Monday, December 31, 2007

Islamic Science

A Halo of Koranic Steam


A Purple Comment trail for the Monday:

Simply Jews posted an interesting note about a dissertation, or something, being done by an Israeli PhD hopeful, which purports to answer the stunning question of:

Why don't Israeli soldiers rape Palestinian women?

Yes, or rather, no, your eyes have not mislead you.

Here are my comments:

I. What about British, American and Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why aren't they raping the female population??

Just another example of singling out Israelis for demonization.

I wonder the case has not been submitted to the International Court of Justice. The curvaceous Fatma Bint Kashkash against the soldiers manning the checkpoint at her village: Though no one can resist my sexual allure as I walk through the village in my long abaya, my hair so seductively covered in a loose, very becoming Hermes scarf, those soldiers look at me as if I were made of transparent glass. This is enough indifference to make a girl grow a humongous case of self-destructive body image. I can never again be normally afraid of men. My father is just about to honour kill me for the shame I bring upon the family by depriving it from the honour and great prestige of being raped by an Israeli soldier..

This is as crazy as it gets.

What kind of methodology she used for her extraordinary thesis? Did she design a questionnaire, with tactical questions:

How attractive do you find Palestinian women? Very, average, a little, not at all?

Frankly, it's about as strange as Joseph Massad's latest thesis that there are no homosexuals in the Arab lands.

II. However, the latest fatwa from Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, seems to have helped remove the problematic obstacle to IDF soldiers raping Palestinian girls:

"..any woman pregnant by rape must abort the baby immediately in order to maintain 'social stability'.

'A raped woman must terminate the pregnancy immediately upon learning of the pregnancy if a trusted doctor gives her clearance for the abortion,' the Islamic Research Council of the Cairo-based institution said in a statement.

This would ensure 'social stability,' it said.

According to the independent Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights (ECWR), two women are raped every hour in this country of 76 million."

III. "Now imagine that his sergeant happens to be a graduate of Hebrew University school of sociology on top of it..."

Listen, it's the good name of the IDF at stake. We always claim that we are not racists and that our actions are in self-defense only. If this gets about, if CNN so much as hears that you refused to rape this poor Palestinian girl, imagine the bad publicity, the harm it will bring to our name! Israeli soldiers refuse orders - miscegenation - racist thugs, Nazi brownshirts!

And this is from a PhD candidate!

Mind boggling but very promising. It will open up a slew of hitherto unplundered treasure of ideas: Why don't children murder their parents? Why don't parents beat their children into coma? Why don't teachers abuse their students? Why don't doctors kill their patients?

I admit I'm having a bit of unfair fun with this subject. I should probably reserve my mirth until after I've read a more direct summery, at least, of the paper itself. As Elder of Ziyon sagaciously advises, in the SJ's comment thread:

Is the paper on-line anywhere? I haven't commented on it because I wanted to read it myself, knowing that newspaper articles aren't always accurate.

But I am not in the mood for self-restraint, as can be seen here:

From the City that Evicted the Boy Scouts -- Cambridge Sends Delegation to Israel to Play with Tear Gas

Solomonia posts a couple of pretty hair-raising video clips, documenting the confrontation between IDF soldiers and a group of ISM peace-loving activists. Graphic violence, be warned.

One commenter asks:

The problem is that the Israelis are way too nice about all this, so in a sense, they invite this kind of idiocy. I have little doubt that if the risk of engaging Israeli soldiers was, say, bodily harm, there would be few takers. Can you imagine if the ISM tried these tactics against, say, TSA agents at the airport? Or any local police SWAT team? Why the Israelis act like such pussies is beyond me. Of course, it's easy for me to carp and comment, living in NYC (and not Israel). Still, it seems a few judicious rifle butts to the knees and head and a few years in an Israeli jail (so they can bond with their fellow terrorists) would be a nice change.

Which of course demands the same razor-sharp, honest answer from someone who prides herself on her contentious severity with facing up to the truth:

"Why the Israelis act like such pussies is beyond me. "

For the same reason that they refuse to rape Palestinian girls. They are just mama's boys and racist thugs:


Engage seems to be taking this paper and its thesis seriously:

There is a lot wrong with Ami Iseroff’s critique of this paper. His jokes and puns about rape are inappropriate and lame while his critique of sociological methodology and post-structuralism are somewhat light-weight, to say the least. But, unlike some of the right-wing websites which have been getting their teeth into this academic paper, Ami Iseroff has read it in Hebrew and he offers translations of a number of passages. Well worth a read. here.

The comment I left:

It's hard to see how this argument, (which I agree with Mr. Pfeifer, is rooted in Jew hatred of some sort), can be gainfully exploited by the boycotters and other ilks. Wouldn't it sound just too insane: Let's boycott Israeli academia for not working to counter the Jewish proscription over raping your enemy's daughters?

I don't know what David Hirsh is thinking about, taking this thesis in any measure of seriousness and making it a matter of Right versus Left. If anything, it shows the absurd lengths to which the Left will go in trying to cast a dark shaddow over anything Israeli, so that even a good and moral behaviour is seen as inherently racist, or whatever.

Please note that the rationale provided in this thesis is about the imaginary baby not being JEWISH. So it can hardly be said to be an anti-Zionist or anti-Israeli argument.

It's just too bizarre. Unless I'm missing a whole layer of unbeatable logic and cognition.



