Sunday, March 15, 2009

The New Heretics

The New Heretics

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
– George Santayana

How quickly we forget. With the abuses of the Inquisition still fresh in memory, the Founders embraced democracy to protect liberty from the manipulations of belief. That’s why facts were enshrined at the core of self-governance and the rule of law. The duplicity at the core of the U.S.-Israeli relationship has put that founding principle at risk.

For seven terrifying centuries, heretics were punished under canon law. In 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo was condemned for “grave suspicion of heresy” when he showed that the sun—not the crown—was the center of the universe. Since the merger of church and state in the Roman Empire of the 4th century, anyone who dared dispute papal authority—by challenging faith with facts—was condemned as both a heretic and an enemy of the state.

Today’s heretics are those who challenge our faith in the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States. To criticize Israel risks condemnation as an “anti-Semite.” Defenders of this relationship were forced to become more vigilant after Israeli troops used U.S.-provided arms and ammunition to kill 1,330 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 346 children.

That attack, planned for more than a year, was scheduled between Christmas and the presidential inaugural. Within 48 hours of ending its assault, Israel had dispatched an army of bloggers to counter anti-Zionist websites. By early February, the Anti-Defamation League was bemoaning a “pandemic of anti-Semitism” as the massacre fueled outrage worldwide.

By early March, Israeli policy was being described as a threat to international peace and security, a violation of international human rights, a crime against humanity and a form of apartheid. By associating the U.S. with such behavior, this special relationship fueled anti-American hatred, fanned the flames of radicalization and set the stage for more terrorism.

At Hampshire College in Massachusetts, protesters urged that their school divest from firms whose operations support Israel’s four-decade siege of Palestine. When students compared Zionist policies to apartheid-era South Africa, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz condemned them as “rabidly anti-Israel” (enemies of the state).

At Ottawa College in Canada, debate was stifled when Students Against Israeli Apartheid were prohibited from displaying an anti-war poster condemning Zionist policies that president Jimmy Carter condemned in his 2007 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The People In Between

Meanwhile Pope Benedict XVI attacked a cleric whose excommunication he had lifted. The Pontiff claimed he was unaware that Bishop Richard Williamson had challenged key facts of the Holocaust. When condemned by the Vatican, Williamson apologized. The Vatican insisted he recant. Critics claimed the high profile dispute was staged to distract attention from the carnage in Gaza.

Left unmentioned in mainstream media was the fact that this German Pope, the first since 1523, previously led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a direct descendant of the Vatican’s 16th century tribunal, the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Universal Inquisition.

The fiercest condemnation of the bishop’s reluctance to recant came not from Rome but from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. No media outlet reported that in 2003 Zionist media mogul Haim Saban acquired control of ProSiebenSat.1, Germany’s second largest broadcaster.

As a major opinion-shaping influence in the years preceding Merkel’s emergence as Germany’s first female chancellor, Saban described himself as an “Israeli-American” and “a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.” Steve Rattner, Saban’s financial adviser, explained the motive for his client’s acquisition six years ago: “He thinks Germany is critical to Israel.”

To put these media-fueled events in historical perspective requires a grasp of how—in the Information Age—warfare is waged not on a conventional battlefield but in the shared field of consciousness. In that mental domain—where consensus opinions are created, shaped and sustained—facts are routinely displaced by what people can be induced to believe.

Thus the threat to democracy when media-owning Zionists influence policy-making—as when Merkel threatened to arrest Williamson for Holocaust denial on an EU-wide warrant. Or when Zionists support a modern-day Inquisition—as when Williamson faced expulsion from Argentina, the site of a seminary he directed and home to the largest Jewish population in Latin America.

In October 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates coined a phrase to describe the most perilous combatants when waging unconventional warfare. A former C.I.A. Director, he called them “the people in between.” Between Galileo and the facts was Church doctrine determined to displace science with beliefs or, in media parlance, with consensus opinion.

To lend credence (believability) to the displacement of facts with faith requires that the mental environment be saturated with supportive impressions and emotions. Thus the curious correlation when seemingly unrelated events emerged in this same time frame to reinforce the prevailing pro-Israeli orthodoxy, including:

• The high profile suspension of U.K. diplomat Rowan Laxton for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks while riding an exercise bike in a London gymnasium.

• The high profile protection provided in Dubai to Andy Ram, an Israeli tennis star.

• The announcement that the London Evening Standard’s new owner, Russian-Ashkenazi oligarch Alexander Lebedev, will expand his media empire with a new radio station in Moscow.

• The announcement that the Obama administration will boycott the 2009 World Conference Against Racism after successful lobbying by the Israel lobby who knew that the Zionist state’s treatment of Arabs would be portrayed as racist.

These impressions were reinforced by the release in 2008 of eight Holocaust-based films.

The Displacement of Informed Choice

The Framers envisioned democracy as a form of governance that resides not in a royal court but in a mindset shared by its participants. Where else could it reside? Thus the key role envisioned for media to ensure widespread participation in a system of informed consent. Absent widespread access to unbiased information, the blessings of liberty they knew would eventually succumb to those who prey on ignorance and beliefs.

Thus the risks to self-governance when freedom relies on broadcasters with an undisclosed bias. It is precisely those “people in between” that routinely displace facts with what an unsuspecting public can be deceived to believe.

That fact-displacing modus operandi works the same in modernity as in antiquity. The impact on informed consent is identical regardless whether the deceit is a belief in Iraqi WMD, a consensus faith in the infallibility of unfettered financial markets, or the widely shared opinion that the Zionist state is a democratic ally rather than an enemy within.

Faith-based treachery is as ancient as the use of canon law to silence critics of Church doctrine. The only modern component of this duplicity is the reach of contemporary media and its capacity to manipulate the shared mental state on an unprecedented scale. Freedom can no longer afford America’s entangled alliance with a nation known to routinely wage war by way of deception.

A 1578 handbook for inquisitors explained that its harsh penalties were “for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.” The new Evil Doers are those who dare document the costs of the U.S.-Israel relationship in blood, treasure, insecurity and hard-earned credibility.