Sunday, January 31, 2010

Howard Zinn is dead

Oliver Kamm eulogizes the man (comment thread the follows the post is very enlightening as to the kind of people Zinn inspired...):

"But more ominous, perhaps, than the occupation of Iraq is the occupation of the US. I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over. I wake up thinking: the US is in the grip of a president surrounded by thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water or the air, or what kind of world will be inherited by our children and grandchildren."

Whether Zinn realised this or not - and I was always inclined to the view that Zinn realised very little - this was the language of far-right conspiracists such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber. The notion that the world's greatest democracy is not only led by an Administration you politically disagree with but is occupied by alien forces is a fantasy that incites violent protest. It was a disgraceful remark by a man whose wasted life exemplified his character as an intellectual waster.

And later adds the following:

If your heart is in the right place, so the assumption seems to be, then it doesn't matter if your scholarship is sloppy or risible. Well, it does matter, because historical truth matters for its own sake. Zinn had no conception of it. To him, an example of "admirable and painstaking research" was - seriously - a popular book claiming that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job. What a pitiful, foolish charlatan the man was.

For an alternative reading of the man, try this melancholy effusion, by ISM, which places him, ironically, alongside such abominations as Norman Finkelstein and Gilad Atzmon, Jews, BTW, the only kind of Jews that members of the ISM like and accept as legitimate.

Enough said.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Comment Trail for the week of January 31:

@The Spine
: Aid for Haiti

The right to Negative Liberty

There has been an outpouring of support on the blogosphere for the blogger Seismic Shock who got a visit from police at the behest of one of his subjects.

It concerns the issue of liberty: the liberty to publish well-argued opinions without fearing that the local police will drop by for a "friendly chat" aimed at nudging you towards removing posts from your own blog which may have offended someone else's cherished self-image. For one thing, finding the police at you door on a Sunday morning is not exactly an image of friendliness conjured up by law-abiding conscientious citizens. For another, the preservation of another person's cherished self-image should not really be the business of our law-enforcement personnel.

I think this is a very simple principle to grasp and to agree with.

However, as the whole show was taking place in the UK, there was no crucial cause for deep concern about a travesty of justice. This is how things are in democracies, where the fundamental rights are well understood. There may occur glitches but they are noticed and corrected, more often than not. This is not the case in non-democratic regimes, where rulers by incitement alone, can cause untold damage to individuals who do not conform to the grand narrative of the regime.

II. This is why I find this recent bit of news profoundly disturbing:

"Arab university lecturer and writer is hiding underground out of fear for his life after shocking the Palestinian Authority with a book that links Jews with the Temple Mount. The Arab world has been conducting a campaign, including removal of tons of dirt containing archaeological evidence, to try to eliminate historical Jewish links with the Temple Mount.

Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, of Birzeit University in Ramallah, threw acid on the propaganda campaign that tries to convince Arabs that the First and Second Temples never existed. He wrote in a book, “The legendary Temple of Jerusalem may be the place of the Presence of the Almighty and where the High Priests served Him.”

PA officials are furious with Nusseibeh, a scion of a distinguished Arab family, who now is in hiding and cannot be contacted even by mobile phone."

I found no other source for this information.

Some of my readers may recall the great kerfuffle involving Dr. Nusseibeh about which I wrote here, here and here.

There can be no comparison between the severity of the two cases. Nusseibeh's life is in danger, not just his level of comfort. I keep hoping that the news report may have been premature in its conclusions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pity Us

Tammy, who blogs for Liberate America offers a rather fanciful account of and edifying context to the Haitian catastrophe. In some logic understood only by her she somehow sweeps both Gazans and Haitians under the same tent.

Here is Snoopy the Goon's portrait of the lady

I left the following comment on her blog:

"The tragedies of Haiti and Gaza "??

There is something grotesque about the need of pro-Palestinian "supporters" to have Palestinian suffering included in some of the worst calamities that have befallen humanity in modern times, be them man-made or natural disasters.

I don't even know what to call this pathological envy for other people's catastrophes.

If Jews have the Holocaust to enjoy, Palestinians make up their own Holocaust so as not to be outdone by the Jews.

If Black South Africans had apartheid to boast of, Palestinians start fantasizing about their own version of apartheid.

If Haitians are struck by a major natural catastrophe that claims 150,000 dead and over a million homeless, then Palestinians, too, need to place their claim to glory by manufacturing similar straights, of suffering from an invented man-made flood disaster (or whatever you might call Tammy's fanciful account of the rain floods in Gaza) and clamouring for the world's pity.

