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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

Listen to Me: Islam Does Not Command War Against Jews

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

In an op. ed. piece for the Jewish Press, I cited from the Qur’an to show that war is an exceptional matter for Muslims, an unwanted obligation to be fulfilled in limited circumstances, and for defensive purposes only.

In response, I’ve been denounced and accused of being a Trojan horse, the wolf trying to devour Little Red Riding Hood, of not being a Muslim or being the worst kind of liar, misguided, deceiver, of practicing taqiyya, of disseminating propaganda with the intention of deceiving Israelis & Westerners, of using jihadist tactics in disguise, etc.

The most moderate reaction has been that I am young, naive… and don’t know my religion and the real world.

Despite the criticism, I stand behind my words, and I say further that Hamas or any other Islamic group that uses violence against civilians is doing wrong according to the Qur’an and that Jews, Christians, and Muslims must and can live co-exist together in harmony and peace. The reactions to my statements have been along the following lines: “What about the jihad verses in Qur’an? What about taqiyyah? What about abrogation of the verses which counsel peace?”

Let me clarify these misconceptions about Islam so that there is no excuse for warmongers and those who wish to shed oceans of blood.

War and violence in the Holy Books - Admittedly, there are commandments about war in the Qur’an, and those verses pertain to self-defense. The Tanakh and the Gospel also contain provisions about war and violence, and there are verses full of killing, especially in the Torah. The passages about war in those are, just as with the Qur’an, in regard to self-defense. The Torah and the Gospel command peace and love, and contain commandments about love and affection too. A person of love will interpret that in one way, and a cruel person in another. One can interpret it truly if one looks at it sincerely. For instance the Gospel speaks of blood up to the manes of the horses; it speaks of nobody being saved apart from 144,000 Jews. These are actually metaphorical and must be elucidated within the general tone of the Gospel, which is one of love and affection prevailing. But if someone insists on interpreting it in terms of violence, if he adds additional things to it out of his own mind, then a climate of violence will of course ensue. But a real Jew or a real Christian would never murder innocent people simply because there exists verses regarding killings in their Holy Books. In the same way, people who will look at Islam and the Qur’an through the eyes of love will not come up with violent interpretations.

Dictators against Prophets’ divine message - Let us not forget that the Prophet Mohammed was a prophet who sought to spread the pure faith of the Prophet Abraham, which is faith in God, the One and Only and ascribing no equals to Him, in a pagan society which had been dominated by idol worship. Like many prophets whose names appear in the Tanakh, the Prophet Mohammad has been commissioned for transmitting the message of God. It was impossible for the prophets to make any concessions on this, and they carried the true message, even at the cost of their own lives, to the most extreme leaders of their times and the most perverse communities. Conveying this message sometimes meant to oppose the tyrant Nimrod, as in the case of the Prophet Abraham, and sometimes to oppose dictators such as Pharaoh, as with the Prophet Moses. At all such times, believers found opposition from people who sought to take their lives. Despite circumstances where no one enjoyed freedom of expression, all the prophets communicated God’s message without regard to the cost. And this is no different in Islam as well.

War (qital) and jihad are not the same - The basic claim of the accusations and reactions trying to portray Islam as violent -God forbid- is that there are verses about jihad in the Qur’an and that these speak of killing. First and foremost, jihad and war are entirely different concepts: Jihad is not synonymous with holy war, as some misguided people think. Jihad means rather exertion, which is to strive, to make effort toward some object identified to the will of God as revealed in the Qur’an. Some worthy objects of jihad include strife against one’s egoistic passions, or to make an intellectual challenge against irreligion, radicalism or fanaticism. One convinces people with scientific and intellectual evidence. To expose the signs of God’s existence, to convey His revelation, to explain the malice of atheistic ideologies etc… These are the legitimate objects of the “jihad” for a Muslim, not beating someone about the head, killing someone or forcing a person to embrace Islam as an act of coercion.

