Thursday, September 30, 2010

Irish Nobel Laureate Shills for Hamas

Irish Nobel laureate to appeal deportation from Israel - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News:

Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire has been denied entry to Israel for contravening a prohibition against entering Israel, imposed after she took part in the flotilla to Gaza on board the Rachel Corrie in early June.
I wanted to find out more about the winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize and to try to discover why she has a particular penchant for vilifying Israel. Unfortunately, it's very hard to find anything about her that breaks from the standard line about her saintliness. Having received the Nobel 34 years ago for attempting to bring about a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland conflict, she has spent recent years enabling Hamas to bring about a violent solution to the Middle East conflict.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching her post-IHH-Turkish-Flotilla-incident interview with Israel's Channel 2 wherein she evaded questions regarding Hamas' inhospitability towards Israel and refused to respond to why Turkey's killing of 20,000 Kurds didn't also provoke her condemnation.

Does President Obama Suffer from Hero Syndrome?

Hero Syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The hero syndrome is a phenomenon affecting people who seek heroism or recognition, usually by creating a desperate situation which they can resolve."

It takes alot for me to feel for Netanyahu, 
but is Obama just a little disdainful?

So, does he suffer from this syndrome? After all, he was the one who produced the mess that the peace talks are in right now. He was the one who put the settlements square in the middle of any negotiation. He practically forced Abbas to insist on an extension of the freeze or walk out instead of losing face. And then he pushed it to the fore all over again at the UN, further exacerbating the situation. Now he is scurrying around desperately trying to appease Abbas and bribe Netanyahu with promises. Perhaps he created the situation in the first place in order to be the one to save the day. Go know. Or it may simply be hubris...or naiveté.

Of course, the White House disavows sending a personal appeal full of promises (link below) to Netanyahu:

From the Archives: How African Nations Adopted Anti-Zionism

Nasser, triumphant

Here is some further background on the relationship between Israel and Africa to broaden an understanding of the Apartheid analogy and last night's vote by Johannesburg University faculty to (semi) boycott Ben Gurion University:

How Nasser pushed anti-Zionism in Africa by Michelle Seiff in Z-Word:

JPost's positive spin on the Johannesburg U boycott vote:

Engageonline's more realistic read on the JU vote:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Academic Indemnity?

A couple of weeks ago, Elder of Ziyon brought to our attention a recent article by M. Shahid Alam posted on the Pacific Free Press website. Alam is a professor of economics at Northeastern University and, as such, is protected by academic freedom to espouse views that are, shall we say, repulsive. He has published widely in  web publications such as Counterpunch (on the Israelization of America) and is well known in anti-Zionist circles. 

The piece he published is excerpted from Israeli Exceptionalism (Palgrave Macmillan), a study of the ways in which The Zionists "...have worked – and, often have succeeded – to alter the behavior of the other political actors in this drama (i.e., their colonialist project and its disruptive effect on the region - my words) and, how, in turn, the Zionists respond to these changes. Most importantly, we need to explore all the ways in which the Zionists have succeeded in mobilizing the resources of the United States and other Western powers to serve their specific objectives."

The article essentially rehashes the theme of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but with an updated, 'dialectical', post-colonial reworking of the history of Zionism. It is a lovely read and brings to mind a kind of cross between, The Israel Lobby and any old junk on ZOG/White Supremacist websites.

Take an example: "Over the course of the nineteenth century, they had become an important, often vital, part of the financial, industrial, commercial, and intellectual elites in several of the most important Western countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. Moreover, the most prominent members of these elites had cultivated ties with each other across national boundaries.

Once these Jewish elites, spread across the key Western countries, had decided to support the Zionist project, they would become a force in global politics. On the one hand, this would tempt the great powers to support Zionism, if this could buy them the help of the Jewish communities, based in a rival or friendly power, to push their host country in a desirable direction. Conversely, once the Zionists recognized this tendency, they too would seek to win support for their cause by offering the support of Jewish communities in key Western countries.
It would be in their interest to exaggerate the results that Jewish communities in this or that country might be able to deliver. During periods of intense conflicts – such as World War I – when the fate of nations hung in the balance, the competition for Zionist support became more intense than ever. This placed the Zionists in a strong position to trade their favors for the commitment of the great powers to their goals. In September 1917, this competition persuaded
Britain, at a difficult moment in the execution of its war, to throw its support behind the Zionist project."

