A Brief Layover

Schweiz.jpg

I’ve got a few minutes to check email and delete spam while waiting for a connecting flight in the Zürich International Airport. Very clean. Very tidy. Very expensive. Very Swiss.

Among the emails were three about a recent junket to Malaysia, one of which included this repulsive image of a notorious Jew-baiter (Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad) and one of his fervent admirers, Eric Garris of antiwar.com:
mahathir-garris.jpg
It’s remarkable that Mahathir Mohammad didn’t jail his other admirer, Justin Raimondo (seen in the background), while Raimondo was in Malaysia at the invitation of the country’s leaders. In Raimondo’s case, the charges wouldn’t even have to be trumped up, as they were in the case of Anwar Ibrahim, who was jailed by Mohammad on phony charges of sodomy. (I recently had the honor of meeting Anwar Ibrahim, a remarkable scholar and a strong fighter for freedom, at a Cato Institute event.)

Ugh.



35 Responses to “A Brief Layover”

  1. Tom G. Palmer

    Anthony,
    What do you mean “If he’s a Jew-baiter”? Have you read his speeches? If that’s not Jew-baiting, nothing could be.

    Now, to the rest of your comment: If someone you’ve identified as Jewish hangs out with a person who shouts his anti-Semitism for all the world to hear, it does not follow that the person who made the anti-Semitic statements is not an anti-Semite. What’s not to understand about that? By that logic, just because Justin Raimondo is gay and was eager to meet with Mahathir Mohammad (or, as he they reverently call their host, “Former Malaysian PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, Perdana Chairman”), it would follow that Mahathir Mohammad did not put Anwar Ibrahim in prison on charges of sodomy. But he is an anti-Semite and he did put a rival in prison on trumped up charges of homosexuality. So what’s your point? Is it one that can be stated in a coherent and defensible manner?

  2. damian young

    You have praised the Ayatollah Sistani, whose views on homosexuality and Israel are indistinguishable from Mahathir’s. When you went to Iraq, to support the government there, were you endorsing the Shi’ite government’s views on these matters? How are Jews treated in “liberated” Iraq? As for Mahathir’s “Jew-bating,” I would refer you to this column by Paul Krugman:

    http://www.pkarchive.org/column/102103.html

    It’s a lot easier to be a Jew in Malaysia, where shariah law applies only to Muslims, than in “free” Iraq, where it applies to everyone. And there are no Islamic death squads in Malaysia — whereas in Iraq, they roam the streets, killing Sunnis and other “unbelievers.” Oh, I forgot, you deny the death squads exist.

  3. Tom G. Palmer

    Let’s see now….Paul Krugman says that Mahathir is not an anti-Semite, he just bashes Jews when he needs a scapegoat. And it was in support of a policy — capital controls — that Krugman supported (mainly because other people, whom Krugman hates, opposed it). So relax about the anti-Semitism; it’s just a tactic to hold on to power! Okaaaayyy.

    Regarding Mr. Young’s sputtering about Iraq and Mr. al Sistani. A) He must be thinking of someone else going to Iraq “to support the government there,” since I went to give lectures at universities, get books translated, and address and meet with members of parliament in support of pluralism, capitalism, toleration, the separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and all those other trappings of good government. But if encouraging people to be tolerant, law governed, and respectful of others is what Mr. Young means by “supporting the government there,” he can have it his way. Whatever. B) I rather doubt that Messrs. Garris or Raimondo (the latter of whom, at least, is himself rather well known for his views on secret cabals of powerful Jews pulling strings behind the scenes, even alleging advance knowledge of the details of the September 11 attacks in New York and the July 7 attacks in London) took up the issue of anti-Semitism with their host, who was evidently treating them rather well during their stay. C) Mr. Young’s juvenile insistence that by stating that Shi’ite death squads do not roam over all of Iraq (they are notably absent in Kurdistan, to which I was referring in an earlier post) I am denying that “the death squads exist” is of a piece with the kind of rhetoric coming from the antiwar.com corner. (Yes, payback squads do exist and do terrorize innocents and are an evil that Iraqis have to confront, most notably in the central and southern portions of the country.) And Jews have little freedom in Iraq today, but that has been true for a rather long time; one might hope that, in some parts of the country, at least, that could change (and it is changing in, again, Kurdistan). I have no idea who Mr. Young is, but I hope that someday he will realize that a conversation involves acknowledging what another person has actually said, rather than creating a caricature of his views and attributing them to him. (That’s why it’s easy to be critical of Mr. Raimondo; his actual views are so bizarre, so over the top, and so exaggerated that there is not even any temptation to fabricate a caricature. The bigger problem is getting people to believe that he actually does believe what he has written, since it’s often so utterly unhinged.) D) Finally, Messrs. Garris and Raimondo met with the person who actually did order the arrest and imprisonment of his opponents, not with anyone who opposed Mahathir’s authoritarianism. One is often judged by the character of one’s friends.

