“Israel needs to acknowledge the reasons for the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe”| History News Network

In his astute assessment of the current state of anti-Semitism, Alon Ben-Meir quotes H. L. Mencken: “Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority… All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them.” I think this gets to the heart of the problem. All sides (all who are involved in fanning the flames of hatred, whether toward the Jews or Palestinians) have been guilty of adamantly adhering to their own moral superiority without ever considering that they may be wrong or partly wrong.
With this in mind, Ben-Meir wisely advises Israelis not to “dismiss anti-Semitism simply as an incurable disease when in reality it is practicing ‘anti-Semitism’ against a large segment of its own population. The responsibility of diminishing anti-Semitism falls squarely on the shoulders of the Israeli political leaders and the public. Israel must embrace the moral values on which it was founded; its future, if not its very survival, may well depend on it.”
Please read the entire article at:

History News Network | Israel needs to acknowledge the reasons for the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

anti-semitism europe

History News Network | What We now Know About the Birth of Israel Thanks to the Opening of British MI5 Archives

This is an interesting interview with Bruce Hoffman, author of Anonymous Soldiers. Here is one of the questions he answers: “In the preface to Anonymous Soldiers, you ask the question, ‘does terrorism work?’ What are the circumstances and factors that enable some terrorist campaigns to succeed and others to fail based on the lessons from the Irgun and Lehi’s campaigns?” Read the entire interview here:

History News Network | What We now Know About the Birth of Israel Thanks to the Opening of British MI5 Archives.

Anonymous Soldiers the Struggle for Israel

History News Network | This Is When Muslims in the Middle East Turned to Extremism

The historical context laid out by Richard Drake is important to remember as we try to understand the worldview of radical Islamic terrorists. Richard Drake: “When considering the emergence of radical Islam or any of its actions down to the Charlie Hebdo massacre of 2015, it is necessary to keep in mind the deep historical background extending all the way to Sèvres. These distant events are in the foreground of the Muslim radicals inspired by Osama bin Laden.” Read the entire article here:

History News Network | This Is When Muslims in the Middle East Turned to Extremism.

The Big Four at the Paris Peace Conference (1919)

The Big Four at the Paris Peace Conference (1919)

The First Victims of the First Crusade – NYTimes.com

Reflecting on the current religious violence Susan Jacoby turns to the history of the Crusades for insight. But it is not the Christian conflict with the Muslims that she finds most useful; instead she turns to the Crusades first victims: the Jews. To Jacoby, the Christian attack on the Jews “highlights several elements analogous to the actions of modern terrorist groups. These include attempts at forced conversion; the murders of women and children; and the imposition of financial penalties on coerced converts who try to remain in their homes.” From this comparison she concludes: “What we actually see today is a standard of medieval behavior upheld by modern fanatics who, like the crusaders, seek both religious and political power through violent means. They offer a ghastly and ghostly reminder of what the Western world might look like had there never been religious reformations, the Enlightenment and, above all, the separation of church and state.” You can read the entire article at The New York Times:

The First Victims of the First Crusade – NYTimes.com.


History News Network | Terror in Paris – An Analysis

The historian Lawrence Davidson offers a reasonable solution to the cycle of violence we are currently stuck in, but I’m afraid that he’s also correct that “there may be a perverse correlation between how much blood is shed and our eventual moment of self-examination.” If history is any guide there will be a lot more blood shed before begin to seriously self-reflect and commit to the hard choices that will end the vicious cycle.

History News Network | Terror in Paris – An Analysis.

History News Network | Why No One Remembers the Peacemakers

This December 25 will be the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas Truce that occurred during World War I.  An event worth celebrating! Usually most “outbreaks of peace,” as Adam Hochschild points out, are not celebrated but “the anniversary of this one is being celebrated with extraordinary officially sanctioned fanfare.” The fact that this event “did not represent a challenge to the sovereignty of war” and is receiving significant support from European governments and the Football Association [soccer] explains why this particular event (and not other peace promoting events) will be celebrated. While Hochschilds supports the celebration of this event he thinks that we should celebrate peace and peacemakers more often. He suggests:

“Perhaps when the next anniversary of the Iraq War comes around, it’s time to break with a tradition that makes ever less sense in our world. Next time, why not have parades to celebrate those who tried to prevent that grim, still ongoing conflict from starting? Of course, there’s an even better way to honor and thank veterans of the struggle for peace: don’t start more wars.”

History News Network | Why No One Remembers the Peacemakers.

War to end war Hothschild