I am at a loss as to what to make of this attitude to what is clearly a manufactured outrage from the land of make-belief. That a whole lot of effort is invested into researching an absence of malice, attributing it to some dark, right-wing conspiracy, defies belief. Now that all the sins of the IDF have been scrutinized and magnified and found to be somewhat unsatisfactorily lacking in their content of evil, it seems only logical that a search will be conducted into those areas where no crime take place, imbuing them with some saturnine import.

Frankly, in the millennial history of antisemitic defamation and fabrication, I don't know if there is any precedent for this type of Jew-hatred.


I have been reflecting upon this matter, wondering why I found it not only absurd but also obscene and disturbing. I think I understand my reaction better now. There is a premise to this thesis that seems to confirm that human beings are primarily hard wired to be malignly aggressive. It is the natural state of a man to want to rape women, especially those he considers to be under his physical power. That men do not actually act on this instinct is not interpreted as the desirable result of civilizing forces, such as family, love, education, social expectations, discipline, values, etc. No. The author of this thesis is not satisfied that such forces are strong enough to curb sexual aggression. What is considered irresistibly and arcanely strong and abiding must be the indoctrination of certain religious fanaticism, that would forbid rape of enemy women for fear of diluting the racial genes, or something.

There is a perverse kind of logic at work in this thinking which I find morally abhorrent, beyond the absurdity of the accusation.


This comment, left on Engage website, seems to offer the most cogent explanation as to why this thesis seems so deranged:

"... one criticism of Tal Nizan has yet to be made, and it concerns poor (social) scientific technique. She is quoted as suggesting in her own abstract to her thesis that the levels of rape by IDF soldiers of Palestinian women in the West Bank may be low because these women (and presumably the men as well) are somehow "dehumanised" in the eyes of the IDF (and all/most other Israelies as well, given the general cross representation of the Israeli population through conscription?). The overwhelming majority of sociologists (and historians) will affirm that dehumanising a population you are fighting against/occupying leads to _higher_, not lower, levels of brutality against them. It would appear that memories of the actions of the Germans (_not_ just members of the Nazi party and the SS) against the Jews of Europe and Russian prisoners-of-war and Russian civilians are extremely short.

Or perhaps those commenting above are too polite to suggest that there is an implicit (or maybe even explicit) comparison to be drawn between Israel and its occupation of the West Bank and the Nazis - this time by certain Israelis.

As those above have noted, it makes much more sense, both common and sociological, to assume (as potentially testable hypotheseses) that the low levels of rape are due to one or more of the following: high levels of discipline, reinforced by a rigorous military judicial system; a high moral code amongst Israeli males as a whole towards women - women too have human rights; a generalised view of the "occupied" as human beings, with exceptions for those who wilfully (in the eyes of the occupiers) attack them, and therefore generalised "proper" treatment of them; and/or a desire to live in peace, and therefore a wish not to antagonise the occupied population beyond what is "necessary" to maintain the occupation until some solution is found.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


We all know the Israel of wars, oppression, and precarious security, but what about Israel of the humming economy with 90 Israel-related companies on NASDAQ? What about Israeli films garnishing honors around the world: "Jellyfish" and "The Band's Visit" at Cannes, "Beaufort" in Berlin, "My Father My Lord" in Tribeca, "Sweet Mud" at Sundance, and "Aviva, My Love" in Shanghai?

What of Israeli solar power in California that has been saving 2 million barrels of oil annually for nearly 20 years? What of Arava Valley high-tech agriculture, with exports exceeding $100 million? Natafim, the drip irrigation system patented by Kibbutz Hatzerim, is now a multinational conglomerate selling millions of systems throughout the world. What of the Israel that is taking in Darfur refugees, and what of the first Israeli-initiated UN resolution, calling upon countries to share agricultural technology with developing countries, adopted overwhelmingly this month?

It's this other Israel that's underreported.

(Via: Solomonia)

Beyond belief:

Mick Hartley has posted this today. I'm reproducing it in full:

Considered as Adults

As is well known, Iran, contrary to international law, permits the execution of minors. Here's a story from Iran Focus, about a youth of 17 whose death sentence for murder has been confirmed by the Supreme Court. What caught my eye, though, was this:

Under Iranian law, girls above the age of nine and boys above the age of fifteen are considered as adults and could be executed for capital offences.

Can this be true? If so that's surely an astonishing admission of sheer unadulterated misogyny.
It's not, of course, that I wasn't aware of how much women are discriminated against in Iran, and in most other Muslim countries too for that matter. It's a central feature of the whole enterprise. But, perhaps naively, I'd assumed that there was at least some consistency about it, some supposed justification in terms of women's child-like lack of sense; a belief that women are kind of glorified domestic pets who need men to look after them, and are occasionally, when the old sexual urge gets a little strong, unwrapped for some action then wrapped up again and stuck back in the kitchen ready for the next time. Which is to say, women are supposed to be less responsible, less adult, less mature. So you'd expect that they'd be cut some slack, as it were, when it came to being hung. But here we are being told, if Iran Focus is to be believed, that when it comes to being executed women are suddenly more responsible, not the tune of six years.

I haven't managed to confirm that, but I did find this snippet:

The scenario is worse in case of girl child offenders. In Iran, where Sharia or the Islamic Law, rules, a women cannot be executed if she is a virgin and hence permits legal rape.

And again, from a talk by Lily Mazahery at Harvard last year, speaking here of the execution of 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi for adultery:

The judge who presided over Atefeh's sham trial and sentenced her to death by public hanging is reported to have raped Atefeh himself before he personally placed the noose around her tiny neck. The so-called justification for such despicable act of savagery is the Sharia legal system, put in place by the Islamic Regime and championed by Mr. Khatemi. Under Sharia law, virgin girls are not allowed to be executed, for their purity might open up the doors of heaven to them. To avoid this, virgin girls, such as Atefeh, who are sentenced to death, are raped before execution to ensure their proper place in hell.

