Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Israel's Pinkwashing Accusers Whitewash Hamas

I'm so glad that neither Sarah Schulman nor the NY Times are getting off scot free for the scurrilous op-ed she wrote and they published on the supposed pinkwashing of Israel's progressive LGBT policies.

A good example is Jonathan Miller who has an excellent article in the Huffington Post describing the perverse logic of Israel's pinkwashing accusers:
"The Palestinian flag at a gay rights rally? It's the iconic ironic image of the New New Left. The sentiment's familiar: a maltreated minority identifying with the victim célèbre of radical academia. But the juxtaposition of these two particular causes would be absurdly hilarious if it weren't profoundly tragic: The Hamas regime represented by that flag demeans, oppresses, jails, harrasses, assaults, and tortures gays and lesbians.
"Imagine what would happen if you flew a gay rights flag in Gaza City. (On second thought, don't even imagine it.)"
"In the Orwellian dystopia that is our political discourse today, the free, diverse, and democratic oasis of Israel -- engulfed in a desert of some the world's most intolerant and illiberal regimes -- has been singled out by the radical left for its most vituperous criticism and its most impassioned economic boycotts. Some have even gone so far as to attack Israel for boasting about its undeniable progressive record on issues like gay rights, claiming it is merely a diversion to "pinkwash" the occupation of the West Bank."

Times' readers also weighed in here and here, as did Jeffrey Goldberg, David Harris, the Elder of Ziyon and Harry's Place. It really does seem to be a case of hatred of Israel overriding common sense and feeding into the ugliest tropes of Jew-hatred. As a Harry's Place reader pointed out, when Israel discovers a cure for cancer, will it be accused of healthwashing? 

And just to remind folks of the father and mother of all the pretzel-logic about LGBT issues in the ME, here is a reprise of Joseph Massad's masterwork, Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World. Seems anything goes as long as you can Orientalism-wash it.

Here's another good one by James Kirchick in Tablet: "Introducing the term “pinkwashing” into the mainstream debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict is edifying in at least one respect: It lays bare the delusion, paranoia, and cynicism of the Jewish state’s most earnest detractors. In their minds, any positive statement made about the country is necessarily part of a propaganda campaign in the service of a far-right agenda. For an increasingly large swath of the international left, there really is no good Israel can do, short of disappear."

H/T: Huffington Post Monitor

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Antisemitism is So Ubiquitous it Barely Rates a Mention in the 'Serious' Press

Torched cars owned by Orthodox Jews on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. Swastikas 
and KKK were scrawled on the cars and nearby benches.That this happened 
on Nov.11, the day after the anniversary of Kristallnacht, may not be a coincidence.

When, almost two weeks ago, a particularly serious anti-Jewish hate crime was committed in Brooklyn, the NY Times first reported it only in it's Metro section blog and then sat on the story for a full weekend before doing a follow up. In the meantime both NY tabloids, The Daily News and The NY Post reported it throughout the weekend as a matter of urgency. But they're just tabloids.

Coincidentally, I happened to be perusing the Southern Poverty Law Center's website and was surprised to discover that Antisemitism is not listed as a specific 'ideology' (apart from Holocaust Denial) in its Intelligence Files. I found that rather confusing and wrote to Mark Potok asking for an explanation. He very graciously responded with a phone call and explained that because Antisemitism is to be found among just about every hate group/ideology -- from Left to Right -- it cannot be made to fit into SPLC's morphology. What I heard was that Antisemitism is so ubiquitous in our society that somehow it defies categorization. 

So prevalent, so expected is it in our society that the press barely mentions it when, as Jeffrey Goldberg  posted today, the FBI reports that crimes against Jews qua Jews tops the list of all religion-based crimes in the US. That is, 65.4% are committed against Jews, as opposed to, for example, 13.2% against Muslims.

This gets us back to Mark Potok of SPLC, who cited, in an Huffington Post article, a 50% increase in hate-crimes against Muslims, but, as Goldberg remarks, didn't mention anti-Jewish crimes. I guess that just doesn't rate a mention.

Here's how Goldberg puts it:

"Over the Goldblog transom came an e-mail from CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, about anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. The e-mail contained a link to an alarming  Huffington Post story by Mark Potok headlined "FBI Reports Dramatic Spike in Anti-Muslim Hate Violence." Potok is the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. Here is some of what the story reported:

"'Anti-Muslim hate crimes soared by an astounding 50% last year, skyrocketing over 2009 levels in a year marked by the vicious rhetoric of Islam-bashing politicians and activists, especially over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" in New York City.

"'Although the national statistics compiled by the FBI each year are known to dramatically understate the real level of reported and unreported hate crimes, they do offer telling indications of some trends. The latest statistics, showing a jump from 107 anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2009 to 160 in 2010, seem to reflect a clear rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric from groups like Stop Islamization of America. Much of that rhetoric was aimed at stopping an Islamic center in lower Manhattan.'

"There is no doubt that anti-Muslim prejudice is a serious problem in America, and not only among the Republican candidates for president. But when you dive into the FBI statistics on hate crimes, you discover something very interesting, something CAIR didn't mention, and something Potok didn't report: According to the FBI, only 13.2 percent of religiously-motivated hate attacks in America were directed against Muslims. Jews, however, were on the receiving end of 65.4 percent of all religion-based attacks: the FBI reports 887 hate crimes against Jews, as opposed to 160 against Muslims. 

"It has been thus for quite a while. In 2009, anti-Jewish hate crimes accounted for 70 percent of all religiously-motivated attacks; in 2008 it was 66 percent. It is remarkable that Mr. Potok neglects to mention the fact that Jews make up the overwhelming majority of Americans who are targeted because of their religion. What a strange and telling omission!" He has more to say here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Palestinian Unity Government to be Based in Gaza?

