Saturday, April 23, 2005

NGC64 Nebula in M33 Galaxy

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name,
and what is His Son's name,
if you know?

- Proverbs 30:4

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Worse Yet To Come?

From The New Sisyphus:

We want to say a few words about yesterday’s incident in Iraq, in which a private helicopter with Americans and other foreigners was shot down and then, as is always inevitible, shown on Al-Jazeera. Isn’t it strange how one “news” channel always ends up with the exclusive footage of the Infidel Massacre of the Week? Al-Jazeera is nothing less than the Der Sturmer of our age. The fact that our Department issues press visas to their "reporters" literally revolts us.
The nature of our enemy could not be made any clearer. From Beslan, to Manhattan, to the field in which the helicopter’s passengers met their doom, one theme is constant: the absolute cowardly and craven nature of the Islamic Fascists themselves.
Say what you will about the old fashioned German variety; at least they knew how to fight and fight bravely. These new fascists cannot kill anything that isn’t rendered helpless or unaware first. And, when they are fought head to head they more often than not fall to their knees and beg for forgiveness. Or commit suicide, which, despite what you’ve read at Daily Kos is not a sign of bravery but yet the ultimate in cowardice.
Stewardresses. School children. Hostages. Injured survivors of a helicopter crash. All just more cowardly fun for our modern day Saladins.
We are at a loss to explain why there has not been, to date, any anger in the “American Street” about any of this. It’s almost as if we expect such barbaric and ruthless behavior from Muslims, and, thus, the terrible reality of it is just yet more reinforcement of a belief set that is literally beyond disgust.
Muslims parading their children and volunteering them for suicide operations. Palestinians tearing Israeli soldiers apart with their hands and dancing around with bloody entrails. Heads of families ordering sons to kill their own sisters with their bare hands.
How does any of this fail to make an impression?
Make no mistake about it: a new world war is brewing. And, as before, we in the liberal west are sleepwalking towards it, not really daring to state the terrible and unbearable truth.
There is no co-existence possible with the Islamic Fascists. It’s them or us.We choose us.
We only hope our fellow citizens have the fortitude to drop the blinders before another attack on the helpless and the unaware renders Sept 11 in importance what the first World Trade Center attack has become: a prelude and a warning of much worse to come.

The American Dream vs.
The European Daydream

FromThe New York Times, via No Pasaran:

The received wisdom about economic life in the Nordic countries is easily summed up: people here are incomparably affluent, with all their needs met by an efficient welfare state. They believe it themselves. Yet the reality — as [Oslo-dwelling American Bruce Bawer can attest (in the New York Times)], and as some recent studies confirm — is not quite what it appears.

Even as the Scandinavian establishment peddles this dubious line, it serves up a picture of the United States as a nation divided, inequitably, among robber barons and wage slaves, not to mention armies of the homeless and unemployed. It does this to keep people believing that their social welfare system, financed by lofty income taxes, provides far more in the way of economic protections and amenities than the American system.

…After I moved here six years ago, I quickly noticed that Norwegians live more frugally than Americans do. They hang on to old appliances and furniture that we would throw out. And they drive around in wrecks.

Be sure to a study by a Swedish research organization, Timbro, which compared the gross domestic products of the 15 European Union members (before the 2004 expansion) with those of the 50 American states and the District of Columbia. (Norway, not being a member of the union, was not included.)

(Pastorius note: just to be clear, that's the 50 states of the United States separately, not together.)

After adjusting the figures for the different purchasing powers of the dollar and euro, the only European country whose economic output per person was greater than the United States average was the tiny tax haven of Luxembourg, which ranked third, just behind Delaware and slightly ahead of Connecticut.

The next European country on the list was Ireland, down at 41st place out of 66; Sweden was 14th from the bottom (after Alabama), followed by Oklahoma, and then Britain, France, Finland, Germany and Italy. The bottom three spots on the list went to Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Alternatively, the study found, if the E.U. was treated as a single American state, it would rank fifth from the bottom, topping only Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi. In short, while Scandinavians are constantly told how much better they have it than Americans, Timbro's statistics suggest otherwise. So did a paper by a Swedish economics writer, Johan Norberg [who contrasted "the American dream" with "the European daydream"].

…Meanwhile, the references to Norway as "the world's richest country" keep on coming. An April 2 article in Dagsavisen, a major Oslo daily, asked: How is it that "in the world's richest country we're tearing down social services that were built up when Norway was much poorer?"
Obviously, this is one misconception that won't be put to rest by a measly think-tank study or two.

What Are The Crazy Islamofascists Up To Now?

A list of links from The Jawa Report:

Pakistani PM claims Islam is "religion of peace and moderation which abhors extremism". Doesn't consider Pakistani law which puts to death blasphemers, missionaries, or homosexuals extreme.

Moderate Muslim country of Malaysia sentencing people to jail for apostasy. See how moderate works in Islam? At least they weren't killed.

Zacharias Moussaoui tries to plea guilty on capital charges related to 9/11, lawyers claim he's insane in the membrane. Of course he's insane. He's a f*cking suicidal terrorist! Duh!! (via Slublog)

Spain begins trial of 9/11 telated terrorists. Each defendent could spend up to 40 years in jail for helping murder 3,000 people. Justice European style.

Shoe-bomber conspirator gets 13 years in prison. Ditto

What Can We Do About Iranian Nukes?

From Fox News, via Regime Change Iran:

U.S. officials are still trying to find a diplomatic resolution over Iran's interest in creating nuclear facilities. But if diplomacy fails, the Bush administration is also looking at its military options.
FOX News spoke with two retired generals and a military expert, who outlined some of the options on the table for the Pentagon.
Covert Action: The Bush administration might send CIA agents or commandos to sabotage Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“There were no smoking guns, no fingerprints,” said Walter Russell Mead, with the Council on Foreign Relations. “We wouldn’t be faced with that ugly, ugly choice of, we have a war or they get a weapon.”
Naval Blockade: U.S. warships would be sent into the Strait of Hormuz to stop the export of Iranian oil. This would pressure the mullahs to give up enriching uranium and allow intrusive inspections.
One downside is that Iran is OPEC’s second largest oil producer, so a blockade could also put a stranglehold on the economies of many U.S. allies. Other potential problems are that it may not work fast enough and it would leave Iran’s existing nuclear facilities intact.
“So the question is not whether we could do it. We could. The question is, at what cost?” Mead said.
Surgical Strikes: U.S. forces could zero in on Iranian nuclear targets, hitting the country’s highest-risk sites — such as Bushier, Natanz, Arak, Isfahan and a dozen or more others — using cruise missiles launched from land or sea.
“We are moving some aircraft carrier groups into the Persian Gulf as we speak," said retired Army Major Gen. Paul Vallely. "They will be positioned to launch any aircraft from the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.”
Next, F-117 stealth fighter jets could take out a radar system by firing missiles and anti-aircraft guns at Isfahan or surface-to-air missiles around the Bushier reactor. B-2 bombers carrying eight 5,000-pound laser-guided bunker busters would hit buried targets like the Natanz enrichment site or the deep tunnels in Isfahan.
Surgical strikes would also aim to hurt Iran's ability to counterattack while limiting civilian casualties, according to Vallely.
“We're not after the population,” he said. “We're not after blowing down bridges anymore. We're trying to disrupt command and control, their ability to use their forces on the ground, their forces in the air, as well as their naval forces. ... Bring them to their knees early. That's the key.”
All-Out Assault: A huge American military effort, involving hundreds of thousands of troops, would be needed to get “boots on the ground.” But the experts FOX News spoke with consider that to be the least likely scenario.
The U.S. military is already stretched thin with its commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq (Iran is four times the size of Iraq, with almost three times as many people). A ground war could kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands, and the cost could run well into the billions. And assembling a broad coalition would be even more difficult than it was for the Iraq war.
“For one thing, the British don’t sound very willing. And let’s face it, without the British, we don’t have a coalition,” Mead said.
Vallely said that while the United States has the ability to launch a major ground invasion, it wouldn’t have to.
“We can take a country down with just our air assets,” he said. “We don't have put boots on the ground all the time if we're after specific targets.”
Iranian Response: Iran has threatened bloody retaliation if attacked, so the Pentagon’s military planners are conducting war games to be prepared for any number of Iranian responses — from attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq to missile strikes on Israel.
“I do not believe that Iran will take on the United States in a major confrontation,” said retired Air Force Gen. Tom McInerney.
Without a direct military response from Iran, the possibility exists for an “asymmetrical response” — terror attacks on Americans throughout the world and in the United States.
“Could they use part of the Al Qaeda network to launch a terrorist attack on the United States?" McInerney speculated. "I believe they could. That's probably going to happen to us anyhow. The real question is, will it be a nightmare scenario? … Will it be nuclear?"
The fear of a nuclear response is exactly why the experts FOX News spoke with say the United States must do what it takes to stop Iran.

In 1981 Iraq was about to g online with it's Osirak nuclear reactor. This would have enabled Saddam Hussein to build a nuclear weapon. Israel sent it's fighter jets in and destroyed the reactor before Hussein had a chance to fire it up.

Apparently, Iran has learned from Hussein's mistake, and so they have built multiple facitilities, some of which are deep underground. The analysts interviewed here speak of using 5000 pound "bunker busters" in order to get to the underground facilities. It is my understanding that no one is clear on whether this will work.

If it does not work there will be only two options left. One is for America to put troops on the ground in Iran, and remove the existing government from power. The second is to use bunker busting nuclear weapons.

Invading Iran would be a huge risk in that it could turn countries like Russia and China against us. It is believed that the use of buker busting nuclear weapons, on the other hand, would be quick and easy.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has reservations about the use of such weapons. Here's an excerpt from a paper on the subject:

Supporters of nuclear "bunker busters" suggest that these weapons would allow the destruction of deeply buried targets without causing massive collateral damage. This fact sheet summarizes the results of recent scientific studies, laying out the technical realities of how effective a nuclear bunker buster might be and what sort of nuclear fallout would result.
Key facts:

Since weapons cannot penetrate very deeply into the ground, destroying deep, hardened targets requires powerful, high-yield nuclear warheads.

Even a small, low-yield earth-penetrating nuclear weapon will create enormous fallout. The explosion cannot be contained underground. The radioactive debris thrown into the air can drift for miles on the wind.

There are current conventional alternatives to the use of nuclear bunker busters.
Q: How far can a nuclear bunker buster penetrate? Is this deep enough to contain nuclear fallout?
A: Experiments show that a steel rod hitting the ground at high speed can penetrate at most about four times its length through concrete (e.g., a 10-foot bomb could theoretically go through about 40 feet). However, in order to protect its sensitive components, a nuclear warhead might have to hit the ground at significantly slower speeds, reducing its penetrating capability. The Pentagon's current nuclear bunker buster, the B61-11 bomb, can penetrate only about 20 feet of frozen soil. Because even a one-kiloton nuclear warhead (less than 1/10th the size of the Hiroshima bomb's yield) must be buried at least 200-300 feet to contain its radioactive fallout, there is no way to avoid serious fallout from a nuclear bunker buster.2

Q: Would this explosion cause radioactive fallout?
A: Yes. Shallow nuclear explosions produce especially severe radioactive fallout. The fireball breaks through the surface of the earth, carrying into the air large amounts of dirt and debris, which then fall back to the ground. Even a one-kiloton nuclear warhead that explodes 20 feet underground would eject about one million cubic feet of radioactive debris from a crater the size of ground zero at the World Trade Center.3

Even if we were able to keep civilian casualties and nuclear fallout to an extreme minimum, I think it would be a grave mistake for the United States to go this route. The use of nuclear weapons would turn all the nations of the Earth against us. Additionally, I fear that other nuclear nations such as Pakistan, North Korea, and China might believe our use of such weapons would give them license to use their far sloppier nuclear weapons.

We opened Pandora's nuclear box in 1945, and somehow we were able to quickly shut the lid and keep it shut for sixty years now. Do we really want to open it again now?

Europe Fiddles While Sudan Burns

From the Eurabian Times:

From Reuters:

The United States urged NATO Thursday to respond quickly to any request for help in the Darfur conflict, but France insisted the alliance could not be the "gendarme of the world."

Now, we're not talking about dropping the 101st on Khartoum. And we're sure as shit not talking about sending the French Colonial Infantry. There's enough rape and murder in Sudan already.

No, SecState Rice and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer are suggesting NATO have a logistics and planning role, helping the African Union deploy troops. C-130s and freaking maps. Whatever, says France:

However French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier disagreed that there was a role for NATO in Darfur and stressed that Africans should retain the lead in peace efforts.

"NATO does not have a calling to be the gendarme of the world," he told a news conference at the same meeting.

NATO doesn't have a calling for much, then, does it?

The French are taking the Chinese line on Taiwan, too. Probably nothing to do with a $3.2 billion trade deal with the Chinese.

It is important to know three facts with with regard to the ongoing genocide in Sudan, and why nothing is being done about it:

1) The United States Congress and the Bush Administration have declared their conviction that their is a genocide going on in Sudan.

2) France blocked an attempt to have the UN officially declare the Sudanese situation a genocide.

3) France did that because they get oil from Sudan and they don't want to screw up the relationship.

