Sunday, August 31, 2008


Via: Mick Hartley:

Where do you think these quotes, taken from teaching classes by Muslim preachers, were heard and recorded?

“We are not going to be like animals . . . or to be like the homosexuals, God save us from that, you understand? We have to take the judgment, the judgment is to kill them.”

“He is Muslim and he gets out of Islam, he doesn’t want any more. What are we going to do? We kill him, kill, kill.”

Umm Amira describes Christians as “vile”. Another preacher, Umm Saleem, tells her congregation not to take British citizenship or become friends with nonMuslims....

Pakistan? Afghanistan? Saudi Arabia?

It was here:

The London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, known as the Regent’s Park Mosque, of the most respected centres for moderate Islam in western Europe.


an undercover investigation by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme has found extremist preachers [which] have held study circles there and are teaching followers a hardline version of the faith followed in Saudi Arabia, known as Wahhabism.

You can read it all, here.

How does the Muslim Council of Britain, an affiliate of this mosque, react?

“Some of the statements are deeply offensive . . . [but] it would be very wrong, and quite unfair, to smear the whole centre.”

Never mind the preacing of hated for gays and nonMuslims. Offensive as these actions are, more offensive is the "smear"* to the mosque...

* What's a smear? Vilification or slander. Charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Support for the repression of women of Islam

Terry Glavin:

"A Pakistani lawmaker defended a decision by southwestern tribesmen to bury five women alive because they wanted to choose their own husbands, telling stunned members of Parliament this week to spare him their outrage.

.. “Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”

The women, three of whom were teenagers, were first shot and then thrown into a ditch. They were still breathing as their bodies were covered with rocks and mud...

TG helpfully adds:

Anti-war activists, anti-imperialists, UCU chapels and Code Pink members may send their expressions of support directly to Mir Israr Ullah Zehri here: Party: BNP (Awami), 302-E Parliament lodges, Islamabad. Home phone: 051-9207477."

I didn't have to look long and far for such a possible supporter:

According to Naomi Wolf:

"When Americans were being prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were demonised for denying cosmetics and hair colour to women; when the Taliban were overthrown, Western writers often noted that women had taken off their scarves."

Please note the ease of her dismissal of Taliban crimes against women as"demonization".

Please note that not once does she mention the "burqa" which is what Afghan women are forced to wear when they go out: not veils and not chadors, but burqas. That should arouse some scepticism in the reader about the authoritative credibility of her account, or how much she was paying attention. After all, she does claim that she had acquired her more intimate knowledge during her "[travels] in Muslim countries" where she was privy to "a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes".

She further teaches us that she:

"... learned that Muslim attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling - toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home."

So what is due to one's husband? Did she ask for details?

According to 'Uweid Al-Mash'an, head of the psychology department at the University of Kuwait:

The husband has certain rights, and the wife has certain duties towards him. Similarly, the wife has rights, and the husband has duties towards her. These rights and duties are inseparable. The husband has certain rights to which he is entitled. Does a man marry a woman so she can doll herself up and leave, or does he marry her so she can serve him? So she can serve him... It is a duty according to the Shari'a for the wife to serve her husband.... By "serving," I mean that the wife should give her husband whatever he asks for – his rights. That's what I mean. Does he have rights, yes or no? She should provide these rights.

And this Saudi scholar expands the issue a bit:

The husband's rights are very great. Therefore, according to a reliable Hadith, a woman said: "Oh Prophet of Allah, I will not marry before you tell me what my husband's rights from me are." The Prophet said: "Do you really want to know?" She said: "Yes." He said: "If pus or blood comes out of your husband's nose and you lick is up, you still will not have observed all his rights.
" The rights of the husband are great, and you must observe them. "

Destroying Jewish voices


"According to a report on, the Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee has issued a fatwa permitting the hacking of American and Israeli websites that harm Islam and Muslims, and also permitting damaging them, as part of "electronic jihad."

From the Iconoclast:

On this date, August 29th, in 1981, two people were killed and 23 wounded when the Stadttempel Synagogue in Vienna was attacked by Muslims using machine guns and grenades.
This attack was part of a campaign in the early 1980's to attack synagogues across Europe.

On October 3, 1980, the Rue Copernic synagogue in Paris, France was attacked by "Palestinians" using bombs. Four people were killed and twelve injured.

On October 20, 1981, a synagogue in Antwerp, Belgium was attacked with a truck bomb; three people were killed, 106 injured.

On September 18, 1982, a synagogue in Brussels, Belgium was attacked by a gunman from the Abu Nidal Organization using a machine gun.

On October 9, 1982, the central synagogue in Rome, Italy was attacked by a men using grenades and machine guns. A 2-year-old boy was killed, and 37 people injured.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Academic Freedom - Indivisible?

And somewhat related, highlighting the extreme complexity of the reality in which Israeli security agencies must work, there is this story:

Two Israeli Arabs from Shfaram have been arrested on suspicion of belonging to Islamic Jihad and planning attacks that included assassinating Israeli pilots, scientists and university professors.

...The two suspects are Anis Sappori, 20, who studies communications at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah, and Hussam Khalil, 19, who studies electrical engineering in Jordan.

...Upon beginning his studies at Bir Zeit two years ago, they said, he first developed ties with members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, then with reporters working for Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station, and finally with the three Palestinian Islamic Jihad activists.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What I liked about Obama's speech tonight

I've just listened to Charlie Rose speaking to a few of his colleagues about their impressions. The young journalist Jodi Kantor somewhat lamented the fact that Obama is still coming through as too aloof. He manages to keep himself outside the circle of festivities. He does not inhale, was what she more or less said. And she considers it a flaw. Yet I find this is the very quality that makes him credible and authentic in my eyes. He eschews sentimentality. He may have passion, but he keeps it cool, which is just what I think a leader ought to be like.

