March 10, 2013

"Phobias" and beating down critics into silence

I left my first comment at Mondoweiss today, about a claim that the messaging of the non-profit, pro-Israel StandWithUs "verges on Islamophobia." The example provided is a fact sheet on the Muslim Brotherhood.

StandWithUs is dedicated to informing the public about Israel and to combating the extremism and antisemitism that often distorts the issues. It helps those who want to educate their own local campuses and communities. It believes knowledge of the facts will correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and will promote discussions and policies that can help promote peace in the Middle East.

According to Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a former radical Islamist present when it was first coined, the term "Islamophobia" is "nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics," to silence criticism of political Islam, to portray Muslims as victims. Those that met at the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Northern Virginia decided to emulate the homosexual activists who used the term "homophobia" to silence critics. See this for more.

Looking at the Mondoweiss site, it is hard to find anything that does not condemn Israel. There is no balance. I suppose information that is pro-Israel would be seen as Zionist propaganda, lies, or even "Islamophobic." So how does one refute this obsession to demonize Israel, and fairly show what Israelis and Jews confront? Perhaps from a source that cannot be labeled as a mouthpiece, one might see that the threat is not at all irrational, but squarely in the scope of reasonable discourse.

What follows, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, is a video from NRK, the Norwegian state-owned station. NRK found that Norway gives the Palestinian Authority about 300 million kroner ($52,628,700) a year, and directly correlated that funding to the PA’s incitement of hatred and glorification of terror.

According to the NRK narrator:
[Palestinian] children grow up learning that Jews are 'Satan with a tail'... Adults hear that Jews are evil and not to be trusted. It is perhaps not surprising that the [Palestinian] hatred is growing.
Talk about "phobia!"

PMW senior analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik, interviewed in the NRK report, on the importance of publicizing PMW documentation in Norway:
What we [PMW] report is definitely the general [PA] message. We don't provide just a few examples that we have chosen to make it look extreme. I think that Norwegian and other leaders will be surprised to hear what the Palestinian leaders, with whom they talk about peace, say in Arabic.

Yes, people are surprised sometimes to discover what is missing from their knowledge. Thankfully, Norway may be ready to become more balanced when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and perhaps even to do what is right, to stop funding incitement to hate and indirectly funding terrorists in jail for crimes, including multiple murders.

The main point of this post, however, is to communicate that not only pro-Israel activists and "apologists" or "Islamophobes" identify the issue of Jew hatred that adds a malicious and even genocidal fuel to the Palestinian and Islamic cause. No serious person would call the NRK Islamophobic for showing what actually does and will continue to exist, whether we care to see it or not.

March 9, 2013

SodaStream: Walking the Walk

I wish I could treat this subject in greater detail, but something is better than nothing, especially if information is worth knowing in helping to form judgments.

I do not drink soda, except once in a while, but want to give a shout out to SodaStream, Israel’s successful home soda device company. Some want to shut it down (I hope no environmentalists) because its products are made in an “illegal settlement” and it harms local Arabs. Here is what one such opponent, Code Pink, says:
[T]here is nothing friendly about the destruction of Palestinian life, land and water resources! SodaStream is an Israeli corporation that produces all of its carbonation devices in an illegal settlement in the West Bank. All Israeli settlements exist in direct contravention to international law!
But are these allegations true?

Here is a video about SodaStream I saw at the Step Up for Israel blog. Watch it and decide for yourself if this is a bad company or not, or perhaps one that should be admired.

If this causes a shift in perception, follow it. See where it takes you. So much is shielded from view. Is there more the Code Pinks are not saying because they don't want you to know?