From September 2010

A Den of Despots

From KHouse.Org – Archives June 2007

According to a recent Gallup poll, approximately 66 percent of Americans think the UN is doing a poor job. This most recent assessment of the United Nations’ shoddy job performance is the lowest ever since Gallop first began keeping track in 1953. This news is not surprising. What is astonishing is that, despite the United Nations’ terrible track record, most Americans think the inept organization should still play a major role in international affairs.

What most people don’t realize is that the United Nations has become a safe haven for thugs, war-mongers, and tyrannical dictators. The truth of the matter is that only 89 of the 192 UN member nations have truly free governments. In other words, the majority of the UN is made up of 103 nations that do not give their citizens the same political rights and civil liberties that you and I take for granted. That is according to Freedom House, which has published a report on what it calls “the world’s most repressive societies.” With the sole exception of North Korea, all of the 17 nations that made the list are current members of the United Nations. Perhaps most alarming is that some of the “worst of the worst” human rights violators have actually been appointed to the UN Human Rights Council.

The United Nations was created to maintain international peace and help solve the world’s economic and humanitarian troubles, but the UN has failed time and time again to achieve its main objectives. The UN is plagued by scandal, widespread corruption, favoritism, and financial mismanagement. Furthermore, through its misconduct, negligence, and complacency the UN has aided terrorism worldwide.

In April of 2006 Iran was elected to a vice-chair position on the UN Disarmament Commission, which is tasked with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. The following day Iran announced that it had successfully enriched uranium. Appointing Iran to a position where it can establish disarmament rules to protect its own clandestine nuclear program is either a colossal lapse in judgment or a deliberate attempt by the non-democratic majority to protect one of their own from scrutiny. It doesn’t make any sense, unless of course you think like one of 103 nations that control the vote in the UN General Assembly.

One must only examine the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan to understand why the UN has failed to fulfill the primary purpose for which it was created – to promote peace and protect humanity. Hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur have been slaughtered and millions have been forced to flee their homes. The Islamic government that controls Sudan is guilty of genocide, but the United Nations has yet to take decisive action to stop the bloodshed. For the past four years they have done nothing but deliberate, procrastinate, and make empty threats. Why? The UN has failed to act because the status quo serves its interests, because powerful nations like China benefit from Sudan’s oil wealth, and because the very leaders who control the vote are profiting from the sale of bullets and bombs.
Related Links:
• United Nations Ratings Remain at Lowest Ebb – The Gallup Poll
• Report on the World’s Most Repressive Societies – Freedom House
• Targeting Sudan’s Weapons Suppliers – IHT
• China Invests Heavily In Sudan’s Oil Industry – Washington Post
• Strategic Trends: Global Government – Koinonia House
• Darfur Crisis Worsens – eNews Archive
– From Koinonia House News Letter

Isaac Newton the Creationist

From KHouse.Org – Archives June 2007

“This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” – Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton, the brilliant mathematician who redefined physics for the world in the 17th century, was also a bit of a theologian. While he’s most famous for his ideas about gravity and the laws of motion, Newton also wrote commentaries on Daniel and Revelation. The man who invented Calculus also argued that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the end of the world, and wrote that the Apocalypse would not occur until after A.D. 2060. Now, a number of Newton’s original papers and letters have been put on display in Jerusalem, offering the world a broader glimpse of this great scientist’s deeply religious nature.

For 250 years, many of Newton’s papers remained locked away in a trunk at the estate of the Earl of Portsmouth. In 1936, they were auctioned off and most were acquired by two very different sorts of men; the very secular economist John Maynard Keynes, and the Jewish Oriental Studies scholar Abraham Shalom Yahuda, who was devoted to proving the Pentateuch’s authenticity. While Keynes’ collection went to Cambridge University, Yahuda bequeathed his collection to the new State of Israel in 1951. In 1969 the manuscripts were locked away at Israel’s National Library, to be read only by select scholars. They have now been brought out of hiding and are on display at the Jewish National and University Library at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from June 18 – July 17, 2007.

