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Recent Publications from New English Review Press
Islam Through the Looking Glass: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J. B. Kelly, Vol. 3
edited by S. B. Kelly
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
Threats of Pain and Ruin
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum


















Saturday, 31 January 2015
Egypt Under Al-Sisi: An Interview with Raymond Stock
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by Jerry Gordon (February 2015)


When Mohammed Morsi became the elected President of Egypt in June 2012, one of his first acts was to replace Marshall Tantawi, as Defense Minister with Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders had been jailed under long term strongman President Mubarak but escaped during the turmoil of the Arab Spring in January 2011. Morsi and the MB leaders saw an opening when Mubarak caved to the requests of the US Administration and left office in the face of daily demands by masses convening in Tahrir square with scenes of hundreds shot by the Egyptian military and security forces. The hope was that elections of a new President might result in an Egypt under more secular leadership of a reformist bent.  Instead, Morsi’s election in June 2012 went in the opposite direction...more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 12:47 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Hisham Melhem: He Still Can't Bring Himself To Recognize The True Source Of The Problem
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Here.

He sees Arab countries disintegrating -- Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen -- with others possibly to follow. He mentions, in passing, the Islamic State, but cannot identify Islam as the source of the many failures -- political, economic, social, intellectual, moral -- of Muslim peoples and polities. He can't discuss the habit of submission to the Ruler, that makes of Muslims natural subjects but never citizens. He can't discuss Muslim political theory, that locates the legitimacy of government not, as in the Western democracies, because they reflect the will expressed, however imperfectly, by the people in elections, but in the will of Allah, as expressed in the Qur'an, and glossed by the Sunnah, and codified in the Shari'a. He can't discuss the amazing spectacle of Muslim Arabs having received 25 trillion dollars, since 1973 alone, and yet always and everywhere unable to create even a semblance of modern industrial economies. They rely still  on revenues from oil (and gas), which are the result of an accident of geology, and not the fruit of entrepreneurial flair, or work, by any of the recipients of that unearned wealth --the oil was discovered, lifted, transported, distributed in world-wide networks, all by non-Muslims, while the Muslims took in fantastic sums which have been spent on giigantic armories (see Libya, see Saudi Arabia), planes and tanks and guns, on palaces at home and estates abroad, on yachts and private 747s, on daily deliveries of food from Hediard and Fauchon, on boatloads and planeloads of poules de luxe, and on armies of wage-slaves, from Europeans and Americans at the top, to Indian and Nepalese construction workers, to Thai and Filipino domestic workers who are so often abused as sex slaves. The Islamic hostility toward bida, innovation, because all ye know and all ye need to know is in the Qur'an (as glossed by the Sunnah), limits the ability of Believers to cultivate entrepreneurial flair. The inshallah-fatalism that sees Allah as a whimsical deity who can give or take away, and one cannot plan securely for the future because it is all in the hands of an unpredictable and inexplicable god, discourages the kind of economic activity that  in countries with stable legal systems, a well-developed code (for example, the Uniform Commercial Code), a tax system upon which one can rely not to be transformed overnight, a political system that acts as a guarantee against sudden seizure of assets by a grasping ruler or regime, in lands where despotism comes naturally, and wealth is traditionally acquired through seizure of political power, and then the nation's wealth, or much of it, whether derived from oil revenues or from foreign aid (which go directly to the government unlike, say, revenues from tourism), controlled by the government, is in part diverted to be divvied up  among one's family members, cronies, and tribe. In the Sunnah, Muhammad -- the Model of Conduct ("uswa hasana"), the Perfect Man ("al-insan al-kamil") -- set down, and demonstrated in his life, rules for dividing up loot. He was entitled to 20% of the loot seized from the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, attacked not because they had opposed Muhammad (they had not even heard about him or his followers), but because they had property that could be seized.  One wonders how much the members of the Al-Saud, or the Al-Thani, or the Al-Maktoum, or the Al-Nahyan ruling families, or the members of the Assad dynasty, or the family and friends of Muammar Qadddafy and Saddam Hussein, or  the corrupt rulers of the PLO (from Arafat to Abbas, with dozens of courtiers also needing to be taken care of, along with jobs for the boys) have been taking as their cut of the national wealth.

