Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comment trail:

@ Bob's: About Pragmatism and humanitarian intervention

@ Mick's: The Complicity of Women

@ The Spine: Obama's Seder

@ The Spine: Le Roi soleil

@ Buj the Arab: Don’t lecture UAE on women, Israel told

Not so fast, says I:

"Human Development Report 2009"


Human Development Indicators


Table J p. 181:

Under: Gender-related Development Index (first column):

27. Israel Rank: 26


Life expectancy: 82.7

Rate enrollment in education: 92.1

Estimated income: 20,599


35. United Arab Emirates Rank: 38


Life expectancy: 78.7

Rate enrollment in education: 78.7

Estimated income: 18,361


It's not about who is better. It's about truth, facts and records. How lies can be cited, recited and taken at face value without the slightest urge to check up on sources.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Nightmare Coming True in Norway:

From "Islam in Europe"s blog:

A Jewish father says that his son was on his way home from school when he was stopped by a gang of older boys:

"They asked: 'aren't you a Jew?', to which he answered yes. Then he was physically taken and hung in the woods because he was a Jew. He managed to get himself lose, how he doesn't know today and ran home," says the father.

Harassment from Muslim boys has become so bad that the family fled the district to another place. But the children weren't let alone there either.

NRK spoke with the teachers in high schools with many Muslim students. None of the teachers dared to be interviewed. They are afraid of reprisals from the students and were therefore anonymized.

Teacher 1, female:

"There's a notorious bullying of Jews. Everything from jokes to public death threats. "It says in the Koran that you should kill Jews, all proper Muslims hate Jews. Jews will be killed if they come here to this school," the students say. To praise Hitler for what he did to the Jews also get repeated by students at my school. The worst of this is that Jew-hatred has become completley legitimate among large groups of students of Muslim background."

Teacher 2, male:

"I see Jew-hatred particularly in social-studies class. Students say the Jews control everything, the entire West is controlled by Jews. Some say also that they admire Hitler because he killed Jews. 'The attack on the Twin Towers in New York September 11, 2001, it was the Jews who were behind it'. In my class things are such that if somebody says they support terrorism, there's some who protest. But if somebody expresses Jew-hatred, nobody protests."

Teacher 3, female:

"Several students snicker when I speak of the Holocaust. A boy stood up and ordered me to stop speaking of Jews and the Holocaust. Most of these youth are born and raised in Norway. I think it's shocking that it's possible to grow up in Norway with such attitudes."

Teacher 4, male:

"F*cking Jew' is a much used curse in class. If I were Jewish I would have felt extremely insulted. These statements are a big problem."

The teachers NRK spoke with had the impression that students in Norwegian school get many of their attitudes from radio and TV broadcasts via satellite.

More here:

"So we have a publisher shot for publishing a book by Salman Rusdhie, a prominent politician threatened on her life for speaking at a pro-Israel peace rally, anonymous Jews and anonymous teachers speaking about anti-Semitism, funnymen and journalists who censor themselves, and the anonymous bloggers of NIJ reporting on it all.

This will not do. A society cannot remain civilized when fear has it by the throat."

Here is the video with English subtitles

Mick, Nick and Ian McEwan:

@ Mick Hartley:

"Ian McEwan insists that criticising Islam is not racist:

The Booker Prize winner said those who claimed judging Muslims was "de facto" racism were playing a "poisonous argument".

McEwan, 61, the best-selling author of novels including Amsterdam, Atonement and Saturday, thought many in the left wrongly took this position because they had an anti-Americanism shared with Islamists.

In an interview with today's Telegraph Magazine, McEwan said: "Chunks of left-of-centre opinion have tried to close down the debate by saying that if you were to criticise Islam as a thought system you are a de facto racist. That is a poisonous argument.

"They do it on the basis that they see an ally in their particular forms of anti-Americanism," he said.

"So these radical Muslims are the shock-troops for the armchair Left who don't want to examine too closely the rest of the package – the homophobia, the misogyny and so on."

@ Nick Cohen's:

"Beard has incautiously suggests that there may – just may – be evolutionary reasons for gender differences in the average intellectual aptitudes of men and women. The press denounce him as a Nazi and a eugenicist, and he agrees to appear at the ICA to defend himself. In an acid scene, McEwan shows that London followers of post-modernism are as contemptuous of the scientific method and as potentially racist as Alaskan followers of Sarah Palin."

