Marty, my cherubic Canadian Jewish friend, invited me on short notice to his mother’s synagogue for Daniel Pipes’s speech about the development in the Middle East.
So, I drove to Toronto from Lake Simcoe, and I hate the traffic south of Richmond Hill, to listen to the former Harvard Professor, historian, writer, and political commentator for the third time. He founded the Middle East Forum...
...Which I subscribe to. And, he has replied to the few emails I sent him. A decent fellow.
When I arrived, my friend wasn’t there yet; thus, I looked around and spotted Tarek Fatah who wrote “Chasing a Mirage (The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State), which I have read. His latest book is “The Jew is Not My Enemy”.
Fatah is Canadian but was born in Pakistan. His parents from India were Muslims. Marxism influenced Tarek Fatah. He worked for Premier Bob Rae and tried to run for the NDP.
No matter. We chatted before Pipes spoke.
I asked Fatah if the military should be removed from Iraq and Afghanistan so early? His eyelids raised when he answered: They shouldn’t have been in there in the first place. Typical of a socialist.
In a higher pitch, he said the Americans and Allies didn’t know their enemy, even the deceptions of those they attempted to liberate. He added that the Israeli citizens do not know their nieghbours, either.
We laughed. However, I told him that most Israelis know, and so do the allies, more than he gives them credit for. We exchanged expressions, then cards.
The Ashkenazi Jews were predominantly from the Rhinleand and Sephardi Jews, some from Spain and Portugal, the Iberian Peninsula from what I read. Many Jews emigrated from Europe and Russia or they repatriated from North America so perhaps they might not be as familiar with the Muslim Nations, but no doubt they had learned quickly.
He introduced me to John Goddard staff reporter of the Toronto Star another journalist-commentator-activist of the Left. I handed my card to him, too. He said he would read my weblog. I was thrilled. A writer of the Liberal/Socialist Star was going to check my conservative blog. I’m going places.
Eventually, Pipes arrived and spoke. Once more, he educated me with a few points that made sense. WWII was about Defeat and Rehabilitation. The Middle East wars were/are about Liberation and encouragement towards democracy, a form of rehabilitation. Perhaps it was too lofty an undertaking, he summarized.
About Libya, Pipes said that the core against Gaddafi has always been Islamists, not just tribes who desired control. He worries that it could get worse. Sharia Law.
Iran, he said, is the most dangerous; but also the Muslim nation with the most potential for progress with educated youth. The regime is hollow. He was more optimistic about Iran, but pessimistic about Turkey, a fundamental Islamic country now. The Islamist organizations are strong.
Syria I missed because I had to go to the washroom.
As far as Israel and the Palestinians, Pipes said that the Palestinians want to eliminate Israel, not necessarily annihilate the nation just eliminate the fact that it is a Jewish State by converting it to Palestine.
The two key issues for Israel this moment are 1.) Iran’s nuclear weapons. 2.) De-legitimization of Israel. The real fight is that of public opinion.
Indeed, the fight has gone to the United Nations, to the media, to the masses of the Internet, basically public opinion which has been swayed or always has been pro-Palestine, anti-Israel.
During the fourth or fifth audience question, I left. Outside, a high school teacher wanted to chat because he overheard me talk with Tarek Fatah and John Goddard. The fellow had some interesting views about Libya. He thought that America and other NATO allies ought to build a strategic base in the southern part of the country. He said he was conservative about many issues. How refreshing.
On other issues, he was of the centre and, I presume, he leaned to the left on a few. But he seemed to be fairly sharp, so I gave him my card with my weblog URL. He said he looked forward to checking it out. I felt like saying: And I’ll check what you teach at school. Generally, many Jews have been Liberal, but things have changed.