doesn't mean you need to let religion off the hook. It's just more complicated. It really doesn't mean anyone has to play down the awfulness of Islamist ideology. Really.

      The collapse of the Ottoman Empire: No, those are specific political responses. Again, doesn't mean they are not very important. But you are missing out the "cultural psychological" response. And that creates a whole set of things that I think it is enormously important to understand.
      It's important to understand collectivism, tribalism and clan-culture. And "honour" and "shame" culture. Without those things, it is very difficult to get a handle on the Middle East.
      And while Islamism is obviously not confined to the Middle East, Israel lies in that part of the world, and the Middle East is very close to Europe, so understanding the specific problems of the Middle East is fairly vital.

    4. Also - something I left out - it is really important to understand both why Islam is more difficult to modernize than some other religions, and - really significantly - why that part of the world is still so dependent on religion. The "dependence" on religion is crucial to understand.

    5. k,
      O.K. Why is Islam more difficult to modernize than some other religions?
      Why is that part of the world still so dependent on religion/more so than other places?

    6. Jeff,

      The video I linked to above is quite useful on both those issues.
      I would say that - as in video - Islam is more difficult to modernize because it provides fewer loopholes for theological manoeuvre. It starts by saying that everything that follows is "infallible." Islam was written up in a very short time. Judaism and Christianity were written up many, many years - centuries - after the events they speak of. Islam was written up either during the life of Mohammed or shortly after. That gave it a contemporary relevance that made it far more difficult to overturn.
      Also, it is divided into two periods: Mecca and Medina. And, of course, into Sunni and Shia. Factionalism and division are an integral part of the history. Political factionalism, not theological. No religion has more theology than Christianity. For obvious reasons. And Judaism and Islam are much more similar in having little theology. Both rely more on the Book.

      Judaism, it is thought, would need to modernize due to its small numbers. No small religions group could survive if everybody took all the various "punishments" seriously. If one still hung on to the ideas of draconian punishments, then far too many people would have to be dead. It's a survival thing. Small groups can't afford to lose large numbers of people. Large religious groups can. They can replace populations.
      Interpretation needs to be more flexible for survival. And Jews would have been very aware of their paucity of numbers in contrast to other world religions.
      Christianity has encoded in it - story of Jesus and Pilate- the concept of separation of church and state. Judaism also has that concept. Both Christianity and Judaism put the idea of the individual at the heart. Each individual and their relationship with their conscience and with G_d.
      Islam is much more based on a group. And has no embedded concept of separation of church and state.
      Going back to culture: Culture matters because over the course of centuries it was possible for some parts of the world - the parts that became dominated by the Catholic Church - to begin to develop out of extended families, tribes, clans etc into societies in which one could have a loyalty that wasn't confined to blood. Parts of the world that didn't develop like that still are very much divided on tribal lines. Western liberal democracies could only have developed when "clans" and "tribes" were mot the building blocks of society and had been replaced by the nuclear family. For that, one has to thank the Catholic Church. The Church brought in strict rules about who one could marry. Most significantly, the idea of cousin marriage was frowned on or nor permitted. In the Middle East, cousin marriage - and other intra- family marriages - are extremely high. Some countries have majorities of people being married to close relatives. That means loyalty, wealth and property are kept within clans. It also has other implications.
      Difficult ones.
      The more it is impossible for societies to start to lose clan loyalty and develop the idea of a state that has everyone's best interests at its heart, the more it is impossible to develop societies where people can "trust" strangers. Those societies are more likely to be based on honour and shame. That means lots of taking offence and retaliation. Also, an inability to admit fault. If shame is seen as a social taboo, then it will be impossible to actually debate problems. Much easier to project fault onto others.

      I linked to above is quite useful on both those issues

    7. Excuse extra line typo above.


      It's fairly difficult to understand dependence on religion without seeing the difference in people who live in parts of the world where one could rely on other civic institutions. Those institutions developed in societies where people had higher levels of trust. Trust is key. Trust in wider institutions - in which one pools resources with strangers - only happens in some parts of the world. In the Western Christian world that was possible. People married people they were not related to and learned that trusting "outsiders" was positive. Those parts of the world began to move away - in the Middle Ages - not least because people were more integrated and could rely on a more cohesive society. Religion plays less of an important role in societies that are more open, and in which people are freer to exchange ideas. Honour -based societies are less open and less welcoming of debate. Debate is threatening. Religious ideas cannot be questioned. Or at least not successfully. It is no surprise that the Christian world produced a more free and open society. European societies in the Middle Ages were able to look outwards because they were not tribal. Tribal societies look inwards. Europe began to be able to be the most outward looking part of the world. There are variations within Europe, that's also interesting.
      People got less and less dependent on religion in Europe. They also were more prosperous, which wasn't unrelated.
      Societies that fail to move beyond tribalism tend to produce more extreme religious behaviour. And sectarianism. One can see this in pockets of Western societies.
      In the Middle East it is the norm. Particularly in rural areas. Urban areas - as in most places - produce more sophisticated cultures where people have to get along. Usually because people are engaged in trade and different ways of making a living. And meet up with people who are from a different background. Urban areas tend to be made up of people who are less clannish. Cities wouldn't survive if that were not so. Cities are more open and more open to new ideas. Immigrants go to cities - obviously - and that mixes people up, in a good way. But in more tribal societies it is very difficult, if not impossible, to form stable governments. Hence the instability and appallingly lack of democracy we see in the Middle East. Wealth is not shared, and people have a worse is - as successive US governments have found out - virtually impossible to impose democracy on countries that, for cultural reasons, cannot naturally support it. Tribal societies tend not to be able to produce a middle class. A middle class is necessary for democracy. And so it goes on. When one cannot trust in a state that takes care of everyone and allows everyone equality under the law, it will be more likely that one feels that one has to protect oneself and one's family - and property - by oneself. Honour cultures are created in societies that cannot rely on the state. No reliable police force,,no reliable justice system. You defend yourself if you cannot rely on those things. That increases violence. As Europe developed those things, violence dropped dramatically. Once you take those things away,,violence comes back quickly. It's human nature.

