The Return of the Bakassi Boys in Nigeria

I am not African, neither have I ever planted foot on that great continent. I am a Jew, living in Israel. As such, I am sensitive to the insensitivities of the world. Granted that I may be missing facts, nuances, that I may possess important errors in my view of the goings on in Nigeria; still, as a Jew and as an Israeli I feel that I do “get it”, that the situation on the ground demands that an outsider’s voice be spoken and heard.

For the great hordes that have no clue, because it barely bears mention in the Western Press, there is a war going on in Nigeria, a harsh and diabolical war. In truth, there are several simultaneous wars going on in Nigeria and it is difficult to always know where alliances fall and the truth behind the politicians’ pleas and actions.

One particular war is being waged in the Northern, Middle and South Eastern regions of Nigeria, where Muslim Fulani Herdsmen murder civilians and military of the tribes of the Igbo, Yoruba, Niger-Deltans and Middle Belters. The Fulani attacks display ferocious violence and are without mercy. Thousands have been killed by Fulani Herdsmen over the last year, while the Nigerian government, also run by the infamous Muslim leader, Muhammadu Buhari, takes little or no action.

Indeed, it is not only the Nigerians that take little or no action, but also Europe and the United States of America, both of which seem to show no concern for the Muslim genocide of the Christian tribes of Nigeria. Of course, those tribes claiming also descent from the Jewish-Israelite Nation, such as the Igbo, are left with little hope from the international community as well. Indeed, although Muhammadu Buhari and his reckless and cruel regime came about through national elections, it is understood by many that his appointment was facilitated through strong American and British efforts. The French may as well be implicated.

And so, the genocide of Biafrans continues and unfortunately, not much has changed since the brutal genocide of Igbo and others during the first Biafran tragedy approximately fifty years ago. The solution of the dilemma, for the Igbo and the other tribes facing the Fulani onslaught, therefore, is simple. It is made simple by the fact that they have no one to count on, not their national government and not the nations of the world. It is only they that will stop this terrible and wanton destruction of their people and their property and it is only they that can stand up to the murderous Fulani Herdsmen assault.

Enter Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu , and enter the return of the Bakassi Boys.  The Bakassi Boys first gained fame in the early part of the century, becoming vigilantes against crimes against the Igbo and other tribes in various regions of Nigeria, first achieving fame in the Igbo region in Aba and later on in cities such as Onitsha and Owerri.

The assaults of the Bakassi Boys, armed with guns and machetes, are not pretty, to say the least. They are murderous and cruel; but, in the past at least, they were effective. In a country that can be likened to the American Wild West, where the gunslinger ruled and where the lines between government enforcement of the law and private vigilante groups was always confused and without true significance, the situation today in Nigeria may unfortunately require the same solution.

Dr. Ikpeazu has recently called for the reorganization of the Bakassi Boys, because the situation in his Abia State has once again simply got out of hand. Fulani Herdsmen are again killing, raping and destroying whole areas of the region and there is no national or international power willing or ready to stop the bloodshed. As such, he has directed the local governments under his control to allow for and to even encourage the return of the vigilante group.

In a public statement, Ikpeazu has “instructed and equipped state security agencies in the state to ensure watertight security around our borders and towns against any form of attack, ” and has renamed the Bakassi Boys the State Vigilante Services (VGS).

I write this article not only to the ignorant, blind and deaf West, but also and perhaps mainly to the people of the Igbo, to the people of Yoruba, the Niger-Deltans, the Middle Belters. Stand strong. If you need preserve your own through cruel rebuttal of the Fulani murderers, so be it. Do not expect the world to praise you; in sad fact, you may expect world condemnation.

As a Jew and as an Israeli, I know well the silence and hypocrisy of the world.

The Bakassi Boys and those that support them stand alone against a despicable enemy and a quiet and hushed world. It is a sad truth about our humanity that has been repeated on every single continent in every single era of world history.

The Jewish Revival of Papua New Guinea – Part One

The real and tangible occurrence of the Jewish Revival in Papua New Guinea represents a unique opportunity for both the Jewish people and the State of Israel to both clarify and explore its own roots, priorities, history and religious direction. For on this small island just a few miles above northern Australia there are the rumblings of both a Jewish renaissance and a Zionist mission; there are Jews that had lost their Judaism and now desire to return to their Mosaic roots and tribal peoples that claim their Judaism to stem from the Ten Lost Tribes. There are ancient peoples that anxiously await their return to the Land of Israel and modern Rabbis that have taken upon themselves the task of teaching these tribes modern Judaism in its chiefly Ashkenazi and Sephardic forms. The Israeli government has established relations with the government of Papua New Guinea and Israeli high tech companies have aided the indigenous peoples of this still largely untouched and virgin land.

The story of “Jewish” Papua New Guinea, and how we as Jews and Israelis relate to it, will affect the ancient Jews of Africa and of India, of South America and of the Native Americans in the United States that also claim Jewish ancestry. For this is a story of lost lands and lost peoples, of both ancient and modern Jewish history, of conquests and intermarriage, of polytheism (re)turned to monotheism, of cannibalism turned to humane practices under the influences of modern religion. It is a story of hope and dialogue and fundamentalist Christianity and ancient Judaism, a story of prayer for a better future and a future based on the teachings of the past.