These manuscripts offer to the world a greater understanding of Newton’s mystical side. While today’s secular scientists work to separate “religion” from “science,” Newton believed that the physical world revealed and glorified God. According to Israel’s National Library web site:
“There are at least three reasons why these papers are important, even though they do not always speak directly to the canonical Newton. First, the manuscripts help illuminate Newton’s science. Newton’s piety served as one of his inspirations to study nature and what we today call science. But Newton’s theological papers also tell us much about his inductive methods and his views on the unity of God’s Creation.

“Second, the manuscripts illuminate the person of Newton. The figure once viewed almost uniformly as an icon of cold rationality, now appears as an alchemist, a biblical scholar and a religious devotee who pored over the symbols of the Books of Daniel and Revelation for decades in an attempt to decode the meaning of the future foreordained by God. Newton can now be studied as an alchemist and a theologian in his own right.”

In one of the letters in the collection, Newton’s words have been taken as a prediction that the Apocalypse would occur in 2060, 1260 years (3.5 years x 360 years) after the Holy Roman Empire was formed in A.D. 800. His precise words are, “The time times and half a time do not end before 2060 nor after ___,” and he leaves the second date blank, as though he forgot to go back and fill it in. Newton was only a human being, after all.

Ultimately, however, this brilliant mind appreciated the foolishness of date setting. He wrote, “This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”

Many researchers love to point out Newton’s interest in alchemy, his disagreements with the Church of England, and his tendency to question the Anglican description of the Trinity. Newton’s passion for the Scriptures, however, is obvious throughout his writings, matched by his passion for studying the universe that God created. Newton would fully reject the idea that science and religion cannot mix. He admired God’s excellence in designing the universe, and in inspiring the Bible.

“The system of revealed truth which this Book contains is like that of the universe, concealed from common observation yet…the centuries have established its Divine origin.” – Isaac Newton
Related Links:
• The Newton Collection at JNUL – Jewish National and University Library
• Papers Reveal Newton’s Religious Side – AP
• The World Will End In 2060, According To Newton – This Is London
• The Newton Project – Imperial College London.
– From Koinonia House News Letter

How many Isaiahs?

From KHouse.Org – Archives June 2007

My early zeal for studying the Scripture was dampened many years ago as I encountered what is often called “textual criticism.” I was surprised to learn that it was naive and unlearned to regard the Book of Isaiah as actually written by the prophet Isaiah, as was commonly thought.
With its 66 chapters, Isaiah is the longest prophetic book of the Old Testament. Most scholars agree that the book falls naturally into two major sections, Chapters 1-39 and Chapters 40-66.
The first section has a distinctive style which changes noticeably in the final section. It is easy to remember since it parallels the Bible itself, with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. (But don’t make too much of this; the chapter divisions, as we know them, were added in the 13th century.)

The Deutero-Isaiah Theory
The “textual critics” have insisted that the Book of Isaiah is a compilation of two different writers, each calling himself Isaiah but writing at different times. This “Deutero-Isaiah” theory is surprisingly prevalent in many modern (“liberal”) commentaries. (There are some that even advocate a three-Isaiah theory.)

The first section of the book deals with God’s approaching judgment on the nation of Judah. In some of the most striking passages in all the Bible, the prophet announces that God will punish His people because of their sin, rebellion, and worship of false gods. While this section includes many references to the coming Messiah, including His virgin birth and his rule on the throne of David, the style of this section is distinctive and certainly fits the subject matter.

The last section, in contrast to the first, is noticeably different. It emphasizes the Messianic expectation and an ultimate comfort for God’s people. (Most of Handel’s Messiah was drawn from this section of the Book of Isaiah.) The heart of his stunning prophecy occurs in Chapter 53, as Isaiah presents the role of the coming Messiah in its highest point. Some call this passage the “Holy of Holies” of the Old Testament. The Servant’s suffering and death and the redemptive nature of His mission are clearly foretold. Although mankind deserved God’s judgment because “we have turned, every one, to his own way,” God sent His Servant to take away our sins. According to Isaiah, it is through His suffering that we are reconciled with God, since “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
It is principally on the basis of the stylistic changes between the two sections that critics have developed the Deutero-Isaiah theory. Those who assign Chapters 40-66 to a “Second Isaiah” point out that the two major sections of the book seem to be set in different times. Chapters 1-39 clearly belong to the eighth century b.c., a turbulent period in the history of Judah.

