Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rudy and The Jews

In reading about 2008 presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's recently announced foreign policy team, I was quite impressed with the lineup. I was particularly pleased to hear of the inclusion of Middle East studies professor (one of the good guys) Martin Kramer, whose work has become very inspiring to my own at Campus Watch.

Of course, the announcement also resulted in a flurry of the usual anti-Semitic...I mean, anti-Zionist, suspects blogging away about "Giuliani, the Likud Candidate." But Rudy's awareness that the GWOT and hatred towards Israel and Jews are inexorably linked certainly does not disqualify him in my book. In fact, he's one of the few Republican politicians to have made that connection explicitly clear on a number of occasions.

Most notably when he turned down the $10 million "disaster relief" check from Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal (the current patron of Georgetown University's so-called Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding) after 9/11 because bin Talal tried to insert the caveat that U.S. foreign policy (i.e. supporting Israel) was to blame for the attacks. And there's much more.

In an article I wrote in 2004 on the uptick in Jewish votes for Republicans after 9/11 (that in retrospect, turns out to have been somewhat overly optimistic), I had this to say about Rudy's speech at the RNC:

...This shift was definitely felt at the Republican National Convention, where among the crowd could be seen Orthodox Jews. No doubt they and other Jews watching were pleasantly surprised by the speech of former New York mayor and 9/11 hero, Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani not only presented Israel and America as firm allies in the War on Terror, but he also paid homage to the wounds suffered by Jews in particular at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Giuliani referred specifically to the 1985 murder of American Leon Klinghoffer by four members of the Palestinian Liberation Front. It was on the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro that Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound elderly man, was, as Giuliani put it, "marked…for murder solely because he was Jewish." He also brought up the 11 Israeli athletes that were slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Olympics in 1972, as well as the travesty that was Yasser Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. In bringing these incidents up, Giuliani did more to appeal to Jewish voters than almost any Republican before him.
Mind you, I'm not trying to endorse any particular candidate, just to give credit where credit's due. And I think Rudy deserves mention for telling it like it is. The vitriol of his opponents is evidence that he hit the mark.

Cross-posted at Solomonia.

Update (7/24): It seems the type of anti-Semitic terminology being applied to Rudy Giuliani(who gave a good talk in San Francisco yesterday) I referenced above has just been ratcheted up a notch by the oh-so-charming Wonkette. One of the posters at her blog has labeled him "Rudy Jew-Liani" and the New York Times (boy, are they barking up the wrong tree) the "Jew York Times."

Ed Lasky at the American Thinker elaborates. And today on FNC's "Special Report," Brit Hume referenced the story as well. Welcome to the International Jewish Conspiracy, Rudy!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Comedian Will Franken Back at The Marsh

Several months ago, I wrote a column for SFGate titled "Will Franken: Comedy, Not Political Correctness" about a local comedian whose work I very much admire. I would classify Franken more as an independent thinker than anything else, but his hawish and accurate take on radical Islam combined with his satirical approach to the suicidalism and irrationality of Western liberalism definitely appeals to someone with my political proclivities.

Here's an excerpt from my article on the subject:
When it comes to comedy in San Francisco, stale Bush jokes and nefarious Rove references all too often are the order of the day. For those in search of something different, comedian Will Franken (no relation to Al Franken) is a breath of fresh air. I went to see Franken's one-man show, "Grandpa, It's Not Fitting," at The Marsh theater last week and was blown away.

{snip}

The first sign that it would not be business as usual the night of his show were the name tags handed out randomly to audience members as they came in the door. Mine, I was proud to note, was named for "Infidel" author and radical Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Let's just say this was hardly standard fare for San Francisco.

Things got even more curious as the show began, with Franken adding his own spin to a number of subjects familiar to me from the right-leaning blogosphere. A partial list of the topics he touched on includes:

  • The flying imams

  • Woven "anti-war scarves" (keffiyehs) from Urban Outfitters

  • The cult of "celebrating diversity"

  • The inspired silliness of the Burning Man festival

  • San Francisco activists "counter-protesting" Christians in Golden Gate Park

  • The never-ending obsession with the 1960s

  • Marketing to the LGBT community

  • The self-indulgence of therapy culture

  • "The Final Broadcast of the Christian Faith" (a cautionary tale)

  • Bush Derangement Syndrome (otherwise known as BDS)

  • The left's irrational hatred of Israel (otherwise known as IDS)

  • Using the Crusades to justify Islamist terrorism

  • Modern-day moral relativism and its intellectual underpinnings(Foucault, Derrida)

