Want to End Terrorism? End Foreign Occupations.





Mr. Cole is Professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan. His website is http://www.juancole.com/.

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Fareed Zakariya argues that Bush got one thing right. Zakariya writes:
"Bush never accepted the view that Islamic terrorism had its roots in religion or culture or the Arab-Israeli conflict. Instead he veered toward the analysis that the region was breeding terror because it had developed deep dysfunctions caused by decades of repression and an almost total lack of political, economic and social modernization. The Arab world, in this analysis, was almost unique in that over the past three decades it had become increasingly unfree, even as the rest of the world was opening up. His solution, therefore, was to push for reform in these lands."
I don't use the phrase"Islamic terrorism" because"Islamic" refers to the essentials of the religion, and it forbids terrorism (hirabah). But if Bush rejected the idea that radical Muslim terrorism came out of religion or culture, he was right.

I disagree with the rest of the paragraph, though. Let's think about terrorism in the past few decades in a concrete and historical way, and it is obvious that it comes out of a reaction to being occupied militarily by foreigners. The Muslim Brotherhood developed its Secret Apparatus and began committing acts of terror in the 1940s in Egypt, which the British had virtually reoccupied in order to deny it to the Italians and then Germans. The Brotherhood assassinated pro-British judges and pro-British politicians (the British installed the Wafd Party in power). The Brotherhood had grown to some half a million members by 1948. Some Brothers also volunteered to fight in Palestine against the rise of Israel, which they saw as a colonial settler state.

After the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Prime Minister Nuqrashi in 1948, it was banned and dissolved. It was briefly rehabilitated by Abdul Nasser in 1952-1954, but in 1954 it tried to assassinate him, and he banned it again. There was no major radical Muslim terrorism in Egypt in the period after 1954 and until Sadat again legitimized the Brotherhood in 1971, despite Egypt being a dictatorship in that period.

The intimate connection between foreign military occupation and terrorism can be seen in Palestine in the 1940s, where the Zionist movement threw up a number of terrorist organizations that engaged in bombings and assassinations on a fair scale. That is, frustrated Zionists not getting their way behaved in ways difficult to distinguish from frustrated Muslim nationalists who didn't get their way.

There was what the French would have called radical Muslim terrorism in Algeria 1954-1962, though the Salafis were junior partners of the largely secular FLN. French colonialists were targeted for heartless bombings and assassinations. This campaign of terror aimed at expelling the French, who had colonized Algeria in 1830 and had kept it ever since, declaring it French soil. The French had usurped the best land and crowded the Algerians into dowdy old medinas or haciendas in the countryside. The nationalists succeeded in gaining Algerian independence in 1962.

Once Sadat let the Muslim Brotherhood out of jail and allowed it to operate freely in the 1970s, to offset the power of the Egyptian Left, it threw up fundamentalist splinter groups like Ayman al-Zawahiri's al-Gihad al-Islami and Sheikh Omar's al-Gamaah al-Islamiyah. They were radicalized when Sadat made a separate peace with Israel in 1978-79 that permitted the Israelis to do as they pleased to the Palestinians. In response, the radical Muslims assassinated Sadat and continued to campaign against his successor, Hosni Mubarak. They saw the Egyptian regime as pharaonic and evil because it had allied with the United States and Israel, thus legitimating the occupation of Muslim land (from their point of view).

The south Lebanon Shiite groups, Amal and Hizbullah, turned to radical Muslim terrorism mainly after the 1982 Israeli invasion and subsequent occupation of South Lebanon, which is largely Shiite.

The radical Muslim terrorism of Khomeini's Revolutionary Guards grew in part out of American hegemony over Iran, which was expressed most forcefully by the 1953 CIA coup that overthrew the last freely elected parliament of that country.

Likewise, Hamas (the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) turned to terrorism in large part out of desperation at the squalid circumstances and economic and political hopelessness of the Israeli military occupation of Gaza.

The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s was among the biggest generators of radical Muslim terrorism in modern history. The US abetted this phenomenon, giving billions to the radical Muslim ideologues at the top of Pakistani military intelligence (Inter-Services Intelligence), which in turn doled the money out to men like Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, a member of the Afghanistan Muslim Brotherhood (Jami'at-i Islami) who used to throw vials of acid at the faces of unveiled girls in the Kabul of the 1970s. The US also twisted the arm of the Saudi government to match its contributions to the Mujahidin. Saudi Intelligence Minister Turki al-Faisal was in charge of recruiting Arab volunteers to fight alongside the Mujahidin, and he brought in young Usamah bin Laden as a fundraiser. The CIA training camps that imparted specialized tradecraft to the Mujahidin inevitably also ended up training, at least at second hand, the Arab volunteers, who learned about forming covert cells, practicing how to blow things up, etc. The"Afghan Arabs" fanned back to their homelands, to Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, carrying with them the ethos that Ronald Reagan had inspired them with, which held that they should take up arms against atheist Westerners who attempted to occupy Muslim lands.

To this litany of Occupations that produce radical Muslim terrorism, Chechnya and Kashmir can be added.

In contrast, authoritarian governments like that of Iraq and Syria, while they might use terror for their own purposes from time to time, did not produce large-scale indepdendent terrorist organizations that struck itnernational targets. Authoritarian governments also proved adept at effectively crushing terrorist groups, as can be seen in Algeria and Egypt. It was only in failed states such as Afghanistan that they could flourish, not in authoritarian ones.

So it is the combination of Western occupation and weak states that produced the conditions for radical Muslim terrorism.

Democratic countries have often produced terrorist movements. This was true of Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States in the late 1960s and through the 1970s. There is no guarantee that a more democratic Iraq, Egypt or Lebanon will produce less terrorism. Certainly, the transition from Baathist dictatorship has introduced terrorism on a large scale into Iraqi society, and it may well spill over from there into neighboring states.

Morocco has been liberalizing for some years, and held fairly above-board parliamentary elections in 2002. Yet liberalizing Morocco produced the al-Salafiyyah al-Jihadiyyah group in Tangiers that committed the 2003 Casablanca bombings and the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Moreover, if democracy means majority rule and the expression of the general will, then it won't always work to the advantage of the US. Bush administration spokesmen keep talking about Syrian withdrawal being the demand of the"Lebanese people." But 40% of the Lebanese are Shiites, and 15% are probably Sunnis, and it may well be that a majority of Lebanese want to keep at least some Syrian troops around. Hizbullah has sided with Syria and Shaikh Nasrallah called for a big pro-Syrian demonstration by Shiites this past Tuesday.

For true democracy to flourish in Lebanon, the artificial division of seats in parliament so that half go to the Christian minority would have to be ended. Religious Shiites would have, as in Iraq, a much bigger voice in national affairs. Will a Lebanon left to its own devices to negotiate a social compact between rightwing Christians and Shiite Hizbullah really be an island of stability?

I'm all for democratization in the Middle East, as a good in its own right. But I don't believe that authoritarian governance produced most episodes of terrorism in the last 60 years in the region. Terrorism was a weapon of the weak wielded against what these radical Muslims saw as a menacing foreign occupation. To erase that fact is to commit a basic error in historical understanding. It is why the US military occupation of Iraq is actually a negative for any"war on terror." Nor do I believe that democratization, even if it is possible, is going to end terrorism in and of itself.

You want to end terrorism? End unjust military occupations. By all means have Syria conduct an orderly withdrawal from Lebanon if that is what the Lebanese public wants. But Israel needs to withdraw from the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria, as well. The Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank must be ended. The Russian scorched earth policy in Chechnya needs to stop. Some just disposition of the Kashmir issue must be attained, and Indian enormities against Kashmiri Muslims must stop. The US needs to conduct an orderly and complete withdrawal from Iraq. And when all these military occupations end, there is some hope for a vast decrease in terrorism. People need a sense of autonomy and dignity, and occupation produces helplessness and humiliation. Humiliation is what causes terrorism.


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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
From your last post it seems to me you concede, with qualifications, that Israel is a RACIST nation/state and concede , without any qualifications, that it is an AGGRESSIVE and ALIEN nation state.
I am not one to defend the practices of the Moslem nations you mentioned re nonMoslems. I believe in a secular state where the nation belong to all its nationals and religion is a purely personal, individual affair between man/woman and his/her creator.
I was hoping , with your "liberal" and "humane" pretensions ,you would join me in condemning the RACIST, AGGRESSIVE and ALIEN character of Zionist Israel...you failed that.
Once again, and not for the last time, I contend that Zionism was, is, far from being the salvation of the Jewish people and that it ,directly and indirectly ,revived the JEWISH QUESTION by unnessarily creating for itself 1.6-1.8 billion Arab/Moslem direct enemies and an unquantifiable number of other indirect enemies all over the world!
I believe both our peoples will pay very heavily in blood , treasure and, most of all,wasted effort and lost opportunities because of this intrinsic implacable enmity generated by the ill advised Zionist doctrine of " a land with no people for a people with no land"!
For as you can see daily the land had, has, a people that will neither forget nor forgive!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Simon
The question should be:"Why do you call Israel Alien?"
I do not believe there is such a thing as "ethnic purity" so my answer would not be based on that...it is based on the following analysis.
For the last two thousand years
and, except for a very small minority,pre Zionist conquest Palestine ,seized to have a sizable Jewish population or culture .
Palestine was substantially Islamized and wholly Arabized with the Moslem conquest in the Seventh century AD. It has had an overwhelming majority of Arabs, both Moslems and Christians and very few Jews as a population with an Arabic culture until the early twentieth century when the Zionist movement induced a few of its foreign Jewish followers to migrate to Palestine.

These were mostly of Western then of East European, stock and cultural backgrounds. They were accepted as all pilgrims were in the Holy Land.
With the Balfour declaration, the British mandate and WWII the trickle become a flow of considerable size with distinct Zionist political ambitions and designs. The 30000 Palestinian Jews, or so, became hundreds of thousands admitted into Palestine against the express will of the Palestinian people .
The Palestinian people was purposely denied the right of self -determination to enable the Zionist movement, aided and abetted by the British mandate, to effect the demographic change that followed resulting in a sizable Jewish minority with aggressive, deArabizing, national aspirations for Palestine.
This sizable Jewish minority consisted mainly of Jews from the West and East Europe and was the driving force, in collusion with Britain then the USA, behind the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine; always against the express will of the Palestinian people.
The nation /state ,Israel, that was born in 1948 was, is, ALIEN for the following reasons:
1-Its inhabitants were admitted into Palestine against the express will of the overwhelming majority of the Palestinian people by a mandatory power that did not have the right to affect such a demographic change.
As such they are illegal residents of Palestine; that is they are ALIENS.
2-The majority of Jews, so admitted into Palestine, came from foreign cultural backgrounds totally unrelated to the Arab/Moslem culture of Palestine and the region in general. They were, are, foreigners in every sense of the word :place of birth, nationally(culturally) and linguistically; as such they are ALIENS.
3-Their claim on Palestine was, is, based on a tenuous blood relationship ( that is a racial relationship) with a people that presumably lived in Palestine, but was never a majority, more than two thousand years ago .This claim based on a blood,i e RACIAL, foundation aside from being totally objectionable and unacceptable in principle is an ALIEN concept to the modern world anywhere in the world in the twentieth century.
Further more the assumed blood, RACIAL, relation was never proved; if anything it was disproved by the late Arthur Koestler, an honourable Jew, in his book about the RACIAL ( that ugly word again)origin of East European Jews.
4-Jewish culture seized to be a life , living culture in Palestine for two thousand years and except for the , pre Zionist conquest, small Palestinian Jewish minority it was an minority culture to the overwhelming majority of the population and as such was Alien to the land and its indegenous inhabitants.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
---Omar,

In response to your comment that the US was Israel's main backer except for a short time, the US had rather little to do with Israel until well after the Six Day War. That is no short period of time.

**** let us agree to disagree about that.

---I comment next on your "forced" remark in conjunction with the immigrants political motives.
First, the vast majority of people who migrate - and this was true of Jews at all times in the region - were not overtly political. Instead, such people merely wanted to make a life. However, there were some people with political motives but, again, until the 1930's - after Jews began being killed -, the politics was mostly to find accommodation and acceptence and a way to participate in the region's politics.

****The important thing in your above comment:"… until the 1930's - after Jews began being killed –" is that it correctly notes that the of violence, not Jew killing, started in the 1930s i.e. after the Balfour Declaration and at the outset of the massive Zionist inspired and British allowed Jewish migration into Palestine it.
Before that a considerable Jewish community lived in Palestine in peace with the Palestinian people as noted by Herbert Samuel, British Governor of Palestine and a Jew.
Both your and Samuel's remarks support our point that Jewish presence in Palestine was understandable and acceptable to the Palestinian people until the advent of the aggressive Zionist movement with its deArabizing ambitions and designs.

----Now, you claim that the migration was forced on the Arab population. My response is, so what? People are forced on each other all over the world - even now. In the US, blacks migrated from the South to Northern cities. Whites in the cities objected and claimed the Blacks were being forced on the Whites and changing the culture. The newspapers saw that objection for what it is, RACIST. I do not see how the Arab objection is any less racist.

**** Your "..so what?" astounds me. It must spring from innocent ignorance or a conscious , calculated to misinform, underestimate of the cardinal importance of Palestine to both the Arab nation and the Arab/Moslem world strategically and spiritually.
The conflict over Palestine is not a border dispute nor about the size of a certain minority.
It is a seminal nationalist confrontation over the nationalist identity of Palestine between the Zionist/nationalist movement aiming at deArabizing it, through its "Zionization/Israelization", and Arab resistance to this conquest.
If we fail to agree about the ulterior and ultimate objectives of this imperialistically supported campaign, we will stay indefinitely apart and adversarial.
I note your recognition that Zionism "forced" its way into Palestine against the will of the Arab Palestinian people.

----The appropriate response to migration is to find accomodation. That applied to both sides since, in fact - as you admit-, the migration was permitted by the rulers. That, rather than fighting, ought to have been the end of the matter.

**** You can not be serious about "accommodation" being the appropriate response to colonization and deArabization…can you!It is neither a coincidence nor a historical fluke thar the Zionist DeArabization of Palestine was first supported by British then American Imperialism! I urge you to consider that.


----As for the equality issue, you misread what I wrote. I noted the power sharing arrangement in Lebanon and the trouble it has caused. I note that permitting non-Muslims to participate in governing in Muslim countries has been - and remains - rather problematic. There is a millennia of history supporting my view.

***The problems in Lebanon are totally dissimilar and are irrelevant to our discussion of the Arab/Zionist-Israeli conflict.

----Your most significant point, that Jews dispossed and displaced Arab from their homes is, I think, a distortion of the facts. While there were Arab displaced from their homes, that is not the entire story. First, such displacement was the result of a war started by the Arabs. As Benny Morris has stated:

Critics of Israel subsequently latched on to those findings that highlighted Israeli responsibility while ignoring the fact that the problem was a direct consequence of the war that the Palestinians - and, in their wake, the surrounding Arab states - had launched.

"Peace? No chance," The Guardian, February 21, 2002, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,653594,00.html. I see no reason to doubt the noted point.

***The Zionist conquest of Palestine DISPLACED, DISPOSSESSED and DISFRANCHISED the indigenous Palestinian people in their Homeland by uprooting them and supplanting them with Jews from all over the world.
An objective look at what happened between 1948 and, say, 1956 in terms of population figures, erasing of villages, land expropriation and transfer of land ownership and the concurrent demolition and/or depopulation of Arab villages with the construction of new settlements, leaves no doubt about the uprooting and sup plantation process that took place in Palestine. The resulting "ethnic/nationalist " governance and 'political Zionist domination together with the Israeli "Law of Return" which excludes all non Jews, including the indigenous Palestinian refugees, is a matter of undeniable recird!These are the facts irrespective of any concurrent events or spurious justifications!

----Moreover, if I recall correctly, Jews were also displaced. Correct me if I have the figures slightly wrong, but there were about 100,000 Jews, all told, living in ( what became/my note) East (my addition)Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as Gaza. All of these people were dispossesed - as much so as the Arabs.

****The figure of 100000 is wildly exaggerated( I will try to post UN figures) still it should be compared to the 700,000 to 750,000 Arabs displaced and denied the Right of Return to their homes as per UNGA resolution No 194 to what became the state of Israel.

---- From 1948 to mid
June in 1967, Jews, and not just Israelis, were not even allowed to visit places like Jerusalem - which is the holy of holies in Judaism. Jordanian law, to this day, does not permit Jews even to become a Jordanian citizen. Yet...

****A state of war existed then between the HK of Jordan and Egypt with Israel and the prohibition of cross border circulation was inevitable.

--- Jews have lived in that region, until they were expelled, for more than two millennia.

*** After the Jewish Diaspora, 2000 years ago, Jewish existence in the region was minimal and not because of Arab rejection or resistance.
Ever since the year 635 AD, when the Arabization process of present Arab lands, including of course the only land link Palestine, started the region was, by far, Arab culturally then nationally.

----Which is to say, the issues are not so simple as you suggest.

**** In spite of all the concurrent historical details and ramifications the glaring historical fact is that , in the 20th century AD, the Palestinian people was DISPLACED, DISPOSSESSED and DISFRANCHISED from and in his Homeland and that it was uprooted and supplanted by Jews from all over the world through the Zionist conquest of Palestine
----And, for whatever reason, the Arab world took out their displeasure against Israel by oppressing Jews in Arab dominated countries. Hence, all told 856,000 Jews were persecuted and then dispossessed from their homes - being forced to leave their belonging behind - accross the Arab world.

It seems to me that the issue for Palestinian Arabs is not dispossession or displacement. The issue is that the refugees were not resettled. That, however, was a political decision which did not need to be made. And that decision, and the disaster it caused, was not made by Israel nor did Israel approve of it
****What you mean here is that the problem stems from the fact that the Palestinian refugees WERE NOT FORCED to settle against their will in Arab host. countries!
The fact is that they adamantly refuse and reject any settlement plans, and there has been many, and insist on Returning to their HOME land Palestine!

----Which is to say, Christians were displaced in very large numbers from Turkish land, Muslims were displaced from Greece - none of these people were allowed to return to their former homes and the same for their offspring and none can return now. In the case of the Indian subcontinent, 14 million refugees were created including Muslim who ended up in Pakistan and Hindus who ended up in India. None of these people or their offspring has been allowed to return to their former homes. In Europe, 12.5 million Sudeten (i.e. ethnic Germans who had, for many, many centuries, made their homes in places which became, in modern times, Poland and Czechoslavakia) were, at the same time that Arabs and Jews were fighting, were forced at gun point to give up their homes and live in Germany. None of these people or their offspring has been allowed to return to their former homes. Which is to say, but for a political decision by the Arab side, Palestinian Arabs would long ago have resumed a normal
life - just like Jews who were expelled from Arab controlled terrority and countries. That, in a nutshell, is the issue.

