Monday, December 23, 2013

The Late, Great American WASP. By Joseph Epstein.

The Late, Great American WASP. By Joseph Epstein. Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2013, Also here.

Nostalgie de la Boue. By Arlene Goldbard. Tikkun Daily Blog, December 23, 2013.


The old U.S. ruling class had plenty of problems. But are we really better off with a country run by the self-involved, over-schooled products of modern meritocracy?

The U.S. once had an unofficial but nonetheless genuine ruling class, drawn from what came to be known as the WASP establishment. Members of this establishment dominated politics, economics and education, but they do so no longer. The WASPocracy, as I think of it, lost its confidence and, with it, the power and interest to lead. We are now without a ruling class, unless one includes the entity that has come to be known as the meritocracy—presumably an aristocracy of sheer intelligence, men and women trained in the nation's most prestigious schools.
The acronym WASP derives, of course, from White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but as acronyms go, this one is more deficient than most. Lots of people, including powerful figures and some presidents, have been white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant but were far from being WASPs. Neither Jimmy Carter nor Bill Clinton qualified.
WASPs were a caste, closed off to all not born within it, with the possible exception of those who crashed the barriers by marrying in. WASP credentials came with lineage, and lineage—that is, proper birth—automatically brought connections to the right institutions. Yale, Princeton and Harvard were the great WASP universities, backed up by Choate, Groton, Andover, Exeter and other prep schools. WASPs tended to live in exclusive neighborhoods: on upper Park and Fifth Avenues in New York, on the Main Line in Philadelphia, the Back Bay in Boston, Lake Forest and Winnetka in Chicago.
WASP life, though, was chiefly found on the eastern seaboard. WASPs had their own social clubs and did business with a small number of select investment and legal firms, such as Brown Brothers Harriman and Sullivan & Cromwell. Many lived on inherited money, soundly invested.
The State Department was once dominated by WASPs, and so, too, was the Supreme Court, with one seat traditionally left unoccupied for a Jewish jurist of proper mien. The House of Representatives was never preponderantly WASP, though a number of prominent senators— Henry Cabot Lodge and Leverett A. Saltonstall, both of Massachusetts, come to mind—have been WASPs. Looking down on the crudities of quotidian American politics, Henry Adams, a WASP to the highest power, called the dealings of Congress, the horse-trading and corruption and the rest of it, “the dance of democracy.” In one of his short stories, Henry James has characters modeled on Adams and his wife Clover, planning a social evening, say, “Let us be vulgar and have some fun—let us invite the President.”
So dominant was WASP culture that some wealthy families who didn’t qualify by lineage attempted to imitate and live the WASP life. The Catholic Kennedys were the most notable example. The Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port—the sailing, the clothes, the touch football played on expansive green lawns—was pure WASP mimicry, all of it, except that true WASPs were too upstanding to go in for the unscrupulous business dealings of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. or the feckless philanderings of him and some of his sons.
That the Kennedys did their best to imitate WASP life is perhaps not surprising, for in their exclusion, the Irish may have felt the sting of envy for WASPocracy more than any others. The main literary chroniclers of WASP culture— F. Scott Fitzgerald, say, or John O’Hara—were Irish. (Both Fitzgerald and O’Hara tried to live their lives on the WASP model.) But the pangs weren’t limited to the Irish alone. To this day, the designer Ralph Lauren (né Lifshitz) turns out clothes inspired by his notion of the WASP high life, lived on the gracious margins of expensive leisure.
The last WASP president was George H.W. Bush, but there is reason to believe he wasn’t entirely proud of being a WASP. At any rate, he certainly wasn’t featuring it. When running for office he made every attempt to pass himself off as a Texan, declaring a passion for pork rinds and a love for the music of the Oak Ridge Boys. (His son George W. Bush, even though he can claim impeccable WASP lineage and went to the right schools, seems otherwise to have shed all WASPish coloration and become an authentic Texan, happily married to a perfectly middle-class librarian.)
That George H.W. Bush felt it strategic not to emphasize his WASP background was a strong sign that the decline of the WASP's prestige in American culture was well on its way. Other signs had arisen much earlier. During the late 1960s, some of the heirs of the Rockefeller clan openly admitted feeling guilty about their wealth and the way their ancestors came by it. By the 1970s, exclusive universities and prep schools began dropping their age-old quotas on Catholics and Jews, lessening the number of legacies automatically admitted, and using racial preferences to encourage the enrollment of blacks. The social cachet of the Episcopal Church, a major WASP institution, drained away as its clergy turned its major energies to leftish causes.
Calling something elite, which was how WASPs of an earlier era preferred to think of themselves, became a denunciation. Being a WASP was no longer a source of happy pride but something distasteful if not slightly disgraceful—the old privileges of membership now seeming unjust and therefore badly tainted. An old joke has one bee asking another bee why he is wearing a yarmulke. “Because,” answers the second bee, “I don’t want anyone to take me for a WASP.”
The late 1960s put the first serious dent into the WASPs as untitled aristocrats and national leaders. For protesters of that generation, the word WASP didn’t come into play so much as the word Establishment, heretofore chiefly an ecclesiastical term. The Establishment was the protesters’ enemy and target. The Establishment was thought to have sent the country into Vietnam; it was perfectly content with the status quo, with all its restrictions on freedom and tolerance for unjust social arrangements; it stood for all that was uptight and generally repressive in American culture.
The Establishment took its place in a long tradition of enemies of American life. This list has included, at various times, Wall Street, Madison Avenue and the military-industrial complex—vague entities all. But there was nothing vague about the Establishment. They were alive and breathing, and they had such names as John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, W. Averell Harriman, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, Joseph Alsop, C. Douglas Dillon, George F. Kennan and Robert McNamara. The WASPs ruled the country, and for those who didn’t much like the country or the directions in which they saw it tending, the WASPs were a great and easily identifiable enemy.