  4. ** Note: I wrote this in response to Tom’s first reply to my first comment, but I had problems posting it through the browser until now. **

    I suppose my point is, what’s your point? Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo went to Malaysia and met with a large number of antiwar speakers. You say the former Prime Minister there — who was indeed largely involved in the conference’s organization, so far as I know — has nasty views and his government did nasty things. But is your point
    not to criticize Eric and Justin for associating with this politician? Is it not to imply that the character of the politician might have some relevance in understanding the character of Eric and Justin? I mentioned Eric being Jewish in case someone out there reading your blog got the wrong impression about Eric from your post, and thought that anti-Jewish beliefs were somehow significant in the meeting between Eric and the former Prime Minister. I mentioned it just so people wouldn’t automatically assume that Eric is himself anti-Jewish. (I know that it’s not a logical impossibility to be both Jewish and anti-Semitic, but such a combination is probably, I am guessing, seen by most as not especially common, especially if all they are told about the person in question is that he shook the hand of an anti-Semite.)

    Tom, you and many other libertarian scholars and advocates have on many occasions associated with politicians both in America and abroad, at conferences and other events at which the main focus was to discuss and better understand a crucial issue. Most of these politicians had at least some horrifying collectivist views, and had positions of power in governments that engaged in atrocious policy that they supported. Nearly any member of the American Congress, for example, believes that illicit drug users, illegal gun owners and other peaceful enemies of the state do not have the basic human rights to liberty and property, and many of those politicians have pushed through policies that have contributed to the caging of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Many of those politicians also support the murderous war machine. Does that mean that merely meeting with them at a conference is some sort of endorsement of their horrible views and authoritarian policies?

    You’ve met with members of the Iraqi parliament. Are all of them opposed in principle to laws against sodomy? I doubt it. I am not in any sense trying to downplay the pure evil of such victimless crime laws, but the former Prime Minister of Malaysia is hardly alone in his views and political history as someone with whom libertarians might find themselves meeting productively even as they disagree strongly with their views. It is not as though Eric Garris actually supported or promoted any of the deplorable policies or the rule of the Malaysian government at all.

    You said that Eric Garris is a “fervent admirer” of Mahathir Mohammad. On what basis did you say that? For what purpose Do you think that whatever bad views and political acts for which Mohammed is responsible have a particular relevance in assessing the nature of Antiwar.com, a target you have critiqued on numerous occasions before?

  5. Anthony Gregory

    ** Note: I wrote this in response to Tom’s first reply to my first comment, but I had problems posting it through the browser until now. **

    I suppose my point is, what’s your point? Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo went to Malaysia and met with a large number of antiwar speakers. You say the former Prime Minister there — who was indeed largely involved in the conference’s organization, so far as I know — has nasty views and his government did nasty things. But is your point
    not to criticize Eric and Justin for associating with this politician? Is it not to imply that the character of the politician might have some relevance in understanding the character of Eric and Justin? I mentioned Eric being Jewish in case someone out there reading your blog got the wrong impression about Eric from your post, and thought that anti-Jewish beliefs were somehow significant in the meeting between Eric and the former Prime Minister. I mentioned it just so people wouldn’t automatically assume that Eric is himself anti-Jewish. (I know that it’s not a logical impossibility to be both Jewish and anti-Semitic, but such a combination is probably, I am guessing, seen by most as not especially common, especially if all they are told about the person in question is that he shook the hand of an anti-Semite.)

    Tom, you and many other libertarian scholars and advocates have on many occasions associated with politicians both in America and abroad, at conferences and other events at which the main focus was to discuss and better understand a crucial issue. Most of these politicians had at least some horrifying collectivist views, and had positions of power in governments that engaged in atrocious policy that they supported. Nearly any member of the American Congress, for example, believes that illicit drug users, illegal gun owners and other peaceful enemies of the state do not have the basic human rights to liberty and property, and many of those politicians have pushed through policies that have contributed to the caging of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Many of those politicians also support the murderous war machine. Does that mean that merely meeting with them at a conference is some sort of endorsement of their horrible views and authoritarian policies?

    You’ve met with members of the Iraqi parliament. Are all of them opposed in principle to laws against sodomy? I doubt it. I am not in any sense trying to downplay the pure evil of such victimless crime laws, but the former Prime Minister of Malaysia is hardly alone in his views and political history as someone with whom libertarians might find themselves meeting productively even as they disagree strongly with their views. It is not as though Eric Garris actually supported or promoted any of the deplorable policies or the rule of the Malaysian government at all.

    You said that Eric Garris is a “fervent admirer” of Mahathir Mohammad. On what basis did you say that? For what purpose Do you think that whatever bad views and political acts for which Mohammed is responsible have a particular relevance in assessing the nature of Antiwar.com, a target you have critiqued on numerous occasions before?

  6. http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2003-12-10/news/feature.html Here’s an intimate look at the inner workings of the Antiwar.com funhouse–must reading for anyone who considers either Raimondo or Eric “Mullet” Garris to be anything but a couple of fringe-lunatic clowns.

    http://antiprotester.blogspot.com/2005/11/suspended-high-school-teacher-declares.html Here’s an article detailing the nasty piece of work Raimondo truly is.

    Raimondo, Garris and their anti-Israel, anti-Jew, anti-U.S. Antiwar.com operation are worthy of nothing but derision and complete disrespect.

