Saturday, December 26, 2009


is an Arab-Islamic term, that means, roughly I think, isolation.

The term seems to
play some role in the story posted by Saudi Jeans:

So few days ago in Dammam some members of the religious police somehow got the impression that they could storm a women’s public restroom on the courniche to arrest someone. They went in and moments later emerged dragging a girl who was crying, screaming and begging them to leave her alone. She tried to run away but fell on the ground. The Haya’a men apparently thought it was okay to hit and kick her, so they did that in the street while people were watching, then they carried her and threw her in the back of their jeep. [...]

UPDATE 23/12/09: According to al-Watan daily, the girl has been released. The newspaper quoted security sources who said the girl was arrested based on the suspicion of a khulwa, while the boy who allegedly was with her managed to escape. The haya’a in the EP declined to comment on the case. The police said they received the case and they are searching for the boy..

As I googled for the meaning of 'khulwa" I found this story:

A young man and woman in Saudi Arabia decided to do the ultimate act of evil: to take a drive together in the man's Toyota Camry.

Of course, a man and woman being alone together - even in a car - is known as "khulwa" as can be punished with many lashes and a prison sentence.

Our heroes at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice got tipped off about this flagrant violation of human decency and started to go after the criminals. [...]

On the Madina-Tabuk Road, in the Tabuk area, the chase ended when the Camry rammed head-on into a truck and burst into flames.

The man’s body was totally charred. The woman’s body was ripped into two by the force of the impact. They were too disfigured for immediate identification.

But most importantly, our heroes managed to stop a flagrant act of khulwa, and, especially, any unspeakable acts that might have followed.

And this story:

The sentencing of a 75-year-old Arab widow to 40 lashes and four months in prison for mingling with two young men, who were reportedly bringing her bread, has sparked fresh criticism of the Kingdom’s judiciary and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Khamisa Sawadi, a Syrian who was married to a Saudi, was convicted and sentenced last week for meeting men who were not her immediate relatives. The two men, including one who was Sawadi’s late husband’s nephew, were also found guilty and sentenced to prison and lashes.

And this.

Ah, well, we get the general idea.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A stroll down the Arab Street

This is a list of the links to English-written Arab blogs where I engaged in discussion with the bloggers. I have gained some insight into the Arab mindset. This collection is of course anecdotal and cannot be taken as a scientific measure of the general prevailing anti-Israel mood in Arab countries.

An Excursion into Arab blogosphere:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Garden Noam and Garden Norm


Lots more on Noam Chomsky, @ Bob's.

Comment Trail:

@ The Spine: Leave the pope alone...

@ Terry Glavin: What child Is This? (An Authentic Humanitarian...)

@ The Spine: "..cultural malady among the Arabs.."

@ Solomonia: Shamai Leibowitz traduttore tradittore

@ Solomonia: Medieval times in Moldova

@ Z-word blog: Jimmi Carter asks for forgiveness
(I recommend this thoughtful and well-argued comment in particular)

I wonder if this sudden impulse to mea culpa is more due to the fabled Jewish Lobby succeeding in bringing the poor man to his knees...

@ Saudi Jeans: Brutality

Update: December 26:

@ TNR: Political thrillers and who they serve

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who is the boss

I don't always agree with Shlomo Avineri, but in this case I do:

[A]fter the establishment of the state, David Ben-Gurion's ruthless determination ensured that the nation would have only one army, the Israel Defense Forces. His decision on the Altalena affair, a decision that can justly be criticized in some respects, passed the test: The IDF achieved a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Similarly, his decision to dismantle the separate command of the Palmach, which was also controversial, ensured that the IDF's commanders would get their orders from the defense minister and not seek authorization for their actions from their mentor on Kibbutz Ein Harod. These were tough decisions, but they ensured that the State of Israel would have only one army and not a cluster of armed militias. Ireland is an example of what happens when such decisions are not made.

The pain and distress of those who support settlements throughout the historical Land Of Israel is understandable. But expressions of pain, however genuine, cannot be a substitute for acknowledging that in the Jewish state only one legitimate body is authorized to enforce political decisions. Failing to acknowledge this is to undermine Zionism's historic achievement, and the alternative is another Lebanon.

I also cannot imagine many Israelis disagreeing with him.

Monday, December 21, 2009

President Carter asks for forgiveness

Via Solomonia:

"We must recognize Israel's achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."

Hardly an impressive mea culpa. He does not sound convinced of his own wrong doing:

"... for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so."

"may have done"?

What does that mean?

Does he accept his responsibility for stigmatizing Israel, or doesn't he?

What he is saying, in fact, is "if I caused any damage, I'm sorry". The problem is the "if".

"If" suggests doubt. It means that he, Carter, is not so sure if indeed, words he wrote or said, deeds he committed, caused damage to Israel's good name.

When genuine forgiveness is asked for, the person needs to feel remorse, in order to make amends to those he harmed. Asking for forgiveness means, at least in the Judaic code of ethics, that the supplicant acknowledges, openly, publicly, and fully, his responsibility for having done wrong, having slandered the good name of a person, or a people or a nation.

Carter's formulation does not meet that onus. This is not an apology, not a request for forgiveness. There is no regret and contrition, no understanding of what he has wrought forth, persistently, repeatedly, insistently. This is a prevarication, a public relations stunt, a mockery of the idea of "al het".

"The harm done by speech is worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone financially: money lost can be repaid, but the harm done by speech can never be repaired. For this reason, some sources indicate that there is no forgiveness for lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech). This is probably hyperbole, but it illustrates the seriousness of improper speech.

A Chasidic tale vividly illustrates the danger of improper speech: A man went about the community telling malicious lies about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, "Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds." The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, "Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers."