The Creeping Culture of Death

If you thought the Terri Schiavo case was a borderline case, on which reasonable people could disagree, well ok. I don't agree, but fair enough. Now, read this. From Marlowe's Shade:

The more I look into the history of euthanasia and the right-to-die movement, the greater a sense of shame I experience at my profound ignorance of how the culture of death has progressed. See if the deja vu doesn't kick in reading this:

ROBERT WENDLAND should die so that his family can "be allowed to live their lives," Dr. Ronald Cranford, a Minnesota neurologist and bioethicist, testified recently in the Stockton, CA, courtroom of Superior Court Judge Bob McNatt. The chosen method of death? Intentional dehydration and starvation.

What has Wendland, 45, done to deserve such a fate? He went into a coma in September 1993 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Sixteen months later, he awakened from the coma, paralyzed on one side and unable to walk, talk or swallow well enough to eat. He is physically and cognitively disabled and dependent on others for his care. He is not terminally ill. He is not hooked up to machines. He does require a feeding tube to sustain his life.

The villain of the story, Dr Cranford probably needs no introduction, and it was also written by Wesley J. Smith, who was the lone voice in the wilderness of bioethics who championed Terri Schiavo's cause. The parallels to Terri's case are eerie:

Rose Wendland, Robert's wife, claims Robert would not want to live in his current condition. She bases her claim primarily on her husband's statements made in the aftermath of her father's death, three months before Robert's injury, that he would not want to live if he could not "be a husband, father or a provider."

But is it right to kill someone because he might have said he would not want to live in a dependent state? Is it right to kill someone because he can't work and be productive? Is it right to kill someone because he is disabled? Robert Wendland's mother, Florence Wendland, and half-sister, Rebekah Vinson, say no. They sued to prevent the dehydration.

It is important to note that Wendland has slowly improved in the nearly two years since he awakened from his coma. For example, he:

Has maneuvered an electric wheelchair down hospital corridors and can now maneuver a manual wheelchair with his unparalyzed leg or arm. Has written the letter "R" of his first name when asked, as well as some other letters of his name. Has used buttons to accurately answer yes and no questions some of the time. (Is your name Robert? Yes. Is your name Michael? No.) In this regard, one of his doctors asked Wendland if he wanted to die. He didn't answer the question.

Go read the rest.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Yeshua Meshiach

Meshiach means "anointed One", and God's promises to David leave no doubt about the fact that He will be David's Son (cf. 2Sam.7:1-16). But those who believe in the Second Advent without the First Advent inevitably have tripped over the "stone of stumbling" (Ps.118:22-23; Is.8:14; 28:16; cf. Matt.21:42-44), and have failed, among other things, to realize that they have not really understood who this Messiah is.

Jesus made this very clear when He asked the Pharisees in regard to Psalm 110 how David's Son could also be David's Lord (Matt.22:41-46). They were not able to answer and neither are those who are waiting for One they really do not know. But on that future day, when they do look upon "Him whom they have pierced" (Zech.12:10; Rev.1:7), there will be a mass conversion on the part of many whose hearts are now hardened against accepting Jesus as the Messiah He is, and "thus shall all Israel be saved" (Rom.11:25-27).

All who love Israel look forward to that glorious day. In the meantime, it is important for all true Christians to remember that God loves and protects Israel "like the apple of His eye" (Zech.2:8). Therefore we need always to be careful to adopt an attitude of love and respect towards those who are Abraham’s seed according to the flesh (cf. Rom.3:1-2), even as we continue our spiritual advance as those who are Abraham’s seed by faith (Rom.4:1-17).

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The Progress of Democratic Peace In Our Time

From National Review:

Blessed be we, who live in exciting times. Not only are we participating in a global struggle against tyranny, but, if we look carefully enough, we can see the collapse of the conventional wisdom about the relationship between tyrannical rulers and their subjects. We're in the midst of a great paradigm shift, which, as any decent Hegelian will tell you, involves both a transformation of the world and of the way we understand it.

In such rare times, both pundits and policymakers need to constantly challenge their own assumptions about the way the world works, because those assumptions age, along with the world they once described.

Let's start with a thoughtful article in the April 19 Asia Times written by an Australian named Andrei Lankov. "For decades," he rightly points out, "the commonly accepted truth...was that the North Koreans do not rebel." And yet, on March 30, in the Kim il-sung stadium in Pyongyang, tens of thousands of North Korean soccer fans erupted in rage against the (Syrian) referee who had expelled a Korean defender in a World Cup qualifying match against Iran. The demonstrations pitted the spectators against the usual security forces of the police and army, and lasted for hours after the game (Iran won 2-0).

Lankov notes that nothing of the sort had happened in the Hermit Kingdom within human memory: "for the first time in some 50 years a large group of North Koreans, acting openly and in the presence of foreign journalists and camera crews, dared to challenge the representatives of authority..." Lankov believes that the demonstrations bespeak a significant erosion of the regime's ability to repress its subjects. That erosion has sapped the will of the soldiers and police, who are now "often ready to look the other way, especially when there is an opportunity for a small bribe."

Meanwhile, across the border in the People's Republic of China, there have been several demonstrations in recent months, ranging from peasant protests (shades of Mao!) in the hinterland (when Communist-party officials were caught stealing money that was supposed to go to dispossessed land owners) to worker's agitation in the big cities along the coast. Thomas Lifson, of American Thinker, suggests that the Chinese regime senses its own growing weakness.

The regime has certainly intensified its repression of religious freedom, arresting the Catholic priest Zhao Kexun in Hebei Province, and continuing its mindless persecution of the Falun Gong. Luis Ramirez, the brilliant reporter of Voice of America, noted last fall that China was facing a most unexpected crisis: a shortage of qualified workers.

And along with this manpower shortage, the brutal demographic consequences of the Communist-party's strict rule of "one child per couple" are beginning to take hold: The population is aging, the number of people retiring is higher than those entering the workforce, and retirement pension funds are drying up. Moreover, corruption is pandemic, and the recent National People's Congress provided the occasion for an anti-corruption campaign, with the usual showcase arrests and trials. But it is hard for a regime that claims sole authority to blame corruption on individual sinners.

Now come the monster anti-Japan riots, ostensibly in response to Japanese behavior during the Second World War, and Japanese failure to publish textbooks that recount the rape of Nanking and other horrors during the Japanese occupation. No one can seriously believe that the oligarchs in Beijing were responding to popular demand; as the great Chinese émigré dissident He Qinglian reminds us, "the Chinese Government has virtually eliminated its citizens' right to publicly assemble, protest, or express any kind of political aspirations."

So one must ask why the regime is encouraging these mass protests. Surely not, as some commentators think, because China is enraged at the very thought of a Japanese permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council (U.N. reform is not just around the corner). The answer is almost certainly domestic. The oligarchs know that the Chinese people are angry, and they are providing them with an outlet that serves the regime's purposes, as they have done several times in the recent past: May, 1999, after the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, April, 2001, after the collision with a U.S. reconnaissance plane with a Chinese fighter, and March, 2003, against the liberation of Iraq.