  7. “I had some concerns about former Prime Minister Mahathir, but then I read this Paul Krugman column and my fears were somewhat allayed. Upon meeting Dr. Mahathir, whatever reservations remained were put completely to rest: the man seems to emanate benevolence and great gentleness, almost an aura of serenity, like some sort of Buddhist guru.” — Justin Raimondo
    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8300

  8. Here’s the hyper-intellectual planaria Raimondo revealing the deep love of country that only a genuine patriot like him could have: From his patriotic masterpiece, Hiroshima Mon Amour:

    The great horror is that this heinous deed [the nuking of Hiroshima] was committed against Japan, a civilization as far removed from our own as the streets of New York are from the African savannas. It’s at times like these that I tend to believe the wrong side won the war in the Pacific…All in all, life would be far more civilized, imbued with a gentility that would make the New York Post an impossibility.[had Imperial Japan defeated the U.S. in WWII]

    The fine mind of Raimondo is so crammed full of stratospheric thought, that it cannot possibly trifle itself with minor historical details like the Rape of Nanking, Kamikazes or the Bataan Death March, to name a few.

    Again, Raimondo should be mocked and vilified–not seriously debated.

    Libertarianism is an honorable philosophy. Associating it with Justin Raimondo, “Mullet” Garris and Antiwar.com does nothing but blacken it.

  9. Anthony brings up some good points to which both sides of this libertarian civil war are guilty. I am no more willing to project the totality of Vladimir Putin’s on views and actions of the murderous Vladimir Putin onto any Cato scholar, than I am willing to project the totality of Mahathir’s views on Raimondo and Garris. The problem is that a significant majority of politicians everywhere under every state are crooked in their ideas, actions, or both.

    As to Tom’s adventures in Iraq, I would be interested to see his universal quest for liberty in the Middle East to be a little more universal. While it is true that Iraq, Iran, Saudi, and Pakistan are Islamic totalitarian stongholds; I would be interested in more libertarians addressing the socialist nightmare that is the Israeli government. Their entire economy is codependent on the US taxpayer with a huge percentage of their GDP (C+I+G+NE) coming from G. Their governmental policies are entirely anti-property and anti-market which is not only problematic for Palestinians but also for Israeli nationals as well.

    I’d love to see Tom, and Cato in particular apply a consistent critique of statism throughout the Middle East. Yes, Pakistan is a horrific nightmare, but you know what? So is Israel. Mahathir is wrong to state that a small number of Jews control the world (this is an anti-Semetic exageration), but he is correct in criticizing US, British, and Israeli policy which has been a socialist tragedy from the beginning with the British creation of Iraq, the Balfour declaration to the Prison Wall, and now the 2nd Iraq war (the notion that criticizing the State of Israel is Anti-Semetic does not necessarily follow).

  10. Tom G. Palmer

    Well, interesting comments all. Teddy has cited some of the fawning comments from Mr. Raimondo about Mahathir, which were reminiscent of his starry eyed remarks about Vladimir Putin. Mr. Garris doesn’t write as much as Mr. Raimondo (it’s not clear whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing), so there’s less written evidence of his views on anything. But Mr. Raimondo, who swooned in Mahathir’s presence, notes that he was convinced to accept the invitation of the “former” strongman of Malaysia by … Mr. Garris, who is clearly quite happy to be associated with Mahathir. That sounds pretty fervent to me. But if fervent is too strong, how about just strongly supportive, or taken in, or even dewey eyed? It’s a lesson about the dangers of power; it’s very seductive and for Messrs. Garris and Raimondo (henceforth “G&R”), especially so when the wielder of that power is such a strong Jew-basher and an illiberal promoter of anti-Americanism.

    Now one thing that’s remarkable about Messrs. G & R is how apoplectic they get about other people travelling on their own nickels to Iraq (and at substantial personal expense, in addition to funds from private organizations) and then accept an obvious boondoggle/junket from the “Former Malaysian PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, Perdana Chairman,” as if the funds had not originated in the exercise of state power. But more than that, they are eager to be associated with a deeply illiberal authoritarian personality; not merely to meet with him, or to make a common cause when he’s on the right track, or to gently try to persuade him to change his views or policies, but to give him California-style hug and embrace him as someone who “seems to emanate benevolence and great gentleness, almost an aura of serenity, like some sort of Buddhist guru.” Yeesshhh…. As soon as power appears with an anti-American face, guess who rushes to embrace it. The two make for an irresistible attraction for some people. But not, it should be obvious, for libertarians. You can finish the syllogism.

  11. Tom G. Palmer

    Mr. Khan makes some interesting points. A few quick notes before I have to run – A) I think that you’ll find Cato scholars and our Russian libertarian friends have been critical to Putin when he’s wrong (e.g., Chechnya, a war that Raimondo has enthusiastically supported, and intimidation of the press) and during the one meeting of Cato speakers with Mr. Putin, he got an earful on those issues and more. Mr. Raimondo (and Mr. Rockwell and his crew) praise Putin for his worst and most anti-libertarian policies (Chechnya and the clamp down on human rights groups, which Rockwell & Co. enthusiastically endorsed), not for his best (e.g., replacing a remarkably complex and brutally and arbitrarily enforced tax system with the flat tax). And the gushing remarks about Mahathir (and about Putin) from Mr. Raimondo would be a cause of great embarrassment to anyone with any appreciable degree of self consciousness.

