|More farsighted Jews starting to worry about the ultimate implications of the neo-con inspired Iraq aggression for world Jewry. |
Iraq: The Situation and the Role of the Jews:
Are you wondering why we at Tikkun haven't weighted in more on this election? Well, the answer is: because as a non-profit we are prohibited from law from doing so. We can't tell you what our editor Rabbi Michael Lerner is working on as a private citizen in this election, because doing so might seem to be suggesting that we as a whole were endorsing a candidate. It's frustrating for us,but worth it for the sake of keeping a non-profit status so that the contributions you make to us, and your membership in The Tikkun Community, remains tax-deductible for you (and as long as you actually do make those contributions to keep us alive--because frankly the only reason we stay alive is that people who read this join the Tikkun Community, which you can still do at www.tikkun.org, and because they send tax deductible contributions (to Tikkun, 951 Cragmont Ave, Berkeley, Ca. 94708).
But that doesn't mean that we can't say something about the current situation in Iraq, the subject of the debate between Kerry and Bush. And there are two things to say, as articulated in the material below: 1. The situation is a lot worse than the President is telling us in Iraq. 2. Jews are beginning to get the blame for the war in Iraq in some anti-Semitic circles, and that needs to be stopped. Please read the articles below to get a perspectives on these issues that you may find it hard to find elsewhere.
Things are worse in Iraq than the Bush Administration Tells the American People
From Baghdad A Wall Street Journal Reporter's E-Mail to Friends by Farnaz Fassihi
Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference.
Little by little, day-by-day, being based in Iraq has defied all those reasons. I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak Englishoutside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't. There has been one too many close calls, including a car bomb so near our house that it blew out all the windows. So now my most pressing concern every day is not to write a kick-ass story but to stay alive and make sure our Iraqi employees stay alive. In Baghdad I am a security personnel first, a reporter second.
It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come
. Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad." What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them.
Insurgents now attack Americans 87 times a day.
A friend drove thru the Shiite slum of Sadr City yesterday. He said young men were openly placing improvised explosive devices into the ground. They melt a shallow hole into the asphalt, dig the explosive, cover it with dirt and put an old tire or plastic can over it to signal to the locals this is booby-trapped. He said on the main roads of Sadr City, there were a dozen landmines per every ten yards. His car snaked and swirled to avoid driving over them. Behind the walls sits an angry Iraqi ready to detonate them as soon as an American convoy gets near. This is in Shiite land, the population that was supposed to love America for liberating Iraq.
For journalists the significant turning point came with the wave of abduction and kidnappings. Only two weeks ago we felt safe around Baghdad because foreigners were being abducted on the roads and highways between towns. Then came a frantic phone call from a journalist female friend at 11 p.m. telling me two Italian women had been abducted from their homes in broad daylight. Then the two Americans, who got beheaded this week and the Brit, were abducted from their homes in a residential neighborhood. They were supplying the entire block with round the clock electricity from their generator to win friends. The abductors grabbed one of them at 6 a.m. when he came out to switch on the generator; his beheaded body was thrown back near the neighborhoods.
The insurgency, we are told, is rampant with no signs of calming down. If any thing, it is growing stronger, organized and more sophisticated every day. The various elements within it-baathists, criminals, nationalists and Al Qaeda-are cooperating and coordinating.
I went to an emergency meeting for foreign correspondents with the military and embassy to discuss the kidnappings. We were somberly told our fate would largely depend on where we were in the kidnapping chain once it was determined we were missing. Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.
America's last hope for a quick exit? The Iraqi police and National Guard units we are spending billions of dollars to train. The cops are being murdered by the dozens every day-over 700 to date -- and the insurgents are infiltrating their ranks. The problem is so serious that the U.S. military has allocated $6 million dollars to buy out 30,000 cops they just trained to get rid of them quietly.
As for reconstruction: firstly it's so unsafe for foreigners to operate that almost all projects have come to a halt. After two years, of the $18 billion Congress appropriated for Iraq reconstruction only about $1 billion or so has been spent and a chuck has now been reallocated for improving security, a sign of just how bad things are going here.