All of which strongly suggests that it's not about men being placed over and above the weaker sex: it's about sheer bloody hatred.

Once again, I ask where is UNICEF?
Where is the UN Human Rights Commission?
Where is Louise Arbour?
Where are the feminists and the human rights activists?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Not really surprising

is the report in Sign and Sight that

"For better or for worse, Muslims and non-Muslims have come one step closer with the study 'Muslims in Germany'." Eberhard Seidel comments on the German Interior Ministry's study dealing with "integration, barriers to integration, religion and attitudes toward democracy, the rule of law and politically and religiously-motivated violence."

Its results show that "considerable similarities exist between the attitude of a minority of Muslims and the authoritarianism, intolerance, xenophobia and extreme right wing mentality among young Germans. The sole difference: in the one case the ideology of inequality is based on religion, in the other on nationalism. This data and the questions raised could open a new chapter in the social sciences."

A possible solution may be concealed in Will Smith's advice on how to prevent a Hitler from becoming Hitler:

“Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today’,” said Will. “I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming.

Well, we have the solution. All that's left is development and enforcement of the reprogramming process.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sari Nusseibeh:

The story, about which I commented here, seems to be snowballing.

Engage informed us today that

"The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for a boycott of Al Quds University in East Jerusalem as a response to comments which were made recently by Sari Nusseibeh, the university’s President. Making an impassioned plea on Al Jazeera to Palestinians and other Arabs to accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Nusseibeh said:

“The Israelis now living in the territories of the future Palestinian state should return to living within the borders of the state of Israel. No Jew in the world, now or in the future, as a result of this document, will have the right to return, to live, or to demand to live in Hebron, in East Jerusalem, or anywhere in the Palestinian state.”

A number of right-wing blogs in the USA
have characterized these words as antisemitic. Campus Watch seems to have put its weight behind some sort of academic boycott against Al Quds Universtity. (Read the rest here, as well as the comments)

Let me repeat:

Nusseibeh is saying pretty much what I've been saying: that Palestinians have a theoretical right to go back to Israel and that Jews have a theoretical right to live in Hebron. And that a solution will entail an exchange of rights, so to speak, or, one right cancelling the other. He is saying: No Jew will have the right to demand to live in Hebron, which is what the Arabs want to hear, but implied, though unsaid, is the counterpoint, that no Palestinian will have the right to demand to live in Israel proper.

He is challenging Palestinians: do you want a state or do you want to destroy Israel (by insisting on your right to live in Jaffa.. etc).

Nusseibeh is not antisemitic. He is one of the few Palestinians who understand that the final settlement will have to be about trading off historical rights.

First, he says, Palestinians have rights and ROR is one of them. However, he goes on to say, we can’t have them all, so we must choose. And then he expands the context of the choice: a two state solution.

It is pretty clear that he is telling the Palestinians they have to choose between their ROR (which means continued conflict) or a two state solution. If they choose the two-state solution, he says, then two things will happen:

1. ROR will be implemented, he says so as clearly as he dares to, “within the framework of the future Palestinian state “. In other words, the refugees will be settled in the future Palestinian state, not Israel proper. That’s something Palestinians DO NOT WANT TO HEAR! So he tries to provide some reward for giving up (their traditionalist version) ROR, when he says:

2. “The agreement will ensure that “No Jew in the world, now or in the future, as a result of this document, will have the right to return, to live, or to demand to live in Hebron, in East Jerusalem, or anywhere in the Palestinian state.” That's the carrot.

He is talking about the final agreement in a way that both modifies ROR and panders to Palestinian loathing for Jews living amongst them. That’s what needs to be said in order to persuade the Palestinians to give up their ROR.

There is no doubt he could be more explicit and lay down the options more coherently. But I have never yet seen any Palestinian (or Arab) daring to do that. For the obvious reasons that disagreement in the Arab world can take some pretty extreme form.

Sari Nusseibeh is a student of Martha Nussbaum in whose judgment I place huge trust. I read her say that she considers him a "true moderate, committed to cooperation and reason."

This initiative, to boycott him, is completely unmerited and unjust.

It must be stopped.

Sari Nusseibeh IS NOT AN ANTISEMITE and is not even an anti-Zionist in the way this term has come to be abused.



I have to ask, why does the editor at Engage recommend that "Calls by US right wingers to boycott Sari Nusseibeh should be treated with contempt"? Why "contempt"?

Notwithstanding my own position which is a mixture of what I know about Prof. Nusseibeh and a gut feeling, is this really such a hermetically open and shut case that a dissenting view, however annoying and mistaken, must be treated with "contempt"?

I don't think I ever saw a heading advocating "contempt" as the proper response to all those lunatic Left-wingers who call for boycotting Israeli academics.

Isn't "concern" or "opposition" or "protest" a more "academic" way of addessing this ill-conceived initiative?

Sidebar continues:

Commenter Bella Center says:

While I think it is absurd for ZOA to suggest boycotting Al Quds University, it does seem to me that David Hirsh is a little too worried about his left wing bonafides. Likewise Nusseibeh's words on Al Jazeera seek to establish his 'Palestinian' bonafides. Some of us are overly anxious to accept Nusseibeh as our saviour on the Palestinian side when, in fact, there is very little evidence that he has the power to persuade his constituency -- Palestinian intellectuals and students -- to accept a non-maximalist position.

