February 27th, 2006

Conspiracy theories, Arab and otherwise

Not too long after 9/11, I read an interview with Mohammad Atta’s father in which he said his son could not possibly have committed the attack.

I would have written this off as the typical and understandable reaction of a grieving and distraught father–after all, who wouldn’t be in denial, under similar circumstances?–if it hadn’t been accompanied by a curious charge about who had done it: the Mossad. The Jews.

So preposterous did this assertion seem to me at the time that I came up with an alternate theory: Atta’s father was somewhat out of touch with reality. Whether he’d already been this way before 9/11, or whether he’d been driven off the deep end by the event, I didn’t know. But he was clearly a crackpot, with some unusual ideas.

That was then; this is now. In the years that followed I learned to consider people such as Papa Atta almost mainstream–especially in the Arab world, although also not so unusual elsewhere, including the US and certainly Western Europe. I’ve become all too aware that conspiracy theories and theorists are everywhere (lurking under the bed, no doubt).

Just Google “mohammed atta father jews 9/11,” or any similar combination of words, and a long listing will spring up of websites dedicated to the proposition that some combination of the Jews, Bush, and Israel engineered 9/11 and framed the loveable Atta Junior–and the authors of said websites have far less reason to want to exonerate Atta than his own father had. So, what’s their excuse? And, if such a proliferation of “evidence” can be proffered even in the face of the facts of 9/11, how much more easily can conspiracy theories take root to “explain” events that are less well-documented?

Conspiracies are very appealing. They appeal to simplicity (one or two linked and evil groups are responsible for the horrors and turmoil of the world, rather than many groups and a complex sequence of events that we understand only poorly). They appeal to the need to know (rather than the acknowledgement that some things are mysterious). They appeal to a sense of order (rather than chaos). They appeal to predictability (rather than the unknown). They appeal to scapegoating and displacement and denial of one’s own culpability. They appeal. They appeal. (Some of the reasons for their widespread appeal are discussed in psychological terms in Dr. Sanity’s fine essay on defense mechanisms).

And the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories, of course, is anti-Semitism (although anti-Americanism is now breathing down its neck in the “anti” sweepstakes). There is little doubt in my mind that the need to believe in conspiracies is one of the main reasons for anti-Semitism, rather than any other single factor related to Jews, who are merely a convenient target. It’s the conspiracy part of anti-Semitism that gives the phenomenon its punch and its “legs.”

But there is never any lack of targets, I’m afraid. If the Jews didn’t exist we’d have to invent them–or find somebody else to take the rap.

The need to find conspirators certainly has not let up recently, and shows no sign of doing so–au contraire. According to Big Pharaoh, our Egyptian informant, US/Israel conspiracy theories continue to be overwhelmingly dominant in the Egyptian (and, by extrapolation, perhaps much of the Arab) world in explaining the recent mosque bombing in Iraq.

And, of course, Iran has wasted no time getting into the blame act.

Here’s a BBC article on reactions around the Arab world (plus Iran) to the mosque bombing (hat tip: Roger Simon). Note the unanimity of conspiracy theories coming from Iran, and their absence in the Iraqi press.

I find it exceptionally interesting that–at least as far as their media goes–the Iraqis, the ones facing the real danger in this particular case, don’t seem to be in denial about who’s doing what. At least in the quoted excerpts, there’s no blaming of either the Jews or the Americans for the bombing (although I have little doubt there’s a contingent in Iraq who heartily blame both).

The relative strength of conspiracy theories in the Arab and Iranian world, serving to deflect blame from other Arabs/Iranians/Moslems and onto the usual suspects, protect that world from looking in the mirror and facing its own need to change, and the rot within. Because the mosque bombing is an affront to the Islamic faith as a whole, to believe that fellow-Arabs or fellow-Moslems did it is tantamount to admitting a truth that many cannot, and will not, acknowledge. To do so would be too shattering.

But conspiracy theories are hardly the sole province of the Arab/Islamic world; not by a longshot. They may indeed be more common there (I seem to recall some post-9/11 polls that indicated the vast majority of Egyptians agreed with Atta’s father about who was responsible for 9/11, for example). But one only has to tune into Coast to Coast on almost any night, or surf the web–or, of course, go to the websites of David Irving‘s rabid supporters (I refuse to show the links, but you can find them easily enough yourself) to see the universality of the theme that some group–Jews or Illuminati or Bush’s Minions or Aliens–is Behind It All, pulling the strings of the world’s puppets.

[NOTE: Jeff Goldstein's post about evaluating the situation in Iraq mentions that one of the ways to counter the ascendance of conspiracy theories would be a much stronger effort to publicize the truth--in other words, propaganda, as I've defined it here.]

54 Responses to “Conspiracy theories, Arab and otherwise”

  1. devri Says:

    As a person who reads and believes the Bible, the irrational hatred and persecution of the Jews makes perfect sense – but only if you accept that there is an evil spiritual force in the world.

    There are numerous scriptures that seem to follow this line of reasoning: God rejected Satan because of his pride and insubordination. Then, for His own reasons, God created people in His own image. Satan, in his position of humiliation, successfully tempted them to corruption, thus gaining a temporary victory against God.

    God still cherished the people He created, so He created a way for ALL nations and people to be brought to purity again. This plan involved finding a man who would believe that He is completely good and completely trustworthy (Abraham) and then, through no merit of that man, choosing him as the vehicle to bring about this plan of redemption into the world. Abraham was chosen, not because he was good but because he chose to believe God was good, even when everything around him continued to seem otherwise. This man was promised that ALL nations would be blessed through his seed.

    If a person accepts all of this, then it’s pretty obvious that Satan and the forces of evil aligned with him, would focus much of their destructive strategies on that “chosen” group of people. And, since Jesus (and thus Christians) are also in that “line of blessing” so to speak – (simply by choosing to believe what Abraham did – that God is real and He is good and worth trusting,) America has enjoyed the blessings promised to Abraham as well – wealth and success.

    In my view, as simplistic as it may seem, all forms of irrationality, including irrational hatred, come from an evil source – a source that is intelligent and powerful and is using that power to bring deception and confusion, and with it, a bondage to that deception and confusion.

    [Another thought from Spiderman - "With great power (or position as a chosen people) comes great responsibility" (and great onslaught).]

    I’ve never blogged before. I’m just a simple woman who thinks a lot and cares a lot about truth.

    Any feedback? Thanks for the chance neo-neocon. I love your site!

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    Not to put too light a face on it, but I’m seeing some confusion and it annoys me.