Abbas to Haniyeh: "You win!"
This should be interesting. From Haaretz today, Hamas says next Palestinian government will be located in Gaza:

"Fatah and Hamas have agreed that the next Palestinian government will be located in the Gaza Strip, and hence the next head of the Palestinian government will be from Gaza, an adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Saturday.
"Ahmed Yousef summarized the political program of all Palestinian factions which he said is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with its capital in Jerusalem.
"Yousef added that Hamas would support Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to receive full membership for Palestine at United Nations institutions. According to Yousef, Abbas is expected to visit Gaza in the near future."
We all remember that Hamas violently expelled Fatah from Gaza after 'being democratically elected,' and hasn't allowed Abbas to set foot there since. And earlier in September, "Ismail Haniyeh, Abbas’s Hamas partner, not only condemned the UN gambit but declared that he seeks a Palestinian state 'without giving up an inch of Palestine or recognizing Israel.'"
Meanwhile Palestinian Authority Prime Minsister Salam Fayyad, the West's darling for starting to build the economic and civic institutions of state in the PA, will have to quit his job because as he "wrote on his Facebook page that he will not impose himself on the Palestinian people. He called on all Palestinian factions and forces to agree on the identity of a new prime minister."
Let's just wait and see what happens when Hamas and its co-militias send rockets into Israel. Will Fatah share responsibility? Let's also watch how the credulous Europeans relate to this, as well as all the Hamas apologist-pundits.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anti-Israel Tweeter Stumbles On The Truth

I've been so busy lately that blogging had to take a back seat to life. However, I have increased my Tweet-reading and occasional posting activity -- having come to the belated realization that Twitter really is a terrific news digest.

So...this morning I caught a wonderful if unintentionally ironic tweet by a self-described, "Unpaid professional anti-Israel tweeter." It said, "My mistakes just make me angrier at Israel" (retweeted by the purposely ironic @ThisIsPalestine.) It had the feel of a Barbara Kruger text-byte, so I thought I'd share my interpretation of how it may have looked as an example of her work. I have no idea of what her I/P politics are but I hope she doesn't mind.

BTW my Twitter account is: @MidEstParallelU.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Judeophobic Anti-Israel Activity in Continental Europe

I want to give a plug to an eye-opening blog, Philosemitism, which reports on activity not seen very often in American mainstream media and doesn't reach those of us who rely primarily on sources from the English-speaking world. The overall impression you get from reading about the 'Continent' is that anti-Semitism is quite well integrated into political discourse, especially regarding the Middle East conflict. 

Here are a few reasons for my recommendation:

This poster and another were recently sighted in public locations in Paris. Here's the English translation: "Dregs' dream" (déchets: garbage) Let's fulfil their hopes!"

"The inscription on the little girl's body indicates that she will never grow up because she is considered as garbage by Israel."

Here's another example from Philosemitism

"Several hundred Muslims gathered from across Switzerland Saturday for a protest against Islamophobia. The 'Day against Islamophobia and racism' was organized by the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS). 

"The 'Jewish star' used by the organizers caused a stir. Two Muslim umbrella organizations, FIDS and KIOS, said the usage of the star was 'unethical' and a 'cheap provocation'. One Muslim organization called upon its members not to join the protest, saying the way to break down prejudices is not through provocations and strife."

What's rather ironic is that according to Bernard Lewis: "In fact, the yellow star used by the Nazis as a badge of shame against the Jews was first introduced by a caliph in Baghdad in the 9th century, and spread to the West in medieval times." 

And another:

"It is not only in Palestine that children are used as tools to demonize Israel.  In Belgium too.  A bunch of boycotters (mainly female) went to the Food Fair held in Brussels with a small boy who was made to hand out leaflets calling for the boycott of Israel.  To illustrate their hatred, the militants played a song by French singer Abdel Azizi : 'Zionism is the gangrene all the way from Tel Aviv to Paris.'" See the rest of this post for a video showing what a popular event this was.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Israel's Dilemma: Lithuania Votes Against UNESCO Bid While 'Relativizing' the Holocaust

From the US Holocaust Museum: Two young brothers in the
Kovno ghetto,1944. They were later deported to Majdanek camp.
Here is an example of Israel's choice between a rock and a hard place: Lithuania votes against the Palestinians' UNESCO bid while at the same time bringing prosecutions against Holocaust survivors whom they claim aided the Soviets as anti-Nazi partisans. Did you get that? Let Dovid Katz explain it in this startling op-ed in the Jerusalem Post:

"Within minutes of the UNESCO vote, Rolandas Kacinskas, minister plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington, e-mailed his Jewish list the one-liner: 'This is just a quick note to let you know that at today’s UNESCO general assembly Lithuania voted AGAINST admitting Palestine as a full member of UNESCO' (red capital letters appeared in the original).

"The vote might have been cause for rejoicing if not for Lithuania’s sad record of attempted prosecutions of elderly Holocaust survivors because they escaped the ghetto to join up with the anti-Nazi partisan resistance in the forests, or because they have the courage to tell the truth about the Holocaust." Read the entire article and the following for more background on the Holocaust and the Baltic States:

Dovid Katz in Tablet: The Crime of Surviving
Adam Holland: Lithuanian Holocaust Denial Still Rampant
Holocaust in the Baltics Website
Wiesenthal Center Protests Lithuanian Judicial Campaign to Discredit Jewish Heroes of Anti-Nazi Resistance