Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Senator Edward Brooke v Hillary Clinton in 1969

Senator Edward W. Brooke's Commencement Address to the Wellesley College Class of 1969

"Progress in the Uptight Society
Real Problems and Wrong Procedures"

It is a special pleasure for me to be with you today. I suppose that any politician is always pleased to couple someone else's memorable occasion with a few modest words of his own. It gives him hope that both may be remembered.

Wellesley has even more admirers than its girls have beaux, and I am pleased to be among this college's most enthusiastic boosters. But your commencement from this great school is not a moment to indulge in lavish praise of the fine education you have acquired here, though fine it is. Nor Is It a time for extravagant rhetoric about the glorious future which awaits you, though glorious I hope it will be.

Rather I think you and I might better spend this time in a more sober assessment of the kind of society which is developing around us all. For the individual prospects of each of us are directly dependent on the outcome of the mounting social struggles now under way in this country. Most of us have come to see that personal insulation from the conflict and instability of our time is a dubious and unattainable luxury.' It is as true today as it was at the time of the Declaration of Independence that "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." The social crises of this country have many dimensions; it would be futile to address all of them In a brief statement. Rather than deal with the more controversial issues, I hope you will permit me to offer some reflections on one of the safer and less inflammatory topics of the day, the protest movement in general, and the character and function of student protests in particular. Standing as I do somewhere between fading youth and advancing obsolescence, I hope it will be possible for me to speak both to your generation and to my own.

The waves of protests passing over the United States both mirror and create deep social tension. In some cases one finds it extremely difficult, if not totally Impossible, to determine which protests are based on-just grievances and which are merely exploiting issues for the sake of some ulterior purpose. It begins to appear that the process of protest has assumed a self-sustaining momentum, searching for political fodder on which to thrive. As the process continues, particular issues tend to get submerged in the larger confrontation, a contest of will and power which is justified initially as a means of correcting identified evils but which sometimes persists as an end in its own right.

The dynamics of protest are familiar. In the United States, more than any country I know, there has always been generous latitude for movements of this nature. And for good reason. Dissent and protest are essential ingredients in the democratic concoction. Without them an open society becomes a contradiction in terms, and representative government becomes as stagnant as despotism.

Yet there is a narrow but distinct line between productive dissent and counter-productive disruption. The distinction concerns both the methods and the purposes of protest activities. Much has already been said about the limits of dissent. When all is said and done, when abundant angels have danced on the heads of pins and countless philosophers have offered their exquisite rationalizations, I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans will stand firm on one principle: Coercive protest is wrong. And one reason it is wrong is because it is unnecessary.

So long as a society retains a capacity for non-violent political change, resort to violent political action is anathema. Only if most Americans were convinced that this country was no longer open to peaceful political evolution, to transformation of institutions and policies through the available channels of persuasion, would they consider revolutionary force permissible. That most Americans are not so convinced is evident in the growing vehemence of public attitudes on campus disorders and in the rising popular impatience with the efforts of academic administrators to deal fairly and considerately with student rebels.

The intensity of feeling on this matter is well conveyed by Al Capp in his comment on Harvard's reluctance to discipline those demonstrators who assaulted Robert McNamara some months ago. Apart from an apology to the visitor, the college dean declined to take action on the ground that the students who accosted Mr. McNamara were engaged in a purely political activity. "if depriving a man of his freedom to speak, if depriving him of his freedom to move, if ... nearly depriving him of his life -- if that's political activity," says Capp, "then ... sticking up a gas station is a financial transaction.'' On this point I suspect that Mr. Capp is less the social critic than the authentic voice of the society he has so often satirized.

Whatever the romantics may say about violence in our national life, the use of force is repugnant to the spirit of American politics. Paradoxically, the introduction of coercion as an instrument of protest may serve only to legitimize the use of force to deal with the protesters. There has been a great deal of theorizing, especially in the cloisters of the New Left, about the technique of social polarization. Some self-proclaimed radicals have contended that by triggering the use of official force against themselves, they can win the sympathy of uncommitted groups and undermine support for existing authority. This is a description, albeit a pat one, of what may happen in some circumstances. But the insight is a superficial one, and the prescription a highly unreliable one.

The most celebrated applications of such a doctrine, as at Chicago last year, are Pyrrhic victories at best. Survey after survey makes clear that a frequent result of coercive protests is the isolation of the protesters and increasing public demand for the prompt and vigorous application of official force against them. Potential allies are more often alienated than enlisted by such activities, and their empathy for the professed goals of the protesters is destroyed by their outrage at the procedures employed.