    As to Israel, yes, I oppose many policies of the Israeli state. And? There are libertarians in Israel, robust debates there over the powers of government (and the exercise of those powers), and a free press that can report on those debates. That’s not generally true of the Arab world (well, a notable exception is Iraq, which has generated a rather robustly free press, albeit partly because no faction has yet established its control; it’s also a good opportunity to explain the benefits of a free press where you actually have a fairly good approximation of one). Is the suggestion that, if I go to Iraq, I have also to go to every country that has gone through (and is still experiencing) a war? Or that one shouldn’t go to a place where the U.S. government has invaded to overthrow the regime? (So no trips to Germany, Japan, and Italy?) Am I obligated to parachute into North Korea? Another commentator on another posting suggested that I should only go to those places in Iraq where the security is the worst and where I would be at greatest danger, so as to avoid the slightest chance that I might be an indirect recipient of U.S. taxpayer provided security. On that logic, one should only walk down dark alleys in U.S. cities, so as to avoid the possibility that a policeman might come to one’s assistance if one were to be attacked.

    Mr. Khan’s response simply makes little sense to me. Yes, by all means call for an end to U.S. taxpayer subsidies to Israel. But do also notice that, judged by the standards of the region, Israelis — including Israeli Arabs — enjoy a remarkable degree of personal liberty, including economic liberty. That also might explain the relatively greater prosperity of the country.

    I’ve never been a “Zionist” or an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, but I do wonder about the special animus some people have against Israel. Is it because they set up higher standards and then fail to meet them? That could be, but at least the higher standards are there by which the regime’s policies can be judged to fall short.

    And so we are left with the following: what are we to conclude about people who are eagerly enthusiastic about foreign governmental leaders when they are bitterly anti-Semitic and anti-American, and willing to gloss over their illiberal or even tyranical policies?

  12. On perusing its website, the ‘Perdana Peace Forum’ seems little more than an excuse for more US bashing and the proliferation of collectivist ideas.

    As Mr. Galloway, the flaunted British MP said:

    “Religions are not the problem in the world. Great religions outlaw killing, greed and exploitation.”

    Further: “Like Dr Mahathir, Galloway, who is known for his vigorous campaign to overturn economic sanctions against Iraq before its invasion, called for the world to fight against the US dollar hegemony and replace it with the Euro currency.”

    http://www.perdana4peace.org/media_pgpf_44.html

    More clues can be taken from Dr Mahathir’s keynote address:

    http://www.perdana4peace.org/pdf/peace%20forum%20speech15122005.pdf

    This speech is blatant America villification, littered with references to Iraq, Palestine and Israel. No mention of places like Chechnya, Tibet or Bosnia. WWII is used as well, but we only hear about Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not London, Pearl Harbor or Auschwitz. With all his talk about WWII, he only mentions the holocaust once:

    “During the Holocaust in Germany doctors abused their knowledge and tortured their patients. We condemn them. But are the scientists who develop diabolical weapons for mass killings any better. They need to ask their conscience. They need to ask whether they should not come together to campaign for peace, against war.”

    Dr Mahathir claims to have no hidden agenda, but his keynote address calls specifically for a strong world government, complete with legislative, judicial and executive powers. His main obstacle to this bleary-eyed vision is, you guessed it:

    “when the Cold War was over, there emerged one super power which was also one of the main
    promoters of the UN but which now regards the UN as irrelevant and a hindrance. Indeed if
    the UN gets in its way, it would simply be swept aside. ”

    Of course, the concern is not only with peace, but also a scattering of other, more vague concerns such as the environment:

    “Today many countries, including Malaysia have Ministers of Environment. World leaders discussed the environment in Rio de Janeiro and the Kyoto Protocols have been formulated and acceded to by most countries”

    Note the thinly veiled reference to the US opposition to the brain-dead Kyoto protocol.

    As “Anthony Gregory” implies, one can be a libertarian and go to such a conference, but if one returns and posts unabashed praises on ones website, as Garrish and Justin Raimondo has done, then one has no credibility.

    It gets real hilarious when Justin Raimondo writes:

    “I have to say that there was none of the crude anti-Americanism at the conference that one has — sadly — come to expect at gatherings of antiwar activists. Eric and I made a point of linking the cause of peace to the cause of free markets at every opportunity, a viewpoint that was especially appreciated by the conference organizers.”

    The word that comes foremest to mind is ‘unhinged.’

  13. I think Tom is professionally blinded to Mr. Khan’s points about Israel. Let’s assume per arguendo that Israel IS more free than other states in the region, and not, for example, a socialist-oriented state that has massively violated property rights of Palestinians. Let’s assume it is not a multi-tiered society similar to South Africa before the end of apartheid, with European Jews holding down Oriental Jews, who nonetheless are politically privileged over non-Jewish Arab Israeli citizens. Let’s assume that, as Tom describes it, Israel is a generally freedom-oriented country that works to treat its citizens equally and with due process, but that, like other states, has transgressed against rights and, like other states, deserves to be called on it when that occurs.

