"Walt and Mearsheimer are careful to say they are not anti-Semitic or conspiracy-minded. But their main inference — that Israel, the Israel lobby and Jewish neoconservatives called the shots for Bush, Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld — is not only rubbish, it is dangerous rubbish. As “mainstream” scholars, Walt and Mearsheimer cannot avoid the historical pedigree of this kind of charge. Every generation has seen accusations that Jews have dual loyalties, promote war and secretly control political structures.
These academics may not follow their claims all the way to anti-Semitism. But this is the way it begins. This is the way it always begins."
Three years ago the [Azerbaijan] government, concerned about the influence of neighboring Iran and the spread of local madrassas, decided to close all the private schools in the country. This, of course, included the Jewish school in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. The community elders petitioned the government, but to no avail.
“They even tried to get American Jewish organizations to intervene,” Leviev recalled. “But the Jewish organizations couldn’t do a thing.” He smiled thinly. He has a generally low opinion of American Jewish activists, especially his fellow billionaires.
And so Leviev decided to ride to the rescue. He flew to Baku on his private plane, parked at the airport and went straight to the synagogue.
“The Jews were all gathered there,” he recounted in what is obviously a favorite story. “I told them to wait while I talked to the president.” At the time, that was Heydar Aliyev. “There were journalists in his outer office. Everyone was excited to see me there, because they thought I had come to invest money in the country. Heydar thought so, too. He said: ‘Just tell me what you’re interested in — oil? Gas? Tourism? What can I do for you?’
“I asked him, ‘How can I invest in a country that doesn’t like Jews?’ Heydar got very upset when I said that. He began telling me how many Jewish friends he had and how much the Jews had contributed to his culture and the country and so on.
“ ‘But you’re closing down the Jewish school,’ I told him. ‘I’ve come to ask you to allow it to remain open. Right now the Jews of Baku are gathered in the synagogue, awaiting your answer.’ ”
Leviev paused at this point in the story. Dramatic tales of peril and salvation are part of the Chabad oral tradition.
“Heydar consulted his advisers,” Leviev said. “Then he returned to me and said: ‘The school can remain open. All right?’
“I told him: ‘Well, there’s another problem. The Jewish institutions here are in bad shape. Can you arrange for me to acquire a plot of land to rebuild?’
“ ‘Yes,’ said Heydar. ‘Is that all?’
“ ‘Not quite. I’d appreciate it if you would personally open the school next year. That way there will be no misunderstandings about what the government’s position is.’
“Heydar said: ‘I’ll do that. Are you satisfied now?’
“I told him: ‘Just one last thing, sir. Those journalists in your outer office? Would you mind announcing our agreement to them?’ ”
After Aliyev’s press conference, Leviev remembers returning triumphantly to the synagogue to deliver the good news. Shortly thereafter, Aliyev died and was succeeded by his son, with whom Leviev is on friendly terms.
“And did you invest after that?” I asked.
Leviev smiled. “No,” he said. “Azerbaijan has so many natural resources they don’t need my investment. But I told them that they would get a blessing from God.”
A professor dying of cancer delivers his last lecture.
From Moving On by Jeff Zaslow (Wall Street Journal Online):
Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.
He motioned to them to sit down. "Make me earn it," he said.
They had come to see him give what was billed as his "last lecture." This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?
It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O'Connor recently titled her lecture "Get Over Yourself." At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled "Desire," spoke about sex and technology.
At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.
The greatest threat to the Jews and the civilized world today, Iran's President Ahmadinejad, is coming to New York, and civilized folks are rushing to honor him with speaking engagements. Columbia University was the first. Then the National Press Club. No doubt others will be issuing flattering invitations.
This is nothing new for Columbia University. Back in the dark days of Nazi Germany, they gave the VIP treatment to Hitler's ambassador.