In short it behooves the disciples of protest as politics to reconsider the alleged merits of coercive tactics. By now they should be able to see that, apart from being morally insupportable, such methods are politically ineffective.

But more than method is involved in measuring the propriety and utility of protest. Even if the techniques of dissent are impeccable in their respect for the rights of others, the substance of dissent needs to be examined closely. Protest without purpose is a perversion of democratic privilege. Much of the political instability in the country and on the campuses, it seems to me, stems from the fact that the process of protest to which I referred earlier has assumed a life of its own, considerably independent of specific issues and problems. This is not entirely surprising, since a number of individuals have gained a vested interest in protest as a profession. It is a novel establishment, to be sure, but there is good evidence that protest itself has become a kind of institution in recent years.

The consequences of this development are many and complex. As anyone familiar with human organization would expect, the institutionalization of protest tends to subordinate substance to style, to emphasize practice rather than purpose. The focus comes to be less and less on issues and more and more on the mechanics of protest. Social and political problems become vehicles to be ridden instead of barriers to be overcome. The issues are multiplied for the sake of expediency, but the mingling of the trivial with the substantial makes it difficult to distinguish between them.

This sort of progressive de-focusing serves to confuse, not to clarify, political debate. The dialogue grows louder, but less coherent. We hear talk of the "mood of protest" gripping the nation, a vague and generalized discontent with the state of the country and the world.

But widespread malaise creates only a context for social change; it does not generate a program for change. One cannot produce a constructive program for social action without sorting out the critical issues from the less critical and without making concrete plans to cope with the priority problems. To demand change without some reasonable notion of what specific kind of change is possible and desirable amounts to little more than primitive breast-beating.

Obviously, my remarks oversimplify the present situation. Many protests are focused and are directed toward well-identified goals, although that is no guarantee of their wisdom. What I am anxious to highlight here are the tendencies inherent in some current political action. In my judgment these tendencies, should they proceed unchallenged, point toward a serious and chronic corruption of the political process.

If this apprehension is correct, it is very important to point out these tendencies to the potential recruits of the protest movements. As we have seen in the colleges and universities, large numbers of these prospective recruits are youngsters from well-to-do or middle-class families, rather than those of more disadvantaged backgrounds. The Students for a Democratic Society and similar groups draw much active and latent support from what has been aptly termed the "lumpenbourgeosie," the middle-class masses.

I think it is indisputable that these and other members of your generation are, intellectually and otherwise, among the more well-equipped citizens in the history of the United States. It would be tragic if they adopted disaffection as a way of life. They must be shown that there are definite alternatives to perpetual protest as a means of linking ideals to actions.

Indeed we all need such alternatives, whatever our age or station in life. It is a common insight of psychology that human beings need a sense of efficacy, a feeling that their actions are effective and that they have a meaningful degree of control over their own lives. What is true for Individuals in their personal lives is also true in the social realm, especially for activists. There is a craving to understand the pace and direction of change in society, and to be able to have some measure of influence in steering the course the nation will follow.

But the social analysis associated with some of the contemporary protest movements is a poor guide for Individual or collective action. The ideology of the New Left, like that of the super-conservatism that flared briefly in the early nineteen-sixties, is but remotely connected to the realities of American society in our time. It is a curious hodge-podge of Marxist, or neo-Marxist, or pseudo-Marxist, or crypto-Maoist doctrines, fascinating to debate but irrelevant to enact.

This political potpourri mixes genuine social concern with some wildly incorrect "lessons" of social history. Mark Twain once observed that "One should be careful to got out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it -- and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on the hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again -- and that's well; but she will never sit down on a cold one either." Among many of our most sophisticated "cats," there is a strong temptation to over-interpret and over-generalize. Those who aspire to effective political activism would do well to resist that temptation.

If we are to devise sensible standards and functions for protest or any other form of political action, we shall first have to develop an accurate, balanced and comprehensive perspective on the immense social forces already at work in our society. It will hardly do for one to ignore, out of convenience or calculation, the facts which do not fit some pre-conceived ideology. I do not presume to claim that I have the scoop on the intricate eddies which move this nation. But there are a number of major trends which should be a factor in any projection of American social development.

Perhaps the most fundamental of these trends is the growing mobilization of this country's public and private resources to deal with our domestic problems. The philosophy of Dr. Pangloss, who proclaimed that "this is the best of all possible worlds," has never found much favor in the United States. But in recent years this country's citizens and institutions have become increasingly aroused to erase the blemishes on our body politic. In this respect the protest movements reflect and stimulate the healthy self-criticism taking place throughout the nation.