Oil dreams? Insurgents disrupt oil flow routinely as a result of sabotage and oil prices have hit record high of $49 a barrel. Who did this war exactly benefit? Was it worth it? Are we safer because Saddam is holed up and Al Qaeda is running around in Iraq?
Iraqis say that thanks to America they got freedom in exchange for insecurity. Guess what? They say they'd take security over freedom any day, even if it means having a dictator ruler. I heard an educated Iraqi say today that if Saddam Hussein were allowed to run for elections he would get the majority of the vote. This is truly sad. Then I went to see an Iraqi scholar this week to talk to him about elections here. He has been trying to educate the public on the importance of voting. He said, "President Bush wanted to turn Iraq into a democracy that would be an example for the Middle East. Forget about democracy, forget about being a model for the region, we have to salvage Iraq before all is lost."
One could argue that Iraq is already lost beyond salvation. For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if any thing could salvage it from its violent downward spiral. The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle. The Iraqi government is talking about having elections in three months while half of the country remains a 'no go zone'-out of the hands of the government and the Americans and out of reach of journalists. In the other half, the disenchanted population is too terrified to show up at polling stations. The Sunnis have already said they'd boycott elections, leaving the stage open for polarized government of Kurds and Shiites that will not be deemed as legitimate and will most certainly lead to civil war.
I asked a 28-year-old engineer if he and his family would participate in the Iraqi elections since it was the first time Iraqis could to some degree elect a leadership. His response summed it all: "Go and vote and risk being blown into pieces or followed by the insurgents and murdered for cooperating with the Americans? For what? To practice democracy? Are you joking?"
Farnaz Fassihi, a Wall Street Journal reporter sent this report as an e-mail to friends. [Editor's Note: we at Tikkun have no way of establishing the reliability of this email we received. But that doesn't distinguish it from all the news we get on the establishment media, much of which is concoted for purposes of government/state and then presented to us as "fact." We still think that note presents a perspective you should hear.]
Don't Blame "The Jews" for the War in Iraq!!!!!
A note from Uri Anvery: About a hundred years ago, the Russian Czar's secret police cobbled together a document they called the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". The "authors" were not particularly original - they took a satire, written decades earlier about Napoleon III's ambitions for world domination, and substituted Jewish rabbis for the French emperor. According to the revised document, the Jews are plotting to control the world, and the tentacles of this conspiracy reach everywhere.
When this fabrication was composed, the scenario was quite outlandish. In mighty Russia, which at that time included a great part of Poland, Jews had hardly any influence at all. In the German Reich, Jews were indeed prominent in several fields - such as banking, commerce and the press - but they were remote from the real centers of power. The Kaiser kept them out of the prestigious officers' corps and the higher echelons of the powerful bureaucracy. Jews prominent in the sciences could count themselves lucky if they obtained a professorship.
In the United States some Jews were getting rich, but they could not penetrate the highest ranks of the economy and society. How hollow the legend of Jewish power really was, became evident when the Nazis, after soaring high on the wings of anti-Semitism, annihilated the Jews of Europe. American and British Jews could not (and, indeed, did not even seriously attempt to) push their government into doing something to save their brethren. Both governments were afraid of providing ammunition for the Nazis, whose propaganda claimed that Roosevelt and Churchill were stooges of International Jewry.
After a decent interval of several decades, the Elders of Zion have staged a comeback in the last few years. The internet is now full of anti-Semitic messages that adapt the old falsified document to the present realities. But the disgusting old slogans have not changed a bit.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... On the face of it, the job of the anti-Semites is much easier now. Since the Protocols were "discovered", much has changed in the world. True, the Holocaust eradicated almost all of European Jewry, but in its wake the State of Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish State, came into being. And, most importantly, the Jewish community in the United States has attained a standing comparable only to the Golden Age of the Jews in medieval Muslim Spain.
In a way, the lies of the Protocols have fulfilled themselves. "America controls the world," the anti-Semites now say, "and the Jews control America."............. In support of this, they point to the war in Iraq. It is well known that a group of "neo-conservatives", almost all of them Jews, occupied central positions of power in Washington and pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Some years before that, members of this group acted as advisors to the then Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu.
