On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015
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Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor of Psychology, is the author of sixteen books, including An American Bride in Kabul, which won a National Jewish Book Award, a 2014 edition of The New Anti-Semitism, and Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015. She has published pioneering studies about honor killing, and is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum and at the Institute for the Global Study of Anti-Semitism.
The following excerpt has been adapted from Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015, released on May 6, 2015.
Earlier this week, an Indian man, Jairam Manjhi, aged either 36 or 25, and Parvati Kumari, a 16-year-old girl related to her lover's wife, were kidnapped by the girl's family and brutally beaten to death; the girls' family publicly burned their corpses while 100 villagers stood by and watched the entire grisly episode.
The long arm of American justice has prevailed against a heinous overseas revenge-for-honor killing—one that was orchestrated by cell phone from the front seat of a taxi in Brooklyn, New York.
Muslims driving taxis in American and European cities have been known to park them illegally when it is time for prayer, and to help lead families to daughters on the run. At least one "horror"/honor killing was carried out in a taxi when Yasir Said murdered his two academically promising and vivacious daughters, Sarah and Amina, in cold blood.
In the case of Mohammad Choudhry, a taxi was used as a command center to terrorize a daughter as well as the people who helped rescue her from captivity. It was the moving vehicle from which Chouhdry ordered a vigilante hit on those who had shamed him.
First, Mohammad Ajmal Choudhry ordered his daughter into the marriage. She testified that "[My father] told me he would kill me if [I] do anything wrong now." She obeyed him. But she also escaped and returned to America with the help of the State Department and with the help of the man she loved, Shujat Abbas.
We are living in infamous times. Reality outpaces fiction, and the worst case scenarios keep unfolding in our daily headlines.
Critics of torturers and mass murderers are demonized as "extremists" and "provocateurs." Israel is accused of human rights atrocities it has never committed by those very entities who themselves actually commit such atrocities; anyone who points this out is deemed an "extreme conservative" and a "racist." Anti-infidel hate speech—as long as it is directed against America and Israel—is seen as protected by the First Amendment and by the doctrine of Free Speech; exposing the diabolical Big Lies is considered politically incorrect "racist" hate speech which has no place in the Western media, on campus, at the UN, or in any international human rights organization.
Either the West fights back or it surrenders to these Orwellian rules. Many Western intellectuals prefer scapegoating Israel and surrendering quietly to these diabolical Islamist rules rather than risk their reputations and their lives.
The PEN award to the survivors of the Charlie Hebdo massacre has drawn some very distinguished fire.
On April 26, 2015, six PEN "table hosts," all highly regarded writers, publicly protestedPEN's decision to give an award for "Freedom of Expression Courage" to these courageous survivors. This award, to be given on May 3rd, is separate from the literary prizes.
By April 30th, the six (Peter Carey, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, and Taiye Selasi) were joined by one hundred and thirty nine authors who signed a petition of protest. In all, this represents only 4% of their membership.
Salman Rushdie, a writer who knows what it is to pay the price for having criticized Islam and is also a former President of PEN had this to say: They are "six authors in search of character." He is right. They do not know how to stand up to the false charge of "Islamophobia."
We live in a time of infamy. The West is committing suicide. Some writers—who should be especially sensitive to the perils of censorship and the dangers of intolerance are, instead, in favor, not of free speech but of the rights of one religion-only (Islam) to be spared the writers' critique.
PEN American Center has decided to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Editor-in-Chief, Gerard Biard, and staff member Jean-Baptiste Thoret are scheduled to receive this award on May 5th at a star-studded gala of 800. Literary figures host tables filled with their admirers and with industry insiders.
The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, and Taiye Salasi have withdrawn from the event which will be held at the American Museum of Natural History. They have done so with great "vehemence."
I don't know what to do about liberal American Jews. Unlike some conservatives, I happen to agree with them on certain issues but these days, that barely matters. The only thing that matters is whether one is for or against President Obama. If one dares say—out loud and in public--that Obama is, maybe, not so good for Israel—the Democratic Party flags are promptly whipped out and anyone who refuses to swear on the flag of the Democratic Party is promptly and rudely attacked.
I have recently and unexpectedly been in conversation with a number of such Jewish liberals both privately and publicly.
Here's one example. At a lecture I gave I was assailed with this comment: "You just said that Israelis believe that Obama is the worst President Israel ever had. But that is a lie. We read and we know that he is the best President Israel ever had! Were it not for him, there would be no Iron Dome. What about that?"
The more we learn about the Holocaust, even as it recedes into the "mists of time," the more my blood boils, the closer I come to tears.
Last night, I traveled far out into Syrian-Jewish Brooklyn, where there are not only Syrian shuls but Egyptian, Lebanese, and Iraqi shuls as well—sometimes two or three on a single block. Many of the homes are quite grand and must resemble the kind of neo-European villas that once existed in certain Jewish neighborhoods in the Arab Middle East, a region whose ancient history is, even as I write, being physically destroyed; yes, even Nineveh, even Avraham's Ur Casdim. (Another loss to those "misty times.")
Sharay Shalom, a Syrian shul in Brooklyn, together with The Jewish Voice, was hosting an evening to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day. Sol Cohen, who had co-ordinated the evening, introduced Rabbi Avraham Ben-Hamou. The Rabbi shared a few words of Torah. He reminded us that at the moment Aharon's sons died, he was silent. And when Yakov's beloved Rahel died in childbirth (and, I might add, his only daughter Dina was kidnapped), he said nothing. "There is silence in the immediacy of tragedy, but we are commanded to memorialize and mourn later on."
