December 22, 2011

Follow-up on Palestinian policy to reject "Normalization"

Days ago I posted that Abdel Kader, a former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, said the regime under Mahmoud Abbas had decided to "thwart any Palestinian Israeli meeting."

The Jerusalem Post reports that a second incident of its kind has occurred, as a meeting of Palestine-Israel Journal, a non-profit organization founded in 1994 by Ziad Abu Zayyad and Victor Cygielman, two prominent Palestinian and Israeli journalists. The subject was to be the “Arab Spring’s impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

The Palestine- Israel Journal states on its web site:
[A]longside the institutional efforts of Palestinians and Israelis, channels of communication must be opened for academics and other intellectuals, opinion and policy makers, grassroots organizations and activists to voice their views and take part in the public debate for a democratic and just solution to the conflict.
Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh, in an article published in the Palestinian daily Al Quds, regarding the previous cancellation of the conference by the Israeli Palestinian Confederation, indicated that those who resorted to violence caused damage to the Palestinian leadership by making it appear as if it’s not interested in peace. As translated in the Post article, he said:
I believe that this is one of the diseases that harms our general political situation. We are being exposed to this [disease] by those who claim that they are educated, but are ignorant.
All I can say in response to Mr. Nusseibeh is that, here, appearance IS reality. The evidence is in the actions, not the fast food of words designed for Western consumption.

(Tip to EoZ)

December 20, 2011

A speech by Yossi Klein Halevi on Threats to Israel and the Jewish People

Since I have become more involved and knowledgeable about the Arab-Israeli conflict, I also get to see how others relate to it. My experience is that most people have insufficient knowledge or do not care enough beyond the one fact that there is a conflict and each side should just stop and make peace. If only life were so cut and dried.

Over at Daphne Anson's blog, an important voice from "down under," my attention was drawn to a speech by Yossi Klein Halevi at The David Project. Though some knee-jerk anti Israel crusaders have impugned Daphne Anson's site, I question why standing up for Israel and against hate and discrimination targeted at Israel and the Jewish people gets them so bent? I suppose they imagine that Jews cannot be victims and that it is impermissible to expose abusers (including themselves) unless one is fighting in "solidarity" for "justice" and Israel is the target.

Halevi's speech was given on November 3, 2011 in Newton, Massachusetts, and concerned delegitimization efforts against Israel and prospects for the future.

According to his bio, Halevi is a contributing editor of The New Republic magazine, and frequent contributor to the op-ed pages of leading American newspapers, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.

Among his activities, he is active in Middle East reconciliation work, and serves as chairman of Open House, an Arab Israeli-Jewish Israeli center in the town of Ramle, near Tel Aviv. He was one of the founders of the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Media Forum, which brought together Israeli and Palestinian journalists.

For those that question The David Project's information, here is his bio at Wikipedia.

In truth, I did not know who Halevi was. Which is nothing new. I am constantly introduced to new people and ideas. I liked what Daphne wrote about the speech, which she named: The Green Flag Of Jihadism Waving In Every Direction; aka Which Existential Threat Keeps You Awake At Night? So, I watched the video and decided to write a post and have embedded it below.

I think Halevi's speech is well worth the time to watch, hear and learn. He not only speaks about delegitimization, but about the Jews as a people, what that means, and the attempts going on to erase Jewish narrative from history, and thus the Jewish people.

He suggests that other religions cannot comprehend that Jewish is more than a religion. If it only was the latter, then how can there be Jewish atheists? Of course, he goes deeper into this and is far more insightful and interesting than anything I offer here. And he provides some valuable advice for both the Left and the Right.

If you have gotten this far, I do hope you will watch the speech, especially if you would like a deeper understanding of the issues. You may not agree with all that he says, but it is important to hear from many sides and to consider a wide range of information, especially for those who believe the simple proposition that both sides are equally at fault and should just stop and make peace.

December 17, 2011

"We will try to thwart any Palestinian Israeli meeting"

So says Abdel Kader, a former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, concerning the Fatah leadership, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post.

For those who steadfastly claim or entertain the notion that Israel is the sole reason there are no peace talks, please read on.

Earlier in December, I wrote, The mentality of Arab states illustrated. Here is another example, courtesy of the Abbas and the PA, of how they can be their own worst enemies, with a gesture that reveals intentions and objectives. This is the type of stuff that anti-Israeli crusaders are invariably deaf and blind to, amid the noise and clamor they make that Israel prevents any progress on peace and Palestinians have no responsibility, no matter what actions they take.

According to Toameh, in a parallel piece at Hudson New York, the PA prevented a group called Israeli Palestinian Confederation to hold a conference last week in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. A vote was expected for a joint parliament to offer itself as a "third government" for the two peoples.
The protesters shouted slogans denouncing the event "because it promotes the culture of peace" and is designed to "normalize" relations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Al Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh, was to be a main speaker, but did not come out of fear for his safety.
The Palestinian protesters later stormed the conference hall, forcing the frightened Israeli representatives to leave the hotel.
The next day, an event with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists was similarly canceled.

Now we learn that the PA has adopted a policy that bans "any form of normalization with Israel."
"We will try to thwart any Palestinian Israeli meeting, even if it's held in Tel Aviv or west Jerusalem," Abdel Kader said. "In Fatah we have official decided to ban such gatherings."
Thus, officials in Ramallah do not want to see Israeli and Palestinian representatives working together to promote peace and coexistence. Such negative action radicalizes the situation and undermines moderate Arabs who believe that resistance and nonrecognition is not the answer to help the Palestinian people.

Toameh believes the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank is shooting itself in the foot. So do I!  Is it fair prudent to report on these matters concerning PA leadership, or does it mean one is bigoted against all Palestinians and Muslims?

Is the behavior by Palestinian leadership relevant to the question of whether or not they mislead those persons who accept that only Israel is not committed to the peace process? Just how many may be duped if there is deception? Is it improper to be curious if there is deception in other areas?

Indeed, how can one terminate ANY form of normalization, which by definition includes negotiations and obligations under existing agreements, and reasonably claim to aspire to peace? Anyone who believes that could be led to believe anything!

"Comments Trail": An explanation

At another blog I came across the feature of a "Comments Trail," and it seemed a good idea, a way to keep track of my important comments, according to me, posted in my travels through the blogosphere. It also helps spread word about various posts and blogs that were of enough interest to me that I chose to make a comment.

I don't want to come off as high and mighty. In truth, I am far from it. I do understand, however, that complex and controversial problems are not subject to easy answers. Nor are they limited to one interpretation, from which all must follow. Each day I struggle to reconcile things that seemingly cannot be. There is no monopoly on the truth, despite what anyone says.

I am an unapologetic liberal, in the classical sense, and see the principles of the UDHR as inviolate. In this case that means I choose to reject demands for ideological conformity when I see them as wrong or so one-sided that it completely rejects other views as if nothing has validity except one's own view. Solidarity is fine, even admirable, but not at any cost, and especially if it serves to further illiberal objectives and goals.

Article 30 of the UDHR says that there is no right "to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein." When rights and freedoms are exercised to specifically erode and destroy the just requirements of morality, public order, and general welfare in a democratic society, or contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, they are illegitimate and not entitled to legal protection by the state.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes.

"No thank you" to the New York Times, twice.

The Jerusalem Post had a story yesterday that Prime Minister Netanyahu was invited by the New York Times to write an opinion piece, but respectfully declined. His senior adviser, Ron Dermer, wrote a letter explaining the decision to pass up the opportunity from the "paper of record."

The letter referred initially to an op-ed from Mahmoud Abbas published by the paper in May in which he stated:
"Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened."
According to Dermer, not to mention others, this was demonstrably false. Then, after some other examples, Dermer gets to the heart of the matter:
Not to be accused of cherry-picking to prove a point, I discovered that during the last three months (September through November) you published 20 op-eds about Israel in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. After dividing the op-eds into two categories, “positive” and “negative,” with “negative” meaning an attack against the State of Israel or the policies of its democratically elected government, I found that 19 out of 20 columns were “negative.”
The only "positive" piece was penned by Richard Goldstone (of the infamous Goldstone Report), in which he defended Israel against the slanderous charge of Apartheid.

Yet your decision to publish that op-ed came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone's previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in the Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza, fundamentally changed his position. According to the New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.

Your refusal to publish “positive” pieces about Israel apparently does not stem from a shortage of supply. It was brought to my attention that the Majority Leader and Minority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives jointly submitted an op-ed to your paper in September opposing the Palestinian action at the United Nations and supporting the call of both Israel and the Obama administration for direct negotiations without preconditions. In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut.
Good for Netanyahu for showing that, in this regard, with regard to bias, the NY Times acts much like The Manchester Guardian, winner of the 2011 Dishonest Reporting Award from Honest Reporting.

The second "No thank you" referred to in the title? That was from me! After it started to make most people pay for content, the Times curiously gave me a complimentary subscription. It ends on December 31. Rather than continue, and give this one sided enterprise money to print editorials about Israel at a 95% negative rate, like Netanyahu, I respectfully declined.

December 16, 2011

8 Minutes of Parallel Universe, Egyptian Style

Just saw this video. It's good for a laugh and a cry. This is what a guy running for President of Egypt says? I guess he can say what he likes, especially when he owns the TV station.

You can find a transcript of the earlier interview here. The statements aired on Al-Faraeen TV on October 31, 2011, the station owned by the subject, Tawfiq Okasha. The Wiesenthal Center provides further background.

Michael Coren is a commentator on Canadian TV, Sun News, which is far from the largest in Canada, let alone the USA. The channel takes the perspective, among other things, that candidate Tawfiq Okasha and those like him are bigots, not because of what we say, but what they say.

I see segments from Sun News, just as I see them from elsewhere. I get information all over the web, not so stuck to a political consciousness that forbids anything except the "party line." Lest it show a weakness of position, that the emperor has no clothes! I am secure enough in my beliefs not to be afraid to of different opinions and sides, rather than try to quell what I do not wish to hear. I feel confident that when allowed to breathe in the light of day, truth wins out.

People try to discredit MEMRI for showing actors like Tawfiq Okasha, but is it made up? Why should something be taboo if it fairly purports to show the point being presented? Why is so hard to hear and understand what people unequivocally express as their belief and intention?

Is it Islamophobic to present such evidence of antisemitic bigotry? Why are we so timid that we tip toe around reality? Look at the fear most people have to take on something that is wrong. No one need apologize for exposing hate speech like we hear from Tawfiq Okasha. and make it so?

One can see that this sick man could care about the human rights of others. He is not alone among the haters of Jews. Just watch MEMRI sometime, or have the courage to travel where this behavior is exposed. It may open your eyes. As for this hate and bigotry, other minorities, like Copts and women, are likely not far behind on the list.

Oh well. If you watch it the video, I'd be interested to know your impression.

(tip to Blazing Cat Fur)

December 12, 2011

Nothing is more painful than being correct.

So says two Egyptian liberals, Amr Bargisi, Albert Einstein Fellow at the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany, and Samuel Tadros, research fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom. They are senior partners in the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth. Together they wrote a compelling article in Tablet, "After the Fall."
Our vindication comes at the price of our country’s potential collapse into Islamist totalitarianism, or, even worse, total chaos.
They authors and had urged caution from the start, particularly from Western idealists hailing the triumph of the new Egypt, and invoked Edmund Burke’s truism: Bringing down a tyrant is far, far easier than forming a free government.
Pessimists, naysayers, wet blankets, Mubarak cronies, apologists for the regime—we were called all these names, despite the fact that we’ve spent our adult lives within the opposition. Here was a new generation armed with iPhones and Twitter accounts that would ensure the success of liberal democracy in the region’s largest state, the enthusiasts promised. When Mubarak finally bowed to the pressure of the protesters in the streets, commentators wrote fairy-tale endings to the Egypt story, rushing off to cover the next blossoming flower of the Arab Spring. In the months that followed, no matter how far the Egyptian economy plummeted, how badly the security situation on the border with Israel deteriorated, or how many were killed in criminal, sectarian, or political violence, the narrative was maintained: Though painful, these were the necessary labor pangs of democracy.
Now that the Islamists obtained about 65% of the first round vote (compared to 13% for liberals), and predictably will get more as new rounds take place in the countryside where they are even more organized, perhaps it is incumbent to deconstruct the Tahrir mythology that says:
the Mubarak regime was pure evil; that it was brought down by "liberal" nonviolent activists; and that the Islamists had nothing to do with the revolution and emerged—suddenly—only to hijack it.
Of course, Mubarak's regime was no liberal democracy. But it also wasn’t the Gulag. Living standards were improving.
Moderately freer markets meant more media, which meant that while the political repression and corruption of the regime were less heinous than in the past, they were getting more exposure than ever. This, along with Mubarak’s senility and nepotism, created an ever-increasing sense of outrage among Egypt’s growing middle class.
According to the authors, besides the few human-rights activists present at the Tahrir uprising, there was nothing remotely liberal about it.
But that didn’t stop Western journalists from applying the term: Every Egyptian male without a beard was a John Stuart Mill, every female without a veil a Mary Wollstonecraft. Suddenly, Trotskyites were liberals, and hooligans nonviolent protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood was involved virtually at the start and thereafter. Now they are pushed by the more fundamentalist Salafis. They carry the same message: "A return to a purer form of Islam guarantees salvation in this life and the next." Average Egyptians easily believed the reason for their ills was the Mubarak regime’s economic program, and the solution was a return to the golden age of Islam.