The last unashamed WASP to live in the White House was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and he, with his penchant for the reform of American society, was considered by many a traitor to his social class. He is also likely to be the last to reside there. WASP culture, though it exists in pockets of private life—country clubs, neighborhoods, a few prep schools and law firms—is finished as a phenomenon of public significance.
Much can be—and has been—written about the shortcomings of the WASPocracy. As a class, it was exclusionary and hence tolerant of social prejudice, if not often downright snobbish. Tradition-minded, it tended to be dead to innovation and social change. Imagination wasn't high on its list of admired qualities.
Yet the WASP elite had dignity and an impressive sense of social responsibility. In a 1990 book called The Way of the Wasp, Richard Brookhiser held that the chief WASP qualities were “success depending on industry; use giving industry its task; civic-mindedness placing obligations on success, and antisensuality setting limits to the enjoyment of it; conscience watching over everything.”
Under WASP hegemony, corruption, scandal and incompetence in high places weren’t, as now, regular features of public life. Under WASP rule, stability, solidity, gravity and a certain weight and aura of seriousness suffused public life. As a ruling class, today’s new meritocracy has failed to provide the positive qualities that older generations of WASPs provided.
Meritocracy is leadership thought to be based on men and women who have earned their way not through the privileges of birth but by merit. La carrière ouverte aux talents: Careers open to the talented, is what Napoleon Bonaparte promised, and it is what any meritocratic system is supposed to provide.
The U.S. now fancies itself under a meritocratic system, through which the highest jobs are open to the most talented people, no matter their lineage or social background. And so it might seem, when one considers that our 42nd president, Bill Clinton, came from a broken home in a backwater in Arkansas, while our 44th, Barack Obama, was himself also from a broken home and biracial into the bargain. Sen. Ted Cruz, the man who leads the tea party, is the son of a Cuban émigré.
Meritocracy in America starts (and often ends) in what are thought to be the best colleges and universities. On the meritocratic climb, one's mettle is first tested by getting into these institutions—no easy task in the contemporary overcrowded scramble for admission. Then, of course, one must do well within them. In England, it was once said that Waterloo and the empire were built on the playing fields of Eton. The current American imperium appears to have been built at the offices of the Educational Testing Service, which administers the SATs.
Whether Republican or Democrat, left or right, the leading figures in U.S. public life today were good at school. Bill Clinton had Georgetown, Oxford (as a Rhodes scholar) and Yale Law School on his résumé; Barack Obama had Columbia and Harvard Law School. Their wives, respectively, had Wellesley and Yale Law School and Princeton and Harvard Law School. Cruz went to Princeton and thence to Harvard Law School. Players all—high rollers in the great American game of meritocracy. Their merit resides, presumably, in having been superior students.
But is the merit in our meritocracy genuine? Of the two strongest American presidents since 1950— Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan —the first didn’t go to college at all, and the second went to Eureka College, a school affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Eureka, Ill. The notion of Harry Truman as a Princeton man or Ronald Reagan as a Yalie somehow diminishes them both.
Apart from mathematics, which demands a high IQ, and science, which requires a distinct aptitude, the only thing that normal undergraduate schooling prepares a person for is . . . more schooling. Having been a good student, in other words, means nothing more than that one was good at school: One had the discipline to do as one was told, learned the skill of quick response to oral and written questions, figured out what professors wanted and gave it to them.
Having been a good student, no matter how good the reputation of the school—and most of the good schools, we are coming to learn, are good chiefly in reputation—is no indication of one’s quality or promise as a leader. A good student might even be more than a bit of a follower, a conformist, standing ready to give satisfaction to the powers that be so that one can proceed to the next good school, taking another step up the ladder of meritocracy.
What our new meritocrats have failed to evince—and what the older WASP generation prided itself on—is character and the ability to put the well-being of the nation before their own. Character embodied in honorable action is at the heart of the novels and stories of Louis Auchincloss, America’s last unembarrassedly WASP writer. Doing the right thing, especially in the face of temptations to do otherwise, was the WASP test par excellence. Most of our meritocrats, by contrast, seem to be in business for themselves.
Trust, honor, character: The elements that have departed U.S. public life with the departure from prominence of WASP culture have not been taken up by the meritocrats. Many meritocrats who enter politics, when retired by the electorate from public life, proceed to careers in lobbying or other special-interest advocacy. University presidents no longer speak to the great issues in education but instead devote themselves to fundraising and public relations, and look to move on to the next, more prestigious university presidency.
A financier I know who grew up under the WASP standard not long ago told me that he thought that the subprime real estate collapse and the continuing hedge-fund scandals have been brought on directly by men and women who are little more than “greedy pigs” (his words) without a shred of character or concern for their clients or country. Naturally, he added, they all have master’s degrees from the putatively best business schools in the nation.
Thus far in their history, meritocrats, those earnest good students, appear to be about little more than getting on, getting ahead and (above all) getting their own. The WASP leadership, for all that may be said in criticism of it, was better than that.
The WASPs’ day is done. Such leadership as it provided isn’t likely to be revived. Recalling it at its best is a reminder that the meritocracy that has followed it marks something less than clear progress. Rather the reverse.