Seventy years before this week’s invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Columbia rolled out the red carpet for a senior official of Adolf Hitler’s regime. The invitation to Iran’s leader may seem less surprising, but no less disturbing, when one recalls that in 1933, Columbia president Nicholas Murray Butler invited Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Hans Luther, to speak on campus, and also hosted a reception for him. Luther represented “the government of a friendly people,” Butler insisted. He was “entitled to be received ... with the greatest courtesy and respect.” Ambassador Luther’s speech focused on what he characterized as Hitler’s peaceful intentions. Students who criticized the Luther invitation were derided as “ill-mannered children” by the director of Columbia’s Institute of Arts and Sciences.
Columbia also insisted on maintaining friendly relations with Nazi-controlled German universities. While Williams College terminated its program of student exchanges with Nazi Germany, Columbia and other universities declined to do likewise. Columbia refused to pull out even after a German official candidly asserted that his country’s students were being sent abroad to serve as “political soldiers of the Reich.”
In 1936, the Columbia administration announced it would send a delegate to Nazi Germany to take part in the 550th anniversary celebration of the University of Heidelberg. This, despite the fact that Heidelberg already had been purged of Jewish faculty members, instituted a Nazi curriculum, and hosted a burning of books by Jewish authors. Prof. Arthur Remy, who served as Columbia’s delegate to the Heidelberg event, later remarked that the reception at which chief book-burner Josef Goebbels presided was “very enjoyable.”
MEMRI has a video of one of Ahmadinejad's latest rants, given on Iranian TV on August 28, 2007. Here's an excerpt:
In principle, the Zionists lack any religion. They are lying when they say that they are Jews. They have no religion. They are against religion, because religion means friendship, brotherhood, peace, and justice. Religion means to respect the divine prophets. Note this. Religion means to respect others. It means friendship between peoples. Note that wherever the Zionists are, there is war, and wherever there is war, they are the ones behind it. As a matter of fact, if you examine American society, you will see that they oppress the Americans. They oppress the Europeans, even though they are a minority. They infiltrated in an organized manner... No more than 10,000 of them are part of the organization, and the rest just follow them.
...Therefore, because the Zionists have no religion, I strongly suspect that they are behind [the Swedish cartoon], and that they want to embarrass the Europeans, and make the European governments face a challenge. They want to instigate a war, because war is the essence of their existence. If the world is calm, the people of Europe the Germans... If the world is calm, they will eradicate the Zionists. I’m convinced of this. Do you know how many messages I get from Germans every day? They have an aversion to the Zionists. The Zionists humiliated the German people very much. But the Zionists are in control. The moment the world is calm and people can express their views, you will see that they will drive them out of Europe. The people of Europe themselves will drive them out. The [Zionists] do not want such a thing to happen, and that’s why they instigate new turmoil every day.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, traveled to Iran this week to take a front row seat and listen attentively to Holocaust-denier Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The occasion was billed as a human-rights meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), currently chaired by Cuba.
While Arbour was hobnobbing with anti-Semites, butchers, and anti-democratic forces from around the world, Iranians were being prepared for public hangings. Arbour was reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency as having “expressed pleasure with being at the NAM meeting and described Iran’s representation office in the U.N. in Geneva as ‘very good.’”
...The day after Arbour left Iran the government felt sufficiently buoyed by their U.N. stamp of approval, that they executed 21 prisoners. People are executed in Iran for charges like “enmity against God” or “being corrupt on earth.”
...Arbour’s visit occurred at a time when suppression in Iran is brutal and the numbers of opponents of the regime hanged both in public and in prisons is increasing. It also took place in spite of Iran’s refusal to cooperate with many of the U.N.’s own human-rights investigators, who have sought entry into the country for many years. Arbour’s visit was kept a little-known secret. According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, as soon as she arrived in Tehran members of families of political prisoners and those on death row, tried to contact her, some rushing to Tehran for the mere chance to see the U.N. chief on human rights, and to deliver their personal appeals. But after spending an hour outside the U.N. building in the hopes of meeting her, they were attacked by the State Security Forces (SSF).