DH, Engage editor in chief, responds:

Bella Center should focus critique on what is written - not on a cheap second-guessing of our "true" motivation.

Nusseibeh has been risking his life for twenty years by arguing in Palestine against the demonization of Israel. He is not a saviour. He is a man who fights for peace. Whether he is successful or not, he deserves the support of people who fight for peace. Even if he is in a minority of one, he deserves our support and our respect. He stood up against the campaign to exclude Israeli scholars from the academic community - and is paid back by cheap insults and libels. When the boycotters in the UK denounced him as a collaborator they showed their absolute lack of political responsibility. When the right wing denounce him as an antisemite - and call for an academic boycott, of all things - when they say he is interested only in "bonafides" - they make themselves ridiculous. And when they do so in the name of "Zionism" they feed the world-view of those who have no respect for "Zionism".

My question about the inclusion of the sentiment of "contempt" for ZOA in the title of the Engage post referred directly to what David Hirsh wrote. David Hirsh has not provided any clarification. Yet he fumes at Bella Center's speculation that his less than cautious articulations might be symptomatic of something other than cool-headed objectivity.

I read Prof. Nusseibeh's words carefully and deduce certain conclusions from it. I sent an email to ZOA asking them to reconsider their position, which I find to be unjust.

By the same token, exactly, I read DH's words carefully and submitted a question asking for clarification. My request for clarification was motivated by his choice of word and sentiment with which to criticize the organization. Yet never have I encountered the use of similar sentiments or words to qualify Engage's criticism of the boycotters. Which is as it should be. Contempt is a thoroughly sterile emotion, which goes beyond mere hatred, and has no place in any civilized discussion.

I would strongly recommend that everyone who cares about Sari Nusseibeh's reputation and the well-being of the university he presides over, should write to ZOA and urge them to drop the matter. A public campaign of protest may yield desirable results. Remember the ill-conceived ADL's support for Turkish attempts to block a US Congress resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide? The Jewish outcry that resulted persuaded Abe Foxman to reverse his policies and positions. There is a good chance that a similar protest can succeed here, as well.

The Manolo's super fantastic advice for the new year:

Make the world more super fantastic.

Be kinder to strangers you meet on the street. Tip waitresses generously. Smile at small children and dogs, even when they are naughty. Have the kind word for shop girls and cab drivers. Engage random strangers in pleasant conversations about growing flowers, and your last trip to the circus. Resist the urge to use your walking stick to pummel rude people who talk loudly on cell phones.

These are the sort of small things that make the world the better place, and contribute to social harmony and understanding. Even better, they are painless and pleasant, and make others happy.

I would sum it all up in two words: Be generous.

Or less elegantly, in four words: Don't be a jerk.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A few quotes for a slow Thursday morning,

gathered from websites often or rarely visited by yours truly:

A ringing endorsement from a genuine admirer of David Irving, about whom I commented here:

While I am not a professional writer nor Jewish, I do feel I am qualified to speak about Noam Chomsky. Along with Norman Finkelstein, he embodies all the qualities that a decent and honest Jew should possess. He is a hero for many Jews and non-Jews alike.


The top picture shows that the Zionists don't just hate Muslims, they hate Christians, too. This should be a wakeup call to the whole world to unite against their aggression.


What with the manoeuvres of the Western powers over the Treaty of Sèvres, and the more recent imperialism of the Kurds’ variously theocratic or fascist/militarist ‘host’ nations–and ‘anti-imperialist’ pin-ups du jour–selling-out the Kurdish people is an Olympic sport. Could it be that rights to self-determination are not absolute, but contingent on programmatic exactitudes–striking the correct anti-US poses and ritual denunciations of that wellspring of ineffable and malevolent power, the ‘Zionist entity’? (Hakmao)


It should come as no surprise that members of the honor-shame culture of Caliphate Islam are subject to this kind of tantrum. This is what honor-shame is all about. They will win the upper hand by any means that they think will work. They are, emotionally labile and see honor as a mere matter of having the upper hand. They are, by definition, The People of the Tantrum. (Political Correctness- The Fawlty Logic of the Left)


I think what this article represents--more than anything--is a sense of Jewish insecurity. I remember that back when Lieberman was running for president, I was receiving e-mails to the effect that Jews should not support Lieberman because the last thing "we" need is a Jewish President. (A variation on the keep-your-head-down theme). Add to this the fact that Lieberman (like Guiliani) is a very vocal supporter of the Iraq war (an issue that is being called a "neo-con" issue) and the sense of unease is magnified ten-fold. This, despite the fact, that Joe is about as liberal as they come on domestic politics. (Inna)


I've never been able to see the merit of blessing them that curse me, doing good to them that hate me, and (especially) praying for them that despitefully use me. I'm glad of my enemies, and at this time of year it seems to me particularly important to wish them ill. (The joy of enemies)

Extreme democracy:



The blogosphere is a-buzz with speculation, mostly hesitating between mild outrage and fatalistic resignation. Bhutto was hardly George Washington, but she signified a whisper of something better for Pakistan. This seems like an acute assessment of the event and the assassinated leader:

Benazir Bhutto seemed childishly naïve when it came to the threat of Islamic nihilism. She did not hesitate to stress out the fragile Pakistan government to the breaking point. General Pervez Musharraf leaves much to be desired. The struggle for democracy, however, must not be allowed to make it easier for the Muslim extremists to capture power. Ms. Buhtto appeared unwilling to recognize this most important distinction. The Islamists most assuredly will continue assassinating modern thinking Pakistani leaders. Our world has just become a more dangerous place.