Anyhoo, I felt like lodging a complaint about this anti-Semitic diatribe with the powers-that-be at Northeastern, and two weeks later I received a rather predictable, pro-forma, reply. Apparently I'm not the first to complain about the professor:

On behalf of Provost Stephen Director, please let me thank you for contacting us to express your concerns about the recent article by Professor M. Shahid Alam.  We appreciate learning your views.

A fundamental aspect of American higher education is an unwavering commitment to academic freedom, which sometimes includes tolerating viewpoints that are repugnant to most of us. Please understand that when an individual faculty member espouses his or her views, this does not constitute the views of the University. While a strong commitment to freedom of speech can present uncomfortable moments—particularly when it comes to matters of ethnic discrimination—we believe that efforts to curtail academic discourse would be antithetical to the University’s mission.

Mary Loeffelholz, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Office of the Provost, Northeastern University

I am all in favor of academic freedom, free speech and the First Amendment, but the likes of Professor M. Shahid Alam are not. They want to boycott Israeli universities and other cultural institutions -- you can't have it both ways. Additionally, there have been enough reports about intimidation by anti-Zionist faculty at various campuses across the country, that it would seem to me that a professor with such vehement views should, at the very least, be made accountable to an institution's administration so as to guard against his bias in the classroom.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Franchising Apartheid

By now you know that my particular bete-noire is the Jewish anti-Zionist -- I feel that it is my job to help expose him and her for the lies they help to perpetuate. Here's a case-in-point:

Ronnie Kasrils, Jewish South African anti-Apartheid activist and later intelligence minister in post-Apartheid governments, is well known for his equating of Zionism with Apartheid and Nazism. "We must call baby killers "baby killers" and declare that those using methods reminiscent of the Nazis be told that they are behaving like Nazis. May Israelis wake up and see reason, as happened in South Africa, and negotiate peace." 

Writing in the Guardian from South Africa today, he is pushing that equation in support of current anti-Israel boycotts. This un-reconstructed Stalinist still sees the world in Manichean terms and cannot let go of the good-old-bad-old days of the anti-Apartheid struggle. He has helped spread the analogy by using his Jewish ancestry to legitimize those claims. 

There are many places to find talking points that demolish the analogy, but here is one article that really lays it all out by presenting a history of how it became the lazy-guy's anti-Zionism for Dummies cliche:

Franchising "Apartheid": Why South Africans Push the Analogy:

Other readings:
From today's JPost, "Hijacking Apartheid":

Excellent round-up (dis)equating Zionism and Apartheid:

If you feel you must read Kasril's drivel:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Other Wall

Mr. Abbas, Tear Down This Wall! Jewish Ideas Daily

Great grandchildren of the original refugees of Balata

A great piece from Sol Stern -- he of the Nakba Obsession article I linked to on Sept. 2nd -- as he explicates about the preposterous restrictions besetting Palestinians in refugee camps. He's not talking about how those dastardly Israelis oppress them, he's talking about how they are treated by the PA. Case in point here is the Balata Camp (see my Sept. 6th post about refugee camps) which is just outside the PA's territory but is purposely kept as a miserable hell hole for its inhabitants -- generations on from the original refugees -- in order to, "... nurture the myth that someday soon they will return in triumph to their ancestors' homes by the Mediterranean Sea."

While you're at it, check out Arlene Kushner's scholarly article in Azure about the refugee problem.

If you are not convinced that the refugee/right of return elephant-in-the-room is the most pressing issue requiring serious demystification, then I have a few more articles for you to read in the next few days.

'Jewish' Blockade-Buster Boat Update

"No words to describe what we went through during the takeover"

It really is hard to know what to make of the 'testimonies' of the passengers abroad the Irene once the boat was taken over by Israeli armed force personnel. 

Bearing in mind that the nine had plenty of time to concoct a story they could all stick to, it is rather confusing that, on the one hand, they reported being met with extreme IDF brutality, they "just jumped us, and hit us. I was hit with a taser gun." And, "Some of the soldiers treated us atrociously." And there were "no words to describe what we went through during the takeover." And, "I can't believe Israeli soldiers would treat nine Jews this way. They just hit people."