    So, trying hard not to kick a tree with my shin bone, I’ll try to rephrase what I see as Tom’s position once again. With the stipulation that I don’t speak for him, but I do have a different sense of things given my psychology antennae.

    Seems to me, Tom is just focused on the future of Israel and the Jews. Tom wants to see all tyrannies die a fast death, but he has to understand the problem with the Jews, a group oft held to tyranny’s claws, before he could come up with a convincing solution.

    So Tom seems to be trying to find out the historical motivations and impetuses that caused Israel and the Jew’s situation, in an attempt to fix the problem. That’s fair, to me.

    It is incorrect to percieve this as somehow “altering” the past to make the Jews guilty of Nazi occupation.

    It is also incorrect to believe that this is railing against discrimmination, either in part or in whole. Because it is not discrimmination that Tom, or even I, dislike, it is the fact of the Jews constant inability to kill their enemies and safeguard their culture and children.

    Tom may differ on the finer points, but if Tom wants to save Israel and wants what is good for Israelis, then I would agree with such a noble goal.

    The point about whether Jews were this or that, doesn’t mean anything, if you cannot tie it to the present and clearly dilineate and explain just why and how certain things are important to the salvation of the Jewish people.

    Because in the end, what I care about, forget anyone else, is simply the pragmatic results of research in how it applies to humans fighting and dieing in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Any practical research with pragmati results, I would welcome. Regardless of whether it talks about discrimmination or not.

    My personal position pertaining to marriage, independent of Tom’s position, is simply that it is only part of the puzzle. The Jews were targeted for extermination and prosecution millenia before I was born, the reasoning while confusiong, describes some but not all of the causality chain. For example, if someone wanted to persecute Jews, then it would be easy to take the marriage issue and use it as a wedge to stoke up hate.

    So marriage, instead of being the instigator to me, was simply another aspect of Jewish culture that was used against them. For whatever reasons existed in the human continuum.

    Even if it was the instigator, I would never attach any moral blame to the Jews for Nazism.

    I would attach moral blame to the Jews for ignoring Krystallnacht, not leaving for safety, not fighting back, and not backing enough guns to equip a private army.

    I blame them for not being prepared and failing in their duty to their families, as I would blame any human who had failed in such an endeavour.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    It’s pretty stupid to rail against ALL discrimination. You discriminate when you go to a doctor for a checkup, instead of letting someone with no medical credentials at all examine you. You discriminate when you expect cops to enforce the law, instead of letting gang members decide what should constitue crimes. You discriminate when you interview people for a job, instead of always hiring the first person who comes in.

    The opposition to all discrimination has already reached a ridiculous level, as evidenced by the fact that some commenters think parents need to allow their children to play with any stranger, rather than discriminating against the weird guy in the van with covered windows who’s offering children toys, smokes, and beer to get in.

    Not to mention the accusations leveled against people who refuse to consider Wikipedia authoritative.

    “Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this:  the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project’s noble fundament.  If I don’t like it, why don’t I go edit it myself?  To which I reply:  because I don’t have time to babysit the Internet.   Hardly anyone does.  If they do, it isn’t exactly a compliment. 

    “Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions.  The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don’t know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it.  In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.

    “The second response is:  the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect.  To which I reply:  that does not inspire confidence.  In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous.  What you’ve proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn’t exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information.”

    - Tycho from Penny Arcade

  4. douglas Says:

    “And why doesn’t Neo accept that Jews have been practicing discrimination?”
    EVERYBODY discriminates. When my children are old enough to consider marriage, I’ll discriminate too. I’ll try to steer them toward good, moral, healthy (mentally), and family oriented types. What’s wrong with that? Is the Jewish discrimination any different than the discrimination of some leftist parents on their children if they hook up with someone who voted for Chimpy McBushitler? Actually, yes- it’s far more rational.

  5. grackle Says:

    And why doesn’t Neo accept that Jews have been practicing discrimination? Perhaps that would make them “guilty” — and thus not completely innocent before the Nazis?

    The point can’t be valid that the Jews made the Nazis justifiably angry because of a characteristic the Nazis found more odious of the Jews than of other groups, not when all the other groups had the same characteristic. To put it another way: The Nazis didn’t try to murder the Jews because they were more “guilty” of not allowing outside marriage than other groups; that was just something the Nazis said to excuse themselves.

    On your other point: that the Jews invite envy because the Jew’s success. Other groups have been successful: The Roman Catholics, Chinese, etc. Yet they have never garnered quite the amount of misery from the rest of the world that the Jews have.

    It doesn’t do much good to try to wring some rational reason(no intermarriage, success) out of the history of hatred toward the Jews, because any reason would also serve as reason to hate the other groups, which were never hated to the extent of the Jews.

  6. Tom Grey Says:

    Thank you grackle, for an echo.
    1) It IS discrimination.
    2) It is fairly mild; hard to see any milder discrimination.

    [And why doesn't Neo accept that Jews have been practicing discrimination? Perhaps that would make them "guilty" -- and thus not completely innocent before the Nazis?]

    Douglas on faith or race; the level of disowning (excommunication) is fairly strong. And yes, all “groups” want cohesion, by demonizing the other. Like black ghetto kids beating up black kids reading, instead of playing hoops, as acting “too white.”

    “but today, that’s much more rare.” In the US, certainly. Where Jew-hate against US individuals has diminished (though it seems rising again on the Left against Israel.) I’m not convinced in France, despite the encouraging anti-racism march there recently after a Jewish man was kidnapped and horribly tortured. (didn’t see pictures.)

    Why are Jews so hated? Part of it is success; the non-successful historically have had envy-hate against the successful.

    This is a more irrational root cause of envy-hate, and applies to mike’s first comment on how anti-americanism passing anti-semitism (or being included together, as seems to be Iran’s current practice.) It’s irrational in the sense of fueling the hate, but usually it can’t be acknowledged as the Other’s success = My group’s failure. (Though the Malaysian PM tried a bit a couple years ago — urging Muslims to study more so they could compete with the Jews and then murder them.)

    Mob envy-hatred against the successful is not just against Jews.

    But Civilized society must allow such personal discrimination, and allow excommunication / disassociation as the correct “group punishment.”
    Yet not accept state laws against such inter-marriage; neither by Jews nor Muslims.

    Especially hated are the successful who act superior, who act like they’re “better than everyone.”

    Like the Aristocrats in France …

    “Louie the 16th was the King of France, in 1789.
    He was worse than Louie the 15th.
    He was worse than Louie the 14th.
    He was wooooorrrse than Louie the 13th.
    He was the worst, since Louie the first.