And here is an equally astute assessment from the lunatic fringe:

Well, her family can thank Bush for yet another death

If anyone can find the right words to respond to this galatically-stupid observation, please leave a comment. For once I'm at a loss for words.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tony Blair's conversion:

A timely question is asked by Ajmal Masmoor:

why have old when you can have new?

Read it here, at the Iconoclast.

Pity, Pity, Pity us: The miserable harvest of a Christmas in Palestine

Hamas style Bee-movie

Pity the children.

Jesue Christ, shaheed wannabe?

Jooz got Santa or how to deal with the writer's block

At which point will this bubble,

this hugely swollen, pus-filled boil

of narcissistic self-aggrandizing pity,


Will it burst?

Argumentum ad misericordiam:

A short study in media absurdity from Santa to Homer Simpson

I was reading this post on Simply Jews about media generated, manufactured and staged events:

Jooz got Santa or how to deal with the writer's block

This is an updated post from December 23. I promised to publish the best answer.These days, when the movie industry is clamoring for new ideas for a narrative (and, incidentally, suffering from the writers' strike), the ever creative Palestinian folks keep surprising.

The two following pictures have one thing in common and significantly differ in their fate. Guess the commonality and the difference, and you will get absolutely nothing bad in return.

When I was unexpectedly reminded of a novel I read when I was in grade 8.

A short detour: My mother had a collection of novels from 'The good book club" which I was not allowed to read because they were too adulty for me. But by that age, I had already exhausted all the books suitable for my age at the public library, so my mother decided to allow me to dip into those books, with her approval.

One of the first books I read was Don Mankiewicz’s novel "Trial". I was much too young and ignorant to understand fully what it was about. I was mainly interested in the plot and was terribly upset by the story of the subversion of justice. But something about the politics underlying that novel must have seeped through because I remember reading one passage over and over again, trying to understand what it meant. It was at the end of the novel, when the verdict is announced and the Mexican defendant's mother breaks into a great wail. The scene is described from the narrator's point of view, who is the defendant's lawyer. He describes in shock how her yells and anguished grimaces became luridly more pronounced whenever a journalist camera was trained upon her figure. As if her sorrow was deliberately overplayed, exaggerated, staged, for the sake of the cameras.

The post on Simply Jews about a staged "barbarity", intended to generate outrage and pity tugged at that memory, so I searched for the novel on google and sure enough, I found the following precis of the novel. Please note parts highlighted in red by me. They are the ones that point to the grotesqueries that result from the melding together of the radical politics of pity and media willing receptiveness:

Then in 1955 the Scottsboro tale was resurrected indirectly in Don Mankiewicz’s successful novel Trial, which won a Harper prize and was made into a film. Trial was neither a history of Scottsboro nor an historical novel based directly on the case. Yet so many events in the Alabama incident paralleled those of the Mankiewicz novel that the book must be considered a thinly veiled and extremely partisan view of the Scottsboro case. Trial was set in California. Marie Wiltse, a white girl with a history of heart disease, is approached by Angel Chavez, a young man of Mexican descent. They kiss; his hands wander. The girl becomes frightened, she screams, and the boy attempts to quiet her. In the struggle the girl dies of a heart attack, and the youth is charged with murder. A lawyer for the Mexican Advancement Association plans to defend the boy, but he yields the case to Bernard Castle, who shares the defense with his new associate and the protagonist of the novel, David Blake. Castle is to raise money for the defense while Blake manages the legal phase of the case.

Tempers flare in the California town because of the death of Marie Wiltse. Racists nearly convert her burial into a lynching party. Meanwhile, Castle induces the defendant’s mother to accompany him to New York to raise funds. After a few weeks, he calls Blake to the East to aid the money-raising effort. In a New York taxi taking him to the Arena, Blake related to the driver that he is going to attend a rally. The chauffeur responds, “Ah read about that rally. . . . Some Nigger raped a white gal, and a bunch of yids are trying to get him off.”

Blake discovers he is working with Communists, who are diverting funds from the Chavez defense to other radical efforts. Dejected, he returns to California to try to save Angel in court. Blake’s attempt appears successful as the trial nears a close, but then Castle demands that Blake place the defendant on the witness stand. Blake opposes the move at first, but he yields. The lad testifies and becomes confused under cross-examination. Chavez is found guilty and is electrocuted. At the climax of the story Castle’s disillusioned secretary confesses to Blake that Castle is a Communist, that he snatched the case from the MAA attorney through blackmail, and that it was he who told the racist lynchers where the family burial of Marie would occur. Finally, it was Castle who insisted that Chavez testify, because the attorney wanted the jury to convict the young Mexican. Why?

Because Barney’s new world’s acoming. A world where a man’s color won’t make any difference. A world—oh, hell, you’ve heard about it. And to bring that world about, there have to be sacrifices. And Angel has to make his sacrifice, just the same as Barney would make, if their places were reversed. Get Angel off, and what have you proved? That there’s no prejudice in San Juno. In the whole State, for that matter. But that’s not true. There is prejudice. The kind that’ll railroad a Mex to his death on a charge that wouldn’t take a white man past the coroner. That’s the truth. And to bring that truth into focus, to prove it, the prejudice has to be permitted to do its work, to do its murder right out in public, where it will drive the truth home to the people who have to be brought together and united, to fight the prejudice, so that it won’t be here any more and the new world will be here. Only— . . . of course Angel won’t be here to enjoy that wonderful stinking day.