I agreed with her later assessment that Obama has shown a great capacity for learning and growing. This quality, which is not so much about humility as about discipline and deliberate resistance to self-indulging, is again a quality which should be much valued in an elected leader in the midst of a frantic and highly emotional constituency.

As for the substance of his speech, I was very pleased when he said that America's ethos is, or ought to be, about personal responsibility and mutual responsibility. These are extremely important values which I suspect some of Obama's more ardent followers have so far failed to grasp. They represent the counterpoint to the school of resentment, to a culture of victimhood and a sense of entitlement, which have become the most repulsive aspects of the so-called "Left".

Personal responsibility and mutual responsibility are two of the main Jewish values.

Mutual responsibility, each of us is responsible for caring about and safeguarding the welfare
of others.

Free choice, which is another term for personal responsibility, that people are free agents and are responsible for the result of those choices.

A cool head, a principled, disciplined, perpetually self-correcting* and unsentimental mind. This is good combination in any leader and I think America is lucky to have produced such a presidential candidate.

I found most endearing the scene a few moments after he finished his speech. When his wife and two daughters came on stage, he went to meet them, immediately picking up in his arms the younger one and kissing the other, who is too old and tall by now to climb on her father in the same way. It was a thoroughly authentic moment, which I know for a fact all fathers of little girls can easily reference and remember.

* In one of the primary's debate, we had occasion to witness this self-correcting learning in the making: When he and his rivals were asked to name their biggest weakness, Obama answered first, saying he has a messy desk and needs help managing paperwork. Sen. John Edwards said his biggest weakness is that he has a powerful response to seeing pain in others, and Clinton said she gets impatient to bring change to America.

"Because I'm an ordinary person, I thought that they meant, `What's your biggest weakness?'" Obama said "If I had gone last I would have known what the game was. And then I could have said, `Well, ya know, I like to help old ladies across the street. Sometimes they don't want to be helped. It's terrible.'"


Sunstein explains Obama (H/T: NWO):

Perhaps because of Obama's strong and early opposition to the Iraq war, and because he has not been on the national scene long, some people on the left have projected their own views onto him. They think that his recent departures from left-wing orthodoxy are a form of flip-flopping or some kind of betrayal.

These objections miss the mark. Obama has not betrayed anyone. The real problem lies in the assumption, still widespread on both the left and the right, that Obama is a doctrinaire liberal whose positions can be deduced simply by asking what the left thinks.

I have been asking the same question throughout my acquaintance with presidential hopeful Obama: what's the deal with his scary supporters? Why are they continuing to support him, with unbridled passion, despite his explicitly articulated positions which veer clear away from the wishes of the lunatic Left?

In a discussion with BobfromBrockley we pondered this ability of his to attract political opposites. I characterized it as Obama's Zeligian skills. But I'm beginning to think it is more like Sunstein says, that people project onto him their own longings and warped realities. All that gushing and drooling and messianic fervour is pretty off putting.

Jon Stewart described it most ingenuously last night. The comedians have begun to poke fun at Obama and his power base; that means the honeymoon is over and he is no longer considered sacred property...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Victims of Arabs

Two years ago, Andre Glucksmann asked:

"On the scales of world opinion, some Muslim corpses are light as a feather, and others weigh tonnes. Two measures, two weights. The daily terrorist attacks on civilians in Baghdad, killing 50 people or more, are checked off in reports under the heading of miscellaneous, while the bomb that took 28 lives in Qana is denounced as a crime against humanity. Only a few intellectuals ...find this surprising. Why do the 200,000 slaughtered Muslims of Darfur not arouse even half a quarter of the fury caused by 200-times fewer dead in Lebanon? Must we deduce that Muslims killed by other Muslims don't count - whether in the eyes of Muslim authorities or viewed through the bad conscience of the west?"

Today, I was happy to find he following report about an Arab intellectual who actually Shares Glucksmann's alarm:


In an August 6, 2008 column in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, Dr. 'Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, former dean of Islamic law at the University of Qatar and prominent liberal intellectual, attacked the Arab lawyers' unions for defending oppressors like Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein while ignoring their victims in Darfur and Halabja.

"The excuses and justifications offered today in defense of Al-Bashir and his policies are [the same as] those offered in defense of Saddam and his escapades, all of which were in vain. They repeat the same canned excuses, such as 'the politicization of standards of justice,' 'judging by a double standard,' 'justice biased against the Arabs,' 'selectivity,' and 'the service of American schemes.' The most recent of these accusations was expressed by one reader in Al-Ittihad, who said: 'What kind of international justice is this, that holds [Sudan] to account for a domestic crisis in Darfur that has lasted less than five years, while continuing its policy of turning a blind eye to the most heinous crimes in Palestine, which have lasted for 50 years?'

"It is their right to defend Al-Bashir as they defended Saddam. And it is their right to demand universal international criminal standards and that they be applied in the case of anyone suspected of perpetrating similar crimes, as Dr. Saad Eddin Ibrahim says. But what these people always try to ignore is the victims.

"We will not be hearing the voice of the Lawyers' Union, which mobilized to defend accused presidents, [speaking out] for the weak and the marginalized. ... It is the victims of Darfur and the millions of the crushed and pulverized who are most in need of the legal support of masses of lawyers."

"... 300,000 people were killed in Darfur, and ... two million fled their homes after their villages were destroyed by the Sudan-backed Arab Janjaweed militias. Who is for them? Who is for the widows? Who is for the orphans? Who is for the displaced?

"These victims are all Muslims, and their only offense is that they are not Arab, the ethnicity of their rulers! If they find no support among those who are supposed to defend rights and help the weak, then to whom can they turn for shelter and protection? Is the international community to be accused if it intervenes to extend a helping hand?

