We are sailing off the coast of Maine and have limited Internet access.  We will release our current essay when we return next week.


The 21st Century And The Return Of Religious War

by Hal Gershowitz and Stephen Porter on July 20, 2014


 The so-called “dark ages,” that very gloomy and seemingly endless period punctuated by a series of grotesque religious wars, represents a particular blight, a plague of sorts, on mankind’s’ imprint on history.

Well, welcome back to the dark ages. Perhaps, we never left.

Religious war is alive and well, and upon us with renewed fury.  Not since the papal representative at the battle of Beziers (a city equally inhabited by Cathars and Roman Catholics) ordered the Pope’s army that had come to fight the breakaway Cathars, to “Kill them all; God will know his own,” has the religious impetus to bloodshed been more evident.

The Thirty Years’ (religious) War of the 16th century was an abomination, the carnage of which was only matched by the First and Second World Wars. The bloody fighting that only recently ended in Ireland after hundreds of years was, of course, an extension of European religious wars.

The very bloody conflict in Bosnia at the turn of the 20th to 21st century was but a dust-up between Christians and Muslims.

But for the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome defense system the unprovoked Hamas barrage of over 1000 rockets fired at Israel’s population centers this month could have been a modern-day version of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572 which claimed the lives of an estimated 30,000 men, women and children.

The war in Gaza, which many incorrectly view as a new chapter in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, is in fact, an old chapter in radical Islam’s war with the West and within its own body politic.  The current conflict in Gaza only obliquely involves Palestine.  Indeed, even Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, had condemned the rocket attacks against Israeli civilian centers (before he condemned the current Israeli counter offensive).

The insane Hamas orgy of rocket fire into Israel however has little to do with Palestine or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  It has everything to do with radical Islam’s conflict with the rest of the world. Hamas has been unambiguous is describing its mission: All of the land in the Middle East from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordon River is a sacred, indivisible “Waqf” (religious trust) that belongs to all Muslims everywhere. The defense and liberation of every part of the land is therefore obligatory upon all Muslims. Palestine itself is but a footnote.  In fact, all land ever conquered by Islam is consider rightfully Islamic in perpetuity regardless of who currently occupies the land.

The grotesquerie playing out in Iraq and Syria between the new Caliphate into which ISIS (Islam in Syria and Iraq) has morphed is nothing but a religious war between the two dominant branches of Islam, Sunni and Shite.  Upon taking over the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS sent letters to all Christians demanding conversion to Islam or eviction. Those who remained, were told they, “would be put to the sword.” The YouTube videos of ISIS-conducted beheadings and shooting by firing squads suggests they are deadly serious.

The utter madness of the Hamas rocket attack on Israel can only be understood in the context of a 20th Century religious war. The seemingly irrational barrage from Hamas is, as it turns out, perhaps not as irrational as it seems. Nothing is irrational in religious war other than the war itself.  Former President Bill Clinton summed up the seemingly irrational Hamas strategy quite well. When asked about Hamas’s unrelenting rocket bombardment of Israel, Clinton observed, “Hamas was perfectly well aware what would happen if they started raining rockets on Israel. They fired a thousand of them, and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn (Israel).”

And the strategy, it seems, is not as irrational as rational people might assume.  Protests, utterly absent during the Hamas attack on Israel, have erupted all over the world since Israel began to defend itself.  The hypocrisy within the Middle East has been staggering.  Turkey’s Erdogan lambasted the UN for pursuing a secret agenda, a veiled reference to the Hamas Charter in which they state that the UN is the creation of the Jews to further their secret agenda to take over the world.  “What is the UN doing?” he asked in a speech this week. ”Why has it been founded? For world peace? Does it contribute to the world peace? No. They are serving whatever their secret agenda is.”

What is happening today in the Middle East is historic in that history will, before long, recognize this period as a renewed era of religious war.  It is not apt to be short lived, nor is it apt to be confined to the Middle East.





Hamas and Crimes Against Humanity

July 12, 2014

   “Crimes against humanity,” according to the International Criminal Court, include acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population…” As might be expected, murder tops the list of such acts, and the indiscriminate murderous (we use the term advisedly) Hamas rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilian population centers [...]

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Murder They Wrote — and Murder They Did.

July 2, 2014

   Of course Hamas is responsible for the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers – Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah.  It doesn’t really matter whether Hamas ordered the assassins to kill these particular Israeli boys. Hamas exhorts the murder of Israelis any time and any place. Murder is its raison d’être. The Hamas [...]

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Murder They Wrote — and Murder They Did

July 2, 2014

  Of course Hamas is responsible for the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers – Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah.  It doesn’t really matter whether Hamas ordered the assassins to kill these particular Israeli boys. Hamas exhorts the murder of Israelis any time and any place. Murder is its raison d’être. The Hamas [...]

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100th Anniversary Of The War To End All Wars: Or, As The French Say, “The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same.”

June 28, 2014

It is no surprise to readers of our essays – that we’re a bit obsessed with history.  And this is a good week to reflect, indeed, it is a good day to reflect on some of the lessons of history.  One hundred years ago today Gavrilo Princip, a young, rather non-descript, Serbian nationalist fired a [...]

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Does America Have a Foreign Policy?

June 22, 2014

Well, we suppose any action we take (or don’t take) pursuant to an international matter technically constitutes a manifestation of our policy at the time.  But technicalities aside, the answer seems to be — not really – not today. If we define foreign policy as the position(s) of our government on a range of issues [...]

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California Judge Rules “No!” on Tenure: Chalk One Up For The Kids!

June 12, 2014

 PLEASE NOTE OUR NEW SCHEDULING POLICY. IN THE INTEREST OF TIMELINESS WE WILL NOW PUBLISH OUR WEEKLY ESSAYS AS SOON AS THEY ARE WRITTEN RATHER THAN WAITING UNTIL SUNDAY MORNING. It finally happened. Common sense prevailed when Los Angeles Country Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled, in a decision with far reaching implications, that tenure [...]

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Bergdahl And The Rose Garden Festive Farce

June 8, 2014

We won’t criticize this week’s prisoner trade (or    transfer as the Obama Administration refers to it). We’re glad Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is headed home. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was going to waste away or die in Taliban hands, and sometime during the next year or so nearly all of the detainees at Guantanamo are probably [...]

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EU Elections: A Shot Across The Bow

June 1, 2014

It is, of course, an old nautical term.  Loosely speaking, stop or alter course…we’re prepared to do battle.  And indeed they are. They being a patch quilt of dissident groups across all of Europe united only by their antipathy toward centralized, one-world governance, Euro zone fiscal policy, immigrants and porous borders. There has been much [...]

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