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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Putting Iranian rhetoric in perspective


(By Chris Moore, LibertarianToday.com)

The European establishment is currently in an uproar over a series of undiplomatic remarks made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel, the National Socialist-perpetrated Holocaust, and the plight of the Palestinians.

The increasingly testy back-and-fourth between the new Iranian president and his continental critics started in late November when Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

The speech-sensitive British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently had a constituent arrested and convicted for standing outside Downing Street and reading aloud the names of the 97 British soldiers who have died in the Iraq conflict, immediately spoke up.

"To anybody knowing our history, when we hear statements like that made about Israel, it makes us feel very angry, it's just completely wrong," said Blair, apparently alluding to German bombing of Britain and the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust that took place in Europe during World War II.

Possibly picking up on Blair’s Holocaust reference, Ahmadinejad addressed the issue himself.

"Some European countries insist on saying that during World War II, Hitler burned millions of Jews and put them in concentration camps ... Any historian, commentator or scientist who doubts that, is taken to prison or gets condemned," Ahmadinejad said.

"Let's assume what the Europeans say is true ... Let's give some land to the Zionists in Europe or in Germany or Austria," he added. "They faced injustice in Europe, so why do the repercussions fall on the Palestinians?"

This immediately drew a rebuke from Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel who responded by stating that the remarks were "an outrageous gaffe, which I want to repudiate in the sharpest manner" and summoning Iran's Ambassador to Austria to the Foreign Ministry.

The most recent rhetorical escalation between Ahmadinejad and his Israeli and European critics took place December 14.


"Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets," said Ahmadinejad, according to an account carried in the Washington Post headlined ‘Iran's President Calls Holocaust 'Myth' in Latest Assault on Jews.’

‘In Western countries, "if someone were to deny the existence of God . . . and deny the existence of prophets and religion, they would not bother him," Ahmadinejad said. "However, if someone were to deny the myth of the Jews' massacre, all the Zionist mouthpieces and the governments subservient to the Zionists tear their larynxes and scream against the person as much as they can."’

According to an Asian Age account of the same speech, Ahmadinejad added:
"If your civilization consists of aggression, making oppressed people homeless, suffocating the voices of justice and bringing poverty to a majority of the world's people, we say loudly that we hate your hollow civilization."


The Associated Press reported Europe’s response: ‘German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the remarks "shocking and unacceptable." … "I cannot hide the fact that this weighs on bilateral relations and on the chances for the negotiation process"…The German government said Chancellor Angela Merkel would call on the European Union to press for international condemnation at the U.N…European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso said Iranians "do not have the president, or the regime, they deserve."’

The conflict has finally brought the continental Europeans, heretofore critics of the Bush administration’s war against "Islamo-fascism," into alignment with American hawks.


‘State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the comments "outrageous" and "certainly reprehensible," reported AP. "This is one more indication that Iran is headed off 180 degrees from the rest of the world"… The White House said Ahmadinejad's words "only underscore why it is so important that the international community continue to work together to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons."’

Despite the escalating war of words, it should be noted that Ahmadinejad’s remarks are consistent with the over-the-top rhetoric often employed in the Middle East, and well within the historical framework of rhetoric the West has tolerated from Israeli politicians, religious leaders and military officials who over the years have regularly incited acts of violence against Palestinians directly, or through a process of dehumanization.

For example, writing at CounterPunch.org, activist M. Junaid Alam notes: ‘One can quote former Israeli PM Menachim Begin, who in 1982 described Palestinians as "beasts walking on two legs." Or one can quote Ehud Barak, another former Israeli PM who in 2000 said, "The Palestinians are like crocodiles." There is also former Chief of Staff of the IDF Rafael Eitan, who said in 1983, "We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours." Or to take a more recent IDF Chief of Staff, there is Moshe Ya'alon, who described Palestinians as a "cancer" requiring either "amputation" or "chemotherapy" in 2002. And then there is also Rabbi Yaacov Peerin, who, speaking at a ceremony held in the "honor" of Baruch Goldstein, considered a hero among Israeli settlers for mowing down Muslim civilians at a mosque, said, "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."’