It is a very significant fact that America has identified more precisely than ever before the nature and magnitude of its acute social problems. Racial and social injustice is being seen in concrete terms, as a root cause of human misery and as a principal obstacle to the further development of this-nation. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, inferior education, inadequate health care -- these grave inequities are now being recognized for what they are, the responsibility of society as a whole as well as the individuals involved.

From this spreading perception has emerged a wholly different attitude toward government. Even after the Great Depression there was a lingering reluctance to have the government act vigorously to meet social needs. But the new awareness that sizeable human problems still exist in this land of plenty has created an actual demand for government to act or to help others act to relieve them. While there is justified skepticism regarding the effectiveness of some programs, there is an equally justified insistence that various programs must at least be tried.

We ought to realize that, largely because of these altered attitudes, the United States is now well into an unprecedented period of social and political experimentation. In the decades since the Second World War, the power and authority of government have been enlisted to combat racial discrimination in education, in employment, in voting, in housing and in other areas. New cabinet departments have been established to cope with critical domestic requirements: Health, Education and Welfare, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation. A host of other innovations have appeared: The Office of Economic Opportunity, with Its community action agencies; the Model Cities Program; the manpower Development and Training Administration; the Community Relations Service.

The mere catalogue of federal agencies scarcely indicates that adequate programs and funds are now in existence. But it does afford a vital comparison with the governmental organization of 1950 or even later, when there were virtually no agencies with major responsibilities for the problems we now see so vividly.

Has this proliferation of effort, and a parallel expansion of private activities, had any effect? The question is very debateable when one speaks of certain programs, but in the main and overall, I think the answer is a resounding "yea." We are a long way from the good society we seek, but not nearly so far as we would have been without the evolutionary changes which have marked private attitudes and public institutions. We now have a valuable degree of continuity in efforts to evaluate and cope with a broad spectrum of social problems. There remains a great need for experimentation and for improved use of our resources in these areas. Still greater is the need to expand the level of effort generally on these gigantic tasks of social reconstruction.

It would be sheer folly to assume that, simply because we have these new programs, things will automatically get better. Yet it would also be foolish to propound demands for social change in a vacuum, oblivious to the substantial changes already in progress.

But, one may ask, is this all an institutional facade behind which little is really accomplished? I think not.

If one takes what might be called the summary problem of our society, the persistence of poverty amid affluence, there has been measurable progress in these years. In 1959 some 22% of the nation's households were poor; by 1967 those below the poverty line totalled 13.3%. One can properly state, in viewing this trend that the bottle of poverty is still more than half full, but it is worth noting that it is less full than before.

Special services to the disadvantaged have also been expanding, but the key point is that the total number of poor is now sufficiently small to contemplate rapid and large-scale action to end poverty. The Council of Economic Advisors now estimates the poverty gap, the sum required to lift all Americans out of nominal poverty, is less than $10 billion a year. That figure is not vastly beyond the recent increases in Annual expenditures on domestic programs. For example, in the coming fiscal year, despite the tremendous budgetary competition, President Nixon is proposing to expand human resources funding by $5.5 billion, a 10% increase over 1969.

At the same time there is serious thought being given to many different aspects of the poverty problem. Attempts to end the deprivation of children are a paramount concern. The Administration is now committed to a $2.5 billion program to combat hunger, still inadequate but a solid step forward. Since most of the poor are employed full time, contrary to the popular impression that welfare rolls are carrying most of the poverty-stricken, special emphasis is directed toward manpower training and upgrading of jail skills.

In short, these and numerous other important initiatives reveal something other than a decadent society. They suggest a nation worried about its integrity, as it should be, and concerned about its people, as it must be. They suggest that this is a time for pitching in, not for opting out. They indicate the awakening of a very imperfect society, trying to be better than it is. And that, I submit, should give a measure of hope to us all.

My message today is a simple one. Lest it be misunderstood in the more complicated discussion of social trends and innovations, let me state it briefly.

This country has profound and pressing social problems on its agenda. It needs the best energies of all its citizens, especially Its gifted young people, to remedy these ills.
Let us not dissipate these energies on phony Issues or misguided missions.
Let us not mistake the vigor of protest for the value of accomplishment.
Let us direct the zeal of every concerned American to the real problems.
Let us forsake false drama for true endeavor.
Let us, in short, recognize that ours is a precious community that demands and deserves the best that is in us.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Benjamin Netanyahu's Road Map for Peace in the Middle East...

He laid it out in his UN General Assembly speech this week:

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

What I'm about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN. Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I've stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet.

Israel – twenty; rest of the world – three.