Although the novel deals harshly with racists and the un-American activities committees; the main criticism of the Mankiewicz work is directed at the Communists. The author, foe of both right and left, received the applause of liberals.

In the light of what I have come to learn about the media's dubious ethics, this novel seems to have unraveled all the strings that are woven into the making of a victim, and by necessity, a villain. There seems to be a triangular complicity* between those who purport to care for the victim's rights, those who hound the victim, and the media. The paradox lies in the nexus between the victim's advocates and the victim's adversaries. The advocates have an interest in aggravating the victim's condition all the better to point an accusatory finger at the opposition. And the media, which is supposed to maintain a camera-like objectivity, uses that camera, or allows it to be used, in order to further enhance the warped images.

Since the sensational and lurid images which tell a story in primary colours are rarely, if ever, available, then manufactured they must be. Palestinians have become extremely savvy about the needs of mass-media. It is not, unfortunately, a savvy born out of great sophistication of thought but rather a savvy that makes the most of that rhetorical fallacy, Argumentum ad misericordiam (argument or appeal to pity).

The English translation pretty much says it all. Example: "Think of all the poor, starving Ethiopian children! How could we be so cruel as not to help them?" The problem with such an argument is that no amount of special pleading can make the impossible possible, the false true, the expensive costless, etc.

It is, of course, perfectly legitimate to point out the severity of a problem as part of the justification for adopting a proposed solution. The fallacy comes in when other aspects of the proposed solution (such as whether it is possible, how much it costs, who else might be harmed by adopting the policy) are ignored or responded to only with more impassioned pleas.

* In trying to define the role of media complicity in these staged events, I was reminded of the words I once read in a now defunct blog:

The amount of data and the speed at which it is transmitted may magnify small anomalies into systemic failure. More is less.

Conversely, what, in perspective, are small (on the scale of a war) events are magnified by hypermedia into hyperevents, which may be inherently uncontrollable.

... Working on a new definition of one of the functions of mediadream, which right now has the handle, cascade. Cascade is the snowball, dreamers. Entropy out of the cage.

Follow it: Hi-tech armed forces get lots of data, really fast, and launch a lightning strike on a perceived threat. Small errors in data are magnified by all that blistering speed, and, oops--mistakes happen. Hypermedia picks up this relatively small event, acceleration and amplification turn it into a hyperevent.

This description provides an explanation which puts the blame for corrupted media reports on the speed of technology and the need to feed the insatiable appetite of the viewer/reader for immediate thrill and interest. It refrains from accusing the media for sloppy ethics and bad-faith journalism. Or, conversely, it aims at exposing the extreme vulnerability of the media to cynical manipulation, as in the example which kicked off this blogpost.

Still, if you think about the irreversible damage, conditioning the public for the existential threat for an entire nation, you have to wonder if, the media should be let off the hook so easily. Sometimes, entrusting a journalist with a camera is tantamount to the nightmarish spoof of the US entrusting its nuclear facilities to the most famous Nuclear Safety Inspector, Homer Simpson.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A medical equivocation: What kind of pus is it?

The Geek is asking a question and provides a possible answer:

Fewer Christians? Blame the Joooooosssssssssss!

It happens like clockwork at this time every year. There are numerous stories in all of the major media outlets on how Israel is stifling Christianity in Bethlehem and other historic Christian towns. The fact that it's not really Israel that's doing this is immaterial, as the MSM refuses to deviate from its narrative that Israel alone is persecuting Christians in the Holy Land:,7340,L-3486144,00.html.

There was even an Op-Ed from the normally reliable Wall Street Journal yesterday (to which I intentionally did not link) on how Israel is walling off Bethlehem from Christians, even though the writer casually admitted in the article that he hadn't been to Israel in seven years, so he really couldn't be sure what was going on there.All of these articles are part of the same project, which is to subtly and surreptitiously delegitimize Israel by praying on emotions of those who would otherwise support the state.

I am wondering about this concerted, media "aleihum", more than usually dense concentration of anti-Israel and by inference, anti-Jewish venomous bile. What is it, an abscess or an empyema?

An empyema is a collection of pus within a naturally existing anatomical cavity.

An abscess is a collection of pus that has accumulated in a cavity formed by the tissue on the basis of an infectious process (usually caused by bacteria or parasites) or other foreign materials (e.g. splinters or bullet wounds).

So which is it, a genetically-inscribed niche, or a dent caused by infection?

New to my blog roll:

Simply Jews

I suggest you start with the explanation to their version of the Israeli flag.

And follow, here, with their scintillating definitions of antisemitism and anti Zionism. This is the promising beginning:

"Anti Zionists: who are you?

SimplyJews' usual response would be, who gizza fuck."

Almost as brilliant a beginning as: "It is a truth universally acknowledged..." :-)

A Christmas Gift:

In my family we celebrate Festivus. We have done the feat of strength. So now the time has come for the airing of grievances.

Some people who visit regularly are in the habit of dipping into the intellectual treasures I offer to my more discerning readers and taking away bits and pieces of them to post under their own names, without attribution. Yes, it does happen, gentle readers, it grieves me to say. Believe it or not. However, let us not be too hasty in our condemnation. Since the over-estimated qualities of good manners and decency have never been these people's strongest qualities, a measure of proper compassion must be extended to them. Some allowance for mitigation due to diminished responsibility must be factored into our judgment when we consider the ethically-challenged . . . So I've decided to forgive them for these small intellectual thefts, which have been taking place throughout the year, in the spirit of Jesus instruction: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

And by way of suiting action to word, to prove my generosity, I will make them a gift of an erased donkey.