Algerian born French filmmaker, Alexandre Arcady, has directed a small masterpiece. 24 Days is a gripping and somber police drama. Even though we know the outcome, we are nevertheless at the edge of our seats, fearing what we might see next, knowing what is to come, wanting to reach out to the anguished family, perhaps to comfort them.
This film fictionalizes a searing, heartbreaking, Jewish and French tragedy. In 2002, the world was shocked when al-Qaeda released their pornographic death video of Daniel Pearl's be-heading in Pakistan. This eternally haunting image was, incredibly, surpassed by the information, sans image, that in 2006, Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew of Moroccan origin had been kidnapped and tortured for three whole weeks by a mainly Muslim gang, aptly named "The Barbarians." Youssouf Fofana ("Django," in the film—commandingly played by Tony Harrisson) led 26 people who were "in" on this almost surreal and dastardly deed; twenty-four additional people knew about what was happening but refused to make a single anonymous call to the police. They did this, ostensibly, for money.
Zainub Priya Dala, a South African Muslim author and psychologist, was "violently attacked for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie" the day after praising the author. After countless phoned-in threats to recant, Dala was placed under psychiatric care in which she was "drugged until I could not walk" and advised to adopt a proper Muslim lifestyle.
Three days later, three men forced her car off the road, held a knife to her throat, banged her face with a brick and broke her cheekbone. They called her "Rushdie's bitch." Had a taxi not passed by, she is sure she "would've been stabbed."
On the evening of April 12th, on Manhattan's upper West Side, the usual anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian groups such as Adalah-NY, the BDS National Committee, and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel protested the performance of an Israeli musician.
All twelve of them came, wearing jeans and survivalist vests and looking very Downtown, very Brooklyn. They had a sound system which blared anti-Israel, angry "black"-style rap hate music. Most were white leftists; two were visibly Arab-looking. At least 70% of the protestors were, I am sorry to say, white women. One identified herself as a Jew.
I asked for a brochure. It read: "What kind of musician is an ambassador for apartheid? Serenades soldiers who destroy homes, lives, and land? Feels happy with a state characterized by racism, violence, and land theft?"
My friends--welcome to Upside-Down Land.
Foreign girls who are lured via the internet to join ISIS are being misled by a glamorized vision of women posing with AK-47s and in martial arts positions—in essence, a vision of women performing forbidden, male-only holy mission tasks.
ISIS propaganda is capitalizing on the allure of such adventure coupled with a girlish desire for love, marriage, and children. Quilliam Foundation think tank researcher Charlie Winter notes that "this is a false image based on targeted obfuscation and exaggeration." He quotes Glasgow runaway, Aqsa Mahmood, who writes that "the women you may have seen online are all part of propaganda."
The reality for ISIS "brides" is dull, domestic, and dangerous. Food and electricity are minimal, there are no schools, but there are constant air strikes and gun fights. Women police and punish other women. They do not engage in battle.
The all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade holds an anti-feminist ideology in which women's rights are seen as part of a corrupt and material West and as having led to the emasculation of men.
Who would have believed that the Jews would ever be so defamed again? That Israel and Zionism—the liberation movement of the Jewish people--would become despised by both western intellectuals and Islamist mobs?
Who could ever have predicted that the United Nations would remain utterly ineffective in all things save one: the legitimization of Jew-hatred?
Who could have imagined a world in which savage Islamist leaders would be stoning, crucifying, and burning civilians alive; blowing up other Muslims at prayer; building monuments to Palestinian human homicide bombs—but in which the New York Times would denigrate mainly Israel—systematically and often twice daily?
Who would ever have believed that an American president would operate so blatantly and shamelessly in such a pro-Islamist (not merely a pro-Muslim) way? That he would bow to and "negotiate" with barbarian tyrants and publically scorn and threaten America's most reliable, most stable, and most militarily adept ally—Israel--in the Middle East?
President Obama is trying to drive a wedge between liberal American Jews and Israel by turning Israel into even more of a pariah state than it already is.
Andrew Pessin, Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College, is the latest casualty in the campus-based culture wars. Dr. Pessin is a well-liked and much published professor, self-described as the "only Jewish professor on campus who openly advocates for Israel." And now, for remarks made during last summer's Gaza war, he faces an attack from Palestinian supporters seeking to silence pro-Israel stances on campus.
"There is an apocalyptic dimension to global Jihad. Jihadists believe they are engaged in a 'sacred task' to redeem the world via conquest. We hide our eyes while they do not hide their intentions."
Please meet Professor Richard Landes, a medieval historian who specializes in apocalyptic movements. He knows what he is talking about. Landes delivered a stellar speech earlier this week for the Institute for Global Anti-Semitism and Policy (ISGAP).
We sat around a table in a well-appointed room which serves as the ISGAP office in New York City. We were an attentive and appreciative audience.
Landes, who maintains several excellent websites (Second Draft and Augean Stables), is astounded by the global progressive Left's desire to embrace the "Other"; doing so proves their humanity. However, for the Western-embraced Jihadi, the "Other" (all infidels, the "wrong" kind of Muslims, apostates, homosexuals, etc.) must be "annihilated."See All Articles
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