What's All This Then?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I was surprised last week to see one cable news station after another using clips of Mike Wallace’s "interview" with Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . I put the word "interview" in quotes because this has to be one of the worst efforts by the aging reporter. Maybe it’s time for him to hang up his roving microphone. Ahmadinejad was in complete charge of the meeting, using it to portray himself as a reasonable man who only wanted peaceful relations with the rest of the world.

According to our president of course, Ahmadinejad is a monster, heading up one third of the infamous "axis of evil" - a sponsor of world wide terrorism.

Certainly you would expect Jews to feel that way. The condemnations of Iran by Israeli officials during and following the Israeli/Hezbollah war couldn’t have been more strident. But not all Jews feel the same about Iran. Certainly not Maurice Motamed - a Jew who has one of the world’s loneliest jobs. He’s a member of the Iranian parliament!!

Read his and the story of his fellow Jews - and while you may not disagree with what Mr. Bush says about Iran being a sponsor of terrorist groups and the danger presented by them acquiring an atomic weapon - perhaps you will at least come away with a broader view of that nation than the President’s narrowly focused view.

And of Jimmy Carter

While I wouldn’t suggest for a moment that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is any kind of friend to the Jews of the world or to the Jews of Iran - despite his promise to do something dramatic to prove he is not anti-Jewish - neither is our former President Jimmy Carter.

Joining with the anti-Semites of the world, he called the Israeli response to the Hezbollah attack, an "unjustified attack upon Lebanon," and that Israel didn’t have "any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon." And he repeated the usual anti-Israel mantra about "10,000 prisoners in Israel jails." That’s it. No reference or proof as to the numbers and who these "prisoners" are and what terms they are serving for what crimes. Just the 10,000 mantra. Implying that that was a justification for any terrorist group to kill and abduct Israeli military personnel.

I wouldn’t call Carter a "national disgrace" - as my namesake Craig R. Smith does in World Net Daily - but I would call him a closet anti-Semite - and perhaps it’s only proper that his comments appeared in a major German daily - Der Spiegel!!

Speaking of Anti-Semites

Why do they hate us so much? A question asked and brilliantly pondered by Yair Lapid on Israpundit - with equally brilliant comments by readers. This should be must reading for all anti-Semites as well as for reasonable people who wonder about anti-Semitism. You might learn something through reading this stuff. I believe I did.

The Jews of England

A few days ago I was making some comparisons between the Jewish and Muslim populations of England, pointing out that Jews don’t make unreasonable demands of their government - being more "English" than their Muslim counterparts.

Not that Jews didn’t have reasons to complain. How would you like it of a King said you have to leave your country and never come back - as Edward 1 said to the Jews of England in 1290? It was 366 years before they were allowed to come back again - and next month, the 350th anniversary of that event will be celebrated with a day long festival in London’s Trafalger Square.

Post War Self Assessment in Israel

As long as I’m talking about Jews today, here’s something that I think we could learn from Israeli Jews. The dust has hardly settled on the cease fire agreement between Israel and Hezbollah - and indeed, the way it’s going, it may not hold much longer - with a lot of talk and not much action when it comes to the central point of the UN resolution - the disarming of all non-government militias - but the internal criticism of the way the government conducted this war is already flowing hot and heavy. Reservists have marched to Ehud Olmert’s office to demand an official inquiry - and the government has already said that one will take place - and it may be a state commission of inquiry, similar to ones held in the past over military failures.

At times, Israel’s democracy has looked like a debating society for inmates of a nut house , with it’s multiple parties and crazy voting system which can result in a political party or "list" being represented by a single member in the Knesset. It’s why there’s almost a constant struggle to form and hold a government together. Since no party has a majority on its own, deals have to be made between parties with disparate interests.

But it does make for the most wide open form of democracy. Debates in our Senate or House look like Sunday School outings compared to the wild arguments that often pass for debate in the Knesset. But it’s the kind of no holds barred democracy that allows for a national inquiry to be undertaken on the heels of five weeks of military clashes. Could you imagine the Bush administration appointing a national bipartisan commission to examine our invasion of Iraq - 30 or 60 or 90 days after our troops crossed the border from Kuwait?

A lot of people question our unwavering support of Israel. There are plenty of reasons why we give it our support - and I wont try to go into them here. But one of the reasons has to be because it is a democracy. A crazy one maybe - but of all the crazy forms of government in the Middle East - a crazy democracy has to stand out as the one kind of nation we can identify with and look upon as a true ally. Remember what Churchill said about democracy. It’s the worst form of government - except for all those others that have been tried.

Read "those other crazy systems in the Middle East."