Speech has been compared to an arrow: once the words are released, like an arrow, they cannot be recalled, the harm they do cannot be stopped, and the harm they do cannot always be predicted, for words like arrows often go astray." (Judaism 101)

A commenter on Solomonia suggested that his suddenly found conscience is more to do with political calculation than anything else. I would not be surprised.

Update: Camera suggests a test..

'Should homosexuals face execution?'

is a question posted on the BBC website and addressed to BBC frequenters.

Here is how Philip Hensher responded:

On Friday morning, I amused myself by telephoning the BBC licence authorities. "I understand that my licence is up for renewal," I said to a lady called Emma, who it is fair to say did not have this one on her sheet of prepared answers. "Could you explain to me why I should pay an organisation for discussing whether I should be killed or not?" "Erm – I don't think I know about this," Emma said. "But you're paying for the signal, not for what the BBC does with it." "So if the BBC decided to mount a discussion programme discussing whether Jews should be put to death or not, I wouldn't be paying for that, either?" "Well," Emma said. "There's a small blue button at the bottom of the webpage. You could put in a complaint about that." "But naturally I object to it," I said. "The question is whether I should go on giving the BBC my money."

Norm has already made the point that

"A commitment to free speech doesn't require a liberal newspaper to give space to racist opinions, or a blog of any stripe to give space to the view that terrorism isn't so bad. It does involve not trying to shut people up just because you don't like what they say; but you have no obligation to help them say it, to give them a platform from which to state their view.

Equally, no provider of a forum for debate is obliged by the commitment to free speech to pose questions as if they invited either a yes or no answer when one of these two answers calls for the violation of some fundamental right. You have only to imagine the BBC hosting a discussion of the questions, 'Should rape be legalized?' and 'Should adultery be punished by stoning to death?'

From my own blogosphere experience, I can point to a few examples where outrageous positions are articulated which are in direct opposition to fundamental universal rights. Here are a couple of them:


The fact that it ["aparteheid wall"] stops suicide bombers is irrelevant if it's built on the wrong piece of land.

In other words, as long as some Palestinian farmers can get to their fields in 10 minutes instead of two hours, the fact that Israeli kids get shredded to pieces, occasionally, as they take the bus to go to school is not even an issue.

Or here:

At least we have a religion [Islam] that banned slavery in all forms 14 centuries ago for those who are educated enough to know.

In other words, those who are not "educated enough to know better" do not come under the umbrella of security to be free from slavery provided for those who are "educated enough to know better".

I can only guess that to be ""educated enough to know better" means to submit yourself to the teachings of Islam. That is to say, that unless you are a Muslim, you have no human rights. And even Muslims who happen to transgress Islamic law, are not protected by these fhundamental human rights, to life, or freedom from persecution or slavery.

One wonders what the BBC is doing in such company.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Zionist Cockroaches

Read this article:

"The Zionists have managed to quietly take over the world, imperturbably... and now they are the most powerful force in the world – not in physical strength and weapons stockpiles, but in their power of thought, economics, and planning in all countries, so that [these countries] obey them, and whoever opposes them must watch out. A simple declaration against them means a cruel attack by them – and antisemites beware!

"Their power, and their veins, branch out to southwards, northwards, westwards, and eastwards, and it was recently learned that the Zionist lobby has infiltrated the British government. An investigation is now underway to uncover where the[ir] funds are coming from and what group is providing support.

"Unfortunately, with us Arabs, everything remains in the heart, even our heartfelt reactions.

"We heard about Switzerland's stance regarding the ban on building new minarets, and we did not hear about the united Arab position condemning this action. None of us disagrees that there is a Zionist cockroach behind every issue that arises and is fabricated against the Arabs, particularly the Muslims. These are the [Zionists'] plans; making the foreign world hate the Arab and Muslim existence; occupying Palestine, the Golan, Sinai, and Lebanon; ; for 9/11, and up to the [Swiss] minaret ban. Maybe in the future they will forbid us from entering their countries.

"Our craftiness is in dance and roulette games; see what [the Zionists] have attained by means of [craftineess in ] science and politics, [and what] we have attained by means of oppression and domination!

"In essence: O nation whose ignorance has made you the laughing-stock of all other nations!"[1]

I am wondering: shouldn't this be read as something of a modest proposal?

Note the deliberate errors and mega-conspiracy theories ("occupying Palestine, the Golan, Sinai, and Lebanon; ; for 9/11, and up to the [Swiss] minaret ban.")

Note the barely concealed admiration for
"their [Zionists'] power of thought, economics, and planning in all countries,"

Who exactly is the author targeting with his tirade?

Anyway, this piece for some reason reminded me of this:

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)

Sayed Al-Qimni

"Faith" is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see --
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

By Emily Dickinson

I learned about this Egyptian scholar here , @ Dubai Jazz blog, whose blogger wants to be seen as an example of enlightened, liberal and progressive Arab thinking, but alas, cannot quite understand that he cannot hold both ends of the stick simultaneously in one hand. If he is so bothered by the martyrdom inflicted upon Al-Qimni for his genuine liberal interpretation of Islamic law, then he should not be making the excuse that al-Qimni's Muslim soul is intact and not in doubt (in the comments). This is utterly besides the point. He also should not apologize in a waver to any readers who may find the idea that apostates should not be executed offensive.

