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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘control’

Nothing Legitimate about Antisemitic Slur

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Former British foreign secretary Jack Straw is pleading innocent. Called out for comments made during a Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum held at the House of Commons last week, Straw insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about raising points that he says are merely matters of genuine concern.

As the Times of Israel reported, former Labor Party Knesset member Einat Wilf, who took part in the debate, described Straw’s presentation in the following manner:

Wilf participated in the debate and posted some of what she said were Straw’s comments on her Facebook page, saying she nearly fell off her chair when she heard them: “Listing the greatest obstacles to peace, he said ‘unlimited’ funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the US are used to control and divert American policy in the region and that Germany’s ‘obsession’ with defending Israel were the problem. I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media….”

The British politician is right when he says criticizing Israel’s policies is not anti-Semitic. But, like many others who want to bash Israel without being branded as Jew-haters, he crossed a very important line when he injected traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jewish money and insidious attempts to control the policy discussion into the question of how best to advance the cause of peace.

That’s why someone like Wilf, who opposes the Netanyahu government, was so outraged. In doing so, he not only demonstrated ignorance of how American politics works as well as insensitivity to Israel’s position, but also showed the way disagreements with the Jewish state quickly morph into conspiracy theories that are thinly veiled new versions of traditional myths about Jews.

While Straw is neither the first nor the last member of Parliament or prominent Briton to play this game, the fact that someone who was a former foreign minister would not only feel free to vent this nasty stuff, but also think there’s nothing wrong with it, tells you all you need to know about the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe.

As for Straw’s charges, they are easily dismissed. Contrary to the Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel Lobby” conspiracy theory thesis, the vast, wall-to-wall bipartisan coalition that supports the Jewish state is a function of American public opinion, not Jewish money.

As frustrating as it may be for Israel’s critics, support for Zionism is baked into the DNA of American politics and is primarily the function of religious attitudes as well as the shared values of democracy that unite the U.S. and Israel.

Other lobbies (oil interests, pharmaceuticals, et al) have far more money. Hard as it is for some people to accept, the reason why American politicians back Israel’s democratically elected government is because opposing them is bad politics as well as bad policy.

Making such accusations is offensive rather than just wrong because, as Straw knows very well, talking about Jewish money buying government policy is straight out of the anti-Semitic playbook of the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The purpose of such claims is not to argue that Israel’s supporters are misguided so much as that they are illegitimate.

That Straw is similarly frustrated with German refusals to try and hammer the Israelis is equally appalling. Germany’s government has, contrary to Straw’s comment, often been highly critical of Israel, but if officials in Berlin have some sensitivity to Israel’s position as a small, besieged nation it is because they understand that the underlying factor that drives hostility to Zionism is the same anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust.

But the main point to be gleaned from this story is the way Straw has illustrated just how mainstream anti-Semitic attitudes have become in contemporary Britain. It is entirely possible that Straw thinks himself free from prejudice. But that is only possible because in the intellectual and political circles in which he and other members of the European elite move, these ideas have gone mainstream rather than being kept on the margins as they are in the United States.

The ease with which Western European politicians invoke these tired clichés about Jewish power and money is a reflection of the way attitudes have changed in the last generation as the memory of the Holocaust fades and people feel empowered to revive old hate. Chalk it up to the prejudices of intellectuals, especially on the left, as well as to the growing influence of Muslim immigrants who have brought the Jew-hatred of their home countries with them.

Straw may not be alone in not liking the Netanyahu government, but he can’t get out off the hook for the anti-Semitic rationale for his views that he put forward. The pity is, he’s speaking for all too many Europeans when he speaks in this manner.

The Truth About Syria

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

If you are interested in reading more about Syria, you’re welcome to read my book The Truth About Syria online or download it for free.

WHY SYRIA MATTERS

“It is my pleasure to meet with you in the new Middle East,” said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a speech to the Syrian Journalists’ Union on August 15, 2006.1 But Bashar’s new Middle East was neither the one hoped for by many since Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s 1991 defeat in Kuwait nor expected when Bashar himself ascended the throne in 2000. Actually, it was not even new at all but rather a reversion, often in remarkable detail, to the Middle East of the 1950s through the 1980s. The Arab world, now accompanied by Iran, was re-embracing an era that was an unmitigated disaster for itself and extolling ideas and strategies which had repeatedly led it to catastrophe.

No Arab state had more to do with this important and tragic turnabout than does Syria, this development’s main architect and beneficiary. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Arab states wanted quiet; Iraq needed peace to rebuild itself. Even Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, pressed by sanctions and scared by his Iraqi counterpart Saddam’s fate, was on his good behavior. Only Syria remained as a source of instability and radicalism.