(Update: I am mortified that I have to inform my readers that my generous gift has been reciprocated in the spirit of the Grinch. In other words, the ethically-challenged continue in their sad denial of any wrong-doing. )

Merry Festivus to all the Bobs and Lorettas who share my traditions, near and far.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Comment trail for the Monday:

Boycotted British Academic has an amusing story:

My comment:

It makes you wonder at how irony-challenged Palestinians are, if they found this painting offensive! I thought it was quite amusing and clear in its message that Israelis are paranoid bullies who would suspect even a hapless donkey. Subtlety of this kind does not quite cut it with the target audience. They need to see graphic gore and brutality that will re- inforce their sense of being the ultimate historical victims in the world.Funny story. Congratulations.

Solomon of Solomonia is trying to decide whether Sari Nusseiba is antisemitic.

Here are my two comments:

I. I disagree, Joanne. I think Solomon has the right measure of the man. He is saying pretty much what I've been saying: that Palestinians have a right to go back to Israel and that Jews have a right to live in Hebron. And that a solution will entail an exchange of rights, so to speak, or, one right cancelling the other. He is saying : No Jew will have the right to demand to live in Hebron, which is what the Arabs want to hear, but implied, though unsaid, is the counterpoint, that no Palestinian will have the right to demand to live in Israel proper.
He is challenging Palestinians: do you want a state or do you want to destroy Israel (by insisting on your right to live in Jaffa.. etc).

Nusseiba is not antisemitic. He is one of the few Palestinians who understands that the final settlement will have to be about trading off historical rights.

II. Joanne:
He is not saying anything explicit but if you read carefully, you can find it.
First, he says, Palestinians have rights and ROR is one of them. However, he goes on to say, we can’t have them all, so we must choose. And then he expands the context of the choice: a two state solution.

It is pretty clear that in the first paragraph, he is telling the Palestinians they have to choose between their ROR ( which means continued conflict) or a two state solution. If they choose the two-state solution, he says, then two things will happen:

1. ROR will be implemented, he says so as clearly as he dares to, “within the framework of the future Palestinian state “. In other words, the refugees will be settled in the future Palestinian state, not Israel proper. That’s something Palestinians DO NOT WANT TO HEAR! So he tries to provide some reward for giving up ROR, when he says:

2. “the agreement will ensure that “No Jew in the world, now or in the future, as a result of this document, will have the right to return, to live, or to demand to live in Hebron, in East Jerusalem, or anywhere in the Palestinian state.” That's the carrot.

He is talking about the final agreement in a way that both modifies ROR and panders to Palestinian loathing for Jews living amongst them. That’s what needs to be said in order to persuade the Palestinians to give up their ROR.

There is no doubt he could be more explicit and lay down the options more coherenly. But I have never yet seen any Palestinian (or Arab) daring to do that. For the obvious reasons that disagreement in the Arab world can take some pretty extreme form.

The sodden Trotsyites: Kurds triangulated … again

My comment:

“Remarkable that nothing much has been said about it by the “left” ”

There is probably a barely contained glee on the part of this so-called “Left” that the Kurds are getting nothing but their comeuppance. They should have known better than to take full advantage of their deliverance from Saddam.


“The difference between us and the Palestinians is that we learn from our mistakes.”

This is the encasulation of wisdom, by Jove!

"We have to respect the atmosphere we are living in. We have to go with the trend,"

Not a Merry Christmas for Palestinian Christians residing in Gaza.

But many Christians privately said they would use their travel permits to leave Gaza for good, even if that means remaining in the West Bank as illegal residents. Israeli security officials said they were permitting 400 Gaza Christians to travel through Israel to Bethlehem for Christmas.
.... "We fear what is to come," said the husband. Fouad, a distant relative of Ayyad, said he also is packing up. He said his father, a guard at a local church, was stopped recently by unknown bearded men who put a gun to his head before he was rescued by passers-by.

"We don't know why it happened," the 20-year-old police officer said. "We can't be sure how they (Muslims) think anymore."

Those who are staying are trying to limit the risks. Nazek Surri, a Roman Catholic, walked out from Sunday's service with a Muslim-style scarf covering her head.

"We have to respect the atmosphere we are living in. We have to go with the trend," she said.

Who is to blame for Christian distress in the lands of peace loving Palestinians?

Rev. Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza's Roman Catholic church,.... blamed Israeli sanctions and excessive violence in Gaza for the flight.

Well, of course. Just as Israel is to blame for this:

Christian leaders and residents told me they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked. ...

Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs.

"There are many cases where Christians have their land stolen by the (Muslim) mafia," said Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station.

"It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses and he runs away," Qumsiyeh told WND, speaking from his hilltop television station during a recent interview.

Qumsiyeh himself said he was targeted by Islamic gangs. He said his home was firebombed after he returned from a trip abroad during which he gave public speeches outlining the plight of Bethlehem's Christian population. ...

A February Jerusalem Post article cited the case of Faud and Georgette Lama, Christian residents of Bethlehem who said their land was stolen by local Muslims and when they tried to do something about it, Faud was beaten by gunmen....

“We are harassed but you wouldn’t know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away.”

