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 Feb. 1, 2006 / 3 Shevat, 5766

Islamism's willing executioners

By Jonah Goldberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three of Maryam Farahat's children died in the process of murdering Israelis. In a recently released video she exhorted her youngest living son, Mohammed, 17, not to come back alive from a mission against the Jews. Indeed, she hopes all three of her remaining sons will die in the process of slaughtering Jews.

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

Farahat isn't merely an unconventional stay-at-home mom. She has a day job. She's one of the Hamas delegates swept into power by an electoral landslide in the Palestinian territories.

I bring this up not to repeat the already-conventional wisdom that this was a victory for terrorism or that Hamas' surprise win offers some sorely missed "clarity" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Rather, the Hamas landslide clarifies another issue. In 1996, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen wrote a hugely controversial book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners." The thesis was straightforward: The German people were in on the Holocaust; German culture and history harbored and nurtured an "exterminationist" version of anti-Semitism that simply awaited ignition from Nazism's torch.

Goldhagen's thesis was overstated but fundamentally accurate. There was something unique to Germany that made fascism genocidal. Around the globe there have been dozens of self-declared fascist movements (and a good deal more that go by different labels), and few of them embraced Nazi-style genocide. Indeed, fascist Spain was a haven for Jews during the Holocaust.

Goldhagen's book was immensely controversial in Germany, where an odd cult of victimhood had settled in. According to this view, Germany was in effect "occupied" by the Nazis, and the German people were victims, too. Obviously, this is a very convenient interpretation for a country understandably desperate to distance itself from the Holocaust and various brutal military adventures.

But variations of the don't-blame-the-people thesis have been around for a long time far outside of Germany. Democracy can be wonderful, but some of its boosters across the ideological spectrum assume that all democratic outcomes are good outcomes, and that's nonsense. Also, the left historically has located political morality in the interests and desires of the masses, therefore it is heretical to blame "the people" for evil deeds. Causes must be "hijacked" by small cabals of bad guys.

The classic Marxist definition of fascism, put forward in 1935 by Georgi Dimitroff, holds that fascism is "the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital." This notion that the Nazis were the fighting brigade of the rich and powerful has had a remarkable shelf life. The only problem, as countless scholars have demonstrated over the years, is that this isn't true. Nazism was a popular movement that crossed all class and regional lines in Germany. Hitler was hardly a tool of the rich, and to the extent he was helped by a few wealthy individuals, the fact remains that the Nazis achieved their electoral success by portraying themselves as defenders of the little guy and of national pride.

Today, various pragmatists, optimists and apologists for the Palestinians say they weren't voting for mass murder and terror, but for honest government and efficient social services. Fatah, the "party" of that terrorist carbuncle Yasser Arafat, was corrupt and incompetent while Hamas has successfully delivered much-needed social services. Hamas ran on "change and reform," proclaim the apologists, not terrorism. Fine, but that was equally true of the Nazis, who traded soup kitchens for indoctrination. Fascist movements have always gained popularity by delivering for the needy, the forgotten and the left out. They have always captured the imagination of the middle class by promising to reform the government, root out corruption, make the trains run on time. And fascist movements have always promised, as Hamas has, to bring about a moral and national restoration.

The overnight nostalgia for Fatah is, of course, laughable. It hardly governed as a party of peace, democracy and secularism. But looked at through the eyes of many Palestinians, it probably looked a lot like the Weimar government did to many Germans: institutionally corrupt, ineffective and tainted by humiliating concessions to foreign powers and occupiers. (People forget how much the League of Nations carved up Germany — and how much it rankled Germans).

There are serious differences between German or Italian fascism and Hamas' Islamism. But these are largely intellectual and academic distinctions. As a social phenomenon, the Palestinians voted for politicians such as Mrs. Farahat. She belongs to a brutal, terroristic, irredentist, militant organization dedicated to restoring national pride at the expense of exterminating millions of people, who just happen to be Jews. This was no secret, and it is a form of condescension bordering on infantilism to assert that the Palestinians didn't know what they were voting for. If the new government had the means, it would be Palestine's willing executioners.

Recognizing this fact doesn't automatically mean we should treat the Palestinians like cartoon villains who can never change. That's as foolish as assuming they didn't know what they were getting when they cast a ballot for Mrs. Farahat.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com 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.

To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006, TMS