    King Louie was living like a king, but the people were living rotten…”
    (Allen Sherman)

  7. grackle Says:

    I dispute this: for Jews, Roman Catholics, Chinese, Californians, Whites, Aristocrats — anybody who doesn’t want their daughter to marry one of them.

    Isn’t it time to admit that “not wanting your daughter to marry one of them” is a kind of superiority based discrimination? And, if one wants to understand Jew-Hate by those who do hate Jews, isn’t this part of it?

    I will agree that “not wanting your daughter to marry one of them” could at first glance seem to be a sort of litmus for reverse discrimination for Roman Catholics, Chinese, etc., as well as Jews. But it’s the mildest form of discrimination that uses mere social sanction as the enforcement mechanism. If one is strong in the face of disapproval one can easily flaunt the rule. It doesn’t explain the virulent forms of hate that have been directed toward the Jews throughout their history, which has included torture, death & many other hardships. The Catholics, Chinese & the rest, have all not wanted their daughters to marry outside the group; sanctions against marriage outside the group is commonplace to most groups, yet most have not been as universally & deeply hated as have the Jews.

  8. douglas Says:

    As the product of an interracial marriage that severly tested the relationship of my mother to her parents, and as one who married outside our faith, I see profound differences. The faith issue is more of wanting to pass something seen as a gift onward to future generations, the race issue is, well racist. Now, if one disowns children because they marry outside the religion, it’s getting quite a bit closer to race, but today, that’s much more rare. If you insist on conflating race and religion (as has been done by many regarding the jews for millenia) i suppose I can’t really talk you out of it.

  9. Tom Grey Says:

    Ymar had my position correct. I’m not denying the “Torah” as the official position.

    But Neo earlier said: “It does not convey superiority.”

    I dispute this: for Jews, Roman Catholics, Chinese, Californians, Whites, Aristocrats — anybody who doesn’t want their daughter to marry one of them. (Goy, Protestants, non-Chinese, Mexicans, Blacks, Peasants).

    In my view, “not wanting my daughter to marry one of them” is a declaration of we-superior against them-inferior. Jets & Sharks in New York; Romeo & Juliet.

    I guess that Jews who do marry outside, become assimilated and their decendants (not themselves) usually cease “being Jews.” Maybe it takes 2 or 3 generations.

    And I understand the cultural/ ethnic/ racial desire to avoid assimilation = disappearance. The Fiddler (on the Roof) denies his third daughter, as he’s leaving due to (yet another) anti-Jewish pogrom, so as to maintain this “faith”.

    Isn’t it time to admit that “not wanting your daughter to marry one of them” is a kind of superiority based discrimination? And, if one wants to understand Jew-Hate by those who do hate Jews, isn’t this part of it?

    If I am “seriously mistaken” I look for evidence. Official opinion/ explanation is a good step. But how valuable is it to know that conversions are possible if the number of Jews who have converted is less than 5%; or 2%; or 0.5% — without knowing the precise fact, somewhere under 2% seems pretty marginal.

    Intermarriage statistics are even better–I’d guess that over 98% of the Jews in the USA had Jewish grandparents who married Jews. Indicating the intermarriage is a recent thing, perhaps even a post-Holocaust USA thing.

    Is it possible for an Israeli Jew to legally marry an Israeli Arab? Here’s such a
    story
    . And a different angle

    Finally, the lack of willingness to quantify the value judgments remains extremely unconvincing. Showing me evidence that Jewish communities actually include many decendents of non-Jewish fathers (more than 5%?) would be strong towards changing my mind.

    What evidence might change yours?

  10. douglas Says:

    Thanks for doing my homework for me kcom. Probligo- advice: don’t stand by a position that three minutes surfing on the net might show to be wrong. Spend the three minutes surfing and spare your reputation the beating.

    As for jews and intermarriage, Steve is right again. Call me crazy! I fail to see how actually believing in a religion you profess to believe in and holding that belief to high enough value to want your children to carry that belief through their lives as well seems quite logical, and hardly by necessity racist. Europe should hold such belief in it’s culture, maybe they’d still exist as a western culture a hundred years from now.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    “I’m leaving this thread because it’s now old hat, but if you read this, don’t make generalizations like that. Please. Thanx.”

    Translation: I’m getting my ass handed to me in this debate, so I’ll just call everyone a racist and run away.

    betar luk next thred!

  12. Steve Says:

    They value their religion over the lives of their grand children, that is not something I would ever agree with.

    When I was a kid one of my distant cousins — my first cousin had married an Irish Catholic guy, they had six kids all raised RC — anyway, this cousin of mine, beautiful girl, had a baby by a Mexican guy (that’s what we called them then, he’s as American as I am.) They got married, etc. etc.

    Anyway, the father wouldn’t recognize the child. He wouldn’t have anything to do with either his daughter, her husband, or his grandchild. That’s just barbaric.
    And no Jews anywhere in the picture.

    In my experience Jewish parents of long ago generations might threaten to mourn as dead (sit Shiva) for a son or daughter who married a “goy.” And some kinds were intimidated by that. And some were not. And the Jewish parents — like most parents of those older generations with those kinds of hang ups — eventually got over it.

    I’m leaving this thread because it’s now old hat, but if you read this, don’t make generalizations like that. Please. Thanx.

  13. kcom Says:

    probligo:

    “OK. I was raised and taught to speak English, not American. I was taught the spellings used in the Oxford Concise Dictionary, not the American Heritage Dictionary.

    So please forgive me if I spell color as “colour”, labor as “labour” and non-sequitur as “non-sequiteur”. I am not going to change that habit of a lifetime for anyone.”

    We’ll give you a pass on colour and labour (because those are alternate spellings) but you don’t get a pass on non-sequiteur because that’s just plain wrong. The word is based on Latin, and Latin doesn’t change spelling just because you’re in England and not the US. Check out this entry from the askoxford.com website, non-sequitur. And here’s one from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, non-sequitur. Is that authoritative enough? Spelling non-sequitur as non-sequiteur really is a habit you should break, even if it is one of a lifetime.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    Why are OBL and AlQaeda so effective? They stay silent.

    No they don’t stay silent. I wouldn’t call this a lie exactly, but it is untrue.

    They speak only when the time is right.

    It is easy to go with a script when nobody is interrupting. It is easy to do a military plan when the enemy acts as you predicted they would.

    They attribute directly – fact to action. So simple!

    Abu tells Sadr to get ready. Abu blows up Golden Dome Shrine. Sadr blows up Sunni shrine. Abu kills Shia protestors after a demonstration against attacks. Sadr blows up more Sunni Shrines. Iranian President blames America. NYTimes and Reuters and AP runs stories about Civil War. O’Reilly talks about Civil War. Fox has 50 different talking heads on about Civil War. CNN speaks Civil War to power.

