- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

A better world

“I saw the hostile, sneaky reviews that have been dogging the success of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s best-seller ‘Infidel,’ which describes the escape of a young Somali woman from sexual chattelhood to a new life in Holland and then (after the slaying of her friend, Theo van Gogh) to a fresh exile in the United States. …

“In her book, Ayaan Hirsi Ali says the following: ‘I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and sexual emancipation. After making this voyage, I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values.’

“This is a fairly representative quotation. She has her criticisms of the West, but she prefers it to a society where women are subordinate, censorship is pervasive, and violence is officially preached against unbelievers.”

— Christopher Hitchens, writing on “She’s No Fundamentalist,” Monday in Slate at www.slate.com

Stalinist lies

The Anglo-German ‘historian’ Eric Hobsbawm, an unrepentant defender of the political and pseudointellectual legacy of Stalinism, committed to print, in the Guardian of Feb. 17, a banal but repellent rehash of long-discredited clichs about the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. The chief intent of this arrant falsification was to undermine the reputation of George Orwell and his classic ‘Homage to Catalonia,’ and thus to rehabilitate the Soviet purge machine that contributed so dreadfully to the defeat of the embattled Spanish Republic.

“Hobsbawm is but one among a vast assortment of commentators on the Spanish war who know little of the Spanish language, much less Catalan, which is the language of some of the most important historical documentation on the conflict. … Worst of all, the Hobsbawm school on Spain demonstrates an uninterested arrogance with regard to the collective memory of the Spanish people in general, and the Catalan nation in particular, about the war.

“Hobsbawm embodies a principle on which I and others have long written: the distinction that must be made between the war of 1936-39 as experienced by the Spanish people, and the parallel conflict fantasized by intellectuals of a leftist persuasion. … The two had and have nothing in common.”

— Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, writing on “Eric Hobsbawm’s Stalinist Homage to Catalonia,” Monday at www.jewcy.com

Campus crisis

“Major supporters of Brandeis University have cut off their donations in retaliation for the university’s hosting of Israel and American-Jewry basher and former President Jimmy Carter on campus. …

“Responding to criticism of the university’s treatment of the global jihad and the jihadist war against Israel, [Brandeis University President Jehuda] Reinharz recently protested, ‘I [do] not want to see Brandeis University become a battleground of the Middle East.’

“If Brandeis wants to cease to be a ‘battleground of the Middle East,’ it should stop allowing its campus to be exploited by those who deny the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in its homeland and so lend aid and comfort to those who actively seek to destroy Israel.

“Until it does so, critics of Brandeis would be unfaithful to their very American Jewish ideals were they to relent in their pressure on Brandeis to stop hosting hateful, anti-Semitic bigots.”

— Caroline Glick, writing on “Brandeis’ Jewish Problem,” Feb. 21 in the Jewish Press

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