      I am waffling on too much, I think.
      I will post link to video that is really useful. By a very liberal Norwegian guy who is a famous comedian and also interested in sociology. He made a series of little documentaries that became a huge talking point in Norway when they exposed the extraordinarily closed-mindedness of Norwegian social scientists. There is one on violence that is interesting. All seven of the series are interesting. And the dogmatism of social scientists is breathtaking.

    8. Sorry, the site went funny and wouldn't let me edit.
      There's a bit in there that should read : "people have a worse life." "It is - as successive..."

    9. Please excuse typos. The page wasn't letting me write as normal, it kept disappearing.

      Link to Norwegian series:
      "Brainwashing" by Harald Eia Norwegian documentaries, Youtube. They're all available on youtube. The relevant one is called " Violence." In Norwegian with subtitles. Quite a lot of it ends up being in English as he has to travel to find different opinions. It's interesting because he's asking some very basic questions about how human beings tick. That's an unpopular thing to do in an ultra progressive society. His films sparked a lot of debate. Which is interesting. And he's a very liberal, pleasant man with an open mind.
      It should be fine to just google the youtube series via those key words. If not, please say.

  3. "In an exclusive interview with Lebanese Al-Manar Channel on the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Bahjat, Sayyed Nasrallah asserted that he has learned from authentic sources that the Iranian cleric met with Imam Mahdi (PBUH) several times for his deep faith and piety."

    That's the 12th Imam old Nas is talking about.

  4. Clash of cultures:

    "Air France stewardesses mutiny over order to wear headscarves

    Air France stewardesses, furious at being ordered to wear headscarves in Tehran, say they will refuse to fly to the Iranian capital when the airline resumes the service later this month."

    Consider bakeries pretty much put out of business because they won't bake a wedding cake for gay couples. Ever hear of a Muslim eatery subjected to the same abuse because they refused a customer a ham sandwich of bacon with their eggs? Ah, good old culture. Cheeseburger cheeseburger Pepsi.

    1. Good for the Air France flight attendants!

  5. BTW I am not disagreeing or snarking with k about culture in this mix; she is spot on. Just doing my little stream of consciousness thang. ;)

  6. Doodad,


    Have you googled pictures of Iranian air-stewardesses pre the revolution? They look amazing.

    1. Yes I know and the pictures of women from many Muslim countries from that time are as well.

  7. There is no point in arguing with them or listening to their demands or telling them what they 'have to do'. None. Why? Because it really IS a war. Well a war for one side at any rate. No one negotiates an end to hostilities until they've already almost lost or they've achieved whatever limited aims they set out to achieve. Neither of which is the case with the Arabs. But the key point you need to chew on is why - why are trying to do this. The short answer is that they understand it's fairly easy to do and we won't fight back. It doesn't matter what they do or don't have in common with us. It's not even of paramount importance to draw Huntington's bloody borders around that clash of civilizations as that is a symptom not a cause. The cause is they do because they can. That is the nature of power. After all what good IS power if you can't abuse it? That' the point. Many years ago a friend of mine came to me with a story of marital woe, asking my advice about what she should do. I told her "liars lie, cheaters cheat, that is their nature. We don't act shocked when evil people do evil things, do we?"

    They are fighting a war; an important component of that war is convincing us it's not happening. Classic psyops. Western modern societies still think in terms of the great powers of the 20th century facing off with modern mechanized armies, leveling each others cities. The post WW2 era birthed two important things - nuclear deterrence of great powers, and proxy wars fought asymmetrically. What the Arabs and Iranians have embraced is fighting an asymmetrical war without a proxy - directly, openly. Terrorism has become a well recognized LEGITIMATE tool of nation states' foreign policy (and domestic policy in some cases). Nations are now free to freely be terrorist actors as long as they cab convince whomever they strike at that it's not really happening, that it's a police problem or a social problem. As long as they are successful at that they are given a free hand by the very people they're butchering. Again, why? Because we can't understand what their nature drives them to do. We don't understand that our facile 'flexibility is what pushes them to attack us. It doesn't matter that we're not Muslim or that we're democratic or that we're capitalist. None of that is entirely germane. What's crucial is that we don't respond or refuse to respond effectively. They won't stop as long as we allow them to be successful.