****I see no parallel between the cases you enumerate above and the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli-Zionist conflict,basically an Arab nationalist anti imprerialist confrontation of Zionism, which I have tried to present above ,as perceived by the Arabs and the Arab/Moslem worlds.
It is absolutely not the nutshell you tried to reduce it to above!
Regards.



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You claim:" .......... "

"The Jews greatly improved the land. They brought a return of learning to a region which had descended into a dark age and they also sought to introduce democracy."

Is that not the old,false, long discarded "colonialist" argument used by colonialist powers to subjugate and pillage their erstwhile colonies ?

Well with that statement of yours our positions are coming closer to each other:Zionism is a colonialist movement!

"They aimed, until the violence by the Arab side began, to build a state for all, including Arabs, involved."

Does not your racially tinted statement above condescendingly reverses roles "...including Arabs"; the Arabs are, were, the indegenous population, the Jews were the "newcomers"..if anything, with any good will , it should read " to include Jewish immigrants".

You equally claim that:

"However, there was also substantial bigotry on the Arab side that cannot be ignored in a complete analysis. In Islam, Jews were dhimmi. That meant they had no place being the dominant group. That was an anethma."

This statement of yours is a combination of ignorance and ill will.
a- the ignorance, or possibly the feigned ignorance for a conscious disinformation of the general public, is revealed in the fact that you chose to ignore that in the 1950s SYRIA had an extremely popular indegenous Arab Christian (dhimmi according to you) as Prime Minister; his name is Faris Al Khoury ( Khoury= priest in Arabic).
He deservedly attained that position and the esteem and respect of Arabs for being an outstanding fighter in the Syrian stuggle for independence from France.
Your contention that (dhimmis) were consistently ostracised or discriminated against is plainly belied by this fact.
Which leads us to the ill will, you consciously confound between two unrelated subjects i) the alleged discrimination against "dhimmis" nationals, ie Arab "dhimmis" and ii)Arab rightful oppostion to the designs of any "group " seeking domination as a "group" ("That meant they had no place being the dominant group." your words.)
That opposition is ,by any legal, moral and political standard ,right and correct paricularly when that "group" is part of a self confessed RACIST movement in both outlook and practices.

"In Christianity, Jews were the deicide people. They had killed the Christian deity, Jesus, and hence were condemned to wander the Earth, without real refuge, forever."

This para is superfluous to our discussion, possibly brought in to milk your ordeal with the West. To the Arabs and Moslems Jews are a people of "THE BOOK", adherants to Judaism a revered monotheistic religion.

"And, beyond the religious bigrotry,.."
A naked lie ; read about Faris Al Khoury above..and learn!

"Jews had no powerful backers ..."
Another naked distortion and lie:What about Britain then the USA, the international Zionist movement, world Jewry ?

"Hence, the Arab side believed that with sufficient time, they had no need to cooperate with Jews."

Is it "accomodation", "joint rule" or the newly found "Cooperate"?
No matter what words you chose the declared intent was conquest and colonization.

"Israel is not a racist country but that, by your definition, all countries are. Which is to say, a country which protects its own ethnic group is not racist but, by your definition, countries like France and England are racist."

Plainly incorrect and intentionally false; Zionist Israel restricts the Right of Return to one and only one Racial/Ethnic group (JEWS) unlike France , England and the USA which allows immigrants from diverse confessional, national and cultural backgrounds.

"As to a secular state: that is fine with me so long as the state remains a refuge and, to that extent, homeland for Jews where Jews will always be treated like equals."

Are we getting closer here?
I certainly hope so; "a secular state" in which the indegenous population , both Arab and Jewish,together with all displaced Palestinians and their descendants repatriated to their homeland and all newcomers living together as equals is acceptable to me !

"If the Arab side accepted such a notion of a place of refuge and equality - which, in the 1920's and since, they have rejected on principle -, there would be no dispute and there would never have been a dispute. "

It was never a question of "refuge" and "equality"; Zionism was , still is, about a Dislocating,Depopulating and Dispossessing conquest, "a land with no people for a people with no land".

Let us try to build on the ideal of a secular state for all Palestinians ; indegenous, repatriated and new comers living together as equals in one Palestine fully integrated in its environment.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You claim:" .......... "

"The Jews greatly improved the land. They brought a return of learning to a region which had descended into a dark age and they also sought to introduce democracy."

Is that not the old,false, long discarded "colonialist" argument used by colonialist powers to subjugate and pillage their erstwhile colonies ?

Well with that statement of yours our positions are coming closer to each other:Zionism is a colonialist movement!



"They aimed, until the violence by the Arab side began, to build a state for all, including Arabs, involved."

Does not your racially tinted statement above condescendingly reverses roles "...including Arabs"; the Arabs are, were, the indegenous population, the Jews were the "newcomers"..if anything, with any good will , it should read " to include Jewish immigrants".

You equally claim that:

"However, there was also substantial bigotry on the Arab side that cannot be ignored in a complete analysis. In Islam, Jews were dhimmi. That meant they had no place being the dominant group. That was an anethma."
This statement of yours is a combination of ignorance and ill will.
a- the ignorance, or possibly the feigned ignorance for a conscious disinformation of the general public, is revealed in the fact that you chose to ignore that in the 1950s SYRIA had an extremely popular indegenous Arab Christian (dhimmi according to you) as Prime Minister; his name is Faris Al Khoury ( Khoury= priest in Arabic).
He deservedly attained that position and the esteem and respect of Arabs for being an outstanding fighter in the Syrian stuggle for independence from France.
Your contention that (dhimmis) were consistently ostracised or discriminated against is plainly belied by this fact.
Which leads us to the ill will, you consciously confound between two unrelated subjects i) the alleged discrimination against "dhimmis" nationals, ie Arab "dhimmis" and ii)Arab rightful oppostion to the designs of any "group " seeking domination as a "group" ("That meant they had no place being the dominant group." your words.)
That opposition is ,by any legal, moral and political standard ,right and correct paricularly when that "group" is part of a self confessed RACIST movement in both outlook and practices.

"In Christianity, Jews were the deicide people. They had killed the Christian deity, Jesus, and hence were condemned to wander the Earth, without real refuge, forever."
This para is superfluous to our discussion, possibly brought in to milk your ordeal with the West. To the Arabs and Moslems Jews are a people of "THE BOOK", adherants to Judaism a revered monotheistic religion.

"And, beyond the religious bigrotry,.."
A naked lie ; read about Faris Al Khoury above..and learn!

"Jews had no powerful backers ..."
Another naked distortion and lie:What about Britain, the international Zionist movement, world Jewry ?


"Hence, the Arab side believed that with sufficient time, they had no need to cooperate with Jews."
Is it "accomodation", "joint rule" or the newly found "Cooperate"?
No matter what words you chose the declared intent was conquest and colonization.

"Israel is not a racist country but that, by your definition, all countries are. Which is to say, a country which protects its own ethnic group is not racist but, by your definition, countries like France and England are racist."
Plainly incorrect and intentionally false; Israel restricts the Right of Return to one and only one Racial/Ethnic group (JEWS) unlike France , England and the USA which allows immigrants from diverse confessional, national and cultural backgrounds.

"As to a secular state: that is fine with me so long as the state remains a refuge and, to that extent, homeland for Jews where Jews will always be treated like equals."
Are we getting closer here? I certainly hope so; "a secular state" in which the indegenous population , both Arab and Jewish,together with all displaced Palestinians and their descendants repatriated to their homeland and all newcomers living together as equals is acceptable to me !

"If the Arab side accepted such a notion of a place of refuge and equality - which, in the 1920's and since, they have rejected on principle -, there would be no dispute and there would never have been a dispute. "

It was never a question of "refuge" and "equality"; Zionism was , still is, about a Dislocating,Depopulating and Dispossessing conquest, "a land with no people for a people with no land".

Let us try to build on the ideal of a secular state for all Palestinians ; indegenous, repatriated and new comers living together as equals in one Palestine fully integrated in its environment.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007




Mr. Friedman
We are converging.
You have, by declaring:
" In short, the historical precedent and simple logic dictate that those who come as conquerers, as the Muslim did, are subject to the rules that govern those who conquer: they are reversible by the next party who comes along with greater force"
explicitly conceded my starting point that the Zionist onslaught on Palestine was a conquest and not a search for "accommodation" or the newly coined " joint rule" as you alleged at the outset.
However, the fundamental differences between the two should be stressed:
1-The Islamic conquest of the region started in the year 635 AD, while the Zionist started in the 1920s; a time lapse of 1300 years.
This time lapse witnessed a great deal of human progress particularly in the field of human settlement. Mainly, for our discussion, the abandonment of the often used "normal", for the time, practice of the roaming, marauding stronger "tribe" or community uprooting and supplanting the weaker" tribe" or community for better pastures etc to the era of settled communities.
With human transition to settled communities, the sovereign rights over a certain land become solely lodged in the community that dwells in it with the concurrent rights and obligations lodged with its "citizens" or "nationals" including, ultimately, the RIGHT of SELF DETERMINATION as to the choices they make for themselves over that land.
By reverting, in the TWENTYETH CENTURY, to the old discarded practice of the stronger "tribe" etc, the "UPROOT" and "SUPPLANT" mode of nation building, Zionism was, still is, by any objective standard, a throw back to the practices and "norms=ethics" of the past and as such is an aggressive, retrogressive and reactionary movement as much as its ideological offspring, Zionist Israel.
It is this time lapse of 1300 years between the two "conquests" that distinguishes them from each other; whereas the Arab/Muslim "conquest" of the region in the Seventh century was within the norms and practices of the time, the Zionist conquest of Palestine in the 1920's was not only against all the norms, practices of the TWENTYETH century but equally ran counter to the principles that has come to govern human behavior. As such, the establishment of Israel in the "conquered "land of Palestine was an act of negation and rejection of human progress.

2- Another basic difference between the two "conquests" could be discerned by contrasting the objectives of each and the methods used by each to achieve its objectives.
The historical record shows that the "Arab" tribes emerging from the Arabian Peninsula in the Seventh Century were the carriers of, what to them was, a Divine Message: Islam. Their mission was to spread Islam and convert the worshippers of idols with strict instructions not to coerce the Peoples of the Book, the Jews and the Christians, to convert.
Great numbers, the majority in most cases, of the INDIGINEOUS INHABITANTS willingly embraced Islam, became equal citizens of the expanding state and adopted the language of its BOOK, the KORAN, the ARABIC language.
A process of "racial" and cultural intermixing was initiated, a Seventh Century melting pot, that culminated in the complete ARABIZATION and major ISLAMIZATION of the inhabitants of Greater Syria, of which Palestine is a part, Iraq, Egypt ,Sudan and North Africa through , their adoption of the Arabic language and the emergence of a "new" (common)"Arabic "culture.
This, common, culture bred a new "national identity" that gradually emerged then solidified into what is presently the predominant national identity of "Arabs" and "Arab States".
It was and still is an amalgam of indigenous cultures fused together with historical "Arab" culture into one common cultural heritage. This output from this melting pot, the common culture and the emerging common national identity came to be known as "Arab" because of the prevalence of Arabic Language and of the "Arabs" at the early, formative, stages of the inter- intermixing and reciprocated cultural assimilation process.
Thus ARABISM, Arab nationalism, is primarily the product of the historical process of reciprocated inter racial and inter-cultural assimilation and fusion that, in due course, produced a common national identity.
As such Arabism, Arab nationalism, has absolutely no pretensions to a common racial/ethnic or confessional/religious basis.
So the objective of the Arab/Moslem "conquest" was to transmit a universal, non exclusive, mission to all those willing to accept it and the method used to achieve was voluntary conversion of the willing.
The end product of this inter racial, inter cultural intermixing and reciprocated assimilation proved to be vital enough to withstand the onslaught of the many subsequent invasions by diverse "national" and/or confessional/cultural raiders. It withstood the Trial of Time by still being to this very day the national/cultural identity of the Arab nation.
By contrast Zionism came in with the objective of establishing a Jewish State for one predetermined exclusive, ethnic/racial community. The method it used was, as best summed up by the Zionist theorist Professor Zanus, the: "DISPLACEMENT and SUBJUGATION of the indigenous population by ALIENS"; plainly a colonialist/racist mission which led to the DISLOCATION, DISPOSSESSION and DISFRANCHISEMENT of the indegenous Palestinian Arab people from and in his homeland.
One last word to be followed by a wish; you inquire:
" One question: on what conceivable moral basis can you argue that the results of the Muslim conquest must remain in place forever and ever? Another question: at what point does the Muslim claim to the region expire?"
The answer to your question is:
as long as the indigenous population are willing to maintain and defend to preserve their national/cultural identity.
The Arab, you prefer to call it Moslem for obvious reasons, national/cultural identity of the region is no longer a claim it is a fact in history and geography with, granted, some temporary infringement.
As to the wish:I hope you will spare us your compassion and advice re the best way ahead for us.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I am afraid we are bound to disagree on all raised issues which does not surprise .
However I note that you have consciously avoided addressing two points I made that I consider major:
1-My assertion that :" in the 20th century AD, the Palestinian people was DISPLACED, DISPOSSESSED and DISFRANCHISED from and in his Homeland and that it was uprooted and supplanted by Jews from all over the world through the Zionist conquest of Palestine"

2-that "the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli-Zionist conflict,is basically an Arab nationalist anti imprerialist confrontation of Zionism, "

If both of these statements are true and factual, as I believe they are, the inevtable conclusion would objectively be:

a-Re (1 ):that the Palestinian people were the victims of an act of AGGRESSION commited by the Zionist movement; i.e. Israel, which came into existence as a result of this act, is necessarily an AGGRESSIVE nation/state.
Another inevitable deduction would be:that this same nation/state of Israel is commitedly RACIST since only Arab/Moslem/Christian Palestinians were uprooted and were supplanted by one and only one ethnic /confessional entity (Jews).


b-Re (2):Since Zionism contends that all "Jews" constitute a "nation" the conflict with the Arabs is a "nationalist" confrontation and not, as once stated and often implied in your post, a search by refugees for an accomodation in a certain haven.



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Hardly the true facts:
1-The King David hotel was not a military establishment; it was a hotel with many civilan guests, it was bombed by thr Zionists.
2-Count Folke Bernadot, a Sweedish UN envoy, was assasinated by the Zionists.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

---Omar,

I hardly know where to begin. However, Israel survived for decades with nothing but kind words from the US. And, in many instances, the words were not kind (e.g. in 1956).
***Except for a short period during which France was the main arms supplier to Israel, the USA has been the main source of arms and financial, both private and official, support of Israel and ever since.
In 1956 President Eisenhower, for the first and last time, slapped Israel on the wrist for secretly colluding with the Anglo/French alliance to "return" to the Middle East via the Suez campaign against American designs.
---The region in and around Israel was not an "Arab environment." It was land with many Arabs - but also a host of other people - living on it.
Migration of people to that land was not forced. It had the permission of the rulers of the land - first Ottoman and then British -. The objection to the demographic change was, as it is everywhere on Earth, racist in character.
*** I hope we will not indulge ourselves in denying the obvious! The surrounding environment of Palestine was, still is very much so , ARAB the presence of minorities does not detract from the predominant Arab nationalist identity of the region, except , of course, for Turkey, Iran and, for now, Israel…
The Ottomans allowed, with popular consent, apolitical Jewish worshippers, and correctly so, into Palestine .
However the politically motivated Jewish migration into Palestine was only allowed by the British mandate against the ceaselessly expressed will of the Arab Moslem/ Christian Palestinian people; their opposition to Jewish migration was expressed in all available means ranging from petitions and peaceful demonstrations to armed insurrection. That is "FORCED" against the will of the people.
The rejection of demographic change, as with all nations on earth, is based on nationalist/cultural grounds and not Race. That was, is, particularly the case in regards to the Zionist inspired Jewish migration into Palestine with its declared aims of nationalist/Zionist domination.


---the right of oppressed people - such as Jews were at the time - to seek refuge where refuge is available is a basic human right, one that is as old as time. In the US, there was substantial migration of African Americans from the South to the North. Communities objected vehemently to the settlement of such people in their neighborhoods. However, the objection was primarily racist in character - and was branded such in all of the major US liberal newspapers - as was the Arab objection to the presence of Jews in a country which, in fact, had had a substantial Jewish presence for millennia.

***Granted and correct as long as these "refugees" seek a refuge, a haven, from their oppressors. However when these" refugees" come with declared political goals, as with the French in Algeria, the Dutch in South Africa and the Zionists in Palestine, they become "colonizers" with a " colonialist" outlook and objectives. It has nothing to do with RACE; it is the natural reaction against any attempt by an alien entity to dominate and/or supplant the indigenous population.
Do I have to remind you of "American" resistance to British colonialism? No two nations were as "racially" close, or practically identical, as the predominant
Anglo/Saxon Americans and the British!

----At heart, the right of migrating people to participate in politics in their new homes is also a basic human right. The objection of the Arabs was that they would potentially have to share power - an objection which has caused havoc in Lebanon but which has, more or less, after terrible wars (far worse than those between Jews and Arabs), been accepted -.

****It is when they become "citizens", "nationals" of that country, not before, and not if they had "forced" their way into it as "colonists".
The Egyptian "Senate" (Magliss al Shouyoukh) had indigenous Jewish "senators"!
As to Lebanon exactly 50% of their Parliament, with total Moslem consent, are indigenous Christian Lebanese "Arabs".
By the way there is absolutely no analogy between the Arab/ Palestinian struggle against Zionism and the problems in Lebanon in spite of ceaseless Zionist and imperialist efforts to present it as such!

---In fact, the notion of a separate state for Jews - which differs in kind from what Herzl or Jabokinski originally advocated - was born out hostility that could not be resolved. That hostility - which was based in large part on the fact that Muslims object in principle, unless there is no choice, to living under non-Muslim rule or sharing power with non-Muslims (just like in Lebanon) - led to terror directed at Jews which in turn was answered in kind. By the 1930's, the Arab and Jewish groups were on a collision course. Hence, the idea of partition.

****The problem with a Zionist Israel is that it came into existence as a result of the "DISPLACEMENT","DISPOSSESSION' and "DISFRANCHISEMENT" of the indigenous Palestinian Arab people in their own HOMELAND. Israel came into existence by substantially UPROOTING the indigenous Palestinian population and SUPPLANTING them by aliens from all over the world. Everything else is minor details.I urge you to consider this seminal fact.

---The problem right now for the Muslim world is to reject the notion of a dar al-Islam and dar al-harb. That means, accepting non-Muslim rule as legitimate.

****Non Moslem rule in non Moslem lands, as well as non Arab rule in non Arab lands, is perfectly legitimate; we have absolutely no problem with', say, Italian rule of Italy or Turkish rule of Turkey. Our fight is against alien rule, whether confessional or "nationalist", of Arab Moslem/Christian Palestine!

----The problem for Christians and Muslim Arabs, which you ignore, has taken on its own dimension. Christian Arabs in Israel proper are not much in revolt. However, Christian Arabs in the PA region have been attacked repeatedly by Islamic terrorists. That terrorism has caused large numbers to leave the area. It has, moreover, helped undermine Christian support for Palestinians as witness the recent change of heart by the Vatican regarding Muslim history which is now deemed a disaster for Christians living under Islam.

****Problems do exist in some Arab countries between different confessional and national/cultural communities, as in, say, Ireland and Spain, but in no way are they similar to the ARAB/PALESTINIAN-ZIONIST/ISRAELI conflict, in the former case its internal problems to be resolved in a common national frame work ,while in the latter its is a nationalist fight against colonialist aliens!

[ Reply ]


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Simon
I do not believe that such a thing as an "ethnic group" or "ethnic identity " exists at all, there has been throughout history to much blood intermixing for that to really survive.
However there is , hopefully, no denying the fact many people, including Jews more than any other "community " I know of, do believe that it does exist.

(When disputing its existence, at the NY Times ME Forum re Koestler's famous book ,I was flooded with links with "DNA" studies which "proves " its existence and its continuity in East European Jews.)
The sad thing is ,on what I consider nonexistant, political doctrines with strong public appeal develop false, malignant theories of "superiority " ,as for Nazism and the Aryan Race ,or of "exclusive rights " and "prerogatives" , as for Zionism .
Zionism claims "special rights" and "prerogatives" in and over Palestine on "ethnic"/RACIST grounds for "the chosen people". The Israeli Right, now the backbone of the Israeli establishment, echoes this claim when opposing Israeli withdrawl from the Occupied Territories calling them, to support their claim, by their "ethnic" names "Judea" and "Samria".
Now whether I believe that an "ethnic identity" exists or does not exist does not change the fact that Zionism bases its claim over Palestine on the "special rights" and "prerogatives" of a specific "ethnic/racial group" over a land "exclusively " promised to them and irrespective of the fate of the "ghoim".
The belief in the existence of a "specific group" with "special/extra rights", "prerogatives" and "privileges "over and above the rights of others , whether based on colour, creed or "ethnicity/racial identity" and the dicrimination it inevitably leads to is RACISM in the worst sense of the word.
And that what Zionism, which joins "creed" and "ethnicity/racial identity" for some or only one of two for othres,truly and objectively is :RACIST.
Ditto Israeli policies and practices.

(Did you ever wonder why Israel never proposed building one tiny Arab "settlement" inspite of the tremendous acclaim it will receive in your media?)

You call my posts " propaganda"; well I rather look on them as an attempt to make as many people as possible know the facts in a society saturated with Zionist lies , fabrications and near total ignorance of what Zionism and Israel truly are.
To end this post I want you to know that your arrogant statement ending with:"..boring argumentum ad nauseum." is impolite , vindictive and reflects more on you and on your character than anything I have written.
It is easy to be impolite, it seems it comes naturally to you, I would rather we do not go down that path.





omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
To ensure that our dialogue does not turn into a dialogue of the deaf I will make two short remarks with an after thought and stop it there:
1-Accomodation , your clever but decetively humane sounding chosen term,does not, nor can it ever ,include forced upprooting and supplantation ; that is a colonialist and depopulating "conquest" pure and simple.
2- Your American analogy, though quite effective with the general uninformed American public, is totally pointless. To determine how pointless it is I urge you to answer the following question: What would American reaction be, both official and public, if, say, x hundred thousand Colombians ( not to say Vietnamese or Pakistanis) migrate into , say, Nevada with the declared intention of establishing a Colombian nation/state there after uprooting and supplanting its American inhabitants? Will they be "accomodated" ?

Do I have to remind that in its declared objective to maintain the predominant WHITE Caucassian Christian character of the USA the US government, through its declared annual quota , allows and restricts access to the USA by different ethnic and confessional entities (white, black, brown, yellow ,Asiatic, Hispanic,Celtic , Hindu, Moslem, Christian etc) according to a predetermined formula that reflects its objective
? And rightly so I must add.
Finally you know nothing about what I believe to be an equitable and durable settlement of this seminal conflict ; you have reached your own conclusions based on what you expect them to be as derived from the US media that has demonized the victim and acquited the aggressor!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007



Irfan
It is not that I differ with you as much as I would like to know how did you reach this sweeping statement!
"....we can more easily grasp that in fact, protestations aside, Islam is conducive to Islamism, which really is terrorism-conducive. "
As we both know acts of "terrorism "were commited by adherents of all major, and some less major, religions; in N. Ireland, Spain,India , the USA with McVeigh of Oklahoma and in Palestine starting with the Zionist bombing of King David Hotel and the assasination of Count Folke Bernadotte etc .
Will your statement above also hold true if we replace Islam with Christianty, Judaism, Hinduism etc or is it specific to Islam?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You did NOT answer the crucial question:
"... not to say Vietnamese or Pakistanis) migrate into , say, Nevada with the declared intention of establishing a Colombian nation/state there after uprooting and supplanting its American inhabitants? Will they be "accomodated" ?
You avoided the essence of it:"...with the declared intention of establishing a Colombian nation/state there after uprooting and supplanting its American inhabitants? Will they be "accomodated" ?".

Re migration to the USA you are refuting things I DID NOT SAY or CLAIM. I simply stressed, by writing:"And rightly so I must add." that each and every nation has the right to determine its cultural/national identity and protect it from any thing that threatens or is liable to change it. That is the solely the prerogative of the nation and not the UN .
If that change is FORCED on that nation that would be CONQUEST!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr friedman
All the examples you enumerate are cases of Border disputes between settled communities,i.e. existing nation/states or states in formation by mutual agreement as for the India/Pakistan affair. Most of these border disputes involved voluntary or forced or reciprocated mass indegenous population movements .
In none of these instances was an ALIEN party with unmistakable colonialist ,depopulating designs involved as is the case of Zionist Israel against the indegenous Arab population of Palestine.
I can understand your attempt to show the Zionist conquest of Palestine as a normal every day occurence in the TWENTYETH century but it is a futile effort though it could put some troubled souls at ease .
THE intrinsic significance of Zionism and Zionist Israel , as best revealed in its model of nation builing the " uproot and supplant" principle , leaves little doubt that it is principaly a retrogressive movement, a virtual throwback to darker eras of human behavior.

AS such Zionist Israel is the product of a doctrine of total rejection and negation of human progress as amply demonstrated by its, post conquest policies, of total denial of the basic inalienable human rights of the Paslestinian people such as their Right to Self Determination and their Right of Return.

Pondering your stand I tend to appreciate and respect the basic honesty of such Zionist leaders as Jabotinsky ,quoted earlier , and of Zionist theorist Professor Zanus who had the basic integrity and moral courage to describe Zionism for what it really is:

"Few nations have been created without displacing and subjugating large numbers of indigenous inhabitants,…"
(Defending Zionism in a Time of Occupation and Oppression;Tikkun Mar/Apr 2004)

Your semantic acrobatics, of "accommodation" and" joint rule" etc etc, reveal a public relations oriented effort to misinform and disinform the unknowing general reader but fail miserably to face true historical facts as a true search for peace demands!

Still am intrigued by your statement:
" North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam."
Is that what happened?
Would you care to amplify?


"."


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


The Zionist movement, in overt collusion with British then American imperialism and with the near unanimous support of world Jewry, managed to realize its goal of a "Jewish/Zionist nation/state" in Palestine with the establishment of Israel in 1948!

Israel has been a fact ever since with a majority of international and major regional official recognition and an ever increasing military capability.

The establishment of a Jewish/Zionist nation/state in Arab Moslem/Christian Palestine started in the 1920s with the forced radical demographic alteration of the country. It was substantially achieved by uprooting the majority of the indigenous Palestinian Arab population (1947-1949),and supplanting them by one ethnic/confessional entity gathered from the four corners of the world .It culminated with its declaration of independence, within pre 1967 borders, in 1948.

The establishment of Israel an alien, to its predominant Arab/Moslem environment, nation /state in Palestine the heartland of a hostile Arab/Moslem world, was, by any standard, an unparalleled political achievement in modern history.

It must have looked, then, as a total victory; the absolute vindication of Zionism and the ultimate Jewish triumph!.

Was it, is it, really, with a historical perspective, the ultimate Jewish triumph?

I contend that, in view of its major success in identifying itself with world Jewry and contrary to its promise to bring them everlasting peace and security. Zionism has unwittingly launched a new phase of anti Judaism that would plague and cause vast damage to Jews and Jewish life for generations to come all over the world.

I contend that the negative repercussions of this outstanding triumph on world Jewry will eventually outweigh any benefits derived from it.

The first direct, almost instantaneous, outcome was the generation of a unanimous reaction of total and implacable enmity of what was, historically, one of the more tolerant major communities of the world towards Jewry; the Arab /Moslem world

To the Arab nation it was, still perceived to be,, the latest success in the historical Western campaign to deArabize, Palestine and thus not only supplant their fellow Arab brethren with an alien hostile nation that dislocated, dispossessed and disfranchised them in their homeland ,;ARAB Palestine ; but equally to constitute a major obstacle to Arab unity by severing the only land link between al Mashreq ( Greater Syria, the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq) and al Maghreb (Egypt, Sudan Libya and North Africa)!.

To the Moslem world it was, increasingly is, the latest campaign in the never ending Crusading effort to deIslamize the Holy Land and usurp Al Kudus Al Sharif ( noble Holy Jerusalem); the land of Al Aqsa and of the Holy , Mohammedan, ascension ( al Isra).
This relentless enmity is steadily becoming part of the collective /communal subconscious of Arab/Moslem masses and of Arab/Moslem culture; the Arab/Moslem modern equivalent of the "blood of Jesus" long standing enmity syndrome historically held against Jews by Christendom .

To the rest of the Third World this outstanding, imperialistically assisted, Zionist success was a very clear indication, of the hugely destructive capability of the emerging Zionist-/Imperialist alliance. A clear fore warning of the enormous ruination it will cause when this alliance, as it is eventually bound to, turns its domineering and exploitative thrust towards them ;whether in Asia, Africa or South America!

After a short celebratory spell, partly due to the atonement complex and partly to lingering Anglo/French colonialist designs but mainly to the doubtful proposition that "Israel" would put an end to the "Jewish Question" that has plagued it for generations the West split over this unparalleled Zionist/Imperialist achievement.

Europe gradually awakened to the fact that its pro Zionist stand was, to the left, a move that led to the establishment of an aggressive RACIST/CONFESSIONAL nation/state in alliance with and at the service of American imperialism.
To the right, it suddenly dawned that Israel is the region based auxiliary of the USA that would reinforce American political and economic presence in the Middle East to the exclusion and detriment of their own similar interests!

The USA under President Truman had, by then, emerged, under the inordinate influence of the Jewish/Zionist lobby, but against the council of the KING-CRANE commission and of Secretary of State George Marshall, as the main political support, and economic and military provider; the virtual lifeline of Israel.
With the growing importance of Middle East oil the USA soon perfected its plans for an exclusive American hegemony over the Middle East to be assisted by and in cooperation with its region based junior partner.
American total and unconditional support of Israel escalated, to the ceaseless
prodding ,encouragement and political ascendancy of the Zionist/Neocon
lobby, into a state of open, declared enmity to the Arabs and Moslems, gradually becoming an exact parallel of Israeli policy.
This new American policy culminated in the equally deplorable 9/11, and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq!
At this stage an American public reassessment started, questioning first American imperialist policy in general and American pro Israel, anti Arab policies in particular.
A polarization process began, best seen at the outset of the Iraqi conquest, in the diverging, pro and anti war, stands of main stream American Churches; with the Catholic, Prespetirian and Episcopalian etc on one side of the widening divide and the Evangelicals in alliance with mainstream Jewish Synagogues on the other side!
The outcome from these increasingly diverging stands of major American institutions will not take long to materialize into new public perceptions, attitudes and convictions that will eventually affect American life and policies!

So what did Zionism achieve for the Jews, both Zionist and non Zionist,
with its spectacular victory in Palestine.

The outcome from this spectacular success could be summed up as:
-A new deeply rooted enmity by a major human community; the 1.6-1.8 billion strong Arab/Moslem worlds; the erstwhile less hostile and more accommodating of the major religious communities of the world.
-The wary, suspicious and distrustful stand of the Third World
-An increasingly hostile Europe
-An increasingly acrimonious political debate dividing the American public
-And, most important and far reaching, a world wide rejuvenation of old, almost dormant, prejudices and suspicions of the morals and practices of Jews, a new, seemingly more valid, substantiation of the old damaging accusations of a world wide Jewish conspiracy, covert Zionist political and economic hegemony etc!

Zionism has been a CATASTROPHE to the Palestinian people and a major factor of international polarization, it will soon prove to be a huge DISSERVICE, a potential new calamity, to the JEWS and a primary cause of the seemingly inevitable CLASH of CIVILIZATIONS!!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
1- The UN resolution on which Israel claims international legitimacy is A General Assembly resolution with equal legal validity as UN resolution 194 calling for the Right of Return.
Your , and Israel's, moral and legal selectivity is no longer a source of wonder; it is totally in accord with the pernicious, RACIST doctrine of Zionism from which they spring!

2-Your claim that:"Regarding liberal principles: liberalism provides that people should be given the ability to seek happiness." read in conjunction with your general stand can only mean that the search for happiness DOED NOT EXCLUDE the uprooting and supplantation of one community by another , ALIEN, community to attain its goal of "happiness" !
That legal and moral perversion can extend to killing your lover's husband to be able to marry, or live with,her.Or evicting you at gun point from your hhome by somebody who will find greater "happiness" in it.
3 - However fewer things bring out the true "liberal ", "humane" and "moral" grounding of Zionism that you parrot than the following sentence:
"However, that does not mean that they are entitled to be settled in Israel. It means instead that they are entitled to be settled in a place where they, in fact, can reasonably expect to obtain the ethical goal, to wit, to obtain what they need - nothing more and nothing less. Your argument, by contrast, confuses what Palestinians want with what they need." Here we must note the following:
a-The demand is for "repatriation" and not "settlement" where ever that is possible.
b-By any moral or legal criterion "repatriation" to one's homeland takes precedence over and supersedes bringing in ALIENS to "settle" in that homeland .
c-What Palestinians "want" and "need" is to exercise a basic inalienable human right: the right to go back home and regain use of their legal properties.

Still nothing surprises me , or the objective observer, in what you write; it is fully consistent with, and "honestly" reflects the policies of, the aggressive, ethnically based,self centered RACIST Zionist doctrine which grants and withholds basic inalienable human rights on ethnic/racist grounds.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr. Friedman4
Your constant evasion of the basic issue , the Zionist/Israeli CONQUEST of Palestine does not surprise me…what does surprise me though is your recurring reference to the refugees problem WITHOUT touching on two cardinal points:
1-The refugees themselves reject any mode of settlement outside of their homeland and their possessions.
However you much like Israel want to decide for the refugees instead of letting them decide for themselves i.e. once more you deny them the right to SELF DERERMINATION.
2-Though reiterating in more ways than one that Israel is a UN member etc you have consistently avoided any mention of the Palestinians RIGHT of RETURN as in UN resolution 194 which reads as follows:


"PALESTINE: PROGRESS REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS MEDIATOR

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly at its

186th plenary meeting, 11 December 1948

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
(…………………………………………….)
11. RESOLVES that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;"

The important thing to note here is the selectivity, a general Israeli policy, you exercise in accepting or rejecting UN legitimacy as the legal foundation of Israel; accepting and implementing resolutions that serve Zionist purposes and ignoring and refusing to implement resolutions that do not serve Zionist designs such as the resolution on the RIGHT of RETURN posted above.

Because of your denial of the Palestinians' ,both refugees and non refugees, their right to SELF DETERMINATION and your selective "morality" and "legitimacy" standards I find it hard to believe that you have any humane interest in the fate of Palestinian refugees or Palestinians in general.
In spite of your effort to present your stand as "liberal" and "humane" you have been ,through out this exchange ,repeating the standard AGGRESSIVE and RACIST Zionist argument:
"we have achieved the conquest you better submit to our will!"


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


Mr Friedman
To pretend or claim, directly or indirectly, that the Zionist movement, which had the support and allegiance of the majority of the Jewish community in Palestine, both indigenous and new "immigrants", was looking for an "accommodation" ( which you recently upgraded to "joint" rule)in Palestine is not only to belie irrefutable historical facts but also is an insult to the knowledge and intelligence of your readers.

The modern Zionist movement had from day one the fundamental objective of establishing a JEWISH STATE, which, by any stretch of imagination, far exceeds the meaning and requirements of "accommodation" and in no rational way is included in it!
As far back as 1896 Herzel outlined Zionist objective of establishing a JEWISH STATE in his tellingly titled book "The Jewish State" by proclaiming:
"Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.
The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness.
And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity. "

(Chapter Six/Conclusions.
Translated from the German by Sylvie D'Avigdor
This edition published in 1946 by the American Zionist Emergency Council)

Weizmann, a leading Zionist in the post Herzel era and the first President of Israel was categorical in his Zionist ambition to have at least a predominantly Jewish state by stating, when asked of his understanding of the "national home" referred to in the Balfour Declaration:
"the country [Palestine] should be Jewish in the same way that France is French and Britain is British." (One Palestine Complete, p. 117).
The unmistakable implication being either the EXPULSION of the indigenous population or their reduction to a small minority.


Very little doubt existed in the mind of the Zionist leadership about the indigenous Palestinian Arab attachment to their homeland and how that JEWIS STATE would be acquired.
Jabotinsky, the least devious of Zionist leaders, voiced the absence of any illusions about their mission in Palestine, had the following to say:
"The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ..... There was no misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict. .... No Agreement was possible with the Palestinian Arab; they would accept Zionism only when they found themselves up against an 'iron wall,' when they realize they had no alternative but to accept Jewish settlement." (America And The Founding Of Israel, p. 90)"
This IRON WALL must have included in their minds their determined, but diplomatically undeclared, objectives the DISLOCATING, DISPOSSESSION and DISFRANCHISEMENT of the Arab Palestinian people as subsequent events, particularly their denial of the Palestinian Right of Return, has shown.

A few months before the peace conference convened at Versailles in 1919 and after WWI ended, Ben-Gurion envisioned future Jewish and Palestinian Arab relations as follows:
"Everybody sees the problem in the relations between the Jews and the [Palestinian] Arabs. But not everybody sees that there's no solution to it. There is no solution! . . . The conflict between the interests of the Jews and the interests of the [Palestinian] Arabs in Palestine cannot be resolved by sophisms. I don't know any Arabs who would agree to Palestine being ours---even if we learn Arabic . . .and I have no need to learn Arabic. On the other hand, I don't see why 'Mustafa' should learn Hebrew.There's a national question here. We want the country to be ours. The Arabs want the country to be theirs." (One Palestine Complete, p. 116) .
Innumerable similar acts and proclamations of the Zionist movement exist to belie your contention that the Zionist movement was seeking an "accommodation" for displaced "refugees".
Their unmistakable objective was a colonialist, depopulating conquest to establish a STATE in Palestine contrary to the will of its people.
To pretend other wise is to falsify history and indulge in the disinformation of the general reader.


A Short Historical Review:
Except for the relatively short period of Crusade domination of Palestine and until the advent of Britain, post WWI, Palestine was ,since the Seventh century, part of an Islamic /Arab, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid etc,or an Islamist /Other up to the Islamist/Ottoman state.
The succession of ruling dynasties of different nationalist provenance, Arab, Seljuk, Turkish etc, throughout this 1300 years of Islam rule neither changed the identity of Palestine as Arab nor the status of its inhabitants as citizens in a common state or Empire.
Much as the Austro/Hungarian Empire did not change the nationalist identity of the Hungarians or the Austrians.
The Palestinian people did rule themselves, by the standards of the time, throughout this period as much as the other nationals did.; and, for your information, when the standards changed the Palestinian Arab people was represented in the Ottoman "Majlis Al Mabuthan" (Council of Delegates) by two representatives.
Here I must stress the invalidity and fallaciousness of the often used argument that since the Palestinian Arabs never ruled Palestine as Palestinians they are not the indigenous nationals of that land, implying that the nationalist identity of the RULER effaces the nationalist identity of the land and its indigenous population.
The worthlessness and basic fallaciousness of this argument is best seen if we note that neither the British rule over India changed its Indian identity nor that French rule over Algeria changed its Arab identity, to give only a few demonstrations of its utter triviality.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr. Friedman
I guess we are now at the stage of discussion in which your opinions and stand can be summed up fairly accurately.
I believe the following is a fair presentation of your basic beliefs:
1-It is still, and despite the transition of human kind from the stage of roaming, marauding communities to the stage of settled communities, legally and morally right, correct and acceptable for an ALIEN community, if refused "accommodation" in a certain desired country, to use all means, including CONQUEST, to force its way into that "desired" country.
2-If the indigenous population of the "desired" country refuses to "accommodate" that community; the community will be within its legal and moral rights to UPROOT and DISPOSSESS the indigenous population that refused it "accommodation".
3-"Accomodation" shall include , but shall not be limited to, the right to transform the demographic composition of the desired country with, all the changes that ensue from the demographic transformation including the alteration of the cultural and nationalist character of the "desired" country.
4-AS long as that community is seeking "accommodation", and until such time it deems necessary and/or fit and/or proper, the community shall have the right to deny the indigenous population their right to SELF DETERMINATION.
5-Should that community achieve "accommodation" in the "desired" country, whether with or without the consent of its indigenous population, the community would be acting within its rights to enact laws, bylaws, regulations and directives on a selective RACIST basis.
6-By refusing "accommodation" and/or by resisting the "forced" entry of that community , whether in acts, deeds or thoughts, the indigenous population forfeits all its basic human, civil and political rights in its homeland incluting the right of repatriation and of the repossession of its legally acquired properties.
Such properties, if not confiscated and/or demolished and/or expropriated or rendered valueless by the community, could be compensated for at the sole discretion of the "community"; compensation shall include the right oif the community to swap such possessions with the possessions of members of the community whose possessions happen to be in another country.

With this summing up of the legal and moral foundations of Israel and the fundamental precepts of PAX ZIONICA, I can only reiterate the conclusion of my post that:

" Zionism has been a CATASTROPHE to the Palestinian people and a major factor of international polarization, it will soon prove to be a huge DISSERVICE, a potential new calamity, to the JEWS and a primary cause of the seemingly inevitable CLASH of CIVILIZATIONS!!"


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
The selection of quotations I posted represented the "essence" of the Zionist creed and its true objecives as made ummistakably evident when the Zionists dominated Palestine and had the opportunity to execute their beliefs and convictions into concrete acts; the denial of the Right of Return,the expropriation of lands, the demolition of whole Arab villages, the depopulation of other Arab villages etc etc.
That these same leaders had "nicer" things to say I have no doubt; they still do say "nice" thing while building new settlements, expropriating more land and building a wall whose path "happened " to grab some 30% of the best, most fertile, lands of the occupied West Bank.
Pray tell me when in history an "accomodation", or your newly arrived "joint rule", was possible with an enemy intent on a conquest.

As to my remark and your rebutal:
"You also write: throughout this 1300 years of Islam rule neither changed the identity of Palestine as Arab nor the status of its inhabitants as citizens in a common state or Empire."

That simply is incorrect. The very first think that Muslim rulers did was massacre large numbers of Jews and Christians. There was also famine, evidently by design, and large numbers of people fled. In fact, the basic character of the population and the culture changed dramatically from one that was primarily Christian and Jewish to one that was primarily Muslim and ruled solely to benefit the Muslims. And such outcome was caused by massacres, famine, expulsions, etc., etc. "
My remark is sustantially very correct , factual and accurate as much as possible in such a very very short review .
However your glaring fabrications are outstanding in their inaccuracy:

You also claim:
1-"The very first think that Muslim rulers did was massacre large numbers of Jews and Christians. "
A fabrication pure and simple; give the reader a dependable historical source that supports this outrageous claim.
You also refer to "large numbers of Jews and Christians" hoping that the reader does not know that there were very very few Jews to start with post 635 AD.
2-"There was also famine, evidently by design, and large numbers of people fled."
"Famine by design " in the seventh century AD takes second place , after the fiasco of "accomodation" ( later revised as "joint rule" to escape the absurdity of the term) as proof positive of your fertile imagination in coining disinforming terms and transforming your bias into "evident" historical facts.
However with your concluding sentence:
"In fact, the basic character of the population and the culture changed dramatically from one that was primarily Christian and Jewish to one that was primarily Muslim and ruled solely to benefit the Muslims."
Not withstanding the fact that Jewish presence at that stage' 635 AD, was insignificant you are unwittingly supporting what I have been writing all anlong.
That the basic character of the region has changed through the Arabization process that started in 635 AD with some Christians adopting the Islamic faith and others retaining their Christian faith but with ALL Christians being Arabized, which is also true of the very few remaining Jews .
It is the change you ackowledge that led to:
"1300 years of Islam rule neither changed the identity of Palestine as Arab nor the status of its inhabitants as citizens in a common state or Empire."

Here I must add that in no way was the pre 635 AD prevelant regional culture "Jewish" with so very few Jews remaining after their Diaspora .
On the other hand Christianity had, and still have, a marked influence on past and present Arabic culture due to the fact that Christian Arabs were, still are, a major constituent of the Arab nation.

As to your final sentence in this remarkable paragraph:
"And such outcome was caused by massacres, famine, expulsions, etc., etc. "
It is only a sequence of unsupported fabrications stringed together to satisfy your bias and prejudices or mask your deficient knowledge of the region and its history .


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
With your "liberal" and "humane " mask finally removed all you have to say:"If the refugees will only accept life in Israel(their homeland Palestine), they will die in refugee camps." and:"Frankly, if such people refuse refuge, then they are to blame for their own demise."

By which you mean "anything except the implementation of UN resolutions and the application of a basic inalienable human right"; a stand in total accord with the basic AGGERESSIVE and RACIST character of Zionist Israel.

As to UN resolution 194 re Right of Return :
a- Your assertion that it "is not compulsory" implying that it is "advisory" is inane and wothless.
b- "Jewish Refugees"' if any, from the West Bank and Gaza would be allowed back.
c-There is no reason why repatriated Palestinian refugees would not agree to live in peace , as their Arab compatriots did and do, once allowed to return to their homeland and repossess their belonging and resume their life exercising their inalienable birth rights.

As to your second "after thought" post in which you declare:
"175 million peoplem, most of whom with no chance ever of seeing their former homes, and you are pining on behalf of people unwilling to accept resettlement. Frankly, if such people refuse refuge, then they are to blame for their own demise."

Do you mean that compared to 175 millions Palestinian refugees are an insignificant ratio ?
Is that how you deal with human affairs ?
With your mentality you are liablle to say "with x persons being executed every year around the world another five or six does not matter" !



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Your belated "humane" concern about the fate of Palestinian refugees is a public relations ploy no more and no less; I do not believe it is based on any real concern about them .
Your recent, almost exclusive, repeated stress of this aspect of the Arab-Palestinian/Zionist Israeli conflict is a failed attempt to divert attention from and obsucate two fundemental facts :
a-The nation building model adopted by Zionism for the establishment of Israel namely :Diplace,i.e.Uproot and Supplant,Dispossess and Subjugate the indegenous population by Aliens.
Professor Zanus had the moral and intelectual honesty to admit that much.
b-The basic character of the creature that ensued , Zionist Israel,as an AGGRESSIVE, RACIST and ALIEN nation/state.
Zionism has launched a war on the Arab/Moslem world that will take generations to settle...only time and future history will tell the outcome....however we have been through this road before and are confident of the outcome.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

The spectacular Zionist victory of 1948 in Palestine was achieved against a background of total compassion with the victims of the hyper rightist Nazi movement by the Zionist left led by Ben Gurion and his labour( socialist) party.
The mixture of the anti fascist and leftish identity of the leadership of the nascent state was irresistible to the LEFT all over the world.
Even Arab communist parties, though not openly pro, could not resist the leftist appeal of the emerging state.
This stand, of not being convincingly anti Israel together with the known presence and influence of leading Jewish members of the Egyptian and Iraqi communist parties, incidentally ,led , more than any other single factor , to their virtual estrangement from the masses and eventual marginalization in public life.
Still and in spite of the lingering malaise about the "Religion/Race" based Zionist doctrine Israel continued to enjoy near universal leftist support.
Serious and openly expressed doubts about the leftist credentials of Israel first appeared when its role in the imperialist Anglo/French Suez campaign of 1956 became known.
The role played by the US in aborting this campaign started the Israeli move away from the, soon to disintegrate, Anglo-French alliance and its rapprochement with the USA which eventually led to their present strategic alliance .
The consequent open and solid Israeli alignment with US "imperialist" outlook and policies, in the Cold war in general and in Viet Nam in particular, initiated the first moves of what became a serious state of alienation between the LEFT and Israel..
This alienation soon developed into open near total opposition, verging on total rejection in some leftist circles, of Israeli policies and of Israel itself after the 1967 war, which, through its settlement building projects, unveiled its EXPANSIONIST nature and confirmed its RACIST nature by denying the Palestinian people their Right of Self Determination in the occupied territories.
The relentless ascendancy of the Israeli Right and its alliance with the religious parties in Israel together with the Zionist/Neocon/Evangilical pact in the USA and the total identification of Israel with US "imperialist "policies world wide pronounced
the final parting of ways between Zionist Israel and the LEFT particularly in the Third World.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


A busy scholar and prolific commentator is entitled to an off day once in a while. But this departure from the routine was not ready for prime-time airing.

Of course, heavy-handed meddling by outsiders has been the bane of the Mideast for decades, but that hardly suffices as a sole explanation for the unsually virulent and violent forms of fananaticism emnating from that region and reflected in some of the above postings.

To ignore the influence of oil wealth, the straightjacket of Cold War standoffs, the yoke of indigneously produced corrupt oligarchies, and the stifling absence of such long-standing "western" traditions as women's equality, separation of religion from state, free speech, and open-minded intellectual inquiry (however limited the actual practice of such principles in, for example, a country led by a stubborn, erratic, and selfishly deceptive C student) flies in the face of the historical record. Multiple causation remains an obvious cornerstone of sensible historical analysis no matter how hard HNN may try to pretend otherwise.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

In the spring of 2002, the Hindu nationalists of Gujarat went out and killed 2000 Muslims.

If that act was terrorism, the question arises: Who was occupying the Hindu nationalists? The answer is, of course, no one--which constitutes a major "concrete, historical" counter-example to Cole's thesis.

But if Cole insists that Gujarat 2002 doesn't count as terrorism (he wants to call it "sectarian violence" or "fascist violence" or "rioting" or whatever), it's obvious that he is simply narrowing his definition of terrorism to "those acts of violence which constitute responses to unjust foreign occupations"--in which case his thesis is a trivial tautology.

The basic error here is the use of the term "terrorism" without defining it. But if you don't define a term, you don't know what it refers to, and if you don't know what it refers to, you can't explain "it," precisely because you haven't gotten clear on what you intend to explain.

As for Cole's ad hoc claim that the "essentials" of Islam exclude terrorism, this would be more plausible if he told us how he defined terrorism and how he identified the essentials of Islam. He does neither, so instead of explaining anything, he simply begs two questions simultaneously.

One oddity here is that while Cole is quite sure that "the essentials of Islam" exclude terrorism, he doesn't apply his precept the other way around: if we can take Islam at face value, why can't we take imperialist ideologies at face value? And if face value-Islam in its "essence" condemns terrorism, why not say that face value-imperialism in ITS "essence" condemns unjust occupations? If it is so easy to assert that "Islam is incompatible with terrorism," it should be equally easy to assert that "foreign occupation is incompatible with injustice."

Of course, Cole will not want to take imperialist ideologies at face value. Fine; neither do I. What is mysterious is why he insists on taking Islam at face value.

In any case, you can't have it both ways. If non-imperialist standards can be used to judge imperialists, then non-Muslim standards can be used to judge Islam. If only Muslim standards apply to Islam, then only imperialist standards ought to apply to imperialism.

The more sensible strategy is to apply secular, liberal standards to both Islam and imperialism. By liberal standards, we have no reason to take imperialist ideology at face value. By secular standards, we have no reason to take Islamic theology or jurisprudence at face value. Once we stop taking Islam's claims at face value, we can more easily grasp that in fact, protestations aside, Islam is conducive to Islamism, which really is terrorism-conducive. At that point, we have a new factor to integrate into the explanation of terrorism, and it becomes easy to see that Cole's explanation is inadequate.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Let me respond to everyone's posts here, going backwards.

Omar Ibrahim Baker asks how I came to my sweeping statement. The answer is by focusing on the nature of Islamism. 'Islamism' is the term for the political expression of Islam, and it is obvious that Islam is what leads to its own political expression. It is very difficult to practice Islam as a non-political religion. The religion demands repeatedly to be put into practice.

The claim I'm making is both broader than Islam and narrower than it. Broad claim: I would say that ANY attempt to put faith into political practice will have violent results. This is true of Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism or anything else, and not unique to Islam.

Narrow claim: a commitment to Islamism (not Islam per se) is what explains contemporary Islamic terrorism. Islamism is a specific instance of the general claim I just made, and the frustrated desire to put its precepts into practice is what explains terrorism. One doesn't need to speculate here; this is what Islamist terrorism explicitly say. (I didn't say that Islam is directly conducive to terrorism. I don't think it is. But orthodox Islam leads to heterodox versions that do lead to terrorism.)

Incidentally, it is worth noting that when people invoke "grievance" explanations for Islamic terrorism, they almost never pay attention to the fact that the grievances only make sense in tacitly Islamist terms. Apart from Islamist assumptions, the so-called grievances are either not grievances at all, or not explanatory of terrorism (because no one but an Islamist would regard terrorism as a justified response to them).

Arnold Shcherban hasn't really understood my objection to Cole. No matter how many examples Cole uses, my point is that he is applying a double-standard to all of them. So more examples won't make his argument more cogent; they'll just dig him into a deeper hole.

I'm basically agreeing with N. Friedman, Nietzsche and all. And thanks to Adam Moshe.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Incidentally, I can't resist a parting shot: Cole claims that foreign occupations explain Islamic terrorism. Perhaps a better example than my Gujarat one might be contemporary Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is a country that successfully fought OFF a foreign occupation (by Pakistan) with the help of a secular country (India), only to devolve 35 years later into a terrorist-fomenting quasi-theocracy. So what explains that, a delayed reaction to the Pakistani occupation (which was made in the name of Islam)? And what explained the atrocities of the Pakistani occupation--a delayed reaction to the British Raj? At this rate, we might as well explain the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 as a reaction to the Norman conquests.

Who is on the receiving end of Bangladeshi terrorism? The Ahmadi minority. What do they occupy? Nothing. And who is occupying their attackers? No one. So what does occupation have to do with terrorism? Nothing.

But it is pointless to multiply examples. It's Cole's whole approach to explanation that is wrong. Of course if you simply exclude Islam as a factor right from the start, you don't have to account for Islam in what you proceed to "explain". That is just a way of saying that if you ignore something you can act as though it isn't there. The corollary, however, is that if you DON'T ignore it you have to act as though it WAS, which is what I take to be the proper starting point of an explanation.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

Arnold,

The claim you've cited isn't circular; I have read your post; and it remains true that you do not understand my objection to Cole. Incidentally, the mistake in Cole's article comes within the first 100 words of his essay, so that there is a sense in which I didn't even need to read the rest of his article to make the objection I'm making. But I did, and it stands.

As for your explanation, it simply replicates the error in Cole's and explains absolutely nothing.

The aftermath of the 1967 war was the fault of the Arab countries, not Israel. What it really ought to "explain" is a 30-year reign of Israeli terrorism against Arabs.

The "colonial interference" you cite has been seized on by MILLIONS of Arabs and Muslims as a GOOD thing, so it is hardly obvious that it should be construed as a grievance. The phrase "colonial interference" is itself a weasel phrase that conceals the nature of the processes it is supposed to describe.

The Soviet Union's attempts to change the dynamic of power in the Middle East is of zero relevance to explaining terrorism today, since the Soviet Union no longer exists, and today's terrorism doesn't aim at it.

The "repressive regimes" supported by the US are less repressive than the probable alternatives to those regimes, and much less repressive than the sort of governments favored by the aggrieved.

The poverty of the relevant populations is caused by government control over their economies, which is precisely what US policy has NOT encouraged; and since globalization has been the cure for that problem around the world, it makes absolutely no sense to cite globalization as a grievance ("colonial interference") while also citing American economic influence as a grievance.

The US military presence in Arabia was only seen as a grievance by those with the Islamist assumption that infidel forces were not allowed in dar al Islam. The Kuwaitis didn't regard the US presence as problematic, and neither did all Saudis. Indeed, there was no rational reason to regard the US presence as problematic since it was there to protect the KSA from an invasion by Iraq, and since the US forces adopted a nearly ridiculous form of appeasement of Saudi cultural norms.

Incidentally, aside from the 1967 war, none of the preceding has ANYTHING to do with Cole's thesis, which ascribes terrorism to foreign occupations. And in the 1967 case, appealing to occupation requires that we forget which side was the aggressor in that war. The irony here is that the vice you cite in my post is precisely the vice that applies both to your explanation and to Cole's. Both of you are using one factor (grievances, occupations) to explain something that cannot be explained by reference to one such factor.

