Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Lies of Khaled Mashaal

Watch and learn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Claude Lanzmann:

 "In "Tsahal" I also knew exactly what I wanted to tell: the creation an army, the construction of an army, the creation of courage. This army represents a victory of the Jewish people over themselves. There had never been a Jewish army before. My film tells how Jews took their fate into their own hands to avoid ever become victims again. I show how they overcame the victim role and overcame a mental predisposition.

In the Israeli army life is valued higher than anything else. And yet every soldier in the Tsahal is prepared to give his life. Unlike other armies of the world, the soldiers of the Tsahal do not die for the glory of their fatherland, they die for life alone. You should not forget that the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War was not just a murder of innocents. It was also a genocide of the defenceless. My film describes the path to overcome defencelessness. It describes how the Jewish people empowered themselves with weapons and it describes the psychological metamorphosis that the people had to undergo, in order to build an army like the Tsahal, in order to be able to defend themselves, to be able to kill.

For decades, young Israelis have been growing up with the insecurity of knowing that no-one can guarantee that "Israel will still exist in 2025".

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The price of truth telling is you have your ass kicked. Is Amnesty International a sacred organization whose activities are beyond ironizing? I can understand the discomfiture caused by an intemperately explicit tweet but really, to characterize it as "unconscionable" and "abhorrent" is to suggest that AI and its missions are beyond criticism. Is that really the case? Why the beatification of an organization that tends to apply the meaning of "human rights" with in-built selective pre-determined judgmentalism?

The Rooster's Crow and Kenneth Roth's Evil

Highly disturbing statement from Kenneth Roth, of HRW:

Hamas tunnels may have also been intended against civilians but they've  "caused a huge number of military fatalities" 

It is an open and declarative attempt to reverse cause and effect in the service of whitewashing Hamas. IDF inserts its soldiers between Hamas and Hamas' civilian targets, which explains why there are fallen soldiers in this war but very few civilian victims. Kenneth Roth takes this fact and re-baptizes it as "reasonable doubt" ("Hamas tunnels may have also been intended against civilians") that Hamas actually targets military personnel and not necessarily civilian population. This is the product not of a confused mind but a malevolent cynical manipulator of facts who reverses the reasonable order of cause and effect. He is turning the effect, large  proportion of fallen IDF soldiers in Israel's war toll, into an explanation of the cause: they were the intended targets.

It has the same children story illogical literary device of placing two facts in a certain proximity, correlation and order and then deliberately drawing wrong conclusions to amuse kids and stimulate their thinking. For example, the rooster crows at dawn. We have two activities going on more or less simultaneously: sunrise and the rooster's crow. The creative author may suggest that one act triggers the other: if the rooster doesn't crow, dawn will not be break. It amuses kids to be regaled with this kind of illogic, but it does not serve as a scientific explanation of the phenomenon. That's exactly the kind of device Kenneth Roth tries to employ in his attempt to cleanse Hamas of its well-recorded and unimpeachable history of targeting civilians anywhere and everywhere in Israel. He turns the numbers of dead soldiers into an apriori intent, thus removing the verifiable, scientific element from his "analysis".

And it is done not to amuse, as in the case of the children's story, but to confuse and inflict further pain upon Israeli. 

Says Paul Ricoeur:

Evil is, in the literal sense of the word, perversion, that is, a reversal of the order that requires respect for law to be placed above inclination. It is a matter of a misuse of a free choice and not of the malfeasance of desire. The propensity for evil affects the use of freedom, the capacity to act out of duty – in short, the capacity for being autonomous.”

Ricoeur speaks of law and inclination. The inclination is Hamas intent to harm civilians. The law is the presence of IDF soldiers between Hamas and Israeli civilians. To turn that lawful force that acts out of profoundly justifiable duty into the intended target of Hamas is to lie about Hamas' fully declarative inclinations and intentions. It is, simply put, evil.

Friday, August 15, 2014

“The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese--and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.”

