Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Awakened from my slumber

I wrote two new posts about the UNHRC and the Goldstone report at my new address here

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moving to iKibbitz>>>>

If any of you are wondering, I'm trying to revive my blogging at

Monday, September 7, 2009

Will Norman Finkelstein break the seige?

A week ago, I read on Mideast Youth that Norman Finkelstein is organizing a coalition to break the siege of Gaza through a mass demonstration on the 1st of January of next year hoping that it will attract significant world media attention. Finkelstein has always intrigued me because of his clash with establishment academia. He's definitely radical which highly contrasts with my shifting view towards the center.

I believe he's mostly known to Arab activists in North America and Europe but not a frequent speaker in the Middle East. Ali Dahmash of Mideast Youth writes:
It is disappointing that he doesn’t get any attention from Arab media or officials. I would love to see him touring our Universities and addressing our youth but I won’t be surprised if he was harassed by Arab governments as well. Let’s wait for January 1st and see what Mubarak will do?
I would have thought that he'll more likely get in trouble with Hamas in Gaza and not with Mubarak because one of the first details one learns about him is that he's the son of Holocaust survivors, and the Holocaust is one thing Hamas believes to be a "Zionist lie".

Unfortunately for Finkelstein, from the statement he recently posted on his website, it seems that the coalition and organization of the march has been hijacked. The statement isn't long so I think it is worth for me to reprint it in its entirety:
Why I resigned from the Gaza Freedom March coalition:

The original consensus of the International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza was that we would limit our statement to a pair of uncontroversial, basic and complementary principles that would have the broadest possible appeal: the march to break the siege would be nonviolent and anchored in international law. I agreed with this approach and consequent statement and decided to remove myself from the steering committee in order to invest my full energies in mobilizing for the march. During the week beginning August 30, 2009 and in a matter of days an entirely new sectarian agenda dubbed "the political context" was foisted on those who originally signed on and worked tirelessly for three months. Because it drags in contentious issues that--however precious to different constituencies--are wholly extraneous to the narrow but critical goal of breaking the siege this new agenda is gratuitously divisive and it is almost certain that it will drastically reduce the potential reach of our original appeal. It should perhaps be stressed that the point of dispute was not whether one personally supported a particular Palestinian right or strategy to end the occupation. It was whether inclusion in the coalition's statement of a particular right or strategy was necessary if it was both unrelated to the immediate objective of breaking the siege and dimmed the prospect of a truly mass demonstration. In addition the tactics by which this new agenda was imposed do not bode well for the future of the coalition's work and will likely move the coalition in an increasingly sectarian direction. I joined the coalition because I believed that an unprecedented opportunity now exists to mobilize a broad public whereby we could make a substantive and not just symbolic contribution towards breaking the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza and, accordingly, realize a genuine and not just token gesture of solidarity with the people of Gaza. In its present political configuration I no longer believe the coalition can achieve such a goal. Because I would loathe getting bogged down in a petty and squalid public brawl I will not comment further on this matter unless the sequence of events climaxing in my decision to resign are misrepresented by interested parties. However I would be remiss in my moral obligations were I not humbly to apologize to those who, either coaxed by me or encouraged by my participation, gave selflessly of themselves to make the march a historic event and now feel aggrieved at the abrupt turn of events. It can only be said in extenuation that I along with many others desperately fought to preserve the ecumenical vision that originally inspired the march but the obstacles thrown in our path ultimately proved insurmountable.
I highlighted the important phrases above.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Some sanity from Avigdor Lieberman?

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he will avoid negotiating West Bank policy.
"As far as I am concerned, there is a conflict of interest when someone who lives in a settlement, in an isolate town that is not even counted among the settlements, takes part in the issue," he said.
At least he's not as stupid as the Shas MK heading the Housing Ministry.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Adler's Analysis of Mondoweiss

Yaacov Lozowick linked on his blog to a very lengthy and detailed analysis of the folks of Mondoweiss (Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz) and Max Blumenthal by Jay Adler. Adler clearly shows what their cause really is. I easily discovered their intentions just by reading the comments below Mondoweiss blog posts. I left a comment on Adler's post asking him to write an analysis of Richard Silverstein because Silverstein was once said that he doesn't see any antisemitism in the comments on Mondoweiss.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The International Campaign to Scapegoat Israel

The title above is a great line from Jeffrey Goldberg describing the efforts of those who try to delegitimize Israel through the lens of double-standards and prejudice.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Richard Silverstein and James von Brunn share at least one belief

Harry's Place has an excellent blog post by guest Petra Marquardt-Bigman reviewing Richard Silverstein's atrocious piece in the Cif (Guardian) about the horrible attack on the Holocaust Museum by white supremacist James von Brunn.

Silverstein said this:
People like Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, live for tragedies like this. You wait. Tomorrow or the next day he'll be holding a press conference with the security guard's wife telling the world that African-Americans and Jews must make common cause against the vast antisemitic conspiracy. If he’s really feeling his oats that day he might even work in a reference to an evil Iranian president who denies the Holocaust as well. Mark my words, it’s coming.”

As Petra points out, Foxman did not act that way. He acted like any decent human being would, saying this:
“The shooting at the United States Holocaust Museum, in which a security guard was critically wounded, is a very sad and tragic event which reminds us, as the Museum itself does every day, in the starkest way, where the spread of hatred can lead. […]Brunn’s evil attack, at the very place that was created to remember and teach about evil in the world, is an immediate reminder that words of hate matter, that we can never afford to ignore hate because words of hate can easily become acts of hate, no matter the place, no matter the age of the hatemonger. […]”
I would expect this from Silverstein, but where is Cif's journalistic standards.

Richard Silverstein, it is you who live for these moments making snide remarks against people and institutions you don't like.

One of Harry's Place' readers pointed one more thing - Brunn and Silverstein share at least one false and hate-filled idea - that African Americans are the tools of the Jews. That's right, go scroll back up and look at the excerpt. Notice in Silverstein's description of the theoratical press confrence by Abe Foxman and the presense of Officer John's widow and the rallying of African Americans? I wonder what his response will be to this? Perhaps he ment Zionists?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Refugee Camps in Lebanon

Under Michael Totten's article about the recent election in Lebanon, I noticed this comment about the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon:
What have been called “Refugee Camps” for 3 generations would be termed “Illegal Settlements” if they were populated by Jews.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who is the most open and democratic country in the ME?

According to Al Jazeera, Lebanon is the most democratic country in the region. The country where the President has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Parliament has to be a Shi'a Muslim, is sooo much more democratic than Israel.

Also according to Al Jazeera, Lebanon is the most open country in the region, even though it trails both Israel and Kuwait in freedom of press according to Freedom House.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Something a little different

"Burning Bright" by Shinedown

I feel like there is no need for conversation
Some questions are better left without a reason
And I would rather reveal myself than my situation
Now and then I consider, my hesitation
The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning, burning bright

I wonder if the things I did were just to be different
To spare myself of the constant shame of my existence
And I would surely redeem myself in my desperation
Here and now I'll express, my situation

[CHORUS (2)]

There's nothing ever wrong but nothing's ever right
Such a cruel contradiction
I know I cross the lines its not easy to define
I'm born to indecision
There's always something new some path I'm supposed to choose
With no particular rhyme or reason

[CHORUS (2)]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reading ...

It's been awhile.

1. Excellent article posted on normblog - Therapists to the Jews: Psychologizing the 'Jewish Question' (by Shalom Lappin).

2. JPost blog post- An Iranian in Tel-Aviv.

3. NYTimes article - On Fiery Birth of Israel, Memories of 2 Sides Speak.

4. Israeli launches on-line tuition-free university.

5. Arabs in the IDF, conflict of identity.

6. The excellent Khaled Abu Toameh on the failure of Oslo and Western intervention on behalf of the Palestinians, and the terrible state of Palestinian politics.