But Isaiah 40-66, according to these scholars, seems to be addressed to the citizens of Judah who were being held as captives in Babylon about two centuries after Isaiah lived and prophesied. These scholars also point to the differences in tone, language, and style between the two major sections as proof that the book was written by two different authors.

The Traditional View
There are, however, conservative scholars who insist the entire book was written by the famous prophet Isaiah who ministered in the southern kingdom of Judah for 40 years, from about 740-700 b.c. They point out that the two sections of the book have many similarities, although they are dramatically different in tone and theme. Many phrases and ideas that are peculiar to Isaiah appear in both sections of the book.
A good example of this is Isaiah’s unique reference to God as “the Holy One of Israel.” The appearance of these words and phrases can be used to argue just as convincingly that the book was written by a single author.
In the second section of his book, Isaiah looked into the future and predicted the years of the Captivity and the return of the Covenant People to their homeland after the Captivity ended. If the prophet could predict the coming of the Messiah over 700 years before that happened, he could certainly foresee this major event in the future of the nation of Judah.
The style of each section deliberately matches its subject matter.

The Valley of Doubt
Doubts about the authorship and authenticity of any book in the Bible can have tragic consequences for those who are attempting to take the Bible seriously. As I look back on my own spiritual journey, I recall the many years that these views introduced a subtle doubt in my mind and hampered my real growth in the Word.
Is there a way to resolve this without getting drawn into the distressing debates and arrogant displays among erudite scholars and “textual critics”? Indeed, there is. I only wish I had discovered it earlier in my own travels through God’s wondrous Word.

The Discovery in John 12
What a precious chapter! It has many marvelous insights, but among the dearest to me personally are verses 37-41:
37] But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
38] That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39] Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,
40] He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41] These things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
In this passage we first encounter a quote, in verse 38, familiar to many of you, that begins the famous chapter of Isaiah 53. This would be in the section attributed to the “Second Isaiah.”

In verse 40 we have a quote from Isaiah Chapter 6 (v. 10), as verse 41 also highlights what occurs when Isaiah beholds the throne of God. This is, of course, in the first section of Isaiah.

Oh, how I am grateful for verse 39! Notice that John tells us that “that Isaiah said again” when he links the two passages and, thus, the two sections and attributes them both to “that” (same) Isaiah! If you take John seriously, and recognize the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, then you need not doubt the authorship of Isaiah – both “sections.”

It is fascinating to me to notice that there is no heresy – or controversy – that hasn’t been anticipated by the Holy Spirit within the Scripture itself. If we recognize the reality that we have 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years that are an integrated whole, and that every detail has been the result of careful and skillful engineering, then there is no need to stumble over the erudite skepticism and arrogance by scholarship falsely so called.
Isn’t God wonderful? If we would just learn to take Him at His Word.
Related Links:
• Isaiah – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
• John – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
• How to Study the Bible – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
– From Koinonia House News Letter

Death and sin is insatiable: Hell and destruction are never full

Proverbs 27:20
20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Two things are here said to be insatiable, and they are two things near of kin–death and sin.

1. Death is insatiable. The first death, the second death, both are so. The grave is not clogged with the multitude of dead bodies that are daily thrown into it, but is still an open sepulchre, and cries, Give, give. Hell also has enlarged itself, and still has room for the damned spirits that are committed to that prison. Tophet is deep and large, Isa. 30:33.

2. Sin is insatiable: The eyes of man are never satisfied, nor the appetites of the carnal mind towards profit or pleasure. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is he that loves silver satisfied with silver. Men labour for that which surfeits, but satisfies not; nay, it is dissatisfying; but satisfies not; nay, it is dissatisfying; such a perpetual uneasiness have men justly been doomed to ever since our first parents were not satisfied with all the trees of Eden, but they must meddle with the forbidden tree. Those whose eyes are ever toward the Lord in him are satisfied, and shall for ever be so.
– Matthew Henry Commentary

This gives us a touchstone by which we may try ourselves: Praise will show what a man is

Proverbs 27:21
21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

This gives us a touchstone by which we may try ourselves. Silver and gold are tried by putting them into the furnace and fining-pot; so is man tried by praising him. Let him be extolled and preferred, and then he will show himself what he is.