― Eric Hoffer

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nietzsche on Jews:

Consider Jewish scholars in this light: All of them have a high regard for logic, that is for compelling agreement by force of reason; they know, with that they are bound to win even where they encounter race and class prejudices and when one does not like to believe them. For nothing is more democratic than logic; it is no respecter of persons and makes no distinction between crooked and straight noses..
(Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 348)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Attack, bomb the Zionists, Burn them, shake the ground under them 

Hamas Song for Israelis:
Up, do terror attacks,
Rock them, inflict terrible blows,
Eliminate all the Zionists,
Shake the security of Israel!

Aim to make contact with the Zionists,
To burn bases and soldiers,
Shake the security of Israel,
Reveal volcanic flames of fire!

A country of weakness and delusion,
When it comes to war, they cannot hold out,
They blow away like spider’s webs,
When they meet the valiant!

Shake the security of Israel,
Set the heart of her [i.e., Israel] on fire like spider’s webs,
Demolish her down to her foundations,
Exterminate the nest of cockroaches,
Expel all the Zionists!

The hearts of the Zionists, each one turns,
In a different direction, and does not identify,
They are frightened by death, and they run to hide,
Behind walls and in reinforced rooms!

It is an illusion, it will not succeed,
Its time is past, and it is polluted,
Gone, like mice in a parched field,
Get close then open fire, all at once!

Rock them, now, multitude of missiles,
Turn their world into a scene of horrors,
Burn into their minds a great miracle:
That they are being expelled, and we are going to stay!
Israel's greatest hit this week is Hamas' terrorist song in Hebrew. Its intention was to frighten the Israelis. The actual result is that it has become sweepingly popular among Israelis; they sing it, they dance it, they laugh it and they reproduce it in different versions and guises: The Lion King version, the Chassidic version, the Happy version, the Smurf version, A-cappella version, with more to come, no doubt. Oh, and people even use it as a ring tone for their cellphones

  In general it calls on Palestinians to get up, attack and kill Israelis, burn soldiers, exterminate all Zionists, etc etc you get the idea. However the fright factor is greatly diminished, even reversed, by the bad Hebrew, the thick accent, the mispronunciations, and the rhythm of the song.

Someone on Twitter attempted to correct the Hebrew and the lyricists responded, thanked her politely, and explained how it happened... I don't think even Salvador Dali could get any more surreal than that.


To follow with a literary analysis of song and an attempt to situate its declaratively cultural non-ambiguities and absence of nuance within a more extensive post-deconstructionist scholarship as exemplified by Judith Butler's and Slavoj Zizek's political theories.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

It's useful to know that Rashid Khalidi, (President Obama's erstwhile friend), was Prof. AbuKhalil's "teacher and mentor for undergraduate and graduate years at AUB".


And another useful insight from the prof. from California, entrusted with the teaching and molding the minds of young American students:

"what I like about Khalidi* (and about Edward Said) is that they became less moderate with age. We should all become less moderate with age."

*The Khalidi he refers to in the second quote is Walid Khalidi.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Forest, the Axe and the Trees

This image was sighted in one of the social media networks, an admonition about Israel's very existence as the root of all evil in the Middle East:

Photo: A prediction of Sultan Abdülhamid II. Unfortunately his prediction seems to have come true.

Something to ponder over...


It was accompanied by a somewhat nostalgic longing for "more responsible" powers to be in charge of the Middle East. A power like the long defunct Ottoman Empire.

The poster is a highly intelligent, thoroughly educated person. Which gives one pause to ponder what can have they been thinking about?

A few points:

I. Quoted from wikipedia:

"The Hamidian massacres (Armenian: Համիդյան ջարդեր), also referred to as the Armenian Massacres of 1894–1896[1] and Great Massacres,[1] refer to massacres of Armenians of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1890s, with estimates of the dead ranging from 80,000 to 300,000,[2] including at least 50,000 orphaned children.[3] The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who, in his efforts to reinforce the territorial integrity of the embattled Ottoman Empire, reasserted Pan-Islamism as a state ideology.[4] Although the massacres were aimed mainly at the Armenians, they turned into indiscriminate anti-Christian pogroms in some cases, such as in Diyarbekir Vilayet where some 25,000 Assyrians were killed (see also Assyrian genocide)"

Considering the record of this Sultan it becomes something of a puzzle as to why anyone at all would like to quote his views about bloodshed after the removal of the Ottoman power from the Middle East.

