Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Friday, October 26, 2007


Archbishop Tutu uses flowery language and talk about peace, love and truth to camouflage his offensive anti-Israel bias. He acknowledges that some people are enraged when he (and his fellow Nobelist Jimmy Carter) label Israel an apartheid state, but he nevertheless repeats the comparison numerous times. Most egregious is his treatment of Palestinian suicide bombers. Although he does not condone their acts, he praises their motives; they believe it is “heroic and pious’; “they strap bombs to their torsos to achieve liberation.” In sum, blowing up pizza parlors, buses and weddings is misguided and tragic—not for the victims but for the perpetrators. The Israeli response to the murder of civilians is described as, a “lust for revenge…crowding out all reason and restraint.” A man who sympathizes with murderers and vilifies their victims should not be considered a moral leader.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mommie dearest

James Carroll writes about suicide bombers: "Anguish and dread must fill the hearts of their family members, if they know ahead of time. After the fact, grief must anchor every feeling...What was the meaning of [a mother's] life if not the well-being of her children?" This may be true for the two Afghani mothers he describes and for many families, but--unimaginable as it may seem to us--these feelings are not universal among the mothers of suicide bombers; Mr. Carroll is projecting his liberal western values onto fanatics who love death more than life. I suggest he go to Youtube and listen to the chilling interview with Palestinian legislator Umm Nidal who describes the joy she felt after sending three of her sons to paradise through martyrdom.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mailer's knife

Note to Christopher Busa (letters,10/14/07): if you want to defend a man like Norman Mailer who stabbed his second wife with a knife, avoid phrases like "a pen is not a knife to stab someone when he is down."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Never again and again

Sandy Tolan writes in “Four Decades of Occupation” (6/7/07): “Just as the average Israeli's deep psychic need to feel secure could be traced to the Holocaust, so the government's response -- massive retribution on a scale far greater than the provocation -- turned "never again" to ‘again and again.’ …This strategy [of acting so the Holocaust would never happen again], rooted in the horrors of Europe, would instead help ensure the opposite.” His formulation is more subtle but the message is the same as that familiar trope on the anti-Semitic far left and far right: Israel = Nazi Germany.

The Globe feigns impartiality by pairing Tolan’s blame-Israel-for-everything with a second column by Jerold S. Auerbach supportive of Israel. The same logic could be used to publish an article by a Holocaust denier next to one by a Holocaust survivor.
(published in the Boston Globe, 7/10/07)