    So what has Tom written on that? What has Cato written on that? Have I missed the Policy papers objecting to Israel’s condoning of, and engaging in, torture prior to (and, some say, after) the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling, in the late 1990s, the established policies allowing torture had to end? Have there been Cato forums discussing the objectionable land grabs used to move Palestinians off coveted land so it could be transferred to new Israeli citizens? Have I missed the Cato dispatches deploring the obvious violations of civil liberties that have occurred during Israeli occupations of the West Bank…the, for example, “killing for sport” of Palestinian children engaged in by Israeli soldiers, as described by Harper’s journalist Chris Hedges? Have I simply missed the Cato Letter calling for Mr. Sharon to “tear down that wall.”?

    Cato has taken on Russian policies, the policies of Arab governments, European policies, and American policies. Please, Tom, link me to Cato opposition to the policies of the government that you rightly note is quite prosperous by Middle Eas standards, though some would suggest that relates more to the massive subsidies provided by American taxpayers, far greater than that given to any other country, rather than its economic policies, which could hardly be called “free market”.

    I am not unrealistic. I realize Cato exists courtesy of voluntary donations and that there are significant risks in aggressively opposing Israeli actions. Donations may decrease, one will be labeled anti-semitic; the repercussions are real. I’m old enough to remember what happened when Cato innocently published some work by Harry Elmer Barnes.

    But I must object when, given this obvious assymetry, my old friend responds to Mr. Khan’s quest for some fair-handedness with a not-so-subtle suggestion that “special animus” (read: antisemitism) must account for anyone to dare raise that issue.

  14. “Please, Tom, link me to Cato opposition to the policies of the government that you rightly note is quite prosperous by Middle Eas standards…”

    I’m not Tom, but I did find off a quick Google search. And this.”>https://www.cato.org/dailys/06-04-02.html”>this.

    Isn’t it possible that, after taking on “the policies of Arab governments, European policies, and American policies,” Cato doesn’t have a lot of time left for Israel? I’m no Likudite, but Israel’s Arab citizens have it much better off — politically and economically (in terms of freedom, not necessarily, at this point, results) — than other Arabs and many Europeans.

  15. Ross Levatter

    First, my apologies for posting a relatively long and potentially contentious piece and inadvertantly leaving my name off it.

    Second, it is clear that Lowell is not Tom, because Tom would recognize that neither of the pieces Lowell cites do anything toward meeting my point. One is an opinion piece by Doug Bandow that criticizes American politicians kowtowing to religious special interests that only incidentally mentions Israel, while the other is an opinion piece discussing recent events in Iran. I was hopeful for something like a Cato policy analysis opposing, for example, Israel’s absentee property law that allows confiscation of people’s property after they leave, even if forced off by the government or even if leaving to escape violence. Or perhaps a piece opposing Israel’s “collective guilt” policy of bulldozing whole neighborhoods to round up one alleged terrorist.

    Lowell must wonder why, if Israel is such a better place to live for Arabs than the rest of the Middle East, more Arabs don’t try to live there. Is it Lowell’s opinion that Israeli marketing should be “Israel: The Place Arabs Most Want to Live, If Only We Let Them”? We have people sneaking into America for a better life all the time. Yet I’ve never heard of a mass exodus of Arabs trying to move peacefully into Israel from Syria or Egypt. I believe Prime Minister Botha was fond of remarking how much better off blacks were in South Africa than in other African countries…fortunately we were able to recognize that, despite a germ of truth in the claim, it was largely propaganda.

  16. Ross: “[I]t is clear that Lowell is not Tom…” Is this failed sarcasm or are you just trying to impugn my intelligence?

    In any event, your rather hostile tone is not necessary. I’m not here to debate the merits of Israel — surely aspects of that government are objectionable, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water — just to point out:

    1) Isreal isn’t not a “horrific nightmare,” contra Casey Khan, on par with Pakistan.

    2) The proposition that “a small number of Jews control the world” is not an “exaggeration,” but is so patently false as to be inherently anti-Semitic.

    3) Cato has written some, albeit not in much detail, about Israel.

    4) Cato has no obligation to write about Israel. It’s division of labor — other centers of thought can and do take care of that, while Cato focuses more on “the policies of Arab governments, European policies, and American policies.” The fact that the institute doesn’t often discuss Israel may or may not demonstrate tacit approval of its “prison wall” — now THERE’S an exaggeration — I don’t know.

  17. Just a brief response to Lowell, as it is not my desire to turn Tom’s blog into a personal diatribe:

    1. I’ll leave it for the reader to determine whether or not Lowell’s proffered links given in response to a request of mine in fact met the point of the request or not. I think they clearly didn’t. As to whether this was due to a lack of understanding on Lowell’s part or was instead a strategic move, I have no idea and little interest.