Anyway, having been introduced to the subject, I went googling and found this writing by Sayed Al-Qimni in which he challenges the relevance and wisdom of Islamic legal teachings at Al-Azhar University (this is the university, btw, that President Obama chose as a venue from which to address the Muslim world):

Egyptian Intellectual: Al-Azhar University Curricula Encourages Extremism and Terrorism
wrote, in an article in the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Progressive writer and Cairo University lecturer on the sociology of religion Sayyed Al-QimniYoussef, that the curricula of Al-Azhar University encourage extremism and terror. The following are excerpts from the article: [1]

'A Few of the Sheikhs at Al-Azhar are Trying to Drag it [Back] to the Middle Ages'

"Let us take a look together at the curricula of Islamic jurisprudence, which are taught in Al-Azhar's intermediate stages, not in order to call for the banning of [books on these curricula], but in order to understand that their removal from the curricula is the first step required for reform. They should, of course, remain in an Islamic library as a source for whoever wants to know what the Muslims thought in the golden era of Islamic jurisprudence and in order for us to understand the way of thinking of [certain] sheikhs [today] and what they want from our youth…

"Al-Azhar continues to be a place of acquisition of education and defense of moderate Islam and of the [generally] accepted ideas. Nevertheless, a few of the sheikhs at Al-Azhar are trying to drag it [back] to the Middle Ages and to draw [their ideas] from some radical schools of thought. If Al-Azhar gets rid of them and of their ideas, it will remove those black stains from its garments.

Muhammad [school of thought], ' Al-"If we examine some of the extremist curricula, we will find that the principle of fighting any non-Muslim and killing him is not an offensive innovation by [founder of Wahhabism] Sheikhibn Abd Al-Wahhab and by [ Ayman ] Al-Zawahiri, [Osama bin Laden's deputy and the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization]. This [is] because a book of the HanafiIkhtiyar fi Ta'lil Al-Mukhtar ' [by Abdallah Ibn Mahmoud Al-Mawsily ] teaches the next generation that 'the war against the infidels is an obligation of all intelligent, healthy, free, and able men… And when the Muslims besiege their enemies in a town or a fortress, they must call upon them to convert to Islam. If they convert, [the Muslims] must cease fighting them, and if they do not convert, they must call upon them to pay the jizya [poll tax]. If they refuse to pay the jizya, the Muslims must call upon Allah's help in the war against them, to erect catapults, to destroy their fields and their trees, to burn them, and to pelt them [with catapult stones], even if [the enemies] use Muslims as a human shield…'"

'What Kind of Thinking are We Teaching Our Next Generation, that It has the Right to Attack Other Countries in Order to Convert Them to Islam?'

"The book then instructs [Muslims] to act with compassion in this war: 'The Muslims must not breach a contract assuring protection [of the subjugated], must not take more than their share of the booty, must not mutilate bodies, kill madmen, women, children, cripples, one whose right hand has been amputated, or an elderly man, unless one of them is a king or a person able to fight, to incite [to war], to give advice about war or to instigate [fighting] by means of his possessions.' The stipulation that women, elderly, and cripples would be pardoned if they did not incite to war implies that everyone, in effect, should be killed, since no citizen living in a country attacked by foreigners does not incite to battle…

Al-"Let us continue to read from some of the curricula of the extremism [' Al-Ikhtiyar fi Ta'lilMukhtar ']: 'When the imam conquers a country by force, if he so desires – he will divide it among those taking the spoils, [and] if he so desires – he will execute the prisoners, subjugate them, or leave them under the patronage of the Muslims. [Moreover,] if he wishes to return [to the country] [and has] livestock, which he cannot take with him, he will slaughter and burn it.'

"What kind of way of thinking are we teaching our next generation, that it has the right to attack other countries in order to convert them to Islam or to [make them] pay jizya, and that if they don't – we will annihilate them down to the very last one? [That it has the right] to pillage countries and return with the loot, and [that] if it cannot transport the booty – [that it can] burn it? Can anybody imagine a member of another religion, paying jizya, in a state of subjection, to a people he does not recognize, merely because it is able to attack, to kill and to slaughter?… [2] "

'One Must Degrade Dhimmis [Non-Muslims Living in Muslims Countries]'

Al-"And what about after the conquest, the emigration and the taking up of residence in the conquered land alongside its non-Muslim residents, who pay the jizya ? [On this matter] there are guidelines [in ' Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba Sharh Zad Al-Mustaqna ' by Mansur Ibn YunesBuhuti ] [through which] one can see what the position of an Al-Azhar graduate [will be] towards his [non-Muslim] brother in the [Arab] homeland: '… The [hair] on their foreheads must be cut… They are permitted to ride [mounts] other than horses, such as donkeys, without a saddle… [One] must not rise in their honor or precede them in greetings… [One] must not offer them condolences, visit them in sickness or participate in their celebrations. They are forbidden to establish new churches or to rebuild those that were destroyed… They are forbidden to build a structure higher than those belonging to Muslims… They must be forbidden to raise their voice in mourning the dead.' If a dhimmi [3] invites a Muslim to a wedding celebration, he must not go, 'because one must degrade dhimmis …'"

'This is What is Taught at Al-Azhar … and there are Other Things that Arouse Disgust'

"What else do these extremist curricula contain…? In ' Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba ' … we find the following legal issue concerning relations between the dhimmi and the Muslim: If someone of the People of the Book, [4] the dhimmi, avoids paying the jizya – his life and his property are permissible. If [the dhimmi ] kills a Muslim, he must be killed, but if a Muslim kills him – the Muslim is not to be killed, but must pay blood money, and the blood money for [the killing of] a dhimmi is half the blood money for [the killing of] a Muslim. The height of justice.

However, in addition to all this darkness and ugly tyranny, there are anecdotes. Thus, in a chapter of ' Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba 'de aling with endowments, you find that it is permitted to endow [property] for the benefit of an infidel who is not an enemy or of an apostate. Why is this? [You will] enjoy this [explanation]: because it 'will not be forever, since they both will be executed shortly.'