The inferior position of women, seen as sex slaves and breeders (at this point we always have raised the usual absurd remark about how Khadija, one of Muhammad's wives,  was a "canny businesswoman" and that the position of women in Islam has thus been proven to be unassailable), and the effects of polygamy, and the absence of women from what is, literally, the public square (look at those demonstrations of men, always  and only men, all over the Muslim lands -- a non-Muslim seeing these things televiseed always wants to ask "Where are all the women"?), the legal inferiority of Muslim women, most obviously  in inheritance and property law, and in the lesser value of their testimony,is part of what can be called the "social" failures of Islam. The treatment, or mistreatment, of women has economic and political consequences.

Another of Islam's many failures is the inculcated hostility toward non-Muslims. This is expressed in small ways -- prohibiting even the mildest of recognitions of others' religious holidays (Muslims should not wish "Merry Christmas" to anyone)-- and in large, as in the textbooks in many Muslim lands that essentially repeat what is in the Qur'an, about not taking Christians and Jews as friends, and that are full of viciousness  about non-Muslims that have been reported on, here and there, intermittently, but  have not received the relentless attention from non-Muslims that they deserve.

The intellectual failure of Islam is explained by the willingness of so many  Muslims-- and the primitve True Believers far outnumber the others, and are capable of cowing them --  to believe that the Qur'an contains all of knowledge, including all of the scientific knowledge acquired in the Western world, by slow degrees, over more than two millennia. It's amsusing, and horrifying, to watch as Muslims attempt to prove that the geological history of the earth, quantum mechanics, fractals, string theory, global waming, whatever you want -- is already contained in the Qur'an, and only needs to be teased out by a careful and close reader. Several celebrated professors of chemistry, biology, physics whom I have known, and who spoke in Cairo, or Damascus, or Baghdad, or gave lectures in the Gulf, have told me that their Muslim audiences displayed no interest in basic science, but wanted simply to know how they could acquire the technology, the gewgaws, that were developed from that basic science. For them science was technogogy, engineering. 

Another intellectual failure of Islam is the result of the discouraging of skeptical inquiry. Islam famously means "submission." You submit, and once you have submitted, that's it. No questioning of Islam is allowed. And the greatest questioner of all, the apostate, is regarded as a Defector from the Army of Islam and to be punished, if he does not relent when called upon to do so, with death. For Islam is brittle, and fragile, and if you start to display an independent and questioning spirit in a Muslim context, it is likely that that mental independence and questioning will lead to questioning of Islam itself. And that cannot be allowed. And if things go wrong, there must be a conspiracy by Enemies of Islam. It may be something they do. Or it can be something they don't  do -- for example, many Muslims now blame the Americans for not overturning Assad, as if the Ameridcan government has a duty to do so, it "owes" this to the world's Muslims. But  why does the West "owe" this? Has the Assad regime been a puppet of the West, the recipient of American support, American military or financial aid? No. No matter what goes wrong in Muslim countries, Islam is never to be found at fault, nor Muslims. It's always the Infidels, Tmaneuvering and manipulating behind the scenes.

his discouraging of any questioning of Islam also discourages the very spirit of skeptical inquiry that is needed in the entrerprises of science, economics, politics, life.  This questioning of authority-- not to be confused with the bumperstickers saying "Question Authority" pasted on the cars of so many mental lemmings)-- helps explain Western progress, Western succes; its absence, Muslim stasis, Muslim failure.

Then there is the moral failure of Muslim societies. The hysterical rants from all over the Muslim lands, especially those by imams -- you can find them readily at www.memritv.org -- the willingness of so many to embrace the Islamic State, including all those Muslims, from all over the West, eager to join the nascent Caliphate, and apparently induced to do so because of those recruiting videos that show mass beheadings, or to endorse the killings in Paris of the cartoonists and the  shoppers at a kosher market, and the honoring of terrorists, from Bin Laden to Imad Mughniyeh to the PLO and Hamas murderers after whom schools and streets and public squares are named -- what is this if not moral failure on the widest of scales? In Turkey, Ataturk's  systematic constrains on Islam helped to create a secular class that exists on the same planet, more or less, as that of non-Muslims. But those who are not secular , the supporters of Erdogan, exhibit the same dismal, crazed, vicious worldview as is to be found in the Arab lands, and that would-be Arab land, Pakistan.