Pity us, pity us, the Palestinians plead. Not them. Us. Aren't we the most pitiful of all victims, ever, in the history of the world?


There is, actually, a medical term for this psychiatric disorder. It is called "Munchhausen syndrome", a mental disease in which those affected fake disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is in a class of disorders known as factitious disorders which involve "illnesses" whose symptoms are either self-induced or falsified by the patient. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome.

A variant of this disease is known as "Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy":

Fabricated or Induced Illness is the formal name of a type of abuse in which a caregiver feigns or induces an illness in a person under their care, in order to attract attention, sympathy, or to fill other emotional needs.

I have always preferred to relate to this pathological need for pity from the Palestinians as a rhetorical fallacy.



Previously, I left a request for some clarification on one of Tammy's unsubstantiated allegations, made here.

The comment reads as follows:

"The King-Crane Commission is relatively unknown, buried under a century of Zionist propaganda and attempts to discredit Dr. Henry Churchill King and Charles R. Crane as Nazi sympathizers."

An interesting document.

I googled King-Crane and could not find any evidence that they were both denounced as Nazi Sympathizers. Who denounced them? When? On what sources do you base these accusations?

Thus far, no explanation has been furnished.

Parked comment:

The following appears in the Crane-King report:

"4. We recommend, in the fourth place, that Emir Feisal be made the head of the new united Syrian State. “ (1919)

Yet, in spite of the authors' assessment of the hostility towards the Zionst Project, their own recommended ruler signed the following accord:

"Agreement Between Emir Feisal Husseini and Dr. Weizman

His Royal Highness the Emir FEISAL, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. CHAIM WIEZMANN, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization.

mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realising that the surest means of working out the consumation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them,

have agreed upon the following Articles;-


The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in the respective territories.

Immediately following the completion of the deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a Commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto.


In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantee for carrying into effect the British Government's Declaration of the 2nd of November, 1917.


All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil. In taking such measures measures the Arab peasant and tenant farmes shall be protected in their rights and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development." (1919)

Something does not quite fit. Have you any explanation?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obama's Infallibility

I've been quite remiss in following up my initial determination to point out the effort to preserve Obama's infallibility.

The most recent example, however, could not be ignored: How "President Barack Obama's liberal backers [who] have a long list of grievances... are directing their anger less at Mr. Obama than at the man who works down the hall from him. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, they say, is the prime obstacle to the changes they thought Mr. Obama's election would bring...

For the president, Mr. Emanuel is a useful foil, playing a role akin to that of James Baker, who absorbed attacks from unhappy conservatives while chief of staff to Ronald Reagan

Reminds me of Reverend Wright's paranoid complaint. When "Asked if he's spoken to his former parishioner since he become President, Wright told David Squires, "them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me."

This is a timely reminder of how some of Obama's greatest fans think and act. For them, Obama is made in their own image, American radical who managed to dupe most other Americans into electing him by taking centrist positions. And, with typical Leftist-"progressive" inclination to conspiracies and paranoia, they refuse to accept that it was they who had misread the man, even as he was speaking quite clearly about his positions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Comment Trail for the week beginning January 25

@ The Spine

@ Z-word blog:
About how to legitimize manipulating memory, inducing amnesia and denying the Holocaust

@ The Goon

@ Harry's Place

@ Mick's

@ Solomonia

@ The Huffington Post: 1 2

@ The Spine

@ Liberate America

One may well wonder: From whose oppression is America in need of of liberating? Anyone care to guess without peaking?)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

@ Buj al Arab, in a liberal mindset, laments humbly and softly about Saudi segregationist policies in Mecca:

What does this say about Muslims and Islam? We have something to hide? Of course so! I've been to the Vatican and La Sagrada Famiglia and probably a hundred churches and a few synagogues too. They don't ask for your faith, but for your respect.

In the comments, however, he reveals his more reactionary inclinations and superstitions. I mean the need to insert the standard Arab-Muslim paranoia even when he intends to say something positive about synagogues.

"i was frisked by an ex mossad guy.."

I couldn't help but drop a comment in response to Buj, who presents Islam as "flexible and ... attacked since it was born".

Here is the comment:

Very curious. How did you know he was a an ex-Mossad guy? Why would an Ex-Mossad guy work as a security guard at some synagogue? It's like you expect ex-CIA agents to work as guards at a shopping mall in downtown Montana. You guys sure have some freaky hallucinations about the Mossad.