MTA Sneaks In Free Speech Restrictions, Bypassing Court Ruling Favoring Anti-Jihad Ad

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

In what many, including legal scholar Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, call “unconstitutional” restrictions on free speech, the board of the New York City Transportation Authority unanimously passed a new set of regulations governing the kinds of advertisements it will accept. The MTA is now empowered to ban any ad the  MTA

reasonably foresees would imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace.

The new regulations also require disclaimers to be included in any political, religious or morality-based ads, stating  that they do not represent the views of the MTA.

These new regulations were announced on Thursday, September 27, just three days after the American Freedom Defense Initiative ads were put up after a lengthy and costly court battle brought by AFDI and its executive and associate directors, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, to enforce their First Amendment right to free speech.  That ad appears in 10 subway stations in the New York subway system.  It reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.  Support Israel.  Defeat Jihad.”

The spokesman for the MTA, Aaron Donovan, admitted to a reporter from The Blaze that the changes came in response to AFDI’s anti-Jihad ads and the ensuing litigation.

Initial reports were that commuters were passing by the ads without any noticeable responses, but apparently there were complaints that instilled fear in MTA board members.

There was at least one widely publicized attack against the ad, engaged in by Egyptian-American activist Mona Eltahawy. That attack was motivated by the woman, who has only been a U.S. citizen for one year.  Eltahawy claimed that her acts of criminal vandalism, which were caught on videotape by The New York Post, were legitimate acts of free speech and non-violent protest.

Eltahawy was arrested and charged with various offenses.  When she was released from prison the next day, Eltahawy was critical of her time in jail.  However, Eltahawy  neglected to mention that when she was detained by Egyptian police during the Arab Spring uprisings, her arm and her wrist were broken and she claimed the police repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her.

The newly-elected Egyptian president, former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, instructed the Egyptian Consul General, Zousef Zada, to monitor Eltahawy’s case.

The New York Times reported on the new restrictions, without any comment regarding the potentially unconstitutional regulations.

Instead, the venerable leader against the assault on the First Amendment – The New York Times - merely reported the outlandish statements made at a press conference announcing the changes, by the MTA chairman, Joseph J. Lhota.   “We’ve gotten to the point where we needed to take action today,” Lhota said, in what must have been a reference to anger directed at the anti-Jihad ads, “You deal with a free speech issue with more free speech.”   Like Eltahawy, Lhota appears to believe that free speech includes official action taken to restrict free speech.

The MTA may hope it has avoided a First Amendment challenge because its restriction is “viewpoint neutral.” This is because the new regulation does not overtly single out any special group or groups for special treatment, which was the fatal flaw pointed out by Judge Englemayer in his July 20 ruling which forced the MTA to finally post them, after a year-long delay caused by their rejection of that ad on grounds determined to be unconstitutional.

The new restriction is sure to inspire potent legal challenges on other constitutional grounds.  For example, can one “reasonably foresee” what kind of ad will “incite violence” or a “breach of the peace”?  A legal challenge on numerous grounds should be anticipated, as predicted by Dershowitz in an interview with The Algemeinerin which he referred to the new rules as not only “unconstitutional,” but also “plain dumb.”

And to argue that ads, such as the anti-Jihad ones, will incite violence, whereas the pro-Israel ones would not, because they did not, might lead to an argument underscoring the point of Geller’s ads. That ads perceived by Muslims, to be anti-Muslim, such that they justify violence, could conceivably be used to prove that Muslims are unable to tolerate First Amendment norms in the same way as do other ethnic groups.  And that argument itself might, under this theory, incite violence.

Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Mona Eltahawy is an extremely well-spoken, Egyptian-American journalist who has become the g0-to speaker for comments on the Middle East in general, and on Egypt and Women’s issues in particular.  A speaker who stays on message no matter what is being asked, Eltahawy’s theme is: former Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak and those who supported him are always bad, Muslims seeking to control their own destiny are always good and should be supported in the name of freedom and democracy, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Over the past few years Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed – Pamela Geller’s anti-Jihad ad discussed and shown here.  She also insisted her free speech right extended to spraying toxic paint on a woman, Pamela Hall, who tried to interfere with Eltahawy’s efforts to deface Geller’s ad.  And then Eltahawy blamed Hall for interfering with her free speech rights and accused the arresting police officers of interfering with her “non-violent” protest, thereby engaging in anti-democratic activity.