The anti-Japan riots are of a piece with the foolish law, passed just last month, that officially approved the use of military force to annex Taiwan. That one was so outrageous that it antagonized the entire civilized world,

(Pastorius note: Well, not the entire civilized world.)

... and undoubtedly contributed to the Europeans' about-face on lifting military sanctions against China. No doubt the oligarchs worried that the Chinese people might notice that the regime's policies were a shambles, and that they might come to suspect that things could improve if only the people were free to choose their own leaders. Thus, one of the delicious paradoxes of our time: China threatens Taiwan with huge armies, but Taiwan threatens China with freedom, and may well win in the end.

As Janet Klinghoffer put it, "China is facing the same innovation roadblock the Soviets did." The Soviet Union could never match Western technological innovations, because Soviet citizens were never given the freedom to do so. Klinghoffer quotes a U.S.-embassy report from Beijing that suggests the Chinese are facing the same bleak future: "Recently a Chinese scholar remarked...that the lack of intellectual freedom and the extraordinary waste of resources severely handicap Chinese science. Both problems are rooted in the Communist Party's monopoly on power and in the socialist system...Nobody believes in Marxism, said the scholar, it is just a slogan..."

This is precisely the sort of thing we heard from Soviet citizens in the years leading up to the great implosion of the Soviet Empire. The Russians had brilliant mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, but the rigidity and corruption of the system prevented them from translating their brilliance into high-quality products. The same is going on in China, with the same political results: The people are angry, and want fundamental change.

The same process is even further advanced in Iran, where near-constant demonstrations, protests, and even armed attacks against the institutions of the Islamic republic have raged. Indeed, in a curious mirror image, the Iranian regime called out the troops to prevent mass demonstrations in major Iranian cities at the very same time the North Koreans were putting down the soccer riot in Pyongyang. Both countries have found that major athletic events are dangerous to dictatorship, because they provide a legitimate excuse for the assembly of large numbers of people.

But Iranians no longer require excuses to show their hatred of the mullahcracy. In the first week of April, there were huge demonstrations in Mahaban, after celebrations of the election of Jalal Talabani as president of Iraq. People shouted slogans against the Islamic republic and Supreme Leader Khamenei. The regime had to declare martial law. In recent days there have been demonstrations and acts of sabot age in Khuzestan Province (a major oil-producing region). The big refinery in Abadan was placed under exceptional military guard, and pipelines are constantly monitored. The city of Ahwaz has seen repeated clashes between the locals and security forces.

The popular contempt for the regime is so blatant that the mullahs' usual pretense that all is well, has been openly discarded, and replaced with mounting repression. Like the North Koreans and Chinese, the Iranian leaders' greatest fear is that their own people will bring down the regime, and the mullahs have taken desperate action against the spread of ideas within the country. Bloggers have been arrested and tortured, along with editors and writers from the dead-tree press.

Rajabali Mazroui, the head of the national union of journalists, was blocked at the airport when he was headed for a media conference in Denmark. His passport was confiscated and he can no longer travel. Mehdi Rahmanian, the managing editor of the Tehran daily newspaper Shargh has been charged with publishing falsehoods with the intent of corrupting public morality. Keyvian Samimi, the managing editor of the monthly magazine Nameh has been charged with insulting the government. And two student organizations, the Islamic Council of Medical Science of Bushehr, and an NGO called Aftab, have been disbanded.

But the Iranians are responding. On April 18, employees at the Isfahan courthouse demonstrated against the sexist policies of the regime, calling for equal rights for women. This was not the sort of "student" demonstration so readily dismissed by Western cynics, for several judges joined the protesters. Even more remarkable was a speech in parliament by a representative named Akbar Alami, in which he said that the Islamic republic was no longer legitimate, that 80 million Iranians are now effectively enslaved by a few hundred corrupt thieves, and that the regime now stands for terrorism and the denial of human rights to the country's citizens.

It has long been assumed that a repressive regime could survive as long as it had the will to crush any opposition, and that clever tyrants could deflect hatred of their regime by conjuring up an external enemy. There is still a tendency, particularly among intellectuals, to assume that these principles apply to contemporary dictatorships like those in China, Iran, and North Korea.

Yet recent events suggest that these three countries, which are united by common interests and which help one another with advanced military technology, from missiles to WMDs, are losing control despite their fierce determination to cling to power and eventually fight and win a great war against the West. All three have nearby examples of new democracies, and their peoples are asking, with increasing intensity, why they are not permitted to govern themselves.

Five hundred years ago Machiavelli insisted that tyranny is the most unstable form of government, and he warned that the most dangerous development for any tyrant was the contempt of his own people. That dramatic tipping point is now very close in China, Iran, and North Korea. All that is required to get there is a steady flow of the truth from outside their borders, guidance for those who undertake the struggle against the tyrants, and constant reminders — backed up with modest action — that we are with them.

Now, please.

Religion of Peace In Our Time
Islamofascists Call For the Murder Of Celebrity Preacher

From Little Green Footballs:

Celebrity Pentecostal preacher Runar Søgaard is under protection by Swedish police after receiving death threats. A high-profile sermon where Søgaard called the prophet Mohammed “a confused pedophile” has triggered fears of religious war.

Søgaard, 37, enjoys celebrity status in Sweden after his marriage to recording star and Eurovision song contest winner Carola, even though they are now divorced.

“Even if I see Runar while he has major police protection I will shoot him to death,” a radical Islamist told Swedish newspaper Expressen.

Persons connected to the Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam claim to have received a fatwa, a decree from a Muslim religious leader, to kill Søgaard.

Go to Little Green Footballs and check out the comments from readers. They make a lot of great points that really put this into perspective.


Heavens. What's with these Islamic fellers? What makes them so violent? They're starting to worry me... Capt. Queeg

Why are islamists exempt from the euro hate laws? Its not ok to say somethjing bad about a religion or race, but it is ok to threaten their life? Goodbye Europe. Murqtaad

Peace In Our Time

A stellar post from Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna:

What is this thing called "peace" that everyone seems so preoccupied with?
It is the opposite of "war", of course. So between 1991 and 2003 Saddam Hussein's subjects must have been experiencing "peace". And all through the 1950s the citizens of the Soviet Union lived in "peace".
In an April 17 post in The Word Unheard, USMC Vet referred to

…the [Left's] core belief that to acquiesce and avoid conflict at any cost is peace. This definition seems to be in accord with the "peace" that reigned in Saddam's Iraq, or that flourishes now in North Korea.
It was not always thus. For most of human history, "peace" meant being able to plant your crops or herd your sheep without being set upon by marauders and murdered, with your last thought the knowledge that your wife and children were about to be carried off into slavery. It meant building a prosperous community in which people could follow their livelihoods without molestation. It meant being able to travel the roads without being beaten and robbed by brigands. It was greatly prized, and it was very rare.
In Europe during the Dark Ages, peace was attained by being the strongest bully in the neighborhood, or by paying tribute to be protected by him. It was tenuous at best, subject to constant testing by arms, and did not allow room for building what we call civilization.
But the office of strongman became hereditary, and peace was gradually enlarged to enclose more and more groups under his protection. The bands of warring brigands became groups of warring feudal states.