1. If a man be made, by the applause that is given him, proud, conceited, and scornful,–if he take the glory to himself which he should transmit to God, as Herod did,–if, the more he is praised, the more careless he is of what he says and does,–if he lie in bed till noon because his name is up, thereby it will appear that he is a vain foolish man, and a man who, though he be praised, has nothing in him truly praise-worthy.

2. If, on the contrary, a man is made by his praise more thankful to God, more respectful to his friends, more watchful against every thing that may blemish his reputation, more diligent to improve himself, and do good to others, that he may answer the expectations of his friends from him, by this it will appear that he is a wise and good man. He has a good temper of mind who knows how to pass by evil report and good report, and is still the same, 2 Cor. 6:8.
– Matthew Henry Commentary

Radiance through prayer

Exodus 34:30
And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone.
Luke 24:32
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scripture.
Psalm 39:3
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue.

Observe but the man who is much in heaven, and you observe he is not like others; there is something of that which he hath seen above appeareth in all his duty and conversation. Nay, take but take the same man, immediately when he is returned from these views of bliss, and you perceive he excels himself. If you would set on this employment, even so would it be with you. Men would see your face shine, and say, “Surely he hath been with God.” – Baxter.

John G. Paton, the well-known missionary, had sacred childhood memories of a father who really prayed. He describes it thus:

“Our home consisted of a ‘but’ and a ‘ben,’ and a mudroom, or chamber, called the ‘closet’… The closet was a very small apartment betwixt the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table, and a chair, with a diminutive window shedding a diminutive light on the scene. This was the sanctuary of that cottage home.

Thither daily, and often-times a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and ‘shut the door’; and we children got to understand, by a sort of spiritual instinct [for the thing was too sacred to be talked about], that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place.

We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice, pleading as for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tip-toe, not to disturb the holy colloquy. The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light, as of a new-born smile, that always was dawning on my father’s face.

It was the reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived. Never, in temple or cathedral, in mountain or glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles.”
– The Christian’s Daily Challenge: E.F. & L. Harvey

Fear and Survival: The Tragedy And Threat That Is George Soros

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fear and Survival: The Tragedy And Threat That Is George Soros

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By Barry Rubin

I’ve long pondered the bizarre doings of billionaire financier George Soros, who’s become the single biggest funder of left-wing and often anti-Jewish (certainly, anti-Israel) causes in Europe and North America. Most recently, it was revealed that Soros was a huge contributor to the anti-Israel J Street group even though the organization had lied about that connection.

But how can one explain the behavior and motives of Soros. For me, finally, the missing piece of the puzzle has fallen into place.

The first key bit of evidence was Soros’s interview with the December 20, 1998, “Sixty Minutes” television show in which he recounts his experiences as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-occupied Hungary, a time when he said his “character was made.” Soros’ father had sent him to live with a bribed Christian government official who was involved in confiscating Jewish property.

A lot of the discussion about this interview has been misdirected over whether Soros was in some way a war criminal. This is clearly untrue since he was barely a teenager and didn’t actually do anything but observe. He was as he describes himself, a “spectator.”

Let’s get a more sophisticated, accurate understanding by examining what Soros actually said about the experience long afterward. What did he learn from being a spectator, watching both sides but truly being on neither side?

Did watching the extinction of his fellow Jews in Hungary make him feel guilty? No, Soros replied. This is an extraordinary answer. It was decades later and Soros could have done the polite social thing, which would have made him look better, of pretending to feel bad about it.

Soros didn’t emphasize, though he mentioned as a passing afterthought, that he didn’t feel guilty because he did nothing wrong. But what about survivor’s guilt, something almost anyone Jewish would feel when he survived and so many others didn’t? Again, no, said Soros.