It’s About the Settlements, Stupid. By David P. Goldman.

It’s About the Settlements, Stupid. By David P. Goldman. PJ Media, December 17, 2013. Also at Middle East Forum.


Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the misnamed occupied territories, are not the obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. They are the acid test of peace. To argue that peace is conceivable unless the bulk of the settlements remain in place constitutes stupidity or hypocrisy. Leave aside the issue of whether Jews have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Ignore the fact that the settlers live overwhelmingly on what was waste land and turned into gardens, vineyards, and industries which have uplifted the lives of Palestinian Arabs more than all the aid that has passed through (or rather stuck to) the fingers of the kleptocrats of the PA. Leave aside also Israel’s requirement for defensible borders: that is a critical issue but not identical to the continued presence of settlements.
Accepting the settlements is the sine qua non of any viable peace agreement. It does Israel no good to defend Israel’s right to exist but to condemn the settlers, as does Alan Dershowitz, not to mention the leaders of liberal Jewish denominations.
I believe in land for peace. That is a tautology: In territorial disputes the two main variables always are land and peace. But that implies more land for more peace and less land for less peace. The Palestinian Arabs had an opportunity to accept an Israeli state on just 5,500 square miles of land in 1947, and refused to do so. The armistice lines of 1948 left Israel with 8,550 square miles, and the Arab side refused to accept that. In 1967 Israel took an additional 5,628 square miles of land in dispute under international law; Jordan does not claim it, and no legal Arab authority exists to claim it. It is not “illegally occupied.” It has never been adjudicated by a competent authority.
To demand the 1948 armistice lines (the so-called 1967 borders) is to refuse any penalty for refusing to make peace in the past. That is the same as refusing any peace at all. Wars end when one side accepts defeat, and abandons the hope of restoring the status quo ante by force of arms. 1947 was a catastrophe (“Nakba”) for the Palestinian Arabs, to be sure, but it was a catastrophe of their own making; until they accept at least some degree of responsibility for the catastrophe, they will not be reconciled to any peace agreement. That is precisely what Palestine’s negotiator Saeb Erekat meant when he eschewed any recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation-state because “I cannot change my narrative.” The “narrative” is that the Jews are an alien intrusion into the Muslim Middle East and eventually must be eliminated by one means or another.
The Palestinian Arabs are a people in decline, and the vehemence of their leaders reflects the dimness of their future. It is noteworthy that Secretary of State John Kerry continues to talk of a “demographic time bomb” threatening Israel, even though the data show that the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is increasing faster than the Arab population, as former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger observes. That’s based on undisputed data; in fact, Palestinian population data are inflated by an enormous margin, as a 2006 study by the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University demonstrated:
[The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics] projected that the number of births in the Territories would total almost 908,000 for the seven-year period from 1997 to 2003. Yet, the actual number of births documented by the PA Ministry of Health for the same period was significantly lower at 699,000, or 238,000 fewer births than had been forecast by the PCBS. . . . The size of the discrepancy accelerated over time. Whereas the PCBS predicted there would be over 143,000 births in 2003, the PA Ministry of Health reported only 102,000 births, which pointed to a PCBS forecast 40% beyond actual results.
The hold of traditional Muslim society on young Palestinian Arabs, especially young women, is deteriorating: as they gain access to secondary and tertiary education, young Arabs have fewer children and more careers. And the most effective agency for the emancipation of young Arab women is the settler movement. Ariel University across the so-called Green Line is full of young Muslim women in headscarves studying computer science, and the leaders of the Ariel community–Haredi Jews–work with local Arab leaders to recruit talented students.
There is a parallel to what I called the “peace of the aging” in Ireland. The Irish got older. The drunken IRA killers I met in Belfast in 1970 as a student journalist had no intention of making peace. They were having too much fun at war. By 1996, when former Sen. George Mitchell presided over the Good Friday Agreement that formally ended the low-intensity civil war in Northern Ireland, those who were left had families and mortgages.
Distribution of Irish Population by Age (UN)