    This is simple, eh?

    I wanted to see how many people would figure that non-sequitor was musical harmony. So it is pretty obvious that one of my statements was not disjointed and irrelevant to the topic, but rather in a musical harmony, all parts in perfect synchronicity. Non sequitor instead of non sequitur.

    Link

    Without this prohibition, the Jewish people would have disappeared long ago, and then what would all the blogs do?

    Would that be such a bad thing?

    They value their religion over the lives of their grand children, that is not something I would ever agree with.

    My favorite conspiracy was that the Mossad had detonated nuclear bombs underwater causing the recent tsunami that killed so many….

    What the! It wasn’t the Jews, it was good old Uncle Sam, we made an earthquake generator underwater. Come on, don’t buy into their propaganda.

    That’s good information you provided, Neo. I just wanted to say that the cure may have been in some ways worse than the disease. Or at least, unintended consequences resulted.

    There is still the problem of Israel and Palestine. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of conversion taking place between Palestinians and Israelis. Meaning, not a lot of Israeli soldiers involve themselves in the day to day lives of Palestinians before the wall came up, as American soldiers involve themselves in the day to day workings of Iraqis, in order to win hearts and minds. I cannot help but think that Jewish history, the ghettoes, and what not contributed to the current historical status quo we have.

    As I understand it, Neo and Grey. Neo is saying that the Torah is the official definition and Grey is agreeing, but Grey is noting that there exists a different perception and that this is the problem.

    Correct me if wrong.

  15. The probligo Says:

    Douglas,

    “…the correct spelling is sequitur (at least according to the American Heritage Dictionary)…”

    OK. I was raised and taught to speak English, not American. I was taught the spellings used in the Oxford Concise Dictionary, not the American Heritage Dictionary.

    So please forgive me if I spell color as “colour”, labor as “labour” and non-sequitur as “non-sequiteur”. I am not going to change that habit of a lifetime for anyone.

  16. Sam Says:

    The most fundamental – and frustrating – thing about conspiracy theorists is that they always place the burden of proof on the de-bunker. It’s difficult to prove a negative. That’s one reason our justice system requires only a reasonable doubt for a jury to acquit. Too bad the media don’t have a similar standard when deciding whether to run a story or print a book.

  17. Bezuhov Says:

    Careful with the Royal We there stevie. If you want to toss “innocent until proven guilty” onto the trash heap of history, that’s your problem, just don’t be surprised when you start to hear the crickets chirping…

  18. Steve Says:

    If all the evidence points to a small group of Arab and Muslim fanatics training, planning, taking flight lessons, faking passports and finally hijacking and flying commercial airliners into skyscrapers and claiming credit for it and the reaction is that “the Jews” did it, that’s indicative of something. And it’s something worth talking about.

    Oh, agreed. But we toss them around all the time too, even in our WOT, usually based on a simple-minded, “Cui bono?” basis. That’s all I wanted to make sure was registered, not trying to be preachy.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    Tom Grey: you are quite seriously mistaken, I’m afraid. For starters: Jews are not a race. They consist of all races, and converstion is possible for anyone who wants to study and convert. Secondly: unless you’ve done repeated polls of all the Jews in the world, how would you have a clue about what is meant by “chosen people”? Whatever sample you have sampled is bound to be very small. What I have linked to is the official position.

  20. Mike Says:

    ebbe, it is the A.P.U. on egyptian sandmonkey’s blog.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me how accusing Muslims of being unusually conspiratorial in their mindset helps our war effort. Otherwise, another non sequitur.

    It’s not a matter of accusing them. It’s a matter of examining the phenomenon and noting its effects and implications. One of the most fundamental axioms of war, if you want to win, is to know your enemy. Which means to understand him and his thought processes in order to predict and influence his future behavior. If all the evidence points to a small group of Arab and Muslim fanatics training, planning, taking flight lessons, faking passports and finally hijacking and flying commercial airliners into skyscrapers and claiming credit for it and the reaction is that “the Jews” did it, that’s indicative of something. And it’s something worth talking about.

  22. al fin Says:

    Hating america is the new olympic sport. Anyone can do it, and give himself the gold medal.

    Blaming Islam is misguided. Islam is misunderstood, and too frequently blamed.

    There is really no reason to blame anyone. Instead, we should all move to Europe and retire to live the good life. Why not, it is all paid for, no?

  23. Sissy Willis Says:

    Just because I’m a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean there aren’t evil-doers out there trying to take over the world. :)

    Leftist elites: Unwitting servants of a totalitarian impulse?

  24. Goesh Says:

    My favorite conspiracy was that the Mossad had detonated nuclear bombs underwater causing the recent tsunami that killed so many….

  25. yorky Says:

    The Jewish self imposed “prohibition” against intermarriage has been understood for hundreds of years simply as the only way to ensure survival of the Jewish people. It has no racist connotations at all. In other words, when a Jew wishes to marry a Gentile, his/her family don’t say things like “how could you marry one of THEM!” but rather, “your children will be lost to Judaism” or “why don’t you ask him/her to convert?” (not something a white racist could say to a family member who wished to marry a black person).
    Without this prohibition, the Jewish people would have disappeared long ago, and then what would all the blogs do?

  26. Tom Grey Says:

    Neo, I love your stuff. But sincerely believe you are wrong about “Chosen people” — because, I claim, that most people do NOT have the non-racist meaning in mind. (Yes, chosen to believe in monotheism; in the Torah; in Law!)

    On racism, I’m sure you recall the “joke” — I have black friends, but I wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one. Defining racism, I think fairly well, as not wanting your daughter to marry “one of them”.

    There are studies about the Y chromosome, and Jews, and the purity of Jews. Many are refered to in the Wikki article about those Ethiopian Jews you mention.

    50% marriage to non-Jews is certainly non-racist. How about 25% (75% Jew-Jew)? How about 10%? 5%? 1%?
    This is a serious question, what quantitative level of discrimination justifies “racism”?

    Other notes I’ve seen indicate some 96% of Jewish men in the ME have Abraham’s Y chromosome. Indicating something well over 99% Jew-Jew marriage over thousands of years — for those whose children remain Jews.

    I’m sure such mild superiority racism by Jews, throughout history, does NOT justify the current Jew-hate.

  27. strcpy Says:

    Somebody asked about Ricin – which on the ole WMD scale probably isn’t one.

