Google search of my sites and the web


Saturday, August 07, 2004

From the War on Drugs to the War on Terror

Another great article by Max Blumenthal. I think the parallel he makes,- from the brutality brewing in the US prison system which exploded due to the "war on drugs" to the brutality of Abu Ghraib,- is a very good point. I tend to think that Americans are yet to understand that being brutal to somebody,- whether at home or at war in a foreign land,- is something the nation pays for as its citizens come back home traumatized, confused and violent. And not all problems can be addressed by way of war and aggression alone. Neither the issue of drug abuse, nor the issue of terrorism can be resolved that way.

The Pakistani Valerie Plame?

Thanks to Max Blumenthal's astute observation, we now get a glimpse at what appears to be the inner mechanics of how politically expedient intelligence is at times manufactured. So, if Mr Blumenthal got it right, it appears that Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan who was recently captured in Pakistan and presented in many media sources as a major Al Quaeda figure was in reality a Pakistani agent helping that country's counter-intelligence services in capturing Al Quaeda operatives. He appears nonetheless to be outed, and his capture and materials he alleged to have carried were used for the US Homeland Security Department to issue another terror alert. And it was issued at a time the administration could use it,- a good time to divert the public attention from the issues raised at the DNC as well as from the reports that 1,000 US soldiers have died in foreign wars under this administration's watch.

Should We Have Faith in the Government?

This a classic Libertarian perspective,- question the government and its motives at all times. Especially in times like these, I would add. On this, I am 100% with the Libertarians.

Isolated Lawsuits Are Not Enough

Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Guantanamo prisoner, has filed a lawsuit against the US Government alleging torture at the hands of his American captors and challenging the constitutionality of the military tribunals for those captured in the "war on terror". The fact that a US Federal Court is now hearing the case is an important step forward for the rule of law, and a significant defeat for the Administration who claimed that it had a right to operate outside the oversight of the legal system in Guantanamo.

However, while I wish Mr Hamdan every bit of luck in obtaining the justice for himself,- that justice being his right to be tried in a court of law with the full protections granted to a defendant as opposed to a military tribunal, as well as getting those who violated his human rights prosecuted,- I believe that such isolated trials are not enough, even if the plaintiffs obtain justice there. I believe we as a society, all of us who adhere to the principles of Constitution regardless of their other beliefs, must state unequivocally that the Administration's attempts to operate outside of the law will not stand. We should write to the public figures, hold demonstrations in the streets, publish our views on the web and in the print media,- in other words, make it heard loud and clear that we demand that all laws of the land as well as international laws our country has ratified be respected by all executive officials.

And if you think that doing so may be tantamount to defending the people possibly involved in terror,- think of it differently. Our laws are not lenient when it comes to terrorism,- our courts can mete out a punishment severe enough to match the crime. Timothy McVeigh was executed for blowing up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Those responsible for the 1993 attack on the WTC are jailed for life. Thus we need not worry about the guilty not being punished. That may happen,- but anyone can be fooled, military authorities included.

And it is your own safety you are protecting by demanding that all executive authorities operate within the scope of the law. It is for your own sake that you are making sure that no government agents will take you away and lock you up in a prison brig as "enemy combatant". I grew up in a country where a whole generation of people lived through years when every family feared a knock on the door at night, where those lead away in the early morning hours often just vanished, leaving their families to tend for themselves as outcasts and pariahs. May no one have to live through that horror and learn what they had learned about what unconstrained government agents with a vengeance can do!

The Wahhabi Myth

This site offers an interesting perspective on Islam, it seems. There are some interesting references and descriptions of Osama Bin Laden and some prominent Muslim clearics' take on acts of terrorism.

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

The list may be incomplete, but even having mastered these techniques you are likely to go quite a ways towards making people buy your version of the truth.

This is an interesting observation

This blog post presents a graph overlaying the Presdent Bush approval ratings and the terror alerts on a time chart. While I do not claim that terror alerts where specifically timed, I think the data in the graph is definitely worth a look.

This problem transcends the issue of Sibel Edmonds

In her excellent and very insightful article Edmonds, the former FBI translator, provides a very deep analysis of how the turns and twists of her case reflect on our system of government at this juncture. There's little I would like to say here other than raise the same issues she is attempting to raise.
On Tuesday, July 6, 2004, Judge Reggie Walton made a decision and ruled on my case. Under his ruling, I, an American citizen, am not entitled to pursue my 1st and 5th Amendment rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States. The vague reasoning cited, without any explanation, is to protect "certain diplomatic relations for national security." Judge Walton reached this decision after sitting on this case with no activity for almost two years. He arrived at this decision without allowing my attorney and I any due process: NO status hearing, NO briefings, NO oral argument, and NO discovery. He made his decision after allowing the government attorneys to present their case to him, privately, in camera, ex parte; we were not allowed to participate in these cozy sessions. Is this the American system of justice we believe in?