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN's Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and Prime Minister. And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That's just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China. Ladies and Gentlemen, The UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce. So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you'd probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that's going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.

More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That's nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel's ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe. Many also seek to benefit from Israel's ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there's no better ally than Israel.

How about cybersecurity? That's an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world's population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity. I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help. 
Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives. This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. 
This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I'll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We'll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries. In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel's small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I'm going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It's taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East. But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

So Israel's diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth. Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America's consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama's commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations. 

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Today's automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn't happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended. For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo's former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished delegates from so many lands, I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms. The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don't know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended. Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests? We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York. But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel's standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN. But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel? Perhaps because some of you don't appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it's a problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria. Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I'm proud to say in my own Likud party. Are the starving children in North Korea's brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural knowhow is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world? The sooner the UN's obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

Ladies and Gentlemen, If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He's preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That's almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past. The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You're not laughing. It's as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here? President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland. Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands. The West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again. And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn't get peace from Gaza – we got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza. This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they're after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It's always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought. Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all. Now here's the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future. I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I'll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis. When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he'd detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas's adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here's a quote, "to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them." Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas's Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a "heroic act". On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, "We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem." Direct quote. Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here's what she tells him. She tells him he'd be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he'd get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority. Ladies and Gentlemen, All this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour. This is child abuse. Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don't. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace? We in Israel don't do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace. Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it's our response to those fringe elements, it's our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference. 

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I'll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him. No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, "This is not our people. This is not our way." I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed's assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial. Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict. But what Ahmed's story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them. So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples. Ladies and Gentlemen, I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace. I commend President el-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region. Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I'm ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today. President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn't it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another? President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah. Ladies and Gentlemen, While Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here. It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others. Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope. But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear. We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. That's the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin's parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today. They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn't care less. I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that's decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them. Ladies and Gentlemen, The greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel's annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide. This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents. So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us, it's before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran's aggression and Iran's terror. With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you today at a time when Israel's former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel's founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah Shimon, a speedy recovery. I've always admired Shimon's boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of defending itself by itself against any threat. I am filled with hope because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I've seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel's independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now.

Israel's population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world's computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.

Thank you.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hillary Clinton Says She Was "Saddened" By A Republican Convention She Didn't Watch--And Admits She Didn't Understand...

Hillary Clinton: Well, I didn't hear it, because I wasn't watching. But I certainly heard about it, yes.
Scott Pelley: Did you feel threatened by that?
Hillary Clinton: No, I felt sad.
Scott Pelley: Sad?
Hillary Clinton: It felt very sad, Scott. I mean-- I don't know what their convention was about, other than criticizing me. I seem to be the only unifying theme that they had. There was no positive agenda. It was a very dark, divisive campaign. And the people who were speaking were painting a picture of our country that I did not recognize. You know, negative, scapegoating, fear, bigotry, smears. I just was so-- I was saddened by it.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Garry Apgar's Mickey Mouse is a Symbol for Our Time

In his two recent books on the celebrated American rodent--a magisterial art historical survey published by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, titled Mickey Mouse, Emblem of the American Spirit; and an academic sourcebook published by the University Press of Missisisippi, A Mickey Mouse ReaderGarry Apgar's Mickey Mouse is portrayed an "emblem of the American spirit" who inspires the nation to overcome difficulties--beginning with his youth in the Great Depression. 

Just as I had opened these 2 beautifully written and illustrated volumes for review, news came of the horrific massacre in Orlando, home to Walt Disney World, where, The Daily Mail reported gunman Omar Mateen had been a Disney fan himself:

"The walls of the apartment are adorned with photos of Mateen's three-year-old son. Loads of toys including a Spiderman bicycle, toy trucks and Mickey Mouse posters can be seen throughout the two-bedroom home...There is a Mickey and Minnie Mouse calendar marked 'D-Day, 10 pm' on June 7th. The real D-Day is June 6th leaving open the question was Mateen planning something sooner than the June 12 morning of horror. Or was it just marked for Ramadan, the Muslim holy holiday?"

It seemed that Mickey Mouse had found his way into a story not entirely in keeping with his more conventional image as a playful sprite.

Far from being the "Happiest Place on Earth," Orlando at that moment was perhaps the saddest--a crucible for all the international cultural, political, religious, sexual and military tensions of the planet, rather than a "Magic Kingdom" of fantasy and fun.  

By linking Orlando with  International Terror, the massacre was objectively an attack on Walt Disney, as well as an LGBT nightclub--for Orlando is a city described as "married to the Mouse" by Richard Fogelsgang.