(Pastorius note: What Baron of Gates of Vienna is saying here is true. NATO is an example of a large bloc of nations who are under the protection of a strongman, the United States. The difference though is the other NATO nations do not pay us a tribute. Instead, we pay the tribute, in the form of providing for their defense and, in turn, they insult us.)

Great deal for us, huh?)

As the English-speaking diaspora spread throughout the world, the concept of peace was refined, extended, and more fully realized. The development of a legal system to which all had recourse, the establishment of local officers and then police forces, the creation of responsible and accountable local government -- all these tended to enlarge the condition of peace.
Peace is not just when the war is over and the armies are demobilized. Peace is the condition of being secure in one's property and person, of being able to perform one's routine activities without fear of violence.
The last century and a half has allowed us to forget how rare and precious real peace is. The typical condition of mankind before the nineteenth century was to live in brutality and fear.
Men had to be armed and eternally vigilant to attain peace; slaves, serfs, and women could not hope for it without the protection of a rough man ready to do violence on their behalf.
There are still enclaves in America that lack peace -- the inner city where gangs rule, for example -- but the vast majority of citizens can live the vast majority of their lives in peace. A yeoman in fourteenth-century England would have been on his knees thanking God in unabashed amazement had he the opportunity to experience the peace which is our routine and unearned condition.
In the luxury of our current circumstances, the definition of "peace" that USMC Vet mentioned has evolved. To recap, "to acquiesce and avoid conflict at any cost is peace." When the bullies, thugs, and brigands emerge to confront us, we are not to take up our cudgels against them. Remain supine before your persecutor, allow his boot to remain firmly on your neck, and then you will have peace. Rely on reason, on discourse and argumentation, to dissuade the assassin from his task. Understand his point of view; look at the historical reasons for his behavior; acknowledge your culpability in creating the conditions that produced him -- why, you deserve what you're getting, you know. Give him everything he wants, and what follows will be called "peace".
When Saddam burned, gassed, shredded and mutilated his subjects by the hundreds of thousands, that was "peace". When the United States overthrew him, imposed the rule of law, and arranged elections, that was not "peace".
The crashing of airliners into the World Trade Center was not war. It was "peace". The peace that passes all understanding. Peace in our time.

You're a Jew, So You're Not Allowed to Have An Opinion
Anti-Semitism In British Academica

From Melanie Phillips:

A reader who is currently at a British university has sent me this cri de coeur about the anti-Jewish witch-hunt going on in our seats of learning:

'Certain members of the academic staff hold some quite franklyoffensive views. During a recent series of lectures about terrorism,the lecturer gave an admirably balanced assessment of most of theterrorist groups and their activities around the world. Then came the'Middle East Conflict'.

He began by handing out photocopied pieces of his own published work that sought to claim that the myriad terrorist groups operating in Israel and Palestine were necessary to prevent 'Israeli genocide'. He then went on to inform us that during the course of his research he had met and interviewed numerous members of Hamas and Hezbollah, and that he counted some of these men as 'close personal friends' and had invited one of them to his native Holland.

'I found this situation entirely unpalatable. suppose that the lecturer had declared his support for another of the terrorist groups he was lecturing about -- Combat 18 for example, or perhaps the numerous Aryan/White power groups in the US. Can we imagine that he would still be teaching, or for that matter that he would be anything more than a pariah?

'A Jewish friend put this question to the department and was essentially told that first of all he couldn't really have an opinion because religion clouds the individual's judgement, and that secondly he was an undergraduate and therefore not able to understand academic objectivity.

Quite literally, the student was told that he was not allowed to have an opinion because he is a Jew. There is no other way to take that. Oh, I guess he can have an opinion on other issues, but not on anything related to Israel. Can you imagine imagine if you were not allowed to have an opinion on things you loved; such as your family, or your country?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Eternal Jerusalem

by Shoshana Meerkin

Posted by Hello

Why The Jews Rejected Jesus
One Jews Perspective

From National Review:

David Klinghoffer, former literary editor at National Review has a new book just out — Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History — which, as you can imagine from the title, has gotten a little attention already. With Jesus on the mind this Holy Week, NRO Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez (a Catholic) chatted with her former office neighbor (an orthodox Jew) about his book, his claims (he tells Lopez: “Had more Jews accepted Jesus, Mel Gibson today might be praying toward Mecca.”) and goals.

National Review Online: David, you’ve got chutzpah. What were you and your publisher thinking publishing a book on the necessity of Jews rejecting Jesus so close to Easter?

David Klinghoffer: It’s not chutzpah. I’m just trying to answer the Big Question when it’s most on Christian minds. On Easter, Christians recall the death and resurrection of Jesus, his saving death, as they believe. The question is, Why don’t Jews understand that they also need the gift of unmerited grace that came with that death? The quickest answer is that Judaism has always understood that we received such a gift, but 1,300 years before Jesus died, at Mt. Sinai. The Christian offer of salvation through Christ’s death is an offer of a gift we already had in exchange for giving up the unique grammar of our relationship with God through the mitzvoth, or commandments. I also hope that my book will remind believing Christians of the most important thing we have in common: a belief that there is such a thing as religious truth in the first place. That idea is under attack from the secular left. In this sense, my book is a battle cry on behalf of both Jews and Christians.

NRO: How can the whole of Western Civilization rest on the rejection of Jesus?

Klinghoffer: Because the earliest Christian church was initially hobbled by insisting that new converts adhere to Jewish law — keep kosher, be circumcised, etc. For an adult man to be circumcised was a bummer, let me tell you. The decision was made, however — at a church council in Jerusalem in 49 — to jettison Jewish law as a requirement for new Christians. This was done at the apostle Paul’s insistence, and he explains in Acts that since the Jews were rejecting his presentation of Jesus as savior and messiah, the Christian message would now be taken to the gentiles. Dispensing with Jewish practices like circumcision made this possible.
Had the Jews not rejected Paul’s preaching about Jesus, the church likely would have held on to those laws. Had it done so, the church would have remained hobbled, and could hardly have become the world-bestriding institution it is today. Jewish Christianity would have remained a sect in Judaism, and probably would have died out along with other such sects in 70 when the Temple was destroyed by Rome and the Jews scattered. In that case, there would be no Christian civilization, and, among other things, no America as we know it — a country whose founding was deeply influenced by Christian faith. There is a possibility that we would all be Muslims. Had more Jews accepted Jesus, Mel Gibson today might be praying toward Mecca.

NRO: If Christians are so wrong, how can we be indispensable to God’s plan?