It is also worth noting that for some reason Attorney General John Ashcroft seems to now be in a position to impose restrictions on the Congress. That is a situation which is almost synonymous to a total tyranny of the executive power.
Under this broken system the attorney general of the United States is being allowed to illegally gag the United States Congress regarding my case. And even worse, the United States Congress is readily complying with this illegal gag.

Under this broken system the attorney general of the United States is being allowed to hinder ongoing investigations such as those of the 9/11 Commission and the DOJ-Inspector General.

Under this broken system the Attorney General of the United States is getting away with interfering and tampering with pending cases under the judicial process, such as my court cases and the lawsuit by the 9/11 victim families.
I have nothing to add to that. I only think it is wrong to think of Sibel Edmonds' case as only a case involving one individual. It it of crucial importance,- and its outcome may seriously affect the direction in which this society is going to move.

"We Better All Pray That There's Really No Hell"

I am not religious, so I don't fear hell, at least not consciously. However, I do believe in the existence of morals, and their importance for the living. I think Mr Hoffman describes very vividly the feeling of moral outrage and hopelessness which many people, myself included, face time and again when great tragedies like the genocide in Rwanda, or in Sudan, or many other world's tragedies are allowed to happen to the tune of inaction on the part of those who have the means to prevent them. I believe that there is no such thing as inaction. Inaction, in my opinion, is merely one of the many courses of action available to us. And we are responsible for our actions,- and that includes inaction.

American fakes own decapitation in tape

All the more reason to question the authenticity of the recent execution videos. I have watched a few, most look realistic,- at least to me,- excepting the Nick Berg video. To learn more about Nick Berg's death and many suspicious circumstances surrounding it see this link and many others. I am not offering any theories of my own on what happened to the unfortunate Mr Berg,- I simply do not have enough information to go on. However, I suspect that the tape of his execution is a fake. Many people around the world have conducted expert investigations of that video and they also have serious doubts as to its authenticity.

Judaic sources on the attitude towards gentiles

I am tempted to comment, but I think I'll hold it as it is best for everyone to read this paper and just make their conclusions for themselves. Just one thing,- note how much various halachic interpretations vary, and how they evolve with time and adjust to changing circumstances.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Disbar the legal illiterates!

It is certainly welcome news that many lawyers condemn their colleagues employed by the US Government who authored legal memos authorizing torture and essentially advising the administration on how to avoid responsibility for torture which according to the legal codes of all the civilized nations is listed amongst the gravest of offenses. However, a verbal condemnation only goes so far. I think some action is in order here.

I believe the lawyers as a profession must take a stand and eject those administration lawyers from the legal profession. I believe that not only emotionally and morally, but also professionally this would be the right course of action. While no expert myself, I certainly believe that many statements made by the US government's legal representatives are void of logic and go against the letter, not only the spirit, of many laws that are on the book in the US. That means, they are, in layman's terms, illiterate when it comes to knowing their trade,- or they act that way, which in the final run is immaterial. I believe lawyers acting that way must be prevented from ever practicing law again. I also think it would be a powerful lesson to this administration and its successors when they end up facing the reality of some of the critical governmental decisions having been made based on the legal advice of those found to be unfit to litigate the placement of a farm fence in a rural county courthouse.

Smearing the War Heroes

Political negativism is a common tool involved in the process of campaigning. One side tries to dig up all the dirt it can on their opponents who in most cases respond in kind. Provided the information used is not deliberately libelous that is normal process,- even though it does at times get ugly.

However, the latest string of attacks on the prominent Democrats' war records is beyond pale,- and, in many cases, is in fact libelous. For instance one of the key contributors to the book titled "Unfit For Command" whose objective appears to be proving Kerry unsuitable to be President has recently admitted to lying. Kerry's former commanding officer has admitted that signing and faxing back the statement to the effect that Kerry did not deserve to be awarded his Silver Star was a "terrible mistake".

It is also worth mentioning the smear campaign unfurled against former Senator Max Cleland. In her column Ann Coulter seems to be doing her best to establish equivalence between George W Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard and Cleland's Vietnam experience. Coulter also writes,
Moreover, if we're going to start delving into exactly who did what back then, maybe Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman – or what Cleland sneeringly calls "weekend warriors." Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam.