"In addition, one must prevent the irreverent from reading the Koran and [one must] forbid an infidel to read it even if one wants him to convert… In a chapter about amputation [as punishment] for theft, [it is written that] amputation is conditional upon the stolen [property] being respectable property. [This means that] it is permissible to steal musical instruments…

"This is what is taught at Al-Azhar … and there are other things that arouse disgust and are hurtful, such as the purification condition after relieving oneself… It is forbidden to use respectable paper, meaning the kind on which the name of Allah or a private name is written, such as [books of] Hadith and Shari'a [Islamic law]. However, it is permissible to use disreputable paper, the kind on which philosophical or logical sciences are written, providing one verifies that Allah's name is not mentioned [from ' Al-Iqna' fi Haqq Alfaz Abi Shuja 'by MansurIbn Yunes Al-Buhuti ].

"And we wonder where terror comes from. This is just an example of the writings of extremist sheikhs who have infiltrated our noble religious institution. We present [these writings] in the hope that these curricula will be reexamined, that Al-Azhar will attend first and foremost to what is happening within its ranks, and will place the interests of the homeland at the top of its priorities…"

The source is MEMRI

Friday, December 18, 2009

Norm in top shape


A rank piece of idiocy if ever there was. Two millennia of hatred and persecution, issuing in an act in mid-twentieth century Europe that humankind is still unable to assimilate without horror and shame, as well as an impulse towards denial and, increasingly, towards turning against the victim people; an act that destroyed two thirds of the Jews on that continent and one third of the Jews worldwide; and the man thinks it 'will not do' to suggest that these experiences have shaped Jewish life. Israel - wouldn't you know it? - gives the lie to a self-definition of powerlessness.

First, the anachronism: for Jewish identity wasn't born yesterday; it will have been shaped, ooh... why, even before the creation of the state of Israel. Second, the discounting: for maybe the way it has been shaped now influences Israel's determination to defend itself against its enemies. Third, the one-sidedness: ruthless treatment of the Palestinians, on the one hand; and from the Palestinians and Israel's regional neighbours, on the other hand, nix to be said at all - but the implication, in that silence, of nothing but peace, love... and let's forget the denial of the right of the Jews to nationhood. Fourth, the implication, a philosophical nonsense, that if some Jews are powerful, no other Jews may be marked in their identity by perceptions of prejudice, and also by fears, with a centuries-old pedigree. Fifth, the prejudice itself that associates Jews, not with powerlessness, but with power, with ruthlessness.

Comment trail:

A stroll through the Arab street (continued from here)

@Dubai Jazz, the ornery music continues, again resorting to the talented caricaturist who won Achmadinejad's Holocaust-denial cartoon competition. Make no mistake, in some circles such an honour carries a lot of weight. This time the bilious and antisemitic cartoonist, who would not have felt out of place in the company of Julius Streicher makes a comment on the so-called "Apartheid Wall" which Israel has erected in order to separate the terrorists and various suicide bombers from their intended victims.

I left the following comment on Dubai Jazz's thread but, based on his past record of very little tolerance for Jews or others who do not quite share his views, the comment will in all probability be deleted:


Here is the "obligatory Jew"* to provide some balance and facts:

"The barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism, including the suicide bombing attacks that increased significantly during the Al-Aqsa Intifada;[4] The significantly reduced number of incidents of suicide bombings from 2002 to 2005 has been partly attributed to the barrier;[5]" (wiki)

The Berlin Wall was intended as a prison for East Germans, keeping them locked into the Soviet part of Germany. The Separation barrier is intended to keep terrorists from entering into Israel or the Israeli settlements it encircles.

It is indisputable that the presence of the fence (as well as the increased number of checkpoints) prevented many atrocities from taking place. It allowed a certain pacification of the population which in turn saved not only Israeli life but the life of Palestinians as well.

Most importantly, it is not an irremovable fixture. When (if) the Palestinians decide that they want their own statehood, and the final borders are negotiated, then the barrier can come down, a lot faster than it went up.

However, I'm sort of puzzled by this commiseration with Palestinians about their inability to reach their fields easily when I consider that a Syrian national of such high morals and international sensibilities like DJ would be so much more concerned about oppression and real apartheid in his own backyard:

"So how does Syria treat this minority?

Roughly 300,000 of them are denied citizenship thus denying them the right to education, employment, property ownership, and even marriage.

Nor are they allowed to speak, write or print their own language and their culture cannot be expressed openly.

Odd, isn’t it? Mind you, as everybody knows the Zionist Entity is much much worse. Palestinians have no access to education, cannot work, purchase property or get married. It even bans Palestinians outright from speaking, reading and writing Arabic.

Oh wait. I may be wrong here….

Stateless Kurds who try to leave the country for work risk torture and imprisonment.

To be honest, it reminds me of a two-tier political system in which one group in a country is denied the rights that another enjoys. Though I seem to have forgotten its name. Ap… App… Ah! Apartheid! That’s it!"


* "obligatory Jew" :)

You guys make it so easy to knock you down. You simply are incapable in keeping the entrenched animus a little better restrained. This incontinent need to express the contempt for Jews which you have been and are being fed by your educators and your state media.

Those uppity Jews, nudge nudge wink wink, eh?


Here is one response to my comment (which had been deleted from the thread):

Oh where did CC's comment go ya DJ?

I wanna reply to it.. can I?

If not, please feel free to delete my comment.. otherwise, here is my reply to CC:

""The barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism, including the suicide bombing attacks that increased significantly during the Al-Aqsa Intifada;[4] The significantly reduced number of incidents of suicide bombings from 2002 to 2005 has been partly attributed to the barrier;[5]" (wiki)

The Berlin Wall was intended as a prison for East Germans, keeping them locked into the Soviet part of Germany. The Separation barrier is intended to keep terrorists from entering into Israel or the Israeli settlements it encircles."

Well well.. The State of Israel was itself born as a terrorist state. No one supported it except the big powers of the UK and USA (the biggest colonialists in modern history). After all, Israel is better and cheaper than combined UK/USA military bases in various Arab countries.