By 2040 the Palestinian Arab population will have far fewer young people and far more middle-aged people.
Distribution of West Bank Arab Population by Age (UN)

The Irish no longer care. They are neither Catholic nor nationalistic. The IRA thugs of 1970 came from four-child families. Today the Irish have fewer than two children on average. Let the matter simmer for another twenty years, and the Palestinian Arabs will look more like the Irish of 1996 than the Irish of 1970. At that point, the “narrative” will change, because no one will care about the old “narrative.”
In the meantime the Israeli settlers have built a garden and a workshop where before there were bare rocks, and thriving communities that are integral parts of Israeli society. It takes longer to get crosstown in Manhattan in traffic than it does to drive from the center of Tel Aviv to Ariel, the largest town in Samaria. This is yet another accomplishment of Jewish ingenuity and industriousness, and it is (or should be) an inspiring example to all who hope for a better life for the peoples of the Middle East. We will know that the Palestinians want peace when they admire rather than abhor this effort.
The utopian delusions of the Obama administration, the hypocrisy of the world, and the betrayal–yes, I think that is the right word–of Israeli interests by the liberal American Jewish denominations have put Israel in a painful situation. The threat of economic sanctions from Europe or reduced American military support if Israel refuses to swallow the poisoned bait are not a trivial threat. As Caroline Glick writes today:
With Kerry poised to shove his lethal parameters down our throats, parameters that will require Israel to irrevocably accept terms of peace that will destroy the country, it is obvious that Netanyahu needs to adopt a longer-term strategy. Our goal cannot be limited to waiting out Obama. Our goal must be to extricate Israel from the two-state trap.
Yes, Israel will pay a huge price for jumping ship. For 20 years, non-leftist Israeli leaders have been trying to go along to get along with the Left, and the Americans and their ever-escalating demands. But Kerry’s obsessive harping, and his insistence on pushing forward with his disastrous framework deal forces our hand.
Either we pay a huge price now, or accept our destruction within five to 15 years.
Ms. Glick is Israeli, and has a right to urge a particular course of action for her country. I am American, and direct my comments instead to my liberal Jewish co-religionists: Your support for the Obama administration and your betrayal of Jews on our front line in Judea and Samaria is a wicked and disgraceful thing. We must summon all of our strength to prevent this administration from punishing Israel for refusing to commit suicide.
As a religious Jew, I believe that Jews are obligated to settle our historic homeland, but I also believe that the preservation of Jewish life takes precedence. If it were possible to achieve a durable and robust peace by abandoning the settlements I would support it. But that is a delusion: we will make ourselves immeasurably less secure by abandoning the settlements than by holding fast to them.

Living Without Solutions in Samaria. By David P. Goldman.

Living without solutions in Samaria. By David P. Goldman (writing as Spengler). Asia Times, September 25, 2012.

Prof. Robert Wistrich on the Betrayal of Israel by the Left.