It appears Eltahawy has a singularly self-focused understanding of freedom and democracy.  Given her limitations, it is problematic that so many media outlets rely on Eltahawy as an “expert.”  It is possible that given her criminal activity Wednesday evening, some will see her convoluted views of reality as casting doubts on past Eltahawy discourses.

The journalist’s inability to recognize why her activity was criminal and subverted the First Amendment, simply because Geller’s anti-Jihad ad constituted speech with which she didn’t agree, is telling.

But this isn’t the first time Eltahawy’s view of reality has been refracted through her own, narrow prism.

Eltahawy is best known for being an ardent activist for women’s rights, a dangerous and valiant effort for a Muslim.  She has written about the enormously high percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted in Egypt, as many as 80 percent, and that four out of five Egyptian women have reported being sexually assaulted.

Although Eltahawy has been highly critical and very vocal about the subjugation of women under Islam, when that view bumps up against her global recognition as an articulate spokesperson for the revolutionary Arab Spring, a disconnect takes place.

In the context of the anti-Jihad ads which she defaced, Eltahawy expressed outrage over the use of the term “savage,” to describe Jihadi activity.  In her view, the use of the word savage was an insult because she interpreted it to refer to all Muslims.  While defacing the ad, she told Hall, who tried to prevent the ad from being damaged, that she was protesting racism, and that Hall was defending racism.

But Eltahawy described Muslims who sexually assaulted and beat her last winter as a “pack of wild animals.”  So, was her anger over the use of the term savage, when she described wild, violent Muslims as “wild animals” hypocritical?  Not necessarily, because her criticism of the Egyptian police is consistent with her world view.  There were numerous reports of women assaulted by the civilian crowds, the revolutionaries, in Tahrir Square, during the Arab spring.  And it is in commenting on those assaults that Eltahawy’s hypocrisy is made clear.

Perhaps the best known, to western audiences, of sexual assaults by the Arab spring activists, is the assault on CBS’s Lara Logan.  Logan was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by those demonstrating in Tahrir Square crowds in February, 2011.

When Eltahawy was asked to comment on CTV News on the attacks on Logan, she “unequivocally condemned” the violence experienced by Logan.  However, the focus of her ire was always pointed back at the Mubarak regime, which was, she said, “known for targetting women.”

Eltahawy even went so far as to insinuate that Logan’s story was in some ways questionable, or at least an anomaly.  She also deflected the responsibility for the attack on unnamed others.

“Women I know said it was the safest area in Cairo,” Eltahawy said of Tahrir Square during the demonstrations.  But after Mubarak, the area was “open to all, so we don’t know who else was there.”

Pamela Hall is pressing charges against Eltahawy.  Her clothing and her bags were damaged by the paint.  When reached by The Jewish Press, Hall said she knew who Eltahawy was as soon as she saw her, but she was “surprised” to see her spray painting the ad.

According to Hall, using “paint is a much more serious act than slapping a sticker up and walking away.  What was she thinking?”

Twenty-Eight Years Later, it’s Finally 1984

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In 1975, there were political billboards around America proclaiming portentously that 1984 was only nine years away.  The reference, of course, was to George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, the novel of a collectivized, indoctrinated human future, which high-school students had been reading since it was published in 1949.

The year 1984, by Gregorian reckoning, came and went, and Americans seemed to have dodged the Nineteen-Eighty-Four bullet.  We weren’t being interned for reeducation by a Ministry of Love.  Although conservative, constitutionalist, limited-government ideas came under relentless attack in the mainstream media and the academy, those who expressed the ideas remained free to do so.  (They in fact became freer with the lifting under Reagan of the genuinely Orwellian-named “Fairness Doctrine.”)