What? Muslim persecution is driving the Christians out of Bethlehem? One would never know that from the Christmas coverage/annual Israel bash-fest by my "colleagues" in the media.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vanessa: Politics before compassion

The silver-spoon British Actress continues the journey she started when she embarked on her crusade against Zionists and their supporters. Her first public stand was courageously taken when she accepted her Oscar award, and declared her admiration for Jane Fonda for standing firm and refusing to be intimidated by a bunch of Zionist hoodlums.

She also pledged, with some self-defeating illogic, to continue to fight against antisemitism and fascism...

She has proven stalwart in her dedication to fight the Zionists and to advance the cause of antisemites in the world, in her latest act of extreme bravery:

The Telegraph: Two suspected al-Qa'eda operatives released from Guantanamo Bay have walked free from court although they are still wanted in Spain on terrorism-related offences.
One of the men, who is accused of distributing extremist propaganda produced by Osama bin Laden, had half of his £50,000 bail surety met by the actress Vanessa Redgrave.

Jamil el-Banna, 45, who was said during a brief court hearing to have helped run a cell called the Islamic Alliance, recruiting people to fight jihad in Afghanistan and Indonesia, returned to his London home tonight.
The other man, Omar Deghayes, 38, a Libyan national freed from Guantanamo and allowed into the UK because he once lived here, is said to have had links to the same al-Qa'eda cell. He was also released on bail. Spain issued European arrest warrants for both men within hours of their arrival in Britain last night from the Cuban detention centre.

Miss Redgrave said: "It is a profound honour and I am glad to be alive to be able to do this.' She added: "Guantanamo Bay is a concentration camp. It is a disgrace that these men have been kept there all these years."

Roger L. Simon blogs about it here.


On the matter of these outlandish analogies I rely on Olivar Kamm's rule of thumb:

"Historical analogies are never exact but sometimes useful. If they are to be useful, then the precedent needs at a minimum to be stated accurately."

So let's see what is the precedent that should be accurately stated in Redgrave's analogy?

What is a concentration camp?

"Prior to and during World War II, Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps.. throughout the territories it controlled... The two principal groups of prisoners in the camps, both numbering in the millions, were Jews and Soviet prisoners of war (POWs). Large numbers of Roma (or Gypsies), Poles, political prisoners, homosexuals, people with disabilities, Jehovah's Witnesses and others—including common criminals—were also sent to the camps. In addition, a small number of Western Allied POWs were sent to concentration camps for various reasons.[1] Western Allied POWs who were Jews, or whom the Nazis believed to be Jewish, were usually sent to ordinary POW camps; however, a small number were sent to concentration camps under anti-semitic policies.[2]

In these concentration camps, millions of prisoners died through mistreatment, disease, starvation, and overwork, or were executed as unfit for labour; though they were not extermination or death camps which started in 1942.

Death camps were established for the sole purpose of carrying out the industrialized murder of the Jews of Europe—the Final Solution. These camps were located in occupied Poland and Belarus, on the territory of the General Government. Over three million Jews would die in them, primarily by poison gas, usually in gas chambers, although many prisoners were killed in mass shootings and by other means. These death camps, including Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, are commonly but erroneously referred to as concentration camps, but Holocaust scholars draw a distinction between concentration camps (described in this article) and these extermination camps"

And what is Guantanamo Bay?

"Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a cooperative military prison and detention camp under the leadership of Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002.[1] The prison, established at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, holds people accused by the United States government of being terrorist operatives, as well as those no longer considered suspects who are being held pending relocation elsewhere. The detainment areas consist of three camps ... The detainees held by the United States were classified as enemy combatants.

Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released. As of August 09, 2007, approximately 355 detainees remain"

(Source: Wikipaedia)

Death at Guantanamo Bay:

"Three detainees at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, died of apparent suicides early this morning, military officials reported today...

The detainees appear to have hanged themselves with nooses made from clothing and bed sheets, Harris said."


Clearly, Redgrave knows nothing about either the Concentration Camps or Gitmo, or else she would not be making such an uninformed analogy.

But she is nothing if not consistent about the pledge she made in 1977.

Never mind the enthusiastic analogy. It is after all just speech and speech is free.

What about the choice of bestowing her charity upon a detainee accused of “producing extremist propaganda for Osama bin Laden,” ? Yes, the very Bin Laden who issued a fatwa urging for a Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.

Bin Laden is less choosy in his words. He is not shy about calling those who occupy Palestine "Jews" and offers his own solution to the Jewish problem.

Vanessa is a bit more discreet. She calls those same Jews "Zionist hoodlums", and pushes for a destruction of Israel, by way of solving her antisemitic problem.

It's not the first time that she donates money to a good cause. She was also an intrepid mover and shaker of the production of Rachel Corrie's play. Another terrorist sympathiser who was killed while actively defending a weapons cache meant for Israeli women and children.

Tariq Ramadan was banned from the USA for similar affiliations.

I somehow don't see Vanessa being banned from entering the USA. She is, after all, white, blond and British, while he is a Swiss, brown skinned, black haired Middle Easterner.

As I always say, antisemitism is not for Jews to cure. There is nothing Jews can do, short of commit sui-genocide, to cure this disease. It is up to non-Jews to identify this malignancy and extirpate the disease.


As an Afterthought:

I can never quite understand the priorities of these people, who are willing to give so much money to such dubious causes. If I were Vanessa and had $50,000 to spare, I would ask myself: who is in most need of benefiting from this money? Would it be a suspected terrorist, or an entire year's supply of food and medication to a few thousands starving children in Africa? The answer is a no brainer, of course: The suspected terrorist.

Such is the choice of someone who puts her politics before her compassion.