All of this brings us right back to the issue evaded in both your account and Cole's. Since Islamic terrorism self-evidently has an Islamic character, Islam is a relevant causal feature. Since Islam constitutes the conceptual and moral framework of terrorists and their supporters, Islam has to the STARTING POINT of any explanation of Islamic terrorism. It has to PRECEDE any discussion of concrete historical events because in order to explain the phenomenon we have to interpret the events through Islamist eyes, which we obviously cannot do if we pretend a la Cole that Islam cannot be a factor.


Jeff Thomas Dube - 10/13/2005

There are a number of "causes" of terrorism. But over time it seems to have taken on a life of its own. What sustains it is what interests me the most. Somehow these people have become infatuated with the pornography of violence, whereby people are made into objects. They have come to believe that war can give them a sense of meaning. Sometimes violence is used to correct social injustice, but these people have forgotten how to tell the difference between what is just and unjust. Its gotten to the point that terrorism is mainly trying to survive as an ideology and to expand its sphere of influence and power. It tries to perpetuate itself by provoking the other side to react so it can paint them as the aggressor, enlist new members, and solicit donations. Chip away its propaganda and it is ultimately a self-deluded and corrupt culture of greed and power.


Jeff Thomas Dube - 10/13/2005

I tend agree with Fareed Zakaria's analysis. He outlines even more poignantly in his article, "The Politics of Rage: Why they hate us?" - available on his website - all the contributing factors of terrorism and how virtually no one of them can account for widespread terrorism in and of itself. Additionally, I find his argument that the rise of terrorism is attributable to the failure of political , economic, and social institutions in the Arab world rather intriguing.


Hamzah A. Jaradat - 7/23/2005

To those who advocate the illegal occupation of Palestine,

Don’t over complicate things. It makes me sick to see grown men lie to themselves in hopes of reaching true blindness. It is very simple:

1. The Palestinian land was wrongfully taken by the Zionists – as promised by the British on November 2nd, 1917.
2. One of the main arguments constantly repeated to justify this illegal occupation – for there are many – hinges on the tragedies of World War II. Pro-Zionists, when in a verbal quarrel with non-Zionists, and on the verge of “loosing” the debate, blanket themselves with the lie that anti-Zionism is equivalent to anti-Semitism. This statement is truly incorrect; what about the Jewish anti-Zionists? Are they anti-Semitic? Correct me if I’m wrong is saying that they are not.
3. Compare how the Palestinians are living relative to how the Occupying forces are living. You will see that, due to this occupation, Palestinians are living in horrible conditions forced onto them by the Occupying forces. For example, just recently, Israel ships 10,000 tons of “human waste” into a Palestinian city, which supplies 20 neighboring Palestinian cities with water from an underground aquifer, over which these tons of waste are being dumped. How is this justified?
4. The Occupying forces have made their goal clear. They are simply expansionists; terrorists with money, power and command over western media.
5. Take my words, or continue on with your shameful falsification and selective reading of historical facts; be it known, however, that the only holly war being fought in the Middle East was instigated by the Zionists.
6. Tell me: if your home was to be taken over by strangers, and you were sentenced to live with 10 other people in your own bathroom; in which you are disturbed regularly by nightly inspections, and forced to drink water contaminated with the occupiers' nitrates and phosphates; tell me, will you take it?

If this does not clear your mind of lies, I will be looking forward for more of the inhumane and unjust arguments that you have to offer. I hope you see clearly, truly.


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

In fact, neither the Jews nor the Palestinians have much of a claim on the land if we invoke post diaspora history. Chris is correct (possibly the third or fourth time in his life) that the Jews who settled were, initially, European migrants, and they soon outnumbered the small Jewish population. The people who were later called Palestinians weren't there at all! Mostly they came from Egypt and Jordan after the eighteenth century--in fact the ethnic differences between the Jordanian "palestinian" and Egyptian "palestinian" are still evident, and are an open secret among the Arab community. The Turks probably have the best claim on the land.


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

In fact, neither the Jews nor the Palestinians have much of a claim on the land if we invoke post diaspora history. Chris is correct (possibly the third or fourth time in his life) that the Jews who settled were, initially, European migrants, and they soon outnumbered the small Jewish population. The people who were later called Palestinians weren't there at all! Mostly they came from Egypt and Jordan after the eighteenth century--in fact the ethnic differences between the Jordanian "palestinian" and Egyptian "palestinian" are still evident, and are an open secret among the Arab community. The Turks probably have the best claim on the land.


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

Arnie,

You've actually allowed the form of your comments to interfere with their content. Keep up those language classes--you're not quite ready yet.


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

essence


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

My point, Arnold, was that your grammar, diction, and spelling were so poor that I have no idea what the hell you are saying. It's possible I agree with you--but as long as you cannot express yourself coherently I'll never know.


Sandor A. Lopescu - 4/16/2005

My point, Arnold, was that your grammar, diction, and spelling were so poor that I have no idea what the hell you are saying. It's possible I agree with you--but as long as you cannot express yourself coherently I'll never know.


N. Friedman - 3/26/2005

Omar,

You say that the Jews were illegally in the region. Illegal by what law? Who passed the law? Please give me the statute you are referring to.

Obiviously, you cannot because there is no such law.

Somehow, if you had a real argument, your argument would not center on made up laws, made up history, etc.

One can, in fact, claim that the creation of Israel was bad for the Arab side and, hence, looking back, not a great idea at the time. But, at this point, Israel exists and its achievements are extraordinary - by anyone's standards -. And the unwillingness of the Arab side to recognize that the war of 1948 had permanent consequences is also extraordinary but neither an alleged past historic mistake nor the unwillingness of the Arab side to move on are arguments to dismantle or alter Israel or any other state. Otherwise, there would be no Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Arabia or any other state which has caused problems in the world.

In fact, by the standards of the region - including even Europe -, no one can say that Israel is a terrible evil - without making things up, such as laws that never existed -. You and people who side with you shout nonsense (as in, "the immigration was 'illegal'"), rather than argue, while ignoring real horrors being committed in the name, with religious blessing, of the Arabs. Think Sudan and, since 1983, the forced Islamization of the Christians and animists, the re-introduction of slavery by the Muslims who take Christians and animists as slaves (more than 100,000 slaves), the use of food as a weapon to convert people - as serious a violation of basic human rights as can be imagined but about which there is nearly complete silence from Muslim Arabs and all those who scream about Israel -, the massacre and intentional starvation of 2 million people, all in the name of Islam and, evidently a policy not objected to anywhere in the Arab regions or, for that matter, in Europe or other places which side with the Arabs against Israel.

In fact, the allegations against Israel - given that Israel treats Arabs better than Arab countries treat Arabs (with quality of life standards, according to the UN, being higher even in the captured territories than in places like Syria - are, in reality, a mere cover story that supports the status quo and supports efforts by Muslim Arabs to commit genocide against Christians and animists.

Explain your objection to Israel in context of the world that it actually lives in where, in fact, there are horrors on a scale which the Palestinian Arabs cannot even imagine in their worst dreams. You make the comparison for me. Compare Israel's alleged expulsions to the massacring and intentional starvation of 2 million people based on religious principles and the recreation of slavery and forced conversion using food as a weapon. Compare Israel to Jordan which has a law making it illegal for Jews to be citizens. Compare Israel to Saudi Arabia which forces religions other than Islam into the closet on the basis of words spoken by Mohammed in the 7th Century. Compare Israel to Egypt which permits Copt women to be raped without legal penalty.

In other words, make a real comparison and stop making things up.


E. Simon - 3/26/2005

Omar,

You claim that you do not endorse (or acknowledge) the idea of ethnic purity.

I would be fine with that claim were it not for one thing. The rest of your post devolves into a rambling indictment (since you clearly mean ALIEN in a pejorative sense) of any sense of "impurity" as regards the assumed domination of Arab culture, or, given the etymology of the word (since it derives from describing one's place of birth) the domination of the Arab "nation." In this sense I believe you are pushing an overtly and unwarrantedly racial agenda in seeking to graft these terms onto this conflict. A racial agenda against a people who had never been labelled as strangers within the Arab nation that they had long lived until they had been forcibly uprooted from what has today become Saudi Arabia, at the dawn of the Arab empire.

Anthropolgists understand that race is a social construct; your denial of acknowledging a genealogical thread among Jews therefore makes your argument no less racist. Whatever bases you seek to divide and dissolve, even if social, are still an attempt to put a racial spin into this conversation that is not acceptable given the reality of today's conflict.

Further, you might note that Jews have a common culture that often transcends whether or not they are also part of a predominantly Western/European or Middle Eastern cultural landscape.

As has been stated, Zionism might have had nationalist roots, as has had almost every other national movement that has uncritically resulted in, lo and behold, a nation. However, given the the oppressive and unjustly divisive alternatives that were endorsed by the leaders of the Arab community in Palestine, alternatives that were, inherently racist, why is the Zionist position to endorse partition seen by you as the worst of every option?

You cannot win an argument by ignoring context. Yet as is clear, winning this argument is not as important to you as is trying to smear Israel. If there were any publicity associated with this thread, it would be obvious that you are engaging in nothing more than propaganda. However, luckily - and even moreso given the nature of this forum - I think any willing public would have long lost interest in your boring argumentum ad nauseum.


N. Friedman - 3/26/2005

Omar,

The Jews greatly improved the land. They brought a return of learning to a region which had descended into a dark age and they also sought to introduce democracy. They aimed, until the violence by the Arab side began, to build a state for all, including Arabs, involved.

The Arab side, not understanding what was occurring - it being entirely alien to their culture, history and also for religious reasons - reacted with horror. There is no blame in failing to understand that which is different so, in fact, the key issue here is tragedy.

However, there was also substantial bigotry on the Arab side that cannot be ignored in a complete analysis. In Islam, Jews were dhimmi. That meant they had no place being the dominant group. That was an anethma. In Christianity, Jews were the deicide people. They had killed the Christian deity, Jesus, and hence were condemned to wander the Earth, without real refuge, forever.

And, beyond the religious bigrotry, Jews had no powerful backers and were greatly outnumbered by the then 50 million Arabs. Hence, the Arab side believed that with sufficient time, they had no need to cooperate with Jews. That, in fact, was a misjudgement of the first order because the Jews had substantial advantages the Arab side lacked and still lack.

In any event, a combination of legitimate fear of the unknown, religiously based condescension and bigotry and the view that Jews were a weak, outnumbered force made the Arab side unwilling to work with the Jews, to compromise with the Jews or to even act in the interest of the Arab side.

In other words, the Arab side committed a folly, failing to realize that they were no match for the lowly Jews who had, unlike the Arabs, mastered - in fact, were a central force in perfecting - the modern scientific techniques and modern organizational and political ideas.

You, at present, wish to compound that folly. You confuse protection of one's own with racism. What I argued is that Jews seek to protect their own. I do not think such to be racism but, if you read what I previously wrote carefully, you will note that my statements were a comparison, meaning that by standards of the world, Israel is not a racist country but that, by your definition, all countries are. Which is to say, a country which protects its own ethnic group is not racist but, by your definition, countries like France and England are racist.

As to a secular state: that is fine with me so long as the state remains a refuge and, to that extent, homeland for Jews where Jews will always be treated like equals. That is necessary because, somehow, Jews always seem to be the goat of other people's problems.

If the Arab side accepted such a notion of a place of refuge and equality - which, in the 1920's and since, they have rejected on principle -, there would be no dispute and there would never have been a dispute. Hence, in the world that actually exists - the one with potential Shahids hoping to kill Jews and lunatics like the now dead Sheik Yassin preaching genocide rather than reconciliation -, Israel is the closest thing to a secular state that is possible.

I might close with this: among the world's states, Israel is, along with a few other states, a model state. It is not perfect but given the lunacy of its neighbors, Israel is as good as they come. Were you dealing with a European state, Arabs would be dying in large numbers were the Arabs to start an intifadah. Arab towns would be bombed into the ground - just like Assad did in Hama. So, the Arabs should count their blessings they are dealing with Jews. Things could be far worse.


N. Friedman - 3/26/2005

Mr. Simon,

Very good points.


E. Simon - 3/26/2005

Omar,

On what vision of ethnic purity do you base the label of "ALIEN" in describing Israel?

Here's a little link on the usefulness of extended repetition in logical argumentation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_nauseam


E. Simon - 3/26/2005

I would actually refine your point about favoring the dominant ethnic group. Obviously Israel is not completely free of the same problems inherent to, or "apparent in" (because they receive a better opportunity to address) any civil society and if conditions were so bad you would think that the astonishingly high 20%! Arab minority would revolt, emigrate, agitate outright or clamor for Israel's disestablishment, as Sunnis who comprise 20% of the population of Iraq have done in their country. But they have not.

And favoring the dominant group as such is not so much the issue (as you've shown) as is coming into existence to protect the endangered and legitimate interests of that group - an issue with which he refuses to engage. Had Omar Ibrahim Baker, in any one of his two dozen posts, spoken to the oppressive stances and models endorsed by the Arab community in Palestine at the time of partition - stances that logically repulsed the Jewish leaders and motivated them contrarily toward partition or individual statehood - then he could have addressed a way to come at alternative, yet equitable solution for both groups. But again, we are not working with someone who is interested in resolving something peacefully or addressing how a negotiation can be logically presented as it concerns both sides. We are hearing from someone who is motivated by an indulgent sense of revenge and a selfish vision of historical purity, who sees justice or individual (or even communal) rights as obscuring the maximalist agenda he's endorsed. His unwillingness to reciprocate and address the oppression of Jews in those models speaks volumes about where he really stands, which is based much more on a racistly romanticized ideal of ethnic geography than on a realistic vision of human exchange.

The screaming caps locks and implied exaltation in his inflammatory and crudely innaccurate descriptions of Israel sound like a battle cry from someone who cares little for a conclusive settlement. Let him be a soldier in his little war (whose expansionist yearnings - e.g. CLASH OF CIVILZATIONS - know no bounds), let him rely on his overindulgent confidence. As I said, he likes to fight; So much, in fact, that he can't acknowledge he's lost this one as well. Many times.

And as far as that clash goes, BTW, (assuming it exists, of course - or that it is not self-defeating) one should look at the percentage of nations in the U.N. and perhaps even the Arab League that increasingly seek to define themselves on grounds that appeal to democracy and human rights, rather than parochial interests, in order to see who's winning.


N. Friedman - 3/26/2005

Omar,

If the Palestinians are willing to be settled, I support that. If they prefer, as they actually do and as you actually do, to re-fight the war of 1948, then they can rot as far as I am concerned. You yourself advance that insane plan under the nonsense argument that Israel is inherently different from other states. It is not.

Israel, if it is racist in any real sense, is racist in the sense that England, France and Italy are racist, namely, it is an ethnic state so it favors the dominant ethnic group. On the other hand, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and every other Muslim country make a distinction between people on the basis of religion, meaning, there are Muslims and then there are dhimmis and any dhimmis knows the difference and such distinction is not a temporary policy but a part of the religion since the early days of the religion. Racism by means of religion is the worst type of racism.

I might add that non-Jews in Israel have more rights than Jews have ever had in any Muslim country. Moreover, Israel grants more rights to Muslims, in Israel proper, than are granted in any European country. That is why Israel has Muslim MK's, has had them in the cabinet and on the High Court. By European standards, Israel is the least racial of states.


N. Friedman - 3/26/2005

Mr. Simon,

I agree entirely. However, he has stated the Arab position in a nutshell. They are still fighting the war of 1948. It is a shame.


E. Simon - 3/26/2005

He obviously doesn't care about that (Palestinian refugees): Reverse the founding of Israel or bust. Surely he realizes that anti-Zionism as a historical goal has about as much credibility as anti-French Revolutionism, or anti-Russian Revolutionism. Anti-Civil War-ism. Anti-Anglo-Saxonization of England. The fact that he can't convince his enemies to acquiesce to his demand for what amounts to their own demise, or reverse an historical fact, doesn't seem to faze him. This, despite the fact that no nation has ever willingly agreed to its own destruction. Destruction, again, being a different and no more common thing than resettlement (or partition), not that he seems to notice or care.

In other words, it's about the fight; not about the logic of whether he can win or lose it. Hence the exclamatory punctuation and exaltatedly screaming caps locks. Luckily, others in the region have moved beyond clashing against other civilizations and are moving on with actually attempting to re-build their own. Of course, that's just not glamorous enough for some.


N. Friedman - 3/25/2005

Omar,

You grossly misstate my position. You leave out, in particular - and among other things -, that Jews were invited to make a homeland by the rulers of the land. And you take positions I do not hold.

But, let's assume you are correct and that Israel will never let the Palestinians in with no fault at all by the Palestinians - a position, to note, that is contradicted by the record but, in fact, such is your position -. Here is the question for you: How many generations do you plan to leave Palestinians in camps waiting for Godot? It seems to me that the Palestinians are now condemning themselves to an eternity of rot. In other words, they are fools.


N. Friedman - 3/25/2005

Omar,

1. The UN resolution which actually resolves the refugee issue is UN 242, not UN 194. UN 242 was issued by Security Council and, hence, counts. UN 242 does not require Israel to take in refugees. In fact, it calls for negotiations among all the warring parties to deal with the issues so that the refugees might be settled somewhere. I suggest you read it rather than citing UN 194 which the Arab countries all rejected so that it is a dead letter.

1(b) As I also said, UN 194 - if you read its exact words - does not require refugees to be allowed into Israel. It suggests allowing refugees who are willing to live at peace with their neighbors to return to their homes. In that the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs have said all along that they intend to drive the Israelis away, the Palestinian Arabs, if their leaders are to be believed, do not intend to live in peace with the Israelis and thus the Palestinian Arabs have no claim. That is simple logic.

And, I note: to this day, leaders of the Palestinian Arabs continue to insist their goal is not to live in peace with the Israelis but to drive them out. You will recall that Rantissi, before he was killed, said exactly that. So, your proposition is refuted by the unwillingness of the Palestinian side to accept the very conditions that might allow them to be settled in Israel.



1(b) Further, I do not argue that Israel is legitimate by virtue of UN 181. I hold that the UN accepted Israel into the fold of nations by UN 181. That is a very different thing. I should add that being accepted into the fold of nations does not mean anything. Countries like Germany, Italy and Japan which, together, started a war which killed off 60 millin people between 1939 and 1944, are also welcome into the fold of nations. Compared to them, Israel is saintly.

2. Your point 2 is a non-sequitor. The Palestinian Arabs became refugees in a war they started. Next time, tell them not to find leaders like the Nazi, Haj Amin al-Hussayni.