Klinghoffer: God’s plans unfold in unexpected ways. Christians are right, in Jewish eyes, in many respects — most notably in bringing the God of Israel to the attention of the world. They have done a much better job of that than we Jews are doing.

NRO: You are grateful for Christianity and at the same time reject it — how does that gel? Don’t you ever want to convince your Christian friends they’re wrong and need to reject Jesus?

Klinghoffer: It’s a paradox, but history is full of paradoxes. Far from wanting to convince Christian friends they’re wrong, I want to do my bit to strengthen their faith. That’s one of the beauties of debate: it forces you to look again at your beliefs, at their sources, and refine your thoughts about ultimate questions. My faith has been strengthened and sharpened immeasurably by debating with Christians and others who don’t see things as I do.

NRO: Our friend Father Neuhaus makes the case that you may have a numbers problem — that the majority of Roman Empire Jews may not have rejected Jesus. Would that change things?

Klinghoffer: Fr. Neuhaus seems to have skipped the page where I say my book could more accurately — but less concisely — have been titled, “Why Those Jews Who Rejected Jesus Did So.” No one knows how many Jews became Christians in the first centuries of the Christian era. Why they did so isn’t the question people are curious about.

NRO: What would you say to those who might argue you’re unnecessarily causing religious tension through your book? “Why the Jews Rejected Jesus” — I mean, do you have to remind us? Don’t you just drive us further apart, when, in the end, we do pray to the same God?

Klinghoffer: On the contrary, it’s not healthy for any relationship to sweep under the rug a question as big as this, a question that one side wonders about. The Christian-Jewish friendship is stronger than ever before, not least among conservative Christians and Jews. Further strengthening our friendship requires airing not only the issues on which we agree but also the ones on which we disagree.

NRO: In your book you air some dirty laundry — some pretty bad things Jews say about Christians. Is there any point in that, too? Aren’t you just going to give more ammo to Anti-Semites? And to Jews who are prone to hate Christians — or might be after reading your book?

Klinghoffer: Not about Christians — about Jesus. The anti-Semites already know these things, as a quick search of the Internet will reveal. I hesitated about disclosing some of this troubling material, but a) it wouldn’t have been an honest history of the Jewish-Christian debate without it; and b) in all fairness it pales in comparison to the things Christians have said and written about Judaism and Jews over the centuries. Just as recording the history of mean things Christians have said hasn’t made the present blossoming of a Jewish-Christian alliance impossible, I’m not worried about the impact of making known a few brief and cryptic Talmud passages.
NRO: You complain a lot about St. Paul, but, in the end, isn’t he a scapegoat of sorts for the fact you just don’t buy Jesus’ shtick?

Klinghoffer: I don’t complain about Paul, though I do show that it’s unlikely that he was what claimed to be — namely, a disciple of that era’s great rabbinic sage, Gamaliel. It seems doubtful that Paul could even understand Hebrew — his citations from the Bible are always from the problematic Greek translation, the Septuagint. He writes about Jewish spiritual life as an outsider, as someone who never experienced it. As I show, Jesus rejected the foundation of Jewish tradition — the Oral Torah, which explains the cryptic text of the Five Books of Moses, the Torah — but Paul rejected not only that but the structure built on top of that foundation, the Torah itself.

NRO: Besides maybe converting us, what would you like the Christian reader to get from your book?

Klinghoffer: I don’t want to convert you, Kathryn, and I know I couldn’t do so no matter how I tried. People believe what we believe for reasons that transcend argument. We believe because we have a certain kind of relationship with God, a certain spiritual experience. The arguments come later. What I want to do for the Christian reader is satisfy your curiosity. Jews, especially those who like me work and socialize with committed and conservative Christians, are asked why we don’t share their faith in Jesus. Or Christians wants to ask, but stop themselves. The question is meant sincerely and seriously. It deserves an answer.

NRO: …And the Jewish reader?

Klinghoffer: Michael Medved quipped that the only things all Jews can agree on is that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. He’s right and it’s sad because, as I said, Torah is about so much more than who was or wasn’t the Messiah. It offers the opportunity of experiencing God through the mitzvoth, the commandments. What’s also unfortunate is that while all Jews agree about Jesus, very few understand even that minimal belief — they don’t know what the Messiah means, or what’s at stake in the question of who that Messiah will be. My book tries to raise Jewish awareness about these questions.

Yesterday, I posted the ideas of Pope Benedict XVI on why the Jews Rejected Jesus. The Pope based his ideas off the following verses from Roman 11:

11Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

13I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26

And so all Israel will be saved,

as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is[f] my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”[g]

Little food for thought there. Bread for the journey.

Don't Trust The Government

The Neo-Neocon explains what it was like in the late 60's and early 70's, and why it became almost impossible to trust the government:

As time and the war had gone on, the tale told to us by the media wasn't just about the war itself: it was about how the government had lied to the American people and deceived us, how it couldn't be trusted. That message grew more focused during the early 70s, during the spring 1971 Congressional hearings on the war (the ones that featured John Kerry), and with the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which came out two months later.

It was particularly convincing to hear disillusioned veterans such as Kerry speak out and demonstrate against the war--after all, they were the ones who been there and seen it firsthand. The Pentagon Papers revealed that the government had been deceptive about the war and the planning behind it. Then there was the invasion of Cambodia, perceived as an escalation of the war after Nixon had promised a reduction; and the killing of student protesters at Kent State by the National Guard, which made us feel as though war had been declared on us, too--on young people, on students.

The message that the government could not be trusted was further reinforced by the Watergate scandal, commencing with the break-in in 1972 and ending later, after we had left Vietnam, in the ignominious 1974 resignation of Nixon.

If we couldn't trust the government--well, then, who could we trust? Many decided to trust the whistleblowers: the press, our new heroes. After all, they had published the Pentagon Papers. They had showed us photos of what had happened at Kent State. They had brought the horror of My Lai to our attention. They had been instrumental in the exposure of the Watergate scandal, which had disgraced (and later was to bring down) a President most of us already disliked anyway.

Beware of turning your anti-heroes into heroes, though. Because when they attain incredible prestige and power, they become corrupt as well.

The Neo-Neocon writes very well about those times. Although I was very young at the time, I remember the events of that era very, very well. I came out of the seventies with almost no ability to believe in anything.

A confluence of forces acted together to derail America from it's own course. In general, the WWII generation believed too strongly in America's inherent good, while the Hippie Generation believed too strong in it's media-created mandate to change the world. I suspect there was a lot of Leftist Eutopianism (read behind-the-scenes Communism) at work in fanning the flames of the Hippie protests.

An increasing polarization set in, and before we knew it, we were blind. None of us were seeing the truth anymore. And it took many years for America to find it's way again.

The New York Branch of Arab Bank Funded Terrorism

Surprise, the Arab Bank was involved in funding terrorism. From Little Green Footballs:

The tiny minority of extremist Muslims apparently had the Arab world’s largest bank on their side: Arab Bank funded Hamas, al-Qaida.