But, on the other hand, once they were all aboard the military vessel on the way to Ashdod, a Channel 10 reporter said that the activists "managed to have a serious heart-to-heart conversation with the soldiers,"  and that "overall the atmosphere was good."

But, the organizers' website doesn't mention any of this. You woudda thunk that they'd be working all their sources and angles to find out what really happened and to issue an urgent press release highlighting Israeli brutality. Instead, their latest press release states only that the group's Israeli attorney demanded to see her clients and that the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel asked to send "an independent doctor to visit the passengers immediately, after hearing from organizers that at least one passenger suffers from serious chronic health problems and is in need of medical care." Notice: the passenger suffers from chronic health problems. Why would you put yourself in such a position unless you hoped that you would be able to exploit your frailty.

At the end of the press release, JFJFP spokesman, Richard Kuper, issued a boiler-plate condemnation of the Israeli army’s apparent action (what action -- that the group were handcuffed and their cell phones taken away?) and that the way it (the boat) is being treated by Israeli authorities indicates that they have no real intentions of reaching peace.

These silly, narcissistic, fools, whose empty gesture will gain the Palestinians nothing, got exactly what they came for. They knew they would be intercepted. I wouldn't be surprised if they were hoping for a bit of violence just to underscore the 'importance' of their mission.

FYI - here is an interesting discussion about Jews and anti-Zionism:

See also this fascinating post from the Elder of Ziyon who reports that Hamas isn't so crazy about this Jewish boat:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nine (9) 'Jews for Justice' set sail for Gaza

'Jews for Justice' aid boat sets sail for Gaza - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Yes, nine,count em, 9 Jews including crew are sailing to Gaza on a 33-ft catamaran to bust the blockade and show the world that not all Jews support Israeli policies toward Palestinians. It seems it took "Jewish groups worldwide" to organize this mission. OK, I would have thought that Jews would have gotten a better deal than that. Anyway, they admit to carrying only a 'symbolic' amount of aid. 

This is what symbolic aid looks like. I would've called it shambolic aid. 
Photo: Ron Friedman, JPost

One of the organizers, Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, stated, "Jewish communities around the world are not united in support of Israel." Wow, he said it, he finally said it: his group does not support Israel. "Justice for Palestinians" in his case means just that -- it doesn't mean justice for all the participants. I got it!  (Remember what we said about the word justice yesterday?)

He also said,"Israel's future peace is coming to terms quickly with the Palestinians." So, the funny/peculiar thing is: aren't Israel and the Palestinians engaged in peace talks right now? Isn't Hamas completely opposed to those talks? Aren't the peace talks the way to end the occupation? Or are these worldwide-Jews also opposed to the peace talks? To whom, then, is this mini-me flotilla addressed? This is the part I'm not getting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Next Time You Hear the Words Peace and Justice...

U.S. progressives meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad | Fight Back!

... look to see who is speaking. It may be someone like Sarah Martin of Freedom Road Socialist Organization who, along with 100 other American 'progressives', met with Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadinejad while they were visiting New York this week. This is what Martin said of the encounter: “Speaking with Mrs. Ahmadinejad and hearing the president reinforced the importance of struggling against the U.S. campaign to isolate and demonize Iran. I think the meeting was important because we had the opportunity to meet with so many dedicated grassroots activists from all over the country and share our hopes for peace and justice with the Iranian people through their president and his wife.” 
Nuff said?

Meanwhile, here are some images from the recent School of Visual Arts exhibit of 150 posters about the Iranian protests of 2009, Where is My Vote, a more honest depiction of the desire for peace and justice. Wouldn't you say?

Friday, September 24, 2010

BDS: Tale of Two Cities

The very excellent blog, Divest This, tracks the BDS campaign as it makes its desperate journey to all points on both American coasts where it thinks it may have a chance to coerce progressive-seeming organizations to join the Israel boycott. One type of organization they target is the food co-op. Should be easy right? Bunch of hippies running these things, surely they're up for sticking it to The Man. Well, it hasn't worked out that way, though BDSers spin it otherwise.

So, I urge you to check out this site and read about the BDS failure at the Port Townsend Co-op and the unfortunate-but-negligable success at Olympia Co-op. Follow the links to reports of both boycott attempts and learn about how BDS works and to how challenge their attempts.