Soros showed precisely why he didn’t feel or even pretend to feel guilty. When the astonished interviewer asked whether Soros might have thought, “`I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there?”

Soros’ response is truly extraordinary:

“Well, of course I c–I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would–would–would be taking it away anyhow.”

Notice how he stutters, no longer the powerful multimillionaire who shakes countries but rather reverting back to the frightened, helpless little boy, his life endangered because he is a Jew. Unlike almost every other Jew in Europe, however, he has a choice.

Does he blame the Nazis and Hungarian fascists or the Jews for putting him in that perilous position? Who does he identify with? What conclusions does he draw about how to ensure his survival in future? Soros tells us clearly:

“I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing was being taken away.”

For me, this is the key to Soros and his behavior today. He would choose to stand with those he sees as  winners not losers; strong, not weak; the non-Jews rather than the Jews, the determined extremists rather than the toothless moderates. After all, that choice had been the basis of his survival. What is most important is that Soros survive and prosper, and his background gives him a very different outlook from most Jews and most rich people on how to achieve that goal.

Yet he is no confident mogul but a very frightened man. In this, he is less unique. Non-Jews don’t understand how inside of even the most seemingly powerful Jews—Henry Kissinger offers a prime example—there is a strong sense of fear and vulnerability. One misstep, they think, and everything he has could all be taken away instantly.

Being too much of a Jew is something you will rue. The more visible your wealth and power, the more danger to you. That kind of thinking stems not merely from the Nazi era but is a Jewish condition that goes back to the Middle Ages, when at any second a lifetime of hard work and success could be replaced by poverty, exile, beating or death by a rampaging mob.

How have Jews responded? Some by assimilating and others by being quiet, the kind of approach one might expect someone like Soros to take.

Still others by being defiant as Zionists or as proud Jews. Compare Soros to the man whose life most parallels his, Abe Foxman, long-time leader of the Anti-Defamation League, who was a hidden child during the Holocaust. Another option, becoming a leftist revolutionary, combines defiance of existing society with assimilation and abandonment of Jewishness.

The life of Soros, however, led him to a unique solution: convincing him that he must be highly visible…on the winning side. No longer could he have the anonymity of that fourteen-year-old camouflaged boy, but he could still stand on the safer side of the confrontation.

Read that key sentence again: “I could be on the other side [the Nazi side] or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away.” In context, he is essentially saying that he could not imagine himself enough of a fool to be on the losing side and is determined never to be one of those helpless, doomed Jews.

And so, decades later, he sought to be on or buy off those he saw as the winning side. As for those on the Jewish side–and Israel being the most intense expression of that posture—they would be the losers in history.

Now comes the final piece of the puzzle. On November 7, 2003, almost five years after the television interview, Soros made a rare appearance at a pro-Jewish Jewish event, a conference of the Jewish Funders Network.

Asked about antisemitism in Europe, Soros responded that it was the result of the policies of Israel and the United States, and particularly of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “If we change that direction, then antisemitism also will diminish,” he said.

Once again, his words led somewhat in the wrong direction as some of the attendees were outraged. After all, blaming Jews for antisemitism is an old argument of antisemites. But to focus on that is to miss the point. Soros continued:

“I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new antisemitism holds that the Jews rule the world,” he explained. He knew he is personally vulnerable to such charges. After all, Soros added, “As an unintended consequence of my actions,” he said, “I also contribute to that image,” no doubt referring to an incident of a few weeks previously when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad referred to Soros personally in saying, “Jews rule the world by proxy.”

Moreover, he does implicitly blame the Jews, whose behavior beforehand

What did Soros say was the main lesson he had learned on those streets in 1944 Hungary? “That one should think ahead. One should understand and–and anticipate events and when–when one is threatened.”

So for Soros, religious Jews, Zionists, and in effect the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of the world are bringing disaster on themselves by provoking an antisemitic backlash.

His intention here is in no way to help the Jews (“the ones from whom the thing was taken away) “but to act in what he perceives as being his own benefit. Soros is not the first Jew in history to calculate that if Israel didn’t exist or that if the Jews merely shut up and hid their identity there would be no problem with antisemitism.

