The Murder of Rina Shnerb and the Fight for Israel’s Open Spaces

Aug. 28 2019

Last Friday, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb that killed seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb, who was hiking with her family, and wounded her father and brother. The attack comes a few weeks after the murder of nineteen-year-old Dvir Sorek by Hamas operatives near a village bus stop. Gershon Hacohen comments:

From the Palestinian perspective, Jews can—perhaps—be permitted to exist in their urban high-rises and engage in their white-collar occupations in high-tech and commerce. That is the Jews’ place. The open spaces, on the other hand—the fields, springs, and pastures—these the Arabs must control. The former prime minister Ehud Barak used the phrase “villa in the jungle” to describe Israel’s existential experience, a metaphor worth examining. In their quest for security, the Jews exist in spaces surrounded by fences—a type of upscale, safe ghetto with boundaries they dare not cross.

On the face of it, the “villa in the jungle” metaphor [suggests] a modern high-tech-like outlook. . . . In practice, it is a direct continuation of the [centuries-old] diasporic Jewish experience of ghettoization, the Pale of Settlement, and denial of agricultural and farming opportunities that Zionism has sought to reverse.

For decades now, the Palestinians have understood the essence of their struggle better than the Jews have understood theirs. The purpose of the Zionist enterprise was clear long ago, and Israelis would be wise to re-embrace it: re-establishment of statehood and full sovereignty in the Jews’ ancestral homeland in its full scope. Not in a small, ghettoized, urban “villa in the jungle.”

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Diaspora, Ehud Barak, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian terror

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter