Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is Israel's real enemy "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"?

I am sure that everyone who heard or read Senator Obama's speech on race has keyed in on a particular passage that resonates with him or her, whether as a sign of the Senator's greatness or as evidence of his pettiness. For me, it is this:

"a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"

To my mind, this is a prime example of how the Senator uses carefully-chosen words to score points simultaneously with various constituencies that might otherwise be at odds. He calls Israel a "stalwart ally" in order to curry favor with American Jews, and it will probably fool a number of them -- but what I want a candidate to say to make me feel more secure as an American Jew is recognition of Israel's status as the Jewish homeland, not just a geopolitical asset. If the USA has a moral obligation to Kosovar Albanians and Sudanese in Darfur because of their inherent rights as humans, certainly the USA should support the right of the Jewish people to claim one corner of the world as its own secure homeland.

But even more clever -- too clever by half -- is his contrasting Israel with "radical Islam." In doing so, he scores points for "recognizing the Islamofascist threat," but at the same time he covers up the real source of the conflict: good old-fashioned Jew-hatred on the part of Arab and Muslim countries and peoples. The Arab countries didn't attempt to kill the State of Israel aborning because of radical Islam; Nasser's calls for Israel's destruction were driven by secular pan-Arabism, not the Muslim Brotherhood; and the PLO needed no imams or muftis to urge them to murder Israelis and other Jews.

But to call out the Arab nations for Jew-hatred would draw attention to the fact that Reverend Wright is at home with Jew-haters in the Black community. Certainly he's cozy with Louis Farrakhan, and if he doesn't share Farrakhan's view of modern Jews as adherents of a "gutter religion" and identical to the "white Devils," he's certainly tolerant of that view. Indeed, the notion he expresses in his Christmas 2007 sermon, that Jesus was a poor Black man, indicates that his theology is based on the idea that the Judeans, the direct descendants of the Hebrews, were Black Africans -- which necessarily means that he believes that Jews from the European diaspora must be impostors, hijackers of the Jewish faith. Does he blame Askenazic Jews for the genocide of the original Black Jews? And what of the Jews of the Maghreb or of the eastern Arab lands -- are they legitimate Black Jews or just another brand of illegitimate interlopers?

This takes us back to the first half of the statement. I can imagine the Senator or his supporters telling radical Black constituent groups that he supports Israel only inasmuch as it is a useful tool and not out of any love for, or recognition of the rights of, Israel's Jews. I can further imagine him assuring those groups that he is diligently working to make Israel more secure by helping to rid it of its racist Zionist practices and principles and evolving past its outmoded fixation on being a homeland for the Jewish people.

Push hard enough, and the truth will emerge

The Arab and Muslim nations of the world have been working diligently to get the United Nations to craft an agreement whereby it would be a "crime" to disrespect or insult a religion. Guess what nation is throwing up a roadblock to the proposal?

Nope. Saudi Arabia. Turns out that they're worried that the proposal would protect religions other than Islam:

The Saudi Arabian parliament on Monday rejected a recommendation to adopt an international agreement that forbids insulting religions, prophets and clerics, the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported.

Seventy-seven members of parliament rejected the recommendation, claiming that if they adopted the agreement, they would have had to recognize the legitimacy of idolatrous religions, such as Buddhism.

The recommendation was put forward by MP Muhammad Al-Quweiha's. He wrote that the Saudi Foreign Ministry should cooperate with the Arab and Islamic bloc in the United Nations to adopt the agreement.

"The concept of religions varies from one country to the other and from one culture to the other. Buddhism and Bahaism are considered religions in some countries, but must Muslims respect these sects and not condemn them," said MP Khalil Al-Khalil, who rejected the recommendation.

Al-Quweiha explained that his incentive was to prevent the ongoing campaign of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad, in particular the cartoons and films which are shown in the US and Holland.

A member of the Saudi Shoura Council who voted against the resolution told The Media Line the question of whether it implied recognition of other religions was not the issue.

"To me, this resolution is in conflict with main principles like human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion," he said.

Two years ago, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which Saudi Arabia is a member of, submitted a five-point action plan to the European Union, regarding the controversy over the anti-Muhammad cartoons. The plan included legislation by the European Parliament against the anti-Islam phenomenon in the West and exerting joint efforts by both the EU and the OIC to issue a UN resolution forbidding offenses against religions and prophets.