Even more curious I find your consistent avoidance of the obvious term you should apply to Saudi segregationist society: Apartheid.

You can check our buj's answer here.


Parked comments (Comments I submitted to said thread which as yet have not been published; Buj may try to keep up an appearance of liberality but in fact he suffers from a severe case of veritasphobia:)

Yes well whatever...


"I made up the ex-mossad guy up,"

As you make up a lot of other stuff, I presume, such as your novel interpretation for "Mea culpa".

In the judicial system, a judge instructs the jury that if a witness is caught in a lie, it is up to the jury to decide whether that witness is trustworthy or whether to dismiss his/her entire testimony altogether.

Since you say things here that by your own admission are "made up" I guess it is a measure of your readers' credulity or ethical standards as to whether they should believe anything you write.

Jean Simmons

Actress Jean Simmons passed away. I learned about it here.

I remember best her role in one of my favourite movies "The Big Country" and more recently as an older woman in "The Thorn Birds", playing Maggie's aloof mother.

80 years old she was, defeated by lung cancer.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Questions to which the Answer is simultaneously "Yes" and "No"

Or: As Norm puts it much more succinctly:

"Masters of the Hegelian dialectic":

British millionaire David Martin Abrahams to Hamas:

Do you recognize Israel's right to exist?

Hamas to Abrahams:


(During the meeting in Hebron, Dwaik stressed that other Hamas leaders, including Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, have voiced support for the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries.

"The [Hamas] charter was drafted more than 20 years ago," Dwaik noted, adding that his movement would even be prepared to "nullify" the document.

"No one wants to throw anyone into the sea," he said.)



(A senior Hamas leader in the West Bank said Thursday that the Islamist organization was prepared to accept 'temporarily' an independent Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.

But Mahmoud al-Ramahi told the Gaza-based pro-Islamic Jihad broadcaster al-Quds Radio that this did not mean Hamas would recognize the Jewish state.

'For Hamas, this solution is transitional, we temporarily accept a Palestinian state on 1967 borders without recognizing Israel and without giving up our legitimate right in the territories of 1948 (Israel),' he said, repeating the known Hamas view.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rules of Engagement

AJC Reality check video

Comment Trail:

@ Bob's

@ Z-word

What's Wrong with Heidegger?

Mick Hartley is a favourite blogger of mine. He speaks succinctly and delivers short encapsulated observations* that clarify without further confusing.

Here he writes about Heidegger and if you ever felt uneasy about that philosopher but were too pusillanimous to admit it or understand exactly why, take this tablet and be relieved:

[Heidegger] may have been a bad philosopher, but he's still a philosopher. The point about Heidegger, surely, is not that he leads straight to Nazism, but that he's the godfather of the whole anti-enlightenment obfuscatory tradition of late 20th Century post-modernist thinking, and it's as well to be reminded on occasion of its totalitarian and anti-humanist roots.


* Ex.
There should be a law - I'll call it Hartley's Law - that ignorance expands to fill the space available.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Arab Fantasies

Via: Buj al Arab

A young Arab man goes to a western country to acquire an education. Of the infinite array of moral wisdom he can choose from to take back home, what does he bring? A few "hip" American colloquialisms, kinky sexual fantasies and vulgar, Der Stürmer-type sensibilities.

When you go into certain English-written Arab blogs, it is impossible to miss or misread the kinds of knowledge and sentiment that inform their positions, who they choose to admire, whom they quote.

One always wonders about this resistance to knowledge one encounters, again and again, when attempting to converse with Arab posters. It's as if getting to know and understand what good arguments and irrefutable facts are will somehow debase their Arabness. It's as if to be an Arab means to reject history books, researches, philosophical truisms, cool headed deliberation and bona fide attitudes. It's as if to be an Arab means an obligation to deny the Holocaust, and to demonize Jews.

Where does it come from?

"What is wrong with Arab societies? Why are they unable to install democratic governments? These are the questions addressed by the British journalist Brian Whitaker in his book "What's Really Wrong with the Middle East". His answer (available in English), according to the reviewer James M. Dorsey, is that not only the governments but also the societies themselves are repressive. "To describe this phenomenon, Whitaker draws on Palestinian-American historian Hisham Sharabi's theory of neo-patriarichism. In a controversial book published in the 1980s that is still banned in many Arab countries, Sharabi says Arab society is built around the 'dominance of the father (patriarch), the centre around which the national as well as the natural family are organized. Thus between ruler and ruled, between father and child, there exist only vertical relations: in both settings the paternal will is absolute will, mediated in both the society and the family by a forced consensus based on ritual and coercion.' That is to say, Arab regimes have franchised repression so that society, the oppressed, participates in their repression and denial of rights. The regime is in effect the father of all fathers at the top of the pyramid."