In the meantime, for your entertainment, please enjoy this video of Howard Jacobson, the British novelist, as he trounces the idea of an academic boycott of Israel at an event organized by Engage. The British university unions attempt such things on an annual basis and it may happen that American unions will start drinking that same BDS Kool-Aid. Better to arm ourselves just in case. At any rate his critique applies to all delegimization efforts.

Divest This:

David Grossman's Tribulations

David Grossman's new book, To the End of the Land, has just been published in English. I will probably not be able to read it because it concerns a mother's loss of her son -- most likely, I will be staying away from books like that until my son is well into his middle-age. Yet, he has moved me in his other works. Grossman articulates the complexity of the Israeli experience and it really doesn't matter that he speaks from the 'Left' and has been vocal about the occupation and settlements; he is passionately in love with his country.

The mainstream media has bought the dichotomy of Palestinian anguish and Israeli aggression. While Palestinians' violence is tolerated as a response to decades of oppression, Israelis' decades of insecurity are minimized. The toll of 62 years of living under a cloud of hostility and impermanence has been huge.

Grossman's characters personify life that is not allowed to be normal. When Israelis attempt normalcy they are caricatured as party-going, money-mad insensitives. This is what Time magazine did recently and what Roger Cohen etal do continuously in the NY Times. When Rick Stengel of Time said, "They [the Israelis] haven't had a car bombing in two and a half years. And the sad truth really is that the wall with the West Bank has actually worked," he was speaking as someone who refuses to acknowledge Israelis' humanity.

Even when Grossman states, "In a strange way you can live in this place and yet be totally detached from what happens," he is describing a life that is lived in a tense relationship to the conflict, not apart from it. You don't have to agree with his analysis or prescriptions -- he renders Israelis in three-dimensions and that is more than what appears on our menu most days.

Profile in the New Yorker: 

Interview in Spiegel:,1518,641437,00.html

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giving the Palestinians a Way Out

Roger Cohen - A Test of Israel’s Character - Op-Ed -

Once again Roger Cohen is placing the onus of peace talk success entirely on Israel. It will all depend on Israel extending the settlement freeze; no one could blame Abbas for walking out of the talks if they don't extend that freeze. Cohen proclaims, "Abbas is serious about peace." Period. He bases this on the economic development and institution-building carried out in the West Bank. Yes it is good to see this happening. It should have been happening all along (although we know that it didn't happen for ideological reasons.) It seems that at least some in the Palestinian hierarchy have realized that they have to show their weary population that they can get things done. It may even earn them some trust among their people. But what have their leaders done to prepare Palestinians (in the West Bank - never mind Gaza) for peace? Are they showing Israel on their maps yet? Are they preventing or encouraging anti-Semitic programs on television? Are they still commemorating place names with those of terrorists? (Still publicly morning the death of one of the architects of the Munich Olympic Massacre?) It was easy enough to demand that Israel stop the settlements, but what are the equivalent benchmarks for the Palestinians?

Arab League refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state -- after 62 years!

I happen to agree that it would be foolish not to freeze the settlements for a variety of reasons -- enough is enough. Even better, Netanyahu should extend the freeze in order to call Abbas' bluff. Let's get to the next layer of disagreement. Will it be the return of refugees? I hope so. It is here that Abbas and the Arab states really need to show us who really wants peace.

President Obama did one good thing in his UN speech today. He demanded that the Arab/Muslim countries stop delegitimizing Israel and start putting their money and influence where their mouths are. If they're serious about peace, that is. Again, easy to ask for, but what are those benchmarks? Why isn't Obama putting a time frame on diplomatic recognition of Israel?  Or, what about stopping the economic boycott or state-controlled media demonization of Israel. There are some simple steps here that could foster Israeli trust. 

Israel Bashing on the Blogosphere Webcast

The Jerusalem Fund: Blogging Israel/Palestine at the Palestine Center

Watch Jerome Slater, Adam Horowitz , MJ Rosenberg, Stephen Walt rep the good Jews/bad Jews line.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey Cool Cats, Dig This: A Flotilla Hop

The groovy hipsters who are organizing the US to Gaza Audacity of Hope Flotilla are hoping to raise some of the $370k they need by putting on a shindig in, where else, downtown Brooklyn.