II. The nostalgia for fascist like systems as exemplified in the Ottoman empire's system of rule is by no means a marginal or dismissible as one person's eccentricity. Here is a quote from by Slavoj Zizek, a much admired philosopher very popular in academic circles:

  "Regarding Islam, we should look at history. In fact, I think it is very interesting in this regard to look at ex-Yugoslavia. Why was Sarajevo and Bosnia the place of violent conflict? Because it was ethnically the most mixed republic of ex-Yugoslavia. Why? Because it was Muslim-dominated, and historically they were definitely the most tolerant. We Slovenes, on the other hand, and the Croats, both Catholics, threw them out several hundred years ago.

This proves that there is nothing inherently intolerant about Islam. We must rather ask why this terrorist aspect of Islam arises now. The tension between tolerance and fundamentalist violence is within a civilization."

The "prediction" by the venerable Sultan reminded me of this particular scintillating insight.

I was thinking that if we take into consideration what we know about Islamic regulations concerning minorities, this observation that "historically [Muslin rulers] were definitely the most tolerant" makes some sense.

There was not an ongoing state of perpetual agitation and attrition of minorities and therefore violent confrontations and pogroms were relatively less common than in Christendom. Which led to a perception of social  harmony. But what kind of harmony and at what cost?

Minority members knew who they were, in relation to the dominant majority, that they were legally bound by a set of laws and rules which dictated to them every nuance of their obligations, conduct and rights relative to the Muslim owners of the land. When your own inferiority is inscribed into law, and when you know that any breach of it may entail painful judgements, and maybe death, you are not likely to walk with your head held high when you pass your Muslim neighbour in the street. Nor are you likely to pursue justice in court when your Muslim partner cheated you, since by law, your testimony counted for half the value of your adversary's. When a system is slated against you, legally, you adjust your ways and expectations and forgive a multitude of insults, slurs and crimes committed against you. It is an excellently efficient way to maintain the "tolerance" of a bellicose majority.

Hugh Fitzgerald explains how the kind of tolerance, suggested by the oft repeated Koranic injunction: "There is no compulsion in religion" really worked:

"... the observable behavior of Muslims over 1350 years. What have Muslims done, when they have conquered, by force or otherwise, non-Muslim lands and peoples? They offer three possibilities: death, conversion, and, at least to those who can be classified as ahl al-kitab or "people of the book," permanent status as dhimmis, with a host of political, economic, and social disabilities which together added up to lives of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity, at times relieved -- but only at times -- by the occasional mollitude of a particular Muslim ruler. A slim reed on which to base one's happiness. And so, over time, many non-Muslims, in order to avoid this condition of degradation, humiliation, and physical insecurity, converted to Islam. "

My father grew up in Turkey, a secular Muslim country. Turkey is known for its tolerance towards Jews and Christians. Over the years he visited his native land many times. Turkish Jews speak Ladino amongst themselves. When he was out in the street walking with his brother, he was admonished to speak only in Turkish, and in a low voice, so as not to attract attention to his "Jewish" accent.

He was shocked when I told him about a friend of mine, a Turk, who had converted to Judaism. "We used to have good relations with the Muslim neighbours" he told me "they always respected my father and showed us great hospitality. But this is unheard of. It would never have been tolerated".

Jewish Turkish woman I recently met told me that as she was growing up, her parents had forced her to speak only Turkish at home, so that their Ladino-Jewish accent would not expose them as Jews in school.

These anecdotes, such as they are, only re-enforce my understanding of what constituted the livable reality of that "most tolerant" Muslim rule that Zizek admires in the quote above. Fear, intimidation, violence to your identity, when your private sphere is porous and totally dependant on the whims of a religiously volatile majority.

III.  How come this Sultanic prediction was not recalled to public edification before the the current war in Gaza? I mean, 170,000+ dead Arabs in Syria do not count as "bloodshed"?

What can one conclude from such a selective "told you so" ?

Perhaps it is appropriate at this juncture to invoke the Turkish proverb:

 "When the axe entered the forest, the trees said to each other: The handle is one of us".

Enough said.