For those who are not well versed in the history of the world,
Der Stürmer was "a weekly Nazinewspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945... It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic... the tabloid-style Der Stürmer often ran obscene materials such as anti-Semitic caricatures and propaganda-like accusations of blood libel, pornography, anti-Catholic, anti-capitalist and anti-"reactionary" propaganda too, in order to appeal to a larger public of readers, especially among the lower class." (wiki)

There should no mistake that what animates these kind of "criticism" has nothing to do with Palestinian suffering, such as it is, or Gaza blockade or whatever policies Israel enacts in its efforts to provide protect to its own citizens against Palestinian terrorism. It is quite possible to disagree with these policies without resorting to Holocaust analogies and antisemitic language. Still, too many Arabs are simply incapable of dealing with realities, facts, common sense, sound arguments, when it comes to Jews or Israel.

Here is an example of what passes for "criticism" of Israel:

Oh, i wanna see CC comment here.. I really wanna see what Zionists have to say.. and at least I can defend my unfounded reputation that I delete all comments I disagree with :)

DJ... Zionists are very sensitive creatures.. we should take care of them.. we should devise a final solution that satisfies all hehe

Matthias Küntzel has researched and written extensively about Arab-muslim and Nazi collaboration:

Anti-Semitism based on the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy is not rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in European ideological models. The decisive transfer of this ideology to the Muslim world took place between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi propaganda. Important to this process were the Arabic-language service broadcast by the German shortwave transmitter in Zeesen between 1939 and 1945, and the role of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was the first to translate European anti-Semitism into an Islamic context. Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, antimodern mass movement, its main early promoters - the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Mufti and the Qassamites in Palestine - were supported financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National Socialist government.

In my opinion, resisting knowledge is a symptom of the fear of change. As Brian Whitaker says, it is an 'Arab malaise' -- the repressive reflexes of Arab regimes which have been internalized and are repeated at virtually every layer of society. Political repression is not just a feature of the lack of movement and choice liberty. It is an effective instrument that puts manacles over the minds of people to stop them from ever wondering, questioning, scrutinizing themselves.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ The New Republic: What people say and what people hear

@ Z-word blog: On Gerald Kaufman
's universally applied ethics

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Israel's Rescue Mission in Haiti

Israel sent an IDF rescue delegation that constructed "a field hospital in the disaster area that will include 220 personnel, among them Home Front Command rescue teams and IDF Medical Corps teams."

At the end of the first day, the Israeli mission had some successes:

Doctor Shir Dar, who works at Hadassah Ein-Karem, delivered the first healthy baby in the Israeli hospital. [-]

Israel's rescue personnel are also focusing on locating survivors still trapped in the ruins of buildings. One of the Israeli search and rescue teams on Saturday freed 69-year-old France Gilles. "We told him we were from Israel and he asked if we were mocking him," a member of the delegation said. [-]

At another site Israelis spoke with a trapped man, seemingly the only survivor after a building collapsed. Following several hours of excavation, rescuers had succeeded in providing him with fluids intravenously and hoped to extricate him within a few hours...

"We have already removed most of the piping and have managed to attach intravenous drips to his torso. As far as we are concerned, as soon as the drips are attached we can proceed smoothly. Now we need to remove the debris from around his legs. Then we should be able to pull him free." [-] (Ha'aretz)

Also, about 100 patients have been treated, including surgeries on children suffering from serious orthopaedic injuries which had been neglected for a few days. (Source in Hebrew)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ The Spine

@ Solomonia

Worth challenging your reading attention span:

@ Bob's: Balkan history as never seen before

I recently began to read Robert Kaplan's seminal account about that region "Balkan Ghosts" which I intend to finish. I am declaring my intention here by way of committing myself to this task. That is because after I read the first ten pages, I put the book down and so far have not been able to open it again. I used to think that Bin Laden's minions were highly imaginative and innovative in the horrorist brutality they inflict upon their victims (like Daniel Pearl's gruesome fate). I thought they were harking back to a distant medieval past when human beings were not yet, well, conceived as quite human, or better still, not all equally human. I was mistaken. The creativity of the human mind, when it is engorged with hatred and instructed by authoritative leaders, is boundless when it comes to inventing new forms of slaughtering outsiders. I'm referring to this passage, one of the opening scenes with which Kaplan sets up the stage for introducing the reader to the kind of historical ghosts he will be visiting. Do note that this horror took place in 1940, not 1490!