  • The Danish cartoon controversy and the "bravery" of mocking Christianity

  • Everyone's favorite "political prisoner," cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal

  • PC-ism running amok at our airports, to the point where a man clutching box cutters and a Koran, and wearing a ski mask, keffiyeh and suicide belt while asking for seat-belt extensions for no apparent reason, is waved cheerfully onto a plane
Will's show is currently running at The Marsh theater again through August 4 and I urge all those looking for laughter, illumination, and a rare evening of politically-incorrect material in San Francisco to check him out. Providing support to local artists that dare to buck the Bay Area's political orthodoxy doesn't hurt either. Also, I hear that humor-challenged local audiences sometimes need a little help knowing when it's okay to laugh. Perhaps we can help them...

Cross-posted at Solomonia.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Interview with Michael Savage

I'll be interviewing with talk radio host Michael Savage either today (7/12) or tomorrow (7/13) between 4:30-5:30pm (PST) on his show, The Savage Nation. We'll be discussing my last SFGate column, "American Pop Culture: Degeneracy On Parade."

Bay Area locals can tune into 910am KNEW and others can listen online here.

Update (7/12): The interview aired today at 4:30pm. I don't believe KNEW archives their shows, but if I find a link, I'll post it.

Update (7/17): A friend made a recording of the entire interview that's available to download for the next six days at this link:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/OGhjYUo3TERoMlUwTVE9PQ

My interview took place just after 4:30pm and the show started at 3pm, so perhaps it can be forwarded while playing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sara Roy: The Harvard Professor Who Cried Censorship

Unfounded claims of censorship are exceedingly common in the field of Middle East studies, where, all too often, having one's work criticized or rejected on its merit is equated with being silenced.

Sara Roy, a senior research scholar at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, is the latest to jump on the censorship bandwagon. Tufts University's Fletcher Forum of World Affairs recently rejected her book review of Matthew Levitt's Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (2006), an act that, according to Roy, constituted a "blatant…case of censorship."

Despite the "censorship" allegedly being visited upon Roy's review, it is now posted at the journal for the Middle East Policy Council for all to read. And Roy's sob story is available via her preface.

To read my entire post, go to the Campus Watch blog.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Muslim, Italian and Zionist?

Another one sees the light and pays the price of having to live in fear...
Muslim, Italian and Zionist
By Saviona Man

It's not every day that a Muslim intellectual puts his own head on the line to defend Israel's right to exist. But that is exactly what Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born Italian writer and journalist, has been doing for years. He recently published a book whose name alone is enough to endanger his life: "Long Live Israel - From the Ideology of Death to the Civilization of Life: My Story."

Allam defends Israel even though Hamas condemned him to death in 2003, after he denounced the group's terror attacks. Because of this threat, the Italian government has provided him with round-the-clock bodyguards. But Allam is not afraid. He finds it hard to "live an armored life," but he tells Haaretz in an interview, "I'm willing to pay the price in order to continue to be who I am, to write and speak freely." Those who cut out tongues and slit throats will not subdue him, he writes in the book.

{snip}

Allam was not always a defender of the Jewish state. "'Zionism' was a dirty word for me," he admits in his book. For years he considered Israel an aggressive, racist, colonialist, immoral entity, and he accepted the methods of the Palestinian struggle and its leader Yasser Arafat, "without criticizing the fact that Fatah adopted the path of terror extensively inside and outside Israel." After emigrating from Egypt to Italy in 1972, he even enlisted actively for the Palestinian cause, writing, lecturing and participating in demonstrations by the Italian left: "I also shouted 'Long live Palestine! Long live the Palestinian resistance!'" he writes in the book. "My passion for the Palestinian cause was strong, as was my enthusiasm for Arafat's personality."

In his new book he describes his long road from profound admiration for Arafat and "the prophet of pan-Arabism," Gamal Abdel Nasser, and strong support for the Palestinian cause, to his unreserved support for Israel. "I want to tell you about my slow and tortured path from the ideology of lies, tyranny, hatred, violence and death, to the culture of truth, freedom, love, peace and life, until it ripened into absolute certainly that defending the sanctity of life is more than ever in keeping with defending Israel's right to exist," he writes. At the end of this "slow and tortured path" he reached the conclusion that the Arab countries' refusal to recognize Israel during the 1950s and 1960s hurt the Palestinians, and that Arafat was a tyrant, a megalomaniac, corrupt and corrupting, and the worst disaster to befall them.
Read the whole thing. And don't expect any accolades from Allam's former comrades on the Italian left.