This saga in many ways reflects the struggles of the tribes of Africa that claim ancient Jewish roots or at the very least desire to become one with the Jewish people through identification with the bible and its people. It mirrors the aspirations of groups of peoples from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas that, while not always yearning to come home to Israel, most definitely identify with the Jewish people and want to unite with its renewed spirit.
For me, as a Jew, it represents fundamental questions of identity, of an entire history unknown to the average Jew, of a need for renewed definitions of who we are as a people, of empathy for an entire globe of nations that have found empathy towards us with barely a mutual nod back in their direction. It is a type of tshuva – repentance – for ignorance and perhaps even prejudice and it is an opportunity that must not be missed and that has only become possible with the creation of the modern State of Israel.

The Jewish journey back to Papua New Guinea begins only tens of thousands of years after the original establishment of humans on the island, when the first Europeans landed in 1526.  Ironically, it was the Portuguese explorer, Jorge de Menezes, himself a Jew forced into secrecy after the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, who discovered the islands and began its exploration. Other Jews forced from Spain and Portugal during the late 1400s and the 1500s would soon arrive at the island, Jews that had been followed by the Inquisitors from Europe to Peru and on to Japan. From Japan, some made their way to Papua New Guinea.  The Jewish Diaspora includes cousins of distant geography but of shared historical experience. It is entirely possible that some of the Jews of Peru share common Jewish heritage with the modern Jews of New Guinea. There may be ancient Jews in New Guinea as well, but this will be discussed in Part Two.

A member of the Gogodala tribe of Papua New Guinea. The tribe claims to be of Jewish origin. Credit: Tim Long, Florida International University.
A member of the Gogodala tribe of Papua New Guinea. The tribe claims to be of Jewish origin. Credit: Tim Long, Florida International University.

These Jews of Papua New Guinea eventually intermarried and found their way to missionary Christianity, with its messianic Message. It is, perhaps, this message that burned within them to find salvation’ albeit not Christian salvation, through a return to their Jewish roots hundreds of years later. But not all became outwardly Christian – some intermarried with native tribes and indeed carried the harsh lessons learned from the Inquisition. To this day, many feel that it is forbidden to enter a church for “it is an evil place”. Some even give their children the name of Sukkot, Torah and Menorah, as recalled in a fascinating article by Rabbi Yossi Serebryanski.

In 2007, then Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, stated that his people would always worship the God of Israel and the entire country is full of Israeli flags during the Israel Day of Independence. This is indeed and incredible phenomenon that requires far more study.

The story of the Jewish Return in Papua New Guinea, however, is far more complicated and far more subtle. In Part Two we shall take up the exploits of Professor Tudor Parfiit, known as the “British Indiana Jones”. Professor Parfitt has been exploring ancient Jewish tribal communities for many years and indeed was one of the first to show a Jewish historical link to the Lemba tribe in Africa.

The Jewish Diaspora has left bits and pieces to be slowly and carefully fit together, with waves of Jewish immigration from the times of King Solomon’s trading ships and the later forced migration from Israel of the Ten Lost Tribes, through the Inquisitions, the Dutch East India Trading Companies, the Jewish immigration to America and the modern return to Israel. The Papua New Guineans, both ancient and new, represent a small but significant piece of this puzzle and the modern Jewish confrontation with those that are truly descended from Israel and those that clearly want to become associated. This is a story of ancient and modern, and thus a fitting narrative for the new Jewish Return.

Anti-Semitism and the Native American Genocide

As a child I watched hundreds of Westerns and played hours upon hours of Cowboys and Indians. I was born in the United States and marveled at the exploits of both sides, courageous, tragic, emboldened, displaying all the pathos of the American experience. At that tender young age, I really had no idea that I was playing out in full regalia, cowboy hats on the one day and bows and arrows on the other, the genocide of Native Americans. As a Jew, having imbibed the Holocaust from birth, it is clear that I should have been far more sensitive. But it was all so innocent for the non-Native American youth of America – Hollywood had done its part, as had James Fennimore Cooper, Buffalo Bill and a host of others.

Not only was I unaware of the degree of slaughter of American Indians, but I further had no idea that one of the greatest admirers of the American Cowboy was an Austrian-German by the name of Adolf Hitler. In fact, Hitler was not only an admirer of the Cowboy, he was a consummate student of the genocide of Native Americans.  Adolf Hitler would draw on the lessons learned in America to design the trains and the concentration camps that would lead to the butcher of millions of Jews as well as homosexuals, gypsies and other undesirables of the nascent Nazi Empire.

In an eye-opening article by Lia Mandelbaum, entitled Hitler’s Inspiration and Guide: The Native American Holocaust, the encouragement for the expediency of Hitler’s Final Solution is outlined in frightening detail. The article concentrates on both the 1864 relocation of the Navajos and the Mescalero Apaches in a camp called Bosque Redondo, a isolated and forsaken patch of New Mexico territory. During the 300 mile walk, hundreds died and thousands more found their demise in the camp itself – men, women and children.