"For five bloody years, the people of Darfur have been ruined and expelled, and the satellite television channels have broadcast horrific scenes that tormented the hearts of the world and make their consciences bleed - except for the Arab conscience, which was on vacation, and except for their [Arab] League, which remained comatose, and except for their media, which neglected to cover and broadcast the facts. "

Taliban Murder Tally

What to call people who kill others who had come to do good, and nothing but good, for your people?

Via Terry Glavin's blog:

Kazuya Ito, 31, who had spent the past five years working in the war-ravaged country, was seized on his way to his daily inspection of an irrigation project being built by his employer.

Another official, who declined to be named, said Ito was shot twice in the leg and bled to death.

In the deadliest such attack in years, Taliban gunmen shot dead three Western women and their Afghan driver on August 13 as they were driving to Kabul in a vehicle marked with the logo of their group, the International Rescue Committee.

An Afghan employee of a French aid group, Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), was found murdered in the north last week, two days after he was abducted, his organisation said.

Japan has been a leading donor to Afghanistan since the Taliban fell, but has lost two citizens to violence there. Two teachers, a man and a woman, were shot dead in 2005 after apparently going to the insurgency-plagued province of Kandahar on holiday.

A mission to end Oil

Sighted on Sign and sight:

Driven: Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road

"The entire staff is trying to write a mission statement with help from a moderator. He flips through slides on a screen: "Our mission is to transform personal mobility." "Our mission is to break the world's oil addiction (before it breaks us)."

Agassi, in a black leather jacket, a stiff blue-and-white button-down, and faded jeans, stops the moderator. "We still think we're selling to them," he says, after one of his long, drawn-out pauses. "We're not. It's not us to them. It's them to us. You see, people want this to happen; we just happen to be in the way of their getting what they want. We can't give them the car fast enough. That's something we need to capture: 'We're here to serve you,' not 'We're here to sell to you.' We're a facilitator, not the creator. This is going to be a community. We just need to get out of their way. They're going to push for policy, they're going to sell the cars, they're going to be zealots."

I start thinking about the people he has already hooked: mayors, CEOs, investors, statesmen, even car dealers. At one point, Tal had marveled to me about Shai's ability to convince you that the answers to the most challenging problems are easy and obvious. "He tells you the story, and it sounds so simple. Why don't we have it today? Why isn't it here already?"
It's true. Shai Agassi has only one car, no charging stations, and not a single customer—yet everyone who meets him already believes he can see the future."

Solidarity - and its discontents

Continuous to this post, here are two more sources for consultation on the matter:

The one is from the Jerusalem Post, a regular daily which picked up the story from the Internet, where it had been cooking for a few days now. (Thanks to M-E for the tip)

The other is from Will, of the Drunk Trotsky wannabes, always a gracious reading experience in and of itself. Here is a sampling:

"Tossers. Fuck them all who post there.
That lot don’t know what solidarity is and that like. Stupid stupid tossers.
Thusly they can all go and fuck off and die like the lawyer scum they are like.
Plus — nobody knows who complained like and even if we did like know like then I still wouldn’t link myself to those scumbags and filth like — my hatred for antisemitic scum is completely independent of Sauce tosser ‘thoughts’ and ‘actions’ like.
PS. Is Moralityblog their Fag?"


Updated links, later in the day:

Ami Isseroff:

"The first point is that we seem to have settled the question of whether or not anti-Zionism is or is not the same as anti-Semitism. Delich and her friends can plead and have pleaded that it was an "innocent mistake" and that she didn't know who David Duke was. Let's assume that is true. Delich read the article by an anti-Semite at an anti-Semitic Web site and found it to be identical with her views. What does that tell us about anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism? Can anyone really believe they are different now? And this is the ideology that is fueling the boycott Israel movement, isn't it?

The second point is that if Jenna Delich really didn't know who David Duke is, and none of the hundreds of people who got that e-mail recognized the name either, then the Boycott Israel movement in the UK is evidently being lead by ignoramuses. Can anyone believe any of the "facts" and arguments they present? Isn't it logical to assume that this incident reveals what Delich and her Boycott Israel friends have been doing all along: repackaging anti-Semitic lies as "legitimate criticism of Israel" either knowingly, or because they were unaware of the nature of the source of the materials?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Iranian persecution of Bahai:

Listen and pay attention, people:

Terry Glavin posted this today.

I wrote about the severe plight of the Bahai, here.

Disabled Harry

This story, which originally broke on the popular British website "Harry's Place" seems to develop in astonishing ways, according to Norm:

If Harry's Place should go silent...

... it will be for the reason that you can still read about at Harry's Place itself: a complaint has been sent to the company hosting HP's domain name - they think because they pointed out someone's having linked from the UCU activists list to a far-right website.

Since I could not log on to Harry's Place I began to suspect that indeed it was silenced, somehow. On Engage I managed to get this information, from commenters:

For information: it appears that a complaint believed to have come from someone who objected to Harry's Place coverage of this issue may result in the site having its DNS disabled - see (if its still up)

Update to the Harry's Place censorship story - they've set up a temporary site at

Pretty incredible stuff. A new definition for chutzpa: She distributes a link to a bona-fide neo-Nazi website and takes umbrage at those who pay attention.

George Szirtez, tersely:

The union of university teachers (UCU) happily links to a notorious Nazi's website and defends doing so, while the Socialist Workers Party calls for action against the British National Party by referring to the evils of the Holocaust that killed everyone - except Jews apparently. Or, if they did so, it doesn't count. So now you know who the Nazis are and what they do. You also know who counts for them and who doesn't.

The UCU and the SWP as twins? No, there is certainly a triplet in there somewhere. Oh yes, The Nazis. But of course the UCU and the SWP only mean the good Nazis.

A Weapon of choice - Disposable little girls

From the Iconoclast:

A 13-year-old girl wearing a vest packed with explosives turned herself in to Iraqi police north of Baghdad yesterday because she did not want to become a suicide bomber, the US military said. Iraqi forces in the restive city of Baquba removed the bomb from the girl, who then led them to a second vest, also loaded with explosives.

...Female suicide bombers have become a weapon of choice for al-Qaeda in Iraq because women are less likely to be searched at checkpoints and also often wear long, black, Islamic robes that conceal explosives.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joe Biden; "I'm a Zionist"

As soon as Barack Obama announced his choice for a VP, rumours started flying around the Internet that Joe Biden is a Jew, that is wife is a Jew, as you would expect.

Simply Jews, in their capacity as fronting for the Elders of Zion's ceaseless activity of wheeling and dealing and making and unmaking kings, immediately published a strong denial. Appearances must be kept.

My own research on google conjured up a very cryptic message (gone by now, alas), in keeping with the insistently esoteric quality of the above whispered organization.

However, someone managed to unearth the truth and it is stranger than fiction:

He described Israel as "the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East."

He travelled with Barack Obama to Israel in late July, when Obama promised strong support for Israel against the threat from Iran, and said he would strongly support the Mideast peace process soon after he takes office.

In the same interview, Biden revealed that his son is married to a Jewish woman, of the Berger family from Delaware, and that he had participated in a Passover Seder at their house.

He added that "probably my most poignant Seder memory is not with the Bergers, but what happened right after I came back from meeting Golda Meir (in 1973). I had predicted that something was going on in Egypt. And I remember people talking about what it meant to them if Israel were actually defeated."

Well, well. I know some people whose whiskers will droop over this information. And they are not anywhere near Gaza or Egypt...

Campaign promises are just that, promises written on sand on the beach.

"The Americans Have Stolen My True Love Away"

Is an English folk song which Norm of Normblog posted about this morning.

"It's a line for the crazed section of the left." Says the Obi Wan of the British blogosphere. And no sooner was this detected by me, than I read this on Pajamas Media:

After initially declining to investigate the ages of the girls in question — most notably the adorable little He Kexinthe International Olympic Committee hasordered an investigation into mounting allegations that Chinese authorities covered up the true age of their gold-winning gymnastics star because she was too young to compete.” Much like the UN, the IOC seems loath to offend anyone but the U.S.


... in addition to the comments arguing whether age should matter or not, there were a fair number of those that suggested the only reason this investigation has commenced is that the U.S. team took second place. In other words, American sour grapes.

Here’s a sampling (all spelling and syntax from the original):

Americans moaning about cheating……..let us remain you guys because Americans don’t cheat do they…..
Marion Jones,

Jerome Young, Kelli White to name just a few.
How come none of you Americans mention these CHEATS ???
You Yanks are just bad losers
Helen Lambert, Epsom, UK

All americans are liers!
you can fake the age ,but you can’t fake the performance!!!!

cindy , hongkong, CHN

The Yanks can’t even tally the medals table honestly….take a look at CNN and have a laugh at the disgraceful frauds.

The official way to tally the medals table is by Gold then Silver then Bronze, not by total medals won, what a bunch of Losers.
Ian, Newcastle upon Tyne

How ever old someone is, they won their medal by their performance not by old they are. Bela Karolyi coached Nadia Comaneci who was 14 when she won her 1st Olympic Gold in 1976. How come the Americans didn’t complain then. It’s a case of the Americans be bad losers again. They lost. Accept it !!!
Chris Lee, Surrey, UK

Americans always like to criticize the other countries but always ignore themselves. They don’t even know they are the biggest cheater and liar in the world!!
Michael, Kingston, Canada

The US needs to stop crying and whining. Such sore sports, that they feel they need rouge sleuths to bring about justice. If the US were not in a position to benefit, they would not even bother to go so far. This comment is not to support the Chinese if they are in fact cheating.
n, Toronto, Canada

What would the US do to find itself at the top of gold medals…Maybe the Chinese should test Phelps for doping themselves. That might give us a shocker of results.
Andreas Andreou, Cyprus


It is depressing that most of these seemingly deranged commenters seem to be Canadians and Brits. I mean, they have been brought up in an educational environment that puts a high value on the concept of "fair play", the ideal of a level playing ground, a core principle of any sport and compeition, yet they seem all too eager to discard this fine ethical attitude, discipline, honesty and transparency in order to indulge their spasmodic hatred of all things Americans.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Misunderstood Brotherhood

The Egyptian blogger "Sandmonkey" interviews Mohammed Habib, slated to become the next Supreme Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Here are some highlights:

SM: What does the Muslim Brotherhood think of the two candidates in the upcoming elections in the U.S?

Mohamed Habib: We would naturally like to see the end of the current regime and that their practices are not to be repeated by the coming administration. We don’t anticipate such change taking place if Senator John McCain wins, for he seems to be following the same line as the current American President George Bush. We are not so sure about Senator Obama either, because of his Israel visit, him saying that Israel is a democracy, and his visit to AIPAC, but we are withholding judgment because maybe he needs to do this to win. That being said, any change away from the criminal practices of the current administration is a good thing, and we would be happy with whatever candidate would put a stop to it.

SM: Is there a Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.?

Mohamed Habib: I would say yes. There are Muslim Brotherhood members there.

SM: Then what are they doing there?

Mohamed Habib: No, there are already existing institutions; there are laws and a constitution that they operate under in order to have a role in serving the American society. They are part of the American society and they want to an active positive role in it, and a part of that is to spread a positive image of Islam along with its values, culture, history and teachings.

SM: This is naturally very important. Who represents you in the US?

Mohamed Habib: Well, there are there those who do represent us, who do that role.

SM: But it’s not CAIR, right? The Council for American Islamic Relations? Many people say that they are your front. Other people say that its ISNA. But back to CAIR, some people from the Muslim Brotherhood have denied having a connection with CAIR. Do they really represent you?