The MSM built narratives about the reprehensible heartlessness, hypocrisy, and stupidity of conservatives, Republicans, and Christians, but we remained largely free to live and work as we chose.  Reagan was reelected in 1984, and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were elected in the years since.  Republicans might have imposed unnecessary constraints on themselves – e.g., the party leadership unaccountably believing, against the evidence, that Republican candidates need to tack left to attract votes – but for the most part, the GOP continued to have a fair shot at the ballot box.

In 2012, the atmosphere has changed.  The sacredness of our right to free expression – religious, political, artistic – is not necessarily given priority by either our federal government or the MSM.  Dissent is treated as a pestilence, or worse (e.g., global-warming skeptics being compared to Holocaust deniers).  Media and political figures cater nakedly to political narratives, no matter how many times truth bites them in the backside.  They simply ignore the truth – often while being faced directly with it on live TV – focused instead on faithfully repeating the narratives launched from the Obama White House, as well as on nurturing narratives of their own.

Thus, when multiple attacks were mounted on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Muslim world on 9/11 – one of them a clearly pre-planned assault on the US ambassador in Libya (see here as well; the media originally reported the Libyan attack as pre-planned) – the Obama White House promptly launched a narrative: that these attacks were unrelated to the 9/11 anniversary, and were instead the fault of a shadowy naturalized American, who had made what is apparently a silly, low-quality video about Mohammed and Muslims.  (The clip on YouTube seems to confirm this assessment.)

Attacks on US embassies and consulates all across the Muslim world, on 9/11/12 and the days following, could hardly be interpreted as other than a form of attack on the United States.  Egyptian radicals storming the US embassy in Cairo chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!” – which carries not a whiff of righteous fury about an amateur video, but clearly invokes Osama bin Laden and the tactical triumph of al Qaeda on 9/11/01, and carries a warning to the president of the United States.  Assaults and attempted assaults on US diplomatic facilities occurred from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Morocco – including violent riots against our embassy in Tunisia, the vanguard of the Arab Spring and a North African nation with which America has had peaceful, friendly ties for more than 200 years.

At the very least, the Obama administration is misinterpreting what is going on.  The eruptions in the Muslim world are happening because of the larger shift that started 18 months ago.  Crowds of radicals from the Muslim world generate a fury that Bolsheviks could only wish for; the developments across the Muslim arc of the Eastern hemisphere today are not necessarily to be interpreted in the categories of Soviet-era instigation and fomentation, for which Marxist cadre were famous.  Today’s events are somewhat different.

Significantly, Mohammed Morsi is emblematic of a new kind of Sunni Arab leader who will grope toward a signature concept of state Islamism.  But that concept is as yet without clear form, and the numerous attacks on American facilities can’t be pinned on it.  The two phenomena – attacks from the street and state Islamism – are related, but they have not gotten to a melding point yet.  This is the evolution we need to be watching for.

The Arab Spring nations have either remained, uneasily, under sclerotic despotisms, or have migrated to an evolving Muslim Brotherhood rule.  Neither case is a factor for stability, social peace, or a consensual idea in the political realm.  Libya is as yet unpacified by her putative national government; Syria is in full uproar.  The Middle East has not found a stability point, and that condition is red meat to radical extremists, who include both the terrorists who assassinated the ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, and the inciters of attacks on US embassies in Cairo and elsewhere.

Photo Essay: Palestinians Protest

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Arabs in Gaza, Jerusalem, Yafo and the Israeli territories protested against America, free speech, and the “Innocence” movie. From Al Qaida supporting Salafists to Hamas, the entire range of Palestinian culture was represented on Friday’s protests across the country.

A group of Israeli hikers, who every Friday hike around a different area of the country, had stones thrown at them by 20 Palestinians near Beit Hagai. No hiker was injured.

Better Than They Are

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

On these shores, Americans commemorated the cold-blooded gleeful murder of thousands of their fellow men and women by bowing their heads and enlisting in one of the free work projects of the National Day of Service listed at Serve.gov, a combination that says all that needs to be said about our present day relationship with our government.