Thus, a small state with a modest economy became the fulcrum on which the Middle East shifted and which, in turn, shook the globe. Indeed, Bashar’s version of the new Middle East may well persist for an entire generation. Does this make Bashar a fool or a genius? That cannot be determined directly. What can be said is that his policy is good for the regime, simultaneously brilliant and disastrous for Syria, and just plain disastrous for many others.

To understand Syria’s special feature, it is best to heed the all-important insight of a Lebanese-American scholar, Fouad Ajami: “Syria’s main asset, in contrast to Egypt’s preeminence and Saudi wealth, is its capacity for mischief.”

In the final analysis, the aforementioned mischief was in the service of regime maintenance, the all-encompassing cause and goal of the Syrian government’s behavior. Demagoguery, not the delivery of material benefits, is the basis of its power.

Why have those who govern Syria followed such a pattern for more than six decades under almost a dozen different regimes? The answer: Precisely because the country is a weak one in many respects. Aside from lacking Egypt’s power and Saudi Arabia’s money, it also falls short on internal coherence due to its diverse population and minority-dominated regime. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein used repression, ideology, and foreign adventures to hold together a system dominated by Sunni Arab Muslims who were only one-fifth of the population. In Syria, even more intense measures were needed to sustain an Alawite regime that rules based on a community only half as large proportionately.

To survive, then, the regime needs transcendent slogans and passionate external conflicts that help make its problems disappear. Arabism and, in more recent years, Islamism, are its solution. In this light, Syria’s rulers can claim to be not a rather inept, corrupt dictatorship but the rightful leaders of all Arabs and the champions of all Muslims. Their battle cries are very effectively used to justify oppression at home and aggression abroad. No other country in the world throws around the word “imperialism” more in describing foreign adversaries, and yet no other state on the globe follows a more classical imperialist policy.

In broad terms, this approach is followed by most, if not all, Arab governments, but Syria offers the purest example of the system. As for the consequences, two basic principles are useful to keep in mind:

1. It often seemed as if the worse Syria behaved, the better its regime does. Syrian leaders do not accept the Western view that moderation, compromise, an open economy, and peace are always better. When Syria acts radical, up to a point of course, it maximizes its main asset—causing trouble—which cancels out all its other weaknesses. As a dictatorship, militancy provided an excuse for tight controls and domestic popularity through its demagoguery.

2. Success for the regime and state means disaster for the people, society, and economy. The regime prospers by keeping Syrians believing that the battle against America and Israel, not freedom and prosperity, should be their top priority. External threats are used to justify internal repression. The state’s control over the economy means lower living standards for most while simultaneously preserving a rich ruling elite with lots of money to give to its supporters.

Defense Minister Ya’alon: Assad Has Lost Control

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Against the background of the gas attack in Syria and the reports about hundreds of victims, perhaps more than a thousand, Israeli Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said on Wednesday that “the Syrian regime has lost control over the country, is present only in about 40 percent of its territory and is finding it difficult to subdue to opposition forces.”

Speaking at a ceremony welcoming the new Jewish year at the defense ministry compound in downtown Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that “for some time now this has not been an internal Syrian conflict. We decided not to intervene in this conflict, but we drew red lines to make sure our interests are not harmed.

The defense minister expressed skepticism about the ending of the war in Syria. “We don’t envision the end of this situation, since even the toppling of Assad won’t bring about a conclusion. There are many open, bloody accounts yet to be settled by the various elements.”

“It’s a conflict that has turned global, with one axis receiving support from Russia and the other bein helped by the U.S. and Europe. Lebanon is connected to the massive Iranian support and therefore the war has been dripping into its territory as well. Inside Lebanon there are focal points of confrontation as well. But, generally speaking, the borders are peaceful and we are watching to make sure the cannons are not trained on us,” Ya’alon said.

According to rebel sources in Syria, the number of dead as a result of the chemical gas attack on a suburb of Damascus has topped 1,300, including women and children. The rebels are claiming this was a massacre of innocent civilians, who were hurt by poison gas in the area of the Guta camp, a rebel held spot outside Damascus.

A Syrian government spokesperson has said in response that those claims are unfounded, and are intended to sabotage the work of the UN inspectors who have just arrived in Syria to investigate earlier reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, head of the 20-member inspection team, told news agency TT that he finds the reports of such a high number of casualties suspicious.

“It sounds like something that should be looked into,” he told TT over the phone from Damascus. “It will depend on whether any UN member state goes to the secretary general and says we should look at this event. We are in place.”

Minister Ya’alon referred to situation in Egypt as well, saying there has been relative quiet on the Israeli border with Egypt, but noted that extremist elements like the World Jihad will attempt to destabilize the border.

