In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 24, 2003 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Islam's consistency with democracy

By Diana West

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article | No doubt President Bush's Whitehall speech will be remembered for its "three pillars" — Bush's metaphorical framework for the peace and security of free nations. Maybe more significant, however, are the two "Ifs."

If No. 1: "If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export," Bush said. "As we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life."

If No. 2: "If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source."

The two "Ifs" take us to a crossroads, staring down uncharted paths through what I take to be our relationship with the Islamic world. After all, the only non-Islamic country in the Middle East, Israel, long ago joined the "democratic revolution" Bush invoked. (The president himself indicated the Islamic-ness of his two conditions when, soon after stating them, he noted, critically, "We're told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture.")

If No. 2, obviously, is the preferred destination for all nations resting on Bush's three pillars. But how to get there from here, and how to avoid the blind alleys along the way?

According to Bush, "the most helpful" action "is to change our own thinking" — namely, to change what he called "a certain skepticism about the capacity or even the desire of Middle Eastern peoples for self-government." As he put it, "It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty. It is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it."

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This rather muscular line drew applause, bulging as it does with an infectious vigor. Still, as someone unconvinced that Islam is consistent with "democratic culture" — if democratic culture includes freedom of worship, freedom of speech, and equality of men and women before the law — I would say the concern is not so much that "Middle Eastern peoples" are incapable of self-government, but rather that the governments they would likely form would little resemble the kinds of democracies that now coexist, finally, in peace and relative harmony.

Why? The president talked about a "freedom deficit" in the Middle East that has denied nations "the progress of our time." Such a "deficit" refers to a range of freedoms — democratic culture — that is conspicuously lacking in Muslim lands. But more than a freedom deficit divides Islam from the West. In the absence of freedom, a noxious culture of anti-Jewish and anti-American hatred and delusion has become deeply entrenched, encouraged, nurtured and fueled by governments, mosques, state-run media, and school systems.

The ministry of education in the Palestinian Authority encourages this culture of hatred and delusion when it produces, for example, a new textbook urging jihad and martyrdom onto 11th-graders. Hezbollah satellite television (available worldwide) nurtures it when, as during this Ramadan season, it broadcasts a 30-part, Syrian-produced exercise in anti-Semitism called "Diaspora" for the holidays. One episode, partly translated (along with a video clip) at, depicts a group of rabbis and other Jews engaged in the act of ritual murder.

(Head rabbi to accomplices: "You, pour lead in his mouth. You, stab his body with a knife before the lead kills him ... ."). Al Riyadh newspaper — also according to — fuels it by fantastically attributing Islamic terrorism to Israel, declaring that "Mossad agents recruit young Arabs to act as Islamists in order to shake the faith and social foundation of the Middle East." This sanity-challenged theme has endless variations, dating back to reports across the Muslim world of joint Mossad-CIA complicity in the attacks of 9/11. A secret ballot can do a lot for the freedom deficit, but something more drastic is needed to plug the reality gap.

Something more drastic, of course, has taken place in Iraq, where as the president also noted, 150 free newspapers now circulate, textbooks are propaganda-free, and incitement-as-government-policy has ended. But laying this groundwork for democracy has cost us greatly, requiring far more than merely "changing our own thinking." Even so, now that Saddam Hussein is gone, everyone's thinking about what's possible in the Middle East has changed. Will it evolve from a place where freedom doesn't flourish to a place where democratic culture takes root? The answer is unclear.

What is clear is that any change for the better requires the end of state-sponsored incitement in the Muslim kingdoms and dictatorships of the Middle East — in the media, in the textbooks and in the mosques.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

© 2003, Diana West