Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Brilliant Idea

Former Spanish prime minister Aznar, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required), has come up with a brilliant idea for a viable counter move to Iran’s decision to go nuclear: have Israel admitted as a member of NATO. The move would certainly force Europe to make a fuller commitment to the preservation of Israel, and make it more difficult for Europeans to engage in spurious anti-Semitic exercises. And it would reintroduce the necessary Cold War politics that are needed when confronting Iran.

What’s more, the ascension of both Sweden and Finland to NATO would become more difficult, as these two cowardly states would have a harder time selling NATO to their respective electorates. Anti-Semitism is rampant in these countries, and being forced into a treaty with Israel would be complete anathema to all the foreign policy themes promulgated by these two freerider states.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anti-Semitism is rampant in these countries"

This is quite a bold statement you are making here, can you give any exzamples that support this rather outrageous point of view?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous helsinkian said...

I don't believe an Israeli NATO membership will have any impact on the willingness of Finland or Sweden to join the Atlantic Alliance. For Finland's part, Russian membership (which is not on the cards) might affect domestic opinion. I think that a Russian membership would be a good thing if that would happen at a future point of time when Russia would fill NATO criteria.

It is interesting that you would support Israeli NATO membership. Israel is after all historically speaking a country built by social democrats and even today seems to be leaning toward a rather centrist sort of liberalism. Like the name (forward) says, the new governing party Kadima is a progressive movement. How does that grab you?

When it comes to anti-semitism in Sweden and Finland, well, historically speaking the Lutheran Church used to be anti-semitic (and anti-everything that was not Lutheran, including strongly anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox for centuries) but today religious freedom rules in both countries. We're talking about very liberal countries and countries with Holocaust consciousness. The Jewish community has been a very positive factor in both countries and at least when it comes to Finland, you can't seriously say there isn't a relatively strong pro-Israeli sentiment. Sure, there is anti-Israeli sentiment too (generally among anti-Americans) but anti-semitism is not that common and nothing compared to Russia and Central Europe.

I view very positively the NATO enlargement that has been going on so far. An influx of Eastern European countries has served to strengthen American resolve to make common cause with Europe. The more European countries that join NATO, the less there will be internal divisions within Europe and the easier it will be for NATO to find a new and meaningful role in the post-Cold War reality. As the war in former Yugoslavia showed there is a mission for NATO and the strategic partnership between North America and Europe should be in both parties interests. NATO is a transatlantic guarantor of peace.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Anonymous: Don't go by anything a Nordic non-Jew says, as they will, of course, deny it. But any in-depth discussion with a Jew from a Nordic country will reveal more than enough information.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

helsinkian: Israel is indeed very much built by social democrats, but they've also been a freerider on major American subsidies. The difference between Israel and Europe is that Israelis acknowledge their dependence on the US; furthermore, they spend a considerable amount of their own capital and blood to ensure their own security.

Europeans welfare states, especially in Old Europe, have given up on that, in favor of appeasement politics. Appeasement works well for the appeaser when it is known that there's someone behind you carrying a big stick. If something goes wrong, as in Yugoslavia, you can easily blame the heavy, which Europe did (Clinton the cowboy got blamed, even though he stopped the war) and continues to do on a regular basis.

As to NATO's viability in the future, unfortunately it is the Old Europeans contries that are the biggest drag on its effectiveness. New European countries have demonstrated a willingness to abide by some common principles with the US, making them of any interest to the US. But should these countries be absorbed into the slothful welfare-statist lifestyles of Old Europe, their significance for US interests will diminish, too.

In the end, there are less and less reasons for the US to upkeep any security treaties with Europe, especially when separate treaties can be made with specific countries. Blanket treaties such as NATO will only increase the illusion that America and Europe share certain overriding common principles, when the last five years have shown this is simply not true, and that clinging to such fantasies can only cause harm to the United States.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous helsinkian said...

Anti-semitism is a very serious matter and nothing to be swept under the rug. As far as Finland goes, the pro-Israeli community is relatively large and since the Jewish community is quite small, most pro-Israelis are non-Jewish. I know there are people with anti-semitic attitudes (as there regrettably are even in America) in Finland and there was some type of anti-semitic indoctrination in some circles of the Lutheran Church all the way to World War II.

But the anti-semitic past is openly discussed even in Lutheran circles. I actually believe there is a very strong philosemitic contingent in the Lutheran Church itself. For me personally it is a problem that Martin Luther himself was anti-semitic and as a philosemitic member of the Lutheran Church I've long considered leaving the church for that very reason. But believe you me, there is a vibrant anti-anti-semitism and philosemitism among Lutherans (and of course, other Protestants) in Finland.

Of course I can't say as a Gentile what it's like to be a Jew in Finland. But many other Gentiles I've spoken to are positively curious about Judaism. When it comes to the Holocaust, I know so many Gentiles in both Finland and Sweden who have a deep interest in the history of the Holocaust and who feel a very strong solidarity toward Holocaust victims and survivors. I'm very worried at any signs of anti-semitism in my country and in neighboring countries and I'm in no way trying to downplay any of it.

4:09 AM  
Blogger Miriam said...