Mohamed Habib: Ehh, this is a sensitive subject, and it’s kind of problematic, especially after 9/11 …

SM: For them to say that there is a relationship between you two?

Mohamed Habib: Yes. You can say that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Luxurious Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Chapter 1: Conditioning the mind

"This August, a group of 40 international human rights activists from 15 countries, including Palestinians and Israelis, will attempt to sail directly from the island of Cyprus into the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza. I will participate as the ship's doctor. Two ships, provided by an organization called the Free Gaza Movement, will challenge Israel's policy of imprisoning 1.4 million Palestinians within the Gaza Strip."

So begins BILL DIENST's tale of Palestinian woes, here.

"Gaza stands on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe, with its population confined in a crowded area to which land, sea and air entry are all controlled by the Israeli military. Israel ... it denies the vast majority of the population access to ... medical care and basic necessities. "

" People are dying from lack of access to medical facilities, which are held up on the borders.. " reports Stefanos Evripidou of the Cyprus Mail.

Chapter II: Gleeful Anticipation of horrors to come

"In a statement issued as they departed yesterday, the activists said they would lodge a legal protest against any attempt by the Israelis to arrest them.

"If Israel chooses to forcibly stop and search our ships, we will not forcibly resist," a statement said.

"If we are arrested and brought to Israel, we will protest and prosecute our kidnapping in the appropriate forums ... it is our purpose to show the power that ordinary citizens have when they organise to stand against injustice." (Source)

Chapter III: Disappointed Expectations

Today, the story reached its anticlimactic end. Having breathlessly anticipated a confrontation with Israel's military navy, shootings, searches and hopefully maybe arrests, the two yachts sailed on an undisturbed journey and reached safe harbour earlier today.

"We knew about this Hamas attempt to create a PR event at sea for weeks," Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesmen Arye Mekel told the Israel News Agency.

"We knew who's on these boats and what they contain, and therefore we decided weeks ago to allow them to come into Gaza. They were not carrying weapons and had only a handful of equipment for the hearing impaired.

...According to the Israel Defense Forces, approximately 300 humanitarian trucks filled with food, medical supplies and fuel pass daily into Gaza. "Gaza has food," says Mekel. "They only thing they lack is freedom and democracy."

Under the security closure imposed by Israel in June 2007 after Hamas violently attacked the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, Israel has allowed tons of UN supplied humanitarian supplies into Gaza." (Source)

Chapter IV: Blogger's Note

Juxtapose the following statement:

"Gaza stands on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe... [its population actively denied] medical care and basic necessities. "

with this report:

"The mission is intended to challenge the economic blockade imposed by Israel and deliver a cargo of 200 hearing aids for a deaf school and 5,000 balloons. "

When you rush to a place where you expect to find severe humanitarian crisis, do you bring Tylenol, Advil, penicillin, baby food, flour, rice, oil, eggs? Or do you bring 200 hearing aids and 5,000 balloons?

And are we allowed to deduce from the incongruity between the declared mission with the actual cargo, that the activists had never really been seriously worried about humanitarian crisis, but were using this grim terminology to incite hostility and resentment towards Israel?

Here is a roundup of the latest humanitarian crises taking place in the world:

Somalia: "The UN Food Program and UN children's fund (UNICEF) said in a news release that up to 70 percent of the rural population in the south are threatened by food shortages, and some 36 percent of children in Somalia are underweight, with one in six is suffering from acute malnutrition." (source)

ZIMBABWE: "..doctors went on strike yesterday and aid officials warned of an impending humanitarian crisis that could see at least 5-million people facing chronic food shortages because of one of the worst harvests on record." (Source)

Georgia: "International pressure is mounting against Moscow over its conflict with Georgia as fears of a humanitarian crisis grow.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, said he was "extremely concerned" about the humanitarian situation, lawlessness and lack of access for aid workers in parts of Georgia." (Source)

The Philippines: "Aid agencies are working furiously to avert a humanitarian crisis in the souther Philippines. An estimated 160-thousand people have fled their homes following renewed fighting between the army and Muslim rebels." (Source)

Ethiopia: "The humanitarian crisis prevails in Ethiopia four months after the initial mobilization of resources and response to the needs of vulnerable people hit hardest by the drought and food insecurity. People living in drought-affected regions of the country urgently need food, water, emergency treatment for malnutrition and support to recover and rebuild livelihoods devastated by the drought. " (Source)

The list goes on. But you'll have to do your own legwork. If you care.

So what explanation can anyone advance about the media blitz around this cheap show, the frantic declarations of solidarity, the avowals of outrage and pity for Palestinians in Gaza, who are de-facto acknowledged not to be in a humanitarian crisis?

I think I may have hit on the answer when I did a short research about the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. He stated on one occasion:

"Do you know why we Palestinians are famous? Because you are our enemy. The interest in us stems from the interest in the Jewish issue. The interest is in you, not in me. So we have the misfortune of having Israel as an enemy, because it enjoys unlimited support. And we have the good fortune of having Israel as our enemy, because the Jews are the center of attention. You’ve brought us defeat and renown.”

You can draw your own conclusions about the meaning concealed of this confession.

What I want to know is how long will the UN continue to coddle and indulge the victimhood of Palestinians while the world continues to ignore the very real suffering, the killing, the maiming, the starvation, of genuine victims, whose enemies are people no one cares to challenge or destroy.

The cultured intellect of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Charlie Rose presented his viewers last night with an hour long interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I will watch it when it goes on line, here. I opt to watch such interviews in short installments. I remember the last time Charlie attempted to decipher the mind of Mahmoud. It was too painful and exhausting to watch him, using his very fine and gentle chisel of a mind to probe the hermetic density of the man. Unfortunately, the chisel did not even dent Mahmoud's logic-proof impenetrable skin. How can a 21st keen minded journalist like Charlie Rose converse intelligibly with an inhabitant of early medieval Islamic caliphate?