This story is recounted in the 1985 documentary, Broken Rainbow. It is also told that Adolf Hitler studied the plans of the Bosque Redondo  in order to design the Nazi concentration camps. According to historian John Toland, Hitler praised the extermination of the “red savages” by the means of starvation and uneven combat. Toland further explains that “Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of United States history.”

Indeed, Mandelbaum writes that Hitler had first considered marching the Jews off to a large reservation near Lubin where they would be left to their own, to die of starvation and disease, a model he had learned from the Native American genocide.

Hitler was not the only rabid anti-Semite to usurp the narrative of the Native Americans for the purpose of destroying the Jewish people; in a twist, the return of the people of Israel to their ancestral homeland has enraged Muslims throughout the better part of one hundred years.

Deploying historical fabrication and an total distortion of this return has been the chief propaganda tool of Arab leaders throughout the Middle East, and specifically has become the official party line of the Palestinian attempt to eradicate the modern State of Israel.

As such, they have tried to appropriate the tragic extermination of Native Americans as representative of their own state of affairs. The facts simply do not matter when the extermination of the Jews is the goal. Palestinians enjoy a greater overall standard of living than the rest of the Arab Middle East and their numbers in Israel have increased from the low hundreds of thousands to millions since the Zionist enterprise achieved Jewish statehood. The suggestion that they are victims of ethnic cleansing as were American Indians offers a powerful soundbyte and, indeed, has been  accepted by some Native Americans themselves.

Fortunately, many more Native Americans are not at all willing to buy the story and, in actuality, are great supporters of the State of Israel. Rachel Abraham discusses the important Jewish and Israeli support of Native Americans and the equally important support of most Native Americans for Israel.

In a most telling statement, Abraham quotes Ryan Bellrose, a member of the Metis nation: “Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history. To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me.…… they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state …….. and to partner with the Jews — and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war. We were never given that chance. We never made that choice.”

There is no doubt that the genocide – the holocaust – of Native Americans has been used for evil purposes by those that would rewrite history and attempt now to destroy the Jewish people. There is also no doubt that the Jews, Israel and the Native Americans, many of which may actually have Jewish ancestral blood running in their veins, will stand together.  With courage and deep mutual understanding, two proud peoples that have survived the worst know that suffering can only build bonds between nations that must endure,  for the betterment of mankind.

Two Jewish Activists Try to Stop Trafficking of Blood Diamonds

Roughly speaking , there are two types of diamonds: those that are produced ethically and those that are not, the latter termed blood diamonds. Blood diamonds are those diamonds mined in areas of conflict or dictatorships, the revenues used to mine armies, insurgents, dictators or warlords, most commonly in Angola, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic.  Ethically produced diamonds are those diamonds produced in mines in Canada, Namibia, Batswana, South Africa and precious stones like sapphire in Australia and Malawi.2

The problem that exists, therefore, is stopping the flow of blood diamonds and although the world has adopted the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (2000) in order to block sales of blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, the actual ability to know the point of origin of a diamond, and whether it was ethically produced or not, is a bit difficult. Further, the Kimberly Certification has recently allowed for the purchase of blood diamonds from countries such as Zimbabwe, even though it is clear that these diamonds are not ethically produced. Economic and political pressures have won the day.

The problem is further exasperated. Once Antwerp had been the major cutting and polishing center for diamonds, and would not have imported Zimbabwe’s diamonds no matter the hypocrisy of the Kimberly Certification (the United States and some other countries ban Zimbabwe diamonds despite the Kimberly Certification). Other countries like India do not ban the export of Zimbabwe diamonds. Interestingly, the diamond business of Antwerp, almost an exclusively Orthodox Jewish establishment, has been largely taken over in recent years by non-Jewish immigrants from India.

As such, the Indians today control much of the diamond industry, being strategically situated in Antwerp and Surat, with open trade routes to New York, Hong Kong and Dubai, the largest centers of diamond commerce in the world.

Surat, India, has become the largest diamond cutting and polishing center in the world. The city is regulation free, full of cheap child labor, and takes no responsibility for the illness known as “diamond lung” or other respiratory illnesses stemming from the inhalation of very small diamond particles. It is estimated that over 500,000 thousand people in Surat work in the diamond cutting and polishing stages of the diamond preparation process. Worse, once these diamonds have been strategically cut and polished, it is almost impossible to know their point of origin; as such, it is entirely possible that blood diamonds make their way to the American market in great numbers.  As the Brilliant Earth website explains, Surat has become the place “where blood diamonds go to forget their past”.

Enter two Stanford University graduates, Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg. In 2004 they established Brilliant Earth, a company that designs and produces jewelry made from diamonds that are only ethically produced. In addition, they recycle gold and platinum for their use in their jewelry. Some of the Brilliant Earth diamonds are processed in Israel as well. According to industry sources, Brilliant Earth has shaped the diamond purchase landscape in important ways, leading as well to a greater level of consumer sensitivity to the issue of conflict versus ethically produced diamonds. JCK magazine, a leading diamond industry publication, named Eric Grossberg as one of the young and influential industry entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, the company actually donates five percent of its profits to aid those impoverished by decades of cruelty, war and slavery in the very areas where blood diamonds are produced.