Similarly, he is scared that conservatives are provoking a leftist upheaval. Soros is insuring himself against the new winning side by financing it, believing that if America and Europe move ever leftward, this will reduce pressure against capitalism in general or at least protect his personal wealth. After all, why would the movement turn on its patron?

In effect, Soros reserves the phrase never again not in regard to Jewish suffering but in regard to his personally never being “the one from whom the thing was being taken away.” And meanwhile he can, ironically enough, arguably be the Jew who in the entire world came closest to ruling “by proxy.” All the more need for taking such protective measures.

It is true, as the expert on Soviet affairs Bertram Wolfe remarked about Leon Trotsky (who Wolfe regarded as a type of Jewish antisemite), “A man can reject his heritage but he cannot root the traces of it out of his soul.” But for Soros those traces are those of the loser in history. He regards Zionism and Israel as fantasies that will only build the momentum to return Jews to their traditional victim status.

Ironically and sadly, of course, by putting his money into anti-Israel and left-wing causes he is not merely anticipating events but making bad outcomes more likely; not reducing antisemitism but intensifying it; not ensuring social peace but making costly and tragic conflict more likely.

In short, unfortunately, what Soros mislearned from the tragedy he observed as a youth has made him a man helping bring about more tragedies. He was also wrong in saying that if he didn’t do these things someone else would. There is no one else to play this role because there is no one else who has his combination of life experience and bottomless riches.

Melanie Phillips has provided a list of causes backed by Soros’s main front groups that gives a sense of what the billionaire has been doing:

“•promoting the view that America is institutionally an oppressive nation
•promoting the election of leftist political candidates throughout the United States
•opposing virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by U.S. government, particularly the Patriot Act
•depicting American military actions as unjust, unwarranted, and immoral
•promoting open borders, mass immigration, and a watering down of current immigration laws
•promoting a dramatic expansion of social welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes
•promoting social welfare benefits and amnesty for illegal aliens
•defending suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters
•financing the recruitment and training of future activist leaders of the political Left
•advocating America’s unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending
•opposing the death penalty in all circumstances
•promoting socialized medicine in the United States
•promoting the tenets of radical environmentalism, whose ultimate goal, as writer Michael Berliner has explained, is “not clean air and clean water, [but] rather … the demolition of technological/industrial civilization”
•bringing American foreign policy under the control of the United Nations
•promoting racial and ethnic preferences in academia and the business world alike.”

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

Is the U.S. Government and West Generally Starting to Comprehend the Real Issues and Problems in the Middle East?

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Is the U.S. Government and West Generally Starting to Comprehend the Real Issues and Problems in the Middle East?

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 08:39 AM PDT

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We depend on your contributions. Tax-deductible donation through PayPal or credit card: click Donate button, upper-right hand corner of this page: By check: “American Friends of IDC.” “For GLORIA Center” on memo line. Mail: American Friends of IDC, 116 East 16th St., 11th Floor, NY, NY 10003.

By Barry Rubin

After acceding to U.S. requests for nine months by freezing construction on existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and also not building over the pre-1967 frontier in Jerusalem, Israel got nothing.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed willing to continue it in some form, pressures from within his coalition made that impossible.Therefore, the freeze is coming to an end, though Israel is still ready to discuss limits on new construction. Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to walk out of the once-every-two-weeks direct talks.

So what has been the reaction?

First, 87 U.S. senators, that’s 87 percent of the membership, have urged Obama to keep Abbas from walking out of talks. They have not blamed Israel for the crisis.

The Obama Administration is approaching the issue calmly and there has been no bashing or even criticism of Israel. Why? Lots of reasons, one being the impending November elections and the government’s eagerness to show it has achieved something in international affairs. Another is that officials now realize that the PA has been their real headache, refusing to talk for 20 months, constantly setting new preconditions, and eagerly looking for some way to walk out of negotiations. Europe is being pretty quiet also about blaming Israel.