This may explain the difficulty:

" To understand his psyche, we are left to study his words, his actions and the beliefs to which he personally adheres....

- ... Ahmadinejad adheres to the core belief a mystical “Hidden” 12th Imam, who disappeared more than a millenium ago, is destined to return to restore Islam to greatness. As do many Shiites, Ahmadinejad believes this 12th Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, will only return in the wake of world chaos. But unlike most Shiites who believe such chaos must evolve naturally, Ahmadinejad is a member of a small sect believing man can be a catalyst in causing the necessary chaos. Ahmadinejad’s quest to acquire nuclear weapons must, therefore, be weighed against his belief he can expedite the chaos to trigger al-Mahdi’s return.

- Ahmadinejad believes his destiny is, literally, to pave the way for the 12th Imam’s return. As mayor of Tehran before becoming president, he ordered streets widened to be able to accommodate the celebratory parade marking al-Mahdi’s future return.

- Ahmadinejad’s belief in his special role in the 12th Imam’s return prompted him to share a “vision” he had during his 2006 appearance before the UN. Allegedly, he (and no one else) saw himself engulfed in a “halo” as he spoke. Additionally, in concluding his remarks to this world body, he prayed and forewarned of al-Mahdi’s imminent return".

All right. I think most rational people get the picture. Or do they? Here is comment, following the interview, posted on the Charlie Rose's website by one commenter, on Saturday, Aug 23 at 12:25 PM:

"Charlie Rose behaved like a tacky, uncultured oaf. His questions were moronic and would have been better suited to the local bar, where it would have started a bar brawl. The man is lacking in the intellect department and was shown up by Ahmadinejadh's cultured intellect. Shame on Charlie Rose. Hope he loses his show. He is a repulsive example of American "culture" (what a joke). On the Jewish question - are you all stupid? To be accused of being anti-semitic you would have to be biased against SEMITIC peoples. The ones who tries to control other peoples' behaviour are KHAZARS. Not a drop of Semitic blood in them. Grow up people - and stop the murderous genocide by the barbarous squatters on Palestinian real estate. Get them out of there."

But another got it more or less right:

"Comment by Preston on Saturday, Aug 23 at 06:24 AM

"... Charlie Rose looked like a curious scientist trying to get information and communicate with a talking monkey who just returned from Mars. The future?... Could be."

I really can't find anything to say. I'm totally defeated by Mahmoud' charm and cultured intellect.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Georgian laments, Russian roars

Sign and Sight has rounded up a few opinions about the Caucasus conflict from people who are actually invested in it. I'm reproducing them here while highlighting what I think is of special interest:

Die Welt 16.08.2008

The young Georgian writer Nino Haratichvili defends himself, in conversation with Jenni Roth, against the accusation that Georgians are racist. "Until the nineties, there were never any problems, which is why this accusation is absurd. And the Russians spent the last 15 years handing out Russian passports in Abkhazia and Ossetia, so that they can now turn round and say that they are protecting their citizens. That's not fair."

Die Tageszeitung 16.08.2008

Ossetian literature academic, Shanna Chochiyeva, who teaches in Moscow, has harsh words for the politics of Georgian President Saakashvili: "How could we have known that the Georgians would suddenly take leave of their senses like this? Although the signs had been around for some time. For example, Saakashvili uses former dictator Sviad Gamsachurdia's book, titled "Georgia's Spiritual Mission", as a teaching aid for the seminars he gives to his crazy chauvinists. This contains sentences such as: "There will come a time when the whole world speaks the Georgian language." And in meetings Saakashvili ensures his followers that Georgia will save European civilisation. As far as I see it, these people are Nazis."Süddeutsche Zeitung


Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych declares his solidarity for Georgia and is concerned for the future: "'Freedom' plays an immense role in Georgian culture, whereas the key Russian concept is 'superpower'." And the West's illusions that Russia will henceforth act as a peacekeeper, are not something Eastern Europe has ever believed. "Since 1991, there has been a growing fear that Russia will 'rise again' sometime. I suspect that we are now experiencing the first acute phase of this 'rising'." Read more articles by Yuri Andrukhovych here Die Tageszeitung


Czech playwright Pavel Kohout talks in an interview about the parallels and differences between the Caucasus conflict and the Russian invasion of Prague in 1968. "The Czechs and Slovaks never shot anyone, they also had no territorial disputes and they had never sent a tank into anywhere. The only thing which connects the invasion of Georgia with that of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was that both involved a Russian attack. This is the nature of Russian politics... What the Russians need is something like a French Revolution. Which ultimately brought democracy. If you look at the Russian Revolution and Russian history, it is clear that we have to give them time, but we should not let them out of our sight."


Here are some cultural representations from each of the countries mentioned in this post:

Georgian folk dancing

Russian music and dance: Natasha Rostova in "War and Peace"

Czech hip hop?

Ukrainian kozak song

Antisemites of the world, unite! (II)

In this post I drew my readers' attention to the de-facto alliance between neo-Nazis and Indecent lefties. It could be claimed that the SWP leaflet message -- of a small "h" holocaust being about thousands of victims who were trade unionists and the disabled -- was just some sort of slack and lazy writing; this can hardly be excused on such grounds:

"One of the formal complaints was made in relation to a series of particularly poisonous and nasty emails written by a Sheffield-based UCU activist called Jenna Delich. That complaint was also dismissed.

Yesterday Jenna Delich wrote the following message on the activist list in order to support a boycott of Israeli academics....

"The website which she links to is the website of David Duke, who is the former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, and perhaps the most notorious racist and anti-semite in the world. The article itself was originally posted on an extremist conspiracy nut website, but appears only on David Duke’s website. It is therefore reasonable to infer that Jenna Delich reads and takes her information on world events from neo Nazis."

