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.”
[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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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."
"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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
As is circulating in the blogosphere, on Friday, according to Ynet, 133 states votedat 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.
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.
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.