Further, as the diamond industry is a multi-billion dollar business, it is highly probably that blood diamonds are regularly traded with the disguised blessings of the industry. Brilliant Earth painstakingly goes against the grain to assure that its diamonds or precious stones are tainted in any way by the oppression of others.  Actually, they are most vociferous in their stance. One of their managers, Greg Krauss, has published an important and fascinating article about the realities of the diamond industry and how Brilliant Earth disassociates themselves from practices that may be legal, but are absolutely unethical.

Brilliant Earth has centers for land restoration and medical aid in Sierra Leone, community centers and activist groups for the prevention of child labor in the Congo, and has established avenues for human rights education in Angola. These are only a few of their projects. By empowering communities from the bottom up, they believe that they can make a difference.

As Gerstein says, her goal is to “transform the jewelry industry by demonstrating transparency, responsibility and compassion.” Quoting Margaret Mead, Gerstein adds, “Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed group of citizens could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Jewish Pirates That Punished the Spanish and Portuguese

Revenge was sweet. In the centuries following the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions of the Holy Roman Empire, there were Jews that took to the high seas to punish with vengeance those that had betrayed them and their families.

Sinan Reis (Ciphat Sinan) – known as the Great Jew – was one such avenger.  After being forced out of Spain, his family relocated to Smyrna,Turkey, his birthplace. As a young man carrying the wounded pride of his displaced family, Ciphut Sinan joined forces with the Ottoman Empire and with Barbary Coast buccaneers that savaged the navies of Spain’s Charles I, the Holy Roman Emperor. Endearing himself to the famous Ottoman admiral Barbarossa, Sinao O Judeo, as the Portuguese called him, led the Ottoman’s to victory over the Spanish through cunning and often brilliant military strategy.  When operating out of Algiers in 1538, Sinan destroyed most of Spain’s naval fleet off the port of Pleveza, in Greece. Significantly, Ciphut Sinan led his ship under the flag of the Seal of Solomon, similar in appearance to the Star of David.

The Great Jew was to be properly rewarded by Barbarossa for his efforts. In 1540, Emperor Charles’ forces captured Sinan’s son and had him baptized by the Lord of Elba. Barbarossa would have none of that, and after several failed negotiations for the boy’s release, landed his forces at Piombino, he ransacked the town and blew up the fort. At the time of his son’s release by the beleaguered Holy Roman Emperor enemy, Sinan was in the Suez on the Red Sea, preparing an Indian force to attack the Portuguese.

Decades later, brothers Abraham and Moses Cohen Henriques, of Portuguese  Sephardic origin, would rule the high seas of the Caribbean and later the Brazilian coast. Moses Cohen would fearlessly capture over 500 Iberian ships; during the Eighty Years War, the Dutch fight for autonomy from Phillip II of Spain, the brothers came to the aid of the Dutch West Indies Company in one of the greatest heists in history, capturing the Spanish treasure fleet in the Battle of the Bay of Mantazas,  in Cuba. Moses Cohen Henriques, perhaps the most famous Jewish pirate in history, eventually went on to establish his own pirate island off the coast of Brazil.

The strange case of Yaakov Koriel betrays the confusion that reigned during the Inquistion, when Jewish families were ripped apart, some accepting Christianity in the full, others taking their beliefs underground to live outwardly as Christians, but secretly as Jews; the latter were known as Marranos, Conversos, or in Hebrew, Anusim.

Koriel was a Marrano that had sailed with the Spanish Fleet until his true identity was revealed. As a captive of the Holy Roman Empire, he was secretly shown a route to escape by his fellow sailors, many of whom were Marranos as well.

After that, revenge on the Spanish became his sole purpose in life. Fleeing to the Caribbean, he eventually commanded three pirate ships that would incessantly attack the Spanish Fleet marauders that robbed the locals of their gold and silver riches. Many of the pirates that served Koriel were openly religious Jews seeking to avenge the humiliation and suffering at the hands of the Spanish Inquisitors. Ironically, one of Koriel’s brothers, Francisco, became a Catholic Inquisitor himself, later taking the role of the first Archbishop of Mexico.

Years later, Koriel would make a full return to his Judaism, abandoning piracy and traveling to the Land of Israel, to the Galilean hills of Safed. There, in the serene beauty of the pastoral settings, so different from the incessant warring on the seas of the Bermuda Triangle, he became a student of Rabbi Hayim Vital, the foremost student of the Holy Ari, founder of the most prominent Kabbalistic school in Judaism.

Jewish Pirate Gravestone
Skull and crossbones on a Jewish pirate’s grave

Koriel was buried near his masters in Safed, while many of his cronies that fought with him as pirates avenging their heritage, were buried with a skull and crossbones on their tombs in the Portuguese Jewish Cemetery in Ouderkerk, near Amsterdam. Many prominent Sephardic Jews are buried in this cemetery, not only pirates. Among the interred are Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel, Con Samuel Palache (famous more for his diplomacy than for his short exploits as a pirate) and the renegade philosopher Baruch Spinoza .

As it seems, the appearance of the skull and crossbones on these Jewish graves is not meant in any way to be a mark of derision, but rather a mark of pride – Jewish pride; Jewish pride and Jewish revenge of the brutal and often sadistic Inquisitors that visited upon the Jews and all “infidels” the wrath of their fury.

Thus, this is a sadly forgotten story of Jewish patriotism. As it seems, most of the monies wrested from the Spanish and Portuguese was taken by those that were aided by the Jewish pirates, be it the Ottomans or the Dutch. For the Jews, revenge was sweet enough.

The Day Dachau was Liberated by Native Americans

Located in Oklahoma City, the 45th Infantry Division, disbanded in 1968, was originally a part of the Oklahoma National Guard and saw action in both World War II and the Korean War. Composed of soldiers from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma the 45th was established in the early 1920s; its soldiers were natural fighters, marksmen and people of the land. Some of them were Native Americans whose families had come to the region from Tennessee and the Carolinas in the brutal Trail of Tears.

Ironically, the 45th Infantry Division in 1924 chose the Swastika as their symbol. The Swastika was a Native American symbol. In 1939, with the rise of Nationalist Socialism in Germany, members of the 45th Infantry Division replaced their insignia with a Thunderbird, another Native American symbol, designed by Oklahoma native Woody Big Bow.

During World War II, the division engaged in heavy fighting against the Nazis in Italy, displaying great bravery and resolve, despite serious losses. They would be the first Allied troops to reach the Vatican. After Italy, they entered into France and Germany, capturing several key cities and eventually crossing the Danube River. On April 29th, 1945 the 45th was sent to liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp.

Upon witnessing the horrors of Dachau, soldiers of the 45th mowed down Nazi soldiers who had already surrendered, Cherokee Indian 1st Lieutenant Jack Bushyhead personally ordering the execution of almost 400 SS troops. In the eyes of the Native American soldiers of the U.S. Army, Nazi soldiers in concentration camps were not ordinary enemy soldiers deserving of protection as prisoners of war; they were simply murderers. Those liberated Jewish inmates that still had enough strength to take vengeance joined the 45th in this act. Jews, White and Black Americans and American Indians taking revenge together on Nazis is something that binds. The Jews also killed some kapos. This was not the direct business of the American soldiers, but they did help.

Lt. Jack Bushyhead
Lt. Jack Bushyhead (left) at the Liberation of Dachau, 1945.

Immediately before entering the Dachau Concentration Camp, the soldiers of the 45th found thirty nine railroad boxcars containing two thousand skeletal corpses and brain tissue scattered about from smashed in skulls. According to eyewitness reports, the battle toughened soldiers were not at all prepared for the sight and, in concert with the stench of decaying corpses, could not hold their emotions back. They vomited, cried and entered a state of rage that cannot be understood by those that have never experienced such horrors.

At that point Nazi tower guardsmen started to shoot on the American soldiers and the fighting resumed, but not in full force. It seems that many of the SS guards, the camp commander and others had fled the camp just before its liberation, leaving hundreds more strewn and tortured bodies for the 45th Infantry Division liberators to find. Still, the Nazis had 560 SS soldiers left in the compound, many of them Hungarian Waffen SS troops, others were inmates of the SS conscripted prison system which was also housed in Dachau.

There is much dispute as to what really happened at the camp, how many Nazi Soldiers were actually killed and under what circumstances. In his 1986 book, Dachau: The Day of the Avenger, an Eyewitness Account, first lieutenant and medical corps office Howard Buechner writes that U.S. forces killed 520 Nazi soldiers, 346 on the orders of the Cherokee Indian, Jack Bushyhead. Other eyewitnesses dispute this and still others confirm.

Alleged execution of SS troops in a coal yard in the area of the Dachau concentration camp during its liberation. April 29, 1945
Alleged execution of SS troops in a coal yard in the area of the Dachau concentration camp during its liberation. April 29, 1945

After the liberation, accusations of war crimes were hurled at the American forces. As such, getting to the truth of the episode is difficult. No matter the true number of executed Nazis, during a United States Army investigation into the occurrences, General George S. Patton dismissed the charges. Deputy Judge Advocate, Colonel Charles L. Decker, wrote: “in the light of the conditions which greeted the eyes of the first combat troops, it is not believed that justice or equity demand that the difficult and perhaps impossible task of fixing individual responsibility now be undertaken.”

What is not denied is that the American soldiers gave guns and tools to the Jewish inmates that still had strength enough to take revenge on the Nazi soldiers still in the complex. And take revenge they did, killing and butchering several Nazis as well as Jewish kapos.

Jewish Inmate Beating SS Guard
Dachau inmate prepares to beat a guard to death with a shovel

These occurrences, of course, of Jewish inmates taking revenge on Nazi soldiers were never considered immoral or wrong. They were understandable to all, probably to the Nazi soldiers as well as the Jewish kapos themselves.

The question then must be asked. Is it not enough to see and to internalize or must one actually fall victim first? The Cherokee Jack Bushyhead knew oppression and the murdering of innocents in his family from the Trail of Tears, the mid nineteenth century forced walk of several Indian tribes and Black Americans from the Southeastern United States to the Oklahoma territory. It is estimated that approximately 2000-6000 Cherokee Indians died on the vicious and brutal journey.

Having internalized his own people’s narrative, this Native American hero was perhaps doubly moved to act on the pledge: Never Again.