    However, we did find a number of gallons of Sarin in liquid form. Sarin very much qualifies as a WMD. It was listed as “Gallons of Sarin”, “Old”, and lastly “We knew about it already”. Which makes it sound benign – if they had instead listed it as “Enough to easily kill half a million people” then it would have been taken differently (which the amount found could easily kill over half a million if disperesed as an aerosol – even if done fairly incompetantly). Those it doesn’t kill tend to be bed ridden for the rest of thier short life – sarin is some damn scary stuff.

    There was also some Cyclosarin found, enough for a quater or so million people. But it was also dismissed as old pre-Iran war stuff we knew about.

    Which, IMO, is quite funny. It doesn’t degrade so “old” is irrelevant on the deadly scale (not to mention the stuff we were talking about him having was nearly all pre-iran war). That we knew about it but lied about having WMD’s is also quite amusing (how can you lie about something you knew about all along and found?). I suppose the latter reason it doesn’t count isn’t a lie but a misdirection. But then that seems to be par for the course for most leftist.

  28. douglas Says:

    Ymark, Sherman is an interesting study, but his take had it’s flaws as well (though losing wasn’t one of them). I like Rome Re: Carthage. Rome was beaten militarily, but simply refused to give up. Eventually, Hannibal exposed a weakness (his government) and was withdrawn, then defeated. You have to believe in victory or you will be erased.

  29. douglas Says:

    Neo- “Conspiracies are very appealing. They appeal to simplicity (one or two linked and evil groups are responsible for the horrors and turmoil of the world,
    rather than many groups and a complex sequence of events that we understand only poorly).”

    Bingo! Interestingly, it’s very similar to man-made disasters. When a jetliner crashes, or a building collapses, it is never a single ‘golden bullet’ that brings it down, it is a confluence of factors that converge to create the conditions necesary for catastrophic failure. One needs a systems level understanding to perceive actual cause and effect relationships.

    Steve- “No need to go round and round on different interps of conspiracy theory, as long as we know they are ubiquitous, not found only among Muslims.

    And why exactly is that important to know? -Ymarsakar

    Because I think we have to be careful about ascribing characteristics to Muslims as a group when we demonstrate them ourselves. Careful, careful.”

    Please spare us the preaching. Perhaps if you read the original post you wouldn’t make comments like this. From the original post: “But conspiracy theories are hardly the sole province of the Arab/Islamic world; not by a longshot.”

    Probligo- “The real truth is spoken only when evidence is produced from outside – witness the most recent AbuGraib photos.”
    Produced from outside? Those photos were taken by the perps, and brought out by an internal Army investigation.

    oh and Probligo, if you say: “Last word to the small minded nit-pickers…

    It is non-sequiteur. Get a life and a dictionary. “
    and the correct spelling is sequitur (at least according to the American Heritage Dictionary) then I guess, by definition, you are a small-minded nitpicker, or perhaps you thought it was a french term?
    Credit where credit is due, Steve had that right, at least.

  30. Robert Schwartz Says:

    “Tell me what the Jewish National Character is, as depicted in a speech by one of their heroes.”

    Book of Exodus. God lables us a stiff-necked people and threatens to destroy us several times. As somebody said, you have the best leadership team ever, God, the creator of the Universe and Moses, and they are in despair about getting the Jews through the desert.

  31. ebbe Says:

    There is actually a name for all these conspiracy theories called (I don’t exactly remember,but something like)AAW-the Arab Alternative World where every world event corresponds to the same event in our (western) world but the causal effects come from another dimension. And of course the Jews are behind it.

    An example-the bird flu was invented by Israeli scientists working on a disease from the gene level that would only kill Arabs. This was very difficult since the jewish DNA is so close to Arab DNA, but possile since Jewish doctors are so smart.

    Also,the Jews caused the disease to start in southeast asia to throw suspicion away from Israel.

  32. The probligo Says:

    From your post on “propaganda” neo -

    But the best propaganda is truthful, especially in this day of internet fact-checking. The best propaganda understands the arguments of the other side and counters them effectively. But all propaganda does have one thing in common: a conviction that it is acceptable to use it.

    In the context of the numerous conspiracy theories consider this -

    But the best propaganda is to say nothing, especially in this day of internet fact-checking. The best propaganda gives the other side nothing and yet counters them effectively. But all propaganda does have one thing in common: a conviction that it is acceptable to use it.

    How do conspiracy theories start? Well I can think of -

    Unsourced Ministry of Truth rumours to further deflect from the truth.

    Dis-satisfaction on the truthfulness and consistency of the “truth”.

    Both obvious and perceived disparities between “truth” and observed fact.

    Political motivation to have anti-establishment rumours supported and distributed.

    Yep, it is just nothing more than more propaganda… There are those who make the attempt to imagine the truth, to try and distill truth from the lies and red herrings. Those distillations need to be checked and verified as carefully as any government announcement – see “political motivation”.

    So, the US administration encourages “embedding” as that “truth” will get published (after careful control). Anything that runs contrary to that “truth” is obviously “not good”.

    The real truth is spoken only when evidence is produced from outside – witness the most recent AbuGraib photos. Even then the first step is to silence the truth by discrediting the evidence.

    Why are OBL and AlQaeda so effective? They stay silent. They speak only when the time is right. They speak only one message. They attribute directly – fact to action. So simple!

    Last word to the small minded nit-pickers…

    It is non-sequiteur. Get a life and a dictionary.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Ymarsakar: About the early ghettos, see this.

    The ghettos certainly were established by the authorities of the places in which they were located. It is true that many Jews of the time welcomed the early ghettos because it protected them from harrassment by Christians. As the article states:

    n 1555 Pope Paul IV created the Roman Ghetto and issued papal bull Cum nimis absurdum, forcing Jews to live in a specified area. According to historian Owen Chadwick, the Roman Ghetto “had two objects–to protect Christians from too close an association with persons of a different religion, and to protect the Jews from mobs or hooligans. The ghetto was welcome to some Jews because it protected the small community from the drain which must follow from assimilation to the majority and enabled special religious customs to be observed without interference…

    The following certainly was not voluntary:

    Since Jews could not acquire land outside the ghetto, during periods of population growth, ghettos had narrow streets and tall, crowded houses. Residents had their own justice system. Around the ghetto stood walls that during pogroms were closed from the inside during Easter Week and from the outside during Christmas or Pesach.

    Why closed during those times? To protect the Jews from violence.

    And here you will find that, in medieval Germany for example, Jews and Christians had mingled more freely prior to the massacres of Jews connected with the Crusades. After that, ghettos were established, in part to protect Jews from taunts and attacks, and the separation became far more complete.

    The separation continued more or less till the Enlightenment. Jews were not citizens of any European country until then, and change happened slowly even post-Enlightenment. The periodic exulsions from European countries stopped, and France was the first country to grant citizenship, in 1791. Germany was the last in Europe in 1871 (Russia still had not done so).

