Howard Epstein



Well? Don’t you just hate people who say: “I told you so?” Go on, admit it. It’s beyond infuriating. To me, too. But today that is just what I am going to do, so perhaps you should look away now.

On 29 January last, on this portal, I published an article entitled: Time To Nuke North Korea, Mr President, in which I argued that pretty soon North Korea would be able to nuke one West Coast city of continental America, and contemporaneously send an ultimatum that any attempted response would mean another would fry. Applying the trolley car test, I suggested that if one had to choose between one’s own and the stranger, probably the stranger should come off the worse.


Academic? Fanciful? Deranged? Surely no-one on The Hill (Washington DC), or Nob Hill (San Francisco) would ever entertain such an evil, diabolical scheme. Well, perhaps the liberal, humanist, all-forgiving flower-powered Californians would rather be fried by, than fry, North Koreans, but here is what the Times of London reported Friday, March 2:

President Trump’s national security team is examining last-resort military options for a strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites as tensions with Pyongyang move to the top of the administration’s foreign policy agenda.

Well, you say, it’s just those two crazies, President Donald Trump and blogger, Howard Epstein. Wrong! Read on:

The military option is viewed by current and former US officials as highly risky and likely to lead to a nuclear exchange.

The review is being overseen by Kathleen “KT” McFarland, Mr Trump’s deputy national security adviser and a former official under President Reagan.

Their threats to turn the South Korean capital into a ‘ring of fire’ (would be) more than just an idle threat, even if the conflict did not go nuclear.

The decision to reconsider American policy comes after Pyongyang’s successful ballistic missile test last month, as well as claims by the country that it is “in the final stages” of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the US.

James Woolsey, a former CIA director, warned this week that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was probably more advanced than previously thought. 

Suddenly, Israel does not look like such an unsafe environment for, as I explained in my January article:

North Korea is much like Israel: one well-aimed nuclear device and it is all over. No strategic depth, you see; but, for Israel, this causes more problems for its potential nuclear aggressors than for the Jewish State. Why? Because Israel has a multi-faceted, multiple second-strike capability. Absent strategic depth for us, our enemies can be sure that we will retaliate and take them down with us. Mad? That is right: MAD – Mutual Assured Destruction. It is what kept the peace throughout the Cold War.

Where North Korea is concerned, however, they will not have second-strike capability for many years; but allowing them to get into the position in which they could deliver the first strike is the scenario that the US has to eradicate. Let me repeat that: “HAS TO ERADICATE”.

I was going to say, if I were you I would not buy any North Korean futures but, since they produce only famine and slavery, they have no export markets – and no futures market either.

Here is some final calculus for those of you who, like Francis Fukuyama, who wrote that the 1991 end of the Berlin Wall was the End of History, too, and all would be sweetness and light the world over, think: let’s make nice to everyone. (Problem. He overlooked the effects of the Iranian Revolution ten years earlier). Oh. The calculus: there are 25 million North Koreans living in hell. If half a million innocents died to save the other 24.5 million from the regime that is killing them anyway, it would be a better deal than the Jews got 70 years ago. Six million Jewish innocents were brutally slaughtered so that 7 million could live in a (make that “The”) Jewish State today. (OK. I know it’s an oversimplification but the math is solid.)

Again – it’s my second “I told you so” moment – on July 31, 2016, on this portal, I wrote (headlined: Not Only San Andreas):

After WWII – into which the US was not so much dragged [by the British] as pitched [by the Japanese] – American Jews self-comfortingly interpreted normalcy, and American rejection of European vices, as amounting to an automatic and complete rejection of the deep-seated European vice: anti-Semitism.

As the nation was increasingly entertained by the Jewish-dominated Hollywood and later TV scheduling, and as Jews were increasingly visible and welcome in every walk of American life from the Congress, the Supreme Court and the Fed down, so American Jews formed the impression that anti-Semitism was something that the Europeans did and it would never (again [think Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg, J Edgar Hoover]) manifest itself in the USA.

Time for a re-think. It is time to think again, not merely because Palestinian sympathisers have abused American freedoms to make an ugly protest [burning the Israeli flag] within earshot of the Liberty Bell, but also because there are many indicators that their long-held beliefs of inviolability are crumbling around the edges – and in the center and from on high. Let us start at the top – and you do not have to take just my word for any of this.