None of this can be said or written by Hisham Melhem. So he will continue to report on the Arab collapse, continue  to call for Western intervention to overthrow Assad, and continue, I am sure, to refrain from discussing the  texts, the tenets, the atmospherics, the attitudes, of Islam. He can't do it. But we can.

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Walking Alone
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by Dilip Mohapatra (February 2015)


I try hard to decipher

the silverfish infested

brittle page from

my father's album  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 8:21 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
On At Last Looking Into Chapman’s Homer
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by Len Krisak (February 2015)


I’ve traveled little, but whatever realms

I’ve seen have shown a little less than gold

And goodly: elsewhere often underwhelms.

I mostly tend to read what I’ve been told  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 8:15 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
She’s Not Here Now
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by P. David Hornik (February 2015)


1

Every time, that spring, I looked out my window into the city, I thought of Tara. I thought how strange it was that, even though I’d lived in or near the city for eleven years, she was the only person in it—in the country, for that matter—with whom I had, or possibly had, some connection.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 8:12 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Todos Los Años
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by Robin Hirsch (February 2015)

 

MR. S

I will tell you a secret. I am in love with my dishwasher. Not my Hobart. That's a machine, and only a fool or an anti-Semite can love a machine. No, I am in love with my Mexican dishwasher, Miguel. Now, this is no blind passion. I am sixty-three. The time for blind passion is over. No, he evokes in me mature, tender feelings for which the appropriate term, if I understand such things correctly, is love.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 8:06 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Where Will You Go?
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by David P. Gontar (February 2015)


Where will you go?” she demanded, her voice ragged with exhaustion.

“North to Moatize.”  

“There is nothing there. We will perish.”

”I will find work.”

“You are a fool. Join the militia, they have guns and take what they need.”  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 8:01 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Words May Salve the Holocaust Wounds that Refuse to Heal
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An interview with Thomas Ország-Land (February 2015)


The wounds inflicted by the Holocaust are still refusing to heal. 

Commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 70 years ago on January 27, the Catalan cultural magazine El funàmbul (The Tightrope Walker) has devoted its current issue to Holocaust literature. The journal features an interview conducted by David Cuscó i Escudero, its editor, with Thomas Ország-Land, a Jewish-Hungarian poet, translator and foreign correspondent, on his attempt to look beyond the Holocaust.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:42 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Moses and Pharaoh: Who was the Hero?
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by Moshe Dann (February 2015)


The confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh is one of the greatest dramatic moments in recorded history. The most powerful figure in the world confronts an apparent shepherd and his brother, who demand freedom for an entire slave population. It was something unheard of until modern times. It is a drama, moreover, that has elements of a classic Greek tragedy: a contest between a powerful ruler and a seemingly weak opponent, in which the god-king becomes entangled in personal flaws, dooming himself and his nation.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:28 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
On Safari
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (February 2015)


“It is impossible that a town will not play a part in your life, it does not even make much difference whether you have more good or bad things to say of it, it draws your mind to it, by a mental law of gravitation.” 
                            -
Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

Going and Coming

In Charles Miller’s marvelous narrative history of everything that caused the building of a railway from the Indian Ocean Coast into the highlands of Uganda, at the dawn of the 20th century, we read about travel. In those days men coming out to East Africa would take a steamer from Europe, through the Suez Canal, down to Mombasa and once ashore, they would make ready for what was usually a long walk inland.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:24 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
“Fanny and Alexander” and Contemporary Swedish Antisemitism
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by Norman Berdichevsky (February 2015)


Although 1983 may not seem that long ago by the calendar, the Swedish film “Fanny and Alexander” represents what might be termed Pre-Modern History in European attitudes towards Israel and the Jews. This is all the more apparent in the case of Sweden – a country traditionally known for its enlightenment, high educational standards, and tolerance during the last two centuries that has fallen since into the trash bin of “political correctness.” The country has distanced itself not only from the sentiments of Scandinavian tolerance, Western civilization, Judeo-Christian tradition, respect for women and the fundamental rights of free speech and expression but openly panders today to Islamist isolationist resistance to integration within Swedish society and refuses to call a spade a spade with regard to antisemitism.  more>>>
 

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:15 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
A “Completely Good Man” is Hard to Find: Welles’ Defective Falstaff
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by Carl C. Curtis (February 2015)


Whether Chimes at Midnight1 is Orson Welles’ greatest film remains a matter for debate. That it suffered from the usual post-RKO Welles problems is certain: the unpredictable production schedule, tight budget, and occasionally poor or out-of-sync soundtrack compose the hash that typifies a latter-day Welles’ effort. Still, critics, at first mixed in their opinions, have warmed so much to Chimes at Midnight that many regard it as one of Welles’ finest works (Hindle 42). For Welles, however irksome the task of completing the project, it was assuredly a labor of love. He had in somewhat different form presented the subject onstage and had thought deeply about Shakespeare’s great miles gloriosus for many years (Rothwell 86). There can be little question that he was determined to start and finish the film, warts and all.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:11 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Good Poetry, Bad Poetry, and Good Poetry Read Badly
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by G. Kim Blank (February 2015)


“One great poet is a masterpiece of Nature which another not only ought to study but must study.” 
—Percy Shelley, from the Preface to Prometheus Unbound

 

1. A Life Before Us

Without venturing too far into mired arguments about taste and aesthetics—or fully engaging critiques of canonization that descend from political correctness—is it difficult to recognize great poetry? Were there that many poets in the times of Donne, Herbert, Dryden, and Pope who wrote nearly so well? William Southey is obviously not in the same league as his arch-detractor, Byron. Hopkins trumps Patmore every time.   more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 7:04 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Golan Ablaze: Are Hezbollah and Iran Behind It?
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by Jerry Gordon and Ilana Freedman (February 2015)


The Golan is suddenly ablaze with rocket and anti-tank missiles launched from Lebanon and Syria incurring IDF casualties.  Israel Hayom reported on January 28, 2014, “Hezbollah missile hits IDF vehicle; casualties feared”:

Overnight, IAF struck several military targets in Syria in response to four rockets fired from Syria into Golan Heights on Tuesday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will respond with force against those who try to challenge us.”  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:48 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Herr Schultz Syndrome
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by Richard Butrick (February 2015)


Berlin, 1931. Despite:

Jack-booted Hitler Youth marching through the streets of Berlin smashing in Jewish stores.

Huge  Nazi rallies claiming Aryan supremacy.

Attacks on Synagogues.

Threats to exterminate Jews.

Herr Schultz, an aging Jewish fruit vendor, is convinced that the Brown Shirts and Hitler Youth are just extremist aberrations and that all will return to normal soon.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:43 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Exposing A Radical Jihad Training Network in America: an Interview with Ryan Mauro of The Clarion Project
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by Jerry Gordon (February 2015)


Wall Street Journalist Danny Pearl was on his way to a meeting with Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JF) founder, Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani, a radical Sufi cleric, in Lahore, Pakistan on January 22, 2002. He was on the hunt for al Qaeda connections when he was abducted by four conspirators and allegedly killed by Al Qaeda mastermind of the 9/11 attack, Khaled Sheik Mohammed. As reported by the Georgetown University, Center for Public Integrity, Omar Sheik, a British-educated Pakistani, is in prison for Pearl's kidnapping and murder, as are three accomplices.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:38 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Age of Musterbation
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by G. Murphy Donovan (February 2015)


“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”  - E. R. Murrow

Media icons are often given credit for thoughts that originated with their betters. The “nation of sheep” metaphor is an example. Thomas Jefferson addressed the subject in response to the Federalist Papers, long before Edward R. Murrow. And before that, herd similes might be traced to the Old and New Testaments. William J. Lederer wrote a book on the subject in 1961, a follow up to the best-selling Ugly American (1958).  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:34 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Silence of the Lambs: Kristof and Buruma Put Women in Their Place
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by Lorna Salzman (February 2014)