The event is entitled, "Siege Busters Ball" and will feature, among others, a really cool dude, Ryan Green, a world music singer and theatre performer turned activist. He performs regularly with Cabaret Cataplexy, a queer black theatre troupeI don’t know, maybe he didn't get the memo about Hamas and homosexuality. Maybe he’ll even get to perform when the ship sails into Gaza. And wouldn’t it be, like, really awesome to see the Jihad crowd grooving to his bassa nova? 

Infamous Peace Activists of the Mavi Marmara

Also, I guess the Audacity of Hope organizers haven't picked up on the difficulties other, recent, flotilla entrepreneurs have had. Especially, Gorgeous George Galloway (whom some American Israel haters think is still a British Member of Parliament -- he got kicked out at the last election, after being kicked out of the Labour Party.)

Read this from Contentions: "Perhaps the biggest recent news in Gaza-blockade busting is the lack of enthusiasm for it shown by some regional governments. Beirut delayed the departure of the Lebanese “women’s flotilla” flagship, M/V Maryam, for much of July. After Maryam was finally allowed to leave Lebanon, the authorities in Greek Cyprus, the staging point for Maryam to pick up additional passengers, denied the ship permission to depart for Gaza.

The flotilla organizers have so far been unable to mount the effort by any other means. A separate aid ship departing from Syria this past weekend simply headed for the Egyptian port of El-Arish, near the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza, rather than attempting to break the naval blockade.

Three vehicle convoys are now preparing to converge on Gaza, but they, like the Syrian ship, will assemble near Rafah in Egypt. One convoy, arranged by the Hamas-linked Viva Palestina activist group, left from London this weekend. Departures are planned from Morocco and Qatar as well. Reporting suggests that the convoys from Europe and Africa will be composed largely of passenger vehicles, reinforcing their character as publicity stunts rather than humanitarian aid missions.

The convoy from Casablanca has already hit a snag, however, and some elements of it are currently delayed in Morocco. Algeria has granted permission to cross its territory only provisionally and unofficially, a posture that Moroccan factions consider unsatisfactory. The Egyptians, meanwhile, refused to allow a Viva Palestina convoy to use the Rafah border crossing in January 2010, deporting British activist George Galloway and banning him from further activities in Egypt. Cairo’s foreign ministry has reiterated the ban this week, emphasizing that aid-convoy vehicles will not be allowed to use the border crossing. Any cargo they bring will have to be reloaded on an Egyptian-managed official convoy.

The refusal of Greece and Egypt to collude in blockade-running attempts is encouraging. By making order a priority, they eliminate the convenience third-party territory represents for activists originating from Turkey, Syria, or Lebanon. Other European authorities could take a lesson from them."
This event is being advertised on many 'progressive' blogs and websites so it may get a large attendance of folks who are hopelessly infatuated with a cause they don't understand and don't really want to.

Josef Joffe: Update of A World Without Israel

SPME (Scholars for Peace in the Middle East) reprints Josef Joffe's New Republic article (behind a paywall) in which he confirms his assertion that despite the "It's Palestine, stupid" myth, the problems of the ME will not go away if peace is achieved between Israel and the Palestinians. He reminds us that the autocracies will still exist as will illiteracy, poverty and oppression. In other words, let's not overstate it: "By all means, let’s have a Palestinian state. But let’s also dispatch the myth that such a state will 'start to unwind all the other pressure points.' Shoddy myths make for faulty policy."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Stephen Walt is Throwing Stones

Stephen Walt, writing in Foreign Policy, questions whether or not Harvard should go ahead and allow a chair to be endowed on behalf of Martin Peretz the publisher of New Republic, former professor and owner of a couple of poorly phrased comments about Muslims in a recent blog post about First Amendment rights and the Ground Zero Mosque (not). Peretz has since posted a sincere, heartfelt apology without any of the usual caveats apologists are known for. Ironically, several months ago Walt, Mr. Harvard professor, was asked how he felt about his blog becoming the go-to address for anti-Semitic comment writers. Surely his hard-on for Israel was making itself popular with the Hitler/Stalin crowd. He shrugged this off as not his problem.

As we know, Stephen Walt along with John Mearsheimer wrote, under the cover of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, that seriously tendentious and, some would say, anti-Semitic screed, The Israel Lobby. After the first edition Harvard distanced itself from the book and asked that the Kennedy School logo be removed from later editions.