One of the main issues with the apartheid wall is that it is seen as a land grab as it is mainly built on contested Palestinian lands. The fact that it stops suicide bombers is irrelevant if it's built on the wrong piece of land.

I could go on and on about how Israel has directly made life hell for Palestinians and Lebanese and Syrians during its occupation of their land. After all Israel controls everything (including cement!) in a land that doesn't belong to her (e.g. Gaza)!

However, I will write to you about the epitome of irony. The Jewish people have produced some of the most brilliant minds in the world in the last 200 years. You have consistently punched way above your weight in the arts, music, science, politics, etc (the list truly does go on and on). Look at the Nobel prize for instance.

With about 180 Jewish winners (out of 829 total). This makes about 20% of the Nobel Prize winners Jewish while Jews make about 0.25% of the world population!

(Sources: 1, 2-I double checked the numbers here, and 3-further checks here at

To do some maths: 20% / 0.25% = x80! Thus Jews are about 80 times smarter than the rest of the world, on average!

So, with such a smart race, why are they so impotent in finding a solution towards a peaceful realization for their 2000 years of dreaming of a state?




Note the inability to address directly the argument I made in response to the argument made in the Latuff cartoon:

A blames B for stealing a loaf of bread.

B says he did not steal it but bought the bread and here is the recipt as proof.

A responds by saying: who cares that you have a receipt? Your father was a thief and besides, if you are so smart, why do you have to steal bread instead of making it?

The whole exchange may seem non-sequitur and irrelevant but it makes perfect sense, for those brought up on the tradition that irrational thinking is the only rational way to think.


Another stop in the Arab street, here:

The topic: Sayed al-Qimni

My Comment:

Why are you so concerned about the sentiments of people who recommend that apostates should be executed? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Is Rose hinting that the man might be Jewish or have some favourable inclination towards Jews, and that this fact somehow has any bearing on what he is being put through?

The Inquisition used to persecute Mooriscos, for the same exact reason.

Does the golden rule means anything, or not?


Update, two hours later:

As fully expected, both comments were deleted:

Here and here.

More from DJ's democratic mind, here.

I have to wonder at what point does the tension between what is averred and what is practiced snaps? And what would be the result of such a breakage? An epiphany? Or a withdrawal into complete La La land?



@ Buj al arab's blog, the blogger fumes at the British legal for failing to prosecute Tzippi Livni for "crimes against humanity". My comment:

Buj: I wonder why you put so much faith in the good judgment and moral righteousness of a country which only last week you assessed as declining into third-worldism. This Livni fiasco, in my humble opinion, is exactly one of the symptoms that characterises this decline in which UK legal system acts more like the legal system that can be found in Arab countries: clearly political, skewed and corrupt. If this were not so, one would wonder why LIvni deserves such attention when the UK fails to prosecute its own suspects, like Tony Blair's involvement in the Iraq war, or all the other heads of states who comprise the occupation forces in Afghanistan. I mean, why choose to focus on Israel first, when these other events took place earlier and are responsible for killing civilians in much much greater numbers than little Israel's defensive war has ever done or will do?

Can you answer this question?


Obligatory Jew :)

I would also like to point to the illustration chosen by the worthy Buj for adorning his learned opinion: Livni as Hitler. It is a staple of the Arab street that every criticism involving Israel should be couched in Nazi terms. It is also a mark of great cognitive dissonance: The Arab street likes to believe that the Holocaust is a Zionist invention. If so then it makes sense to conclude that it never took place. Yet the choice tropes of Arab antisemitic discourse (which this post by Buj is one example, given his choice of illustration) is the swastika and Hilter. These symbols being deeply offensive to Jews and Israelis, Arab bloggers will use them. The question why they would choose to insult and pain Jews by symbols of an event that they claim never took place remains one of the usual enigmas; don't look for logic, historicity or proper perspective when you read or scrutinize Arab bloggers' premises. It's all about raging hormones, irrational leaps, distorted view of reality, and thundering lacunae.

And this is the kind of thinking Israeli politicians have to deal with, when they try to negotiate peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Malevolence of the Fundamentalist Christian Left

Considering the malevolent narrative published in the letter by missionaries representing, among other denominations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church, this report by Adam Holland must be commended for its remarkably restrained and measured tone:

Reflecting on the society into which Jesus was born, we see many similarities to life here today. The ancient Israelites were occupied and suffered at the hands of a foreign power. The Roman occupied lived freely, able to use and abuse the local population at will, while the subjugated peoples lived in constant uncertainty and anxiety, never sure how they would be treated or whether they would be singled out for random punishment. This is being repeated today for Palestinians living under the longest occupation in modern history, generally trying to live life and survive, but sometimes crossing the line into illegal and counterproductive violence, such as firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

"Historical analogies" says Oliver Kamm, "are never exact but sometimes useful. If they are to be useful, then the precedent needs at a minimum to be stated accurately." It's a useful marker by which to gauge the intellectual and common honesty of an analogy, then, to try and at least pay some attention to the signifier (precedent). In this case, the relationship between the Roman empire and its Jewish subjects:

The siege of Jerusalem, the capital city, had begun early in the war, but had turned into a stalemate. Unable to breach the city's defenses, the Roman armies established a permanent camp just outside the city, digging a trench around the circumference of its walls and building a wall as high as the city walls themselves around Jerusalem. Anyone caught in the trench attempting to flee the city would be captured, crucified, and placed in lines on top of the dirt wall facing into Jerusalem. The two Zealot leaders, John of Gischala and Simon Bar Giora, only ceased hostilities and joined forces to defend the city when the Romans began to construct ramparts for the siege. Those attempting to escape the city were crucified, with as many as five hundred crucifixions occurring in a day.[4] (Source)