He warned against the recent developments in the Sinai, such as the execution by Islamist terrorists of 25 Egyptian policemen, spilling over into Israel.

“Over the past week, the Sinai border has been the hottest, and it obliges us to realign for it.”

The End of Control

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Originally published at Sultan Knish.
We utilize systems to achieve goals whether it’s defending the country or fighting poverty or making the trains run in time or achieving political change.

Modem systems are systematic creatures that aim to achieve goals by maximizing control over all the subsidiary elements of the problem.

So if you set out to solve poverty, you need control over all the social and economic elements that either cause poverty or could be used to ameliorate poverty. Those elements include the sum amount of national wealth for the purposes of wealth redistribution, the rate of  unwed teen pregnancies and any forms of racial discrimination… and that’s just for starters. Even poverty, which would seem like a rather simple phenomenon becomes a system which takes into account tools like abortion, progressive taxation and discrimination laws.

The scope of each social problem becomes so limitless that all social problems must merge into a Holistic Socialism of piano wire in which every string touched spreads vibrations everywhere. Solving even the most minor problem requires solving all the problems and the only solution is the absolute power of the system.

Socialism relies on systems as means to achieve social ends. The systems develop policies that control as a means to achieve those ends.

When the ends are not achieved then the system responds by intensifying the depth and scope of the control. Increasing control is the only solution of the system to failure.

And so the system changes from pursuing control as a means to pursuing control as an end.

Socialism, like most systems of government derived from it, has enshrined control as an end in and of itself.

As O’Brien said in 1984, the purpose of power is power. And control is just another word for power.

Systems may be formed to achieve moral ends but they are no more moral in and of themselves than a hammer. The longer a system exists, the more it comes to exist for itself and its power becomes its own end.

A hammer exists to hammer. A hammer in the hands of a man is a tool, but a hammer that exists for its own sake is a destructive force. A bureaucracy exists to regulate to achieve a specific end, but a bureaucracy that exists for its own sake is tyranny. It seeks to control for the sake of control. It wields power for the sake of power.

It insists that its ends are moral, but as they are not achieved, the true end of control is revealed.

Socialism begins with control to achieve social ends only for control to become the end. And that leads to the end of freedom.

An institution vested with power becomes an institution of power.  The response of the left to this inevitable fact of human history is to insist that granting unlimited power to their institutions will have different results because their purposes are moral. But moral purposes can only be vested in people, not institutions. Ideology can take control of institutions but once control is achieved then the ideology comes to exist for the sake of the institution. That is how the grand ambitions of the left died in China and Russia. That is how it may die in Europe and America.

As a system becomes its own purpose, it uses the purposes of others as camouflage. It promises to solve problems that it has no intention of solving as means of extracting resources from those who want the problem solved.

Initially the system may be run by those who do want to solve the problem and see the system as the only way to do so but as the system grows and spreads their motives become mixed.

Bureaucracy is the essence of the system and exists to keep track of and implement its many rules. The rules are the tools of control and their purpose is to make the unpredictable into the predictable.

The rules start life as the means but as with all means of tyranny they become the ends by which the bureaucracy exercises its power.

Rules in a bureaucracy operate on different levels. On one level they are meant to achieve a socially responsible end, but on another they benefit the allies of the bureaucracy. On a third level they exist to justify the expansion of the bureaucracy and to allow it to wield its power. On a fourth level they define status within the bureaucracy.

So for example an environmental initiative may be intended to lessen pollution levels on the surface but also rewards environmental groups and consultancies whose lobbying enhances the power and funding of the EPA. On a third level, the EPA now uses the initiative to expand the scope of its authority and request more funding to hire more people in the D.C. pecking order between government agencies. On a fourth level, this influences the pecking order within the organization.

The EPA is an environmental organization but it’s an organization and in the long run when the institutional long marches have been completed, it is the organizational part that will matter more,

The left provides tyranny with the social motive to come into being, but in the long run the left Is only the midwife of tyranny. Its ideology and activists dismantle democracies and burgeoning democracies and replace them with tyrannies.

Whether it’s Islam or a conventional oligarchy or a cult of personality tyrant, the left’s role is to act as the virus that kills the host and then allows it to be fed on by predators in the hopes of infecting them in turn.

The left injects bureaucratic collectivism into a healthy state to control it, but in the long run the bureaucratic collectivism will outlive it as it becomes the end for which the left was only the means.

Israeli Startup Helps Kids Manage Hanukkah Gelt

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Just in time for Hanukkah, an Israeli startup is helping kids to handle their gelt responsibly.

KidsCash’s website allows users to handle a small amount of money online – spending, saving and donating while learning how to manage their money for the future.