This is relevant:

Terry Eagleton:

"Even then, Christopher was mesmerised by the idea of America. He always wanted a bigger scene.

What was definitive for him, politically, was the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989. I think that was the turning point. The deep Islamophobic impulse he has stems from that. But he's still an idiosyncratic mixture of various political attitudes that don't always go together."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Collection:

Comment Trail:

@ The Spine: Concessions, gestures and diplomacy in the latest US/Israel kerfuffle

The Times points out near the editorial’s end that “if Israel is to make real concessions, it will need more than gestures from the Arab states.” More importantly, I would say, it will need much more than gestures from the Palestinians."

The dictionary tells us that 'gesture" means "An act or a remark made as a formality or as a sign of intention or attitude: sent flowers as a gesture of sympathy."

However, I'm not sure that 'gesture' in the political sense quite adheres to the same meaning. I always get the feeling that there is some sort of separation between the appearance of a movement (which they call "gesture") and its substance (which is what they call "significance" or meaning).

When Obama asked for a good will gesture towards Israel from Saudi Arabia before his Cairo speech he was rebuffed. I don't believe anyone made much of this rebuff, except maybe Marty here and a few other dedicated pro-Israeli Americans. No one called it an insult, or a slap in the face to America. Even though what he asked for was only a 'gesture' in the sense of the APPEARANCE to be well-inclined towards Israel. Even without any request that the gesture be backed up with anything more substantive than words, there was not the slightest will to meet his plea. And this was deemed to be of such insignificance that no one dared criticize out loud Arab rejectionism.

Consider this muted acceptance of Arab intransigence in comparison with this latest kerfuffle, in which Israel is being condemned without reserve for refusing to make a gesture of compliance with American demands.

Israel takes gestures to be more than lip service. She takes them seriously. Israel's past gestures involved destroying prosperous settlements in Gaza, moving large groups of people from one place to another, taking risks for peace in the Oslo and Wye accords, following UN resolution as in the withdrawal from South Lebanon, removing hundreds of checkpoints from the WB, re-routing the security barrier in order to meet Palestinian grievances, allowing hundreds if not thousands of truckloads of humanitarian relief into Gaza, treating sick Palestinian kids and adults in its hospitals, etc etc. The list goes on, which no one, least of all President Obama, is ever bothered to recall when he decides on another round of bullying Israel into "compliance". Compliance with what, exactly? What can Israel do, or not do, that will make the slightest dent on Arab insatiable greed for dominance and exclusivity?

In order to be able to accommodate American wishes, Israel needs, as Marty wisely point out, "more than gestures from the Arab states” and from Palestinians.

So far it's been Israel taking steps towards the Arabs while the latter remain standing there, overflowing with contempt, rage and pathological denial, arms crossed, daring anyone to suggest that they need to move a finger towards getting what they pretend that they want (statehood).

@ The Spine: Settlements, Jerusalem, Jewish suffering etc etc etc

"..warning to right wing nut jobs in Israel that they don't have Carte Blanche"

So you consider that building 1600 units in East Jerusalem is the work of "right wing nut jobs"?? So now East Jerusalem is a "settlement"?

I have given my position on settlements more than once. I am all for mutual cancellation of "rights" if the result is genuine peace. But I refuse to reiterate a stand that de-facto strengthens Palestinian claims over Israel while weakening Jewish historical claims. If Israeli Jews are expected to wrench their attachment from their historical heartland, so should Palestinians.

President Obama with his insistence on including Jerusalem within his definition of "settlements" has not advanced peace one tiny step. He has only served to breathe new life into Palestinian hopes of destroying Israel, one step at a time. It's not the Israelis that need to be bullied into concessions they ALREADY MADE MORE THAN ONCE!

@ Solomonia: Pity the Gaza kids

Poor kids. They appear to be miserable, angry, terrified, while the mothers whose faces are unveiled are smiling. What is the meaning of these smiles?

Where is the UN's concern for the children of Gaza in this story? This is nothing less than deep psychological abuse of children, at the very least.



In my travels across cyberspace I always stop at certain locations. The following is borrowed without permission from some message board:

Why has President Obama decided not to prosecute anyone for torture?