The New York branch of the Arab Bank was instrumental in financing Hamas, Al-Qaida and dozens of other terrorist groups, and some of those transactions were also handled by banks in the United States and Israel, according to a report in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Arab Bank funneled more than $20 million to and from terrorist groups and charities affiliated with terrorist groups, including payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers who perpetrated attacks in Israel, the report said. The bank now may be subject to criminal charges for not disclosing to the US government suspicious transactions that resulted in the financing of terrorists.

Arab Bank already is the subject of a lawsuit by US and Israeli victims of terrorist attacks, who are seeking more than $1 billion in damages, and it is the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Justice Department. In February, the bank agreed to stop accepting deposits at its US branch.

Officials at the bank’s headquarters in Amman said they were not aware of the money transfers among the terrorist financiers and would have put a stop to them had they known.

Money Is The Root Of All Morality?

The title is merely provocative. But, consider this; Tom, the Kafir Constitutionalist, proposed a brilliant theory as to why less economically advanced societies develop moral systems which allow them to abuse women:

Barter economies rely on a double-coincidence of wants. If I have butter, and you have eggs, we must both want the other's commodity in order for a transaction to occur. Might the misogyny of primitive cultures be due to their attempts to get around the problem of double coincidence of wants, by bartering the one thing every man wants: sex?

Primitive cultures treat their women like cattle, Islamic societies still barter girls for goods and services. By exchanging females, these societies have tried to work around the double-coincidence of wants in their own thoroughly savage way. Misogynistic primitive cultures may represent dead-ends in which societies adopted, instead of a commodity as a medium of exchange, the act of rape (I include arranged marriages between 12 year olds and middle aged men rape, of course).

This choice might explain the many differences between the West and societies developed along the morality of 7th century nomads.

Sounds like a good explanation to me. Money creates a more moral society? Economics are determinative? There seems to be a lot of truth to his argument, but it presents some intellectual challenges. I'll have to think about that. I don't think money is evil, but neither do I think that it is true that the more society values money, the more moral it becomes. Instead, possibly there is a point at which the system of economics has become sufficiently complex to give as much order to the society as it is capable of giving.

I'm sure Tom will have thoughts.

More On The Pope And The Jews

From National Review:

In the media coverage of the election of Pope Benedict XVI, a number of commentators have mentioned that the young Josef Ratzinger grew up in Nazi Germany. It was a motif of John Paul II’s biography that growing up under the Nazis and the Communists influenced his theology and outlook, encouraging him, for example, to place the dignity of the human person at the center of his theological agenda. So it is natural to ask of the new pope whether his experience under the Nazis affected his theological outlook.

... the ills of western Europe today have the same cause, and the same solution, as during World War II. It seems crazy to think that a man who heard the call to the priesthood during the heart of World War II did not see in his vocation at least the beginnings of an answer to the problems of his day.

A Wall Street Journal editorial Wednesday quotes Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, in which the future pope recounts how the Church seemed to him to be the antidote to the poisons corrupting Europe: "Despite many human failings, the Church was the alternative to the destructive ideology of the Nazis.

(Pastorius note: In the interest of full-disclosure, I am including the following sentence from Mr. Ratzinger's writing. I want to make it clear that I do not agree with it's assertion.)

In the inferno that had swallowed up the powerful, she had stood firm with a force coming to her from eternity. It had been demonstrated: The gates of hell will not prevail against her."

(Pastorius note: I believe that the Church's response to the Holocaust was pathetic. And when I say this, I do not mean the response of the Catholic Church alone. I mean the response of the entire Christian Church. We hardly responded at all. The response of the Christian Church to the Holocaust was so pathetic that it, perhaps, ought to be viewed as the second crucifixion of Christ.)

What was it about the Church that offered a young German boy such hope? I want to suggest that, ironically enough, it was in large part the Church’s teaching about sin.

In a radio address in 1940, Pius XII claimed that "the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin." This diagnosis has been repeated and emphasized by all the popes of the late 20th century, none more forcefully than John Paul II. The sense of sin, argued John Paul II in his 1984 apostolic exhortation Reconciliation and Penance, is related to the sense of God; likewise, the secular humanist attempt to develop a morality and way of life that makes no reference to God will also force man to lose his sense of sin.

The new pope was a teenager when Pius gave his radio address (he expressed his desire to enter the priesthood the following year). He was also a collaborator with John Paul II on Reconciliation and Penance. In an interview with the German journalist Peter Seewald, published in 2000 as God and the World, then Cardinal Ratzinger repeated this theme: "Being incapable of acknowledging guilt is the most dangerous form of spiritually arrested development one can imagine, because this in particular makes people incapable of improvement."

But then the future pope connected this by-now-familiar observation with his firsthand knowledge of the Nazi agenda. Psychologists remind us that it can be bad to feel overburdened with guilt, of course, "but it is worse to extinguish the capacity for recognizing guilt, because man then becomes inwardly hardened and sick…That was what was intended by Nazi education. They thought they were even able to commit murder, as Himmler expressed it, and still remain respectable — and thereby they were deliberately trampling on human conscience and mutilating man himself."

What Pius XII diagnosed as the sin of the 20th century — the loss of a sense of personal guilt and sin — Benedict XVI thinks helped make great evil seem so ordinary. This is the theological solution to Hannah Arendt’s puzzle about how such boring bureaucrats as Himmler and Eichmann could bring about the Holocaust. The Nazis taught, repeatedly and in numerous different ways, that there is no God, no sin, and no personal guilt. Relentless propaganda made it easy for people to avoid feeling guilty, and, since everyone was complicit, nobody was made to answer for his sins.

The understanding that we are sinners is one of the biggest contributions the Jews have given us. The Law of God as dictated by God, to Moses, is essential to our human capacity to do good.
If, as I believe, there are forces at work preparing a second Holocaust for the Jews, then the Christian Church needs to stand up against those forces. More than likely, such righteousness will require that we first acknowledge our past failures (for instance, not being willing to recognize and confront the malevolence of the Nazi's) and learn from them.

That's what this site is all about; Christians United Against the New Anti-Semitism (CUANAS) is here to spread the truth that we failed our brothers in the faith and we need to support them now.

I'm glad that we find, in the new Pope, a man who understands this truth.

The Pope, The Jews, And The Truth

From National Review:

The election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI may be regarded by American Jewish leaders as an unwelcome omen for interfaith relations. It needs to be remembered, however, that our community's leadership doesn't necessarily represent the views of most Jews — and it certainly doesn't represent Judaism.

On Monday, as the cardinals were about to enter upon the awesome task of choosing a new pope, Ratzinger delivered a sermon that sounded a striking call to resist relativism and secularism. For all that the German cardinal has been called a clone of his predecessor, Ratzinger seems if anything to exceed John Paul II in the vehemence of his opposition to the idea that there is no singular truth about God. On the contrary, Ratzinger powerfully insists that there is such a truth and that his church is in possession of it.

