Editorials are posted and archived on JNonline.us .
he response of Iran's pres-
Ahmadinejad, to the car-
toon riots raging across Muslim
lands is a look inside the fevered
mental state of Islamist extremists.
He said that he was sponsor-
ing a contest for cartoons about
the Holocaust. Since
Ahmadinejad already had
labeled the Holocaust a myth,
one could anticipate what direc-
tion these drawings would take.
But it's another indication of
how wide the cultural breach is
between the values of the demo-
cratic West and the
The idea that any group can
impose its religious views by
restricting basic freedoms of
Western civilization — the
rights of free speech and a free
press and a free exercise of reli-
gion — is abhorrent to anyone
who values our cultural heritage.
But resolving issues of religion
and politics by silencing any
opposition through intimidation
and violence has become a con-
stant in radical Islam. This was
the very point the Danish car-
toonist was making when he
depicted Mohammed with a tur-
ban shaped like a bomb. The
resulting riots underscored his
This is also a major reason
that news media coverage in the
Mideast is so slanted. If a
reporter publishes negative sto-
ries about Israel, he may get into
an argument with a government
official. If he does it with the
Palestinians, he may be threat-
ened with his life. Guess which
way reporters find it best to go.
Was it insensitive to publish
the cartoons? Maybe. But reli-
gious beliefs are questioned (see
The Da Vinci Code) and satirized
every day in a free society.
Moreover, the press in the
Muslim world, much of it gov-
ernment controlled, has no prob-
lem whatsoever with depicting
Jews as evil, hook-nosed, money-
grasping, conspiratorial demons.
Jews may find it hard to see how
an expression of opinion can be
equated with denying an historical
event that has been established as
fact repeatedly by eyewitness testi-
mony and the most rigorous stan-
dards of investigation.
But to the Ahmadinejads of
the Muslim world, the line is
direct: no Holocaust, no Israel.
In their minds, Israel never had
a right to exist. If it can be shown,
however, that the Holocaust was
merely the fictitious pretext for
establishment of a Zionist state,
that's the icing on the cake.
Any statement that contradicts
their system of belief is a lie,
even if it happens to be true.
Truth is a mere inconvenience.
That's why a Pakistani official
called the cartoonist the "real
terrorist?' He dared tell the truth,
and that's unforgivable.
The cartoon riots are a perfect
illustration of why the majority
of Muslim countries remain dys-
functional and infantalized. They
are unable to expand the param-
eters of free inquiry and debate
If they want to live that way
that's their business. When they
seek to impose their repressive
tactics on us, it should be resis-
ted by every possible means. The
Danes, who behaved so honor-
ably during World War II, are
fully capable of doing that. So
should we all.
THEN IT BEGAN
REELING LIKE TAKING
BUS RIDE .
" ANTI- MISSILE
ON ALL ITS
E-mail letters of no more than 150
words: lettersc thejewishnews.com .
News You Can Lose
here is an old joke in
newspaper circles about
the perfect New York
"World Over," it would read.
"Poor, Women and Minorities
At least, I thought it was a joke
until I picked up the Detroit
News a couple of weeks ago and
read this on page one: "Auto Cuts
Here is an entire region going
through an historic economic
upheaval, one that may change
its job equation forever. And this
story casts it all in racial terms.
It is a situation that is spread-
ing pain through every corner of
Michigan. But, supposedly, the
pain ought to be sorted out
under some kind of racial quota.
What is even more bizarre,
down in the body of the story is
the fact that new auto plants in
Alabama and Mississippi are hir-
ing African-Americans at rates
that reflect those local popula-
tions. It some instances, it can be
almost 50 percent.
So the story here is not "Auto
Cuts Slam Blacks," but "Auto Cuts
Slam Unions." Those are the jobs
being lost, and black autowork-
ers, insofar as they belong to the
UAW, are indeed being hurt. As
are whites, Hispanics and
Same paper, same day: a story
on Alabama church arsons. The
headline reads: "Race is only I in
long list of motives?'
But the actual text of the story
says: "With the fires divided
between white and black church-
race doesn't seem to
be a factor?' It's not one
in a "long list?' It isn't
even on the list.
As Boston Globe
columnist Jeff Jacoby
pointed out, much of
the media wanted so
badly to say that the
were "hate crimes" that
they weren't about to
let the facts get in the way.
Nor will it deter the justice-
seeking, up-to-date journalists
who do things like this on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
and then deplore "racial divisive-
ness" on Tuesday and Thursday.
On weekends, they sit around,
stare at their navels and wonder
why no one seems to trust news-
papers like they used to.
You could see the
same process at
work on the vice
hunting accident. It
was basically a
story that was of
importance only to
the poor man who
got shot, Dick
Cheney and their
Yet the national media kept
huffing and puffing and trying to
make it a metaphor for all Bush
Administration policies. Shoot
first, ask questions later and hide
whatever you do.
Even though the police were
questioning the vice president
the morning after it happened,
and the story had been posted
on the Web pages of the local
newspaper, the national media
still called it a "cover-up?' They
seemed absolutely crushed when
no charges were filed.
"Manslaughter is only 1 in
long list of crimes," would have
been such a good headline.
But here's a thought. Can you
imagine what would have hap-
pened had the man Cheney shot
been a registered Democrat? Five
nationally syndicated columnists
would have had apoplexy and the
Times editorial board would have
forecast the imposition of a
So be grateful for small mer-
George Cantor's e-mail address is
March 2 - 2006