    2. Concerning points 1) and 2) in Lowell’s response, they have absolutely nothing to do with anything I said.

    3. Concerning points 3) and 4), it is most charitably interpreted as misunderstanding the thrust of my initial point. Let me try again: of course Cato, an organization I respect and have both financially supported and worked for in the past, has no “obligation” to do policy analyses on Israel. My point was different. Cato has published on various countries and opposed governmental actions that violated rights. It has not really done so, to my knowledge, with Israel. (I asked to be informed if I’m factually wrong on this point. Lowell’s links fail to convince.) Mr. Khan suggested to Tom that Cato should do more to address this imbalance by addressing clear rights violations of the Israeli government. Tom didn’t respond, “I am a busy man and choose to devote my scarce time and resources elsewhere.” He instead suggested that such a request must harbor a “special animus” against Israel. I find this unfair. To devote significant time to opposing Arab violations of rights and precious little to Israeli violations of rights (especially since these latter right violations are paid for largely by the US taxpayer), is a personal choice with which I disagree, but to respond, when this basic truth is pointed out, that opposition to such assymetry is evidence of a “special animus” is unfair and not up to the level of Tom’s usual efforts. Lowell’s 3) and 4) above–far from effectively responding to my point–largely support the point I’m making.

    4. Lowell’s use of quotes around “prison wall”, which he claims is an exaggeration, makes it seem as if I actually myself used the phrase “prison wall.” I did not. I used the word “wall”. If Lowell thinks it is an exaggeration to say that Israel is building a wall, he should get out more.

  18. Ross, I don’t think that Tom implied that “special animus,” vis-a-vis criticism of Israel, meant anti-semitism. At least, I didn’t read it that way.

    There does seem to be something of splints vs. planks going on, by complaining of relatively minor rights violations in Israel. For instance, your example of Israeli government confiscation of property does not sound that much worse than US governments abuse of eminent domain. In either case, the rights violations are major to the people it happens to, but overall, property rights are fairly secure both in Israel and the US.

    It is not neccessary to be anti-semitic to criticize Israel, and it is not given that critisizing those who criticize Israel is equivalent to playing the anti-semitism card.

    It could just as easily be that (some) Americans are particularly obsessed with rights-violations in Israel because the Israeli government is partially supported by American tax funds, as you elude to.

    I don’t know all the reasons why Arabs don’t move to Israel in droves, but I’m sure a major factor is that Israel won’t allow them in. Jews living in Arab countries *has* mass-immigrated to Israel.

  19. Tom G. Palmer

    Mr. Hein is right that I did not mean to imply anti-Semitism when I used the term “special animus.” As I wrote above,

    “I’ve never been a “Zionist” or an enthusiastic supporter of Israel, but I do wonder about the special animus some people have against Israel. Is it because they set up higher standards and then fail to meet them? That could be, but at least the higher standards are there by which the regime’s policies can be judged to fall short.”

    My suggestion was not that all those who criticize Israel are anti-Semites; far from it. Rather that something must explain the fact that they don’t generally criticize other regimes that are much, much worse or even among other recipients of U.S. Aid (Egypt gets the same amount as Israel, for example) with anywhere near the same vehemence. I even suggested a plausible answer, which is that Israeli leaders claim to have higher standards, and then often fail to realize them. But that would be a strange reason to condemn them in stronger terms than one would condemn those who never set up any standards by which they could be judged. (I find the circumstance rather similar to the debate over the USA PATRIOT Act, a hodge podge collection of policies, some of which are innocuous and some of which are terrible threats to justice and liberty; even with it in force, American citizens have far more safeguards of their rights in place than virtually any other group of citizens in the world, including the western European countries where the media has been filled with news about the PATRIOT Act as a dire threat to freedom. It is a threat to freedom, but less so than what the citizens of those countries live under every day and about which their media virtually never complain.)

    Regarding lots of Arabs wanting to live in Israel, just look at the lines of people who want to work there. There’s something about a more law-governed (as opposed to power-governed) society that makes life rather more attractive there. And generally the Arab Israelis, who could leave the country to live in Arab countries (something that would thrill plenty of Jewish nationalists) choose not to do so, but continue to live in Israel. Other countries that wanted to generate more prosperity could look at what Israelis have done. (And no, it’s not just sucking up U.S. foreign aid; compare equally subsidized Egypt with Israel and ask which has the better institutions).

    I’m also not sure what Ross would have contemporary Israelis do today about the injustices of the past. Not all injustices can be undone. And some would lead to even worse injustices. The settler policies have been both unjust and counterproductive for some time and are finally being reversed. I wish that I knew how to solve all the problems of the middle east and generate a stable peace; if I find out, I’ll be sure to tell everyone what the solution is.

  20. Thanks to Tom for his clarification. I suggest to Henri that the Absentee Laws on Property in Israel are FAR worse than mere eminent domain laws in the USA. Whole communities have been taken, and not in any way that resembles due process and “public good”, but merely to give it to “private” agencies that provide land to “returning” Jews immigrating to Israel. It is pure land theft, and it occurs, and has occured, for decades, on a massive scale.