To quote Jenna Delich: "No comment necessary. The facts are speaking for themselves."


Update, a little later in the day: On the Engage thread we hear from one of the commenters, Spartacus' Diary, that:

"...the fact that a regular "anti-Zionist" has offered links to what can be politely called a "far-right politician" has been explained away as a "mistake".

But the mistake is not really so outrageous; for

"... austere members of BRICUP on the UCU list" the fact that "the "Zionists" are exploting this (perfectly reasonable) .... genuine mistake for no other reason than to clobber "anti-Zionists" is the eal outrage in the whole story.

As an experienced Internet user, I have to wonder how other Internet users can make such a mistake. On the rightside margin of the David Duke webpage one finds a list of articles written by him, among which one can read the following titles

Black Population Welfare Bomb Ticks
Fighting the Cultural War in America
Is Russia the Key to White survival?
Israeli Terrorism and Sept. 11
The Hypocrisy of Jewish Supremacism
The Lies of Globalism
The War against America

The titles should immediately ring some alarm bells for anyone who purports to be antiracist. I mean, which discourse is most likely to include such terms as "Black population bomb"? Or "Jewish Supremacism"? or "White survival"?

The David Duke link could only slither through the net of decent thought to public consumption if the person doing the searching and writing is quite numb to their import. And why would someone so active in the anti-Israeli lobby among British trade unionists lack responsiveness or alertness when it comes to antisemitic tropes?

For me the explanation is clear. Some anti Zionists are just anti Zionists, but some anti-Zionists are only anti-Zionist because the target of their animus are Jews and supporters of Jews. They live a very precarious intellectual life, where the outside of their speech masquerades under the Human Rights anti-Zionism banner while the inside of their mind is teeming with bona fide antisemitic hostility and terminology. The two lines are close and parallel to each other. So much so, that complete control and vigilant separation is often disrupted, especially when the tension of animus reaches a certain critical mass and something of the internal thought slips out...

It is something like the Freudian slip, though the deliberate linking to a neo-Nazi website when alleging legitimate criticism of Israel can hardly be blamed on subconscious antisemitism. There is no deeper meaning to this mistake. It was caused by a person whose carelessness and indifference to Jewish history or pain cannot be overstated.

As a common pun goes, "A Freudian slip is like saying one thing, but meaning your mother. " Delich thought she was making a case against Israeli "aggression" by actually linking to an antisemitic website whose main purpose in life, after defeating African-Americans, is defeating "International Jewry" and Jewish world domination.

Some mistake.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This is fun to watch:

Christopher Hitchens and Justin Raimondo, on Al-Jazeera:

Part I

Part II

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Historical Amnesia:
antisemites of the world, unite!

The BNP is is a far right and and whites only political party in the UK. The BNP, its former leaders and present leader, Nick Griffin, have promoted antisemitism and Holocaust denial or revisionism in the past.

The SWP is the largest political party of the far left in Britain that stands in the revolutionary socialist tradition.

In a recent leaflet, the SWP has published against a BBP event in Derbyshire, they say that the BNP should be opposed because:

"They deny the holocaust where thousands of LGBT people, trade unionists and disabled people were slaughtered..."

This explanation, says David Hirsh, on Engage, of the Holocaust [with a small 'h'] makes no mention of Jews and it numbers the victims in the thousands rather than the millions. Jews are not mentioned at all in this anti-Nazi text. (my emphasis)

A possible explanation for this omission is offered by Z-word blog on the same subject:

So what was it: a typo? Or is it just another normal day at the pro-boycott, pro-Hamas Socialist Workers Party, the initiators of this petition?

The SWP are doing their own version of Holocaust denial by simply leaving out the racial victims of the Holocaust, prominently Jewish (6 millions) and Gypsy (the estimates range from 220,000 to 500,000).

Imagine a teacher giving an assignment to her students to research the Holocaust. She tells them to go to the Library and look at some books but limits them to reading only certain books, pre-selected by her, books that make no mention of Jews or Gypsies when discussing Nazi history. "Class, " she would say, "you may find a hundred rows of books about the Holocaust. You are not to pay any attention to them. Just concentrate on the one, or two, or ten, books, on row # 67, from 657A to 789b, that discuss what the Nazis did to the disabled and the trade unionists. The rest of the books do not matter and do not apply to our topic, which is the Nazi holocaust..., small "h" mind you remember that ... "

Not exactly book burning but a more "civilized", modern day kind of violence: Simply remove or forget chunks of knowledge and recorded history....

"Where they burn books, they will also in the end burn human beings" - Heine

Heine's warning about the evils of book burning applies just as much in cases like this, of deliberate and selective moral outrage.

The gist of this petition is a grotesque mimicry of the famous Niemöller poem:

"First they came for the Communists,
- but I was not a communist
so I did not speak out.

Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, -
but I was neither, so I did not speak out.

Then they came for the Jews, -
but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.

And when they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me"

They are doing their version, a sort of ironic reversal of Niemoller's bidding, speaking up for murdered trade unionists and disabled people, but ignoring the Jews.

Niemoller's lamentation explained that the extermination of the thousands of the disabled and the trade unionists was but the dry run for the actual Euthanasia project, which in itself was to be the first chapter in the greater project of the thousand year Reich.

It is hard for me to get into the minds of such people but I imagine their intention is to reassert the memory of all those whom they feel were short-changed by the Jews hogging the Holocaust memory all to themselves, the greedy bastards...

It is a well known tactic of Holocaust deniers and trivializers, to "care" for the memory of the "other" holocaust victims...