Therefore it did not come as a surprise to read that the gunman had cased Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney, before deciding to attack the Pulse Club. 

Security at Disney is high, and there was certainly a greater chance of a mishap in going for, say Snow White's Castle. 

Nevertheless, downtown Orlando is not far away, and the location of the club reminds everyone that Disney is also in Orlando--many millions of people have been to Disney, and some of the victims may have worked for Disney.

So seeing Mickey Mouse as most recent target of  Jihad is not far-fetched.  As Apgar discusses, the Mouse represents the "American spirit"-- most obviously "the pursuit of happiness" guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, and Walt Disney's oeuvre.

That our world has been shaped in part by Disney and Mickey Mouse, is a big claim. But Agpar backs it up, for he treats Disney as both an artist and a sociological phenomenon.

Did Disney affect even those who pretended to be enemies of capitalism? Did he have a role in the last great ideological struggle, the Cold War? Yes.

What would a communist artist have thought of Disney? 

Perhaps a clue might be found in a couple of pages in Apgar's reader, written by the husband of the now almost as iconic (at least among art students) Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, contemplating what artistic life might hold after the revolution triumphs:

Finally we may conclude that perhaps if the films can be preserved, the people who at last will possess a theatre, will refuse to accede the cine-dramas most admired today. The masses which will have realized by then the genuine revolution, will not interest themselves greatly in the 'revolutionary films' of today. An tall that, together with the pictures and statues and poetry and prose which may have survived the general cleansing of the world, will be looked at with compassionate curiosity. But probably the animated cartoons will divert the adults then as now and make the children die laughing.

And the esthetes of that day will find that MICKEY MOUSE (emphasis Rivera's) was one of the genuine heroes of American Art in the first half of the 20th Century, in the calendar anterior to world revolution.

Or, consider the views of Frankfurt School founder Walter Benjamin:

Similarity to Fairy Tales. Not since fairy tales have the most important and most vital events been evoked more unsymbolically and more unatmospherically. There is an immeasurable gulf between them and Maeterlinck or Mary Wigman. All Mickey Mouse films are founded on the motif of leaving home in order to learn what fear is.

So, the explanation of the huge popularity of these films is not the mechanization, their form; nor is it a misunderstanding. It is simply the fact that the public recognizes its own life in them.

In 1968, James Michener denounced Mickey Mouse as "one of the most disastrous cultural influences every to hit America," in a New York Times Magazine article titled "The Revolution in Middle Class Values."

But during World War II, the British Royal Air Force had another view. The called the electrical distributor used to release the bombs which targeted Nazi Germany: "Mickey Mouse."  The Royal Navy called its minesweepers, "Mickey Mouses" (or "Mickey Mice," or "MMs"). And one RAFT Lancaster bomber was dubbed "Mickey the Moocher" and decorated with a picture of a pot-bellied Mickey Mouse--transporting a bomb.

Author and editor Garry Apgar himself compares Mickey Mouse to Charles De Gaulle, noting that in 1944 "Mickey Mouse" had been used as a code for Normandy landings on D-Day in 1944. Thus did Mickey save France in World War II, and as Apgar points out:

...Yet, the mouse remains an image of optimism and pluck, and nowhere more than in France. This is one Disney-crazed country! You're liable to run into Walt's progeny decorating custard cups, mustard jars or postcard racks anywhere in town.

Not to mention, Disneyland Paris. So, a connection between the Paris attacks on Charlie Hebdo, Hyper Cacher, and Bataclan and the Orlando massacre becomes apparent in the meaning of Walt Disney's mouse.

As Apgar concludes his introduction to Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit:

Mickey is nothing if not iconic. To be authentically "iconic," however, entails an attribute greater, and more provocative, than garden-variety celebrity, notoreity, or excessive familiarity. Lest we forget, the term derives from a word, ikon, used to describe traditional sacred portraits in Eastern Orthodox religious art. Even today, properly applied, it notes a being or thing touched by a vital spark, providing meaning, comfort and connectedness across generational, ethnic, national and class lines.

Now that jihadists have gone after Mickey by attacking his hometown, perhaps it is time to think about asking Mickey Mouse to come to our rescue, as he did in World War II and the Cold War?

Thursday, June 02, 2016

With Dr. Thorne, Julian Fellowes Takes Alistair Cooke's Chair...


A recent email from announced that the latest costume drama produced by Downton Abbey impressario Julian Fellowes for Hat Trick Productions would be on streaming video from Amazon Prime--instead of PBS. (I had missed reviews in The New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere, so Amazon's email alert was the first I heard about it.)