Even Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, a frequent critic of Israel in the past, gets it, criticizing the Obama Administration–not Israel–for its handling of the settlements’ issue. And Ben Smith at Politico writes a story headlined, “In blame game, arrow tilts to Abbas.”

These statements and articles generally miss the deeper story: incitement to kill Israelis and destroy Israel continues at full speed in the PA media and institutions; the PA’s Fatah leadership neither wants nor can deliver a compromise two-state solution at present; Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip poses an insuperable obstacle; nothing has been done by the PA to prepare Palestinian public opinion for compromise (quite the contrary); and Israel wants peace on reasonable terms. But a lot of people in the U.S. government and media now understand–at least temporarily–the symptoms indicating all of these factors.

Overarching all of this is the real main issue: the great struggle in the Middle East between Islamists and nationalists, the efforts by the Iran-led radical bloc and local revolutionary Islamist groups (using terrorism or even electoral means) to overthrow the relatively moderate regimes and drive U.S. influence out of the region.

In another indication of this fact, in still another example of strong U.S.-Israel military cooperation, the U.S. Defense Department has agreed to help Israel develop a short-range anti-missile system aimed against the kind of barrages fired in the past by Iran’s clients, Hizballah and Hamas.

Of course, there are limits, some due to understandable diplomatic maneuvering, some due to lack of comprehension. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was mild in saying that the United States was “disappointed” by the Israeli decision and praised Abbas for not immediately walking away from the talks.

But will they praise him if he walks out in a week or so?

Meanwhile a new, very potent computer virus has hit Iran, reportedly targeted especially at its nuclear program. Wonder where it could have come from? Additionally, to their credit, the Obama Administration and most of Europe have toughened sanctions to the point where they are hurting the Tehran regime. The regime is far from falling or changing but it is all shook up and part of the elite is starting to ask whether an aggressive foreign policy and a nuclear weapons’ drive isn’t a big mistake.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,

Arrest Shows What’s Really Going on in Turkey: An Increasingly Repressive Islamist Regime

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arrest Shows What’s Really Going on in Turkey: An Increasingly Repressive Islamist Regime

By Barry Rubin

The Western media can talk all it wants to about the regime in Turkey as reformist and democratic. Didn’t it just sponsor a referendum that increased freedoms? But this is for show. Here’s an example of the reality.

A state prosecutor has just ordered the arrest of Hanefi Avcı, former police chief of Eskişehir. Why is he going to be arrested? What is he accused of? Talking on the telephone to a member of an extremist, violent revolutionary group. Not very credible, right?

So why was he really arrested?

Because he wrote a best-selling book revealing how Islamists have infiltrated and are indeed taking over the Turkish police force. It is well-known that the followers of Fethullah Gülen have been doing so. Gülen poses as a moderate Muslim but while somewhat less extreme than the regime, but he is also an Islamist. His movement is awash in money and has opened schools all over the world, including North America, and set up numerous front groups including inter-faith dialogues.

Incidentally, one of the claims made by Avcı in his book was that Gülen’s people have tapped his telephone. Now we have solid proof he was right. If you speak out against the regime you face a high chance of losing your job–I know at least four journalists who have suffered this fate–or end up in prison.

The regime has arrested hundreds of people and intimidated millions, yet Western correspondents generally continue to provide up-beat coverage that ignores this fact or even praises the government for rounding up subversive elements.

Thank Goodness Nobody Reads the Weekly “News” Magazines Any More

From Rubin Reports.Blogspot.Com

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thank Goodness Nobody Reads the Weekly “News” Magazines Any More

By Barry Rubin

Newsweek, in an article intended to tell us that any critique of the current government and its rather high proportion of current and former extreme leftists is a silly conspiracy theory, says that the Templars take their name from Solomon’s Temple, the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Kind of makes you wonder if in future some day they will write an article saying that September 11 took place at the World Trade Center site of the Cordoba mosque.

This is shortly after Time has successive covers decrying “Islamophobia,” then telling us that Israelis didn’t care about peace because they are making lots of money, a rather classic antisemitic as well as ignorantly anti-Israel line.

The Internet, as an alternative source of information, didn’t arrive a moment too soon.