No discussion of this issue would be complete without the acknowledgement of the rampant antisemitism that pervades Egypt.
Egyptian anti-Semitism is not simply a form of bigotry: It is the glue binding the otherwise incoherent ideological blend, the common denominator among disparate parties.The Zionist conspiracy theory ... is a well-established social belief in Egypt, even among self-proclaimed liberals.
So is there anything that can bring about a positive change?
Egyptians must acknowledge that the Tahrir uprising was no liberal revolution. Western observers must realize that this is not a stark morality play, but political decision-making between alternatives that are all bad. As the government borders on bankruptcy and the security situation deteriorates ... the first priority should be defending the very existence of the Egyptian state, now solely represented by the military. This is certainly an awkward position for advocates of limited government, as we are. But if the military falls, nothing will stand between the Egyptians and absolute anarchy.
As important, when Islamists try to transform the legal and economic infrastructure of the country, liberals must oppose them with detailed and convincing programs buttressed by a different, coherent worldview that can win hearts and minds.

To those who have insisted that the Egyptian revolution would yield a liberal democracy, or that democracy is settled solely by elections, I suggest reading this article closely and perhaps considering which worldview is best with respect for the future.

December 11, 2011

"Deception: Betraying the Peace Process"

It's a new book by the director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Itamar Marcus, and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, after an in-depth year long review of Palestinian Authority (PA)-approved cultural, educational and general media resources to determine how the PA responded to commitments put forth by the Quartet: to espouse nonviolence, to recognize the Jewish State of Israel, and to accept it as a partner for peace.

Sadly, predictably, in a recent Jerusalem Post article about the book's release, Marcus indicated the "overwhelming conclusion" was "a total abrogation" of commitment.

The book details hundreds of examples that promote messages of hate among Palestinians and undermine the peace process with Israel, cataloged and contextualized according to the PA’s policies of glorifying terrorism, demonizing Israelis and Jews and rejecting Israel’s right to exist.

One of the first posts at this blog concerned Robert Bernstein, chairman of Advancing Human Rights and founder of Human Rights Watch. At the New York press conference launching the book on December 6, as reported in the PMW's press release, he declared Deception a must-read for anyone looking into why after nearly two decades the Oslo peace process has failed to produce a final status agreement. He said:
This book is important because it is not advocacy but a factual catalog of public statements and activities showing that the Palestinian leadership teaches its children to hate, to deny Israel's right to exist and to envision a world without Israel.
Until the PA starts preparing its children for peace and teaches them to see Israel as a legitimate neighbor, peace will remain an illusion.
Deception should be read as a warning. Government-sponsored hate speech is incompatible with peace.
Also at the New York launching was Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who said:
Well documented, Deception confronts a disturbing discovery; Palestinian texts contain scandalous anti-Semitic pages. They incite young children to hate Jews not only in Israel but wherever they live. They must be denounced by all students of history.
Co-author Zilberdik said:
Unless the PA stops presenting terrorists as role models, and Jews and Israelis as inherently evil, and unless they stop educating their people to imagine a world without Israel, there is no chance of achieving authentic peace.
The PA portrays itself to the world as pursuing peace while the international community turns a blind eye to the fact that it teaches its people to never live in peace with Israel.

"There’s a denial by the Western press that this is happening," Bernstein said. "They don’t read Arabic."

Interestingly, back in 2008, Hillary Clinton promoted the research of PMW on Capitol Hill.

Some of her words:
[T]hese children deserves an education that instills respect for life and peace instead of glorifying death and violence. The videos we viewed at that Senate hearing were a clear example of child abuse.... Children were encouraged to see martyrdom and armed struggle and the murder of innocent people as ideals to strive for.
These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them an indoctrination. When we viewed this report in combination with other media that these children are exposed to, we see a larger picture that is disturbing. It is disturbing on a human level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of these children.
Hate has no place in the curriculum of schools, and the glorification of violence has no place in the education of children.
Some people sort of downplay the importance of words. But words really matter. Because in idealizing for children a world without Israel, children are taught never to accept the reality of the State of Israel, never to strive for a better future that would hold out the promise of peace and security to them, and is basically a message of pessimism and fatalism that undermines the possibility for these children living lives of fulfillment and productivity.
This has dire consequences for prospects of peace for generations to come.
Yet today, speaking for the Administration, Clinton seems to have forgotten the Palestinian incitement she talked about as she, and others, hector and pressure Israel to meet Arab demands, get to the "damned" table, and act more democratically, while the USA cozies with the Muslim Brotherhood with its new official branch, Hamas, not to mention playing nice with the OIC, as it seeks to curb through the UN any intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization based on religion or belief, such as criticism of Muhammad or Islam itself. The OIC's attempt is an infringement on the universal right to right to freedom of expression that includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

The world in which we live is replete with deception!

December 9, 2011

Alan Dershowitz speaks for me!

Interestingly, I mentioned this very thing two days ago here.
In my opinion, these anti-Israel voices do not understand that in similar circumstances, is there another state that would more humane? Even as it faces the most difficult challenges of any state on earth, born of decades of continued aggression that has morphed from conventional to asymmetric, Westerners hold Israel to a standard that cannot be attained even in normalcy and peace: perfection!
I challenge any anti-Israel crusader and self-styled human rights advocate who may stumble across this site or post to take up Professor Dershowitz.

Name one country in history with a better human rights than Israel when faced with comparable military and strategic threats.

I hope others disseminate the challenge likewise.

(Tip to CiF Watch)

A Riff on the Lack of Importance of Daily Kos

With regard a discussion about the anti-Israel activists that populate the blog Daily Kos, the proposition was offered that discussion regarding the topic of Israel and Palestine (I-P) seems to be "drying up" and "fading." I basically agreed it was, but then this was addressed to me:
We should not underestimate these people as they have succeeded in turning Israel into the only country on the planet wherein people discuss whether or not it should be allowed to exist or whether or not it should have come into existence in the first place.
I do not underestimate or downplay the matter. However, I believe this situation is due to actions on the international stage by Arab, Muslim and some other states, and the  Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), an association of 56 Islamic states promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social, and political affairs.

Anti-Israel voices on the left and at Daily Kos are mainly reflexive. There is a constant drumbeat of diaries, but the latest I can see has only 8 responses among 6 users after 8 hours. Stepping back, it becomes clear that the actors there are mainly patting themselves on the back and shouting among themselves about demon Israel. Just as the effect can be downplayed, it can be overplayed, too. My take is that it's somewhere in the middle, worth watching, but not to obsess about.

Clearly, I wish there were more diaries at Daily Kos with other narratives, but no one writes them. Perhaps people actually care about the issue less than we imagine. Perhaps the aggravation of being slimed and impugned is not worth the benefits of an effort. I now prefer to make my resources matter, rather than engage in waste. I look for better venues, not where a reader must scour with a fine tooth comb to cull something original and fairly presented. At Daily Kos I find a perpetual echo of redundancy that sensationalizes the trivial. Too many times it comes off as smarter and more enlightened, yet seem no less prone to showing the same type of ugliness criticized in others. Then again, perhaps the whole objective of the site is to divert energy away from important matters in a way that they can show some of the worst of themselves.

That said, I wonder why some at Team Shalom, self-described Israel supporters at Daily Kos, don't provide more diaries that show both the beliefs and actions of Israel's enemies in the MENA, Europe and the USA. For example, just recently, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Hamas extrajudicially refused a medical delegation to leave the territory for a Jerusalem conference sponsored by the UN World Health Organization. The UDHR says in Article 13 that "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Why also only rare diaries about restrictions on journalists, women, and non-believers who are not Jews? Why no diaries about the OIC and the Cairo Declaration? It states that "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah" and "The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration." Is that something that any liberal could support? I believe the matter of choice between the UDHR and Cairo Declaration is the defining issue for Jews and Westerners.

Of course, there are loud voices in the Democratic tent that have ill will for Israel, and even Jews. Daily Kos has its fair share, but I think the site has lost relevance since the posting rules became relaxed and turned it into a social network that is so tuned in it is tuned out, and the dearth of meaningful content will become even more apparent with time. More importantly, these extremist voices will will be repudiated when events reveal the disconnect between their positions and the reality seen by most people.

When it comes to I-P at Daily Kos, except for a diversion from boredom, I chose to abstain from debating in a vacuum with people who cannot be convinced and who refuse to acknowledge any other narrative than a theoretical one learned at universities where Westerners may not be critical of behavior in non-Western cultures, or risk charges of racism.

So, besides developing my own thoughts at this blog, I hope to explore where the commentary is more rewarding and the opportunity exists to make some contribution to implementation of classic liberal ideals concerning humankind.

December 8, 2011

A peek at hatred and indifference in Europe

For 10 days, 13-year-old Oceane Sluijzer didn't leave her house, terrified, afraid to go out.
"Until now I was never afraid to say that I'm Jewish, but it's different now."
This was the experience reported in YNet News for a Jewish girl in Belgium after five Muslim girls, her schoolmates, humiliated her in public and assaulted her, grabbing her hair and slamming her head against their knees, saying:
"Dirty Jew – go to your country."
The police were beyond indifferent. They advised she "keep quiet about the incident" and even "avoid going to the hospital." They suggested:
"Don't say that it's anti-Semitism."
The educational system's response was similar. For 10 days no one at the school bothered to check on her. When told that she would not be returning to a school incapable of protecting her, the principal acted as if it was the ideal solution. Oceane and her older sister are the only Jewish girls who attended the school.

Apparently, the abuse was nothing new. Once the girls of Moroccan descent had discovered Oceane's Jewish roots, they would regularly address her with exclamations of contempt. They told her:
"We're Arab. We don't want you to be part of our group."
According to Oceane, these girls created a balance of fear threatening everyone.
"I got used to not having the Belgian girls defend me, because I knew they were scared too."
The incident was not reported in Belgium and elected representatives, except a Jewish MP, were silent, illustrating the problematic situation in the country.

It's not just Jewish girls, however. Recently in the UK, a gang of Somalian women repeatedly kicked a young woman in the head. They shouted "kill the white slag." The incident was caught on video (see below) The women could have received five years in prison, but the judge suspended their sentences. They walked free from court after he heard they were "not used to being drunk" because they were Muslim.

There is also the proliferation of rape cases, such as in Norway.

Jews are singled out, however, across the continent, where multiculturalism dictates, yet freedom from discrimination does not seem to apply to Jewish minorities. In France, a young student was beaten into a coma for being Jewish, and in Switzerland three youngsters attacked a rabbi's assistant. In Norway, an independent, quantitative study (in Norwegian) was published on racism and anti-Semitism in Oslo high schools. It revealed that 33 percent of Jewish students reported harassment at least two to three times a month (compared to 5.3 percent of Muslim students). One news article said:
More than half of the students, 52 percent, said they’d experienced that the word jøde (Jew) was used to describe something negative. Fully 41 percent confirmed having heard jokes about Jews at school and 35 percent had noticed generally negative commentaries on Jews. As many as 5 percent had heard other students deny that the Holocaust occurred during World War II.
City government leader Stian Berger Røsland, who was among those ordering the overview after Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on anti-Semitism in the schools last winter, said he was shocked and deeply disturbed by the findings.
The list is virtually endless. It's too bad that some wish to downplay it, like Ambassador Gutman, or fearfully stay silent. Others are so wedded to an anti-Israel ideology that they are blind to anything event that might damage the political cause. These supposedly principled, educated defenders of human rights loudly profess to defend values enshrined in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet engage in a selective, discriminatory application.

December 7, 2011

Thoughts on Anti-Israel Democrats

Some say that it's time to abandon the Democrats. More accurately, Obama. I am not there yet, though watching Panetta and Clinton of late is not what I would call a confidence building measure. When it comes down to it, each person has the right to exercise their vote or not, and when there is thoughtful disagreement I can fully respect different opinion.

Among Democrats, it's important to know who the anti-Israel voices are. I do not believe that anti-Israel is anti-Jewish per se, and would caution against that assessment, particularly when seeking to change the dynamics. It depends on the individual case. Yes, many of anti-Israel crusaders crossed the line a long time ago, and even side with antisemitic Muslims who call for delegitimization of Israel and extermination of the Jews. They must be confronted and called out for moral bankruptcy, even if it earns calls of being a racist right-wing Islamophobe. Yet, there are many that do see only the behavior of Israel. That is all that matters to them. Their rage at "injustice" comes from an uneducated perspective, built on a foundation of a one sided narrative that denies them the opportunity to see that Israel is a victim among states and Jews are a victim of humanity.

In my opinion, these anti-Israel voices do not understand that in similar circumstances, is there another state that would more humane? Even as it faces the most difficult challenges of any state on earth, born of decades of continued aggression that has morphed from conventional to asymmetric, Westerners hold Israel to a standard that cannot be attained even in normalcy and peace: perfection! Sometimes they do this in disregard of the truth. Not to mention they often behave as poorly or worse, obsessing over Israel while remaining relatively silent as women and children around the planet are subjugated and innocents killed in more costly and senseless conflict.

And when it comes to the Palestinian side, the claims that Israel is occupied, the threats of genocide and acts of aggression, the disregard for the fundamental rules of armed conflict, the abuse of fundamental human rights of the governed, among other things, it seems there is hardly a standard at all.

That said, there are plenty of Democrats who strongly support Israel. As events unfold, and the belligerency and intolerance of Arab states, Iran and others are further laid bare, one hopes the disconnect of the anti-Israel voices, especially the talking heads with their Orwellian theories, will become stark, and they will lose favor among liberals and Democrats. Even Obama may flip, as did his immediate predecessors, when the malfeasance becomes undeniably apparent.

When one considers the strong support of the American people and military for Israel, the misfeasance of the Administration will only go so far. I am unsure whether a Bush or Gingrich could have prevented the aftermath of the Arab Spring. It is a mistake to think that Republicans have the answer. And in the end, perhaps Obama's blunders may prove beneficial by hastening the West to become aware of what confronts us all, especially in Europe where the real threat to democracy is apace. Though it is hard to change the momentum, perhaps a more concerted and effective push will soon commence on the international level against the OIC and its agenda to impose its ideology on us all.