He's afraid of the raging likes of Liz Cheney and her wicked ilk.

And from the same source (happens to be a Canadian, btw):

".. we will come together sometime soon to fight the forces that are hurting our countries. We are lucky to have President Obama even though we become impatient with him at times because he is up against powerful forces that are beyond even the Republican Party."

One wonders what the author of these words has in mind when s/he speaks of "
powerful forces that are beyond even the Republican Party."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Comment Trail:

@ The Spine: About Arabs and Trust

@ Mick's
: Covering women up to avoid temptation

The Spine: No criticism of the religion of peace...

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Why is "Israel Apartheid week" an evil initiative?

The shortest, pithiest and bull's eye explanation, here:

Calling Israel, apartheid, Nazism, colonialism and racism is anti Semitic because of one simple reason. These are all evils to be abolished, and when someone describes the very existence of Israel as an evil to be abolished, that someone wants to abolish Israel. And if the security Israel gives to each and every one of its citizens is also apartheid, Nazism, colonialism and racism, then the very existence of every Israeli person is also apartheid, Nazism, colonialism and racism. And what could possibly be more racist then abolishing an entire people?

(The commenter is the blogger of Dvar Dea)

Comment trail:

I was lazy about posting on my own blog this week but was pretty active dropping comments everywhere... Here is a choice selection:

@Combating the Apartheid Slander: Resources

“Can you please explain why calling Israel an Apartheid state is a) antisemetic?”

Can you explain why accusations of deicide, host desecration, anti-Christian bias, impurity, well poisoning, plotting to control the world, causing wars, revolutions, and calamities,usury and profiteering are called “antisemitic”?

Antisemitism is characterized by the perpetual stalking of, and defamation of Jews, and only Jews, with lies, and threatening Jews with sponsored violence.

Thus accusing Israel of “Apartheid” is such a violent lie that can be found out with the slightest intellectual exertion. Refusal to do so accompanied by a dogged pursuit of the Jewish state, and none but the Jewish state, with a determined, on-going clamour for its dismantlement is motivated by an antisemitic mindset. It’s a mindset that adamantly and consistently refuses to admit that there is an Israeli reality that absolutely, justifies the separation fence and checkpoints, even if they inconvenience Palestinian movement. That a Jewish kid’s right to reach school alive is somewhat superior to the Palestinian kid’s right to reach school on time.

Those who celebrate “Israel Apartheid week” aim at the dissolution and disappearance of the Jewish state. Such dissolution can only take place with massive violence against Israel’s 6 million Jews.

Perhaps Richard can come up with a more suitable term for such a strategy. I’ll be waiting to read what he has to offer.

@ Oliver Kamm: Pilger Deconstructed

“Rami is an Israeli graphic designer who lives with his family in Jerusalem. His father survived Auschwitz. His grandparents and six aunts and uncles perished in the Holocaust. Whenever I am asked about heroes, I say Rami and his wife, Nurit…

….On the afternoon of 4 September 1997, Smadar and her best friend, Sivane, had auditions for admission to a dance school. She had argued that morning with her mother, who was anxious about her going to the centre of Jerusalem. “I didn’t want to row,” said Nurit, “so I let her go.”

Inadvertently, Pilger, in his opening lines, re-inforces what many Israelis and Jews regard as the uninterrupted sequence of antisemitic persecution: From the genocide of Jews in Nazi Europe to the relentless persecution of Israeli Jews by the genocidal terrorists of Hamas and Hizzbala.

But he tries to sever that sequence, by blurring the line between the two dead girls, to reduce their deaths to an equation. The passive voice when attribution to Palestinian terrorism is called for:

“There had been a suicide bombing in Ben Yehuda”

while Abir’s killing is graphically described, with attribution:

“Abir was killed by an Israeli soldier firing a rubber bullet point-blank at her small head”.

Who is Pilger’s Jewish hero? An Jew whose history includes both Auschwitz and Palestinian genocidal terrorism willing to see Israel dissolved in order to accomodate Palestinian aspirations (actually, I’m not sure Rami is a one-stater but Pilger seems to believe it).

Now there is a Jew worth his salt! Not resisting aggression but coming to terms with it! The kind of Jew Gandhi would have approved of, when he urged:

“the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife…They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.”