The defeat of the Jewish revolt altered the Jewish diaspora, as many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery. Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, a sizeable portion of these to illnesses brought about by hunger. "A pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly."[5] 97,000 were captured and enslaved[5] and many others fled to areas around the Mediterranean. (Source)

People who profess to emulate Jesus should not be complicit in the business of demonization practiced by Palestinian propagandeers. Demonization, let's not forget, utilizes the power of the symbol to dehumanize entire nations, thus preparing and conditioning public opinion for the acceptance of genocide, as explained here, in the eight phases leading to a genocide:

2. SYMBOLIZATION: We give names or other symbols to the classifications. We name people “Jews” or “Gypsies”, or distinguish them by colors or dress; and apply the symbols to members of groups. Classification and symbolization are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they lead to the next stage, dehumanization. When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: the yellow star for Jews under Nazi rule, the blue scarf for people from the Eastern Zone in Khmer Rouge Cambodia. To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. Group marking like gang clothing or tribal scarring can be outlawed, as well. The problem is that legal limitations will fail if unsupported by popular cultural enforcement. Though Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden words in Burundi until the 1980’s, code-words replaced them. If widely supported, however, denial of symbolization can be powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, where the government refused to supply enough yellow badges and at least eighty percent of Jews did not wear them, depriving the yellow star of its significance as a Nazi symbol for Jews.

3. DEHUMANIZATION: One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder. At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to vilify the victim group. In combating this dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than democracies. Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen. Hate radio stations should be shut down, and hate propaganda banned. Hate crimes and atrocities should be promptly punished.

Antisemitism as self-defense

The following article explains
, somewhat, why antisemitism is gradually gaining respectability among the chattering classes in the world:

The Palestinian Authority depicts Jews as the archetypal force of evil throughout history. Jews are said to be responsible for all the world's problems: wars, financial crises, even the spreading of AIDS. Jews are a danger to humanity.

Whereas this paradigm has been used before, the Palestinians take it a step further, turning demonization of Jews into the basis for Palestinian denial of Israel's right to exist and a central component of Palestinian national identity.

Because of Jews' evil nature, according to this Palestinian principle, nations of the world have been involved in continuous defensive actions to protect themselves. The antisemitic oppression, persecution and expulsions suffered by Jews throughout history are presented as the legitimate self-defense responses of nations.

Ibrahim Mudayris, a PA religious official, delineated this ideology: "The Jews are a virus similar to AIDS, from which the entire world is suffering. This has been proven in history... Ask Britain!... Ask France!... Ask Portugal... Ask czarist Russia - who invited the Jews and they plotted to murder the czar!... Don't ask Germany what it did to the Jews, since the Jews are the ones who provoked Nazism to fight the entire world" (PA TV, May 13, 2005).

The apex of this Palestinian ideology, and possibly its purpose, is to use this demonization of Jews as the basis for denying Israel legitimacy and to present Palestinians as the ultimate victims. According to this Palestinian model, the Jews, who are said to have no history in the land, would never have considered coming to "Palestine": Europeans created Zionism as the final act in the long series of self-defense measures, to rid themselves of the "burden" of the Jews.

It is necessary to internalize this deeply-embedded Palestinian pathology in order to understand Why All the Excuses for Palestinian Intransigence Don't Make Sense:

Here's the answer: the Palestinian leadership wants total victory and Israel's elimination. They are willing to go on letting their people suffer for a century in pursuit of that goal. They hope that the world will give them everything they want without their having to make any concessions. They realize that saying "no" and letting the conflict continue gives them more-not less-leverage internationally because they make Israel look like the guilty party and think, consequently, it is being punished in European policies and public opinion.

Israel's most recent peace proposal to the Palestinians


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Strange coalitions of the third kind

Clashes took place in the Hungarian town of Sajobabony between the local Roma community and supporters of radical nationalist party Jobbik and its uniformed arm.

Following last week's
wrestlemania between Jobbik supporters and Gypsies in Sajóbábony, Jobbik chairman Gábor Vona gave a speech in the town. Vona blamed the secret services for stirring up anti-Magyar Gárda ("Hungarian Guard") sentiments, and said that Jobbik is not opposed to Gypsies but to crime, and therefore law-abiding Gypsies had nothing to worry about.

Apparently, the relief felt by such reassurances induced a reciprocal gesture from one Roma leader:

Csaba Kállai
(pictured), a national Gypsy leader, tried to find common ground with the Jobbik chairman at the event, saying "Gypsies eat the same things as Hungarians. There are people who won't eat pork, but us Gypsies do," signaling that Jobbik should be concerned with another minority in Hungary. Nothing like anti-Semitism to help bring people together...

About the return of Hungarian antisemitism, here

And here.
In Alan Furst's novel "Kingdom of Shadows", I found the following quote:

"The last week, in May, the Hungarian parliament had passed a law restricting Jewish employment in private companies to twenty percent of the workforce.

"Shameful," Morath said "But the government had to do something, something symbolic, or the Hungarian Nazis would have staged a coup d'etat"

Balki read further. "Who is count Bethlen?"

"A conservative. Against the radical right." Morath didn't mention Bethlen's well-known definition of the anti-Semite as "one who detests Jews more than necessary."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Depressing Observations about the State of the World

If you are in danger of being too cheerful in this holiday season, you might wish to take a look at these links:

@ Jihad Watch:

With that kind of inshallah-fatalism, constantly reinforced by every aspect of Islam, why work hard? If it will all be determined by Allah, what's the point? And then, as to innovation, Islam is dead set against it, has a prohibition on bid'a, or innovation. "Innovation" was, rightly, held to be worrisome, for it implied a willingness to keep one's mind and heart open to new things, to perhaps come to believe that not everything necessary was contained in the Qur'an.


@ MEMRI: "... an interview with Sheikh Fikri Hassan, former Egyptian deputy minister of religious endowment, which aired on Al-Shabab TV on December 2, 2009."