The Biology of Terror

While the world scrambles to deal with the continually growing threat of radical Islam, the true underlying causes of this phenomenon are grossly ignored. Governments – local, federal and international – are considering various strategies to contend with this unprecedented danger in various ways: militarily, politically, criminally and culturally, all the time ignoring the biological root cause of Islamic terrorism. The world runs the risk of continued peril if it does not quickly come to terms with the following politically incorrect fact: radical Islamic culture, in its various fanatic forms, leads to severe mental and emotional impairment. The conclusion, even more politically incorrect than the hypothesis, is that the culture of radical Islam must be shut down in all countries that believe in human freedom and mental health. A further conclusion is that political or cultural arrangements that allow for the preservation of this deranged culture can only lead to disaster.

Several important researchers, such as John Crayton, Jerrold Post and Richard Pearlstein, take the “terrorist as mentally ill” approach in trying to make sense of the phenomenon of individual acts of terror. Post asserts that individuals drawn to terrorism rely on the psychological mechanisms of ‘externilization’ and ‘splitting’. These psychological mechanisms are, according to Post, found in “individuals with narcissistic and borderline personality disturbances”, disturbances that usually occur during childhood and early adulthood. The ability to healthily integrate the good and bad sides of one’s personality is lost and thus their split personalities are split into “me” and “not me”, the one capable of inflicting violent damage on the other, including suicides that destroy their surroundings as well.

Is it not only possible, but rather probable, that societies that raise their young under a constant atmosphere of violence, rape, fear, jealousy, disciplinary stringency, an erased and even deprecated sense of the feminine self, may just be a breeding ground for violent fanaticism?

For instance, female genital mutilation, a practice common to much of Islamic society, can result in severe bleeding, neurogenic shock, haemorrhagic shock, severe pain, shame and trauma; it goes without saying, all this without the requisite medical and psychological help given to the victim. Honor killings have risen greatly as of late amongst Arab societies with horrendous affects not only for the hapless woman, but for family as well. A Palestinian reported that after a woman was killed for suspected adultery, her children were left “for two weeks, incapable of sleep, crying for their mother.”

Child rape, both male and female, and by both mother and father, is common in many segments of Muslim society, and now it has spread to those that would respect the religious and cultural mores of their Muslim immigrants. In a 2014 BBC report on the Muslim immigrant population, it was reported that “at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013…..children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated.”

Domestic violence against women, according to many but not all scholars of Muslim jurisprudence, is allowed and not subject to punishment. Add to this the roaring role of the Imam in the mosque and the constant message of violence against the infidel, the total and utter lack of sensitivity in the killing of animals for consumption (compare  Jewish ritual slaughter or Western government-approved slaughter with Halal slaughter), children and women being made to stand in front of their men as protection, and an entire list of similar atrocities. It seems a pretty good bet that if we examined these segments of Muslim populations  psychologically, we would see a large segment of this population suffering from ‘externalization’ and ‘splitting’. In biological terms, we would see different patterns of brain region activation, epigenetic negative influence on normal gene expression and even anatomical differences caused by trauma on the developing brain.

Can solving this problem really be seen as something that has to do with good will and multiculturalism? Can any political deal made with these people really produce something longer lasting than the ink on the document? Is it any wonder that so many non-Muslim grown psychopaths are finding their way to radical Islam (perhaps radical Islam represents to them one form of “not me” that they can easily identify with)?

In a 2012 paper entitled “Dynamic Epigenetic Responses To Childhood Exposure to Violence”,  Jonathan Mill writes, “Of note, changes in DNA methylation following early life stress have been associated with long-term changes in gene expression and behavior and may contribute to both psychiatric disorders and physiological disturbances later in life.” He provides evidence of altered gene expression due to juvenile violence.

British researchers found significant differences between the brains of psychopaths and normal people, specifically in the uncinate fasciculus, while earlier studies have shown similar differences in the emotional and violence regulating center – the amygdala – and the orbitofrontal cortex, an area important for decision making. Lead researcher, Dr. Michael Craig states, “The suggestion of a clear structural deficit in the brains of psychopaths has profound implications for clinicians, research scientists and the criminal justice system.”

Dr. Craig should have noted as well that the implications for politicians and social scientists are no less important. Viewing Muslim terror in this way reveals, for instance, the utter futility and even great danger of ideas such as the Two State Solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Taking from Israel the ability to militarily patrol this breeding ground of psychopaths is insane.  It will never work. Psychopathic societies are never satiated (need we mention Global Jihad and the Global Caliphate?). Will the Muslims in Pakistan ever stop their murderous fury against the Hindus? I doubt it – unless they stop following radical Islam.

The world can help with this and put an end to radical Islam. But it must be understood that this is a problem for the World Health Organization, not for the UN proper; radical interpretations of Sharia Law as a global health problem. The very many Islamic apologists, Barack Hussein Obama included, must understand that if they desire to protect any vestige of goodwill towards Islam, they must help to eradicate those very many biological aspects that lead to gross mental regression. This means, first and foremost, reigning in Sharia Law. It is time to tame radical Islam, which means not only ISIS, but also a score of political movements that create this sickened and dark reality – Hamas and Boko Haram as just two examples.

There can be no political negotiations with the deranged. For Europe and America, there can be no cultural respect for those that lead their own down the slippery slope of mental illness.