@ Glavin's blog:

Terry continues to demand his scalps (in the unlikely event that some reader might not get the allusion, here is an explanation)

And reports the shocking news about the Afghanistan qwagmire of Confidence, Progress And Optimism :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ ZionNation

@ Judeosphere

@ The Spine


@ Spine

@ Dubai Jazz

Saturday, January 09, 2010


What the world watches,

while this takes place offstage and away from the public eye.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ Dubai Jazz

Update: Said blogger has taken a lurid turn from his expressed admiration to a Holocaust survivor (a misnomer) to speaking of masturbation and hard-ons... A weird, though not totally unexpected devolution, considering his obsession with sex in unlikely scenarios . I guess he believes he is being original and nonchalant, a right hip kind of guy, speaking to a certain gallery. The conversation is rather instructive and I recommend reading it. He is, let me remind my reader, a passionate supporter of Palestinian rights and quite a believer in justice for all (Arabs).

@ Mick Hartley's

@ The Spine

@ Terry Glavin's

Friday, January 01, 2010 ifs, no buts..

Via: Terry Glavin,

British MP, John Mann, accepts Jan Karski Award:

And I come not to elaborate on the threats, threats that you know all too well. And there are many:

The satellite stations of Saudi Arabia
The resurgent Nazis of Eastern Europe
The new revisionists of the Baltics
The President of Iran
The British intellectuals who get nervous when I label them accurately, not as the anti Zionists they wish to be know as, but as the racists that they have become
The scholars including Americas, who answer every argument with a but. When there are no ifs, no buts in the fight against anti-semitism.

A Stroll in the Arab street


@ Dubai Jazz: The blogger expresses an admiration for a Holocaust survivor which is an interesting turn of sentiment, considering his previous record: here or here.

I left the following comments:

here :

"While it is true that Epstein lost family in the camps (she mysteriously has photos that she cannot account for as to who took them, it would be interesting to find out if they are even genuine, but let's say they are), she nevertheless spent the war in safety in England as a child. Calling oneself "a Holocaust survivor" connotes images of someone who was in the camps him or herself, starved, beaten and ultimately facing a gas chamber. Ms. Epstein was none of these.

The International Solidarity Movement that employs and sends Ms. Epstein around has only one goal: To send a message that "See? The Jews have no right to a Jewish homeland. We can parade around a Jew who will agree with our aims and mitigate everything we say and do." She’s a world traveler, staying in nice hotels, putting out the ISM party line and getting paid for it. Nice work if you can get it."

And here:

"LOL @ Contentious Centrist suggesting that a woman as great as Hedy can be discredited just because she managed to survive the camps."

Well, let me explain it to you a little more simply: my father in law's family was exterminated in Auschwitz. He managed not to be exterminated because he was a prisoner of war in Italy. He managed to survive wandering the Italian countryside, being hidden in monasteries and due to the goodness of the Italian people. When he returned to Salonika at the end of the war, he found out that his entire family, save one sister, perished in the Holocaust. He is not considered a Holocaust survivor because he was not in the camps.

Your hero Hedy Epstein had it much easier than he did during the war years. Her family perished in the camps. She was transferred to Britain where she spent the war years, like all British children did. So, she is not a Holocaust survivor. Because she did not survive the camps. She survived the war. And in much better conditions that my father in law, and thousands of others, did.

What baffles me is how eager you are to allocate this "saintly' label to a Jewish woman while in all other instances, when you speak of the Holocaust, you speak dismissively with an attempt to belittle this genocide and its meaning for Jews and humanity.

As you did here, for example:

Or when you make your blog a platform from which to publish the work of a Holocaust-denying cartoonist.

Admiring a Holocaust survivor, then, seems to be a very dubious choice for someone like you, a self-serving propaganda which has nothing to do with any feeling you might have for historical accuracy or justice. Whatever is offered to demonize Israel, you are an eager buyer.

You are also a coward who cannot really counter argument and facts with counter-arguments and facts. All you can do is to offer this mono-maniacal laughter by way of response. People with brains and some discernment realize this very simple truth.