    Assuming for a moment this is correct, it provides an alternative explanation for “special animus”. A grand violation of rights is upsetting to libertarians. One that goes virtually unnoticed by the American media, and is also largely ignored by many libertarian thinkers and writers, one that the mere mention of frequently leads to insinuations of anti-semiticism against you…this is even more upsetting. That could explain it.

    Tom asks what I would have modern Israelis do…they could start by not electing as Prime Minister someone who engaged in terrorist acts during his youth.

    As commander of the notorious Unit 101, which he founded in 1953, Sharon led attacks on Palestinian villages in which women and children were killed.

    The massacre in the West Bank village of Qibya, on October 14, 1953, was perhaps the most notorious. His troops blew up 45 houses and 69 Palestinian civilians — about half of them women and children — were killed.

    The U.S. Department of State issued a statement on 18 October 1953, expressing its “deepest sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives” in the Qibya attack as well as the conviction that those responsible “should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.” (Department of State Bulletin, Oct. 26, 1953, p. 552).

    On August 16, 1995, Ohad Gozani in Tel Aviv, writing for The Daily Telegraph, in an article entitled, “Israelis Admit Massacre”, reported:
    “Reports of how Israeli paratroopers killed about 270 Egyptian prisoners of war 40 years ago are straining relations between the two countries. Egypt has demanded an investigation into the alleged atrocities, which date back to Israel’s involvement in the 1956 Anglo-French campaign to take the Suez Canal.

    The killings were revealed in a paper on the Sinai campaign commissioned by the army’s military history division. They were described in graphic detail in newspaper and television interviews.In all, 273 Egyptians, some of them Sudanese civilian road workers, were killed in three separate incidents, according to the accounts.

    The commanding officers were Ariel Sharon and Rafael Eytan…”

    These are merely two examples. It’s not like electing Dwight Eisenhower. It’s like electing Lt. Calley. What other country could elect a former terrorist and war criminal without outraged protest in the US? This is an example of the assymetry of which I speak. This is why I get a little perturbed when I hear of how Israel sets itself up to a higher standard, even while Chris Hedges is writing “Gaza Diaries” of his personal observations in a Harpers article and says: “Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight young men, six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve. This afternoon they kill an eleven-year-old boy, Ali Murad, and seriously wound four more, three of whom are under eighteen. Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered — death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo — but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.” None of this reported in the US on major media. All the horrible crimes of Arafat and other Arabs daily marched onto US television sets, but never this, unless it’s truly world-attention-getting news, like bombing a filled apartment complex to kill one Palestinian leader, and even then always in the US with explanation (“They’re just defending themselves”). Could this explain a special animus, Tom, especially considering this is the one state other than our own whose actions we pay for? I’d certainly think so.

    Ross

    PS: As Tom knows, Israel and Egypt together take the large majority of “foreign aid” from the US government’s coffers, about, I believe, $8 Billion apiece per year. Why Egypt? Because it signed a treaty with Israel. It seems reasonable, then, to recognize the entire $16B as an effort by the US government to support Israel. Put it this way, if there were a war between Israel and Egypt, only one country would have to worry about US funds being cut off.

  21. “I didn’t mean to use ‘scare quotes.’ I quoted your name simply because it’s not clear to me whether it’s your real name or a pseudonym.”

    It’s my real name. But even if it were a fake name, why the scare quotes?

    Anyway, your assessment that the conference was all anti-Americanism does not hold water in my view. It was not organized by the former prime minister of Malaysia, but, I believe, a libertarian. When Garris denounced the United Nations strongly in his speech, he got massive applause. The fact that one speech contained some implicit KYOTO protocol advocacy does not qualify the whole conference as anti-Americanism. Garris made clear in his report that the Malaysians he met “love and admire Americans and American values. They do seem quite perplexed by the conflict between these values and the actions of U.S. leaders. It was difficult for them to comprehend how such a strong majority of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, yet there is no desire among most U.S. politicians to leave. They were most discouraged by the fact that the front-runners for the presidential nominations of both political parties support increasing the U.S. presence in Iraq.”

    I, for one, am glad that we have libertarian diplomats who will go to other countries and help foreigners understand that U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with the American values of peace and liberty, that the jingoistic rulers of this country do not speak for all Americans. It seems to me a very positive thing for America’s image that we have libertarian Americans who go abroad to stand as an example of America and distance it, the country, from the government that exploits it and so many others in the world.

  22. Anthony, I didn’t know you had such a neurotic relationship with quotes. I shall be more sensitive in the future.

    According to Garris himself (as per the link above):

    “The foundation was started by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad”

    If you think Dr. Mahathir’s views are compatible with libertarianism, please explain.

    Perhaps you are right, and most of the talks and the mood at the conference was critical of the UN. Dr. Mahathir’s talk was not “one speech,” but *the* opening keynote address. It is not a leap to assume it set the tone of the conference.

    If Garris denounced the UN in his talk, why does he not do so in his blog report? Why does he not call out Dr. Mahathir’s support for world government? He even quotes another talk in favor of world government:

    “in the absence of a world government or a willingness to surrender rights to a regional grouping, national sovereignty must remain sacrosanct and be the basis of interstate conduct”

    Note, only in “the absence of world government.”