Pamela Geller Interviews the Preeminent Scholar, Professor Robert Wistrich. Atlas Shrugs, January 22, 2013.

Interview with Professor Robert Wistrich:
Q. In what ways has the Left betrayed the Jews and Israel?
A. Ever since the late 1940s, the Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, through their cynical exploitation of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, not only betrayed the Jews but their own self-proclaimed ideals of equality, social justice and opposition to racism. This betrayal continued with the new Left in the 1970s, the anti-globalists and much of the academic Left (in the US as well as in Europe) in our own day. They have demonized and systematically denigrated Israel as if it were the Devil incarnate, the anti-Christ of our time, the ultimate expression of racist oppression.
Q. Has your analysis been informed by your early life in the USSR?
A. I was much too young to be directly influenced since my parents were repatriated to Poland only a few years after the end of WWII. But my father had twice been imprisoned by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) and his experiences probably inoculated me against any illusions about the “Soviet paradise.” But it was my own direct experience when trapped as a tourist in Prague (at the time of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia) which did leave an indelible negative impression of Communism.
Q. Why do you think that the Left is so anti-Israel? What are the roots?
A. As my new book clearly demonstrates, the ideological sources of left-wing anti-Israelism go back to the late-19th-century emergence of political Zionism. Already then, many socialist ideologues, following Karl Marx, treated the Jews as if they were a phantom nationality, a caste of greedy exploiters whose only real religion was predatory capitalism. These leftists believed that the advent of socialism would abolish not only capitalism but Jewry itself. Neither happened. The establishment of Israel proved their prognosis to be hopelessly wrong. So, what are they left with? Mindless, irrational denigration! The Marxist Left in particular is incapable of escaping from its own self-created ideological straitjacket.
Q. But why does the Left identify with Palestinian jihadists, whose values – at least outwardly – seem so very different?
A. The Left has always tended to identify with those whom they designate as “the poor,” the “proletariat” or the hapless victims of the capitalist system. However, the international proletariat did not live up to Marxian expectations as the “chosen class” of world history – while the Communist bloc collapsed in 1989-91. The Palestinians represent a substitute form of redemption for all these failed hopes – the prologue and catalyst for a new revolutionary would-be upheaval. And there is always the additional attraction that the Palestinians are fighting the Jews – or rather “The Zionists.” Ergo, they must be supported.
Q. And the jihadi component?
A. In From Ambivalence to Betrayal, I show that already in the 1920s, Moscow tried (unsuccessfully) to “Bolshevize” the Muslim masses in the East, especially in Palestine. They proposed a “Red Jihad” against Western imperialism and Zionism. There was some common ground. Both Marxists and Islamists divide the world in a simplistic Manichean fashion between forces of light and darkness, ruthless imperialists and downtrodden masses, between oppressors and oppressed. Jihad does have revolutionary potential and can meet Marxist requirements with the help of some dialectical juggling. Moreover, once Palestinians are defined as the absolute victims (a convenient fiction), then Zionists must necessarily be branded as absolute perpetrators and accused of committing “genocide” against them. But as I demonstrate, this is a fantasy-view. Despite its great popularity today, it is really just a “softer” remake of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories so beloved by Nazis and fascists.
Q. So why are so many Jews attracted to the Left, despite such attitudes?
A. There are several possible explanations. There is, of course, the Biblical tradition (embodied in Moses and the Prophets) of pursuing justice, righteousness and compassion for the poor – embedded in the Jewish cultural DNA. Then there is Jewish social marginality before the 19th century and the relentless persecution over centuries, which made Jews into archetypal victims and outsiders. However, in America and the West (including Israel) where Jews have “made it” they still often “vote like the poor.” Sometimes it even seems that Jews are stuck in a time-warp which makes them always see the enemy on the Right – while remaining blind in the left eye. I do hope that my book will be an eye-opener in that respect.
Q. Is this history the reason why so many Jews recently voted for Obama?
A. Well, Jews are suckers for what we might call “compassionism” and especially for humanitarian appeals, in sharp contrast to the grotesque anti-Semitic stereotype (on the Right and the Left) of Jewish “huckstering” and rapacity. Compassion is fine, even admirable in many ways. But making an ideology out of it is highly suspect. Some of the worst crimes in modern history have been committed in the name of human rights, solidarity, and defense of the poor – as the record of Soviet-style Communism unmistakably shows. Obama, in American domestic terms, is pretty much a leftist, and Jews as good Liberal Democrats naturally gravitate to him in the United States. It’s proving hard to shift those habits.