The last remark, by Rabbi Peerin, is in the vein of certain supremacist interpretations of Jewish theology sometimes taught in Israel and to the settlers in the occupied territories by religious officials. In 2002, for example, the Palestine Chronicle reported that a rabbi in Hebron provided religious sanction to the murder of non-Jews.

‘A prominent Israeli rabbi with thousands of followers said during a Sabbath homily in the settlement in Kiryat Arba'a Saturday that halacha, or Jewish religious law, "essentially supported the annihilation of non-Jews in Israel."The rabbi, Rav Leor, said most rabbinic authorities "of the past and the present accepted the opinion that the lives of non-Jews don't' enjoy the same sanctity as the lives of Jews.""Hashmadat goyem" (the extermination of non-Jews), he said was an established principle in Jewish theology.The rabbi is affiliated with the messianic Jewish movement known as Gush Emunim which is represented in the Israeli Knesset by seven Knesset members.The movement is represented in the Israeli government by Minister without portfolio Ed Eifam of the National Religious Party (NRP).’

Despite extreme views held and often vocalized by many of Israel’s own government officials, Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, assailed Ahmadinejad’s words as "extremist," and cited them as evidence that Iran shouldn’t be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons that might pose a threat to nuclear-armed Israel.

Well aware of America’s "special relationship" with Israel (which has received tens of billions of dollars in financial and military aid over the years from the U.S.) Ahmadinejad likely views the Palestinian crises as a replay of U.S. financial and military support of Iraq and Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s. Saddam, who started the war, was also supplied with military technology and components for his Weapons of Mass Destruction by many of the European countries condemning Ahmadinejad’s statements today.

The Iran-Iraq war, and the West’s arming of Saddam, cost Iran dearly. According to Wikipedia: "With more than 100,000 Iranian victims of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons during the eight-year war, Iran is, after Japan, one of the world's top afflicted countries by Weapons of Mass Destruction."

On top of this is the fact that Israel supported the dictatorship of the Shah, the autocratic, pro-western monarch who ruled Iran with an iron fist for decades prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which transformed Iran into the populist, theocratic Islamic republic that it is today.

As reported by Saleh Abdel-Jawwad, a professor at Beir Zeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah:

"The beginning of Israel's relationship with the Shah was formed when the Mossad, acting in accord with British (MI6) and American (CIA) intelligence, worked to bring about the collapse of the democratically elected Iranian leader Mossadeq in 1953. Their role remains a secret to this day. The relationship forged with the Shah enabled Iran to be the primary importer of Israeli products until the rise of Khomeni. Israel also played a role in training the SAVAK, the infamous and brutal intelligence service which protected the Shah."


Wikepedia notes that the SAVAK was founded in 1957 with the assistance of the CIA, and records:

‘SAVAK had virtually unlimited powers of arrest and detention. It operated its own detention centres, like the notorious Evin Prison. It is universally accepted that SAVAK routinely subjected detainees to physical torture.'

As a young activist, Ahmadinejad reportedly kept a printing press at home, which he used to print leaflets denouncing the Shah and his monarchy. Because of this, his family was forced to flee Tehran on the eve of the Iranian revolution for fear of being arrested by the SAVAK secret police.

This personal history, in conjunction with reports that emerged last summer that Israeli operatives have been working in Iraqi prisons advising the U.S. on "interrogation techniques" used on Islamic detainees (just as they had advised the SAVAK during the Shah’s dictatorship), sheds light on the lens through which Ahmadinejad views the Israeli government.