Update: 7. Hinduism, just like Zionism?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In the news

Fadi Eyadat of Haaretz reports:

Some 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs believe the Holocaust never occurred, according to the results of a University of Haifa poll released Sunday.

The survey shows that Holocaust denial among Israeli Arabs has become more prevalent in recent years. In 2006, 28 percent of Israeli Arabs polled denied that the Holocaust occurred.

The annual poll of Jewish-Arab relations, which was conducted by Professor Sami Samuha, also found that only 41 percent of Israel's Arab minority recognize the country's right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, as opposed to 65.6 percent in 2003.

Moreover, only 53.7 percent of the Israeli Arab public believe Israel has a right to exist just as an independent country, according to the poll, down from 81.1 percent in 2003.

"This radicalization in the positions of Arabs was caused by a series of factors such as the Second Lebanon War, the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinians, the failure to implement the conclusions of the Or committee, closing the case against the Border Police troops who shot dead the Israeli Arab protesters in October 2000, and more," Samuha said.

700 Israeli Arab men and women participated in the survey, which will be published in its entirety on Monday.

Last week I wrote about the evolving Zionist narrative accepting certain parts of the Palestinian narrative.

Stupidity and the dumbing down of the populace is prevalent in politics everywhere. Changing that will bring peace.

Are neoconservatives ahead of their time?

I'm listening to the NPR program on the Star Trek franchise. The program notes that as much as neoconservatism has gotten a bad rap in the last 8 years, Gene Roddenerry's (the creator of Star Trek) vision of the future is neoconservative where a Federation of Planets, a "coalition of the willing" if you will, is socially liberal and interventionist. In the new movie, Captain Peko calls it a "humanitarian and peace-keeping armada."

Star Trek is liberal and progressive. Nichelle Nicholes was perhaps the first black woman to be featured in a major television series not playing a maid. The franchise series regularly portray women as major shapers in human history, such as having women captains and admirals (Condi?). It also portrays other races, or species in this case, as equals and allies in the progressive development of the world or galaxy. Captain Kirk, played by the Jewish William Shatner, regularly kisses characters of other specie and race.

Star Trek, Israel, and Palestine

[Spoiler Alert! This post will discuss some of the movie's plot so don't read this till after you watch the movie, unless you don't care or don't plan to watch the movie.]

I watched JJ Abram's new Star Trek movie yesterday. It was pretty good, not excellent. I think it was made with the goal of expanding the appeal of the franchise to a wider audience instead of recreating the old appeal the franchise has to the usual fans such as myself. Yes, I love Star Trek, but in a cheap Jewish way, meaning I don't buy anything. You couldn't tell what movies I like by looking at the walls of my rooms.

Anyway, the reason I want to talk about this movie is because the narrative reminded me of the narrative of Jews and Palestinian Arabs. In the movie, two races lose their homeworlds, sort of. Nero of Ramulus, the villian, loses his homeworld but subsequently goes back in time. He hunts Spock of Vulcan, the hero, was supposed to save Ramulus but failed because of no fault of his own. Nero, seeking retribution, makes Spock watch the destruction of Vulcan instead of working to prevent the destruction of Ramulus in the future.

Like Nero, Zionists partially blame Palestinians for the Holocaust and dispossed the majority of them. Unlike Spoke, the Palestinians in the 30's and 40's fought hard against what could have saved millions of Jews, as evident by the White Paper. Like Nero, the Palestinians fought for the destruction of their enemy's homeland, Israel, instead of trying to build a new one. Like Spoke, after the Holocaust Zionists built a place to perserve the Jews.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New interest in legal/philosophical theories and principles

Today is the second time in the last couple of weeks I found my self going through dozens wikipedia pages and online articles regarding legal and philosphopical theories and principles. I like to apply thought from these ideas to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since there are so many, I'll try to discuss a limited amount of them and what its analytical application to the conflict might produce and my critic of all this. It will be hard to limit how much I discuss each day because they are all related.

So here is my first attempt at the task I mentioned above.

Many activists critical of Israel cite numerous UN resolutions and "international law." I and many Israelis have come to the conclusion that the UN and the many of the bodies within are not worthy of the conformity of individuals and the governments that represent them. Here is why:
  1. The United Nations is a collection of governments. Such organization has its strengths and its weaknesses. One of these weaknesses is that not every member is truly represenatitive of the people residing under its sovereignty. In simpler terms, they are not democratic.
  2. In order for me to respect the UN as an authority, I must see some proof that this "social contract" will provide social and political order. I have not seen the UN attempt to secure these things sufficiently in all member states.
  3. The UN uses language of rights to cloak political goals giving them positive connotations. For example, the UN Human Rights Council and Anti-Racism confrences where human rights violations and racism were not condemned but were displayed front and center.
I haven't cited any specific theories yet but the last two points above come from my reading of this wikipedia article (regarding point 2) and this wikipedia article(regarding piont 3).

My diagnosis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Dissocial personality disorder (as described by WHO) - personality disorder characterized by disregard for social obligations, and callous unconcern for the feelings of others. There is gross disparity between behavior and the prevailing social norms. Behavior is not readily modifiable by adverse experience, including punishment. There is a low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence; there is a tendency to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior bringing the patient into conflict with society.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Nazi soldiers arrested for stealing credit card from a Jew in Warsaw Ghetto

Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz reports:
Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were arrested for allegedly looting the home of a Palestinian in Gaza during the army's offensive against Hamas earlier this year.

The soldiers, who serve in the patrol battalion of the Givati infantry brigade, are suspected of stealing a credit card belonging to a Palestinian whose home they entered during the fighting.

The two soldiers are alleged to have used the card to purchase goods worth thousands of shekels.
The army's police investigative unit launched a probe into the allegations last month after receiving a complaint. A Palestinian residing in the northern Gaza Strip claimed his credit card was stolen during Operation Cast Lead. A short time later, his credit card statement revealed that a number of products were purchased in Israel.

As per the orders of a military judge, authorities have yet to release details of the investigation so as not to prejudice the outcome. The two soldiers have been ordered to remain in military jail for fear that they would try to tamper with evidence. A hearing in the matter is scheduled for Wednesday.

"Recently the Military Advocate General has received a small number of complaints from human rights organizations and private attorneys, including claims that private property belonging to Gaza Strip residents was taken during Operation Cast Lead," the IDF spokesperson's office said. "Given the credibility of the complaint military prosecutors ordered the military police to open an investigation during which testimony will be heard for purposes of examining the claims."
If you are still confused by my title, it is a joke on how people compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

The Evolving Zionist Narrative

"Poll: many Israelis no longer accept key part of the Zionist narrative" - That's the title the blogger of Realistic Dove gave to the post about this study.

A total of 47 percent of Israeli Jews believe that Palestinians were expelled from Israel during the 1948 war, with 39 percent saying that "The refugees left due to fear, calls of leaders and expulsion by the Jews," and another 8 percent saying the refugees left due only to expulsion by the Jews. Another 41 percent said that the refugees left "due to fear and calls of leaders to leave," the traditional "Zionist narrative."

Some 46 percent believe that Israel and the Palestinians are equally responsible for the outbreak and continuation of the conflict, while 4 percent blame only the Jews. Some 43 percent primarily blame the Palestinians.

In a question about who bears responsibility for the outbreak of the 1987 intafada, 23.6 percent of respondents said it was "Mainly natural hatred towards Israel," and another 17.2 percent said it was "somewhat due to hatred." Some 32 percent responded that the 1987 intifada was caused "More or less equally due to hatred and other reasons (such as unwillingness to be controlled and harsh treatment by Israel)."

I don't think that many Israeli Jews no longer believe in a key part of the Zionist narrative. It is just that the Zionist narrative has evolved to better reflect historical research.

Let's not forget that there are many different kinds of Zionism, each providing its own perspective on history. The study is a reflection of that.

When historians go through historical archives, interview people, or gather any kind of evidence, they choose what is relevant and what is not. Journalists do the same and they are at their best when they are objective. But of course, journalists and historians are still human and will never be objective in everything that they do.

The first time I heard about the "conflict of narratives", it was during my high school trip to Israel. The speaker was a smart American-born historian with a best seller book about the 1967 war. I am of course talking about Michael Oren who is now the new ambassador to the US.

I believe that the Zionist narrative's greatest strength, as compared to the Arab Palestinian narrative, is that its a lot more open to discourse and debate. This of course, comes from the environment the observers live in. Anti-Zionists and critics of Israel hold the faith or nationality of their spokespersons front and center when they are Jewish or Israeli. The implication is that since some of the other side believe in their narrative, it must have merit over the other. But as my psychology teacher said, "correlation does not imply causation." I am implying that the society of many anti-Zionists (i.e. the Arab and Muslim world) is totalitarian to an extent as this report about 88% of Palestinians in Palestinian jails being held with out trial indicates. But I might fall to my own biases and correlate without looking at the causation.

I am no authority to say who is a good historian and who is not. I didn't read Oren's book on the 6 Day War but I did read his other book on America in the Middle East, "Power, Faith, and Fantasy...", a book I highly recommend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rabbi Reuven Firestone: An Introduction to Islam for Jews

A friend pointed me to this very interesting video.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Progressive except Palestine

Progressive Except on Palestine (PEP) is a phrase and acronym coined by blogger Philip Weiss. People of Weiss' crowd use this term or acronym to refer to liberals, especially Jewish American liberals, who hold "progressive" positions on every issue except on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It stands for people who usually raise their voices, something that Jews do best, for causes for freedom and justice, but are unwilling to criticize Israel when it becomes aggressive towards Palestinians and its neighbors. I'm bringing this up because I think this expression is narrow minded.

PEP is what they would call me. I am a liberal Jewish American (though I lived much of my youth in Israel) who doesn't confrom to their "assimilationist" hard left. Over the last two years, I have become aware of certain faults of the Left of which I still identify as. But I still disagree with many of right-wing people on Israel and other issues. I am very much against the settler movement.

Foreign critics of Israel complain about the most insignificant things. I accept criticism of the settlements, but when they start talking about Israeli immigration policy and marriage laws, it starts to become hate. People who use the term PEP become PEP. They don't think Arabs can, or at least don't have to, become progressive.

Double-standard, everybody uses that term in regards to Israel. Israel activists say that critics of Israel hold Israel to a standard that they themselves don't follow and definetly don't hold that standard to Israel's enemies. Palestinian activists say that the West lets Israel regress punishing the Arabs while holding them to a harder standard. But if the UN is any guide, the latter faults.

Bret Stephens in the WSJ shows how bad the Left's coverage and perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become. It's selective moral outrage. Instead of loving Israel for being progressive and for its potential, people hate her for being old fashioned, using Western models such as nationalism and nation-state. Perhaps that is why liberals gravitate to this conflict. In the West, that's what liberals do, change, fix, destory, remold, and reform the state. They view Israel as a Western expression. Unfortunately, the West doesn't have a very good history with those of the Jewish character.

Zionism isn't like the 1960's civil rights movement in the US. That movement encompassed all of America. Zionism on the other hand is exclusive. It is specific for the Jewish people. But in its own rights it has given Israel's Arab citizens rights and freedoms like none other in the Middle East. But by not striving to help Arabs seek their own freedom and security, it has failed to show the Arabs the attributes of the movement. There were other forces at play. Pan-Arab nationalism was headed by dictators, and Islamist movements followed. The political freedom activist just hasn't been able to operate in the region.

Many lefties are now calling for a one-state, to encompass all Jews and Arabs from the river to the sea. But why only there? They say it is the only way to ensure freedom for all. If the Lebanon, Yugoslavia, and India-Pakistan is any guide, it is doomed to fail. I know that they advocate for this because it would mean Israel's destruction. These people hate exceptionalism. If one person loses, everybody loses. That's basic liberal ideology. Welfare, that's one issue I moved more to the center. We have to show everybody the path to succeed, but artificially lifting those that can't at the expense of others is wrong. Like I mentioned earlier, Zionism didn't show Arabs the path to gain their own freedom and security. And a one-state solution won't either. The West would have to be exteremely hostile towards Israel and the Jews to implement this, and with the already hostile environment, it is a receipy for disaster.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Secular Haredism

Gideon Levy had another one of his anti-occupation anti-war rants. I call it a rant because he uses every spin in the book to make his argument. He is so detached from reality I don't know where to start.

Someone that goes by the name of Mike left this comment on the online version of the rant:
The imagination that one should not respond to lethal attacks in their country against fellow civilians because of morality is distorted thinking.
This is the secular version of Haredism where one seeks purity through separation from reality.
Cheap spirituality at the expense of others
I couldn't say it any better.

The week that was

I went to a Lutheran Church with my father and grandmother this afternoon for a concert of Bach's Mass in b-minor. There was a lecture in the beginning given by Prof. Wolf who teaches at Harvard and speaks with a German accent. Even though the church wasn't even 60 years old, it still had that church feeling with the color-stained windows depicting biblical scenes and the massive organs. Surprisingly, there wasn't a massive cross with a carved dead Jesus on it. Maybe because it was Lutheran. But it was still one of those places that you don't feel comfortable till you hear two people with Jewish accents talk about Tanakh behind you. Yup, the cantor of a local synagogue and his family were there as well. The only thing that would have topped it was if the choir sang "Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh" instead of "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus".

The concert was all my father and grandmother hyped it to be. I am familiar with Bach but this "Mass" was very good, with 4 soloists, a full choir, and a small orchestra. Sure, I closed my eyes a few times, and it took them forever to go through just four words, but I was awake when it counted.

On another matter, I volunteered at a local community playground construction. You can read the Jewish Times article about it here. It's amazing what a shovel and some dirt can do to the soul sometimes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The only Republican ever I'll vote for ...

.... is a DEMOCRAT! The NYTimes reports:
In an unexpected turnabout in political loyalties, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the Republican Party to become a Democrat
As a Democrat from Maryland who goes to college in Pennsylvania, I always said that Arlen Specter is the only Republican I'll ever vote for.

On more legal news

Haaretz has an AP report on another legal case in the Holy Land, this time under the jurisdictiona of the Palestinian Authority:

A Palestinian military court has sentenced a man to death by hanging for selling land to an Israeli company.

Land sales are considered treason by the Palestinians because of their long-running dispute with the Israelis, however the sentence is unlikely to be implemented.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas routinely withholds the required approval for executions. Several others are on death row as suspected informants for Israel.

The sentence was handed down Tuesday in a military court in the West Bank city of Hebron after two days of closed-door hearings.

Prosecutor Issa Amer said the defendant sold land that didn't belong to him in the village of Beit Ummar using forged documents.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Speech vs Incitement to Lawless Action

There is an interesting case right now in Israel about the arrest of seven people who operate two websites suspected of encouraging youths to not enlist in the IDF and gave advice on how they can dodge service. The police released the suspects after questioning and confiscated several computers and documents.

According to a statement issued by the Justice Ministry spokesman at that time, the Web sites of New Profile and Target 21 were suspected of preaching evasion of military service, thereby violating Article 109 of the Penal Law. They were also suspected of helping those slated for military service to obtain an exemption by deceit or by knowingly submitting false information, the ministry said.

Members describe New Profile as a feminist organization.

"The organization does not encourage people to evade military service," she told The Jerusalem Post. "It is in favor of refusal to serve and anti-militarism, but it does not encourage conscripts to do so if they do not want to in the first place."

Ben-Natan added that when the organization explained the options open to a conscript who does not want to serve, it did not include illegal options such as forging medical opinions.

But the state thinks otherwise. In its September announcement that it was opening an investigation, the Justice Ministry spokesman said, "The deputy attorney-general believes that the gravity of the incitement on these sites, in its scope, quality and thoroughness - and especially by the fact that it also tries to persuade conscripts to obtain an exemption by deceiving the army, and gives finely detailed instructions on how to execute this deception - obliges the state to deviate from its [usual] highly restrained policy of not investigating a priori suspicions of incitement to evasion of military duty."

I'm bringing this up because this case prompts an intereting debate on the matter of law and freedom.

It would be more appropriate for me to refer to Israeli law, but I am more familiar with US jurisprudence and it has a much longer history. SinceI am going to refer to US Supreme Court cases, I want to make it clear that I am using the Israeli case as just a launching pad for my post discussing law regarding free speech and that Israel isn't obligated by American jurisprudence.

In the US, falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded movie theater is illegal. Wikipedia actually has an article about this which I used as a starting point for my adventrue through American jurisprudence (if by now you don't know what jurisprudence means, google it). This scenerio refers to a passage in the unanimous opinion in Schenk v. United States (1919) which established the "clear and present danger" test which deemed regulations of speech constitutional if the prohibited language poses a clear and present danger.

I highly encourage readers to read further about the cases I discuss and the people involved.

The "clear and present danger" test was later modified in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) which established the "imminent lawless action" doctrine. This doctrine states that speech is NOT constitutional protected if it advocates criminal activity immidiately. This doctrine is the current legal standard in the US.

Now let's apply this to the current case in Israel. Did New Profile publish texts trying to persuade youths to use deceit to evade military service?

The New Profile charter states: "While we were taught to believe that the country is faced by threats beyond its control, we now realize that the words 'national security' have often masked calculated decisions to choose military action for the achievement of political goals. We are no longer willing to take part in such choices. We will not go on enabling them by obediently and uncritically supplying soldiers to the military which implements them.

We will not go on being mobilized, raising children for mobilization, supporting mobilized partners, brothers, fathers, while those in charge of the country go on deploying the army easily, rather than creating other solutions."

I do not interpret this as advocating "immidiate lawless action". But this is not all the organization published. I don't exactly what else they have published but if they did advocate to youths how to evade "military duty", I would say that it does fall under the "immidiate lawless action" doctrine".

I'm interested how this will play out. There is another incident which was investigated I'd also like to apply American jurisprudence too. I'm referring to when soldiers were incited to refuse orders to evict settlers. The article I linked above is from the end of November of last year. I don't know how it played out.

Deputy State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan has instructed police to launch an investigation regarding a ceremony that was held to praise soldiers who refused an order to evict settlers from the Hebron market. During the ceremony these soldiers received payment as reward for their refusal.

The order was given following a police investigation that raised suspicion that soldiers were incited to refuse commands, an act which under Israeli law is a crime in itself.

Nitzan also ordered an investigation into an ad published on the Internet by a group called the Headquarters to Save the People and the Land of Israel, which is suspected to be the organization responsible for orchestrating the ceremony for the soldiers. The ad states that any soldier that resists orders to evict the residents of the Hebron house will receive monetary reward of several thousand NIS.

I think this obviously falls under "immidiate lawless action". If New Profile advocated in the same "scope, quality and thoroughness" as this ultra-right settler organization, than they too would be guilty under the same doctrine of "immidiate lawless action".

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kuwait, Hamas, and freedom

If there is one country in the Middle East that can teach democracy to the region, which one would it be? Definetly not Kuwait:
Salah Bahman, an independent candidate for the Kuwaiti parliament, has dropped out of the race a day after he called for full normalization of relations between Israel and Kuwait, igniting a storm of controversy in the Persian gulf state.

I was actually going to write about the politician and what a great move forward he is. Unfortunately Kuwait begs to differ.


Hamas has dismissed allegations that it systematically killed and maimed dozens of opponents during and after Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, the news Website ANI reported on Wednesday.

In a report released earlier this week, the Human Rights Watch accused Hamas of directing its gunmen to eliminate political opponents and suspected collaborators under the cover of Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Lebanon is a pseudo-democracy heavily under the influence of Iran.

Israel? Perhaps that's why they are so afraid of Jewish self-determination. They, the Arab governments, are afraid that the Arabs will ask for their own transperent, democratic, and responsible government.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Al Jazeera, Al Dura, and Youtube

People who are familiar with the Al Jazeera English Youtube channel know that they allowed people to post comments on their videos. Videos were filled with comments in a matter of minutes. Like all Youtube videos regarding political issues, especially about Israel and Jews, there were many antisemitic comments. It now appears that Al Jazeera has disabled the comment feature of their Youtube videos. I can't really say that it is unfortunate because the discussions there didn't resemble anything close to intelligent.

For those that wonder why I watch Al Jazeera English, it is because I want to see what the Arabs are saying. I also like to watch the debates between Israeli pundits and opposing pundits. Do I think Al Jazeera is a good network? No. Here's why. They are still talking about Al Dura and only give slight mention at the end of the program that "some" question whether Al Dura actually died. Look here and watch this if you still have doubts.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blog mission restated

When I started this blog, my main goal was to cover stories about New Ideas such as social cohesion, caring about the environment, technology, democracy, and human rights being brought to the Old World, aka the Middle East. In this regard, I failed. I let the old political debate overcome me. Honestly, I'm bad at changing my bad habits. It is something I have to change as I grow older.

Durban II

It's finally here. The much anticipated event in the blogosphere and the international diplomacy scene has exploded online and offline. Here are some interesting pieces from blogs and newspapers about the UN-sponsored Anti-Racism conference:

1. Haaretz article about the exit of dozens of delegates during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speech. Includes a CNN video of when the delegates were leaving.

2. Haaretz has two correspondants writing two opposing views about the "forum", one for the boycott and one against the boycott. The first by Benjamin Hartman calls the conference "a self-righteous Anti-Zionist jamboree". He explains why the UN has lost any credibility with Zionists and Jews:
Then-Israeli Ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog told the UN General Assembly in 1975, after resolution 3379 ("Zionism is racism") was passed, "For us, the Jewish people, this resolution based on hatred, falsehood and arrogance, is devoid of any moral or legal value. For us, the Jewish people, this is no more than a piece of paper and we shall treat it as such."
So before you reference any UN resolution to a Zionist, keep in mind that he/she and many other people view the UN has having no credibility. I also view the UN has having no credibility. Here is why, when billions of people from scores of states have no influence, either by voting or other democratic processes in their own countries, on how they are represented in the UN, how truely is the UN representatives of the people of the world?

3. Haaretz correspondant Ariel Zibler has the opposing view. Instead of giving my own summary of the article, I'll show you two opposite responses commenters left on the article. Someone by that went by the name "Wmr" had this to say:
There`s nothing to be afraid of, and there are very intelligent and capable people in Israel that would leave these clowns from "democratic countries" in the dust.

An opportunity lost.
Someone that went by the name "getting it wrong" said this:
The last paragraph shows the true agenda of this refusal to face reality,the false hope of appeasementand and a touch of self-hate thrown into the mixture.

Israel`s survival as a Jewish State is not some intellectual exercise that should be subject to discussion with those who would destroy it.
I concur with the second commenter.

4. Harry's Place has a guest post by UJS Students in Geneva Liveblogging from the conference. The writer is describing the mass walkout of delegates, attendants, and protesters, including an appearance by Alan Dershowitz. The writer has an important question:
... whether or not the walk-out has been permanent or temporary…more later.
This conference is looking more and more like the antisemitic orgy that its organizers planned and the liberal supporters wished to ignore.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Iran's drones

Iranian state-run news agency Press TV ran a story on its website this week praising the unveiling of an Iranian-made drone, that according to the Israeli daily Maariv bears a striking resemblance to an earlier photo taken in Israel of an Israeli-made drone.
I'm still not convinced it's the same UAV.

Gideon Levy and Israel

Gideon Levy has this issue with Israel. He's sobbing over the fact that the vast majority of Jewish Israelis don't agree with him. He claims that the occupation has been "completely missing from the national agenda" because the Knesset is "devoid of Jewish anti-occupation activists".

There are some very fundemental flaws in his argument. First of all, assuming that there are no "anti-occupation" Jewish MK's, does that mean that all the Jewish MK's are in favor of ruling over another people just for the heck of it? Second, does supporting a two-state solution to end the occupation not "anti-occupation" enough? The answer to these two questions is obviously no. In Netanyahu's first speech as PM, he said that Israel does not want to rule over another people. And Kadima, the party which supports a two-state solution, has won the most seats in the recent election.

Levy's columns are usually about how horrible the occupation or the wars are and how Israelis are generally blind to it. The most surprising thing in this is that he blames the "blindness" on the Israeli media. Hello? You are party of the media, Mr. Levy. You are write regularly in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. Not only that, who does he think mans the checkpoints? Settlers? No, the IDF does, and who serves in the IDF? I really doubt that soldiers are silent about what they do in the West Bank.

Rather than focus on why so many Israelis support the security measures, aka the occupation, Mr. Levy focuses on why everybody else doesn't share his passion showing how bad Israelis are. I'd like to see Levy write saying that he supports unilateral withdrawl of the West Bank and what he thinks will happen afterwards. Isn't that what he supports? His biggest audience is outside of Israel, people who like to get their fix from the source.

Levy is blinded by his ideology. He is neither effective nor constructive. There are too many negative adjectives one can attach to Levy. Take your pick.

So much to write, so little time to actually do it

For the last several weeks if not two months, I have been so busy. Aren't we all? I shouldn't complain. I have been gathering links to articles I found interesting. I'll show you two of them today but there will be more to come later. To some I'll write long responses and counter arguments, while others I'll just mention briefly to share what I found interesting.

A new issue from the Palestine-Israel Journal has come out dealing with "The Refugee Question" aka the Palestinian "right of return". This journal gives Palestinian and Israeli perspectives on Palestine-Israel issues. I can't say I'm a long time follower but I found this issue interesting. The first article in the issue I read was by Salman Abu Sitta called "The Implementation of the Right of Return". I must admit it was very uncomfortable to read. It is very well presented and deals with a wide range of issues. There are flaws in his argument and his approach is a bit detached from reality no matter how many figures or spins he makes. It was so powerful and yet uncomfortable that I just have to write a response. I don't know when I'll post it but hopefully it will be in the next few days.

I don't know how often David Brooks of the NYTimes writes about Israel but he has a column on her today. It was an admirable characterization of Israeli society which is a nice break from what Roger Cohen has been doing for the last few months. Brook's column makes me miss my days in Israel. I like reading articles generally describing societies. There was an Op-Ed a few months ago about Japanese society that I also found intriguing. I can't say Brook had anything new to say but it might be new to other NYTimes readers.

Sometimes life is just the process of keeping up with it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm back

Hello readers. I've finally found time to blog again. Anyway, I found this video at Jewschool. It shows a Jewish Jerusalemite, an Arab Jaffan (Yafo/Yaffa, not Jiffa), and a Jewish Tel-Avivan speak about their perception of history, their narrative. In less than 5 minutes it shows you the conflict of two narratives, and the humanity behind it. This video was created by Amy Rubin.

From the Jewschool post:

In her introduction to the video she writes, ” Trying to achieve peace in Israel without addressing the past is akin to trying to find a cure for cancer by treating the symptoms without ever considering why the cancer developed in the first place.”

I can only add that I believe that we (Jews, Arabs and everyone else in this world) have very slim chances of moving ahead if we can’t take a clear, honest look at history.

A commenter that goes by the name 'Firouz' left a long comment so I'm going to put only some of it here:

I must say, in all these years, I have never experienced a Palestinian empathize with the Jewish experience in the levant. The classic case of “acceptable empathy” is often with regards to the Holocaust, where Palestinians feel they can empathize with the Jews without undermining their essentially political agenda. In fact, this Holocaust empathy is often turned around on the Jews - we empathize with you about the Holocaust in Europe, now you should empathize with us about the Holocaust in Gaza.

But to exhibit a real understanding, much less empathy, for the situation in which the Yishuv found itself in the early part of the 20th century and leading to 1948… I have never seen a Palestinian do so. Indeed, thinking about it now, I’ve never experienced a Palestinian question the actions of their community leading up to Israel’s birth, besides bemoaning that Arab disunity meant it could not be aborted.

I am left to understand that such considerations would be anathema for “the other”, and this makes me question what purpose such an exercise in history serves, when the empathy of one, becomes a weapon for another.

I think Rubin's and Firouz's persepctive both have merit. But Firouz is right that these exchanges of narratives don't go far enough. How constructive are these? They soften us and prepares us for the "divorce" but how much impact do they have on Palestinian society? I know of a few programs that brings together Israeli and Palestinian youth but they are always in small numbers.

This video was also posted on Huffington Post and someone left this comment:
Beyond debate:There was about equal exchange of Jews and Arabs between Muslims world and Israel.

Beyond debate: Israel absorbed the entire stream of the Jewish refugees.

Beyond debate: Muslim world keeps Palestinian Arab refugees in deplorable conditions and deny them basic human rights.
Primary Reason: Even great-grandchildren of Palestinian immigrants must be kept indigent and without hope so as not to reward Israel.
It is important to remember that forces that led to this conflict are regional, not just between two people fighting over one piece of land.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What I'm reading this morning

1. Bahrain embraces its Jews. All 36 of them.

2. The leading reformist candidate, Mirhossein Mousavi, in upcoming Iranian presidential elections on Monday condemned the killing of Jews in the Holocaust. "Our country was harmed because of extremist policies adopted in the last three years.... My foreign policy with all countries will be one of detente."

3. Israeli whiz kid behind Google's advanced search algorithm.

4. How to build a Palestinian state, by Khaled Abu Toameh

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In the news

1. Egypt will boycott new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unless he apologizes for insulting statements he has made about the country, an Egyptian official said Wednesday.
2. The Palestinian Authority has issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of "high treason" - a charge that carries the death penalty.

3. Dozens of Amish residents from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, toured a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn's Crown Heights to learn more about their culture.

Gazan workers hurt in Israel not getting due insurance. Someone blames Zionism.

5. Arab couple sues fertility clinic for malpractice. Nobody commented yet but I promise you someone will blame Zionism soon.

Latest Palestinian to be expelled

A Palestinian woman was expelled from Palestine on Tuesday. The latest victim of "racism" and fascism was told by the authorities that she had to leave because those are the instructions to those holding her identification card.

Fortunately, she was given refuge and citizenship in Israel.

Wait, I thought you just said that she was expelled?

She was, but it was by Fatah authorities under pressure from Hamas.

Well then she must have done something terribly wrong.

She's a music teacher.

Well, she must have used it to indoctrinate the children against the wishes of the cause.

She held concerts for Holocaust survivors, families of captured Israeli soldiers, and to families of Palestinians in jail.

She can't do that. She's identifying with the racist and fascist enemy. The parents must be angry because she did these things without their permission.

Actually, she is famous in the Jenin camp she works at. And she was speaking with the children's parents when she was given the order to leave. And how is Israel fascist when they allow an elected Arab MK to identify with Iran, a country whose government openly advocates for Israel's destruction, saying that she wished that they get a nuclear bomb? While Palestinian authorities won't even allow their fellow Arabs to even play music to, or with, non-government elderly Israelis. Also, the Palestinians gave conductor Daniel Barenboim, an Israeli Jew, honorary Palestinian citizenship for bringing Israeli and Palestinian musicians together. How are they any different?

Zionism is racism. Palestine will be free! From the river to the sea!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NOW Lebanon

NOW Lebanon has two interesting articles.

1. Comedy and criminals at Doha: For Lebanon in particular, the support voiced for Sudan’s president in Doha is cause for concern.

2. Interview with
Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm. Intro:
Sadiq Jalal al-Azm, the Syrian philosopher, made his name after the 1967 Six Day war when he published a book entitled Self-Criticism After the Defeat, which looked hard at what it meant to be Arab. Following this, as he did, with the Critique of Religious Thought in which he dismissed many Arabs as, he says, "a bunch of sectarians," landed him in jail in Lebanon in 1970. A leading light of leftist philosophy in the Middle East, he is now emeritus professor at Damascus University, although his books have been repeatedly banned there. He also teaches at a number of Ivy League universities in the US. NOW Lebanon sat down with him to discuss Islam, Syria and freedom of speech.
Read the rest here.

Sufian Abu Zaida Addresses Netanyahu

From the Israel Policy Forum blog - In today's Yediot Acharonoth, Fatah leader and former PA Minister Sufian Abu Zaida addresses Netanyahu personally.

Also from that blog, a group of Israeli windsurfers that led the battle against building a marina on the Haifa beach is offering help to Lebanese surfers who are trying to prevent a new plan to build a huge artificial island. (Israel Radio)

What I'm reading

1. Parody/critic of Caryl Churchill's "Seven Jewish Children" 10-minute play. The parody is called "Seven Themes for Caryl Churchill" and is featured on normblog.

2. Another parody of Churchill's play called "Five British Children: A Play for Britain (by Shalom Lapping)".

3. No matter how much Israel allows their minority, even elected officials, to say treasonous statements, people still equate it with Nazi Germany and fascism.

4. General of Israeli "Nazi" Forces raps soldiers for tasteless t-shirts.

5. Study by the United Nations Development Program finds that 70% of Palestinian youth believe that violence to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not very helpful.
Only 8 percent believe violence is an important tool, the study, based on interviews with 1,200 Palestinians over the age of 17 in the West Bank and Gaza.

It found that 39 percent were "extremely" depressed and 42 percent were depressed by their conditions. Depression was more marked in the Gaza Strip where 55 per cent said they were "extremely" depressed.

When asked to define their identity, 47 percent identified themselves as Muslims, 28 per cent as Palestinians, 14 percent as humans and 10 per cent as Arabs.

Funeral owner Haniyeh probably isn't happy.

Sharp rise in number of reports of soldiers harming Palestinian civilians. Not good.

7. Haaretz poll: 54% of public dissatisfied with new government and it hasn't even done anything. Not surprising though. At least it is better than the 3% approval of Olmert.

8. UNRAW's director of operations, John Ging, threatens employees who don't disassociate themselves from political parties, mainly Hamas and Fatah.

Monday, March 30, 2009


The hit TV show 'The Office', which originated from the UK and reproduced for an American version, is coming to Israel!
The cast will include a variety of Israeli types - an Arab warehouse manager, an ultra-Orthodox saleswoman and a bitter Russian accountant. The Israeli answer to David Brent, the obnoxious boss of the U.K. program, will be named Avi Meshulam, though an actor has yet to be pegged for the role.
I'm actually excited for a TV show for once.
In response to the news, Gervais told the U.K. newspaper The Guardian, "I am thrilled and amazed that Israel is making 'The Office' with local writers, directors and actors. I mean, who ever heard of Jewish entertainers?"
I'm already laughing and they haven't even started filming.

Darfur Muslim Refugees demonstrating in Israel to support ICC

Check this out. Israel, the only country that welcomed the inconceivably persecuted peoples of Darfur, joyfully rallied to celebrate the decision to prosecute the Islamist President of Sudan for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm pro-democracy, not pro-Palestine

I happened to stumble upon the Palestine "Think" Tank website today. I wanted to learn a little bit the "thinking" and "logic" that goes behind the Palestinian reasoning for disbanding a Jenin youth orchestra after performing in front of Holocaust survivors in Israel. I'll show you a few excerpts from the related article in the PTT and the website's "About" page.

"Shame on us!" That's the title of the article written by Khalid Amayreh, a "journalist" from the West Bank, about the disbandment of the youth orchestra I talked about above. Most sensible would think Amayreh is pointing the shame on the Palestinian authorities for disbanding the orchestra. Unfortunately, sensibility is one quality Amayreh lacks. Amayreh is pointing the shame towards the Palestinian authorities, but not for disbanding the youth orchestra, rather for letting these children perfom in Tel Aviv in the first place. Here it is in full:

Warning: The following material contains excessive amounts of ignorance and hate.
It is really hard to write on this subject without getting angry. We all know the extent to which Israel can be evil and satanic. After all, we Palestinians have been on the receiving end of Israeli savagery for decades.

In fact, being thoroughly tormented and killed by the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust has always been and continues to be “the” Palestinians’ way of life.

However, for some Palestinians to allow themselves to be duped to sing and play music to their oppressors and child-killers is simply beyond the pale of human dignity.

It is at least as insulting and humiliating as some Jews were forced or duped to play music to SS, Gestapo and Wehrmacht soldiers during the Second World War. In both cases, the act was meant to humiliate the victims and rob them of the last visages of human dignity.

And now, Jews in Israel are doing the same thing to Palestinians, Nazism’s vicarious victims.

Last week, a few innocent kids from the Jenin refugee camp were surreptiously taken to Tel Aviv to “cheer up and take part in peace-promoting activities.”

However, once there the kids were unceremoniously driven to a reception where they were made to play music and sing to “holocaust survivors,” some of them are former members of the Hagana and Irgun terrorist gangs who had taken part in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and expulsion of Palestinians form their homeland.

God knows how much Palestinian blood did these so-called “holocaust survivors” shed in 1948 and subsequent years. Certainly, Deir Yasin, Tantura, Dawaymeh, and the numerous other massacres were not committed by UFOs. They were committed in cold blood by these very people our children are now cheering up.

Shame on us a thousand times!

Some of the kids were instructed to utter words that should never be uttered by the victims of Zionism. One of the participants reportedly dedicated a special song to Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by Palestinian fighters in Gaza nearly three years ago. No mention, not even an allusion, was made of the estimated 10,000 Palestinian political and resistance prisoners languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps.

But the kids apparently felt they had to say anything they were asked to say in order to show gratitude for the Jewish “peace contractor” who got them out of the ghetto, otherwise known as Jenin refugee camp, even for a six-our outing in Tel Aviv.

I am not against showing genuine sympathy with the victims of the holocaust. However, a sympathy that is manipulated to justify, rationalize or even extenuate the crime against humanity that is Israel is worse than a crime if only because it serves to promote and perpetuate oppression.

As human beings, we Palestinians do sympathize with all victims of Nazism, Stalinism and imperialism, the wept, the over-wept, and especially the unwept who constitute the vast majority of victims.

Having said that, however, I strongly believe that no honest person under the sun has the slightest right to demand that we pay the price for what the Nazis did or may have done to European Jews nearly 70 years ago.

We didn’t send Jews to the ovens. The Germans did. We didn’t starve Jews to death as Jews are doing to us today in the Gaza Strip.

We didn’t incinerate Jews in Gas chambers as Jews have recently incinerated Palestinian children with White Phosphorus.

Hence, of all people in this world, Palestinians must never be made to feel guilty for what the Nazis and other Europeans did to Jews. I say so because a feeling of guilt, even a modicum of guilt, on our part, would be construed or misconstrued as a vindication of Zionism, the Nazism of our time.

There are additional reasons that make the latest insensitive manipulation of Palestinian suffering especially ugly and dishonorable.

First, nearly all the young musicians who were taken to Tel Aviv came from the Jenin Refugee camp. For those who have forgotten, this is the very same refugee camp that Israeli tanks pulverized in 2002. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed homes right on top of innocent civilians, including the physically handicapped, while dozens of innocent civilians were systematically massacred, very much like Jews were at Ghetto Warsaw. The massacre at the camp was so hideous that Israel refused to allow UN officials to access the camp to inspect what happened.

Well, again the Nazi analogy is inescapable. Just imagine surviving Jewish children from Treblinka or Bergen Belsen made to sing to SS soldiers!!

Second, the disgraceful concert in Tel Aviv comes on the heel of Israel’s genocidal assault in Gaza where Israeli warplanes showered the children, women and men of coastal enclave with White Phosphorus and other missiles and bombs of death while Israeli Jews were gleefully celebrating the “victory on Hamas” and Israeli rabbis preoccupied with classifying gentiles into “children of light” and “children of darkness.”

In Gaza, the Zionist Jews exposed their shame to all the people of the world by acting like primitive barbarians and murderous savages.

Hence, the utter shamefulness of sending Palestinian children to Tel Aviv to help Israel’s hasbara efforts whitewash Israel’s pornographic barbarianism in Gaza.

Finally, it is obvious that the PA bears much of the blame for this disgraceful event. The PA should never allow so called “cultural exchanges” and “cultural normalization” with the murderers of our children, the very state whose leaders and military commanders view us as “scum, vermin and animals” that ought to be exterminated.

Unfortunately, the PA itself encourages some demoralized Palestinians to endear themselves to Israel, even in the cheapest of manners.

The often cordial meetings and exchanging of kisses between Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the butcher of Gaza, leave one and only impression, not only on the children of the refugee camp in Jenin, but also on TV viewers around the world.

As you can see from the above, it contains massive amount of ignorance, hate, and fascism - what they accuse Israelis of being. I couldn't believe this is real. It's like we talk two different languages.

The funny thing is, I thought the performance by the Jenin youth orchestra put the Palestinians in better light, showing their good side. Unfortunately, they don't like their good side, or rather what we in the West think is good, is not what they think is good. How am I, a two-state solution advocate, supposed call myself "pro-Palestinian" as well as pro-Israel when other pro-Palestinian advocates are ignorant and hateful? I support the two-state solution because I think that it is unhealthy for Israel to hold on to land where people can't vote. But, as Hillel said, "If I do not advocate for myself, who am I?" As long as we differ on what is obviously good, I can't advocate for Palestinian rights.

Now lets move on to their About page. It should tell us a little bit more about the Palestinian movement. Here are a few excerpts:
It is the belief that Zionism is wrong. Zionism is racism. For Zionism to happen, it means the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people of the land of Palestine. We accept nothing about Zionism as being positive, yet we believe there are some people who don't know exactly what Zionism is, and therefore assume it is something different than an ideology, and therefore, is beyond criticism.
This is as expected. It is the result of generations of Arab propaganda. Unfortunately, even the Arab "moderates" teach their children the same.
We believe that the just struggle of the Palestinian people is the greatest liberation struggle of our times, and we aim to render service to their cause through presenting as many aspects of their history, culture and struggle as we can.
"Greatest"? This is why the media, especially the Arab media, is always focused on Israel. It is the cause of the greater Arab nationalism led by various people of the time, most notebly Nasser of Egypt.
[...] since the full realisation of the potential of people in the entire Arab world has been hindered for far too long by the "International Community".
Looks very similar to Article 13 from Hamas' charter:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."

Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Muslim problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Muslims as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

"But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah." (The Cow - verse 120).

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

The PTT has plenty of criticism of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah's Palestinian Authority. I haven't seen anything yet about Hamas. The rest of the About page sounds like old German and Soviet propaganda during WWII.

New Ideas vs Old World

Last week, a Palestinian youth orchestra "serenaded", as the NYTimes article called it, a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel. Unfortunately, Palestinian authorities disbanded the youth orchestra from the West Bank after performing calling the Holocaust a "political issue."
"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. "She will be forbidden from doing any activities.... We have to protect our children and our community."

The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over acknowledging Jewish suffering, fearing it would weaken their own historical grievances against Israel.
I don't know about you, but I saw the performance as a gesture of peace and good will. It's too bad the children are more mature than the politicians. I am waiting for the day an Israeli orchestra can tour through Arab countries. I am waiting for the day I can take a car and drive from Jerusalem to Beirut to Damascus to Baghdad.

If the Arabs are going to turn everything to a political issue, it is time that they "own up" to their treatment of minorities; own up to the estimated 900,000 Jews that fled or were expelled from Arab/Persian countries. Own up to the alliance that Arab leaders had with Nazi Germany in the 1930's and 40's.

My family fled Tunisia in 1961. It is perhaps a similar story to many Palestinian families. But I, and most Jews from Muslim countries, do not hold grudges against their countries of origin. I do not ask for any compensation.

I believe the reason the Palestinian Arabs hold a grudge, while the Mizrachi/Sephardic Jews do not, is because they let themselves be pawns in the greater schims of Arab leaders. Their entire focus is on Israel. Hardly a beep about Arab policy to keep Palestinians in "refugee" camps for generations, or discrimination to keep them poor. Israeli Arabs, and to an extent the Palestinian in the occupied territories, live in much better conditions than the Arabs around Israel. Who has a greater chance to go to medical school, an Israeli Arab or a Jordanian, Egyptian or Saudi?

Before the intifadas and without the various terrorist Palestinian organizations, Palestinians in the territories could have "enjoyed" the benefits of Israel, including medical care. I'm not saying that there should be one-state, it wouldn't solve the reason for why we need a Zionist Israel. If the Palestinians want to vote, than the two-state plan is the only way.

The NYTimes and Khaled Abu Toameh of the JPost have more details on the story.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What I'm reading (or watching)

1. Review of "The Israel Lobby" by CAMERA showing how fraudulent Walt and Mearshiemer are.

2. Article about a how Palestinians used George Orwell's Animal Farm play to criticize local politics.

3. Article by an Israeli Arab journalist about the hateful agenda of 'pro-Palestinian' activists on American campuses.

4. Interview of the Arab journalist mentioned above. The video is about how Western media anti-Israel bias is hurting Israel and the Palestinians as well.

5. Video lecture from the Jerusalem Center about war crime allegations against Israel and International Law.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Palestine victim of Arab betrayal

The following article is so powerful, that I want to show all of it.

INTERNATIONAL donors pledged almost $4.5 billion in aid for Gaza earlier this month. During the past few years it has been very painful for me to witness the deteriorating humanitarian situation in that narrow strip where I lived as a child in the 1950s.

The media tends to attribute Gaza's decline solely to Israeli military and economic actions against Hamas. But such a myopic analysis ignores the problem's root cause: 60 years of Arab policy aimed at cementing the Palestinian people's status as stateless refugees to use their suffering as a weapon against Israel.