The Swiss Labor Party is a "Zionist Party"; There's a Swiss Soccer Club Called "Zion"

Hamdi Abd Al-Maguid: "The Swiss Labor Party..."

Sheikh Fikri Hassan: "This is a Zionist party with Zionist roots, and they finance..."

Hamdi Abd Al-Maguid: "Let me tell you something, the Egyptian soccer player, the goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, used to play for a club called 'Zion' in Switzerland.[1] There is a club in Switzerland called 'Zion,' which is run by the Zionists."


[1] The reference is to FC Sion, the soccer team of the city of Sion, Switzerland


@ Pajamas Media: The UN at the service of dictatorships and terrorist organizations:

Historian Richard Landes has coined the term “demopaths” to describe such institutions. Demopaths “use democratic language and invoke human rights only when it serves their interests. Demopaths demand stringent levels of human ‘rights’ but do not apply these basic standards … to their own behavior.”

The UN is the demopathic organization par excellence and its spokesmen persist in plying their trade. Its elections for the post of secretary-general have generally drawn from a pool of dubious mediocrities with little sympathy for or knowledge of the history of Western humanism, such as Kurt Waldheim, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon. The Russian and Chinese stranglehold on the Security Council has always meant that decisions favoring the West would inevitably succumb to their veto power. The Organization of the Islamic Conference effectively dominates the General Assembly, which is in any case often headed by anti-Western, socialist-inspired figures like Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann or representatives of tyrannical regimes like its current president Ali Abdussalam Treki, who hails from, of all places, Libya.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has dedicated its attention almost exclusively to the denunciation of Israel, the only genuine democracy in the Middle East. The Council features two agendas at its annual session: one allotted to Israel, the other to the rest of the world. Anyone speaking out in defense of Israel is liable to be removed from the premises, as happened recently to UN-accredited Anne Bayevsky, a professor of political science at York University and director of the Touro Law Center’s Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust. To add injury to injury, the UNHRC has gone soft on Sharia, announcing on June 16, 2008, that criticism of Sharia law would now be contraindicated.


@ Islam in Europe
: apropos minarets:

The Fatih mosque asked the city to allow them to call the faithful to prayer. They want to hang loudspeakers outside the mosque so that the muezzin - which calls the faithful to prayer - will also be heard out in the streets. The Fatih mosque in Beringen is one of the few Belgian mosques with a minaret.


@ The Guardian: Off with her head...

A British court issued an arrest warrant for Israel's former foreign minister over war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza this year – only to withdraw it when it was discovered that she was not in the UK, it emerged today.

Tzipi Livni, a member of the war cabinet during Operation Cast Lead, had been due to address a meeting in London on Sunday but cancelled her attendance in advance. The Guardian has established that Westminster magistrates' court issued the warrant at the request of lawyers acting for some of the Palestinian victims of the fighting but it was later dropped.

The warrant marks the first time an Israeli minister or former minister has faced arrest in the UK and is evidence of a growing effort to pursue war crimes allegations under "universal jurisidiction". Israel rejects these efforts as politically motivated, saying it acted in self-defence against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.

Livni, head of the opposition Kadima party, played a key role in decisions made before and during the three-week offensive. Palestinians claim 1,400 were killed, mostly civilians; Israel counted 1,166 dead, the majority of them combatants.


@ Gloria Center: Why All the Excuses for Palestinian Intransigence Don't Make Sense

Here's the answer: the Palestinian leadership wants total victory and Israel's elimination. They are willing to go on letting their people suffer for a century in pursuit of that goal. They hope that the world will give them everything they want without their having to make any concessions. They realize that saying "no" and letting the conflict continue gives them more-not less-leverage internationally because they make Israel look like the guilty party and think, consequently, it is being punished in European policies and public opinion.

So the arguments being made by Westerners who think they are being sympathetic to a suffering people just don't make sense. In fact, they make things worse. Indeed, they are part of a Palestinian strategy to avoid making peace and encourage such intransigence.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garden Noam

A garden variety gnome.


It's a humorous take on Noam Chomsky. I would hasten to declare that by no means do I consider him an intellectual gnome, though gigantor he is not. He has done some titanically interesting work in linguistics, but sadly, he is much better known for his gnomic expostulations in politics and the Middle East. The one side of his public persona casts a giant shadow over his achievements in his field of his bona fide expertise.

I subscribe to Bernard Lewis's judgment that:

" Mr. Chomsky's views on Middle Eastern history are about as reliable as my views on linguistics".

In that context, the Noam is aptly represented here----->

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just War

In response to president Obama's Oslo speech, Michael Walzer writes in the New Republic:

"I don’t much like soaring rhetoric; I know there are times to soar, but Obama does it, or tries to do it, every time. Plain speech is also useful, and there was some plain speech in Norway—particularly the reiterated insistence, directed, I think, to our European friends, that sometimes making war is the only way to a just peace. He said this, not once but three or four times, “because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter the cause.” He spoke also about the horrors of war, and said all the right things, but his emphasis was on war’s occasional necessity—and these occasions are probably the most critical ones that political leaders face."

I wondered, when news of President Obama winning the Nobel prize became known, whether he would surprise all the sceptics and pull a Bollinger on the awarding committee. I think his speech, so unexpected in its focus and its ending on the necessity of war, came quite close to it. I enjoyed seeing the look on the face of the chairman of the Peace Nobel committee, looking dumbfounded and clearly unamused.

Another way of looking at it would be to compare it to Mark Anthony's speech:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar ... The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it ...
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral ...

Just as Antony uses rhetorical irony to persuade the people to go against the conspirators and support him and Caesar's goals, president Obama's speech, while praising the peacemakers, extolled the virtues and necessity of just war. (Blogger's note: Admittedly, this point requires further development, maybe later).