3. Your point 3 requires proof. Otherwise, it is a baseless assertion. In any event, under liberal principles, there could be no proof for your proposition because your theory requires refugees to be settled in a particular location. And, you can be assured that most of the 175 million refugees - my wife being one of them - were not expelled in a war they were part of starting. Which is to say, Palestinian refugees are among the world's least deserving refugees because they became refugees in a war they started and now, after losing, refuse to accept the results and refuse to be settled. Rather than being settled, the Palestinian Arabs continue to make war while draining the world's resources. That is as immoral as it comes.

Lastly, I note that Arabs have no claim, other than war, for ever having been in historic Palestine or anywhere other than in Arabia. Your arguments can never get past that point because the argument you make is the same argument you reject for the Arabs. Either there is a statute of limitations for all or for none. You will recall that you said that, nowadays, land is not obtained by conquest. I showed you that, in fact, it is still obtained that way (e.g. China's conquest of Tibet and Turkey's conquest of part of Cypress, etc.) so, in fact, you still have to face up to the fact that there are consequences to losing wars - particularly if your side loses the war it started -.

Being conquerors does not make Arabs good or bad. In all propability, no one on Earth lives in a territory other than by virtue of a conquest. When people are displaced, they move on because that is the moral thing to do - if a person wants a life and cares about his or her children -. Palestinians, by contrast, want war for revenge, as your assertions make clear. As such, they are a drain on the world's resources and, until they behave morally, they deserve to rot.


N. Friedman - 3/23/2005

Omar,

1. UN 194 is non-binding. It was passed by the General Assembly which, as we all know, makes it non-binding. Moreover, the resolution was rejected and voted against by the Arab countries because the actual wording of the resolution does not require Israel to do anything.

2. I do not believe that Jews would be welcome in their own country if they allowed Palestinian Arabs back in. I note that Arafat said numerous times that the goal was ultimately to drive Jews out. The Palestinian National Charter indicates that only Jews pre-1880 would be considered native. Yassin, before he died, said that if Hamas comes to power, the Jews would either be killed or have to leave. That, by itself, is sufficient basis to say that the refugees cannot be allowed back in because there is a serious risk of genocide. In the best case scenario - if both sides tried hard -, allowing the refugees and their children in would, in fact, eventually turn Israel into another version of Lebanon in the 1970's.

3. Regarding the 175 million people who have, in our life time, sought refuge (and the 50 million who seek refuge now, according to the Boston Globe): refugees who intentionally tie up the International system, as the Palestinian Arabs - by your admission - have done deserve no sympathy. The fact is that there is no imaginable reason why Palestinian Arabs should not be settled where they now are living. That they want to live in Israel is not a reason to tie up the International system when there are people who actually need help, not merely want to persue a political end of dubious character.

4. Regarding liberal principles: liberalism provides that people should be given the ability to seek happiness. That means that refugees must be given the ability to seek happiness. However, no liberal principle says that a refuge must and can only seek that happiness in their place of origin. Or, to put the matter in Aristotlean terms: we are all entitled to what we need, not to what we want. As such, Palestinians, who need refuge, are entitled to be settled. However, that does not mean that they are entitled to be settled in Israel. It means instead that they are entitled to be settled in a place where they, in fact, can reasonably expect to obtain the ethical goal, to wit, to obtain what they need - nothing more and nothing less. Your argument, by contrast, confuses what Palestinians want with what they need.

3(a). In the law of equity, there is a basic principle, anyone seeking equitable relief must also, themselves be acting equitably regarding the matter. Intentionally refusing refuge where it is provided, evidently with political demands (as you have articulated), violates the very notion of an equitable, just cause. Were the matter in course, it could and ought to be turned down for that very reason. The Palestinian cause is a big fraud and an attempt to support your notion that Arabs, who started a war of annihilation, have unlimited rights notwithstanding their attempt at genocide and subsequent inequitable conduct including refusing refuge to this day.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/22/2005

Robert, (if I call you by your first name)

I agree with you if not completely, but on the most
of your assertions.
However, I'm not as pessimistic on the perspectives of
the US imperialist expansionism, as you obviously are.
You underestimate the changed, and still changing international economic and ideological climate.
And it changed mostly in the US and its traditional
allies' favor. Besides, what is perhaps the most important factor, there is no country in the world
right now capable of challenging the US block militarily,
even indirectly: through its considerable help to the targets of their threats, economic sanctions, subversion, and finally - agression.
The rest of the "protesters" can be and are, as we speak,
easily bribed or threatened by sanctions to switch in their political stance.


N. Friedman - 3/22/2005

Omar,

One more point: According to New Left Review, "To be displaced from one’s country of origin and upbringing—the experience of over 175 million people in the world, on a conservative estimate—is a wrench perhaps comparable in impact to that of war, long-term hunger or imprisonment."

175 million peoplem, most of whom with no chance ever of seeing their former homes, and you are pining on behalf of people unwilling to accept resettlement. Frankly, if such people refuse refuge, then they are to blame for their own demise.


N. Friedman - 3/22/2005

Omar,

I read what you wrote. If the refugees will only accept life in Israel, they will die in refugee camps. That is their stupid choice. I ask, for how many generations will that stupidity continue?

Second, if you read UN 194 a bit more carefully, you will note that (a) it is non-compulsory, (b) is not limited to Arabs but includes Jewish refugees from the West Bank and Gaza - while the Arab position is that the expulsions of Jews from the West Bank and Gaza are permanent, (c) that the refugees must agree to live in peace with those now living in Israel.

I note that the Arab side rejected UN 194 when it was proposed. That is because the resolution requires (a) accepting Israel and (b) a accepting a resolution that had no requirements.

I might add that most of the actual refugees are dead. We are now dealing with their children whom the UN is making believe they are refugees. Such people, in reality, are Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and PA people.


N. Friedman - 3/21/2005

Omar,

I do not understand how it matters that people, who live in a place for a short time, push other people from their homes or, by contrast, people who have lived in a place for centuries push other people from their homes. The key point - except to one filled with hate - is that people were pushed from their homes. To be exact, it does not matter one wit who did the pushing because the results are all the same, namely, people were pushed. The issue is to help such people rather than allow them to become pawns.

In any event, the party most interested in pushing was the Arab side. Hence, they started a war of annihilation instead of seeking an equitable resolution. They lost that war - as they deserved to do given their medieval attitude - after defying the UN, both the General Assembly and later the Security Council. You may say that it was none of the UN's business but, in fact, it was. The various Arab states, the very countries which started the war, were all members of the UN and, as such, agreed not to defy the Security Council - which they did repeatedly -. And they were supposed to, if you read the UN Charter, look to an amicable resolution, not a war to prevent what the UN had given its OK to.

None of this, of course, helps the Palestinian Arabs. They certainly need help. Fighting Israel on principle does nothing for them. Instead, they continue to rot. At this point, Israel is part of the UN so any war to eliminate Israel would be a war of conquest - the very sort of war you claim to be no longer permitted.

You may say, as you clearly have, that what occurred to the Palestinian Arabs in fighting Israel was extraordinary and Israel is to blame and, hence, must be eliminated. I, frankly, disagree entirely and say nstead that the treatment of Palestinian Arabs by other Arabs has been extraordinary while Israel's responsibility for what happened was and still is happening is rather secondary.

In any event, there are no people on earth who have shown less compasion for their own ethnic kin than the Arabs have shown for the Palestinian Arabs. Even Israel has done more for these poor souls than the Arab states in the region. That, frankly, speaks volumes about the dispute and the current nature of the Arab world - medieval notions of honor rather than decency for suffering people -. I cannot imagine why you do not understand that the Arab states have used Palestinian Arabs as a cynical ruse to deflect tyrannical rule.

In any event, China, in fact, did conquer Tibet. North Vietnam did conquer South Vietnam. Those are facts. You may say that South Vietnam was or was not legitimate. That, however, is a different point from saying that South Vietnam was not conquered because, in fact, South Vietnam was conquered. It no longer exists.


N. Friedman - 3/21/2005

Robert,

The US has certainly created some opposition. However, it is rather premature to determine whether or not the US has harmed itself or helped itself in Iraq.

The first question should probably be what would have been had the US done nothing. For example, would that have led to further attacks in the US by the Jihadis? Could we have continued to surround Iraq indefinitely and, if not, what then? Would our action, even without war with Iraq, have led to further attacks in the US?

There is, moreover, evidence that the US invasion, at least according to George Friedman's book America's Secret War, caused Saudi Arabia and the other nearby Arab countries to begin fighting and arresting the Jihadis which, in turn, made it more difficult for them to operate against the US. Had we not invaded, perhaps we might be worse off. In any event, it seems awfully early to be making any serious judgements about permanent damage and improvement or anything else permanent to the US.

On need merely remember the US defeat in Vietnam to recall that defeat can be fleeting.



N. Friedman - 3/21/2005

Jonathan,

The BBC report is very interesting. Thank you.

Of course, it does not really support the view that the invasion itself was for the oil. It merely supports the view that in conquering Iraq, the administration considered what to do with the oil.

One might reasonably note that had such issue not been considered, the administration would really and truth deserve to be called stupid.


N. Friedman - 3/20/2005

Omar,

If you had read my argument a bit more carefully, you would have noticed that I was merely responding to the specific argument you raised. I made a point of saying that explicitly at the end of my argument.

Again, for purposes of that argument - and only that argument -, I treated the displacement of Palestinian Arabs as a conquest. That, as I made rather clear, was based on your assumption - not mine - that such was a conquest while, by contrast, the Arab Muslim conquests were, to you, of some higher moral plain - which, clearly, they were not.

Now, again and assuming your assumptions, the fact is that if there was a conquest of what you might call Palestinian or Arab land, then that conquest occurred in a period where there were lots of events that can also be called conquests - particularly, but not only, if we use your definition -. Which is to say, Poland conquered, with the help of the USSR and the US and Britain, land which had, at one time, been within the German sphere and then expelled all the Germans. The same for Czechoslovakia. China clearly conquered, a few years later, Tibet and colonized the area. North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam. Pakistanis conquered North West and East India (but eventually lost East India to the local population) and millions of Hindus were expelled. Etc., etc.

Which is to say, your theory is simply contrary to fact. Conquests were especially common at the time Israel was created. So much for your argument.

I reiterate - because this point is central to our discussion, if the discussion is to have any rationale -: there are today 50 million refugees in the world. Very few of them will ever get anywhere near where they were born. Such people - Palestinian Arabs (and, until recently, Arab Jews) included - have the same rights to seek happiness and to states as those with states. Which is to say, there is a moral conflict that pits the stateless against those with states. There is no moral authority or reason why stateless people should accept the permanence of the states which exist.

Your argument, in a nutshell, is that those people with states owe nothing at all to those without states. My argument is that those with states owe those without states sufficient accomodations so that the stateless and others who are mistreated can have happiness which, in the end, means granting them states or absorbing them into the states where they end up and in such states granting them full citizenship. By way of example, Israel is exemplery by showing its willingness to cede land to help the Palestinian Arabs - an unusually generous offer given all the idiotic and nihilistic Jihad Kamikazes -.

You, by contrast, say that only those with states have rights and the longer those rights have been established, the better the claim.

Your argument is an extreme for reactionary conservatism. My argument is traditional liberalism.

Now, a Palestinian refugee will no doubt say - and correctly - that being without a state stinks. It is a raw deal. Consider, at the same time, that the same raw deal also existed for Jews who, in fact, were stateless since Roman times. In fact, the Arab Muslims never offered Jews - and this for 1300 years - equality. Instead, only conceded privileges were offered but never inherent rights. Which is to say, those Jews who lived in Arab lands - who are the majority of Israel's population - had no prospect of equality with the Muslim Arabs. And, the Christian Arabs were, if anything worse, since they held the view that Jews are the deicide people and must wander the Earth forever and ever. In addition, European society offered nothing in the way of equality for its Jews.

Which is to say, Jews did not owe much to either Europeans or Arabs. So, if your view that Jews conquered Palestinian or Arabs lands is correct, the Arabs have themselves to blame as, in fact, equality could have been offered - but was not.

Now, I reiterate that the majority view of Jews living in historic Palestine was, in the 1920's, for accomodation. Such people, most of whom were dirt poor, migrated to the region to make a life and not to conquer anything or anyone. Had the Palestinian Arab leadership had a man of vision rather than the Nazi al-Hussayni, things might have turned out a lot different.

But again: the notion of equality has yet to be accepted anywhere in the Muslim Arab world. That, frankly, is the reason why matters were not settled peacefully.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/20/2005

Mr. Shcherban

Retired Lt. Gen Odom in his book "America's Inadvertent Empire" remarked that only Americans themselves can destroy this "sui generis," or new type of an imperial order unlike any that had existed before in the past. What I believe we have witnessed these past 3 years was the rise of a reckless power faction among America's political elite with a far grander & violently militant version of a Pax Americana, who in exerting their world views upon the world stage have not only destroyed there own dreams of world empire, but also put paid, or at least set back by decades the natural development of this new "sui generis" world order. I also believe the unipolar world based upon American hegemony that existed before 9-11 has likely taken a heavy blow as unipolarity is giving way to a multi-polar world of regional powers, which in the becoming is the death blow to global American hegemony.

Like it or not neo-cons and war-hawks have pulled a feint accompli upon America and in failing across the board got the US stuck deep in Iraq. If we were to unilaterally bail out of that country as some people demand Iraq will probably descend into civil war bringing the whole region down with it. That's Osama's and every militant jihadists ultimate wet dream who are the real masters of chaos and are poised, able and more than willing to take advantage of it. That's what I mean when I say the US cannot fail by giving the Iraqi's the assistance, means, support and time to properly reconstruct, stabilize and build a governing order among themselves that can last when the US finally departs, which the US will inevitably do. As for Iraq's oil we aren't benefiting from it now because oil pipe lines & facilities are getting bombed or mortared, Iraqi technicians are killed or threatened, and foreign oil companies refuse to deploy to Iraq because of the lack of security and protection. If the policy was to secure Iraq's oil at the muzzle end of a gun it sure as hell ain't working, as all the world can see.

I think at this stage of the game an "American imperialist expansion" is dead in the water, or at least seriously undermined for the foreseeable future. Odom warned against certain kinds of actions, policies & strategies and the way things have turned out he was right, the neo's & war-haws wrong.


Jonathan Pine - 3/20/2005

Mr. Friedman,

We are in agreement on most points. And, yes, I know you didn’t mention capitalism, I was only pointing out, in my view and from various readings, how capitalism and imperialism seem to go, historically, hand in hand, as regards to Europe and America. Also implying that some things, in essence, never change that certain nation-states seek power through this vehicle which is perceived as imperialist. Maybe I should have said, it is inherent in capitalism’s expansion. That it progresses in phases as in the growth of Europe's and America's domestic capitalist economy that was tied to the success of their imperial expansion, respectively.

And today many things are still tied to America’s economic expansion and sometimes its actions look imperialistic to Second and Third World nations. There are many books that make this very point in a less simplistic manner than I have. One of them being: How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Walter Rodney), American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power (Galbraith), The United States and Imperialism (Problems in American History) F. Ninkovich

I also agree with you that America’s actions in the world cannot be explained only by capitalism. In answer to one of your questions; in these times, I think we’d be involved in Iraq, or one of its neighboring countries, even if there were no oil if only because of the strategic importance of the Middle East. But then, it’s that damned oil again because we’re not leaving without some of it.

I agree with you that the US didn't go to Iraq for oil or to control it to dominate the world. But I also believe the US already controls the oil and they already dominate the world, to a degree. And that this administration, as well as China and other nations, have been quite open about their plans for a New World Order. Details about the US being in Iraq for oil appeared today on the BBC online news site ‘Secret US plans for Iraq's oil’.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4354269.stm
Not surprising, but it’s not the whole story.

But I think the oil is running out. We’re good for a number of years yet but it’s limited and China will begin to increase its consumption in the next ten to twenty years drastically. But there are differing views on how long. Here are some of them that I got from CNN Money:

"At current rates of production, there were 40.6 years of consumption covered by proven reserves in 2002, the latest data available, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper, citing the BP Statistical Review, said that in 1989, there were 44.7 years left of consumption.

"[A shortage] will probably happen in the next 10 to 20 years," Professor David Goodstein, a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, told CNNfn.








N. Friedman - 3/20/2005

Jonathan,

Note that I did not say anything about capitalism. Capitalism, so far as I know, has no borders - as you recognize -. It is not confined by the US. If, in fact, it motivates the US, then it also motivates France, Italy, India, Poland, etc. I am not quite sure that making mincemeat out of Iraq does creates much in the way of new markets for the US.

I have heard it said that by controlling Iraq's oil the US places itself in a position to dominate the world. That, I think, is an illusion based on ignorance of economics. In 1973, when oil power was at its height, the US, standing up to the Arab oil embargo, pretty much demostrated that oil is not king. Today, with the sources of oil far, far more diverse than they were in 1973, if control of Iraq's oil is the motive of the US, that is pretty stupid since.

The assumption is that someday oil will begin to run out. That, again, is another illusion - although the oil companies may not like that notion. More specifically, oil is only one of many sources of energy that would, if demand becomes sufficient, be available. Which is to say, if and when the supply of oil dwindles, it will have little impact, I think, on the industrial world because there are ready available substitutes.

If you are saying that American action in the world can be explained solely by capitalism, I also do not think that is quite so. Which is not to suggest that capitalism has nothing to do with what the US does or that it is not an imporant factor. However, I do not see capitalism as being the defining issue although, clearly, it is one of them. Maybe I am wrong.

Regarding Iraq, I think we are there for the reasons advertised all along. They were, from the beginning, our concern about the spread of nuclear technology, Iraq's involvement in fomenting trouble all over the Middle East, our desire to make clear to the Arab Muslim world that the US would fight and our interest to plant a counter-ideology into the Muslim Arab regions in order that there might be an effective ideology to compete with Islamism. The last idea appears to explain our continued presence rather well.

Would we be involved in the Muslim Arab regions if there were no oil there? That would depend. If Muslim Arab regions did not have oil but still were the center of world tension, then we would probably still be there. On the other hand, what can be said rather assuredly is that had there been no oil there, France and Germany would not have objected to the US sending its arm forces to Iraq. Our presence harmed France and Germany's foreign policy objectives to form a counterbalance to US power by forging an informal alliance with the Arab Muslim countries. In any event, absent oil, the matter would have held the same interest to Europe that France's sending troops to Ivory Coast had for the US - i.e. none.

Should the US protect its supply of oil? I would hope so. That is vital not only to the US. But it is also vital to the entire world. Should we invade Iraq for that reason? Well, I did not favor invading Iraq at all but that is a different story. I cannot imagine how invading Iraq helped the US economically. I can, however, see that such invasion may have benefit in ultimately calming down the Arab Muslim world. But that is a very, very long term project.




Jonathan Pine - 3/20/2005

Mr. Friedman

"American imperialist expansion is simplistic propaganda but (b) if it existed"

I'm not sure in what context you are referring to when you say "American imperialism expansion ... if it existed" what you really mean by this. If it’s what I think then I would have to disagree with you.

To me, historically, imperialism (European, American)is inherent in capitalism, it comes with the package.

You must be aware that there is a whole history behind it, and to this end the United States is carrying out a systematic strategy designed to ensure its absolute hegemony by a show or use of military might. They say we are not going into Iraq for oil but then neither are we leaving without it. We are careful to package our merchandise, the imperialist project, in careful language as the "historic mission of the United States." Freedom, democracy, security.....


N. Friedman - 3/20/2005

Mr. Simon,

Thank you.


N. Friedman - 3/20/2005

Arnold,

It seems to me that the phrase (a) American imperialist expansion is simplistic propaganda but (b) if it existed, it needs to be evaluated in comparison with what might replace it.

In our lifetimes, there was Soviet expansionism. Having a wife from that hellhole, I can tell you that on its best day, Sovietism was worse than American imperialist expansion on its worst day. But nevermind about that, the Soviet Union is gone and its allied countries have pretty much all ran as fast as they could from the paradise the Soviet Union created. So, Soviet expansionism no longer much matter except to historians.

Now, there is Islamism. No sane non-Muslim could have anything in common with a doctrine which looks to the Middle Ages for enlightenment, radically distinquishes between believers and non-believers - that latter being worthy of death -, basically enslaves its women, seeks to conquer the world (or, as VS Naipaul has noted, Islam is a form of imperialism) and has caused terrible suffering wherever and whenever Islamists have had dominant political influence. Recall that the defining moment for Sayyid Qutb, father of modern Islamism, was seeing American women and men dancing together. That, to him, offended to the extent that he saw liberalism as the great danger to Islam. And where Islamism has ruled, life has been quite horrible. Think Sudan and its 2 million Christian and animist victims during Islamist rule. Think Afghanistan and its dress code demarking non-Muslims and its placing women into, to quote Bill Maher, into bee keeper suits.

In the scheme of things, choices must be made. America, with all its faults - which are real and deserve to be addressed, including faults in dealing with the world - is infinitely better than the other available choices.

If not, tell us what is better than the US and its American imperialist expansion.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/20/2005

As long, as I hear "We can't fail in Iraq" (or somehwere else for that matter), I know that the world failed to protect itself from the next stage in the long history of American imperialist expansion.


E. Simon - 3/19/2005

Mr. Friedman,

I find this to be an especially well-stated post.


Shelley Ide - 3/19/2005

Matt, but isn't it true that all of the Middle Eastern countries oppose even the existence of the state of Israel? It seems clear to me that they would like nothing less than the complete destruction Israel, despite their "official" policies.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Omar,

So I see your view to be, the Muslim armies conquered the area, introduced Islam as the new dominant religion and the Arabs as the dominant culture and, as a result, that is the end of the matter. The land is and must be now and forever Muslim Arab. After all, the Muslim Arabs held onto the region they conquered.


In that I trust that by digging back into history you believe you can create consistent historical and ethical chain of reasoning, I note that your argument, in reality, claims that a later conquest is illegitimate while an earlier conquest is legitimate. And note: Islam and the culture it created were simply not the dominant religion and culture in the region before the conquest. About that, there is no doubt. Christianity was the dominant religion and culture although, as I note, there was a considerable Jewish population in the region (albeit very much oppressed).

One question: on what conceivable moral basis can you argue that the results of the Muslim conquest must remain in place forever and ever? Another question: at what point does the Muslim claim to the region expire?

Please note, while answering the above, that the Muslim conquest of Spain was reversed and the Muslim were all expelled; the Muslim conquest of India was reversed and a great many Muslims were expelled; the Muslim conquest of Greece and the Balkans was reversed and the Muslims were not only expelled but, in fact, a goodly number were re-settled in what is now Northern Israel; and, among other places, the Muslim conquest of Sicily was reversed and the Muslims were all expelled. In short, the historical precedent and simple logic dictate that those who come as conquerers, as the Muslim did, are subject to the rules that govern those who conquer: they are reversible by the next party who comes along with greater force.

Your argument appears to be that you can reverse the results of the war of 1948. Maybe you can. Maybe not. In the meanwhile, the lives of refugees and their offspring and their children's offspring rot. More than likely, the Israelis will never give in to the demands you have in mind so if the current state of affairs continues, the great, great, great, great grandchildren of the original refugees will still be rotting.

At the same time, the Jewish refugees from Arab countries and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc., etc. - all of whom were just as much wronged as the Palestinian Arabs - moved on with their lives in their new homes. And these Jewish refugees, just like the Sudeten German refugees, the Christian refugees from Turkey, the Muslim refugees from Greece, the Hindu refugees from Pakistan and the Muslim refugees from India have moved on with their lives.

Who is making the better and wiser choice, Omar, those who have moved on with their lives or those, like the Palestinian refugees, who have now sacrificed three generations of people?

Please note: I am not making an argument about Israel's legitimacy. I am merely responding to your argument.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/19/2005

Mr. Friedman

Fair enough, though I am not as generous as you are when it comes to this administration.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Robert,

You write: All I enquired is what actions or policies you believe would be appropriate in your view as solutions to the problem. If you were President of the United States, what policies would you pursue? Admittedly this is no easy question, especially as regards the current complexities in Iraq and the region today. Miscalculation can have extremely serious & deadly effects far beyond what the US is facing today.

I am rather torn about what I would do. On the one hand, I think the President - who is not, for the most part, my cup of tea - is basically correct that there needs to be a counter-ideology to the Islamists. That counter-ideology is democracy. Which is to say, I appreciate his view, which comes from Bernard Lewis and, evidently, from Natan Sharansky, that the US must take steps which advance democracy because such, if it takes hold in the Middle East, would change the debate in the Middle East.

And clearly, whatever the rhetoric which led to the war focussed on - and, if you look back, the rhetoric really was not limited to the WMD issue that has been re-constructed rather crudely and dishonestly by the President's enemies to have been the only grounds proposed -, the main goals were fairly obviously (a) to force the Arabs themselves to fight the Jihadist as a result of our proximity and (b) to create a counter-ideology that otherthrew the established order of the region in the hope that such would bring less awful forces to the forefront.

On the other hand, I am rather doubtful that democracy will take root. Of course, what we have seen recently is extraordinary evidence supporting the president's theory. So, he may be correct and I may be wrong.

Were I president from the time of 9/11 on, I would assume that the spy agencies and the State Department and everyone else who claimed that the Islamists were not a great threat are, at least for the moment, quite useless. Without useful information about the Jihadis - which clearly the spies did not, despite occassional people who understood the matter, have - I would call in the best experts, including people with divergent views about the Islamists, their background and their goals. I would listen to the experts carefully. Then, I would make a decision how to go forward.

My working assumption, which I would test against the information I was hearing, would be that force is met with force and that ideologies that advocate and cause force to be used are best met with force directed toward pushing a counter-ideology. However, I would also listen to those who said that the use of force could make matters worse, etc., etc, before making a decision.

My own reading suggests to me that the way not to help the situation is to do what the Europeans promote. They confuse the Arab desire to destroy Israel with a policy to end Islamic violence that is now occurring for unrelated reasons.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Robert,

I agree with your point.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Omar,

I am not impressed by your effort to interpret the implications of a few quotes. Talk is all cheap and does not tell me anything in context.

Each of the people you quote said lots of things from which you can draw any conclusions you want. Jabotinsky, for example, also wrote and said that he favored shared rule with the Arabs and a rotating premiership. And Herzl said similar things. And so did Weizman.

The issue, as I said to you before, is what was the actual politics. You have merely assigned views to people from a few loose comments. In fact, the actual politics, before the 1930's, favored accomodation. That is a fact about which there is no real contraversy.


What you also fail to see is that the Arab side never made an substantive counterproposals. Which is to say, if, as you claim, Jewish leaders merely favored a state that made Israel like France - which is not the case but I shall, for sake of argument, accept your proposition -, the Arab leaders of the area could have approached the Jewish leaders and said, let us build a joint paradise or whatever. Politics is, after all, always about the here and now and about the local. The Arab side, rather than talking and seeking accomodation, refused the very idea of accomodation. I have already explained why.

You also write: throughout this 1300 years of Islam rule neither changed the identity of Palestine as Arab nor the status of its inhabitants as citizens in a common state or Empire.

That simply is incorrect. The very first think that Muslim rulers did was massacre large numbers of Jews and Christians. There was also famine, evidently by design, and large numbers of people fled. In fact, the basic character of the population and the culture changed dramatically from one that was primarily Christian and Jewish to one that was primarily Muslim and ruled solely to benefit the Muslims. And such outcome was caused by massacres, famine, expulsions, etc., etc.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/19/2005

Mr. Friedman

Well, that makes the two of us. I tend to believe had we stopped with Afghanistan and just massed our forces on Iraq's borders the US would have gotten all she wanted without an invasion. Saddam was notorious for holding out till the last moment before capitulating. He capitulated before George Peres launched in Desert Storm and he did the same before his son launched on 19 March 2003. It would have been much cheaper and easier maintaining those forces as a threat forcing Saddam to keep his word, and an occasional force strike in and out of Iraq to keep his mind focused that we mean business.

Had we taken that success immediately to the UN and working out a viable and comprehensive multi-lateral approach from WMD's to democracy in Iraq would have reaffirmed our commitment to that international body, proved the US is capable of restraint, maintained our standing and the worlds good will, and most importantly never made evident the real limits of US power. Sure, Saddam would have fiddled and balked, but he always caved under pressure. That's what I had hoped George and his administration really had in mind during those events back in March of 2003, but it wasn't to be.

The fats in the fire now and there is nothing for it but to see it through and make it work in a much tougher and harder geo-political world environment. We are no longer the feared "hyper power" and where America ends up is anyones guess. But we can't fail in Iraq.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/19/2005

Mr. Friedman

I'll accept your criticisms. Aside from reading only a few historical works myself on the Islamic world and a distant and unconnected spectator of the modern one in this region, I am quite apt to get some things wrong and obviously at risk of misunderstanding. But Mr. Friedman, I have agreed with your assertions concerning Muslims and their religious ideology. As I had said, I won't gainsay your assertions because you have posted much and articulately upon this subject and believe you know what your talking about.

I only expressed what I personally believe and did not intend to suggest or imply you approved of the Iraqi invasion. I am not trying to smear you. All I enquired is what actions or policies you believe would be appropriate in your view as solutions to the problem. If you were President of the United States, what policies would you pursue? Admittedly this is no easy question, especially as regards the current complexities in Iraq and the region today. Miscalculation can have extremely serious & deadly effects far beyond what the US is facing today.

The only reason the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds aren't slaughtering each other wholesale is because of the presence of US forces, which acts as a 3rd party enforcer compelling them to mediate and work their problems out. The proof in the pudding on whatever the Iraqi's stitch together will not be proven by elections, but whether they can keep it together without descending into civil war when the US finally pulls out. That's when the fat lady will sing as concerns the policies of this administration.

A monograph issued by the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College: "Strategic Implications of Intercommunal Warfare in Iraq" recognizes civil war as one of several potential end scenarios, the topic of this monograph being a forward analysis of that worst case.

quote
"The future of Iraq is uncertain. The country is in a dangerous phase. The removal of a brutal dictatorship by coalition forces in April 2003 has given the Iraqi people hope for a new and better political system, where individuals do not have to live in continuing fear and uncertainty. Nevertheless, the Iraqi people must also address the difficult challenges of self-government for a diverse population, with major ethnic and sectarian groups that often maintain widely divergent agendas. If they fail to do this and an ethnic/sectarian war ensues, the consequences will be dire, not only for Iraq, but for the entire Middle Eastern region."

If that possibility becomes a reality than the shot Osama is plotting for will be within his grasp. And if he or others of his ilk should succeed in their designs, than this theosophy you describe will be the reigning religious ideology of an Islamic super state, wedded to a global offensive jihad against the western world. Geostrategically we are on shaky ground in East Asia and our back yard in South America is getting antsy and rebellious. Russia is a friend no more and the EU is increasingly seeking an independent path from our cross Atlantic ties. The US has got a lot of big problems to sort & straighten out, much of it self inflicted, but if its downhill and Osama gets what he wants, that's when the killing will get on earnest and what I believe you fear may come to pass. I have good sense to fear it too.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/19/2005

The future of Iraq is uncertain. The country is in a dangerous phase.
The removal of a brutal dictatorship by coalition forces in April 2003
has given the Iraqi people hope for a new and better political system,
where individuals do not have to live in continuing fear and uncertainty.
Nevertheless, the Iraqi people must also address the difficult challenges of
self-government for a diverse population, with major ethnic and sectarian
groups that often maintain widely divergent agendas. If they fail to do
this and an ethnic/sectarian war ensues, the consequences will be dire, not
only for Iraq, but for the entire Middle Eastern region.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Robert,

One other point. The people who actually are attacking us and who are actually attracted to the the movement that attacks have the views that I have asserted and are responding to the issues I have asserted.

While I have never favored invading Iraq, I do believe that the Muslim regions left to their own devices will become more and more dangerous not only to us but to themselves. And I do think that there will be a substantial war in due course unless matters are nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.

But I do not think that we can go on a crusade to make the Muslim regions like us or to settle disputes in a manner that they like. Which is to say, I think we inevitably have to intervene whether or not they like it. Iraq has the problem that there are multiple groups with seemingly intractible differences so that insurgency appears a fact that will not soon end. And that was predictable beforehand but ignored.

With a bit of luck, I shall be proven wrong about my opposition to the Iraq war. I certainly hope so.



N. Friedman - 3/19/2005

Robert,

Where do I suggest invading Iraq? I have never said such a thing.

Regarding Afghanistan, prior to the US invasion - which I did support -, it is reported that more than 100,000 people passed through the Afghanistani Jihadi camps. So someone must have agreed with bin Laden. In fact, a lot of people did.

If you investigate Pakistan, you will find the Jihadi theosophy all over the place. Such was the case before we invaded Afghanistan.

I have no idea what Muslims in general thought about bin Laden pre-9/11 but I do know that Islamism, as in Iran and Afghanistian and Sudan has had a wide following for years. And I know that such theosophy is, for you and I, a deadly thing. And I know, from having read a few history books, that one does not need a majority of support to control a country or to cause a lot of trouble. Think Nazi Germany where the Nazis were never the majority.

Again, you are projecting your own views about helping the world - and such views I generally applaud - onto the Muslim regions.

Now, if you ask me, helping people in need is a good thing. I favor aid to poor countries. The US should do more. So should the averagae person. But, I shall not delude myself into believing that the Islamist Jihadis will be detered by our aid. They will not. They despise us because we are liberal which makes us an enemy to Islam. Liberalism really does mean the end of Islam as these people know their faith and culture.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/19/2005

Mr. Quon

Good points, but I don't believe the victims of Nazi persecution and the legacy that history begetted is ignored within the "Eurocentric or American centric - narrative of the western world." I believe a glance at this page's listing of posts should well substantiate that observation. But the lack of interest in the plight of Japanese/Koreans who are being deported from Japan stems from at least two facts.

The rising tensions in East Asia are obviously stirring up resentments ancient and modern throughout the region. As you correctly noted the Japanese are a largely indigenous population, suspicious of foreigners and quick to expel any whose blood lines are not pure when Japan perceives itself to be threatened by foreign aggression or competition. Tragically, these Japanese/Koreans, whether native born or immigrants are paying the price for events they are mostly, if not all, completely innocent of.

For a lack of western interest & concern the reasons span from racism to the foreign policy interests of the US. Though North America has a sizable Asian community and they prosper very well in their adopted lands, older underlying notions of western superiority and the "yellow peril" still lingers in the psyche of the American zeitgeist. And in the foreign policy formulations of the US government as concerns East Asia, Japan is the rock upon which those policies rest and depend. The US government won't nary utter a peep concerning this forced expulsion of innocents from their homes, business's and rightful homeland. Says a lot about America's true commitment to human rights.

Are Ms Appelbaums motives for raising the issue in the first place due to a sense of moral injustice perpetrated against the innocent? Or is Ms Appelbaum implying a charge of hypocrisy against Mr. Cole when other peoples are persecuted such as the Jap/Koreans, which he does not mention, therefore proves in some perceived fashion Mr. Cole's racism against the Jews? Maybe it goes both ways. I don't know. As for the latter, if that is Ms Appelbaum's intent, I believe then it is done unjustly since Mr. Cole's expertise is focused on the Middle East and the peoples who inhabit that region. He has no standing to professionally comment on other affairs of which he is no expert. Nor do I believe Mr. Cole to be an anti-Semite. A critic of Israeli policies yes, a Jew hater no. But there are some people on this page to whom the charge can honestly be laid in spades.


N. Friedman - 3/18/2005

Robert,

I did not say terrorism is not a tactic.

You have not responded to any of my assertions. The dispute with the West concerns what I have said. That is true whether or not Muslims are invading or not invading.

Mr. Simon has read what I wrote. He is entirely correct.

You are, rather than understanding what is going on in the Muslim regions projecting your own political agenda. If you want to understand something, by contrast, you have to study it. You clearly have not.


E. Simon - 3/18/2005

Terrorism is a tactic.

The legitimization of terrorism is a movement.

That's really all I have to say on that.


E. Simon - 3/18/2005

This may be simplistic, and of course I wouldn't speak for Ms. Appelbaum, but I think that part of that Western narrative also has a component of willing ignorance on the part of what it feels should constitute moral norms among non-Western cultures. You might note, that no one in the West would appropriate cultural relativism as an argument against intervention in Bosnia, but that this argument reared its ugly head again and again as part of the movement against humanitarian bases for the war in Iraq, and probably would have in Rwanda had the likelihood of intervention been more imminent.

I don't know if there might be a positive flip side to this perspective, such the history of America never having been a colonial power, but putting the two ideas together into some loose kind of a dualism intrigues me. Of course, with the globalization of economies, vehicles of mass communication, and further drives toward political and legal integration on a global scale, I think more explorative discussions on what does and does not constitute a human universal will be inevitable, and a good thing.

I also think that it will become more difficult to tweak apart and distinguish, on a moral basis, the acts carried out by those that initiated and drove, for instance, WWII, with gratuitous and retributive actions taken by, for instance, the allies in defending against such actors, on the basis of the fact that the larger context was rightly seen as a just cause.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/18/2005

Mr. Friedman

As I said in thread 56552 terrorism is a tactic. It is not a movement. This concept or use of the word terrorism, or by extension some mystic emergent form of world terrorism is something that national or international bodies can't, won't or refuse to define. It appears no legitimate authority can come up with a workable definition of this phenomenon that's acceptable to all. The only groups that have attempted some general understanding are military theorists within and without various military establishments, and its their opinion its principally a method, technique or tactic of the oppressed, occupied, or the weak against a stronger adversary. In the absence of a better definition its the one I accept.