    As far as the religious composition of Israel goes, most of its Jews are secular and nonobservant, and most of those who are observant do not classify themselves as Orthodox (see this).

    Six percent of Israeli Jews define themselves as Haredim (“ultra-orthodox”); an additional 9% as “religious”; 34% as “traditionalists” (not strictly adhering to Jewish law or halakha); and 51% as “secular”. Among the secular, 53% believe in God.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    The popularity of conspiracy theories is easy to understand. It’s an easy and hazard-free way to pretend you’re a totally studly James Bond style super spy, at least as long as you stick to theories that attack people who aren’t actually going to kill you. You get to act all mysterious and dangerous, and feel superior to all the mindless sheep who aren’t privy to your secret knowledge.

    It’s an awesome way to score with chicks, even if you’re a fat greasy guy with permanent Cheetos-stains on his fingers. As long as you act intense enough about your theory, the babes won’t be able to keep their hands off you.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    “About the large stockpiles, how much Ricin does it take to kill a city and how much chem weapons is needed to kill a couple of Kurdish villages?”

    Depends on the method of delivery. Putting it in the water supply is pointless, as you need at least a metric ton of it to poison even a small 10-ton water supply thoroughly enough to kill people who drink from it. Even then, most people would get only a bad case of diarrhea from it… enough to tip everyone else off to the poisoning.

    Injected, on the other hand, is a guaranteed kill with even a tiny amount. The hard part is injecting enough people without their knowledge… maybe poisoning medical supplies, but it’s hard to poison enough of them at once, to kill a lot of people before anyone knows it’s happening.

    I’ll admit to being paranoid, but that’s the reason I never get my yearly flu shots until a week after they start. It would be the perfect way to decimate a city’s population, since the effects of injected ricin don’t become obvious until a day or two after the injection, and by then it’s too late to save anyone. Just one guy involved in vaccine production or distribution who decides to live in infamy could wipe out thousands with just one plastic bag full of ricin.

    How much security is there around vaccine production? Has anyone really thought about it, and would the security stop a terrorist with a squeaky clean record and a Ph.D. in medicine?

  36. Ymarsakar Says:

    About the large stockpiles, how much Ricin does it take to kill a city and how much chem weapons is needed to kill a couple of Kurdish villages?

    Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me how accusing Muslims of being unusually conspiratorial in their mindset helps our war effort. Otherwise, another non sequitur.

    You don’t accuse someone of believing in conspiracies when they just told you that they did. By understanding how the Muslim mind works psychologically, you can break them. Render them unwilling to both fight and resist. That helps the war effort a lot. I didn’t use the conspiracy charge, I would use the propaganda charge. How a person thinks and what they believe in are valuable knowledge people must have in this war if they are to win. Without proper intelligence on the enemy and their intentions, then ultimate victory is a joke.

    It’s a non sequitor, not a non sequitur.

    Every nation praises their excellence. Please.

    And this is not a non sequitur because?

    Unsuited to war? What’s that all about?

    You tell me, why don’t you agree? If you think they are suited for war, pray tell.

    Sherman is a unique and very effective communicator of what I describe as a national character suited for war.

    Gentleman: I have your letter of the 11th, in the nature of a petition to revoke my orders removing all the inhabitants from Atlanta. I have read it carefully, and give full credit to your statements of distress that will be occasioned, and yet shall not revoke my orders, because they were not designed to meet the humanities of the cause, but to prepare for the future struggles in which millions of good people outside of Atlanta have a deep interest. We must have peace, not only at Atlanta, but in all America. To secure this, we must stop the war that now desolates our once happy and favored country. To stop war, we must defeat the rebel armies which are arrayed against the laws and Constitution that all must respect and obey. To defeat those armies, we must prepare the way to reach them in their recesses, provided with the arms and instruments which enable us to accomplish our purpose. Now, I know the vindictive nature of our enemy, that we may have many years of military operations from this quarter; and, therefore, deem it wise and prudent to prepare in time. The use of Atlanta for warlike purposes in inconsistent with its character as a home for families. There will be no manufacturers, commerce, or agriculture here, for the maintenance of families, and sooner or later want will compel the inhabitants to go. Why not go now, when all the arrangements are completed for the transfer, instead of waiting till the plunging shot of contending armies will renew the scenes of the past month? Of course, I do not apprehend any such things at this moment, but you do not suppose this army will be here until the war is over. I cannot discuss this subject with you fairly, because I cannot impart to you what we propose to do, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away, and I can only renew my offer of services to make their exodus in any direction as easy and comfortable as possible.

    You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling. This feeling assumes various shapes, but always comes back to that of Union. Once admit the Union, once more acknowledge the authority of the national Government, and, instead of devoting your houses and streets and roads to the dread uses of war, I and this army become at once your protectors and supporters, shielding you from danger, let it come from what quarter it may. I know that a few individuals cannot resist a torrent of error and passion, such as swept the South into rebellion, but you can point out, so that we may know those who desire a government, and those who insist on war and its desolation.

    Sherman

    Sherman’s a tough cookie, he is 10 tons of granite, and anyone trying to Civil War with the U.S. is going to see how heavy 10 tons of granite really is.

    Tell me what the Jewish National Character is, as depicted in a speech by one of their heroes.

  37. Steve Says:

    That is a complete non sequitur.

    It may be a non sequitor, for someone that doesn’t believe Saddam killed Kurdish families with chem weaps, WMD weaps,

    No one disputes that Saddam used poison gas — probably a mix of mustards — on the Kurds. That’s not what this is about. Iitsabout the pre-invasion theory, that held for several years, the Saddam had large stockpiles WMD’s and was close to developing a full NBC arsenal but kept moving the components around to fool inspectors.


    You bring up an interesting point.

    Do you want to win or do you want to be moderate?

    Ok, I’ll bite. Tell me how accusing Muslims of being unusually conspiratorial in their mindset helps our war effort. Otherwise, another non sequitur.


    Of course. This is why Danemark, the US, and Israel are propaganda targets. We make ourselves out to be different and praise our excellence. That pisses people off.

    Every nation praises their excellence. Please.

    The generalizations about Jews seemed to lack substance. Unsuited to war? What’s that all about?

    It’s true that the ghetto system suited both groups. It allowed Christians to maintain a unified world view outside of it, and the Jews to maintain a unified world view inside. Enlightenment pluralism has benefited both groups, but it has also weakened the unified POV of both groups.