Further, according to the NY Sun, many donors to Harvard complained about the university's relationship to the article that became The Israel Lobby. "One of the angered contributors is said to be the donor who underwrote the chair occupied by Dean Walt, Robert Belfer. Mr. Belfer, a 1958 graduate of Harvard Law School, endowed a faculty chair as part of a $7.5 million gift to the Kennedy School in 1997. In addition to bearing the title of academic dean of the Kennedy School, Mr. Walt is also the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Politics. According to the observer, "Since the furor, Bob Belfer has called expressing his deep concerns and asked that Stephen not use his professorship title in publicity related to the article." 

One wonders if this is Walt's chance to vent against someone who is apparently far more popular with Harvard's philanthropic community.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Yom Kippur Prayer For Jews who are “Proud to be Ashamed to Be Jews”

Chesler Chronicles � A Yom Kippur Prayer For Jews who are “Proud to be Ashamed to Be Jews”

The night before Erev Yom Kippur and I am overwhelmed. There is so much information -- both factual and rhetorical -- about the ME conflict that trying to mine through it all to arrive at ways to say what I want to say is tonight beyond me. So I just offer Phyllis Chesler's 'prayer' which doesn't get close enough to uncovering what it is that makes Jews anti-Zionist, but it will have to do. For now.

I encourage my readers to click on my reading list for a smörgåsbord of news, anecdote and analysis from folks who have more experience harnessing all the stuff that's out there.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jeffrey Goldberg Speaks To Me

This following blog post by Jeffrey Goldberg in Atlantic tells what it is about the ME conflict that has been so depressing to me. Specifically he quotes these words by Jose Maria Aznar, the former prime minister of Spain, who lost his position because the Spanish people blamed his policies for the 2004 Madrid train bombings:

"Israel is under a new kind of attack.  Not conventional war as in 1948, 56, 67 or 73.  Not terrorism as we saw in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But a new kind of attack - an attack on Israel legitimacy, on her right to exist.  A "soft-war", where many of its adversaries are employing legal tricks, multinational bodies, and an army of dubious NGO's to present internationally Israel as an illegitimate state, as a barbarian state, a state that should be isolated and converted into a pariah state... We think this is intolerable.  It is unjust, morally wrong, and a strategic risk -- not only for Israel and its people -- but for all of us."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jewish Anti-Zionism is (One) Result of Arrested Development

Jewish anti-Zionism is a special category for me. I've known quite a few of the species in my life. And I'm trying to study the phenomena and will, with hope, come up with some delectable analyses soon. So I do a bit of reading on the subject and every once in a while I like to read the Jewish anti-Zionist blogs. They make me angry, naturally, but they are also strangely reassuring. Take for instance this post in Mondoweiss about Phil Weiss's incredible adventure in Jordan. And read about how gullible he is when discussing the problems of the ME with his Jordanian interlocutors. Read also what he says about the right of return. And about Jews and money. And then wonder, is this the enemy? Really? Surely we can take on an intellect that stopped developing at age 16.

Jordan King Abdullah anti-semitism and Zionism conversation

Roger Cohen in the NYT mimics the Time line: Israelis Don't Care About Peace

At the risk of repeating myself, here is my post from last night, again. I think it is really important to counter superficial opinion pieces in the comments sections of newspapers.

I realized a few weeks ago that the global edition of the NY Times runs Roger Cohen's column on Mondays -- without a comments section. Tomorrow is when he goes online in the US edition. His piece is not unlike Time Mag's "Israelis don't care about peace" tripe. He spends hardly a word about how the Palestinians feel about peace except for a throwaway line about the right of return.

Cohen then hands the final word to Saeb Erekat; he of the unblemished integrity: "Mitchell, after 18 months of toil, believes Netanyahu will go the extra mile. I was shown minutes of a meeting this year with Palestinian officials in which Mitchell said: “Benjamin Netanyahu will be thinking about his legacy. My experience in Northern Ireland makes me strong in my belief. Ian Paisley blocked an agreement for decades. He hated Catholics and called the pope the Antichrist in Parliament. At the age of 82 he started thinking about his legacy, made a turn and was a key figure in reaching an agreement in Northern Ireland. To which Saeb Erekat, a leading Palestinian negotiator shot back, “Let’s hope that Netanyahu reaches that conclusion before he reaches 82!” It’s hard to resist Erekat’s cynicism. Peace is tough when politics are dead. Netanyahu is only 60. So kick back, sing the praise of truces — and pass the remote."