But Pilger gives the lie to Gandhi’s expectation that this “would have aroused the world and the people of Germany…”

Germany succeeded very nicely in nearly exterminating Eueope’s Jews. And today the hearts of Europe’s finest intellectuals bleed only for Palestinians. Somehow they, Palestinians, are not urged to “throw themselves into the sea from cliffs.”

This still remains a fate only fitting for Jews.

@ Norway, Israel and Jews: Aftenposten tries to present a fuller picture

Maybe Aftenposten is trying to undo some of the very real harm they caused Jews all over the world when it published the vicious blood libel about Jews harvesting Palestinian organs…

Too little, too late, too limp… in my opinion.

Like the proverbial feathers, it takes one moment to cut a pillow and scatter its contents to the wind and no human can possibly collect all the scattered feathers back into the pillow.

@ Buj the Arab: Buj the blogger continues to post caricatures from the cartoonist Latuff and continues to try to educate me about how good Jews had in Muslim lands.

Latuff, for those not in the know, was one of the winners of Ahmadinejad's appreciation for his entry in the Holocaust denial cartoon competition.

I left the following two comments but there is no way of predicting which, if any, will make it past Buj's highly eccentric moderation policies:

1. "A preliminary investigation conducted by Hamas suggests that the assassination of one of its officials in Dubai last month was likely carried out by agents of an Arab government, and not by Israel's Mossad spy agency."


But I wouldn't believe any Hamas investigation. The most plausible explanation for the assassination and its staging-for-the-cameras quality is that Israel WANTED it to be attributed to the long-reaching arm of the Mossad by way of deterrence and a not so subtle message to Iran. It's in Hamas interest to deny any such deterrence since its success will interfere directly with the money and weapons flow from Iran and Syria. So no wonder they will encourage the thinking that this spectacular assassination of a death merchant and a terrorist was due to Arabs rather than Israelis...

2. BTW, ya Buj, "gentile" is not a derogatory name for a person who is not Jewish. It is just a term for a person who is no Jewish.

Unlike the Arab "kufir" (or whatever) which means infidel, and therefore contains a moral judgment in its meaning, the word "gentile" ("Goy") in Hebrew means simply a person who is not a member of the Hebrew tribes. It's a Biblical word.

The Arab word for "Yahoodi" has nothing to do with the root "hud". It comes from the Hebrew word "Yehoodi" which means, simply, a Jew. And Yehoodi comes from "Yehooda" the Hebrew tribe that used to live in Judea, and which YOU call "West Bank", or Palestine.

However, when the Arabs call for "Yitbach el-Yahood", respect, protection and embrace are the farthest meanings from their mind at that moment*. As it is with you, when you state things like:

"such is the way with the Jew.. for you even tried to be selective in tricking G-d, the stories are documented with the fishing incident and others in the Bible and Koran."

It is always an education reading your comments, Buj. A person of your schooling that can still explain his animus by referring to the Quran as a reliable source of knowledge and a guide for modern politics. (end of comment)


"A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments, which Wortabet attributes to Koranic verses referring to the Jews as apes and pigs (Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166), as well as the canonical hadith about Muhammad's reputed poisoning by an ancient Khaybar Jewess:

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)"more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:"Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!"

I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, "Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?"

"El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!", answered the man.

"How do you make that out?", I said. "Is not the Jew as good as you or I?"

"Ogh!", ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, "El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)"

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, "El Yahoodi khanzeer!"

Such hateful attitudes directed at the Jews specifically, persisted among Egyptian Muslims, as recorded in 1873 by Moritz Lüttke:

The Muslim hates no other religion as he hates that of the Jews...even now that all forms of political oppression have ceased, at a time when such great tolerance is shown to the Christian population, the Arabs still bear the same contemptuous hatred of the Jews. It is a commonplace occurrence, for example, for two Arabs reviling each other to call each other Ibn Yahudi (or "son of a Jew") as the supreme insult...it should be mentioned that in these cases, they pronounce the word Yahudi in a violent and contemptuous tone that would be hard to reproduce."

@ The Spine: About Mossad, Roma persecution in Europe, comparison with Muslim minorities and fisticuffs with Molly

A very vertiginous thread of comments but enlightening nonetheless.

@ Iranian.com: Rita