Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 19, 2002 / 6 Nisan, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The Big Lie lives on | When Mikhail Gorbachev told a Columbia University audience this week that the basis for communism was "pure propaganda," he said a mouthful. The statement may have not been original, or even provocative. But coming from a man who was of the Soviet system, by the Soviet system and for the Soviet system -- at least until the Soviet system went kaput -- it did pack a curious punch. As the former dictator put it, "We, including I, were saying, 'Capitalism is moving toward a catastrophe, whereas we are developing well.' Of course, that was pure propaganda. In fact, our country was lagging behind."

One point he failed to specify was when this light dawned on him -- when he realized Five-Year Plans never added up; when he learned there was nothing remotely "democratic" about socialist-democratic republics; when, if ever, he actually faced up to the moral bankruptcy of a murderous creed he had spent so many years serving. Did it happen when, as a young apparatchik, he became privy to the dismal state of Soviet agriculture? Or was it during his days as a protege of KGB-big and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov? Did Gorby and his comrades on the reviewing stand ever wink under their astrakhan hats while the guns rolled by, knowing full well there would never be any butter?

I've always wondered about the people who aid and abet the Big Lies of history -- the little ones, too. For along with the kind of macro-propaganda Gorbachev referred to, of course, come all the small potatoes -- for example, that line about Andropov having been one cool jazz aficionado. At what point, if any, do the people putting this stuff out become conscious of their duplicity? Do interior dialogues between good and evil take place, or is it all just a side-splitting struggle to keep from busting out laughing?

Similar questions arise upon reading what might be loosely called an article by one Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faisal University printed just a few days ago in the Saudi government newspaper Al-Riyadh (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute at The good doctor, whose work obviously had to pass muster with government censors, explains how it is that, for the Jewish holiday of Purim, "the Jewish people must obtain human blood so their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries." He goes on to elaborate in ghoulishly cracked detail where the blood comes from (a non-Jewish "mature adolescent"), how it is painfully obtained (the victim is inserted into "a needle-studded barrel"), and how the resulting "torment ... affords the Jewish vampires great delight as they carefully monitor every detail of the blood-shedding with pleasure and love that are difficult to comprehend." Sure, these ravings offer Al-Riyadh readers a change of pace from newspaper coverage of the so-called Saudi Peace Plan, but talk about "difficult to comprehend."

In fact, such primitive lies boggle the mind. Does Al-Jalahma actually believe them? Certainly no small number of his readers do. Or want to, as a way of demonizing Jews. Funny, but such state-sanctioned propaganda doesn't seem like the best way to prepare the Saudi people for "accepting" the state of Israel -- now or ever. Indeed, it makes you wonder whether harboring much in the way of expectations for such a people constitutes, if not a Big Lie exactly, then at least a Big Delusion.

And what about when Palestinians tell The New York Times that Israel's recent incursion into the Palestinian territories to strike at terrorists is a plot "to provoke a wave of Palestinian violence just as General Zinni returns to Israel"? Do Palestinians really believe the Israelis are collecting hundreds of weapons, destroying 10 to 20 Palestinian bomb labs, seizing hundreds of pounds of explosives and 20 Kassam rockets, as the New York Daily News reported one day this week, in order to "provoke" more teen-age deaths in a disco? It's hard to know. After all, these are the same inscrutables who celebrate when their kin self-detonate in proximity to baby strollers. It could be they're just trying to play us for fools. And maybe it's working.

After a brief window of moral clarity that allowed the United States not only to recognize the Palestinian attacks on Israel as terrorism, but also inspired us to declare solidarity with Israel's legitimate right to repel them, we seem once again to be lapsing into a blur of moral equivalence, failing to differentiate between the actions of the two sides. The Palestinians are condemned for acts of terrorism. The Israelis are condemned for fighting back. But "even-handedness" like this can backfire.

"So long as the Israelis are condemned for defending themselves," the Jerusalem Post recently wrote, "the Palestinians have no diplomatic reason to end terrorism." Such is the hard truth behind a big delusion.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West