    In that, sociological context, Jewish intermarriage had to do with maintaining the Jewish community, it was enunciated by the rabbis during the Babylonian Captivity (as I recall) for the same reason: keeping the people together during diaspora.

    Tradition-bound Jews, whether they be orthodox or not, still prefer intermarriage. Reform Jews, who are third remove from Orthodox, have few problems either with intermarriage or conversion (this is a relatively recent phenomenon, although the more liberal offshoots of Orthodoxy, Conservative and Reformed, have been around for 150 years or so.)

    Israelis are in fact mostly secular — as are in fact most Jews today — but they now stress their national or group memory rather than adherence to Torah and other holy books.

    Who knows what will happen with Israel, Palestine. Everyone prefers peaceful change. Best!

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    That is a complete non sequitur.

    It may be a non sequitor, for someone that doesn’t believe Saddam killed Kurdish families with chem weaps, WMD weaps, and Sheat as well, of course it is a non sequitur. But since I do think Saddam killed Kurdish families with chem weaps, it makes perfect sense to me.

    I don’t tend to get up to the Kurdish folk and say “it is a conspiracy about this WMD thing with you and Saddam, which you said Saddam had or used”. Just as I wouldn’t go up to a New Orleans resident, and say “This is a conspiracy about how Hurricane Katrina destroyed your homes, instead of something you just made up to excuse the riots”.

    The dead bodies in the streets and the devastated and video tapped scenery sort of makes it hard for reasonable people to cry out “Conspiracy Theory” with bold capital letters, now doesn’t it.


    Because I think we have to be careful about ascribing characteristics to Muslims as a group when we demonstrate them ourselves. Careful, careful.

    You bring up an interesting point. Does moderation in war, guerrila warfare, or politics ever win anything? Perhaps in politics it has some advantages, this moderation. But in guerrila warfare and war, moderation only creates quagmires. And the propaganda war is most definitely a guerrila war.

    Do you want to win or do you want to be moderate?

    To that end, to say that envy drives hate is very Nietzschean but I believe fear is far more important.

    It doesn’t seem apparent that Muslims fear anyone, given their latest actions in the riots.

    Fear doesn’t seem to have anything to do with their actions, regardless of which beliefs they held dear.

    in which Jews engage no more and no less than any other European group.

    Of course. This is why Danemark, the US, and Israel are propaganda targets. We make ourselves out to be different and praise our excellence. That pisses people off.

    Reform Jews, the majority in the US, do not ordinarily have problems with mixed marriages.

    I don’t think Tom has any prejudices against Jews in the US. I think he is refering to the ones in Israel and certain actions he doesn’t think is something the Jews should be doing given the world situation. War brings out the national character, and I don’t think the Jewish national character is suited for war.

    I don’t speak for him of course, nor do I have any full understanding of his views, but I would contend that the lack of assimilation on the part of Jewish communities are well documented in European history.

    The Sephardic Jews, the ones in Constantinople and the Sultanate, were quite “reform” minded from what I remember. It was the Orthodox Jews that were very problematic.

    I don’t know the internal rivalries or the internal conflicts of Israel over Orthodox or not, but presumably Israel is more orthodox than American Jews. It is very hard for a Jew in America not to assimilate. America has the most expertise in cultural assimilation because we have so much to offer, to any number of peoples, faiths, and organizations or ethnicities.

    The Ghettoes of European Jewry were not done by the state, but by the request of the Jews themselves. I always find that factoid amazing, that they would purposefully exclude themselves from the lives of the gentiles.

    I see the same kind of separation between Israel and Palestine.(Not the wall)

  39. Anonymous Says:

    Tom Grey:
    From memory, and easily checked, but I believe the intermarriage rate among Jews in the USA exceeds 50%.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    Tom Grey: You seem to have some misconceptions about Jews. The first is on the meaning of “chosen people.” It does not convey superiority, it conveys having been selected to receive the word about monotheism–or having chosen to receive it. Take a look here.

    Reform Jews, the majority in the US, do not ordinarily have problems with mixed marriages. And anyone, of any race, can–and has–converted to Judaism. In fact, there are Jewish communities of all races (see this, for example).

  41. N. O'Brain Says:

    Fortunately, conspiracy theories end up slicing their wrists with Occam’s Razor

  42. Steve Says:

    The entire WMD thing was, in effect, a conspiracy theory.

    It’s hard to call something a conspiracy theory when families witnessed the execution of their family members by Saddam.

    That is a complete non sequitur.

    No need to go round and round on different interps of conspiracy theory, as long as we know they are ubiquitous, not found only among Muslims.

    And why exactly is that important to know?

    Because I think we have to be careful about ascribing characteristics to Muslims as a group when we demonstrate them ourselves. Careful, careful.

    BTW, thanks for the BSD links, Neo.

    This may seem off topic but one reason why I have never been interested in identifying myself by my (many layered) Euro and minority identities is that I not a big fan of nationalism or group cheerleading.

    To that end, to say that envy drives hate is very Nietzschean but I believe fear is far more important.

    Also the notion of Jews qua Chosen People is a misunderstanding of that concept. It is not the same thing as group cheerleading, in which Jews engage no more and no less than any other European group.

    I also think it is true that Ashkenazi Jews test higher on verbal IQ than run of the mill caucasoids, but it is also true that Asians test higher than either. The problem with this kind of thing is that it has nothing to do with reality as we should be living it. High IQ is no guarantee of anything, other than the fact that such folks can do crosswords in pen ….

  43. Ymarsakar Says:

    if it hadn’t been accompanied by a curious charge about who had done it: the Mossad. The Jews.

    Their propaganda is very good and has had generations to filter into people’s consciousnesses. It is very strange to believe that so many people can be fooled, but indeed technically it is not only possible, but easy.

    Prayers for the Assassin delves into this topic in rather more depth, and imagines an Islamic States of America after the Jews dropped nukes on Washington DC and New York.

    But he was clearly a crackpot, with some unusual ideas.

    I once used a link to Steven Den Beste to argue for why Bush wasn’t as open as he could have been leading up to the Iraq War, and my debate opponent called Den Beste a crackpot as well. Which lead me to believe that there are crackpots and then there are crackpots.

    I would rather term it was anti-Zionism rather than anti-Semitism because the foundation seems to heavily rest upon the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I know they have their own reasons for divorcing the two, but to me it was always the Zionist conspiracy people refered to.

    I would go one step further. The terroists know what the likely results would be. So the terroists attack people for the precise purpose of using it as propaganda in order to make people believe the worst of America and the best of them. Sadr and Abu Musab probably were in league with each other in the bombing of the Golden Dome Shrine. Sadr had the infiltration support necessary to remove and get info on the Shia militia guarding the shrine. Abu had the operational knowledge, the training, the muscle, and the bloodthirsty fanaticism to carry the operation out.