December 4, 2011

The mentality of Arab states illustrated

As is circulating in the blogosphere, on Friday, according to Ynet, 133 states voted at the UN General Assembly in favor of an Israeli proposal to make farming technology more accessible to developing African nations.

The article says that around 75% of the world population lives in poverty and depends on agriculture for survival. Israel's proposal aims to empower women in rural areas, promote food security and farmer education, and slow down the effects of climate change, all in line with UN policy to eradicate hunger and poverty.

No matter. Arab states led a group of 35 that abstained from the vote, but not before expressing objection and claiming the proposal was to exploit the developing world's needs for political gains and mask "illegal and destructive" Israeli policies.

Israeli Ambassador Prosor thanked the General Assembly and noted that the support indicates international recognition of Israel's contribution to the world, particularly in the technology field. He noted that Israel acts to promote progress and technology, while  opposing nations make efforts to preserve "rhetoric and ignorance."

This episode goes to show how the Arab states, in the international arena and elsewhere, again and again put politics before people. For them it's more important to quash the Jewish state than hunger and poverty.  Yet, again and again, anti-Israel activists who proclaim to wear the largest "humanitarian" hats, not only fail to see such an obvious distinction between the sides, but to attribute responsibility despite what the positions rather clearly illustrate.

A picture tells a thousand words

Yep, recommended by Virgin is Mein Kampf, in this tweet from Qatar, and it seems Bahrain, too. Where else I wonder?

Yet anti-Israel "humanists" prefer to be blind and deny that Jews are victimized and subjected to calls for genocide as no one else on the planet.

(Hat tip to Elder of Ziyon, who continually earns the accolade of "Elder.")

December 3, 2011

The risks of self-criticism, apostasy and "defamation" of religion

I am curious why Muslims, ex-Muslims or Arabs that self-criticize Islam or Arab cultures are almost always disparaged by anti-Israel advocates and extremists. Do the latter simply know better? Often, these voices, such as Ayan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Ibn Warraq, and others who join them in criticism, like myself, are called "Islamphobes" or even worse by anti-Israel activists across the board, arguably to squander speech, such as that which is directed at their behavior. They act as if the critics are the opponents of universal human rights despite that we speak about widespread violations to the rights of women, children and others, no matter where they occur, while they remain virtually silent unless it involves Palestinians. This is one instance where the picture is as Orwell feared.

In France, a new voice has arisen. AFP reports a French minister of Arab origin, Jeannette Bougrab, recently said "I don’t know of any moderate Islam." Ms. Bougrab, Secretary for Youth and Community Life was also the the Chair of the High authority for the struggle against discrimination and for equality (HALDE), France’s official anti-discrimination body which "has the right to judge all discrimination, direct or indirect, that is prohibited by law or an international agreement to which France is a signatory." She was a member of the Socialist-led SOS Racism before she joined the ruling party.  In other words, she is a LEFTIST!

She was reacting to electoral successes of religious political parties, Ennahda in Tunisia, the Justice and Development Party in Morocco and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Here, in an interview in Le Parisien newspaper (in French, and partially translated here), she explains why:
The rule of law is measured…on the degree or respect for the rights of women and I don’t accept the idea that we can base a constitution on Sharia law, because such a religious system is fundamentally unequal. Democracy is not a supermarket where we can take only what we like….There are no half measures with sharia…I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, including freedom of conscience, because apostasy is prohibited. It is not possible to convert. Mixed marriages are not recognized. A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim. In the eyes of some, it may not be of importance if the women must now be veiled or if tomorrow they no longer have the same rights. Not for me. I do not compromise on this issue of legal equality.

Ironically, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan also said that "There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it." (Source: Milliyet, Turkey, August 21, 2007.) Odds are, however, that Ms. Bougrab will join the ranks of those who, instead of being supported for speaking out against discrimination and inequality, end up being demonized by the "humanitarians" that act like the experiences of victims and those who leave Islam or "defame" the religion mean nothing. Then again, I suppose it's better to ignore, dismiss or disparage, rather than kill them for apostasy or blasphemy.

December 1, 2011


This will be short and sweet.

Some allege it Islamphobic to show the world clips like this:

Some allege it is Islamphobic to offer news articles like this:

Thousands of Muslims Attack Christians in Egypt, 2 Killed, Homes and Stores Torched

What is the explanation? Why are these events off limits? Why can the matter not even be part of the discourse? What are we talking about anyway?

November 29, 2011

Antisemitism: The world changes, the world remains the same.

At Daily Kos, there is a diary that speaks to the latest occurrences of Jew hatred in Brooklyn, USA.  Details can be found in this news report.  It gave opportunity to write a comment, which became this post.

The world changes, the world remains the same.  

There are around 13 MILLION Jews in the world today, out of a world population of about 7 BILLION people.

Historically, the two major purveyors of hate for Jews are Christians and Muslims, perhaps 3.5 BILLION people.  Thankfully, only a relative smattering hold the Christian variant of genocidal views epitomized by Hitler, mostly neo-Nazis, but not all. Significant numbers of Muslims, however, even some of their leaders, supplement their own hatred for Jews and say they want to finish the genocide that the Christians (Hitler) started

Sometimes I wonder about a fringe extreme on the Left, too, that conjoins with the other Jew haters while self-proclaiming to be "anti-racist" and "humanitarian." The first Durban NGO Conference in 2001 illustrates:
On the grounds of the U.N. conference itself, the Arab Lawyers Union distributed pamphlets filled with grotesque caricatures of hook-nosed Jews depicted as Nazis, spearing Palestinian children, dripping blood from their fangs, with missiles bulging from their eyes or with pots of money nearby. Attempts to have the group's U.N. accreditation revoked were refused.

Under the tent where the final NGO declaration was approved over the weekend -- a document that indicts Israel as a "racist, apartheid state" guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing -- fliers were found with a photo of Hitler and the following question: "What if Hitler had won? There would be no Israel, and no Palestinian bloodshed."

In a Palestinian-led march with thousands of participants, a placard was held aloft that read "Hitler Should Have Finished the Job." Nearby, someone was selling the most notorious of anti-Jewish tracts, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
It was a racist anti-racist gathering if there ever was one, perhaps even surpassing the infamous "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination" resolution at the UN Security Council in 1975.

Tom Lantos was a liberal Congressman from California who served as an American delegate at Durban. He was the ranking Democratic Party member on the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives and a founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. In a chilling, must read article, The Durban Debacle, he said:
For me, having experienced the horrors of the Holocaust first hand, this was the most sickening and unabashed display of hate for Jews I have seen since the Nazi period.
Yes, I am generalizing. The truth is that it matters not the source. The point is that Jews everywhere live with being singled among humans for extinction, solely because they are Jewish. One who receives a threat to kill is a victim. Yet Jews are denied the status of victim despite the threat.

