2011-12-18

Hitchens remembered ...

... by Shmuley Boteach. Of all the Hitchens tributes you'll read, this may be one of the most interesting.
We were planning to do another debate on whether the Jews are indeed the chosen people, a topic of particular interest for Hitchens given the discovery that he was Jewish only when his mother revealed it to him in his twenties.

Back and forth we went, trying to find a time that might suit him as he awaited the literal return of the voice he had lost to his treatment against esophageal cancer.

His mother had also told him that she planned to move to Israel where she said Jews were making the desert bloom, a move that was never carried out due to her tragic suicide. I once asked Hitchens on my radio show what, given his mother’s growing attachment to her people, it would have meant to him for her to have lived to see the substantial Jewish intellectual following he would one day amass. He told me that it would have made him very happy to see her proud.

He further shared with me how, amid his passionate atheism, he took pride in his Jewishness due to Jewry’s immense emphasis on learning and scholarship and being the people of the book. ...

Go read the rest. And don't miss Totten.

Phyllis Chesler on Charles Small, Subramanian Swamy

Phyllis Chesler at A7:
I am talking about the Islamic persecution of infidels on every continent—a persecution which is still ongoing; about forced conversions to Islam; and about the genocidal extermination of 80 million Hindus over a period of six centuries (1000-1500 CE).

What I’ve just written is historically true as is Islam’s history of anti-Black racism, slavery, and gender and religious apartheid. Ibn Warraq has a new and very important book just coming out on this very subject. It is titled: Why the West is Best. A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy.

But, it is a crime to say any of this. And, it is a crime to suggest that a liberal or constitutional democracy must defend itself against jihadic terrorism.

This is not true only in the Middle East or in Islamic central Asia. It is true in the major and most prestigious universities in the United States. ...

Read it all at the link.