Given the history of enmity between Iran and Israel, and Israel’s partnership with the U.S. government and other Western powers in attacking and undermining both Palestinian human rights and Iranian and Islamic autonomy, it is little wonder that Ahmadinejad regards the Holocaust through a far-less sacrosanct prism than do many of those in the West.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Longest Manipulation: How statists, authoritarians and profit-seekers all play the "anti-Semitism" card

(By Chris Moore, LibertarianToday.com) -- The world is eminently familiar with the holocaust of some six million Jews and other designated "enemies" of National Socialism (Nazism) that took place in Germany and Europe during World War II. Thousands of articles and hundreds of books and movies have been produced on the subject, and grieving over the Holocaust has become an annual, State-encouraged ritual as pundits, politicians and celebrities from around the world gather on Holocaust Memorial Day to pay homage to those who lost their lives. According to author Norman Finkelstein, an entire Holocaust Industry (the title of a book he wrote on the subject) has even sprung up around the phenomenon

But less familiar is another holocaust that took place prior the Nazi Holocaust, one that murdered at least four times as many. Perpetrated in the Soviet Union by Communists largely against Christians and other "enemies of the State" over a span of some fifty years starting with the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, the first holocaust has yet to fully enter the consciousness of much of the world. And fewer still are aware that the first holocaust triggered the second.

In part, this ignorance is due to special interests with their own agendas working to scapegoat Christianity for World War II crimes instead of laying the blame where it truly belongs. In fact, just as some have made memorializing the Nazi Holocaust their life’s work, others have made establishing and maintaining the alleged link between Christians and Nazism their specialty.

For example, in the book Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, author Ron Rosenbaum cites Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, best "known in America through his combative polemics in Commentary [the influential magazine of the American Jewish Committee] which challenge Jews to cut through the warm fog of ecumenical hopes and cast a cold eye on the responsibility of Christian culture and Christian belief for the Holocaust."

Rosenbaum quotes Maccoby as follows: "Christians say the Holocaust is part of the evil of humanity. It isn’t the evil of humanity. It’s the evil of Christendom."

Author Daniel Goldhagen apparently took Maccoby’s remonstrations to heart and produced two volumes, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, notorious for implicating huge swaths of Europeans and Christians in Hitler’s atrocities.

But the connection between Jews and Communism has been mostly ignored or, when addressed, explained away as a persecuted people’s natural reaction to historical bigotry and anti-Semitism. Even though the Soviet holocaust predates the Nazi holocaust, the reverse argument—that anti-Semitism may be a persecuted people’s reaction to historical genocide committed by Jewish authoritarians—is out of bounds. In fact, mentioning the Jewish ethnicity of many of the commissars, apparatchiks and Party members responsible for assembling and maintaining the Communist super-structure used to perpetrate atrocities against Christians and others deemed as threats to the State has been declared anti-Semitic in and of itself.

The only exceptions to this seems to be when the observation is made by someone of Jewish heritage. A recent example is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley Yuri Slezkine’s book The Jewish Century, wherein he describes Communist Jews as "Stalin’s willing executioners."

Another example is an article by syndicated writer and radio talk show host Chuck Morse (also Jewish) who wrote a column that concisely summarized the relationship between Jewish authoritarians and Communism:

"Communism introduced unprecedented levels of atrocity and totalitarianism to Europe in the years before Hitler, starting with the 1917 Bolshevik coup itself, Stalin's collectivization of farms, wars against the Kulaks, the engineered famines of 1931-32 which killed upwards of 5 million Ukrainians, the communist inspired atrocities of the Spanish civil war and other examples. Jewish Bolsheviks played prominent roles in the Russian coup including, among others, Trotsky (Bronstein), Zinoviev (Apfelbaum), Kamenev, Radek, and Uritzky…"

"It is an unpleasant fact that many of the worst Communists, those associated with many of the worst atrocities, were of Jewish background. Lavrenti Beria brought about the infamous Katyn massacre and other atrocities. Lazar Kaganovich, who personally claimed to be responsible for 20 million killed, stood atop the rubble of a Christian church proclaiming, 'Mother Russia has been cast down, we have torn away her skirts!' Genrikh Yagoda sent hundreds of thousands to work on the Baltic Sea canal project where countless numbers of Russians, Ukrainians, and Baltic's perished. Natalfy Frenkel and Mathias Berman founded the infamous Gulag system, with camps commanded by figures such as Rappoport, Solz, and Spiegelglas, all of whom are mentioned at length in the work of [Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn]. Ilya Ehrenburg, the World War II communist counterpart to Goebbels, incited Soviet troops to rape and maim German, Polish, and Czech women as a form of punishment…"

Of course, Stalin eventually turned on his Jewish henchmen, and later on all Jews, but not before the connection between Jewish authoritarians and Communist atrocities committed against Christians was firmly established in the minds of many Europeans.