This is a perfect place to draw my readers' attention to the quote defining the interest of my blog:

"Capitulation to dogma over the spirit of open inquiry leads to the very catastrophes that the unconscious proponents of dogmatism most fear--thus we have the book-burners of both left and right joined in common cause."

And the above story shows how the Far Right and the Far Left are joined in common cause, when the common cause is pro-antisemitism... The difference being in the colour of the dress the lady wears, not its shape or cut.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Palestinian Refugees: Numbers

Solomonia has a post + comments.

Worth reading. Or reminding.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Comment trail for the Monday:

There are days when I just can't be bothered with writing full posts. That's when the comment trail is handy. To remind those of you who are interested that I'm still very much kicking, though out of sorts*, sort of:

Clooney and Obama, Tarantino and the scalping Jews, Simply Jews reports and I comment, feistily.

George Galloway on Engage and the predictable ensuing discussion with some unexpected twists

My post on Darwish on Z-word blog and the thread that follows

(The Yusuf Ibn Ibrahim character reminded me of the good old day on the Charlie Rose message boards, when posters created different personas under different monikers and even went as far as having conversations with themselves.)

Another endless thread on SeattlePI, this time about Johann Hari's latest polemic

(* I don't know why, but renovations at the Contentious Centrist's household bring with them a period of mayhem and unbelievable angst. I have come to the conclusion that in our daily exertions, only a few crises surpass the stress of: 1. relocation; 2. renovation. I don't remember being this despondent even during the days preceding a c-section date with my obstetrician...)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Judea Pearl on the unfathomable ethics of Al-Jazeera:

A chill went down my spine when British-accented announcers, who introduced Al Jazeera's English channel correspondent Rula Amin, translated the wisdom of Kuntar's words from the original Arabic. Imagine a voice cast in a perfect Oxford accent articulating in unmistaken empathy: "He has returned to a hero's welcome . . . After 29 years in [an] Israeli prison, Samir Kuntar spent his first day of freedom vowing to continue to fight against Israel. He says he hopes to see the enemy again very soon."

Then came Kuntar's birthday party, initiated by Al Jazeera's bureau in Beirut and aired on Al Jazeera TV July 19 (translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute). There was orchestral music, a huge birthday cake and infinite admiration by the Al Jazeera bureau chief announcing: "Brother Samir, we would like to celebrate your birthday with you. You deserve even more than this . . . Happy birthday, brother Samir."

How amateurish was the Coliseum in Rome compared with modern-day satellite rituals of death and brutality. Imagine millions of living rooms watching their new role model, child-killer Kuntar, lowering a huge butcher knife onto his birthday cake to the sound of fireworks and male chorus: "This is the sword of the Arabs, Samir."

Previous posts about the event

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mahmoud Darwish: A footnote

Saudi Justice


Riad, 30 July (AKI) - A Saudi court has sentenced a chemistry professor to 600 lashes and 8 months in jail for a 'telephone relationship' with a female student.

The student, whose marriage allegedly broke down as result of the relationship got 350 lashes and 4 months in prison.

The academic, who worked in a teaching hospital in the south of the country was convicted on the basis of the student's husband's testimony, according to Arabic satellite TV station Al-Arabiya.

The student's husband claimed his marriage broke down in 2004 as a result of his wife's relationship with the academic, who has said he will appeal the sentences at the Supreme Council of Magistrates.

The academic also hopes human rights groups will back his case. [Hope away...]


Riyadh: A Saudi man working with the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice recently killed his daughter for converting to Christianity.

According to sources close to the victim, the religious police member had cut the tongue of the girl and burned her to death following a heated debate on religion.

O Russia, O Georgia

Spot the villain in last week's war:

For Seamus Milne who fantasizes this about the current war, the villain is obvious and utterly predictable for someone of his beliefs:

Could these by any chance be the leaders of the same governments that in 2003 invaded and occupied - along with Georgia, as luck would have it - the sovereign state of Iraq on a false pretext at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives? (H/T: NWO)

Norm with his lightsaber again, here, pokes Milne's straw Bush

For the Iconoclast, it s the Russians:

The dispute in Georgia will find some temporary brokered settlement. But the bloody assault unleashed by Putin adds new dangers and difficulties to Europe. Once again, Russia threatens peace, stability, the rule of law and the rights of sovereign democracies on its border.

For Nick Clark, it is clearly the Georgians:

"I've decided to finish the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace. The safety of our peacekeeping forces and civilian population has been restored. "

The aggressor has been punished, having sustained considerable losses. Its armed forces have been disorganised," he added.

The aggressor certainly has been punished [says Nick]. But this is a crushing defeat not only for Georgia and their neurotic, hysterical, and unbelievably wallyish President, but for the entire Russophobic movement.

I'm more inclined to agree with the Shark Blog's scepticism about the pure virtue or mendacity of either side, as expressed in his two posts. The following points struck me as particularly incisive:

* "Late Marriage," an Israeli film from about 10 years ago, is a good introduction to Georgian culture. [my thoughts exactly, when I read this comment about warm and gentle Georgians, in a post in the Iconoclast]

* Yet other views begin not so much with issues of justice as with issues of wisdom. It appears that Georgia began the fighting. Its leaders may have hoped for American, European, or even Israeli assistance, and did not take account of the prospect that Russia would invade and no one else would do more than criticize.

* The comments of Israeli leaders about the Russian onslaught have been tamer than those coming out of the White House. No point in little Israel threatening big Russia, which holds many of the cards in this region and has not always shown itself to be restrained.

* Seymour Yakobshvili, a minister in the Georgian government, is accusing Israel of being a traitor against his country for not continuing the arms shipments or otherwise helping in its predicament. [a sentiment as depressingly predictable as snow in a Canadian winter].


"We shouldn't make any moral judgments on this war. Stopping the war, that's what we're interested in," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner explained, adding, "Don't ask us who's good and who's bad here." (source)