Friday, November 28, 2008


* The New Centrist offers a panoramic report, here.

* "A mystery is only a high sounding term for a muddle. No advantage in stirring it up, in either case. Aziz and I know well that India is a muddle.", this is a quote from E.M. Forster's novel, A Passage to India. It is also as good a description as can be found of the already three day on-going terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Watching CNN, with its close scrutiny does not bring any relief or more clarity or definition to this bloody event. What is certain, though, is that this particular terrorist onslaught will not be easily erased from memory. It will form one more episode of gore and mayhem in the story that broke out on 9/11/2001 in New York, soon to be followed by Madrid and London.

* Nayan Chanda, of the New Republic, says:

The other sinister message of the terrorists this time is that they have an international agenda. Despite their talk of Indian Muslims being oppressed and Kashmiris being killed, their focus on Americans and British citizens and Jewish nationals shows their global concern. The U.S. has emerged as a key ally of India, but Britain is not any closer than other European countries like France and Germany. The search for American and British citizens most probably has to do with the Iraq war, echoing the terrorist attacks in Britain on charges of British involvement in the suffering of Muslims.

he terrorists’ global objective was clearly demonstrated in their targeting of a little-known Jewish outreach center in Mumbai. Before the terrorists burst into the Chabad Center located in an office and residential complex to take the rabbi, his wife, and assembled Jewish visitors hostage, most in Mumbai had no idea about their existence. Only six years earlier, a young Brooklyn rabbi and his wife set up the Chabad Center to quietly offer Jewish visitors kosher meals, Torah classes, and a place to stay. That anonymity was no protection from a group that wants to hurt the Jews as part of a global struggle. The attack on the Jewish community is particularly poignant, as over a thousand years ago, India offered the earliest shelter to persecuted Jews; the wall of an old synagogue in Kerala shows a mosaic image of their early arrival by boat.

A commenter remarks:

"Someone must have made up a list of targets, someone who took the trouble to find out about life and practices of the few Jews living in Mumbai. This is the kind of obsession with Jews that the Muslim brotherhood or Iran has shown.

A Muslim brotherhood web site, btw, has accused Zionists and Hindus of carrying out the attack.
This is worthy of Goebbels."

* Contrary to rumours that Israeli commando units have been dispatched, Andy David, deputy spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, in a phone interview, "denied reports that Israel has sent a military commando team to India to assist in the security operations there, and said only Israeli medical personnel trained to handle emergency situations have been sent to Mumbai."


Update 1:

Later in the day: From Terry Glavin's blog:

Ali's Counterpunch analysis is actually not an analysis, but a transparent exercise in evasion. It's all somebody else's fault. It's about the beastly behaviour of the Indian government in Kashmir, the "anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them," and so on. As if this could somehow explain why the "Deccan Mujahadeen" chose to target the Jews at Mumbai's Chabad house, where we now learn that the young rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka are among the dead.

Something is strangely missing, in other words, from Ali's account. Perhaps if Counterpunch had given him more space, or if he'd had more time in his busy schedule, Ali might have explained how the disaffection of some minority within India's vast Muslim population should result in a bloothirsty attack on Mumbai's small and cheerful community of Lubavitchers. Why? Was it their sinister candle-lightings, their poverty-eradication program, their kosher meals for young Israeli backpackers?

Tariq Ali is in the habit of addressing Jewish critics of his strange progressivism as "you people", characteristic haughty impatience. His mitigation for Palestinian terrorism is of a piece with the recent apologia Glavin pointed to. Except that he is usually not so restrained when he speaks of Israel's occupation, etc etc. The omission of any mention to the massacred rabbi and his wife is well in line with Ali's general sneering indifference to Jewish suffering. It is also a spike, a singularity, in his tale of Muslim woes in India. It does not fit the "narrative" he is trying to press upon his readers.

Update 2: Saturday:

In a comment referringto Oliver Kamm's blogpost, the commenter Norman bar notes:

Most noticeable about BBC coverage and discussion that I have heard are [1] the casual and tangential reference to the targeting and murder of Jews in the barbaric attacks in India, and [2] no discussion whatever about the significance of this targeting and murder.

Widespread antisemitism in many parts of the Moslem world, and its dissemination in Moslem media, come as no surprise. But you'd never know it if your source was the BBC. 1,400,million Moslems, 13 million Jews. That explains a good deal to me I'm afraid.


At 7:25 PM EST, Blogger Rebecca said...

A striking thing about the attack on the Chabad House is that they chose this particular Jewish site. There are other Jews in Bombay - Bene Israel and Baghdadi Jews. The Bene Israel have been in India for over a thousand years, the Baghdadis since the 19th century. One wonders why the Lubavitchers in particular were chosen. If the attackers were at all local, they would have known about the Indian Jews - but I would guess they were not, since they targeted the Chabad House.

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

Thanks for the link.


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