"Because Kaganovitch, Yagoda and some other senior Communist party and NKVD officials were Jewish, Hitler's absurd claim that communism was a Jewish plot to destroy Christian civilization became widely believed across a fearful Europe," writes The Toronto Sun’s Eric Margolis.

Hitler thus deftly and demonically exploited the Jewish association with Communism to implicate all Jews as a threat to the very survival of the German people. But it should be remembered that he did not originate the concept of scapegoating a religion as an existential threat to a people and their culture, and then murdering its practitioners in an act of "justifiable preemption". That had been done previously by the Communists. Hitler was merely following suit.

Was it fair for Hitler to scapegoat and murder millions of Jews for the heinous acts of a few fanatical Jewish authoritarians? The overwhelming contemporary consensus is a resounding "no!" Was it fair for Jewish authoritarians and their Stalinists partners to murder millions of Christians for the historical sins committed by a few fanatical "Christian" authoritarians? Unfortunately, the contemporary zeitgeist often either ignores the question completely or offers up a less resounding "no, but...". The caveat is deliberate.

At first glance, it seems odd that the Jewish-authoritarian/Communist connection, as a primary motive for the Nazi Holocaust, has been ignored and downplayed for so long. After all, if the Holocaust truly was singularly evil, as so many scholars maintain, wouldn’t it be important to shed light on all of its causes?

Some would argue the silence is mainly the result of Jewish groups steadfastly working to shape history to their own best interests to save themselves from another horrible backlash. However, the artifice of arguing that the deaths of tens of millions of Christians must be suppressed in order to protect the reputation of Jewish authoritarianism only makes sense to Jewish authoritarians, Christian-haters, and those with a parallel agenda. Unfortunately, those with a parallel agenda are legion—and many of the legion reside on the political Left.

In a recent exchange with the New Republic, Paul Gottfried, Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, indirectly put his finger on the Left’s motives for framing 20th Century history as a cautionary tale against unbridled Christianity instead of a cautionary tale against unbridled statism.

In a defense of historian Ernst Nolte who "painstakingly analyze(d) the ‘rationality’ of those who made an automatic connection between Jews and communists in explaining the rise of anti-Communist anti-Semitism in the epoch that gave birth to National Socialism," Gottfried notes that it is common for Leftists to suppress comparisons between Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism. The Soviet holocaust is minimized by the Left not to prevent the Nazi Holocaust from being minimized—as some historians absurdly attempt to maintain. It is minimized to discredit anti-Communism, says Gottfried.

It seems the statist Left, which still draws much of its inspiration and world view from Marxism, wants to keep anti-Communism off balance—even today—to protect its own moral legitimacy and preserve the myth of its moral virtue. It accomplishes this by downplaying the Soviet holocaust, scapegoating Christianity for the Nazi holocaust and inferring that rigorous anti-Communism (historically a Christian enterprise) is akin to anti-Semitism.

An example of this came in 2003, when Martin Hohmann, a conservative member of the German parliament, compared the actions of Jewish Communists in the Russian Revolution with those of the Nazis. He was roundly condemned by the Left and even threatened with a criminal complaint for "incitement" under German laws outlawing "far-right" statements in public.

Hohmann defended himself by noting that the point of his comparison was not to blame the Germans for Nazi crimes or Jews for those of the Bolsheviks, but rather to blame "the godless with their godless ideologies."