Maybe Obama is fast maturing towards some thoughtful greatness after all. He was telling the Europeans, it's nice to be liked and acknowledged by you, but do not forget who i am, a son of America, not of Europe. I cannot be so flattered by your attentions as to forget what a principle is, what America stands for, or has done for you, and is determined to continue to do.

We'll just have to wait and see.


We began the eight day feast of lights yesterday. Today it is the second candle and I will be making sufganiot and latkes.

Here is a very nice summary of the different meanings of Hannuka, including the Maccabbee story but much more:

C hanukah begins on the twenty-fifth of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This is the anniversary, some say, of the day the Israelites finished giving beautiful materials for the Tabernacle, the Shekhinah’s dwelling-place. The gifts represent the outpouring of the heart. Chanukah itself gives a gift of the heart—the promise of new light in the world. At the winter solstice, deep in the inwardness of winter, the season turns and the light begins to grow again. The Chanukah menorah begins with a single light and ends with many. So too, the sun begins as a distant, dull light and ends in the blazing warmth of spring. Chanukah represents the shoot that begins to emerge from the ground, using all of its inward energy to bring new life to the earth. On the Sabbath of Chanukah we read the story of how the prophet Zechariah prophesies to an exiled people that a shoot (tzemach) will come to lead them home." [-]

There is a story about Adam (the first person), and the winter solstice. The story tells that when Adam saw the days growing shorter, he feared that God was angry and planned to destroy the world. He fasted for eight days and nights. Then the light began to grow longer. “This is the way of the world,” Adam said, and he spent eight days in celebration. The next year, he celebrated both the eight dark days and the eight days of light. The Talmud gives this story as the explanation for the Roman winter solstice festival of Saturnalia, but it is also an explanation for the eight days of Chanukah that we celebrate. Like Adam, we use the light of the physical world to give ourselves hope. "

Here is some music in honour of the holiday:

First off, via: Solomonia, Orrin Hatch's Hannuka song
Then The New Centrist regales us with some Indian-Jewish music from Israel

Adam Sandler's Hannukka Song

And here is an Iberian Hanouka, a medieval prayer

And "My tiny candles":

נרותי הזעירים,
מה רבו הסיפורים
לי ילאט האור,
לי ילאט האור.
על גבורות לי יספרו,
על דמים שנשפכו,
על מלחמת דרור,
על מלחמת דרור

My tiny candles,
the light of flickering flames
whisper to me countless stories
of heroes who bravely fought
and spilled their blood
in a war for freedom

Friday, December 11, 2009

Comment trail:

At issue: Obama's Oslo speech, Obama's bow to the Saudi king

@ The Spine: Obama's speech at Oslo


@ Solomonia: Hamas preparing for war

Swiss Radical Imams

@ Islam in Europe: The Muslim Trouble in Switzerland:

"The study begins by saying that most Muslims can practice their faith while following the constitution. Religion is rarely the main reason for integration problems. A minority of imams, however, preach radically, in a way which prevents the integration of Muslims. At least 8 imams in a dozen mosques preach a radical interpretation of Islam. These mosques are located in the cantons of Geneva, Neuenburg (2), Vaud (2), Valais, Bern, Basel (2), Lucerne and Zurich (2). These mosques are mostly Arab mosques, and seven of the eight imams are North Africans. This corresponds to the known pattern that most of the Islamist activists in Switzerland are Arabs."

The highlighted statement fits in with Mick Hartley's post in which he said:

"I rather doubt that Swiss Muslims were ever particularly interested in cultural domination; especially as the majority are originally from Bosnia or Kosova, where the ideals of secularism are far better grounded that they are in the Muslim heartlands further east. If there was one European country where Hirsi Ali's argument had least force, it would probably be Switzerland. "

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arabesque Hypocrisy

Here is how a Syrian Arab marked Holocaust Day in Dubai:

"Today, an ex bouncer is ensconced in the confines of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, a racist pig who at 2003 had offered to provide busses to transfer the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli dungeons to the dead sea, should the Israeli government agree to drown them there. Today, Arab farmlands are still being confiscated in the west bank to build homes to the Jewish settlers. Today, there is no hope in sight of a Palestinian state. Today, thousands of Gazan families are either still mourning their loved-ones, or living in cold tents as refugees for the Gazillion time. Today, there are millions of Palestinians scattered around the world with no hope of return. Today, there is a racist separation wall and there are racist and discriminatory policies against the indigenous population of Palestine. Today, there is the occupied Golan Height. Today, there is a water crisis in the west bank. Today, there is grief and sorrow everywhere in the Holy Land."

Never mind the disgusting bathos, the distortions, the lies, the in-bred contempt for Jews, for Israel, for verifiable, easily accessible history . What do you make of his "problem" with Ahmadinjad who "with all due respect, should have known better than to throw stones while he persecutes homosexuals and squashes dissent"?

Talk about throwing stone, from a Syrian who seems never to give even a fleeting thought to his own country's genocidal record, which, ironically surpasses even Iran's record of human rights abuses.

Or the fact that his country has given refuge to Alois Brunner, the world's highest-ranking Nazi fugitive believed still alive.

Or the fact that "The state of human rights in Syria is among the worst in the world as reported by the US State Department."

One might think that a person of such delicate sentiments for Palestinian suffering would be dimly aware of all this, right? What to make, then, of this absence of proper feeling for the suffering of Syrians? Could it be that the suffering of Arabs when inflicted by Arabs is so widely accepted as to excite no more interest than a "dog bites man" news story? Two weights two measures?


Update: here


This post has been linked to, here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Comment trail:

@ The Spine: Marty Peretz questions the president's knowledge of the Arabs and the world of Islam

@ The Spine: Swiss Minaret ban


@ Some Like It not: shopping mores