In an article by NoCamels, KidsCash’s founders said the program is meant to give kids a little autonomy with a small amount of money, allowing them to make some purchases themselves – without their parents credit cards or prepaid cards – and teaching them the fundamentals of growing, saving, and donating their money.

Parents can control how much they supervise the money – including options such as approving purchases through SMS or email, or just letting their children get automatic approval within a certain monetary limit. Parents can also determine what percentage can be spent on which types of items, and receive alerts if their children have spent over a certain amount in one day.

The items for sale are all within the control of the KidsCash marketplace, and include iTunes and other gaming products, as well as links to other approved sites, according to the NoCamels report.

KidsCash is free for parents and children, only charging fees to partners and vendors.

Bob Costas Facing Wrath of Gun Owners After Gun-Control Comments

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Following his comments on Sunday night football advocating for greater gun control, NBC sports announcer Bob Costas is facing growing anger by gun owning football fans who are calling on the NFL to ban Costas.

The angry fans have started a Facebook page, entitled “The NFL Should Ban Bob Costas.” The page has over 1500 likes and is growing by the minute.

According to the page, “Bob Costas is just another liberal mouth piece for the NBC socialist media. The NFL is supported by a large number of gun owners that are sick of this anti-liberty rhetoric. It is time for the NFL to make a statement. Do you want our business or not?!”

Following a murder-suicide carried out by Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher over the weekend which left him and his girlfriend dead, Costas advocated for stricter gun control regulations during the halftime segment of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, quoting an article by a Fox Sports columnist.

List of Roads Closed Due to War in South

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

As reported by Ynet: Road 34, Road 232, Road 25 and Road 241 are closed due to fighting and concern for public safety in the event of rocket attacks.

Traffic control police are directing drivers at the region.

Dealing with Adult who Sexually Abuses Children

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

A sexual abuser is someone with visceral urges who often spirals down into an abyss from which he usually cannot fully recover. Research shows that sex offenders are among of the most difficult to treat, as their behavior is caused by such powerful forces.

There are clear mental dysfunction and depravity that go along with being an adult who sexually abuses children. This is an explanation, not an excuse. Perpetrators deserve our empathy – possibly – but need to be dealt with justly and in methods that ensure our children’s safety, without any compromises. It is a sad fact that for each perpetrator there isn’t only one victim, but more likely there are sometimes scores and even hundreds of victims. That sounds hard to believe, but simple math tells us that stopping just one perpetrator may protect hundreds of potential victims.

Most abusers have at one time themselves been abused and now prey on others. For many of us this is difficult to fathom; how could someone so acutely aware of the pain and suffering abuse entails now mete out those same feelings onto another?

Let us try to understand this psychological phenomenon from a theoretical perspective. When people are sexually abused, much of the inherent power and control they once had over their bodies and minds becomes either severely compromised or downright damaged. When the abuse takes place repeatedly, the power and control we speak of can become a distant memory, and victims often develop serious trauma.

The question for the victim now becomes, how can I regain that elusive power and control? Unfortunately, the form of power and control he knows best is sexual abuse – and to regain it he perpetrates what happened to him onto another. It is important to note that the former victim, now abuser, is most likely unaware of the trajectory and evolution of his own thoughts; he is merely desperate to recover what has been missing from his life all these years. This absolves none of his personal responsibility; he remains fully culpable for his actions, but it is important to examine his motivations.

Now that we understand why abuse occurs, the question becomes, what can we do about it? There are many ways, and addressing only one aspect or having one direction won’t fully incorporate what is necessary to eliminate abuse from our midst (although, complete eradication is most likely impossible).

I believe an increase in education as to the effects of sexual abuse on victims – rather than dry statistics of abuse prevalence – may help. Too often I hear, “It happened so long ago, can’t the person just get over it?” Many fail to comprehend the association between abuse and long-term trauma, and don’t understand why there is a significantly increased risk of serious mental issues in victims, such as depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide.

In addition, as described above, abuse becomes repeated and multigenerational. The facts are out there, they merely need to be disseminated. An increase in knowledge invariably causes an increase in sensitivity and understanding. Sadly, almost ninety percent of abuse never gets reported – in all communities. But the courageous few who do come forward, need our full backing and support.

As to our own community, it has been copiously documented by the media how we responded in the past to cases of abuse – everything from, “this doesn’t happen in our communities,” to “it’s a chillul Hashem to allow this to get out.” By increasing our understanding of what abuse causes, rather than merely stating that abuse exists (which at this point is difficult for anyone to deny, though some inevitably try), we might discourage cowardly individuals from within from attempting to prevent deserved justice. While this may be only a small step towards eradicating wrong from the world, it can, hopefully, be a start.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/dealing-with-adult-who-sexually-abuses-children/2012/11/14/

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