Well, by both the official criteria and those dictated by common sense she is wrong. And I doubt she is not aware of that.

Cleland was wounded in an area that on that day had been shelled by the enemy. That area was officially designated battlefield on that day. Furthermore, Cleland had spent many days immediately preceding that day at Khe Sahn, the site where besieged Americans and the NVA fought one of the fiercest battles of the whole war. It is true that Cleland's injuries were caused by an accident which only involved the friendly munition (in that case, a grenade accidentally dropped by another soldier which Cleland had a bad luck to pick up). However, as this occurred during combat, this sort of injury is officially viewed as a combat wound. From a common sense perspective,- wouldn't you think that a man who had been in combat for days may have been affected by the stress to the extent that his judgement got a little clouded and that could have contributed to that accident?

Be that as it may, even if you discount the accident in which Max Cleland lost three limbs, he had still distinguished himself sufficiently to be called a hero. His Silver Star and Bronze Star attest to that. That makes what Coulter is saying all the more reprehensible. The same goes for those who used an ad in which Max Cleland's image was put next to those of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, the objective being to call Senator Cleland's patriotism into question. That ad ran during Saxby Chambliss's Senate election bid against Cleland.

I believe that no matter what one's politics, one should respect war heroes for the courage they had demonstrated and recognized smear campaigns like the ones described above for what they are,- vicious assaults of unscrupulous political figures who, in essence, have little else to say.

'Third Terrorist'

Might be an interesting book. I don't know for a fact that Jayna Davis is on to something, but she surely acts it.

I tend to look at her version of events a little skeptically. Especially the Iraq part of the puzzle. Iraqi agents tried to assassinate the former President George H W Bush in 1993, the US retaliated by leveling one of the key intelligence buildings in Baghdad, and Saddam & Co seemed to have gotten the message.

Be it as it may, there are still many questions about what truly went down in OKC on April 19, 1995. If I were to state one reason why it is perfectly legitimate to question the official version of the events I would state the following. The tape recording from a camera located across the street from where McVeigh parked the famous Ryder truck is still not available for public viewing. While it would be understandable for this tape to be kept under lock as evidence while related court cases where winding their way through the system, there is no legitimate explanation I can come up with for why that recording should still be kept classified. Keep in mind,- all we are talking about is a view of a public street in the middle of a major US city.

The Constitution is still the Supreme Law of The Land

There are many laws and regulations that control our daily activities. However, we should not forget that there is a document upon which they are based and to which they must conform,- namely, the US Constitution.

Apparently, the FBI has recently circulated a flier designed to aid the law enforcement officers in recognizing potential terrorists. Among other things it lists a person's proclivity to "make numerous references to US Constitution" as an indication that the person may be inclined towards terrorism. That is a very troubling assertion.

One one hand, there are extremists who wrap their hateful agenda in the US Constitution. However, every imaginable ideology, secular or religious, has also been used for the same purpose. But we do not see the flier advising police officers that Christians, Muslims, Judaists or Buddhists must automatically be viewed as terrorist suspects. Nor does the flier suggest that everyone wearing jeans must be viewed with suspicion,- even though terrorists have been known to so dress.

I believe that knowing the Constitution is a right,- no, scratch that, a responsibility of every citizen. Referencing it, especially when dealing with a law enforcement officer, is also an inalienable right. That officer does have a certain authority, but he is merely a citizens' servant,- and there is nothing wrong with reminding him of his status in this relationship.

I believe this flier is an outrage, it needs to be immediately revised, and those who authored it need to be given a refresher course on the US history and the role of Constitution.

50,000 Israeli Jews return to Russia

I am not 100% sure how the data was obtained. There certainly is quite a number of people who move between the two countires on the regular basis so it may be hard to tell which one they really call home.

But overall this data is not surprising.

The exodus has stirred up a discussion in Israel, said Boruch Gorin, head of the public relations department at the Russian Federation of Jewish Communities, which commissioned the study. On the one hand, millions of Jews already live outside Israel. On the other hand, "living in Israel is an ideology, and that the people who sought a shelter in the country have been leaving is a blow to the ideology," he said.

Maybe it is indeed time to address the issue of the ideology Mr Gorin is talking about.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Fuel Dilemma

I don't fully agree with the article on some points. For instance, it is not a given that there is no alternative renewable power source sufficient to provide enough power for the residents of the US-style urban sprawl.