Hang on, FinnPundit! You're out of line, and you don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Anti-semitism is not an issue in the Nordic countries, and certainly not in Helsinki. Helsinkian is right in pointing out the inherent anti-semitism in Lutheranism, but this accusation should be extended to all of European/Western culture. There were golf clubs in the U.S as late as in the sixties which Jews were not allowed to join.

I have loads of Jewish friends in Helsinki, and they feel that people are respectful and usually curious about Judaism, and not anti-semitic at all.
Systematic anti-semitism does not exist in Finnish cities. I'm willing to argue this with you, but can't be arsed to do that right now.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Finnpundit said...

Miriam, you simply don't know what you're talking about. I could cite dozens of incidents, from Jewish friends in Nordic countries, to personal experiences when everyone knew Jews weren't present.

Your knee-jerk reaction seems to indicate that you simply haven't bothered to be more observant. Anti-Semitism is very alive and well in Finland, and throughout Europe.

Your need to punctuate points with profanities also points out that your arguments are based on emotionally-based thinking, not on objective observation.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous helsinkian said...

Finnpundit, do you have any more examples of anti-semitism from Finland and Sweden? I think this is a very important discussion and I'm still not very convinced of the idea that there would be especially much of it around here anymore.

There have been serious problems with anti-semitism among the political class in Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. In 1995 the infamous Belarussian President Lukashenko said about Hitler the following: "German order evolved over the centuries and under Hitler attained its peak." In the three other countries I mentioned the leading politicians have at some point or another during the past few years needed support from the anti-semitic contingent and at times they've tolerated anti-semitism in one form or another. In Poland the Catholic Church is quite actively trying to deal with the issue, if I've understood correctly the situation there.

In Finland and Sweden the situation is completely different. Having lived in both countries, my guess is that there are more vocal neo-nazi groups in Sweden and more anti-semitic islamists as well. But I don't really believe there is much antisemitism in Sweden outside of these two subcultures. When it comes to Finland, like I said before World War II there was certainly some of this "Christ-killer" anti-semitic indoctrination among the Lutheran priesthood which even today lives on in the minds of the elderly. But it's still hard for me to think of Finland today as especially anti-semitic.

The Holocaust was the big turning point that really changed a whole host of anti-semitic Lutheran attitudes to philosemitic ones. Before World War II there was much more talk of "Christ-killers" and talk of especially many Jews being Communists, common myths that the extreme right all over Europe used at that time. But Finland really changed drastically. Those who were grown up before the war and were indoctrinated by antisemitic priests may have a slightly schizophrenic attitude toward Judaism.

Where in today's Finland, apart from some oddball neo-nazi groups (we have them too), can you find systematic anti-semitism anymore? The change from relatively common anti-semitic talk during the 1930s to today's situation is truly drastically positive. Are there signs that the situation is worsening right now and if so where?

11:22 AM  
Blogger BigHairyFinn said...

Oh well, I just wonder what the hell this latest demonstration in Helsinki was then all about?

The other demonstrations by the pro-palestinian side racked up some 300 demonstrators per go.

Of course, calling anyone not a hardline zionist or aligned with the pro-palestinian movements or the anti-war socialists an "anti-semite" is the easy way out. I think you call those anti-zionist orthodox jewish folks anti-semites as well?

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really can't say anything about Finland, but anti-semitism in Sweden is well known

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

spiik madöphakin suomea niguh

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Sebu said...

Here's another example. BTW, the University of Helsinki never found any wrongdoing, despite the fact that the written documents involved are public domain and clearly show that the entire hiring process was "mickey mouse" and non-systematic. ANYONE can order these documents and several journalists have. See another article in the Jewish daily Hamodia.

- - -
University of Helsinki authorities to investigate for irregularities and slander in hiring process at Swedish School of Social Sciences. International scholar calls for major overhaul to "amateurish" hiring practises.

Rest of the text:

Helsinki, Finland 21 Feb 2007 - The University of Helsinki and its sub-division the
Swedish School of Social Sciences might seem like a bizarre place for
scientific scandal to brew. But a hiring decision issued last year by the
president of the little college which educates both journalists and social
scientists has now come under increasing scrutiny. The decision on whom to
hire is not the object of attention in this growing scandal which has a
Jewish connection.

What Finnish authorities are currently investigating are expert statements
offered by University of Helsinki professors during the hiring process in
which they assured the Review Committee that a Jewish applicant of
international repute had never been admitted to the University of Helsinki
as a post-graduate student, an allegation which has categorically been proven

Another statement claimed to evaluate earlier work by the Jewish applicant
with the author claiming to have knowledge of the applicant's earlier
scholarship applications. However, further scrutiny revealed that the
professor who wrote the statement cannot reasonably or legally have had any
knowledge of this information.

At present, the University of Helsinki has few if any measures to avoid or
detect fraudulent statements made by their faculty or to uncover other
irregularities in the appointment process. However, University of Helsinki
authorities are expected to further investigate the issue and present the
case to the University of Helsinki President's office for review within three

Because of the serious nature of the statements and the fact that the
college has rejected his candidature four times previously, the applicant has
requested that the university review the records of previous decisions for
irregularities and that the University of Helsinki in the present case take
disciplinary action against the two professors and investigate whether
there are indications of ethnic or other forms of discrimination.

12:34 PM  

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