So, boys and girls, read the column, prepare your comments, get a good night's sleep and be ready to post them on NYT's website bright and early tomorrow morning. We have to counter this stuff in situ!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time to Declare War on Israel

Wow -- it's the parallel universe's parallel universe:

Here's how The Richmond Times Dispatch's A. Barton Hinkle starts: "The latest issue of Time purports to explain "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace." (Hint: Blame the money-grubbing Jews!) There will be earnest efforts to point out why this is nonsense, but they will fall on deaf ears. These days a defense of Israel requires stronger measures. And perhaps nothing could do Israel more good than for the United States to declare war on it." Read on:

I can see the film now -- sort of like a cross between The Mouse That Roared and Wag the Dog.

So true, it hurts. Enjoy!

Tomorrow's News Tonight

Globalist - Peace Talks - Roger Cohen - Op-Ed -

I realized a few weeks ago that the global edition of the NY Times runs Roger Cohen's column on Mondays -- without a comments section. Tomorrow is when he goes online in the US edition. His piece is not unlike Time Mag's "Israelis don't care about peace" tripe. He spends hardly a word about how the Palestinians feel about peace except for a throwaway line about the right of return.

Cohen then hands the final word to Saeb Erekat; he of the unblemished integrity: "Mitchell, after 18 months of toil, believes Netanyahu will go the extra mile. I was shown minutes of a meeting this year with Palestinian officials in which Mitchell said: “Benjamin Netanyahu will be thinking about his legacy. My experience in Northern Ireland makes me strong in my belief. Ian Paisley blocked an agreement for decades. He hated Catholics and called the pope the Antichrist in Parliament. At the age of 82 he started thinking about his legacy, made a turn and was a key figure in reaching an agreement in Northern Ireland. To which Saeb Erekat, a leading Palestinian negotiator shot back, “Let’s hope that Netanyahu reaches that conclusion before he reaches 82!” It’s hard to resist Erekat’s cynicism. Peace is tough when politics are dead. Netanyahu is only 60. So kick back, sing the praise of truces — and pass the remote."

So, boys and girls, read the column, prepare your comments, get a good night's sleep and be ready to post them on NYT's website bright and early tomorrow morning. We have to counter this stuff in situ!

Bedouins in the News

Lots of stories about Israel's treatment of Bedouins have been reported lately. They all center on the demolition of "unrecognized", ie, off-the-grid settlements, in the Negev. Anti-Zionist critics like Neve Gordon have used terms like "ethnic cleansing", "Judaizing the Negev region", or "a declaration of war on the Bedouins", while MJ Rosenberg who hosted Gordon's video of one such demolition at the Huffington Post could hardly contain his glee at Israel's perfidy.

Israeli Bedouin women are increasingly going to college.

Needless to say the story is far more complex than usually presented; their story is full of ups and downs but many of the Bedouins have in fact benefited from citizenship in Israel. Bedouin women, in particular, have gained alot from the educational and social opportunities that have been made available to them.

Doing a Google search of Bedouins in Israel yields dozens upon dozens of hits about the demolitions. Israel, being fully accessible to the news media, cannot hide behind secrecy. However, one is hard pressed to find information about the Bedouins who reside (or roam) in other parts the Middle East although lately there have been stories about the serious conflicts between Sinai Bedouins and the Egyptian state. I've found articles that describe the general problems of poverty and land expropriation but very little detail and no (as far as I could find) international condemnation and outcry about their treatment at the hands of Arab authorities. In Syria, there is almost no available information. Yet from what I've read, the Bedouins face almost identical issues of modernity v. tradition v. states' development requirements, everywhere.

Here's a roundup of some stories for a bit of context:

Ynet report on demolitions:,7340,L-3925793,00.html

Honest Reporting deconstructs mainstream reporting:

Egypt sentences Bedouins to life imprisonment | News by Country | Reuters:

The Economist on the Sinai Bedouins:

NGO Monitor on HRW's unfair condemnation of Israel:

Excellent program on PBS about the changes lives of Bedouin women in Israel:

M. J. Rosenberg hyperventilates at the Huffington Post: