Friday, August 31, 2012

Rachel Corrie's Legacy: 
"Nonviolent resistance is no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation."

"A few minutes after the publication of the verdict, [Corrie’s] family and their lawyer, Hussein Abu-Hussein, were interviewed for TV. Into the airways,  beautiful words were tossed, about democracy, peace, human rights. To the “New York Times” the celebrated advocate said the following words:

“It’s a black day for activists of human rights and people who believe in values of dignity,” Mr. Hussein said. “We believe this decision is a bad decision for all of us — civilians first of all, and peace activists.” Honeyed words. Even though I do not agree with Abu-Hussein I contemplated offering him  friendship on Facebook.

But I was too hasty. “Palestinian Media Watch” exposed the fact that only last month Abu-Hussein was interviewed for the Palestinian Television. The interviewer, and that’s no less significant, was our old acquaintance, Mohammad Bakri, of “Jenin, Jenin” infamy. So we are speaking here about constitutive text.

Abu Bakri: “You live in an abnormal state … sometimes you lose cases not because you are not a good lawyer but because of judicial tyranny, racial discrimination within the law.”

Abu-Hussein: “The Nazi state was also a state of law. It found refuge in the law from which it committed its most horrific crimes against humanity. Nazi Germany was a state of law for a very short time and found refuge in the law, [but] the state of Israel was founded on theft and dispossession… we suffer from a great injustice. The great monster attacks us every day and gnaws at our flesh… Every day they gnaw at out flesh.”*

Mohammad Bakri, [Israeli Arab actor]:
"I want to step on the head of this monster."

Hussein Abu Hussein, [Israeli Arab lawyer]:

"We all want to step on its head, but talking is not enough. Everyone has their role."
Baki and Abu Hussein are not the representatives of the Arab minority in Israel. They are its disaster. They are agitators and inciters. The subheading under Corrie’s photos on Channel 10 declared she was a  human rights activist.  That’s about as correct as designating her lawyer as a peace activist. On the other hand, there is no doubt he is the best representative of Rachel Corrie, her family and her way."


* The full quote in PMW translation: “"Nazi Germany was a state based on the rule of law for a short while and it found refuge in the law. [However,] the State of Israel was founded from the start on robbery and theft of a nation's homeland. Actually, the correct and true legal definition of what happened to the Palestinians is homeland theft... We suffer from a great injustice from the giant monster. This monster attacks us daily and bites into our flesh in the Negev, the Galilee, the Triangle [region in Israel], Jerusalem, and the occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza. Every day it bites into our body."


I have written in the past a few times how I think of Rachel Corrie . Here it is, again:

 Corrie aligned herself sentimentally and seamlessly with suffering Palestinians, reserving for them her absolute anger and attendant pity to the extent that suffering Israelis merited nothing but a sneering hatred from her. Corrie’s idealism did not proceed from love but from ideologically induced hatred. She was a de-facto apologist for Palestinian terrorism, and she died trying to prevent the work of an Israeli bulldozer, which was searching for munitions buried in the ground . Contrary to Palestinian reports and what is generally claimed, the bulldozer was not there to demolish a house, (though houses used as cover for weapon-smuggling tunnels were demolished by the IDF, but not on that particular day). Any which way you slice it, those munitions were there to be utilized in attacks against innocent civilians. Corrie died protecting terrorist weapons. She was completely indifferent to the deaths these weapons spelled at a time when suicide bombings were a matter of daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence in Israel.

Btw, when I look at this photo of Corrie what strikes me is less her complete self-abandon to mindless hatred. What I notice is the difference between her semi-crazed demeanor and the baffled and smiling faces of the Palestinian kids, who surround her. What can it mean?

I left my comments on a website "Socialist Unity" where you can hear reverberations of the same kind of fundamentalist and constitutive hatred that is so easily  proclaimed in the dialogue between Bakri and Abu-Hussein


Compare and contrast:

Look at this youtube of Rachel Corrie as a fifth grader speaking about caring:

And then look at this picture of her, at age 23 in Gaza:

What happened in the years that passed between that idealistic and innocent young girl and the woman we see in the photos?   

I'll tell you what I think happened: She was seduced into abandoning her humanitarian better self by the cynical, quasi-demonic, calculated, cognitively-dissonant, stratagems of  ISM.   Here is how they define their mission:

" As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions , we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance. [-]
The ISM does not support or condone any acts of terrorism – which is not legitimate armed struggle. The ISM does not associate, support, or have anything to do with armed or violent resistance to the occupation. The ISM does not assist or engage in any kind of armed resistance, no matter what form it may take.

This right to resist occupation applies not only to the Palestinian people, but to all peoples who are faced with a military occupation. The ISM regards all people as equals with equal rights under international law. We believe that nonviolent action is a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance.[4]
During a CNN interview, Paula Zahn with Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf asked about an article they had co-authored which stated: "Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both violent and nonviolent. But most importantly, it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. Nonviolent resistance is no less noble than carrying out a suicide operation."

Mr.  and Mrs. Corrie  need to demand justice for their daughter's death and explanations from the organization/cult that hijacked their giddy and suggestible daughter's being, brainwashed her, and then sent her to face a giant Israeli bulldozer, operated by an Israeli driver who could not see or hear her, playing into her fantasy that what she was doing amounted to caring about human rights and resisting non-violently the forces of occupation.

 I will repeat this: She died in her "non-violent" attempt to prevent Israel from unearthing munitions that were meant for shredding Israeli kids. She fulfilled in her body and destiny ISM's mission statement to the letter.


Later, addendum:

This old post of mine is tangentially relevant to the point I'm trying to make:  Argumentum ad misericordiam:

Monday, August 27, 2012

He is Outraged

Prof. AbuKhalil is shocked and outraged by the (real) news that

This is the same AbuKhalil who wrote this:

 "An Israeli set himself on fire to protest inflation.  I call on all Israelis to protest inflation."

Isn't he witty?  Isn't he rightoeous?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On Hypocrites and Double Standards

Ben Dror Yemini comments on the "near lynching" that took place in Jerusalem  a few days ago and on the reaction of the Left:

Had a lynching been committed against a Jew inside an Arab village in Israel – as happened a few days ago in centre of Jerusalem – all hell would have broken loose. And rightly so. So even if we are speaking of an aberration rather than the norm, we are talking shame and ignominy here.

The lynching that only miraculously did not end in the young man’s death, exposes what we have already known. There are wild weeds. This was not just born today. Such incidents of attacks on Arabs for no other reason than they are Arabs, happen once every one or two years. Similar incidents have taken place  in the distant past. It’s hard to stamp out these weeds. The fact every society and every nation have them should not serve as mitigation or comfort.

Why do such things occur? Some people say it’s the result of incitement. One venerable professor, an Israel Prize winner, even managed to connect the lynching with the decision to deny Adar Cohen tenure*. This is from the academic, who ostensibly encourages understanding among the peoples. It is possible to bring up valid and serious claims. Let’s ask the Prof then: What’s the connection? Ugly occurrences took place on the shift of every minister of education; such incidents take place not only in Jerusalem but in Stockholm and Oslo, too.

If we apply the professor’s logic, that these boys are the product of the educational system then Cohen failed. But there is no connection. Bigotry, to our shame, is a disease of every society. It must be fought. It is doubtful whether it can be defeated. Incitement, as far as it exists, plays a role. But those who are screaming now about incitement are exactly the same people who remain mute and blind to any  expression of incitement on the Palestinian side.

Palestinian Media Watch posts daily reports on the unremitting  incitement. The Pavlovian reaction from the camp of the enlightened  designates it a “Right wing” organization. That is, the problem is not the incitement but its exposure to the public eye. When on the Israeli side there is hardly a hundredth of what is happening on the Palestinian side, they holler and howl across the world that Israel’s democracy is collapsing and racism prevails everywhere.

So we need to put some order in this madness.

There are ugly incidents in our cities that must be eradicated from the root. The fact that much worse actions occur on the other side does not provide us with an umbrella of justification or a discount on responsibility. Racism is racism and incitement is incitement and they lead to nasty manifestations. Every political camp has its vicious marginal extremes. This does not mean we write off the entire camp for these extreme minorities.  It is possible to have a Rightist position without hating Arabs. It is possible to have Leftist positions without hating Israel.

The following story illustrates my point: In 1947, before the declaration of Israel’s statehood, an incident took place at exactly the same spot as this one, the corner of Jaffa and Ben Yehuda streets. A group of kids just out of school encountered two Arabs, “one young, the other old” and treated them with “distinct crudeness”, including “coarse provocation” and bodily injury. An eye witness to the incident was Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the spiritual leader of national Zionism in general and the settler movement in particular. He saw what happened and later published a scathing letter to the principal of the school these kids attended. He specified that “not everyone was complicit in the deed … some [of the kids] protested against it”, but the letter was severe and sharply-worded.

“I was pained and ashamed … The reality of the incident upset and offended me and forces me to alert you to the need to pay special and intense attention to prevent such incidents in future. From a moral aspect instructed in the Torah and from the practical aspect of good social and national politics. We need to educate for  peaceful manners and neighbourly relationship”. There is a double message being made, simultaneously moral and political. We should not learn everything the Rabbi had to teach but this letter should be taught in school, in the subject of civics.


There is no Israeli leader who has not condemned this assault with explicit disgust and vehemence. The culprits have already been apprehended and will face the full force of the law. This is, as the aforementioned rabbi stated, a matter both of moral and national concern.

Still, Israel's defamers are celebrating this event. Consider how Prof. AbuKhalil typically represents this incident:

"Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Even when Israel commits massacres and lynches Arabs, it is humane

I have lived in the US since 1983.  I know the Western media and their standards pretty well.  Whenever Israeli commits a massacre or whenever a group of Israelis lynch Arabs, I expect to wake up the next day with a story about "soul-searhcing" in Israel, unfailingly.  The New York Times, like the rest of the Western press, did not report on the lynching of Arabs, but it reports about the "arrest" of the Israeli youth on the front page, thereby leaving readers with the impression not that Israelis habitually lynch Arabs, but that Israel habitually punishes attackers.  Oh, the soul-searching phrase appeared in the New York Times as in:  "adding to the soul-searching..."

To re-cap:  "The New York Times, like the rest of the Western press, did not report on the lynching of Arabs, but it reports about the "arrest" of the Israeli youth on the front page,"
If you read only our Angry friend's missive you would be left with the following impressions:
That a massacre / lynch  took place by the Israeli authorities against Arabs.
That the arrest of the bullies who attacked the young Arab man is just pretended, a fraud, to deceive the gullible Western  press into believing Israel is state of law and order.
That the Western press did not report on the incident itself .

As usual, all of these allegations are easily debunked. Just google "Lynching" and "Jerusalem" and you will get about 1990 entries on the subject
A violent incident took place. One young Arab boy was nearly beaten to death. The Israeli press is full of articles of any type on this incident: reports, condemnations, self-flagellation, editorials. 

Compare this with AbuKhalil's record.Try searching for the name "Fogel" on his "News Service". This is what you'll get.. 

If you search for Itamar, this is what you'll get. Another thinly veiled slander that the murders were actually not perpetrated by Palestinians and only serve as a pretext to harass Palestinians.

I'm wondering whether this is acceptable to an American University as proper academic conduct and ethics. Seems to me the professor is spending all this time blogging about what he considers "news", when he  should be teaching his students how think critically, how to distinguish between facts, innuendos, conspiracy theories, gratuitous insults, and  how to collect reliable material.from reliable sources, material that would stand up to peer reviews.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Confessions of a Bookophile 

It's the end of summer. There are howling wolves on every front, personal and universal. War talk escalating, American presidential campaigns more depressing than ever, human scum and villainy continuing to gain momentum and influence where they should never have been able to insert even a toe. What better escape than to find temporary relief and shelter among the books, the books, according to Apollinaire, that are

"Friends in weather foul or fair
If not for them how would I fare"

My fellow blogger friend Bob from Brockley in his sage kindness (or his kindly sagacity) offered us just such a relief, here. He challenges us to draw up two lists of novels:

" The first one is the novels that shaped me, inspired me, made me think about literature the way I do. [--]

The second list is books I have read as an adult, books I have loved reading, which I count as my favourite novels of my adult years."

My first list of favourite novels between the ages 11-18 I deposited at Bob's post and it speaks for the callow, romantic, naive, clueless barbarian that I was.

The second list is much tougher to compile. Titles zip in and out of my mind as I try to remember, frantically, which, which novels I read that re-shaped, or at least modified my thinking, my ideas, my expectations from life and humanity. I came to the conclusion that it was too big a net to cast and I needed to pare down such demands for self-clarity and introspection. So I decided to re-draw the lines and re-articulate the criteria. I will list the novels - or books - that for some reason or other had a memorable impact on me. It could be any type of impact: negative, positive, emotional, intellectual, informational, linguistic. 

So here goes:

1. Black Dogs / Ian McEwan - Because nothing I had ever read inspired a more poignant sense of the sadness and hopelessness of human relationship to actually solve or end a tragic existence than the preamble to that novel. I read those 5 pages and put the novel aside for five years before I could pick it up again and continue to read it. To this day I have not looked at those 5 pages again. 

2. Darkness at Noon / Arthur Koestler - Because a true believer, a Stalinist, a highly cultured and creative mind, could be so turned inside out that he almost forgets that he is a human being. When he mutely pleads, though not expecting, pity, he is denied it. The last few pages of the novels he manages to reach a state of grace and dies with images of childhood beauty in his mind. If we talk of salvation, this is it.

3. 1984 / George Orwell - Because for all the explanations and interpretations of the ending of the novel I still maintain that it is impossible to make someone love Big Brother and believe that 2+2 is 5. And I think Orwell's conclusion clarifies that. Certain memories, or traces of memories, cannot be erased or their significance neutralized, despite the rats and the fear and the misery.

4. The Mill on the Floss / George Eliot. For this passage in it: 

“I didn't finish the book,” said Maggie. “As soon as I came to the blond-haired young lady reading in the park, I shut it up, and determined to read no further. I foresaw that that light-complexioned girl would win away all the love from Corinne and make her miserable. I'm determined to read no more books where the blond-haired women carry away all the happiness. I should begin to have a prejudice against them. If you could give me some story, now, where the dark woman triumphs, it would restore the balance. I want to avenge Rebecca and Flora MacIvor and Minna, and all the rest of the dark unhappy ones. Since you are my tutor, you ought to preserve my mind from prejudices; you are always arguing against prejudices.” 

5. Solaris / Stanislaw Lem  - I liked the concept of God being a childish, arbitrary, ignorant, tantrum-inclined mind making mischief and mimicking the grownup humans that it rather ineptly observes.

6. The Chosen / Chaim Potok  For its tender and forgiving humanity:

"There is a story in the Talmud about a king who had a son who went astray. The son was told, 'Return to your father.' The son replied that he could not. The king then sent a messenger to the son with the message... 'Come back to me as far as you can, and I will meet you the rest of the way."

7. Women in Love / D. H. Lawrence This novel I read during a period when I abandoned myself to being in love with Lawrence's novels. That was before I noticed the innate racism and what can only be seen as his subconscious contempt for women. As I read this novel, I found myself wondering: Did Lawrence really know much about women and how they are when in love?

8. The Stranger / Albert Camus  

"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure."

9. The Scarlet letter / Nathaniel Hawthorne

Question: How different is Hester Prynne from Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov?

10.Sister Carrie / Theodore Dreiser  A novel I would never willingly read again. 

11. The Sea Wolf / Jack London  Don't know why. I read it as a teenager and then again for a course about ten years ago. The first time I read it for fun and found the narrative compelling and satisfying.  The second time I read it for the characters: the macho, the sissy, the lady. And found that these categories tend to leak into each other and thus create more uncertainty and inevitably, more (unrequited) longing for greater clarity and classification. 

12. Death of an Expert Witness / P. D. James  

My very first and blessed encounter with Adam Dalgliesh, detective and poet who reads Jane Austen and is standoffish, cold and implacable in the pursuit of a murder inquiry. As perfect a gentleman as can be. The beginning of a long and adulatory relationship, not least supported by the quintessential Dalgliesh played by Roy Marsden in the dramatization of the novels :) 

13. The beauty of the Husband / Anne Carson Not a novel in the classical sense but "a Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos" :

 Loyal to nothing
My husband. So why did I love him from early girlhood
to late middle age
And the divorce decree came in the mail?
Beauty. No great secret. Not ashamed to say I loved him
for his beauty.
As I would again
If he came near. Beauty convinces. You know beauty
makes sex possible.
Beauty makes sex sex.

14. The spy who came in from the cold /  John le Carré

15.  The Master and Margarita / Mikhail Bulgakov 

16. The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin / Vladimir Voinovich  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Losing his few remaining marbles?

Prof. Abukhalil, aka "Angry Arab" is a master of the illogical analogy.

 Here is his latest out-of-this-world snort of  derision:

 ""French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Friday called for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be "smashed fast" as he visited Turkey's largest refugee camp near the Syrian border.""  Does the French government also want to "smash fast" the Roma people?" 

Do I need to spell out the insanity of this analogy?

In what conceivable intelligible universe can any analogy be drawn between Assad's genocidally repressive regime and the Roma people of Europe? 

I said it once and I'll say it again:

 A famous Israeli joke tells about a man who visits a zoo and stands for hours next to the giraffe's enclosure, staring at it in utter fascination and disbelief: There is no such animal, he finally says.

This is more or less how I feel whenever I visit AAAA's blog (on a daily basis). I've been asked why I find this person's fulminations so interesting. I don't really know how to answer except that I look and read and think to myself: this cannot be real.