In newly liberated Benghazi, the city that Obama named as his moral imperative for fighting an illegal war against the will of the American people, gunmen opened fire on the American embassy and killed an American security guard. That dead man is the first American casualty in the Libyan War– a casualty that will be acknowledged and honored around the same time that someone in the media calls the Libyan War, a war, instead of sticking to the shameless lie of a No Fly Zone.

In Cairo, a mob of a thousand climbed the wall, tore down the American flag, tore it to pieces, burned it and tried to replace it with their own flag with the words, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger”. That message was the same one that the murderers of Americans have shouted, written and videotaped themselves chanting in one form or another.

As befits a great power, the US Embassy in Cairo responded by condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” The US Embassy’s statement was virtually indistinguishable from the one issued by the beleaguered Christian Copts of Egypt. The Christians of Egypt act that way because they live at the merciless mercy of Muslims. Apparently so do we.

When the Prophet-Criers climb our walls and murder us, we apologize for having offended their religious feelings. The same religious feelings that took down the World Trade Center as part of a murderous crusade going back over a thousand years. They kill us and we elect a man with a Muslim background to tour the world and explain to all the angry Muslims that we’re really very nice people once you get to know us.

If they want to be ruled by Muslim governments under Islamic law, we’ll give that to them. If they want a billion dollars, we’ll send it to them. If they want us to apologize for having free speech, we’ll do that too.

If they burn a couple more embassies, we’ll even see do something about that Bill of Rights which does not permit the gendarmes of tolerance to arrest a man for blasphemously calling Mohammed a pedophile and burning a Koran bought and paid for with his own money. Not like our more enlightened European cousins who put a stop to that behavior long ago and are sniffing around the flanks of Sharia law to see which parts of it can fit safely into their tolerant order.

And of course burning a Koran is ridiculous. So what if they burn American flags. So what if they burned 3,000 people, the ones who didn’t jump or kill themselves some other way. So what if their great ambition in life is to climb over all our walls and kill most of us and enslave the rest because the Koran, that most holy book which unlike New Yorkers must not be burned, tells them to do it. So what?

They can kill us because someone somewhere insulted their prophet. But when they kill thousands of us, then we must feel eternal shame because we renditioned some of the perpetrators, put them in a room and then, under medical supervision, poured water on them until they eventually told us about all their other plans to kill us.

The answer, you see, is that we are better than they are. And we get plenty of opportunities to show off how much better than them we truly are.

They kill us and we apologize to them. They kill us and we spend a fortune developing drones that will be able to take out the leader who ordered the attack with as little collateral damage as possible. And then when the natives dig up the daughters they murdered last week and the brother-in-law they beat to death last month in a clan feud, and dump them on the smoking vehicle, and the local stringers who have arrangements with Al Qaeda and the Taliban snap away at the wreckage, we will feel bad because after all the billions we spent developing and deploying a weapon meant to kill as few people as possible– there are the bodies that prove we are terrible people.

And when Karzai, whose prisons are full of raped and mutilated women, yells at us in front of the camera, before taking a hit of coke, and going off to have sex with one of his dancing boys, tells us that we are terrible people, we will believe it. Because we are better than them and we have a conscience.

This collective conscience does not respond to the mutilated bodies of Americans, in Afghanistan or in New York. It is a conscience deaf to the pain of the thousands of soldiers and their families who died or suffered crippling injuries because the new administration wanted to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, the only people who truly matter, by minimizing civilian casualties. But show that conscience a naked Muslim with women’s underwear on his head and it will shriek and clutch its pearls. It will turn that Muslim into the shame of America, while looking away from the Rape Rooms that same Muslim supervised.

After September 11 we could have struck back, the way we struck back at Japan, without mercy or empathy, with no concern for the enemy as anything but a faceless mass that hurt us. We could have leveled their cities, brought their civilization to the ground and done it with no more concern than a government legislator deciding how much money to squeeze out of the taxpayer for this year.

But we didn’t do that. We did not come to hurt them, but to save them from themselves and teach them how to be good people like us. We wanted to make them into the kind of kind noble people who only respond with the minimal amount of violence possible to an attack. The kind of people who will let thousands of their own people die rather for the sake of their conscience. Good people like us.