As a child in Gaza in the '50s, I experienced the early results of this policy. Egypt, which controlled the territory then, conducted guerilla-style operations against Israel from Gaza. My father commanded these operations, carried out by Palestinian fedeyeen (Arabic for self-sacrifice).

Back then, Gaza was already the front line of the Arab jihad against Israel. My father was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1956.

It was in those years that the Arab League started its Palestinian refugee policy. Arab countries implemented special laws designed to make it impossible to integrate the Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab war against Israel.

Even descendants of Palestinian refugees who are born in another Arab country and live there their entire lives can never gain that country's passport. Even if they marry a citizen of an Arab country, they cannot become citizens of their spouse's country. They must remain Palestinian even though they may have never set foot in the West Bank or Gaza.

This policy of forcing a Palestinian identity on these people for eternity and condemning them to a miserable life in a refugee camp was designed to perpetuate and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee crisis.

So was the Arab policy of overpopulating Gaza. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose main political support comes from Arab countries, encourages high birthrates by rewarding families with many children. Yasser Arafat said the Palestinian woman's womb was his best weapon.

Arab countries always push for classifying as many Palestinians as possible as refugees.

As a result, about one-third of the Palestinians in Gaza still live in refugee camps. For 60 years, Palestinians have been used and abused by Arab regimes and Palestinian terrorists in their fight against Israel.

Now it is Hamas, an Islamist terror organisation supported by Iran, that is using and abusing Palestinians for this purpose. While Hamas leaders hid in the well-stocked bunkers and tunnels they prepared before they provoked Israel into attacking them, Palestinian civilians were exposed and caught in the deadly crossfire between Hamas and Israeli soldiers.

As a result of 60 years of this Arab policy, Gaza has become a prison camp for 1.5 million Palestinians. Both Israel and Egypt are fearful of terrorist infiltration from Gaza - all the more so since Hamas took over - and have always maintained tight controls over their borders with Gaza. The Palestinians continue to endure hardships because Gaza continues to serve as the launching pad for terror attacks against Israeli citizens. Those attacks come in the form of Hamas missiles that indiscriminately target Israeli kindergartens, homes and businesses.

And Hamas continued these attacks more than two years after Israel withdrew from Gaza in the hope that this step would begin the process of building a Palestinian state, eventually leading to a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There was no cycle of violence then, no justification for anything other than peace and prosperity.

But, instead, Hamas chose Islamic jihad. Gazans' and Israelis' hopes have been met with misery for Palestinians and missiles for Israelis.

Hamas, an Iranian proxy, has become a danger not only to Israel but also to Palestinians as well as to neighbouring Arab states, which fear the spread of radical Islam could destabilise their countries.

Arabs claim they love the Palestinian people, but they seem more interested in sacrificing them. If they really loved their Palestinian brethren, they would pressure Hamas to stop firing missiles at Israel. In the longer term, the Arab world must end the Palestinians' refugee status and thereby their desire to harm Israel.

It's time for the 22 Arab countries to open their borders and absorb the Palestinians of Gaza who wish to start a new life.

It is time for the Arab world to truly help the Palestinians, not use them.

Nonie Darwish, who grew up in Gaza City and Cairo, is the author, most recently, of Cruel and Usual Punishment (Thomas Nelson).

Have you used the Palestinians lately?

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I'm reading this morning

Harry's Place has 3 new great articles/posts up today.

1. The first is a guest post by Tori Egherman. The following are three excerpts which are intriguing:
A nineteenth century French diplomat described Persians as “full of adoration for the country itself, they do not believe in any means of running it.” [...]

It’s fantastic to be an American in Iran. In fact, I doubt there is a more pro-American population outside of Texas. Why? Because we have not compromised with a corrupt and despised regime as we have in other parts of the world. [...]

Most Iranians would like to be facing West and would embrace the opportunity to do so. I say, give them the opportunity. Let’s talk. Let’s open the embassy in Tehran. Let’s travel to Iran. Let’s open our universities. Let’s wrestle. Let’s pretend that the regime is here to stay.
You should read the whole post but these three excerpt are a good briefing.

2. This is another guest post by Kamran Ashtray, the husband of Tori. Kamran is Iranian, and Tori is an American.

3. David T shows the hypocrisy of South Africa in regards to morality and the influence of money. SA banned the Dali Lama from the world peace conference that leads up to the 2010 SOCCER World Cup. Why? China is heavily invested in South Africa. Go to the link to have a laugh.

Friday, March 20, 2009

All the rage

I noticed something peculiar today. The biggest story in the Western press about Israel in the past two days has been about the publication of testimonies by Israeli soldiers about the killing of civilian Palestinians in Gaza. One of the two Israeli newspapers that published the testimonies was Haaretz. I saw the Haaretz article yesterday but it’s not featured on the front page anymore. That newspaper is most famous for its criticism of the Israeli government.

Why I care and defend

The following is a post I made on iKibbitz:

For my first real post on iKibbitz, I’d like to talk about why I sometimes advocate for Israel. I just read MJ Rosenberg’s post called “The Real Israel Is Its Own Saving Grace” in the Israel Policy Forum’s blog. It made me think a lot about my relationship with the state I talk a lot about. I defend and argue about Israel in increasingly uncertain times. This is at a time that I, as a young man, am going through changes of opinion and perception. So this is my attempt to step back and question myself why I do what I do, mainly advocate for Israel.

A simple answer would be because Israel is the state where I was born. But in a few months, the day would come that marks the time which I have lived in the US for over half my life, my country, my home. If, for the purpose of gaining security clearance to get a job in my chosen field of study (engineering), I had to eliminate my Israeli citizenship, I would do it with no reservation. Another simple answer I could give you is that the Land of the Israel rightfully belongs to the Jews and was stolen from them two thousand years ago. But that’s not why I care. That land would always be the Jewish homeland, but if Israeli society moved to the middle of Timbuktu, I wouldn’t have hardly cared about what happened on the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

A superficial answer would be because of Zionism, the need for a state for Jews to be governed by Jews to defend Jews. Not an untrue nor a bad answer for why I defend Israel, but not a very deep one. As I have alluded to before, the one basic principle of Zionism that I would give up is that the state be on the land, to save it from no longer being Jewish and democratic.

The main reason why I defend Israel is because I know it, I enjoyed it, and I know that Israelis can make a country which is a good place to live. I know what Jews are capable of, and as long as the Jews have a state, we can continue this golden age. In my first year (5th grade) in the US, the class that I learned how to read and spell English the most was social studies, not my English or ESOL class. That year I learned about how the American patriots fought for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I didn’t see those principles of America as something new, something that I didn’t hold dear as an Israeli, they were just very well articulated in America’s founding documents. I can make a very lengthy post on why some of America’s founding principles can be partially credited to the Jewish tradition, but I’ll save that for a later day. So basically, I love Israel because I love America. Two countries that stood up to tyranny and organized and fought against it.

When the United States was 61 years old, plenty was wrong and ugly with it, mainly slavery. But because the basic principles were sound, it has a good nation. I believe that Israel’s principles are also sound. The only difference is that Israel isn’t protected by two great oceans and lives in a region of the Old World, where the seemingly New Ideas of liberty and equality haven’t been welcomed with that famous Middle Eastern hospitality. If history is any guide, the fight that Israel is fighting, a fight that even America hasn’t experienced, is the most difficult and thus needs all the help that it can get.

This author is the creator of the Old World New Ideas blog and iKibbitz.

I'll try to make my writings on both sites appear more timely. As soon as I make significant progress on the Wordpress theme I'm making, I'll start to write more often.