This applies by extension to Israel, the collective Jew among nation states. Overtly and uniquely threatened with extinction, yet denied victim status an international arena. Despite that the UN Charter expressly states:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force
Of course, antisemitism cannot be eradicated. A survey of the American people released on November 3 by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that that 15 percent of Americans – nearly 35 million adults – hold deeply anti-Semitic views. It is no better most places elsewhere, and likely much worse in many.

It is up to the state to respect this right and protect against violations, by itself and private parties. This is why they undertake obligations to implement domestic legislation through treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).  Even then, from their conduct, too many states could care less. Many of these states use a different interpretation of rights than we in the West. At least in America tends to take the matter of antisemitism seriously. I hope it remains so. It's not all bad here as some like to say.

I mean, when 5,000 people rally at Cairo’s most prominent mosque, the Al-Azhar mosque, chanting over and over passages from the Koran vowing that “one day we shall kill all the Jews,” how can that not put the matter into perspective?  This happened just days ago.

As with defining other victims of discrimination based on minority and/or religious status, the interpretation of antisemitism should be expansive, not narrow.  This is particularly so because there are new forms of antisemitism that may otherwise appear neutral on their face. Why is this so hard to understand, especially for so many that require political correctness in almost all other cases? There is that pesky double standard again!

If one fairly considers the demographics and what has happened to Jews at the hands of the majority - institutional persecution, pogroms, massacres, and genocide - then sees how disparate forces share common ground to stand in solidarity, using the Jew as a foil to incite hatred for an ideological agenda, it shows how we are drifting closer to Orwell's nightmare, as others sleep through helplessly without a peep.

November 28, 2011

Hangin out and laughin with Hamas

Many believe in J Street. I can only wonder. Especially when I read about one of its board members, a founder, hanging with Hamas. This founder, Kathleen Peratis, reflects much of the J Street constituency in my mind. Her giddy antics were set forth here. One of her hosts said:
“Please tell your friends that Hamas people are ordinary people. We are not barbarians.”
You see, ordinary people rejoice that the gathering of the "Zionists" to Palestine is part of a divine plan, to give Arabs the "honor"of exterminating their "evil," like Hamas MP Yunis al Astal did on Hamas Al Aqsa TV several months ago.

Apparently, it was not the first time Peratis met and fawned over the denizens of Hamas, either.

Another J Street founder, Daniel Levy, concerning Israel, said in October, 2010:
"I believe the way Jewish history was in 1948 excused – for me, it was good enough for me – an act that was wrong."
And months later, at the 2011 J Street Conference, said:
"Maybe, if this collective Jewish presence" -- that is, the Jewish State in the Middle East -- "can only survive by the sword, then Israel really ain't a good idea."
Some argued he meant otherwise. I say the words speak for themselves. By such words and such behavior as meeting with Hamas, it seems these people bend so far to be fair that they enhance, empower and reinforce anti-Israel forces across the spectrum, though virtually none has any inclination to themselves be fair to others who believe differently.

J Street belatedly criticized this last meeting with Hamas by Peratis, after a specific admonition not to do so. One blogger stated:
"But of course, they're not going to kick her off their board or something even though J Street leaders 'shouldn't meet with Hamas.'"
And there, I suppose, is the rub!

(Tip to Doodad.)

On Extremists as Democrats

I am a lifelong Democrat, and often that can be hard, particularly when it comes to matters of international relations and law. 

Over at Israel Thrives is a post, The Moral Bankruptcy of the Progressive-Left, in which it states:
For me, personally, the real wake-up call came during the Mavi Marmara incident. There were two groups of people aboard that vessel. There were the violent Jihadis seeking martyrdom... which progressives referred to as "peace activists." And the second group? Well, they definitely weren't Tea Party people. They were, in fact, progressive-left activists from around the world. Progressive-left activists literally, physically, morally, and financially supporting Jihads in an effort to kill Jews, while lying to the world that their mission was humanitarian.
It is an interesting post and got me to thinking.  When Operation Cast Lead occurred in late 2008, I began to see that many on the Left had no clue when it comes to the law of armed conflict, also known as humanitarian law. They instead use human rights norms to declare war crimes, and by doing so, show how unqualified they are to make such determinations. This happens more frequently, I suppose, when people are apt to make decisions based predominantly on theories, rather than specific rules that prevail to scrutinize conduct while in armed conflict.

What I saw was driven home further with the 2010 Flotilla Incident. As noted above, there were "humanitarians" in common cause with jihadists.  It is an eye opener to see people filled with such rage that they justify any hatred.  The incident involved Israel and Jews directly, but it was so much more.

This extremist element that must be repudiated, in the Democratic Party and elsewhere.  It is incumbent that all ideas to be presented, not just one sided ideas, and to confront the extremists as extremists, to illustrate those with whom they break bread, such as dedicated antisemites who even make calls to incite genocide, a crime under international law, which states undertake to prevent and to punish under the Genocide Convention, and which is now recognized as customary international law binding on states regardless of their conventional obligations.

Those extremists will hopefully be noticed by their own efforts or from the events that take place daily repudiating their claims and illustrating the forces they help enable, intentionally or as dupes.  Fortunately, even if one assumes that Obama has proven inept in his foreign policy, among other things, he is constrained because there is deep support for Israel among Democrats that see matters as Americans, first, and know that Israel is perhaps our strongest ally.  For that reason, unlike some others, I am not yet ready to abandon my Democratic roots.  Republicans, for whatever reason, may stand with Israel, but that is not all they stand for, which is problematic.  Democrats may be incompetent compared to Republicans, but Republicans have domestic priorities that are antithetical compared to Democrats.  It's almost a lose-lose.

The larger political clash, however, is not principally between the two Parties.  It involves those who believe capitalism is the root of evil, who cannot apparently see that totalitarianism is not limited to capitalists, and that even socialists can have a bad streak when it comes to treatment of others.  The extremists share common ground with those Muslims that wish to subjugate the West as we know it, despite that it entails destruction of universal human rights in favor of a version per the Cairo Declaration, promoted by the OIC), where "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah." (Article 24.) 

Islamic human rights will subjugate the leftist extremists beyond their wildest imaginations, as they remain among the corrupt, even if they think otherwise.  Blind to this reality, they somehow believe that all of humanity sees the world just like them.  Except, for example, the neocons, right wingers, Likudniks, and Islamophobes they love to demonize.  Solidarity is what matters!  Israel, the collective Jew of the international community, is where it all comes together.  It is the front line of the struggle.

Then there are some who just seem to hate Jews, yet hide behind the anti-Israel and anti-Zionist banner.  I would put Norman Finklestein, Richard Falk, Lars Gule, Deborah Orr, Philip Weiss, among those in this group. (Apologies to those omitted.)  I could name some bloggers, as well, but it would serve no purpose.  We all know they exist.  