  8. Kate,

    "I do think your emphasis on Islam is too great."

    That's fair.

    Naturally, I would concur that the overlapping concepts of collectivism, tribalism, and clan-culture are important for our overall understanding of the conflict, but just what is it about clan-culture that we want to say that will help us better understand the ongoing war against the Jews in the Middle East?

    We all understand, I think, that Arab culture is grounded in religion, tribe, clan, and family. The Arab states, however, are failing because they are mainly artificial constructs. Israel is succeeding, in part, because it developed organically. France and Britain, of course, did not impose Israel on the Middle East. And, as I hope everyone here would agree, the UN did not create Israel. It was the Jews, with the help of some Arabs, that over the course of decades, prior to 1948, built the necessary infrastructure - transportational, political, economic, educational, and military - necessary for a viable national home for the Jewish people.

    "collectivist cultures often have a collectivist psychology."

    I think that this is key to what we are trying to get at and, you're right, it's a much underdiscussed aspect of things.

    How is it possible for a people to move out of the 7th century if they hold to a collectivist psychology grounded in a collectivist culture that longs for the Golden Age of Arab-Muslim imperial success?

    But even here the collectivist psychology is embedded within the religion.

    "But you are missing out the "cultural psychological" response. And that creates a whole set of things that I think it is enormously important to understand. It's important to understand collectivism, tribalism and clan-culture.

    Such as the "honor / shame" thesis.

    Now we are in Richard Landes territory.

    From an academic perspective, I can assure you, this is exceedingly touchy ground. Professional historians generally avoid the psychologicalization of history.

    But do you think that we need to place a greater focus on the honor / shame thesis?

    What with the Arab-Muslim practice of "honor killings" and the absolute inability for the Arabs to accept a tiny Jewish country on historically Jewish land, you're probably right.

    1. Actually, everyone, in all probability, used to live in honour cultures. Human nature dictates much of what we do. One of the biggest problems in understanding the world has been the politicization of the social sciences. For the last 50/100 years the social sciences have been running on pure dogma not evidence. Some of that is because people wanted to believe certain things and some of that was pure politics. Everything they have taught - and continue to teach - is wrong. See Stephen Pinker's "The Blank Slate."
      If you have 38minutes watch the video I recommended to Jeff: "Brainwashing" by Harald Eia a Norwegian documentary series. Episode 4 is about " Violence." On YouTube. It's very helpful. The problem is not the "psychologization" of history, it's the politicization of everything. Human beings are affected by evolution; biology and culture. The social sciences have taught that everything is 100% environment. It's not. It's a mixture of nature and nurture. This is considered heresy by today's social sciences, and by much of the prevailing culture. Evolutionary psychologists are telling us what actually makes us all tick. It is helpful to have evidence based science rather than wishful thinking and dogma.
      If you watch the video you can see a very simple experiment on Americans. It was done at Michigan University. It's fascinating. In the US you have honour culture. It's a really interesting thing. People from different parts of the USA are operating in different cultures. I'm not talking about skin colour, it's about the difference in Southern and Northern states. It's amazing. Have a look.
      Tell me what you think.

    2. "Psychologicalization." Not a word I write very often. :/

    3. k,
      As usual, thank you for your thoughtful responses. I will check out the videos you suggest as soon as time permits. I once took a course in physical anthropology that changed the way I look at people profoundly.
      I think you are right about the social sciences, although I don't have a leg to stand on. But my limited experience with them left me with the impression that there were a lot of subjective assumptions.

    4. Jeff,
      I understand that you're busy, but re the social sciences: If you watch the "Violence" episode it is really relevant to the conversation we're having.
      If you have further time: The episode called "The gender equality paradox" ( Ep. 1) and "Nature vs Nurture" ( Ep 7) are less pertinent to what we are talking about, but show the staggering state of the social sciences. They are really quite mind-boggling. It is utterly fascinating. Luckily, the videos are done in a way that makes them incredibly easy to watch. And fun, too. ( Although, if you watch "Nature vs Nurture" parts of it happen to be incredibly moving, also. )

    5. O.K. I couldn't resist and watched the episode on violence immediately after writing you, k.
      It was quite informative and entertaining. Two thumbs up! (Don't know if you've heard that expression.)

    6. Jeff,
      Glad you liked it! Definitely heard "Thumbs up!"
      The effect of the series is cumulative. As you will find if you watch some more.
      Warning: Some of the videos have proper credits at the end. Some seem to stop abruptly, but if the running-time is up, that is where it ends. Don't know why some are like that, must just be the way they are loaded on YouTube.
      The one on "Nature vs Nurture" might make you wish to slap a Norwegian social scientist around the head with a wet haddock. When you see pure dogmatism run up against an actual human being's real experience and the damage that can do, it is shocking.