This email was welcome news to a fan of Masterpiece Theatre, who had little interest in Amazon's so-called "edgy" (but to my taste, off-putting and creepy) original programming for streaming video--until now.

We streamed Fellowes' adaptation of Anthony Trollope's nuanced depiction of English country life in the Barsetshire Chronicles with eager anticipation.

The four-part series was not so reverential as Downton, sometimes veering towards the grotesque, but once you got used to the different cinematic approach, extremely enjoyable.

Everyone is good, and Tom Hollander does a solid job as Dr. Thorne, but my favorite characterization was Ian MacShane's Sir Roger Scatcherd, a self-made railway robber baron and jailbird who killed a man, who runs for Parliament in an election campaign employing insults and mockery somewhat like that of Donald Trump. In television prophecy of the "what's past is prologue" variety, Scatcherd wins his seat against the odds, against a proper and dignified opponent supported by the Establishment.

But even better than the episodes were the intros and outros...

Imagine my delight when the program opened with Julian Fellowes seated in an upholstered wing chair set before a blazing gas fire, in a cosy English room--in clear homage to the late, great and much-missed Alistair Cooke!

While Fellowes' accent, intonation and delivery were perhaps a bit more Hitchcockian, and quick cuts from close-up to wide angle camera shots appeared at a somewhat dizzying pace compared to the slow and majestic zooms in Alistair Cooke's introductions, there could be no doubt that Julian Fellowes is a worthy successor as presenter of classic British costume drama on American television.

Fellowes has the background, the gravitas, and the twinkle in the eye that made Alistair reason enough to tune-in Masterpiece. He knows he's playing the role of the stage Englishman, and he's playing it to the hilt (Cooke was an American citizen when he did Masterpiece).

Plus, Fellowes soupĨon of Hitchockian irony ties him to two legendary British presenting traditions  on American television, at once: Alfred Hitchock Presents as well as Masterpiece Theatre. Like Hitchcock, Fellowes not only introduces his shows--he produces them.

We certainly look forward to more from whence this comes...

Meanwhile: Hail to a worthy successor to the throne of Alistair Cooke: Baron Fellowes of West Stafford!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Morley Safer, Remembered...

Permit a few words of tribute to pay my respects to Morley Safer, who died last week aged 84. 

At a time when the public's trust in news organization has reached record lows in Gallup Polls--some six out of ten respondents declaring that they have "not very much" or no confidence in mass media--Morley Safer's life and work is a reminder that once upon a time there were honest reporters who worked in television news, who told it like it is, who covered stories--instead of presenting "narratives."


I never had the pleasure of meeting Safer, but favorably crossed paths with the legendary 60 Minutes anchor in relation to two of his 919 stories.

In 1993, while I was writing about the National Endowment for the Arts, Safer hosted a segment of 60 Minutes titled "But Is It Art?" This brief glance at the art biz was so devastating to the art establishment that both The Washington Post and New York Times reminded readers upon his death that disapproval of Safer's "Emperor has no clothes" report had followed him to his grave. 

Obituary writer Robert D. McFadden took a swipe at the dead in a significantly non-front page Times obituary:

Still, Mr. Safer sometimes raised hackles, as when he questioned the basic premise of abstract art in a 1993 report, calling much of it “worthless junk” destined for “the trash heap of art history” and saying it was overvalued by the “hype” of critics, art dealers and auction houses. The art world recoiled, but Mr. Safer, who described himself as a “Sunday painter,” stood his ground. 

In 2012, he aired another blast at modern art, visiting a Miami Beach show that he called “an upscale flea market” and complaining that “the art trade” was a “booming cutthroat commodities market.” In a commentary, the New York Times art critic Roberta Smith called Mr. Safer’s performance “a relatively toothless, if still quite clueless, exercise,” adding: 

“Basically, he and his camera crew spent a few hours last December swanning around Art Basel Miami Beach, the hip art fair, and venturing nowhere else, letting the spectacle of this event, passed through quickly and superficially, stand for the whole art world.”