    They all knew that the actual physical damage is minimal to the damage that they could cook up through their lies, distortions, and incitement of Civil War.

    Like Rumsfield said, our enemies are experts and total masters of digital propaganda, armed propaganda teams, and even more astutely, the human psychology and how to manipulate it to create power and violence.

    That ability almost completely offsets our superior technology.

    Because as Napoleon said, in war, the morale is to the physical as is 3 is to 1. He was perfectly correct.

    One of the problems in an asymmetrical warfare is that you have to bring symmetry to it. Counter violence with violence. Counter propaganda with propaganda. If you try and counter propaganda with violence or violence with propaganda, a Quagmire will result.

    The logic is very weird. Because if the Jews did 9/11… why would America and the jews be reluctant to wipe out the Middle East with our nukes, if we were willing to blow up 3,000 of our own citizens?

    It is amazing what their propaganda can do to bypass human logic. Just amazing.

    The entire WMD thing was, in effect, a conspiracy theory.

    It’s hard to call something a conspiracy theory when families witnessed the execution of their family members by Saddam.

    No need to go round and round on different interps of conspiracy theory, as long as we know they are ubiquitous, not found only among Muslims.

    And why exactly is that important to know?

    Your thoery on anti-americanism sounds like a conspiracy theory itself!

    As you can see, good propaganda can destroy bad propaganda. As powerful violence can destroy weak violence.

    The aim of propaganda is to convince, to persuade, and in some cases to coerce. The side that is able to do that the best, will own the battlespace of men’s minds. And anything else will be destroyed for the intruding idea that it is and never integrated into a person’s mind.

    It is as if you are going to take a fortress and once taken, you can use it to defend against your enemy’s invading armies.

    This is the true battle between winning hearts and minds.

    It is as real as the battlefields the Marines fight on in Iraq. And perhaps even more important.

    In some cases, the Jewish way of life was made for a conspiracy theory. I can’t do anything about it. But many terroists will and have taken advantage of it.

    I think if the Jews did not exist, it is as Neo said, we would create them. We would create someone weak, yet brilliant, successful, and honest. Someone that has money, but not power or ruthlessness.

    In logic, I’d call that a straw man. But reality has created a more perfect straw man than anyone else could possibly have envisioned.

    It is weird, and stunning. If you read that Israel was still funding the PLO until Hamas was elected.

    In the letter, the Quartet’s special envoy said the caretaker Palestinian government faces a funding gap of USD 100 million this month and up to USD 70 million in March, mainly because of Israel’s decision to withhold USD 50 million to USD 55 million a month in tax revenue.

    I’m on Israel’s side here but… nevermind. It is what it is, and Israel will survive or not survive based upon their own destinies. We here in America, can do little about it now, except stop funding terror.

    Link

  44. Linda Says:

    What’s amazing is that the movie “Conspiracy Theory” (one of my favorites – totally off-the-wall and funny) was made, and yet, at no point did the Jews get blamed. Imagine – a conspiracy theory that didn’t include the Chosen People!

  45. Tom Grey Says:

    In email I’m having a tiny disagreement with Norm Geras about socialism. I claim that envy drives it. He claims more compassion and solidarity.

    The Jews claim to be the Chosen People, so either they’re wrong or all non-Jews are non-chosen. They (racistly?) are against marriage of Jew to non-Jew; so they choose to not assimilate.

    When left alone, Jewish communities very often produce more wealthy persons than non-Jewish. Many IQ tests indicate a Jewish average of over 120, on average much higher than non-Jews.

    As even Tom Lehrer sings “…and everybody hates the Jews.”

    I claim it’s envy, and terrible, and leads to hate.

    And your BDS, which I call Bush-hate, is related to Jew-hate and success-hate. Successful Chinese among the majority Malays are also hated, in a similar way, for similar reasons.

    The “rich” are always a target for envy-hatred.

  46. Anonymous Says:

    Neo- good point about propaganda. Last week I watched Forty Ninth Parallel- a Powell and Pressburger movie with music by Vaughn Williams, and it pretty gave all the arguments we ought to be making today- but was , of course , referring to the Bad Nazis. I recommend it highly.

  47. kung fu Says:

    Mike,

    Your thoery on anti-americanism sounds like a conspiracy theory itself!

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: About BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), look here and, for a few words I said on the subject, here.

  49. Brad Says:

    I don’t know Neo… I did the google search you suggested and went to some of the websites. They seemed pretty convincing to me; even included citations of ABC News and the Boston Globe! Can’t get much more substantial than that. Consider me a convert.

  50. Steve Says:

    Just for my own enlightenment, and no sarcasm, what is “BDS”?

    No need to go round and round on different interps of conspiracy theory, as long as we know they are ubiquitous, not found only among Muslims. That was my main point, that, and my conclusion that fear is prime aspect of the problem.

  51. terrye Says:

    Steve:

    I agree that the west has its share of conspiracy theories, but the WMD issue was nothing of the kind.

    There is nothing that the Jews could do that would make a true anti semite listen to them. There is nothing Bush can do to make a sufferer of BDS show reason.

    If however, Saddam had done the same thing a decade ago that Kaddafi did a couple of years ago the WMD issue would have been resolved.

  52. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: the mark that something is a conspiracy theory in the way I mean the phrase is not that it happens to be wrong in a particular case (ie the TWA flight). It’s whether there actually is such a conspiracy based on whether the preponderance of reliable evidence points to it.

  53. Steve Says:

    I think we in the West are also prone to conspiracy theories. In our conspiracy theories, however, we usually claim that some Muslim or group of Muslims is behind it. Think of the TWA flight that went down just after 9/11, for example. The entire WMD thing was, in effect, a conspiracy theory.

    Of course, 9/11 was a conspiracy theory that turned out to be true ….. namely, a group of Muslims got together and attacked us. So sometimes conspiracy theories _are_ true.

    The key to getting to the truth is discussion about the evidence, or lack of evidence, an avoidance of groupthink, and a self-awareness about our human tendencies to always blame those we understand least and fear the most.

  54. Mike Says:

    I think anti-americanism has passed anti-semitism in the anti race. For most of the muslim world to hate jews and hate america is the same thing because this is a jewish crusader nation. Add in old europe and you probably have 20-30 percent of each nation counting themselves in the anti-American camp. There are plenty of Big Men in crappy third world countries who rally their population under the banner of fighting against the Americans. Then add all of the clumps of marxists sitting around in dorms and parlors lying to each other and you probably have at least another million.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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