According to the anti-Semites, these Jews sold the war to the United States with mendacious arguments, in order to eliminate Israel's most dangerous enemy in the Middle East, Iraq. Now they are conspiring against Israel's two remaining enemies, Syria and Iran.
On the face of it, but only on the face of it, there is some truth in these allegations. The neo-cons indeed believe that the interests of the Unites States and Israel coincide, and they indeed pushed for this war. But a thousand neo-cons like Wolfowitz and Perle would not have succeeded in this, without the influence of another group in Washington, much more powerful, and much less visible: the oil people.
The Bush family and Vice President Dick Cheney represent the interests of this group. Behind them looms the immense power of the oil companies, in which Jews play hardly any part at all. Their aim was not only to take over the huge oil reserves of Iraq itself, but also to locate a permanent American military and political base between the immense oil resources of the Caspian Sea in the North and the Persian/Arabian gulf in the South. This, they argue, is necessary in order to assure American dominance in a world in which oil is a dwindling resource of fundamental importance to all industrialized economies.
The neo-cons supplied only the ideological embellishment and the moral justification. One could almost say that this is the traditional job assigned to the Jews............. It is easy for anti-Semites to list all the Jewish names in the American administration. As in Germany after World War I, during the so-called Weimar Republic, American Jews are prominent in the administration, economy, media, law, medicine and science. The Zionist lobby brags openly (perhaps too openly) that it can bring down any senator or congress(wo)man who criticizes Israel. They have given ample proof of that. Somebody once said that if AIPAC, the pro-Israeli Jewish lobby, submitted a resolution to Congress abolishing the Ten Commandments, 80 senators and 400 congressman would sign on the first day.
The situation is especially glaring as far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned. During the watch of President Bill Clinton, almost all the team dealing with this problem were Jews. Their meetings with Israeli politicians could easily have been conducted in Yiddish. With the advent of George W. Bush, a fundamental change took place: the liberal Jews in the team were supplanted by conservative Jews. Now, too, almost all the people in the American administration dealing with the Middle East are Jews.
The anti-Semitic publications stress these facts - which are true in themselves - in order to prove that the Jews control the world. But reality is more complex by far.
True, the Zionist lobby is big and strong, but there are others equally strong or stronger in the field. One could mention the American Rifle Association, the lobbies of physicians and trial lawyers and others, and in the political field the even more powerful Christian Evangelists. Much to the chagrin of the anti-Semites, this lobby is also completely devoted to Israel. Indeed, the Christian Evangelists, especially in the United States and Britain, invented modern Zionism long before Theodor Herzl and his colleagues adopted this idea.
The American Jewish community is proud of its great influence. That is understandable, if one remembers that only two generations ago Jews were not admitted to the important clubs (prompting the Jewish comedian Groucho Marx to quip: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member!") Their amazing ascent stems from hard work, organizational talent and readiness to donate money.
But anyone conversant with Jewish history may suspect that, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Die kalle ist zu shein" ("the bride is too beautiful.") After the Golden Age, all the Jews were expelled from Spain. After the brilliant success of the Jews in Germany, the Nazis came to power. Today, anti-Semites in the United States are a vocal and despised marginal group, but it is a mistake to ignore the danger....................... What would happen for example, if the United States sank ever deeper into the bloody swamp of Iraq, into an atmosphere of national calamity? When the search for a scapegoat is on, the Jewish neo-cons will stick out.
What would happen if Americans started to wonder about the roots of the terrorism of Islamic fanatics? Won't there be some who would argue that America got into the Clash of Civilizations with the Muslim world only because of Israel? And if America gets into a really deep economic depression, might not Jewish names - like that of the chief of the Federal Reserve - come up? One should not exaggerate these dangers. At present they are hardly specks on the horizon. But I would advise the leaders of the Jewish institutions in the United States to exercise some self-restraint. Intoxication with power can easily lead to dangerous excesses. And I would also advise the government of Israel not to put all its eggs in one basket.
Rabbi Michael Lerner