Sunday, December 07, 2008

Shaking hands with an Israeli Jew

Two stories of Israeli-Arab rapprochement and reaction. Note the difference:

There is this, from Egypt:

Muhammed Sayyed Tantawi ... The high-profile Egyptian Muslim leader was caught on camera shaking hands with...Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Interfaith Dialogue Conference in New York last month. Although at first he claimed it was an accident, he later asserted that he would meet with Peres for the sake of peace.

Back home, however, Tantawi’s symbolic gesture is being taken as a massive stab in the back.

“The hand that shook Peres’ hand is tainted with the blood of Palestinians and reeks of the smell of their corpses and remains,” wrote Egyptian columnist Fahmi Huwaidi. “There is a verbal tradition that says that in such a situation the hand should be washed seven times.”

As Ynet reports, Egyptian opposition MP Mustafa Bakri declared that Tantawi should be fired immediately from his post at Al-Azhar University, where he serves as imam. “It’s a blow to al-Azhar’s functioning and sanctity in the Arab world. This meeting was like al-Azhar’s clear normalization with the Zionist enemy. . . . His meeting with the Zionist president is demeaning to all Muslims.”

Thirty years on, this is the face of Egyptian peace with Israel


And this, from Iraq:

Iraq's highest court told the Iraqi Parliament last Monday that it had no right to strip one of its members of immunity so he could be prosecuted for an alleged crime: visiting Israel for a seminar on counterterrorism. The Iraqi justices said the Sunni lawmaker, Mithal al-Alusi, had committed no crime and told the Parliament to back off.

That's not all. The Iraqi newspaper Al-Umma al-Iraqiyya carried an open letter signed by 400 Iraqi intellectuals, both Kurdish and Arab, defending Alusi. That takes a lot of courage and a lot of press freedom. I can't imagine any other Arab country today where independent judges would tell the government it could not prosecute a parliamentarian for visiting Israel - and intellectuals would openly defend him in the press.

In the case of Iraq, though, the federal high court, in a unanimous decision, vacated the Parliament's rescinding of Alusi's immunity, with the decision delivered personally by Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud. The decision explained that although a 1950s-era law made traveling to Israel a crime punishable by death, Iraq's new Constitution establishes freedom to travel. Therefore the Parliament's move was "illegal and unconstitutional because the current Constitution does not prevent citizens from traveling to any country in the world," Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, spokesman for the court, told The Associated Press.

That Israel has a peace agreement with Egypt, a country run by an ancient authoritarian ruler whose own rule and dynasty are not subjects to be discussed by the press. Vilification of Israel, antisemitic caricatures, however, are the daily bread and butter for the "intellectual" classes, the so-called teachers of their people, whose dictum seems to run counter to the cliche of the role of the intellectual.

Egypt is also considered a "moderate" country, a friend of the West and of the US. If this is what peace with Egypt looks like, we can safely deduce by extrapolation what friendship with Egypt is worth.

In Iraq, however, what matters is a democratic principle, upheld by the judiciary and the intellectuals who understand their role as the "guardians of civilization" and practice what they preach. Irrespective of the popular opinion.


7 Comments:

At 11:22 PM EST, Blogger Marcia Miner said...

Given all the controversial things he has said for decades that are the absolute opposite of what the extremist Muslim terrorist types say, shaking hands with an Israeli is small knishes. He is the top banana of millions of Sunnis...I say EH! He ain't concerned.

 
At 9:44 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Iraqi newspaper Al-Umma al-Iraqiyya carried an open letter signed by 400 Iraqi intellectuals, both Kurdish and Arab, defending Alusi.

I reviewed the names and they are artist and painters and car fixers. not a single name is known .... like poor people who danced under the hollywood movie of pulling down of saddam statue in 2003, which maybe most of them are among the 650000 casulaties of iraqi war..

 
At 6:35 AM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

How do you know who the signatories are, all 400 of them, if they are unknown?

 
At 9:41 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the name and profession were shown in the newspaper, they were not intelectuales as I said.....



for example

1)name________ job or proffesion.
400)name________ job or proffesion.


the names were presented in this manner.

 
At 9:46 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thomas friedman in the newyorktimes sparked this issue (and the 400 intelectuales thing), he is wrong.
ofcourse the underlying aims of friedman are known, we wont go to details about those issue.

but the relity is that those people that signed the open letter, are people that supported al alousi throught his carear, especially his harsh views on iran, and terroists entering iraq. so in good will the came to defend his "don quixote" visit to a counter-terroism confrence in israel.

 
At 10:49 AM EST, Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"but the relity is that those people that signed the open letter, are people that supported al alousi throught his carear, especially his harsh views on iran, and terroists entering iraq."

And you find something incomprehensible, or egregious, about artists, car mechanics and painters who support an intellectual for these reasons?

Can you furnish an ethically- plausible explanation for your derisive dismissal of thinking artists and car mechanics who come out in support of a person who refuses to regard Israel as a "haram" entity??

 
At 1:47 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artist or car mechanicals are respected people ofcourse, productive.

supporting al-alousi for his previous statments that he made agianst iran and terrorists in iraq are very good....thats why he got people supporting him. so this is another issue.


the other issue is "
Can you furnish an ethically- plausible explanation for your derisive dismissal of thinking artists and car mechanics who come out in support of a person who refuses to regard Israel as a "haram" entity??"


1) the names as I said are not intelectuals, not even politically participating people....they are normal people maybe his neighbores.... as the name list suggests. so lets not mix things up.

ofcourse you know that some people who advocated the war on iraq are searching for "good news" about iraq ... so they find any story and pump it like a balloon to be significant in the media...like using the term intellectuals...and kurds and arabs....exc....


the newspaper itself is supporter of al-alousi....I think it stems from al-umma democratic fedral party...which al-alousi is presedent of it.
their website:
http://www.ummaiq.com/

so the newspaper carries a poll on the left side of the page....the question is....do you thinks that stripping al-alousiy from immunity is legitamite and right.?

411 voted for no.

maybe they are the same people that signed the open letter.....? because the numbers are nearlly the same.



so all in all its like a game..


you dont know these "democratic parties" in the arab world, the operate like mafia's.


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Eid mubarak

 

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