Q. Why do you say the creation of Israel was a “slap in the face to the Marxist analysis of the ‘Jewish Question?’”
A. Because, according to Marxism, the Jews should long ago have disappeared as a nation! An influential sector of the Left, long before Israel’s creation, regarded Zionism as an illegitimate “backward” and reactionary movement. It is true that for a time much of the Left did support Israel (between 1947 and 1967) as long as they could see Jews primarily as poor, persecuted, downtrodden refugees of the Holocaust who were building a “socialist” country of their own. What they could not stomach was a proud, independent, Jewishly self-affirming and militarily efficient Israel able to strike back at (Arab) enemies hell-bent on its destruction. Weeping over dead Jews is fine, but real, living, flesh-and-blood Israelis who vigorously defend their right to exist is apparently, for many on the Left (including some Jews), just too much to take. I would see that attitude as a form of latent, undeclared anti-Semitism. As for Obama, his whole mind-set and natural inclinations seem to me to reflect a kind of Third Worldist ideology. Hence, the retreat from American global supremacy. However, his hostility towards Netanyahu is truly stunning and, I think, ill-advised. Most Israelis are not stupid and they sense the US President’s obvious coldness to their cause, even as he embraces some of their worst enemies, like Egypt’s President Morsi and the Turkish leader, Erdogan (both of whom are fairly rabid Islamic anti-Semites).
Q. Following on from that, how then do you explain the refusal to address Islamic Jew-hatred, surely the greatest threat the Jewish people currently faces?
A. There are several dangerous strands of self-delusion involved in this refusal. At a more general level there is the notorious inability of Western liberals to internalize the fact that the Iranians and the radical Arab Islamists really mean what they say when they talk about annihilating the Jews, destroying Israel, bringing down America and establishing Islamic supremacy. There is a real failure to grasp the determination of such “true believers” to act on their fanatical principles, despite the overwhelming evidence before our eyes. Precisely the same failure was visible in Western (and Soviet) appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s. Remember that even The New York Times was largely in denial about the Holocaust all through the war years. It simply buried the story in the back pages. Today, the liberal media are still whitewashing the Islamo-fascist threat and instead, like so many other deluded liberal voices, they prefer to bash Israel, even though it remains the only authentic democracy in the region. This is bad enough. But there is also a lot of ridiculous posturing in such fashionable positions. For instance, the need to appear as “politically correct” and, above all, not to be vilified as “racist” or as an “Islamophobe.” There are those out there, for whom any critical comments about Islam are a kind of thought-crime. Moreover, since the Western media prefer to remain largely silent about the endemic and vicious Jew-hatred in the Islamic world (while grossly inflating or manufacturing Israel’s fictitious “crimes”), ordinary people – including way too many Jews – have little idea about its genocidal nature. Worse still, even when they know, there is a clear inclination to suppress unpleasant truths rather than face up to them. To stand up to this reality has become an act of real courage in our inverted world.
Q. How then do you see Israel’s prospects, surrounded as it is by Islamic supremacists and the threat of annihilation?
A. We live in dangerous times, not only for Israel but for the whole world, including America. In my previous book, A Lethal Obsession (2010), I predicted that the rising tide of Islamist fundamentalism would sweep the Arab Middle East. It is a most telling symptom of its deep sickness rather than a solution. There is, unfortunately, no quick fix or instant therapy for the Arab world. Look at Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Democracy is not around the corner nor can it offer much to the hungry Arab masses as long as there is no stable middle-class, no functioning civil society, no way to clean out massive corruption and defuse the toxic incitement and hatred of Israel and the West that is so prevalent. The Jewish State is an oasis of freedom, economic growth, cultural creativity, scientific innovation, military skills and robust democratic values in this desert. It will ride out the storm despite the malevolence and nihilistic self-destructiveness of its enemies, including the Palestinian Hamas. It is, however, vital for the West – and above all America – to stand by its commitments to Israel’s security out of its own interests in regional stability, its good name, and its self-proclaimed mission as a beacon of freedom to the world. Israel has upheld similar values in the face of great adversity. For if America and Europe were to abandon the Jews once more, the damage to Western civilization would, in my view, be irreversible.

The Death of the Left. By Michael Lumish.

The Death of the Left. By Michael Lumish. Israel Thrives, December 17, 2013.

The Palestinian Colonization of the Jewish Mind. By Michael Lumish. Israel Thrives, March 31, 2011.

Israel Has the Right to Exist – Now the Left Must Defend It. By Allan Goldstein. The Algemeiner, December 15, 2013.