For writers like Nicholas Kristof and Ian Buruma, it would seem that it is perfectly all right to tolerate "overheated" language in talking of social injustice, provided the speaker is an African-American, because we all deplore the slavery and discrimination which this group has suffered, to the point of assuming the guilt of early American settlers long dead. (The descendants of the Arabs who sent black Africans into slavery do not seem to be burdened with such guilt).  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:30 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Lunch Conquers All, Part 2
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by Theodore Dalrymple (February 2015)


There is no such thing as a free lunch, they say, and perhaps this is so in the abstract: but no doctor really believes it. His personal experience leads him to conclude otherwise: thanks to the pharmaceutical industry there are many free lunches, as there have been for many a long year.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:15 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
An Interview with Professor Richard L. Rubenstein in The World & I, 1991
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The following interview appeared in The World & I in February 1991, twenty four years ago.


W&I: Could you speak on the Jewish­ Islamic issue from the point of view of a Jewish scholar?

RUBENSTEIN: I don't think there is a pecific Jewish-Islamic issue. First, I be­lieve that Islam regards itself as the origi­nal true religion, whose fundamental meaning was revealed by the Prophet Mo­hammad, and that Islam regards both Ju­daism and Christianity as distorted views of the original true religion, so that inevitably Islam has an interpretation of both Judaism and Christianity that nei­ther can accept. Second, I believe that in the history of Christendom there have been three possible and two actual chal­lenges to Christendom. One was Juda­ism. The second was Islam, and the third was atheistic communism. Judaism was not a real challenge to Christendom for the simple reason that the Jews simply were not that culturally influential or numerous for Judaism to be a challenge af­ter Christianity became the religion of the Roman world.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:12 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Israel's Nuclear Strategy: The Importance of Doctrine
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by Louis René Beres (February 2015)


Oddly, perhaps, especially at a time of expanding existential peril, Israel has yet to make any substantive policy disclosures about its nuclear deterrent. To be sure, two former prime ministers, during their respective governing tenures, exhibited substantial “slips of the tongue" on this sensitive issue. Nonetheless, no purposefully explicit or meaningfully nuanced strategic details were ever disclosed by Premiers Shimon Peres or Ehud Olmert. Always, the bomb remained deliberately vague and obscure, still carefully well-hidden in the country's metaphoric "basement."  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 6:09 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Hamas, CAIR, and American Muslims
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by Joseph S. Spoerl (February 2015)


A growing body of literature by capable scholars and investigative journalists has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that most major Islamic organizations in North America and Western Europe are, in one way or another, offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood. By its own admission, Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist movement dedicated to the destruction of Israel, is also a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 5:55 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
The Failure of Pope Francis
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by Rebecca Bynum (February 2015)


If the Pope will not speak for Jesus, who will?

Does not the Papacy exists to represent Christ on earth, to point to him and give the world his words? Yet, on January 15, 2015, just one week after the horrendous massacre of cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, Pope Francis (whose predecessors would certainly have been more circumspect) chose cleverness and personal vanity before his primary pontifical duty. Said the Pope, "one cannot make fun of faith" and that anyone who throws insults can expect a "punch."  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 5:51 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Jihad Attacks in Paris: True & False Notes
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by Nidra Poller (February 2015)


Excerpts from the PROLOGUE, published on January 20th

Message N°1

When you witness an event like this, an expression of collective opinion and determination on a scale never seen in the nation’s history, you can’t simply dismiss it. Of course you can, you are free to dismiss it. But I don’t. And that’s based on what I saw and heard.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 5:48 AM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2015
Chinese Puzzles
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by Theodore Dalrymple (February 2015)


One picture, said Mao Tse-Tung, is worth a thousand words, and in a sense he was right. A thousand words cannot describe adequately your current visual field, or even the tiniest part of it (I don’t think you should even try); but neither can pictures adequately convey what you are able to say in words. We don’t have different faculties for nothing.  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2015 5:46 AM by NER
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