It is mindblowing to watch extremists' obsession with Israel and the plight of Palestinians while paying lip service to countless more that suffer at the hands of repression, including most Palestinians at the hands of their leaders and Arab brothers and the rest of the inferior according to Islamic human rights, such as women and children who are to be accorded special protection under designated human rights treaties.  I suppose because their cause is weighty enough to the extremists, nothing else matters, not even universal human rights.

It is the lack of conviction to what they purport, to individual human dignity, where I parted company with the extremists and now seek to expose them for who they are and that they and those they support ultimately seek.

November 24, 2011

PA and Hamas: "No more differences between us now"

According to Maan News Agency:
President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal on Thursday said they had resolved all their differences, after a meeting in Cairo to implement a unity agreement.

"We want to assure our people and the Arab and Islamic world that we have turned a major new and real page in partnership on everything do to with the Palestinian nation," Mashaal said.

"There are no more differences between us now," added Abbas, who heads the Fatah movement.
The president said the talks had been comprehensive, covering "all details about reconciliation," according to the Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.
Hamas, as is known, seeks resistance against Israel and removal from all the lands, and even genocide of the Jewish people. They make that clear. For example, a year ago, Hamas Leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar told Jews "there is no place for you among us, and you have no future among the nations of the world. You are headed to annihilation." 

Just a few months prior:
"We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land. ... Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy." (Source: Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, Future News TV, June 15, 2010, Source:
There are enough other examples of this to fill a book. Not to mention that according to the USA, Canada, and the European Union, Hamas is designated a terrorist organization.

So I ask those who crusade against Israel: Is Hamas a terrorist organization? Would Hamas, if the opportunity presented, refrain from acting on its expressed intentions? Since there are "no more differences" according to Abbas, does this mean the PA and Hamas have the same objectives? Just what was/is the PA's ultimate goal and has Abbas been up front about it?

Finally, why are so some willing to believe what appears to fly in the face of reality?


Then again, the anti-Israel crusaders may have respite. According to the New York Times:
It remained unclear even after the meeting on Thursday whether the two sides were indeed committed to a further narrowing of their differences, and whether they would take any tangible steps toward power sharing soon or at all.
The differences are significant because the two sides do not like or trust each other. Far from it. A Hamas representative said they agreed to some confidence-building measures, like stopping politically motivated arrests.  Yet, Elder of Ziyon reports that:
within an hour of the meeting, Palestine Press Agency reports, Hamas police arrested three student leaders associated with Fatah. They also raided and took over the pharmacists' syndicate, which was pro-Fatah.
Despite this confusion, some will invariably criticize Israel for not making peace, but how does one make peace with partners that seem incapable of having peace among themselves?

November 16, 2011

On Contributing at "Israel Thrives"

I have been invited to post at Israel Thrives, and decided to make use of the opportunity.

In doing so, however, I wish to make clear that my expressions are my own and should be always be seen in that light.

For example, I am not a former Democrat, but one who believes that most Democrats are not supportive of the tactics used by anti-Israeli crusaders.  That said, I appreciate the general argument that the Democratic Party is too tolerant of antisemitic forces within its ranks, and remain watchful.

I believe in substance over personalities and demonization of ideas, not people.

I believe it is not Islamophobic to expose violations of human rights, aggression and pronouncements of inferiority by regimes and leaders directed toward women, children and non-believers of Islam.

I believe my principles and values are liberal because they prioritize individual human dignity and potential, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, compared to the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam that prioritizes an ideology of religion.  As such, I believe in free expression for people and oppose blasphemy laws and the notion of defamation of religion. 

I believe too many anti-Israel crusaders promote illiberalism and effectively support some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet, with whom they share common ground.

I believe too many of the "intelligentsia" and self-anointed moralists throughout Europe and increasingly in America, particularly in the universities and media, are indiscriminate and disproportionate in scrutiny, engage in double standards, and practice humanitarian racism of lower expectations.

Of course, there is much more.  This is merely a synopsis for today, to give an idea of where I come from and am going, and to distinguish myself.

One place where I wholeheartedly agree:  The day of the dhimmi is over!

Thoughts on the Palestinian "Freedom Riders"

Yesterday, with the media in full attendance mode (about 100), six Palestinians boarded an Israeli bus in the West Bank to demonstrate the notion that Israel engages in racial discrimination, apartheid laws and segregation against Palestinians. It was a ridiculous publicity stunt premised on a false analogies. At least it was more a more peaceful form of protest than rock throwing.

Restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians in the West Bank undoubtedly exists, and includes access to Israeli settlements and within the Green Line, including Jerusalem. Such restrictions are based on security concerns. If they have a permit, nothing stops Palestinians from riding Israeli buses within the West Bank and continuing into Jerusalem or the settlements.  In fact, many do so every day, like those legally employed on construction projects within the settlements.

According to Honest Reporting, which looks at the media's role in the battle for public opinion, the more significant issue should have been why there is denial of entry into Jerusalem and Israel proper. The idea that racism rather than security governs Israeli policy is misplaced. We are reminded:
Many Israelis remember a time in the early 1990s and before, when both sides moved relatively freely between Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was only with the outbreak of the Palestinian terror campaign, including the use of suicide bombers, that restrictions on Palestinian movement reached their current level. The media should ask themselves how much culpability Palestinians have for creating this situation where the real victims were Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
And this is like the Freedom Riders in America?

Of course, I believe this is wholly different. In America, blacks sought to establish, based on their American citizenship, constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive due process of law, pursuant to Supreme Court decisions determining that restrictions on intestate travel, solely according to race, were unlawful discrimination and prohibited.

In the Palestinian context, as I see it, this is not a matter of civil rights.  Or human rights for that matter. Some Palestinian movement is restricted by military decree based on a legitimate, compelling state interest. Palestinians are not nationals of Israel and therefore have no claim to enforce rights of citizenship or residency against the state. Israel does not owe these individuals any right to movement and there is simply no breach of international norms.

The right to movement is set forth in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
(1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

(2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

(3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

(4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.
The restrictions on movement in this case, whether or not one sympathizes, are prompted primarily by security concerns and, even if there was a right, well within the concept of a "margin of appreciation," defined under Paragraph 3 above, that allows maneuver to national authorities in fulfilling their human rights obligations. 

So where is the violation of human rights?

The publicity grab by the Palestinian "Freedom Riders" trivializes legitimate fights by people against governments to ensure protection of lawful entitlements from their state. To present the matter as racism and invoke the memory of Martin Luther King is false and deceptive, and an insult to the memory of the US civil rights movement and the true Freedom Riders, whose story can be seen in this May, 2011 documentary on the "American Experience."

Palestinians will be fortunate if this mainly passes unnoticed. I believe most fair minded people will see the disconnect and the episode will be detrimental to their ultimate cause, which is itself uncertain to many observers.

UPDATE:  While some Palestinians engage in peaceful protest, others remain busy shooting rockets and damaging an Israeli kindergarten.