However, while it may not be the case that we are at war for survival, I think we are definitely in a struggle for survival,- the struggle to find new resources, new fuels that would allow us to avoid having the world as we know it come to an end. I fully believe that developing alternative fuel technologies is a matter of life and death, a matter of survival. I believe that here, in the US, we must give it the highest priority, and make as much of an effort to develop the relevant technology as the effort that went into making an atomic weapon during the World War II. Maybe, an even bigger effort is required. That should not stop us for, as Thomas Wheeler correctly observes,
any system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is unsustainable.

Mr. bin Laden, you're clear to fly

Well, I surely had a good laugh reading this article.

However, on a more serious note,- if what is stated there is true, if as of January 2004 Osama Bin Laden was still not flagged to be immediately detained lest he attempt to board an airliner in the US,- maybe we've got a problem. Maybe we as citizens should stop thinking that the fact that the authorities are allegedly on the case in and of itself is a guarantee that somebody is actually enganged in any meaningful counter-terrorism activity.

Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'

The link above is to the document allegedly authored by Osama Bin Laden to present his case for fighting the US. I believe it is important for us to understand why the enemy is the way he is; I also believe that the mainstream media have largely obscured the picture by presenting mostly the third-party interpretations of what Bin Laden thinks,- especially when such interpretations are overly emotional and thus inevitably biased.

Bushonomics 101

Professor Yoshi Tsurumi's recollection of the man who later became our President adds a new and interesting perspective to what we know about that man. I do not want to get into the partisan politics, or those of class, however, sometimes I can not help it. Here is a really interesting sentiment of the young George W Bush as Professor Tsurumi puts it:

Even though it was over 30 years ago, Tsurumi "vividly" recalls Bush the student making this stunning statement in his classroom at Harvard: "People are poor because they are lazy."

It is most certainly true that of the roughly 50% of today's US voters who support Bush some qualify to be called poor. I do not want to try and dictate to those people whom to support, what to think, or how to live their lives. I would only like to ask them one question, "Do you consider yourself lazy?" Because the man whom you intend to vote for in the Presidential election thinks you are.

The American Empire

I think the assessment of the US as an empire is to a large extent correct. It is not an empire in classical sense, not like the Roman Empire where the Emperor had an almost unlimited power and was appointed pretty much for life. However, the US foreign policy is much akin to that of an empire.

Don't exactly know why,- maybe, because I grew up in the USSR,- but the very idea of an empire makes me wary. I think it is very important for the US to work towards becoming just "power like many other" as opposed to a hyper power. It is just that people and states are fallible,- and none should have the temptation of being unconstrained.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Secret File of Abu Ghraib

Originally published here. Don't quite know why I am posting this.
This is just an excellent summary on what went on in that prison.
Everyone can draw their own conclusions. Kuddos to "Rolling Stone".
And once again it is too bad that the major media reported only
a small part of the story and tried to spare us many shameful

Hijacking Catastrophe

"Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire" has a chance of being a really interesting documentary. Personally, I am highly interested in what Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski has to say as she is one of the few people who had been deeply involved in the Pentagon part of the show during a crucial time period when the intelligence on Iraq was being collected and assessed and are now available to be inteviewed in public. I have not yet watched the whole film but I think I'll order it soon. For more detail go to this page.

Liberty Bound

I think this documentary by Blue Moose Films is something everyone who is interested in the today's US must see. Personally, my disagreements with it are not insignificant. However, I think it raises the issues avoided by other cinematic productions I have seen thus far.

I think it does a good job of showing the erosion of the civil liberties in the US after 9/11. It also raises a lot of unanwered questions about the 9/11,- questions the mainstream media mostly fail to ask.

I think it also offers some interesting perspectives on the US and the world,- though somewhat one-sided perspectives, IMHO.

Bravo, Sibel!

Here is a letter the former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has written to Thomas Kean, Chairman Of The 9/11 Commission.

A couple of comments here, if I may. The letter above summarizes the experiences of just one woman, working in a fairly low-level position for the FBI for a short period of a mere several months. Let us take it with a grain of salt, as she may be bitter or highly subjective for other reasons, and, for the sake of argument, discount half of what she is saying. We still get a very grim picture of glaring omissions in the relevant portions of the 9/11 report.

Let us also for the sake of argument assume that everything stated in the report is 100% true,- which may be the case,- but let us merely assume that the "omission ratio", so to speak, in parts of the reports other than the ones Sibel Edmonds' experience is relevant to, is comparable to that in the sections she is discussing in her letter. That leaves us with a report so incomplete as to be almost irrelevant. It is akin to a building which is made of quality materials,- but in which entire floors are missing.