Likewise, in the Washington Post, Matt Schudel reminded readers that Safer had never been forgiven for his transgression of art world dogma:

Mr. Safer incurred the wrath of the art establishment with his cheeky 1993 segment “Yes . . . But Is It Art?” He quoted the baffling commentary of art “experts” and showed auctions at which prices soared into the millions. He openly questioned whether the creations of such celebrated artists as Jeff Koons, Julian Schabel, Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat were anything more than “worthless junk.”
The art world was incensed and bore a grudge for years. When Mr. Safer later tried to enter New York’s Museum of Modern Art for a “60 Minutes” segment, he was barred at the door.
That Safer was an art lover and amateur painter, his wife and daughter arts administrators, seems not to have helped him in the least. Safer impressively "stood by his story," regardless. It was encouraging to this critic of the art world to have a respected newsman come to the same conclusions, independently, and not back down under pressure.
My second encounter was while writing a section of PBS: Behind the Screen in relation to Safer's experience with Bill Moyers during the Johnson administration. 
I had heard that Safer and Moyers feuded over LBJ's attempts to get him fired by CBS for his reporting on problems with the Vietnam War, while Moyers served as Johnson's press secretary. 
Safer had written critically of Moyers in his own memoir, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam. He blamed Moyers, whom he characterized as "the sometimes overly pious public defender of liberal virtue, the First Amendment and rights of minorities," for Johnson's picking on him:  "Johnson threatened that, unless CBS got rid of me and 'cleaned up its act,' the White House would 'go public' with information about Safer's 'Communist ties.'" Mike Wallace later leaked a memo from Moyers "on steps we can take to improve coverage of the Vietnam War. . . . We will never eliminate altogether the irresponsible and prejudiced coverage of men like Peter Arnett and (Morley) Safer, men who are not American and who do not have the basic American interest at heart."
Safer's revenge was to characterize Moyers as a sleaze bag:
[Moyers'] part in Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover's bugging of Martin Luther King's private life, the leaks to the press and diplomatic corps, the surveillance of civil rights groups at the 1964 Democratic Convention, and his request for damaging information from Hoover on members of the Goldwater campaign suggest he was not only a good soldier but a gleeful retainer feeding the appetites of Lyndon Johnson.
In addition, at a time when a number of working journalists (including Moyers himself) refused to talk to me, Safer gave me a telephone interview which helped me to write my book, although I am sure he disagreed with much that I had to say.
From that time onwards, I especially looked forward to watching Safer on 60 Minutes, with deep respect for his integrity.  Morley Safer was an honorable, decent, and authentic person. In other words, a real mensch.
I miss him already.

Monday, May 09, 2016

America's Post-9/11 Foreign Policy Evolution: Appeasement-Collaboration-Confrontation

It has become a cliche to cite Winston Churchill's famous wisecrack about Americans, yet one is hard put to find a better explanation of the evolution of US foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11 than this one-liner often attributed to him: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing--after exhausting all the alternatives."

This election seems to be proving that statement prophetic, specifically in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The rise of Donald Trump as well as Bernie Sanders shows that America's response is evolving in a new direction. Basically, each administration has tried a different approach to the problem of Islamic Fundamentalism.

As prior strategy has failed,  America has embraced an alternative, in a series of stages: 1. Appeasement under George Bush; 2. Collaboration under Barack Obama; 3. Confrontation under either Donald Trump, via restriction on Muslim immigration, or Bernie Sanders, with the election of an openly Jewish President (perhaps even more objectionable to Islamic fundamentalists).


For whatever reason, while he did topple the Taliban in Afghanistan for harboring Bin Laden (temporarily, without eliminating them, and while permitting Pakistan to keep Bin Laden as prisoner) President George W. Bush also responded to 9/11 by  appeasing the Saudis, whose citizens had attacked the World Trade Center with demonstrable help of their diplomatic removing their greatest foe, Saddam Hussein, covering up evidence of Saudi participation, whisking members of the Bin Laden family out of the United States (who might have been held as hostages in exchange), preventing families from seeking financial compensation, and instituting Islamic law in US-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as establishing Islamic-friendly policies in US government agencies which led to the elimination of official "Merry Christmas!" greetings and the promotion of US Army Major Nidal Hasan. As a result the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in the United States is a Bush Administration legacy.

Perhaps the President's thinking had been this could buy time for fracking to kick in and free America from Saudi influence, much as Stalinists subsequently justified the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (or as some apologists may have done for the Munich Pact) as a way to buy time to build up armed forces before World War II.

Or, perhaps Bush wanted to demonstrate to "the Arab Street" that America was not anti-Islamic. Bush openly prioritized winning "Hearts and Minds," although this very strategy failed dramatically in Vietnam, rather than unconditional surrender (Saddam Hussein was caught, and executed, but he never actually surrendered or pledged loyalty to the occupation government).