Most importantly, it behooves those Muslims that reject the methods and ideologies of the radical Islamists to create strong societal borders even within their own communities, to not only theoretically reject but to functionally halt this growing plague. Should they not do so, the boundaries between radical Islam and Islam will be understandably blurred by outsiders in the Western world and the consequences that even the moderate Muslims suffer will be completely of their own making.


The Case Against Building a Casino in Eilat

I have a very wise friend, one of the wisest people I know, who explained to me recently, in his typically wise way, why people should not be shocked over a recently aired interview on Israeli television between journalist Amnon Levy and  a Satmar Hassid who doubled as a cocaine dealer and murderer.

Throughout the interview, Levy could not but help express his befuddlement over the seeming incongruity between identifying with and living amongst Judaism’s strictest sect,  and simultaneously being a drug lord and gang member. Levy, a secular or perhaps slightly traditional Jew, could simply not get over the fact that one’s s advertised morality and one’s personal morality had absolutely nothing to do with one another. Indeed, this is exactly what irked Levy so much, because this particular Hassid admitted to Levy that he had no remorse and felt no conflict between his communal path and his ‘professional’ path. He separated the two. These are the signs of a psychopath, actually, but my friend’s point can still be made.

Jews are believers, sometimes in God as well, but always in some kind of ideology. Jews do not take middle of the ground positions. Whatever they believe in, be it socialism or Hassidut or settlement or Zionism or feminism or Haredi(ism) or social justice or self hatred masked in this or that ideology or whatever the cause, Jews believe. On the other hand, Jews are people and like all people, they are not perfect. This dichotomy leads often to a twisted case of patriotism (in the case of the drug dealing Hassid, a particularly perverted case), by which the flag waver never gives up the flag even if its demands are far beyond what that individual is willing to accept.

In this extreme case, the Hassid knew deep down that the Satmir way was the right way, but it simply was not for him. He had been hurt by his community and had for many years developed a love-hate relationship with them, but somehow deep within he continued to believe in the path, even if he had abandoned its dictates. He was not a moral Jew – but he wanted his children to be! He was determined to continue the chain even if for him there was no reconciliation between his personal life and his ideological life.

We see this in far less extreme cases all of the time: Secular great-grandparents who abandoned God at the gates of Auschwitz and are thrilled to see their grandchildren and great-grandchildren return to the study of Torah, secular Jewish business magnates donating heavily to Yeshivas and Jewish learning and experience, American Jewish mafia of the last century helping the fledgling Jewish State with arms, training and funding, Rabbis that continue to teach even if they themselves have lost their own torch of faith,  secular Israeli leftists that bash their own country daily but never leave – because they can’t.
None of them can, even if they wish that they could. Somehow, this Jewish “presence” sticks deep within and no matter the interpretation, Jews may twist and shout and contort their views, but at the end of the day will fight to preserve, no matter how much they have personally abandoned their own stated beliefs.

And while there will be those readers that will protest this comparison of others with the drug dealing Hassid or the murderous Jewish gangsters, and will haughtily express their indignation that good people are included in this same vile pie, rest assured that the comparison is apt and that there is a special case that is far worse.

Years ago I hailed a taxi in Jerusalem. Just to have some fun, when the taxi driver, a traditional Jew, asked me “where to”, I answered, “to wherever you want to go”.  He stared incredulously at me and asked if I was serious. “Of course”, I answered, “after all its your car.” After breaking into a very slight sweat and gulping as if parched and in need of a drink, he answered, “if you are serious, than let’s drive down to the casino in Jericho.”

Well, he had really turned the tables on me and I began to explain to him that casinos were bad, that he did not look like someone that could afford to lose money, that this particular casino was owned partially by Arab terrorists and that therefore the money would go to funding terrorism and that in general casinos were places that created surrounding cultures of vice.

“I know”, he exasperatingly exclaimed, “but what can I do? I can’t help it. I am right wing, I believe in God and country, I hate Arab terrorists and I vote Likud, but this is just something that my body and soul needs. Are you with me? Can we go?”

I learned several important things in that brief encounter. First, that the Likud is about as low browed a party as exists in the entire country, the current debate over casinos in Eilat proving again this very point. Second, that as my wise friend explains, people are people and patriotism is sometimes conjoined at the hip to personal and moral defeat. Third, that I would not have much cared if the taxi driver had wanted me to join him at a poker party, but was shocked when he was desirous of a plan that could cause his own people great pain and suffering.

Any casino, anywhere in the world, brings with it alcoholism, prostitution, hard earned money thrown to the wind, a culture of decadence and emptiness, mafia and gangland murder. It is not Jewish, not by the standards of the religious Jew, not by the standards of the secular Zionist Jew, not by feminist standards, not by social justice standards, not by any standard. And yes, it is far worse than the Hassidic murderer, because with it all, he still held on to something far dearer to him than his own psychopathy. He held to his community standards for friends and family and never allowed them to enter his sick game. But these Likudnikim, these men that would not only abandon their personal morality, but also infect an entire culture with this lustful foolishness, they are far worse.