November 14, 2011

Finkelstein's Friends and a Challenge

Since I am on the topic of Finkelstein, I saw a MEMRI clip of Hamas TV over at CiF Watch that would warm the cockles of his otherwise cold heart, and a challenge:
I’d really like those who consider themselves anti-racists to respond to the following video (broadcast on the most popular network in Gaza).
And, further, please provide a similar example in Israel, Europe, or the U.S, of anything even resembling such chilling bigotry in their popular media.

I should have updated my earlier entry, but this goes straight to the point of this blog and, as such, deserves it own entry.

There are so many questions and challenges for the Leftist activists.  So many examples where talk and theory disconnect from reality.  Where the raw anti-Israel ideology, a component of their identity, takes over.  It seems they cannot recognize anything beyond.  They love Finkelstein, though solidarity with the above is what he is about.  Which makes me ask myself:  Can people be any more out of touch and less connected to human rights?

A Note on Housekeeping

As this all becomes a bit more routine, I wish to point out for the record that I likely will go backwards and change some earlier titles.

I want to be able to back and know what a posting is about.  Some titles are too hard to decipher.  I suspect that future readers will also be helped.

Finkelstein and the Blogs: "Why Bother?"

I recently read a diary at a blog I frequent that gave a hat tip to Norman Finkelstein. I started to write a comment, then thought: Why bother?  The participants were the same as always, the commentary no less the same.  To offer anything besides support would be taken as provocation.  There is no interest in discourse.  So I let them have their party, decrying Israel as they do to no other, as if it should not exist in the international community.

If they celebrate Finkelstein, it just shows how far out these people are! It shows, as well, how far out academia in Europe has become, as he makes the rounds on a UK tour. When so many go gaga over a hatemonger who openly expresses "solidarity" with regimes that call for killing all Jews and destroying Western societies and values, then something is awry in them.

Does Finkelstein really stand for anything besides incitement against Israel and Jews while offering validation to those who openly commit international crimes and call for genocide?

I was of course happy to meet the Hizbullah people, because it is a point of view that is rarely heard in the United States. I have no problem saying that I do want to express solidarity with them
The posting also sheds light on some of his British anti-Israel buddies, fronting for Hamas and in solidarity with truthers and neo-Nazi politicos.  They are called the Palestinian Return Centre. You see, the requisite for the club, it seems, is hatred of Jewish external self-determination.

Anti-Israel bloggers in America are also gaga over Finkelstein.  Not surprisingly.  It's the boilerplate they are fed, and what they learn at the universities from guys like him, Professor "Death to Israel" Pino, and the admirers of the "Jews control the world" Gilad "Holocaust Denier" Atzmon, such as John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk (also a truther).  Such academics are part of a regular cottage industry, like those many Israeli NGOs that now operate freely in the political realm, funded by foreign governments.  Not to mention the slew of journalists that create moving war stories by day, then party by night in the open society that Israel has to offer.

The reader is commended to a recent article in The New Republic, “Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?” by Alan Dershowitz, perhaps the strongest advocate in the face of the anti-Israel crowd.  The animus is overwhelming.

Pilar Rahola, recipient of the Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award for 2011, was once among them, until she had to ask
“[W]hy when Israel is the only country in the World which is threatened with extinction, it is also the only one that nobody considers a victim?”
She also asks: Why, of all the conflicts in the world, only this one interests them? Why is a tiny country which struggles to survive criminalized? Why does manipulated information triumph so easily? Why is Arafat a hero and Sharon a monster? Why is there no Palestinian guilt?

Bloated from their heroes, the anti-Israeli bloggers regurgitate and preach as if only they are morally in tune.  I suggest, however, that the scope of their anti-Israel reality is so narrow that they cannot even fathom other realities exist.  If others adopted such a narrow approach, these same folks would offer ridicule.

Then again, perhaps the site where I saw Finkelstein praised will come to be better known for tolerance of antisemitism within its ranks. There are now a few handful, at most, that join in the love, so proud of each other, peppering the place each day with volleys of anti-Israel posts and comments, inciting others to bring forth the worst.  More power to as they reveal their intent for others to more easily discover.  I still believe that most people can see through them and that what they promote is extreme and so one-sided as not to be trusted.
So, today, I clicked and moved on to something more productive.

November 11, 2011

It's not just the Left either

Recently, on a blog I like to read and make comments at, generally in support, the host responded to me and some others that we were "desperately attempting to protect the Democratic party by pretending it has nothing to do with the progressive-left."

One need only read what I have written here to date to see the statement is not accurate, at least to me.  I am not protecting the Democratic Party at all.  I am one of its critics.  I do not yet believe it has become anti-Israel as a whole, however.  I believe there is room for education to tilt the balance and counteract the loud and active anti-Israel voices that predominate the more leftist regions of the Democratic spectrum.  These voices make so much commotion and bring forth so much white noise and intellectual gobbledygook that it's easy to believe they are compelling and exist in far greater numbers.

I believe it's a mistake to give up on open minded Democrats whose natural instinct is to look at the issues from different sides, but who often are deprived of information from which to make accurate and intelligent judgments on these issues.  Even so, most come down on the side of Israel.  Perhaps they know, innately, it is their side as well.  Events that happen before our eyes usually are more convincing than intellectual theory that tells us day is night and war is peace.

It is not just the anti-Israel Leftists that create the muddle.  One large problem of many pro-Israel advocates is their similar tendency to demonize those on the other side, mirroring what the anti-Israel side does regularly in toneSuch demonization is almost always unnecessary.  Pro-Israel arguments, especially, are powerful and speak for themselves.  They lose effect when superfluous insults and labels get thrown about.  Open-minded folks already find the Arab-Israeli conflict confusing.  When it becomes a matter of finger pointing and disparagement, the matter becomes a blur.

Pejorative arguments are weak and turn off the intended listener, fence sitter or adversary.  Such arguments abound in echo chambers where a single voice is generally put forth like red meat for a carnivorous mob, or in the food fights that sometimes occur.  In these venues, I doubt if anyone is actually persuaded, if any minds are changed, if anyone is educated.  These attempts at discourse are useless and non-productive, and I suggest best to avoid.  If nothing else they keep the diehards off the streets and comfortably in front of their keyboards, engaged in virtual battle.

I will generally be critical of the Left, of which I am a member.  I believe we should look at our own conduct before throwing blame at others.  I believe one must adhere to core values, and in discourse this means tolerance and civility.  That said, activists of the Right are often no better in their behavior and treatment of others.  Sometimes I shake my head at how hateful it gets.  On many occasions, great content becomes useless because of an almost insatiable need to include an unnecessary insult about those who honestly disagree.

If only it would stop, from both sides, but particularly from those who put forth a pro-Israel message and who defend liberal values of universal human rights.  Support those values means to act in conformity, particularly when in the eye of the storm.  I firmly believe that people looking for real information will notice, will appreciate the efforts to inform, civilly, and will respond positively.  When advocacy and discussion on these important, complex, and controversial issues leaves the demonizing of others behind, those who thirst for information win, and those who are truly interested in solving conflict have a better chance of success.

So it goes.