Promoting democracy is usually an easy sell to the American public, and since the Arab masses wanted an Islamic state, the move could  have been undertaken as straddle to the obvious conflict between the principles of the Islamic world and those the West. By rejecting a clear provocation to engage in a "Clash of Civilizations," perhaps the Bush administration thought it had "ducked a bullet" in the way Bush himself ducked the shoe thrown at him by an Arab protester during a press conference.  Nevertheless, despite eight years of war and trillions of dollars in expenditures, Bush administration policies clearly failed to defeat Al Quaeda, and the "Global War on Terrorism" ended with a victory for well as the election of Barack Hussein Obama as President of the United States.


However friendly President Bush's policies were to Islamic fundamentalism--including the institution of Islamic Law in American-designed constitutions for Afghanistan and Iraq, and support of Muslim Brotherhood allied organizations around the world as part of "democracy-building," the Bush Administration shrank from overthrowing long-time American allies for the sake of the Muslim Brotherhood. President Obama's "Cairo Speech" of June 4, 2009 signaled a new direction--collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood and the embrace Islamic Fundamentalism so long as it remained "non-violent." The speech was titled "A New Beginning," and it marked the beginning of American-supported overthrow of secularist governments by Islamists that culminated in the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. America had moved from appeasing Islamists, to collaborating in their seizure of power. In his second term, Obama reached out to Shia as well as Sunni fundamentalists, by giving them de facto (although not de jure) permission to develop an atomic weapon.

Perhaps the Obama administration felt that Bush simply had not gone far enough, that lingering resentment of the United States and the West in the Islamic world was caused by the "disproportionate" power imbalances, and that "leveling the playing field" between Islam and the West would result in friendlier relations--and an end to Terror. After all, if the Islamic world could see that not only was America not anti-Islamic, but rather pro-Islamic, there would be no reason for terror attacks. Maybe this is one reason for increasing Muslim immigration to Europe and the United States, despite obvious risks. Unfortunately, despite active American support for Muslim Brotherhood groups around the world, terror attacks continued against the West--in Boston, in San Bernadino, in Paris, and in Brussels.

Whatever benefits collaboration with Islamic Fundamentalism may have seemed to offer the Obama Administration, as a strategy it was no more successful (arguably even less so) than the Bush administration's appeasement of Islamists.  Unfortunately for her campaign, Hillary Clinton cannot credibly distance herself from an administration in which she served as Secretary of State.


Many have noted similarities between the appeal of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Despite ideological differences--Sanders is a socialist, Trump a capitalist--both candidates appeal to outsiders and deliver passionately "anti-Establishment" and nationalistic stump speeches. And, when it comes to Islamic Fundamentalism, both candidates offer a stark contrast to either the Bush or Obama administration foreign policy.

Obviously, both candidates are native New Yorkers. Both have New York accents, both have New York mannerisms, and both publicly express anger in ways common to their birthplace (Russell Shorto has made a persuasive case that New York culture is a legacy of Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam).

Although Sanders is a Vermont resident, parts of that state nowadays seem to resemble the North Bronx of the pre-Robert Moses era, with headquarters for successful companies such as Ben and Jerry's or Green Mountain Coffee, not to mention numerous second homes and hobby farms of affluent New Yorkers, instead of flinty farmers tilling rocky soil.

Sanders has stated that he would "move away from a policy of regime change." That means, by implication, an end to US support for the Muslim Brotherhood. While Sanders does not emphasize his Jewish roots, he does not deny them. Given that Osama Bin Laden targeted New York in part because of its large Jewish population, election of a Jewish President of the United States from New York City would inevitably send a message of defiance to the Islamic world, independent of any particular policy choices made by the candidate.
It goes without saying that Donald Trump's foreign policy views are better known than Sanders'. The outspoken New Yorker has called for a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration to the United States; he has stated "frankly, we are having problems with Muslims," and he has declared that George Bush failed to keep America safe.

To a successful construction magnate who probably suffers from an "edifice complex," destruction of the World Trade Center in front of his own eyes must have left an indelible mark. There can be no doubt that one of his motivations is to avenge the attacks of 9/11. There can be no question that he would confront ISIS, just as he has promised--it's clearly personal.

There are precedents for dramatic policy swings: The United States dramatically changed policy from collaboration with slavery under President Buchanan in 1860 to confrontation under President Lincoln in 1861--going from fighting, trying, and executing John Brown for attempting to free slaves at Harper's Ferry to invading the South with the Union Army singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to the tune of "John Brown's Body" in order to end slavery in the United States of America.

On a smaller scale, President Reagan's election ended the "malaise" of the Carter years, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union.

Likewise, election of either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump promises to bring dramatic change of direction to American foreign and domestic policy.

Thus, 2016 has already proven to be a watershed election year.