Personally, having myself spent almost three years working in a government facility, I don't have any problem viewing all of Ms Edmonds' allegations as entirely realistic. I can very easily indeed imagine things like that happening.

So, my advice to those who choose to trust the 9/11 commission report is,- do what makes you happy, just remember,- there may be ten feet of snow between what you have chosen to believe and the truth, as this report appears to be a mass-scale snow job.

I would also like to add that I think we are all very lucky indeed that there are people like Sibel Edmonds out there, and should do what we can to help her weather the storm she is now in.

The Choice In November

In a few months we as a nation are facing an important decision: who will lead us for the next four years. There are many issues associated with that choice, and clearly it is but impossible to address them all.

However, there are many things an election accomplishes. One of them, an important one, is the
evaluation of the job the incumbent administration has done.

The current administration has come to the office with a set of promises, of which many seemed to have remained just that: promises. One could argue, and correctly so, that the world has changed dramatically since the year 2000. However, the world has not seen anything unheard of before.

The massive terror attacks of 9/11 were a really terrifying event, but the world has seen many a battle where more lives were lost. And the world, especially the so-called Third World, experiences such privation on the regular basis that 9/11 simply pales in comparison. And that, I believe, is part of context in which 9/11 ought to be viewed.

However, the Bush administration presented these events as the "end of the world as we know" and did a very thorough job of trying to convince Americans that this should also be the end of America as we know it. The almost immediate reaction of the government was to claim that it did not have sufficient powers to properly address the issue of terrorism, and thus needed a massive extension of its powers. It also claimed that the separation of powers,- which happens to be one of the key elements of our social order as envisioned by the Founding Fathers,- was a major obstacle in the fight against terrorism.

The Defense Department and the White House claimed the right to indefinitely detain those they consider to be a threat. The Patriot Act allowed the executive branch to take numerous types of action unsupervised by the courts. The idea behind that was that the government has our best interest in mind, and we should just let it proceed unimpeded.

However, that is not what this country is about. It was not founded to be about comfort or security,- it was founded to be about liberty and responsibility. And there is a price to pay for that,- and many have paid this price, and many more will. Those who think that is just a piece of empty sloganeering should read this list and see for themselves.

I am not a hard-core Libertarian, nor do I have a formal affiliation with any other party or movement. I simply believe that a piece-meal transformation of our society into something entirely alien to what it was meant to be is not a way to go. And I believe that this is a reason to vote against Bush in November. It may not accomplish much, but it is at least a way to send a message out that attempts to facilitate such a transformation are going to lead to defeat at the polls. And to those who think that's all I can muster,- no, I can think of many other reasons to vote against Bush, but I am not going to address them here.

I believe that in the final run, adhering to the principles set forth in the Constitution will prove
the best course of action in all regards, including security. And we must not sacrifice our long-term vision for some short-term gains, real or perceived.

Not In My Name

Racism as a problem is nothing new; it can likely be traced to the times immemorial. We mostly notice it when we find ourselves being the target of racists; that is also not particularly surprising as we the humans always possess a certain measure of self-centeredness. But what goes around comes around, and whatever behaviour you consider morally wrong is wrong universally, regardless of whether it is your group that is practicing that behaviour, or some other group. The same goes for racism.

Racists tend to seek legitimacy by claiming that they are spiritually best endowed members of their ethnic or religious group. They tend to view those who do not hold their radical views as apostates. Quite in agreement with that pattern of behaviour, Jewish racists claim to be the
truest Jews ever to tread the Earth. On a number of occasions, people of that mold informed me that they consider me not to be a real Jew. I disagree with that assessment, and I also consider racism incompatible with true morality. Sometimes extreme expressions of bigotry and prejudice make me feel that I must no longer remain silent, and thus I feel that I have to make my views known. Later in this piece I am going to address the radical publication whose existence ended up being a catalyst in motivating me to write this piece. It is just that I believe that silence in the face of extremism can sometimes be viewed as acquiescence,- and on the part of myself and hopefully many others, there is no acquiescence here.

I have recently come across the name of Rabbi Saadya Grama who had authored a Hebrew book titled "Romemut Yisrael Ufarashat Hagalut" (one possible translation: "The Grandeur of Israel and the Issue of Exile"). Among other things the book establishes the idea of Jewish superiority.
The book was written in Hebrew and proved controversial enough for the only bookstore in Brooklyn, New York that was for a brief period of time selling it to pull it off the shelf. One would be correct in saying that I did not put in as much effort as I could have in obtaining the book and checking it out for myself. I certainly did not; I have reason to believe, however, that that book is not something which I would want to spend much effort locating, or much money subsidizing by way of purchase. So I am relying on third-party translations and quotes in forming my opinion of this book.

