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Posted in: World Events

Published on Jul 13, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

July 1914, July 1939 - July 2009?


Gone are the cold and dreary rains of June. Now, all is disarmingly sunny and green on the east coast. The July weather is hot during the day, blessedly cool and sweet in the evening. We stroll languidly down leafy city streets, walk dogs, slowly lick ice cream, read at outdoor cafes. People in wheelchairs and on walkers and canes have made it through another overly long winter and are out gazing in wonder at the world as they once knew it. The shore (endless ocean blue, dotted with swimmers and boats), the mountains (swollen running rivers, sheer-drop waterfalls, velvet emerald hills), even the suburbs are radiant, God-given.

Why does all this peace-and-calm remind me, ever so slightly, of Europe in early July of 1914 or July of 1939? Not everyone is touched by war, some smartly dressed people are always dancing or feasting as other people are being murdered (we have all seen the documentary footage of the really good time some people were having while others were going up in smoke at Auschwitz or Treblinka. I was not starving while Hutus slaughtered Tutsis in Rwanda — were you?).

We all seem to be moving in slow motion, serenely out of touch with the hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen, distracting ourselves from the dark, gravitational pull of war by spending two weeks publicly, collectively, obsessively, mourning a pop singer as if he was Jesus and about to rise. Has anyone else noticed how many African-American news anchors now sport haircuts just like President Obama's? Why does this look remind me of of those fearfully polite Nation of Islam men?

Back on track: What are we avoiding? What makes us feel so helpless, so terrified that we prefer festive oblivion to cold, strategic clarity?

Well, for starters: We are arresting home-grown Islamist terrorists both in New York City and in Minnesota; we are releasing Iranian terrorists in complicated hostage exchanges; our president is kow-towing to the Islamic world even as they ratchet up their view of themselves as "victims" and continue to slaughter Christians, infidels — and mainly, other Muslims.

And then there are my small Jewish sorrows.

Last week, in a unanimous vote, the International Federation of Journalists ousted the National Federation of Israel Journalists from amongst their ranks. Politics were at the heart of the matter although non-payment of dues (due to politics) were also given as the excuse. The unjust boycotts against Israelis continue apace.

Meanwhile, President Obama has been reading the riot act only to Israel, not to any other country on earth.

Even now, he is meeting with the heads of American Jewry — but why is he not meeting to admonish and pressure the tyrants of the Islamic world? What Middle East "peace" is our president talking about?

Palestinian peace partners loudly and proudly keep insisting that they will never make peace with Israel or accept a Jewish Israel; that their insistence on 1967 borders is only a strategic move until they can insist on the borders of 1948.

In fact, just today, Palestinians cancelled the folk singer Leonard Cohen's concert in Ramallah because Cohen wanted to perform in both Jewish Israel and on the West Bank to demonstrate his support for a two-state solution. The Jewish Israelis had no problem with this — but the Palestinians did. They wanted Cohen to perform only in Ramallah, not in Jewish Israel. (Thanks to Judith Weiss and Steven Plaut for this information).

Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) has posted a piece by Nidra Poller about the French trial of Yosouf Fofana, the self-proclaimed leader of the barbarians who plotted and carried out the three-week-long torture of young, Jewish, North African, Ilan Halimi. The details are gory, shocking, partly because the entire neighborhood joined in, witnessed the gruesome "sport," showed absolutely no mercy, no one even called the police anonymously. The French, in their infinite wisdom, insisted on a closed trial (which lasted two months), thus sparing the French and the world from knowing the full and awful story. What's more, they announced the verdict late on a Jewish Sabbath evening. Poller writes:

"It was after 10 PM (on Friday night) when the presiding judge finally announced — in a barely audible voice — prison terms for the 27 defendants … most prisoners are released in France after serving half their terms. The whole thing has been hushed up and tucked away under front page stories about holiday traffic jams and the Tour de France bicycle race."

I view this as a collective French crime, committed on French soil. The French (who also gave the world the Mohammed al-Dura blood libel) are not merely ashamed of themselves; perhaps they fear that too many details will inspire copycat kidnappings and group torture of other young French Jews.

One friend, a North African Jew himself, notes that "Fofana will be a hero in prison. So many prisoners are Muslims who also hate Jews. Fofana's life will be an easy one. And, because France does not believe in capital punishment, he'll get out one day."

I dunno. When that happens, I don't want him living next door to me. Would that make me an "Islamophobe"?


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