This, of course, does not sit well with the Left. So rather than own up to its own historic (and current) hostility towards organized religion and the role that that hostility played in the Soviet holocaust (including the part enthusiastically embraced by FDR), the statist Left has painstakingly gone about constructing a false consciousness wherein Christianity and right-wing fanaticism are solely responsible for World War II and the Nazi holocaust; and Communism, secular Jewish authoritarianism and statism played little or no role whatsoever. Fixate on the evil of Nazism, say the Leftists. Anything less detracts from Jewish suffering and is thus anti-Semitic—and possibly illegal as well.

Perhaps cognoscente of the Jewish role in Communism, organized Jewish interest groups in America and elsewhere have gladly played along with the Left’s elaborate scapegoating of Christianity. In fact, over time, the false consciousness constructed by the Left has become the mainstream Jewish reality—and the American reality.

And the Left has taken the concept to new heights by silencing all of its critics by inferring a Nazi-like bigotry lies at the heart of their motives. For example, the entire phenomenon of political correctness—wherein generally recognized "victim" groups are completely insulated from legitimate criticism of their behavior for fear by their would-be critics of being charged with a "hate crime" or with "inciting hatred"—is one of its manifestations.

And Jewish authoritarians, as members of the ultimate victim group in what is construed as the ultimate hate crime, have leveraged their specially recognized status to the hilt. Over the years, it has been leveraged in defense of hostility towards Christian customs and culture; leveraged to render comparisons between the genocide of the Jews with the genocide of any other religious group or people worthy of contempt; leveraged in defense of a convicted traitor and spy like Jonathan Pollard and on behalf of ongoing Israeli spying on America; even leveraged to harass and intimidate American Christians seeking a more balanced approach to the never ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jewish political capital has been leveraged to such an extent, in fact, that even The New York Times has taken note—and is concerned: "Jewish organizations and advocates of Israel fail to grasp that they are no longer viewed as the voice of the disenfranchised," Ami Eden wrote in the Times recently. "Rather, they are seen as a global Goliath, close to the seats of power and capable of influencing policies and damaging reputations. As such, their efforts to raise the alarm increasingly appear as bullying."

Of course, the Times itself has long been close to the seats of power and long played a role in encouraging Jewish authoritarians towards the belligerence they exhibit today—by advancing their delusions of self-righteousness. For example, it was a Times correspondent, Walter Duranty, who helped cover-up State crimes in the Soviet Union for years by celebrating Stalinism and downplaying the atrocities being committed by the Communist regime—reporting for which Duranty was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

Was this allowed by the Ochs-Sulzbergers —the family that has controlled the Times since 1896—out of loyalty to Judaism, or out of loyalty to the Left’s false construct of right-wing Christian Nazism as the apex of evil? Probably both.

But it’s not just Leftists who have encouraged the Jewish victim mentality. There are those on the Right who have encouraged it as well.

One is well-known Washington Post columnist George Will, who can best be described as the Court conservative to statist Washington.

In 2001, Will wrote an essay in Newsweek magazine about a brutal 1941 massacre that took place in the village of Jedwabne, Poland of that town’s Jewish population by local Christians immediately following Nazi occupation—brutality apparently bereft of motive. After delving in significant detail into the savage nature of the townspeople’s attacks ("hooks and wooden clubs were used. A head was hacked off and kicked around") Will posed the question: "Why in Jedwabne did neighbors murder their neighbors?" His startling conclusion: "Because it was permitted. Because they could."

Not once did Will mention previous atrocities committed by Jewish Communists against Christians; not once did Will mention the tens of millions of Christians previously murdered—many at the hands or behest of secular Jewish authoritarians.

Would that have justified the vicious behavior? Of course not. Would it have provided some historical context that pointed to something other than the conclusion that even modern humanity is disposed towards barbarian-like savagery without a strong authoritarian hand to guide it through global multi-culturalism (or the latest version of whatever the statist elite decides multi-culturalism should be)? Yes it would have, but that wasn’t the conclusion that George Will wanted drawn.

Why not? Because the supposed imperative to save historical "victims" is a useful pretense employed by globalists in pursuit of their primary goals: money, power and Empire.