In its December 19, 2003 issue "Forward" published an article about the book titled "Charedi Rabbis Rush To Disavow Anti-Gentile Book". This, along with other "Forward" articles, is the source I am using for my analysis of Rabbi Grama's book. It is worth noting that some of the Rabbis denouncing the book had earlier endorsed it. Thus it appears incorrect to claim that this book can be dismissed as an opinion of one individual, not supported by anybody of import.

However, Rabbi Grama and his book is just a side-show to the topic that I would like to address: the Jewish racism. Just like any other form of racism, it takes many forms and varies in its intensity as well as in its choice of a target. Based on what I get to see the prevalent strain is the idea of superiority of Jews and inferiority of others, derisively referred to as "goyim". Rabbi Grama, whose racism is radical and uncommon in its intensity, formulates it thusly:

The difference between the people of Israel and the nations of the world is an essential one. The Jew by his source and in his very essence is entirely good. The goy, by his source and in his very essence is completely evil. This is not simply a matter of religious distinction, but rather of two completely different species.
This is clearly a justification for a racist view of the world. While few Jews would openly make this kind of a racist statement, a certain percentage of them appear to follow this sort of notion in some way or other. Some believe that Jews in Diaspora should avoid certain jobs that are not sufficiently prestigious. Some think that Jews should only abide by Jewish morals and customs, disregarding moral norms and customs of other societies even if they happen to reside in those societies. Some radicals believe that Jewish interests simply override any moral obligations towards the non-Jews. Racism is a complex phenomena; so is Jewish racism, and the list of its manifestations could be continued.

It would certainly be wrong to say that racism is a universal affliction amongst the Jews; I would think that it is only a minority that shares this sort of worldview. Jews as a people know
as well as anybody what the toll of racism can be. That may be why Jews have been so active in many liberation movements, such as the civil rights struggle of the Black Americans in the US. And Jews have every right to fight the new wave of anti-Semitism today.

However, to bolster the morality of our demand that racism directed against us be stopped, we must first stop racism emanating from us. To that end, I would like to unequivocally state that Rabbi Grama does not speak in my name. I hope the majority of other Jews share this perception.

Unfortunately, the racist minority receives a tacit support of a silent majority that is too complacent to denounce them. Or, in some cases, that majority may be too selfish to denounce them, thinking that bigots promoting Jews are "good bigots". This perception is myopic and wrong, both from a moral perspective and from a pragmatic one. Jewish racism must be denounced,- and neither the tragic Jewish historical experience, nor the rabid racism of Israel's enemies can be used as an excuse.

As extremist minorities often are, the one proclaiming Jewish superiority as the cornerstone of its political agenda is very active politically and has enough influence to affect millions of people, both Jews and non-Jews. Those who view Arabs as subhumans certainly help perpetuate oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and lack of equal rights for the Israeli Arab citizens. To the cohorts of those racists belong such prominent Israelis as the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, late Rehavam Zeevi and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. It only appears logical, following their racist assumptions, to conclude that the suffering of the lower race (Arabs) should not be viewed as a priority problem and can be allowed to continue indefinitely so long as the master race (Jews) is not affected. That sort of sentiment is also heard at times from ordinary Jews, Israeli and otherwise, who, when pondering the various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only concern themselves with the well-being of Jews without giving any thought as to what the other side's circumstances are.

Even if a racist ideology can win a momentary success at any given point, it corrupts the society that succumbs to bigotry and is likely to cause more suffering and misery in the future. Those who seek to humiliate others always humiliate themselves in the process. It also helps to keep in mind that victims tend to have a long memory and they are likely to try to get their payback when an opportunity presents itself. That is yet more reason for the Jews to fight racism, not espouse it.

We as Jews must send a clear message to the world that we are ready and willing to build ties with other ethnic and religious groups based upon equality and respect. That we are ready to shoulder the same responsibilities as those shouldered by others. That whether in Israel
or in Diaspora we demand no special rights or privilleges not afforded to others, nor accept special responsibilities not shared by others; nor do we view ourselves superior to non-Jews. Not only is defeating the racism emanating from the Jews our collective moral duty,- it is also an integral part of the struggle against anti-Semitism.

Digg This!!!