And here (comment #8):

I will say it again, Dubai Jazz, that you have a very poor grasp of history, recordable truth, and plain common sense.

I notice that you do not quibble with anything I wrote in my comment. It seems you have nothing to say for yourself or on behalf of this old lady except hurl curses and insults which are completely irrelevant. In response to facts and substance you indulge in a tantrum, and generate as much noise as possible, but very little meaningful signal.

Your inability to deal with facts and definitions and your tangible ignorance of historical accuracy serve "cheap Zionist propagandists" as nothing else does. All they need to do is simply to quote you and like-minded posters in order to show the futility of attempting a reasonable conversation with you people... :)



of my readers may wonder why I bother reading these blogs in the Arab blogosphere, why I keep the record of my visits there and the exchanges that takes place following my comments. I look upon my blog quite literally as a web log, that is, a combination of the two meanings of "log": a written record of messages sent and received and a written record of events on a voyage of reconnaissance. I want to acquaint myself with the dominant narratives in different places in the world, and what gets merchandised and disseminated in the "Arab street" is one such cyberspace region in which I have an interest.

Why the interest?



Jews are caught up in a perfect storm: In Western societies, real danger to Jews no longer comes from Christian hatred of Judaism or from Nazi-like animus against our "race"; it comes instead from a hatred of the Jewish state and its Jewish supporters. That this animus comes mostly from the ideological left, with which a majority of Jews identify, is painful and confusing to many.

At the same time, blowing in from the Muslim world is a different sort of anti-Semitism, one which combines modern anti-Zionist themes with primordial Islamic theological hatred. Jew-hatred now drives countless masses around the globe. Imbibing this poison, Muslim radicals have attacked and murdered Jewish people from Israel to Europe, from India to Seattle.

Islamic hatred has indeed come to America. In 1999, Sufi Sheikh Hisham Kabanni, head of the Supreme Islamic Council, testified to the State Department that 80 percent of American mosques are in the hands of radicals. A study by Freedom House, a Washington, D.C. policy center, found Saudi-produced anti-Semitic literature in Islamic Centers around the country. "Close Guantanamo, Re-open Auschwitz" has been shouted by Muslims at anti-Israel demonstrations in Fort Lauderdale and posted on Boston based Muslim Web sites.

And B:

The Palestinian issue remains a core unsolved problem of the Arab period under colonial control. I do not see Zionism as a colonial movement but I do see that the Arabs not only consider the Palestinian question as the most prominent and important remaining vestige of colonialism but that they also blame Zionism as the core of what helped to create a smooth transition between British colonial policy and the American search for a dominant role in the region.

Mr. Rosner, many writers on the Middle East want to de-emphasize the Palestinian question in order to deflect any major responsibility for its solution to Israel. The uniqueness of the Palestinian question is the way that it consistently retains its emotional significance for the Arab masses. The Arab satellite media have chosen to become the televisor of incidents of violence against Palestinians and of the restriction on their freedom of movement. These news clips are repeated incessantly. This immersion of Arab satellite television in imaging Palestinian suffering in almost every newscast puts this issue on the popular mind again and again so that popular consciousness becomes a burden on the regimes.

Public opinions in Middle East countries hold their own regimes responsible for the suffering they see by blaming their own regimes for weakness and for maintaining a strong relationship with the United States even while the U.S. supports Israel and is the essential basis of Israeli continued military control over Palestinian life and military occupation of Palestinian land. In this way, the Palestinian issue not only maintains the conflict between the Arabs and Israel but also exacerbates tensions between the U.S. and virtually every Arab country.

So I try to find out for myself just how entrenched are these trends and positions by monitoring a few of the English-written Arab blogs which I encountered on my Internet travels and marking a trail of my voyage.

Clearly, my experience is very limited and anecdotal, but so far I have not encountered any position which challenges the analyses made in the two excerpts I quoted above.

comment placed following an article in the National Post about Toronto’s Reviving the Islamic Spirit convention sums up nicely both the cognitive dissonance and the almost schizoid distortion in the perception of reality that are symptomatic of the kind of opinions I met in the Arab blogs:

it saddens me to read such a baseless, garbage comments posted on such a respected news paper by bunch of misguided, hate mongers. As a proud Canadian Muslim I have so much respect for Christianity and Judaism. It would be unfair for me to suggest blood thirsty leaders such as Bush, tony Blair, Hitler, and war criminal Israeli leaders action represents Christianity or Judaism.

The stroll continues...