His words, which will become famous, are worth contemplating: "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching,' looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards. We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires."

At the highest reaches of our Jewish communal-bureaucratic structure, this is not a popular theme. That's putting it mildly. It's one of the melancholy facts about Jewish life in modern America that the closest thing we have to a leading moral authority, representing us as Jews to the world, is not a rabbi or any spiritual exemplar. Rather, whenever you see a Jewish leader on CNN or Fox, commenting upon the "Jewish" position vis-à-vis events of the day, it is most likely to be someone from one of the anti-defamation organizations, most likely Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League.

For all the undoubted value of its stated goal of fighting anti-Semitism, the ADL has committed itself to a program of relativism. As Foxman himself has said, "It is pure arrogance for any one religion to assume that they hold 'the truth.'" Presumably this would apply to Judaism too. For Ratzinger to assert the truth of his religion was therefore wrong, in the ADL's eyes, as it would be wrong to assert the truth of Judaism.

In Ratzinger's important sermon, which will likely be remembered (so presumably he intended it) as striking the keynote of his papacy, he cited a prophecy from Isaiah looking forward to "a year of favor unto the Lord and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort mourners" (61:2). Apart from the allusion to the mourning going on among Catholic worldwide at the death of a beloved leader, one key phrase of the verse was clearly intended to be understood as fighting words. Isaiah promises "favor" for the Lord's servants, but "vengeance" for His enemies.

No verse in the Bible makes it clearer that God asks us to take sides. In the great controversy of our own day — the controversy surrounding the question of truth versus relativism — Ratzinger knows on what side he comes down. The most prominent American Jewish leader comes down on the other side.

Alas, the ADL's viewpoint is all too commonly encountered in our community, as I have been reminded from the very recent personal experience of publishing a book that argues for the truth of Judaism. Although my book, Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, a history of the Jewish-Christian debate about Jesus, can be seen as a critique of Christianity, I've found that in speaking to mixed groups of Jews and Christians, it is often the Jews who take umbrage at being told their religion is true while the Christians genially accept that it entirely appropriate for a Jew to argue in this way.

What's going on? Only that Christians, including traditional Catholics like Joseph Ratzinger, perhaps more than many Jews today, appreciate the deepest assumption that our two religions share: the assumption that there is a truth out there, a singular truth, to be found and embraced.

Pope Benedict XVI has his truth. Jews who believe in Judaism, as opposed to relativism, have ours. The pope and the Jews can't both be right — but that fact, that there can only be one truth, is a singularly important truth in itself, arguably more important than any of the doctrinal points on which Jews, Catholics, and other Christians differ. Let's hope the Jewish community can rise to meet the new pope, seeing in him the fellow believer in truth that he is, offering him our sincere congratulations and good wishes for a blessed and successful papacy.

The Political Crisis In American Universities
Recognized By The Mainstream Media

From Front Page Magazine:

The political crisis in the universities has now become so obvious that in recent days even the mainstream media has started to take alarmed note of it. An official editorial in The New York Times blasted Columbia University for its inadequate report on pro-Palestinan propagandistic teaching and the intimidation of Jewish students in the Middle East studies program on that campus, while a major column on the front page of the “Outlook” section of the Sunday Washington Post declared that unless universities changed their political ways, they were about to sink into financial decline because of loss of public support.

You cannot have better venues than these for the formation of “respectable” opinion—i.e., what it now becomes permissible to say at a Georgetown or Upper West Side dinner party.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Palestinian Child Abuse
Weapon Hidden In Little Girl's Underwear
Fifteen Year Old Loaded Up With Bombs

From Atlas Shrugged:

Honest Reporting: This week, IDF soldiers searching for a wanted terrorist in a West Bank house discovered a girl hiding a gun in her underwear, YNet reports. The soldiers in the Balata refugee camp, a terrorist hotbed, found the gunman inside his home and ordered him to surrender his weapon. He refused, claiming he didn't have one. After questioning, they found the man's firearm was hidden in his younger sister's underwear.

And earlier this week, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was arrested near Nablus after being discovered wearing five pipe bombs strapped to his body. The boy aroused suspicions by wearing a heavy jacket on a hot day.

HonestReporting has repeatedly critiqued the media's negligence in failing to report the indoctrination of Palestinian youngsters toward violence, and the growing culture of hate against Israel and the United States.

Now, in a pro-active effort to challenge this human rights abuse, HonestReporting partnered in launching a new project that we're proud to introduce at this time ― Teach Kids Peace. Please take a moment to view the powerful 90-second introductory video by clicking (on this link which will take you to Atlas Shrugged) on the graphic below, and visit for news updates and alerts for activists.

As the momentum shifts toward a possible peace agreement in the Mideast, it is now more crucial than ever to ensure that children are educated toward building peace.

The New Pope On Jihad

Another reason why Cardinal Ratzinger is the perfect Pope for the times we are in. From Little Green Footballs:

In line with his call to Europeans to recover their own spiritual heritage, the new Pope opposes Turkey’s proposed entrance into the European Union: “Turkey,” he has declared, “has always represented a different continent, always in contrast with Europe.”
But his objection is not simply geographical — in fact, he opposes the geographical oversimplifications that underlie Turkey’s EU bid: “Europe,” he has explained, “was founded not on a geography, but on a common faith. We have to redefine what Europe is, and we cannot stop at positivism.”
A Europe newly defined as in some sense a Christian entity may outrage secularists, but a secular and relativist Europe has so far proved powerless against the Islamization of Europe — despite the fact that that Islamization threatens cherished Western notions of the equality of rights and dignity of all people. Europe, the new Pope has written, “appears to be at the start of its decline and fall.”
It may be too late, as Bat Ye’or believes, to arrest that decline and fall. However, the first thing a physician does when he treats a disease is identify the problem. No healing can proceed from a misdiagnosis. It is heartening to see that Pope Benedict XVI has already, in various speeches and writings before his accession to the papacy, dared to speak more clearly about the threat that Islam poses to Western civilization than his predecessor — for all his many and remarkable gifts — ever quite managed to do.
Late in 2003 the semi-official Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica departed from John Paul II’s policy toward Islam and published a scathing criticism of the mistreatment that Christians suffer in Islamic societies. It represented the first indication that any Catholic officials recognized the dimensions of the religious conflict that jihadists are waging against Christians and others around the world.
La Civiltà Cattolica pointed out that “for almost a thousand years Europe was under constant threat from Islam, which twice put its survival in serious danger.” Now, through jihad terrorism and demographics Islam is threatening Europe’s survival yet again — and it looks as if now there is a Pope who has noticed.

As I said in the previous post, Pope Benedict XVI could be a hinge upon which history turns.