Our experiment at civilizing the savage failed miserably in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will go on failing as often as we keep attempting it. And at the end of the experiment, there will be burning embassies and savages crying, “There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger,” the same words that the bearded bandit who was one of the first Muslims and their many times great-grandfather was crying out as he was raping the shamelessly unveiled tribal woman who would become their many times great-grandmother.

“There is no God but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger” means that the Muslim need not waste time worrying about his conscience. His conscience is a Koran and that book says that he’s entitled to kill any time that an infidel offends Islam by mocking his prophet, walking in front of him or building a skyscraper that is taller than a mosque. The Muslim need not waste time pondering the ethical implications of killing another human being to know that he is better than we are. His little black book assures him that he is better than us, that he has every right to kill us and that if he fails, he will be raping demon virgins who are so anorexic that their bones can be seen through their flesh.

But, we oh what good people we are, we will apologize for having an embassy and for having free speech and for getting our embassy in the way of their mob and our free speech in the way of our religious sensibilities. And we will see about getting all of the above out of their way. After Muslims killed thousands of Americans we did everything we could to learn about their religion, to celebrate it and soothe their ruffled feathers. Like an anxious host, we are still rushing around to see that our Muslim guest has enough coffee and egg rolls while promising to do something about that free speech that offends him.

Like all good people, we are expert at blaming ourselves. Aside from the rabble who claim that there really were no Muslims on those planes and possibly no planes at all, just a vast conspiracy by the people in our own government who were not at all Muslims, there are the other rabble who claim that our foreign policy motivated the attacks. One way or another, we are to blame. That is how we know that we are good people… by blaming ourselves. The more we apologize and ask our murderers to forgive us, the better people we know ourselves to be.

One day, and this is our highest hope, we will look a Muslim terrorist in the eye right as he shoots us and beam into his soul a message of hope and peace, and just as the life bleeds out of our veins, the Muslim will fall at our feet and be filled with the understanding that all life is precious and sacred. And even if we are the last of our kind, our deaths will have been worthwhile if by the final sacrifice of our civilization we can elevate the savage out of his savagery.

We are you see, good people. Not moral people nor sane people. Morality requires values and sanity demands contact with some outpost of the real world outside the simulacrum of outraged noise on all the channels, real and virtual. Morality is hard, goodness is easy. Morality is about right and wrong, but goodness is about condemning those most like you in order to feel better about yourself.

Goodness is childishly easy. Go to a movie theater and wait for people to talk. Then feel good about not being one of the talkers. Goodness is watching thousands of people getting killed and feeling good because unlike those crazy rednecks or the bridge and tunnel crowd, you feel no yearning for vengeance. Goodness is watching Americans die and then picking out a Muslim convenience store and offering him whatever support he needs against all those bigots who are sure to show up with American flags and torches sooner or later, because unlike you, they aren’t good people at all.

We are a nation led by immoral people who think they are good, by politicians, professors, priests, rabbis, pundits, crackpots and activists who having no values are determined to excuse all the evil that they do by being relentlessly good people. When they sacrifice something, whether it’s a night out or your life, then they will make sure that everyone knows it. And when you protest, they will tell you about all the sacrifices that they are making, because despite all the blood and filth on their hands, they are good people. Good amoral sociopaths who learned everything they know about right and wrong from television and feel-good slogans.

The bigger their hypocrisies, the bigger their sacrifices, and they love nothing so much as sacrificing others. Their conscience is always bothering them and they put it to sleep with showy acts of public goodness. They will not feed a beggar on their street, but they will go around the world to feed an orphan, especially at someone else’s expense. And that way they remember that they are good people. Not just good people, but better people than us, the miserable mob waving torches and flags who don’t know the value of condescending to an Imam at an Iftar dinner or feeding a Bangladesh orphans on someone else’s dime or spending thousands of lives to enable Muslims to be the good people that they must be somewhere underneath all those ugly layers of murder, child-murder and mass murder.