Will’s manipulativeness betrays the extent to which the interests of the statist Right overlap the interests of the statist Left when it comes to maintaining the official State narrative.

But with the war in Iraq, the statist Right and the Left (at least those on the Left willing to second guess the Church of Statism) have had an irreconcilable parting of ways—and the anti-Semitic accusation has been leveraged yet again, this time by the Right.

Because so many neocons are of Jewish background with personal and political ties to Israel and its Likud Party (some have business ties as well); and because neocons played a key role in laying the propaganda groundwork and manufacturing the false evidence necessary to take the nation to war (from both inside and outside of government), support for the war in Iraq has been construed as a litmus test on support for Judaism and Israel.

In fact, the neocons and President Bush have deliberately encouraged this interpretation by emulating Israeli tactics and policies and by tapping into the Jewish establishment to support their cause. Doing so has allowed them to hide behind the smokescreen long utilized by the Left: those opposed to their initiatives must have something against "the Jews."

Europe is mostly opposed to the Iraq war? Suddenly reports of "Europe sees a rise in anti-Semitism" start appearing in the press. Elements within the American left are increasingly opposed to the war? Look at new reports of "The Democratic Party's anti-Semitism problem." This sudden media emphasis is designed to paint the people opposed to unnecessary intervention around the globe as the ones with the problem; the people opposed to another statist war as evil anti-Semites.

The Christian Right, for whom Israel and "the Jews" play a key role in what Christian Zionists believe to be the pending End Times Rapture, has entered into the bargain as well, and some Evangelicals have become willing partners in the grand manipulation.

As Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com notes: "…the neocons are happy to applaud their Christian cohorts, egging them on to more militant acts of defiance against an increasingly pagan culture, while privately despising Christianity in all its manifestations and publicly celebrating the "pagan virtues."

"But the Christian fundamentalists don't mind being patronized and treated with ill-disguised contempt by their secular neocon allies, just as long as certain theological and political goals are met: a theocracy on the home front and Armageddon in the Holy Land…"

It is the Jewish lobby, the End Times Evangelicals, and the politicians that cater to all of them, that have played up the myth that America and Israel are somehow irrevocably intertwined; that we share the same values and same fate; that opposition to the policies of one is the equivalent of a declaration of war on both.

"…Israel is our ally – and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel – we will support Israel if her security is threatened," says President Bush.

And if the Israeli lobby has its way, that support will come at the expense of America’s ties to Europe.

"Anti-Americanism in the Islamic world and anti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked," says Natan Sharansky, the acknowledged right-wing Zionist who is Israel's minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs and, reportedly, Bush’s Middle East muse. "Both bear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism."

And so with helpful prodding from the Jewish lobby, the Right has picked up a variation of the false construct relied upon by the Left for so long: irrational anti-Semitism lurks in the heart of anyone who questions their motives and behind any inquiry into their agenda. The demagogue "anti-Semite" smear is used as a blunt instrument to silence critics yet again.

But playing the "anti-Semite" card has reached its limits, as have all trumped up "victim" justifications for putting the interests of Americans second to the interests of a few special interests run amok. The internet is aflame in recrimination against conspiratorial Jewish authoritarianism, neoconservatism and End Times Evangelicalism, which is why the New York Times—infamous for its powers of selective denial—has been forced to finally address the issue.

The Old Media have lost control of the dialogue and can no longer sustain the fantasy narrative built upon a foundation of half truths and lies. A younger generation is asking questions and wants answers. Real answers—not the politically correct pap served up through the faux pas filter of The New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media. And not the State-sanctioned conservatism that decries State-designated "Islamofascist" bogeymen in order to manipulate Americans into backing wars carried out primarily at the behest of a small minority of militant Jewish and Evangelical authoritarians and the Empire-builders and profiteers that constantly manipulate and cater to them.

Saying America has to invade the Middle East and construct a totalitarian super structure to prevent another Holocaust or 9/11 just won’t cut it much longer with an internet generation in America and around the world that is increasingly aware of, for example, what the first totalitarian super structure accomplished in the Soviet Union.