The headline “Anti-Semitism now ‘fashionable’ in the US, warn experts” appeared in The Times of Israel, February 18, 2015 edition. Subtitled: “Attacks against Jews account for close to 60% of hate crimes, despite strong cooperation between government agencies to combat the scourge”, it reported:-

“Unfortunately anti-Semitism has become fashionable again,” Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president for the New York Board of Rabbis, told The Times of Israel. “It’s not a big deal to hate the Jews. The first group that gets attacked is the Jews.”

Well, Rabbi Potasnik, “unfortunately” may be said to be somewhat euphemistic. For those American Jews who are alive to this issue, who sensibly take your words at face value and do not seek, in denial, to explain them away, the new anti-Semitism zeitgeist you have identified may be measured (by my reckoning) at around 5.3 on the Richter scale of societal earthquakes.

So, don’t say I didn’t tell you so. And, for that matter, don’t, in an auto-genuflective response, blame The Donald for the uptick to, I would say, about 7 on the Richter scale, in attacks on what are euphemistically (ie whistling past the cemetery) called JCCs, or to use the “due” word, the “d’you?” word, or the Jew word: JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTERS. Here is Vox:

In the first weeks of 2017, at least 90 bomb threats have been called in to Jewish community centers across the country, sending preschool kids scurrying to safety, again and again beyond the walls of their daytime homes. In late February, a historic Jewish cemetery outside Philadelphia was vandalized, with nearly 100 tombstones overturned. On February 27th alone, seven Jewish community centers, along with the San Francisco office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), were evacuated after receiving threats.

Law enforcement is finally beginning to nab those potentially responsible for some of the anti-Semitic incidents, including making the first arrest of a suspect tied to the threats. On March 3rd, New York City Police unsealed a complaint charging Juan Thompson, a former Intercept writer from Missouri, for cyberstalking and calling up to eight bomb threats into JCCs. Thompson, authorities said, made the threats to “settle a personal score.”

The arrest, though, won’t be enough to shake the genuine and growing fear among American Jews that the country has entered into a new era where anti-Semitism has left the shadows and taken a louder, bolder place on the center stage of American society.

It’s important to note two caveats. First, this year’s anti-Semitic threats have thankfully not resulted in any actual violence; the last deadly attack on a Jewish target took place in 2014 when a white supremacist gunman killed three people at a pair of Jewish institutions in Kansas. Second, it’s not clear that overall anti-Semitism is actually on the rise. The ADL found last fall that 14 percent of Americans, or 34 million people, harbored anti-Semitic attitudes, a number largely unchanged from prior years.

Still, one threat against a JCC would be unsettling, but 69 of them, in just a few weeks, is an epidemic that is both unprecedented and terribly unnerving.



ENOUGH WITH THE CAPITAL LETTERS ALREADY!! We’ve received the message: America is just like everywhere else. There is no escaping Jew-hatred anywhere in the Western World or the Middle East. (At this point I recommend, if you have not already done so, reading “Anti-Judaism” by David Nirenberg, Norton Press, 2015.) You can keep a lid on it for years, sometime centuries, at a time, but it is there, under the surface, and …. and …. thank heaven for Israel.

Unlike 70 years ago, the due’s (they do not all want to own up to their provenance, you see – but then neither had around 20% of the German Jews who found themselves alongside the Chassidim, parted from their jewellery, their clothes and their hair, filing towards the ovens), Jews everywhere have now a homeland, and there is room for everyone who will lift the scales from their eyes and acknowledge though, that the status quo ante what is happening now may return and see us out, as for our grandchildren…..

Time to stop trying to distance yourselves from Israel you guys in Connecticut and The Valley (San Fernando, Silicon, Santa Clara – take your pick). Your enemies will interpret your lack of fidelity to Israel as a sign that you cannot be trusted to be faithful to anyone. And especially not to Uncle Sam.

We can build cities for 7 million American Jews in the Negev. (They will be just like Phoenix or Palm Springs.) After all, absent any Rust Belt, we have the world’s most dynamic diversified economy, we are not the world’s greatest debtor nation (we have, at $100 billion, the largest foreign exchange reserves per capita in the world) and we are not seeking to lift our GDP growth from 1.7% pa this year. Last quarter it was an annualised 6.2%.

It’s time to look to Israel, guys! This is the New World now.

© March 2017 – Howard Epstein

Howard Epstein is a political commentator and the author of Guns, Traumas and Exceptionalism: America in the Twenty-First Century, recently published by Amazon and on Kindle. He writes:

There is no need for me to tell you that the scourge of gun crime is perhaps the most pressing issue in the USA. My book takes a new approach – support failing gun control by viewing gun crime through the prism of gun culture.

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