The Amish and ISIS

Both the Amish and ISIS reject to a great extent Western culture and both have serious issues with the principles of modernity. One chops off heads and one does its thing, in peace and with dignity and love.  Given that the Amish have more or less succeeded in forming an exemplary and peace loving, hard working, religiously fervent society, it may not really be religion or culture as such that are at loggerheads with the West. The Amish have proven for quite a long time that communities of people, while rejecting much of what the West has become, can be relevant and sustained in peace and with dignity, without giving up on their principles.

Religious persecution? The Amish have experienced it several times. Economic disadvantage? It is not easy to make a buck in a world without using the latest technologies, especially in agriculture, but the Amish are flourishing.  What is it exactly that produces a culture that builds, that loves, that protects, and another culture that destroys, that hates and threatens? Beyond their rejection of modern Western values, both ISIS and the AMISH have an even more interesting similarity – they both marry within and have a large degree of consanguineous marriages, a practice that leads to higher than usual numbers of inbred genetic issues within their populations, including bipolar disorders and other forms of mental disease.  

So again, the question remains – why does one group lead towards love and community and the other towards death and destruction? The answer, obviously, is that the two diametrically opposed groups live in two diametrically opposed cultures. Culture in and of itself, however, is not an entity with agency; for culture to influence, it must take hold in the brain. In essence, therefore, the question is one of mental health. The Amish are healthy while ISIS followers are mentally deranged. Once it is understood that people that chop off the heads of perceived enemies or even co-religionists who are less fanatic in their practices, that place their bombs in hospitals and schools, that kidnap young girls and rape and prostitute them, that practice female circumcision, honor killings of women and child abuse without punishment, that torture and shoot without trial or evidence suspected traitors, it may be finally admitted that the key issue here is one of mental health and not ‘culture’ or ‘religion’. This is a problem with a strong biological basis, a medical problem.

Culture is merely an excuse that the Western multiculturalists throw around to make excuse for the deranged practices of much of what is radical Islam today. In actuality, many Muslims suffer from severe mental disease caused by inbreeding, a lifestyle that is violent, stringent, fanatic, jealous, sadistic, misogynist in the extreme, sexually perverse and genocidal.
What would any mental health expert expect from a person that grows up today within the strict confines of radical Islam? Imagine a couple from Pasadena that performs female circumcision on their daughter of middle school age. Would the authorities allow those parents to keep custody over that girl? Would the parents go to jail? Most importantly, would that young woman be given massive psychological care, all paid for by the county? What, then, can be expected from an entire culture that performs, day in and day out, atrocities on their own population in addition to other populations in their vicinity?

It would seem that a growing part of today’s Muslim world suffers from harsh and abnormal psychological disease that leads to terrorist phenomena such as ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Palestinian Authority and a long list of other groups situated around the globe. Apparently, mental illness is on the rise.

The distinction between culture and mental disease is important for several reasons. Multiculturalists may be prone to allow for Sharia law in Europe and even in Dearborn, Michigan, where the local council has voted to become the first city in the United States to fully implement Sharia law for its Muslim citizens. Perhaps it was done as a show of respect for Islam, perhaps out of fear. But either way, it is a gesture of good will to another culture quickly spreading through the States and indeed, the entire world. If, however, radical interpretations of Sharia law were understood as a recipe for mental disease and violence, they most likely would not be allowed into American or European legal considerations.

A couple of years ago a woman in Oklahoma was decapitated by a man who had recently become a convert to Islam. This man, well before becoming a Muslim, had a disturbing record of violence. Thus, a great debate began in America – was this an act of radical Islam – a terrorist act – or an act of a deranged soul regardless of his religious affiliation. It was a pathetic and sterile debate. Obviously, it was the act of a violent and deranged individual and just as obviously, such an individual finds inspiration from and identification with radical Islam. This murderer did not become deranged because of Islam, but at the same time, birds of a feather……………..

It is interesting to note that many Islamic apologists speak of the Golden Age of Islamic culture and achievement, where contributions to philosophy, art and mathematics were great. What these ‘historians’ fail to mention is the fact this period of Muslim history, approximately nine hundred years ago, was a period where many staunch Muslim religionists led an open and non-apologetic type of double life, imbibing wine and enjoying the good life. The very same people that led to great Muslim achievement would have been the first to be beheaded by today’s radical Islam.

Radical Islamists should not be treated as group of people with legitimate claims against Israel, the West or the Kurds. To treat their culture as one that is deserving of respect is simply to engage in this century’s greatest lie. The Amish are deserving of respect. Radical Islam and it s accompanying radical interpretation of Sharia law are deserving of nothing but contempt and must be rooted out quickly and thoroughly.

The West has problems that must be studied, introspection that is critical now more than ever to be undertaken, but the West does not condone the covering up of women in black from head to toe, the castration of these same females and their ultimate murder for family pride. Further, the West does not place its children in front of bombs and does not ask its women to commit suicide bomber attacks. The West may be ill, which is why the Amish try to create bounds between the Western world and its own community, but there can be no comparison between radical Islam and Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism.  Radical Islam is a psychological disease that is growing and must be stopped. No amount of political or cultural gesture will stop this disease because this disease is a biological and medical phenomenon, not a political phenomenon. You cannot cut a deal with a disease. When this is understood, there may be a chance to survive the plague.

Based on an article the author originally published in the Times of Israel