    I agree that it is worthwhile to support libertarians that promote true American values of liberty, as opposed to the official mongering. Nothing I’ve read has indicated that Garris and Raimondo are true libertarians, or terribly good representatives for that matter.

  23. Anthony Gregory

    Henri Hein writes: “If Garris denounced the UN in his talk, why does he not do so in his blog report? Why does he not call out Dr. Mahathir’s support for world government? ”

    Well, I suppose because, in truth, the United Nations is not exactly the biggest problem in the world right now, from a peace perspective. But his talk, which was spotlighted on AWC the other day, includes this:

    “The U.S. and the United Nations also enforced sanctions on Iraq throughout the 1990s, contributing to the deaths of half a million children.

    “This is especially worth noting. Did the fact that the United Nations supported these sanctions make them any more moral? And if the UN had backed the invasion of Iraq, which was a distinct possibility at the time, would that have made for a ‘better’ war against the Iraqi people? When I went to a prewar peace march in 2003, I cringed when I saw signs that said ‘No War Without United Nations Approval.’ I don’t see how having more participants in what was clearly an immoral act would make it any better. In fact, it would have made it worse. Often, the UN is nothing more than a tool of U.S. imperialism.”

    Hein continues: “I agree that it is worthwhile to support libertarians that promote true American values of liberty, as opposed to the official mongering. Nothing I’ve read has indicated that Garris and Raimondo are true libertarians, or terribly good representatives for that matter.”

    Have you actually looked at Antiwar.com much? Have you read the Antiwar.com columns by such authors as Alan Bock, Charles Pe��?���±a, Ron Paul, and David Henderson? Or noticed the sheer breadth of news available on it? It reaches nearly 100,000 people a day with a non-interventionist message. The United Nations is frequently criticized on its pages, incidentally.

  24. Anthony, you changed the subject. The point is not whether the UN is the biggest problem in the world right now.

    The point is that Raimondo and Garris went to a conference with heavy collectivist sentiments among the prime sponsors. They didn’t disclose this in their reports; on the contrary, they waxed on about how wonderful the conference was and its organizers are.

    I see three possible reasons for this: 1. In their oblivion, they failed to notice these sentiments. 2. They noticed the sentiments, but decided to mislead their audience. 3. Between them, they don’t have a libertarian bone in their bodies.

    Either way, I am not impressed.

    Incidentally, I did not pass judgement on Antiwar.com as a whole.

  25. Anthony Gregory

    Sorry, I assumed that by so strongly questioning the libertarianism of the two founding members of AWC, you essentially were “passing judgement on Antiwar.com as a whole.”

    The prime financial sponsors of the event were American businesses, I believe. The effective organizer was not the former Prime Minister, but, I hear, a libertarian of the Rothbardian variety.

    I don’t know what’s so collectivist about the conference. Not every element that was there was anarcho-capitalist, not by any means. But if a libertarian goes to an anti-income tax conference, and some of the participants or even co-sponsors are conservatives who believe in the collectivist war on terror and war on drugs, does that mean they are necessarily worth shunning? Libertarians co-organize events with conservatives all the time. And although leftists do have some troubling views about world government, so do conservatives, in the form of the U.S. — the main difference is the leftist ideal is less a threat right now, given that any global government we are likely to see any time soon will have significant U.S. backing.

  26. Some time ago I asked the site RightWatch to put me on their email list, if they had one. I don’t know if they do or not but I got an email a few minutes ago saying that they have a new article up regarding the League of the South. There is a bit of crossover between that group and the Rockwell/Mises Institute people. They each speak to one another’s conferences and so forth. The new article is interesting in that it shows that the League has opened a bookstore. The guy who works it with his father was an official in the Aryan Nations. He also posted messages in support of Saddam Hussein and was trying to get “white racialist” groups and Islamic extremists to work together. Leading Rockwell writer Thomas Woods is a founding member of the League and has tried to pretend it has no ties to racist groups. Yet one of the League’s own employees was an official in a neo-Nazi racist group and was trying to forge good relations with Islamic extremists. You can find the post at http://rightwatch.tblog.com/ . I find the dating used on the site a bit confusing. I got the notice it went up tonight. But according to the blog itself the message is dated in the future. So according to the webpage it’s not been posted yet but I see it clear as day. Not important but curious.

  27. Henri Hein said, “I see three possible reasons for this [Raimondo and Garris’ attendance of the Perdana Conference]: 1. In their oblivion, they failed to notice these sentiments. 2. They noticed the sentiments, but decided to mislead their audience. 3. Between them, they don’t have a libertarian bone in their bodies.”

    Henri, I offer you a fourth, and more plausible reason: Both Raimondo and Garris are shameless one-trick ponies (the Jews did it!! the Jews did it!!)who, more than anything else, crave acceptance by serious writers,thinkers and the media. I’ve made a point of studying both Garris and Raimondo and I tell you that either one would attend the opening of a can of cat food if they thought it would bring them notice or fame. It’s all about attention–principles have very little to do with what they do.