So, no we will not fight back after September 11. Nor will we fight back when our embassies are attacked. The good people running things will take stock of what we have done that could have caused this and apologize for it and remind us to feel good about being such good people who diplomatically apologize to others instead of bombing them from the sky. They will feel worse about a burnt Koran than about a dead American because they are sociopaths with no more understanding of right and wrong than the teleprompters who feed them their lines. All their morality is learned behavior and their teachers were liars, morons and lunatics who passed on their disease to the next generation.

Embassies can burn and so can skyscrapers, but like all amoral people, they will cling to the moral high ground with their fingernails because it is the only thing between them and the abyss. They will tell us that we act the way we do because we, as a nation, are better than they are. We don’t lash out, we don’t get angry, we don’t go to war for revenge. We are not meant to feel anything except for the satisfaction of serving others, whether it’s picking up trash outside an inner city school on a National Day of Service, that happens to coincide with something called 9/11, or dodging Taliban bullets so that Afghan schoolgirls can get a proper education.

We are meant to be good people and that is what good people do. They give until it hurts and then die knowing that their giving natures kept them on the moral high ground of being six feet under.

We are good people. Too good to fight. Too good to defend ourselves. Too good to keep our laws and retain our traditions. Too good to be angry when we are killed. Too good to want to do anything but make our killers understand our pain. Too good to respond to our own murder with anything but immediate guilt.

We are better than they are. Not better at survival, but better at rationalizing our own destruction. We are so good that we open up our cities to our own murderers and close our eyes at the airport so as not to make a single one of them feel bad. We could fight back, but we’re too good. And if we start defending ourselves, then we will be forced to ask, “What is the difference between us and them?” Once we start killing, we will become murderers and it is better to be murder victims, it is better to mourn in defeat than to celebrate a victory, it is better to serve as Dhimmis than to live as conquerors.

We could fight back, but we are better than they are. That is a decision that our leaders have made and they remind us of it every September 11. They remind us that they are too good for victory. We could object, but they would only remind us that they are better than we are.

The Bible and the US Constitution Protect the KKK’s Right To ‘Adopt-A-Highway’

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Conspicuously wearing my kippah, I walked out of a TJ Maxx in Cincinnati Ohio, where I was visiting family, when a car full of skinheads sped up to me with arms stretched out the window in a Hitler salute chanting “Sieg heil!” I sternly retorted: “I condemn and despise your hateful ideology but support your right to free expression!” If these Neo-Nazi skinheads thought Jewish people were strange, I’m sure my response confirmed it.

The Georgia Department of Transportation rejected the Ku Klux Klan’s application to adopt a highway because of the group’s hateful ideology. The American Civil Liberties Union is now defending the Klan. Despite the KKK’s despicable and hateful ideology, the First Amendment protects their free speech, and therefore their right to participate in Georgia state’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

At face value, Jewish law does not appear to support pure free speech. It does, however, recognize and espouse the benefits of rigorous debate. The interpretation of Jewish law is in fact created through heated debate, for example, between the schools of Hillel and Shamai. The Jewish approach tends not towards regulating different opinions, but rather promoting the “marketplace of ideas,” believing that is where the truth of matter will be revealed.

Laws prohibiting the government from regulating hate speech, excluding of course obscenity, defamation, and incitement to riot, are generally unconstitutional in the United States. U.S. Supreme Court opinions dating back to Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire 315 U.S. 568 (1942) affirm that speech directed at a specific individual meant to inflict injury or “incite an immediate” threat (i.e., yelling “fire” in a theater) is not protected under the First Amendment. However, unless you can show that the words pose a direct and immediate threat, hate speech is still generally protected.

The more difficult question is where do we draw the line when it comes to hate speech that is not designed to incite but is an expression of a hateful ideology? Should society regulate speech such as a sign bearing the insignia of the Georgia KKK on an interstate highway?