Look at it this way: you can believe that the Saudis are champions of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion when they allow a Gay Pride Day parade to march from a church in Medina to a synagogue in Mecca, and not a second sooner.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here, he says it better

George Neumayr writes in The American Spectator:

Left-wing paternalists regard themselves as architects of racial progress, guarding and guiding blacks along the path of success -- a role in which they assume to stand forever at the head of the march. But what happens when blacks overtake their enlightened white helpers? All hell breaks loose and the mask of progress drops to reveal the stricken faces of the white avant-garde .

Geraldine Ferraro's remarks confirm that beneath left-wing paternalism lurks considerable racism. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she said to the Daily Breeze. "He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

Since liberalism is not based upon natural justice but willfulness, it never fails to devour its supposed beneficiaries. Ferraro's condescension captures the tone of paternalistic liberalism perfectly. Its "victims" should know their place and plot their ascent according to the progressive charts set up by the white liberal establishment.

The rest of the article goes on to give a much better illustration of the poison with which affirmative action has permeated our society than I was able to give in my previous post (The Affirmative Action Candidate).

The Affirmative Action Candidate

No, not Barack Obama.

Geraldine Ferraro.

Let's look at what she said, to Jim Farber of the Torrance (Calif.) Daily Breeze:

"I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama's campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against," she said. "For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

That's pretty specific. She's saying that Barack Obama is where he is because he's a Black man.

In other words, he's the beneficiary of affirmative action.

Not the affirmative action that may or may not have had anything to do with his opportunities for education or employment -- Ferraro is postulating that the Democrat Party electorate is weighing Obama's race as a specific factor in evaluating him as a candidate. By inference, then, they are both forgiving his lack of objective qualifications for the office of the President, and overlooking Hillary Clinton's obviously superior qualifications for the office.

It's bunk.

Let's be clear: affirmative action is how you pick a running mate. A Mondale picks a Ferraro not because a Ferraro has any clue how to take over the top job if the Mondale keels over, but because by picking her the Mondale shows how enlightened he is, and creates through the choice itself the sort of excitement his corpse-like appearance and demeanor could never muster.

How you get to the top of the ticket relies on a more objective process. Set aside the question of objective qualifications for the Presidency -- the "who do you want taking the 3 AM phone call?" or the "great speeches are wonderful, but it takes spade work to pass legislation" (and let's also set aside the Clinton campaign's choice of the metaphor "spade work"). Let's focus on the process of choosing a candidate.

Candidates and their campaign operations present an image and message to the electorate. The electorate turns these into subjective assessments of whether they want that candidate to be the nominee. And then the electorate provides the sole form of objective evidence about the candidate's qualifications for the party's nomination: votes.

It doesn't matter whether Barack Obama would, in fact, crumple into a quivering mass of jelly if Hezbollah terrorists detonated an atomic weapon in Houston, leading to the collapse of American power in the world and relegating the USA to second-world status. One could make a very good argument that such an eventuality is possible or even probable -- but it's still a conjecture, a forecast, and therefore subjective.

But a tally of state contests won and delegates pledged is an observable, measurable and concrete fact. It is objective evidence -- in fact, the only objective evidence that counts for anything in this process -- that a candidate is more qualified to be his or her party's nominee than the rival candidates.

If any other objective criteria about experience, temperament, gravitas, and all the qualities a President should have made a dime's difference in this process, Bill Richardson would have won the nomination handily. But for whatever reason, he did not, and for whatever reason, Barack Obama has amassed a lead in pledged delegates, states won, and even the popular vote. That makes him inarguably the most qualified of the Democrat candidates in the same sense that Chauncey Fauntleroy is the most qualified pitcher on the sandlot if he's the only kid who owns a ball and bat: whatever you think of his ability to do the job once he has it, he's got an inarguable claim to the job based on the relevant selection process.

There is, of course, a delicious irony to Ferraro's comment. A Black man couldn't possibly have achieved the front-runner position in the Democrat Party's nominating process on merit -- no, he must have been given a leg up unfairly just because of his color. The affirmative action mentality taints any success on the part of a minority member with a whiff of suspicion that the success was not so much earned as bestowed by the white male establishment under duress from the enlightened (also mostly white) liberal establishment. As political conservatives and a certain segment of Black social commentators have observed, this is perhaps the most insidious poison of affirmative action.