In Jewish law the punishment for hate speech (e.g. Lashon Hora) is a heavenly dermatological disease called tzaraat. In Numbers 12:10 Miriam is afflicted with the disease for criticizing the Ethiopian race of Moses wife. Interestingly, nature and the divine, not the justice system, afflict an offender with tzaraat (Artscroll Tanach, Leviticus 13, commentary, page 272). Those afflicted with tzaraat were marginalized from society, in designated camps, as part of their atonement (Leviticus 13:45-46). The inherent message is that we don’t need to ban or censor hateful speech, because the real solution is marginalizing hateful ideology through truthfulness. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said it best: “Freedom of speech carries with it certain obligations. One of those is to condemn false speech. The best answer to false speech is not censorship, it is truthfulness.”

Racist, homophobic, and hateful organizations like the Ku Klux Klan undermine their ideology more than promote it. Allowing them to speak in public helps expose them for who they are. The best way to respond and defeat those ideologies is by exposing them.

By attempting to suppress their speech we only make them stronger. Racist ideologies thrive in countries like Austria, France, and the United Kingdom, where hate speech is restricted. For instance, the Netherlands islamophobic and racist Party for Freedom received almost 1.5 million votes in the 2010 election. Those guilty of hate speech often garner media attention, become martyrs, and use speech suppression as a recruitment tool.

In 2004 when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the KKK had a free speech right to adopt a highway, the Missouri legislature used the opportunity to effectively and constitutionally combat the hate speech:

Lawmakers named that section of roadway the Rosa Parks Highway, as the New York Times reports. When a different white supremacist group adopted another highway segment, Missouri lawmakers renamed that road for Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish theologian who escaped Nazi Germany for the U.S. where he became a civil rights activist.

The best way to delegitimize racist and bigoted viewpoints is through the marketplace of ideas, not through government regulations infringing on the First Amendment.

Former Mossad Chief: Arab Spring ‘Incredible Opportunity

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, speaking at the 2012 Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, expressed cautious optimism about the potential outcomes of the Arab Spring, saying that “we are in a very unique position that has never been seen before.”

Dagan was part of a panel discussing the Arab Spring, steps that regional actors could take to help ensure a peaceful transition to democracy, and the impact of these revolutions on Israel. The panel also featured, among others, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, and former senior Presidential adviser Dennis Ross.

Dagan, who has maintained a high profile since his tenure as Mossad chief ended, said that “the radicals in the Arab League are no longer there and a range of mutual interests that require regional cooperation provide an incredible opportunity for fostering peaceful relations.” Still, he acknowledged that the Arab Spring is far from over: “I am worried about Islamist parties with a radical agenda that will take power. It will present a big problem for us.”

Referring to the recent Presidential election in Egypt and claims that the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohammed Morsi is slated for victory, he said that “in Egypt it was never important which way the votes go but who counts them.”

Former IDF chief Ashkenazi also weighed in on the monumental changes taking place in the Arab world, saying that “the storm sweeping the Arab world is of tectonic proportions. It happens once every 100 years and cannot be overestimated. This is not just a coup. I don’t know anyone in the defense establishment that predicted what happened there.” He said it was critical that Israel preserve open lines of communication with the Egyptian army: “It is practically the only channel…with Turkey as well.”

Discussing the importance of Israel maintaining its relative military superiority, Ashkenazi offered his solution to the controversial issue of national/military service for all Israeli citizens: “It has long been my belief that not everyone must be drafted. We should go by a principle of service for all, not enlistment for all.

“The IDF should get first pick,” he continued. “Whoever is not selected by the IDF will go to the Fire Services, Magen David Adom or other services…As for the haredim, it’s very important they join the army and then enter the work force. The Torah greats will decide who goes to yeshivot and the rest will join the army.”

Dennis Ross, talking about the role that the U.S. should play in the Arab Spring, said “we in the West are not the authors of this story, so we won’t be the ones to write it. But if we are asked for help, we should offer it, with ground rules – respect religion, minorities and free speech – if they don’t follow these rules they shouldn’t be entitled to help.”

The Presidential Conference will wrap up tomorrow, after hearing from the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky, Rabbi Michael Melchior, and journalist Caroline Glick.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/former-mossad-chief-sees-incredible-opportunity-in-arab-spring-fears-radical-islamists-gains-across-arab-world/2012/06/20/

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