Aside from Europe being flooded by immigrant Muslims, which is of Europe's doing, I don't see any countries in the world being invaded and occupied by hordes of scimitar wielding Islamic armies. There have been calls for holy war among the believers against the un-believers throughout the Islamic world as long as I have been alive. Osama himself has been calling for offensive jihad against the west for years, but the vast majority of Muslims pretty much ignored him until the US invaded Afghanistan and than Iraq. Prior to 9-11 most Muslims thought of Mr. Bin Laden as some kind of weird rich guy, hanging out in caves, looking for trouble and by and large a little nuts. Unfortunately, with a little from the US that's no longer the case.

I don't gainsay all that you have to say concerning Muslims and their religion. The Islamic world is besieged by world globalism and western values & norms that many naturally detest, fear and resent. Some have and are responding violently. But I don't believe invading and occupying parts of their world is the correct way of solving this problem since doing so has only made the phenomenon worse, not better. Nor do I believe ramming down Muslim throats western culture, economics and civic processes, or whatever we believe is good for them is going to work either. Mr. Cole's solution is straightforward. "End unjust military occupations." I believe he is right and essentially the thrust of his argument. Besides explaining Islamic religious principals, which after all you have said on it I am beginning to feel like an expert on it myself, what would you do, or solution, or what action would you recommend to what you perceive as world terrorism?


jack quon - 3/18/2005

Sadly, the Japanese government does not regard ethnic minorities born within the country as Japanese citizens but foreign nationals. This is reflected in the issuance of passports noting the country of ancestry rather than the normal passports for Japanese nationals. The policy stems from the notion of the purity of the Japanese race, a notion that remains pervasive within Japanese culture but not given heavy play in the western media. It is not surprising that this continued policy has now resulted in an official form of ethnic segregation.

While I would say the absence of commentary on the article may be a function of many different factors within the confines of this site and its participants rather than the rationale provided by Ms. Appelbaum, I must put forth my own view regarding the propensity to focus on the Middle East and the Jewish-Arab conflict.

As a North American, born, bred and educated in Canada, I can safely say that the narrative of the western world is specifically Eurocentric or American centric. This is both normal in terms of human behaviour and the very fact that America is the single greatest political, economic, social, and military power the world has known. Within this narrative there has historically (especially since the advent of the media age) been a strong underlying Jewish component to the narrative with the horrors of the Holocaust as an anchor and the corresponding connection to the creation of the State of Israel. It is the, not surprising that many have strong views (positive and negative), and focus on the Jewish-Arab saga to the exclusion of all else.

While the subject of WWII remains a major element of the western narrative, it is of a distinct character. In memorializing the events of WWII, many in the Western world have objected to sympathizing and remembering the victims of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki because they represented the enemy. However, it is only on rare occasions that the closet equivalent to Nazi activities during WWII is ever recalled in the western narrative. Japanese policies in China and Korea during WWII are not repeated or emphasized in the same manner as Nazi actions. But then, the leader of Japan was never held accountable for his country's actions, and none in America or the West has deemed it necessary to admonish the current generation of Japanese leaders for venerating the remains of those that directed the Japanese horrors in Asia.

Why does Ms. Appelbaum believe the deportation by the Japanese Government of individuals with Korean ancestry have any more interest for those raised in the western narrative, when the millions of victims of a Nazi like policy during WWII are mostly ignored.


N. Friedman - 3/18/2005

Robert,

The issue here is what is causing International terrorism, not what is troubling the Arab and greater Muslim regions. Regions worse off than the Arab and Muslim regions and equally disfunctional politically and in every other way are not producing international terrorists. The broader Muslim regions - with participants on three continents and including societies which are economically well off, poor and in between, governance which is good, fair and awful, etc., etc., are producing international terrorists.

Poverty - which is surely a a problem for the world to address apart from the issue of terrorism -, is surely not the cause of terrorism because there is no correlation between poverty and terrorism. And, in any event, poverty is not a factor which led the likes of al-Zawahiri and bin Laden to start a Jihad.

The recurrent themes for the terrorists in issue - all of them - speak the language of humiliation and ressentiment, the sort of humiliation and ressentiment one might read in the 1930's in Germany. However, the source of the humiliation and ressentiment concerns religious mythology.

More precisely, the myth of Islam is that Muslims and the lands they rule would be the zenith of the world. The reality, however, is nothing of the sort. Which is to say, the available way to the future for all of these Muslim societies, whether they are comparatively well off and politically tolerant or the opposite, involve a radical rejection of their own heritage and its replacement by a western model of liberal society. That, quite obviously, makes the Western model an anethma to societies which place religion as the source of legitimacy. And, further, such is an anethma to societies based on Islam which once really was the pinnacle of the world.

The Islamists posit that the way for the myth and the reality to coincide is for the societies to return to Islam. Hence, they have adopted classical Islam - the real thing - which, as any serious student of Islam knows, posits a world at eternal war - as in actual warfare -. One region of the world, the dar al-harb (House of war) is, by definition (and without regard to actual fact), at war to destroy Islam. Such realm is at war because it wrongfully occupies the land it inhabits. The other region of the world, the dar al-Islam (House of Islam) is Allah's agent on earth to re-conquer the dar al-harb by any and all means prescribed in the Muslim holy books including by means of warfare, razzias and persuasion.

Understand that the terrorism we now see, which has advocates all over the world and not merely in the Muslim regions, is dictated by religion. The triggering event or events, perhaps, as I suggest, that liberalism is the way of the world while Islam posits Islam for that role, is something that cannot really be addressed since it is our very societies, not our policy, which, by their model, are the enemy.

It is also worth considering that the aftermath of the colonial era left the Muslim regions to rule themselves. It is rather inevitable that after attempting, as many did, to adopt a Western model with only limited success, traditional models would become the vogue. But note: the underlying issue is not specific policies of the West but the fact that the Western model, not the models adopted in the Muslim world, are the Zenith. Hence, to adopt our model of society would mean the end of their societies as they know them.

One last point rarely noted. The Islamic world, unlike the West, really takes religion serious. Which is to say, Allah really is a family member to Muslim believers and Allah's promises - which are both spiritual and radically political - are taken seriously in the way that some Westerners worship money whether directly or by their adaptation of Christianity. Which is to say, it is a serious mistake to ignore the centrality of religion as a major cause of the dispute.


Robert F. Koehler - 3/18/2005

Mr. Clark

Having not posted these past several weeks I had assumed you decided to dump HNN for good. Glad to see that is not the case.

Have just learned that George F Kenan has passed away. All of America's great men are gone.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A45242-2005Mar17?language=printer

I absolutely agree with your statement that..."Multiple causation remains an obvious cornerstone of sensible historical analysis." The hell hole that's the Middle East is no more exclusively the fault of Islam as it is Israel's, or Zionism, or the US, or any other ethnic, creed or state. Nothing in human history comes into being in a vacuum or virtually on its own, let alone being all right or all wrong. Mr. Juan Cole is of course a strident critic of Israeli policies and occupation of Palestinian lands, but I don't believe he is an anti-Semite, or approves of the Arabs driving the Jews into the sea. Nor do I believe because he dares to be critical that anything he says on the subject is absolutely wrong. Cole mentioned several states in his essay, but unfortunately the page exploded with superfluous anti or pro commentary concerning only one.

Israeli/Palestinian relations is a factor in the Middle East, an important one, but all the same it is only one of many competing realities in a world where extreme poverty, humiliation and hatred drive regional despair, especially among its burgeoning legions of youth with no hope or future, along with cultural, social & religious contracts having the same validity today as they had from the dawn of written history. Top that off with all the external singularities you noted that are impacting and/or menacing the region, its no mystery or wonder to me that people are strapping on bomb belts and blowing up other people they consider their enemies.

The "c student" has recently stated the US will remain in Iraq indefinitely. George Bush will only be known as the President who single handedly killed the American Uni-polar world order, by ripping asunder the veils that hid the mystique of unchallengeable American military power, not to mention putting paid to the delusions of a global American Imperium. The rising Multi-polar world is seeking to contain and reduce America to one regional power among many equals, just as the free world had united to contain the USSR and world communism. I remember about the time of the fall of the Soviet Union an anonymous US state department official reportedly remarked: "There by the grace of God go we." Its time for the US to wake up and smell the coffee. We had a choice between choosing a hard or soft landing from 1990 on. We choose a hard one, though if we come to our senses we may yet be able to determine how hard that landing will be. We blew the soft one.

Though of course if some American city gets nuked all bets are off the table.


N. Friedman - 3/18/2005

Omar,

The problem here is that there was no intention to "uproot" or "supplant" anyone or anything. That is all propoganda you are asserting. The politics were directed primarily toward establishing joint rule. Please do not quote me a revisionist historian who takes someone's conversation and then alters both the context and the meaning. Again, the dominant political activity was directed toward accomodation until the 1930's when it became clear that such was impossible. Partition occurred because the parties could not solve their dispute.

As for your second point, the Palestinian Arabs did not rule the land. They never ruled the land. Outsiders had ruled the land for nearly 2 millennia. If the Palestinian Arabs had been the rulers, they could have done what they liked. But they were not the rulers so, like everywhere else on earth, they were not consulted.

My example in the US was quite exact because the state of Nevada and its people do not control immigration in the US. The US government does so. If the US government says the immigration to Nevada is legal, that is the end of the matter. If the locals start fighting the immigrants and the US fails to intervene, then obviously partition would become a necessity - as it did between the Arabs and the Israelis.


N. Friedman - 3/18/2005

Mr. Simon,

You write: I remind you of Locke. His ideas were so strong that he could even use biblical lineage narrations to justify them. And yet, the use of the bible on his continent had up until then been used for pretty much decidedly, and drastically less enlightened purposes. I think the lesson is: a true political transformation can be much more adept at appropriating religious (or otherwise culturally specific) vocabulary toward enlightened, noble ends, then can a religious movement that appropriates political jargon.

The issue here, however, is not a religion which has appropriated political jargon. Islam, itself, is decidedly political. And the politics is central to the religion. And the politics, which are central to religion, require war. And the goal of the war is to conquer the world. Hence the Jihad.

Can Islam open up to a more enlightened politics? I certainly hope so. However, the politics you are seeing is the religion as it really is, not an aberration. The periods when Islam was quiet were the aberration. That quiet was the result of defeats on the battle field and conquest of the Muslims regions by the Europeans. The war/Jihad we are now seeing is the result of the withdraw of the Europeans and their cooperation with the Muslim regions which, in turn, has emboldened many Muslims to believe that they can sucessfully pursue their religion's political agenda.

I do not know Mr. Shcherban well enough to understand his point of view except to note he knows very little about the Muslim regions.

Mr. Petitt is another matter. He believes that we can analyze the world in terms of simple legalistic formula that is decisively rejected as morally offensive in the Islamic regions which, in fact, have very different ideas about what is just and what is moral than he realizes. Which is to say, his approach employs a large square peg to fit in a small round hole.

I might add, I do not think Mr. Petitt's view is enlightened at all. I think his view excuses bigotry and intolerance.

In my view, your basic point, that the Arab and greater Muslim regions will eventually clamor for Western style rights, is probably quite true. I certainly hope you are correct and that such occurs sooner rather than later. On that much, we certainly agree.


E. Simon - 3/18/2005

I don't disagree with you.

I simply think the following - Arab Muslims will sooner clamor for the same political/civil rights that many now acknowledge as human universals than they will seek to reform Islam as some kind of prerequisite for doing so. There is likely a dynamic whereby one may affect the other, but what seems more pressing to more Arab Muslims is a political transformation, and that will happen first. Whether religious reformation will then occur or even, according to the way some see it, still be "necessary," depends on the depth and the nature in which that transformative political change is experienced.

I remind you of Locke. His ideas were so strong that he could even use biblical lineage narrations to justify them. And yet, the use of the bible on his continent had up until then been used for pretty much decidedly, and drastically less enlightened purposes. I think the lesson is: a true political transformation can be much more adept at appropriating religious (or otherwise culturally specific) vocabulary toward enlightened, noble ends, then can a religious movement that appropriates political jargon.

One need look no further than the thought processes of Mr. Pettit and Arnold Shcherban to realize this.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Derek,

No problem and no issue at all, so far as I am concerned.


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/17/2005

Glad to know, Mr. Friedman -- and sorry if I have been disrespectful previously as a consequence of my ignorance.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Arnold,

Let me correct one point. I was not including Mahathir in my list of terrorists. I thought, however, that he accurately presented the ideology that many of the Jihadist accept.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Omar,

Well, if there is not somehow to be accomodation between the Arabs and the Israelis, there will not be peace. That, frankly, is a fact. And it was a fact in 1880, 1920, 1936, 1947-49, 1967, 2000 and now. The alternative is war. So, when you ask what happened to the Palestinian Arabs, consider that you have made the same mistake they have.

As for your analogy to Nevada, I have this response: if Vietnamese were to migrate en masse to Nevada and were to seek to participate in the politics to their own benifit and even to call the area a Vietnamese homeland but the local population said, Vietnamese are not local people so they should not be here and only we, the indigenous population, should have political rights and we, the indigenous population, have the only culture that may dominate the state, I would call the local population racist. And they would be.

And if the rights of the Vietnamese were not in any way accomodated but, instead, the local population started an actual fight over the matter causing Vietnamese people to die in numbers and if the national government did not intervene to protect the rights of both sides, partition would become a necessity and the Vietnamese side would have every right to push for such result. And that, frankly, is what happened between the Arabs and the Jewish population of what is now Israel.

Consider, Utah is, in a way, the homeland of the Mormons. That notwithstanding, were millions of Vietnamese to claim the land as a place of refuge of Vietnamese, somehow I bet that the Mormon people in Utah would find a way to accomodate the desires of the Vietnamese. There is, in fact, a way for each side to be accomodated - live and let live -. And, frankly, it is possible to have both a Vietnamese homeland and a Mormon homeland on the same streets - if the parties are willing to accomodate each other. That, in fact, is what occurs in almost every American city.

You, it is to be noted, have absolute demands about what must be. Such approach has, historically, been the source of war. And that, in a nutshell, is why large numbers of Palestinian Arabs now rot in refugee camps.

Regarding quotas: the US government allows more immigration than any country on Earth. We have immigrants from all over the world. It is not a paradise but, compared to what the Arabs have in the way of diversity, the US is exemplery while the Arabs and, most especially, the Muslim Arabs have adopted the view of ethnic purity - hence, the flight of millions of Christian Arabs from the Arab regions and the expulsion of nearly a million Jews from the Arab regions and the rise of intolerant views about non-Muslims -. The Arab Muslim region is in a very sorry state. And frankly, it is that region's intolerance, not the story you are telling, which defines why the Arab Israeli dispute has not been resolved.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Arnold,

Consider, before you invest too much effort in the doctrine you espouse, that the Jihadis involved have not tended to be poor. Mohammed Atta was not particularly poor. He lived in the west and went to a Western University. Omar Sheik, so far as I know, was born in Great Britain and attended the London School of Economics. Pir Mubarak Gilani (sp?) has lived a life of privilege. Khalid Sheik Mohammed also lived a life of privilege.

Consider also that those involved in the Jihad come from a variety of countries which have had rather different experiences with the West. And consider that, in fact, they have really not had the same experience or the same alleged oppression or the same economic depravation or anything else in common - other than a religious critique of the modern world.

Again, the various Jihadis, whether from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Gaza, Pakistan, Chechnya, London, Hamburg or Indonesia all appear to have a very similar critique of the West. That issue appear to be heavily laden with religion but involves a will to have and use power. Here, for example, is what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said:

From being a single ummah, we have allowed ourselves to be divided into numerous sects, mazhabs and tarikats, each more concerned with claiming to be the true Islam than our oneness as the Islamic ummah. We fail to notice that our detractors and enemies do not care whether we are true Muslims or not. To them, we are all Muslims, followers of a religion and a Prophet whom they declare promotes terrorism, and we are all their sworn enemies. They will attack and kill us, invade our lands, bring down our governments, whether we are Sunnis or Syiahs, Alawait or Druse or whatever. And we aid and abet them by attacking and weakening each other, and sometimes by doing their bidding, acting as their proxies to attack fellow Muslims. We try to bring down our governments through violence, succeeding to weaken and impoverish our countries.

We ignore entirely and we continue to ignore the Islamic injunction to unite and to be brothers to each other, we, the governments of the Islamic countries and the ummah.

**********************

We may not be able to unite all the 1.3 billion Muslims. We may not be able to get all the Muslim governments to act in concert. But even if we can get a third of the ummah and a third of the Muslim states to act together, we can already do something. Remember that the Prophet did not have many followers when he went to Madinah. But he united the Ansars and the Muhajirins and eventually he became strong enough to defend Islam.


Speech by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the opening of the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference on Oct 16, 2003, http://thestar.com.my/oic/story.asp?file=/2003/10/17/oic/6507802&sec=OIC

The Jihadis simply cannot be understood by their alleged oppression. Instead, to understand what is occuring, you have to examine a lethal mixture of religion with the ordinary human political desire to have and use power.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Irfan,

Another brilliant post by you. I agree entirely.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Omar,

I shall do my best to respond to your assertions which, to me, do not make any sense - even if one supports your basic position -.

You write: in the 20th century AD, the Palestinian people was DISPLACED, DISPOSSESSED and DISFRANCHISED from and in his Homeland and that it was uprooted and supplanted by Jews from all over the world through the Zionist conquest of Palestine

I understand the important points in your assertion to be that (a) Palestinians lost their homeland and (b) that such was due to Jews who lived, at one time, all over the world.

I shall for the moment assume, for sake of argument - although I think that both parts of your proposition are problematic and, to a large extent, simply incorrect -, that your point is correct.

First, I do not quite understand the significance of your position. If, in fact, Palestinians lost their homeland, they have that in common with Sudetens who lost their homeland permanently yet Sudetens are not blowing people up in order to right an alleged wrong - which involved far more people, in fact, 12.5 million people, including millions who did not lift arms against anyone - that occurred at the very same time that Israelis and Arabs were fighting in the late 1940's.

That suggests that your point really focusses on part (b), namely, that the alleged perpetrators were Jewish - a point I previously addressed rather carefully but you evidently overlooked - and that some of the people involved did not all live their entire lives in the Middle East.

In fact, a rather large percentage of those you speak of were born in and lived their entire lives in the Middle East. Another large group lived their entire adult lives in the Middle East. It was also their homeland and, in fact, they had nowhere else to go.

I think the problem you have is that you think that the defining character of the area is required to be dominated by Arabs. Yet, if you examine other parts of the world - as it is today -, for example, all of North and South America, you will see that newcomers are common and that such newcomers are accomodated, not treated contemptiously, as your comment suggests is proper treatment for non-Arabs on allegedly Arab land.

For example, in the US, we have had many tens of millions of people arrive in the course of the last several decades from Latin America. Such people have added their distinctive cultural heritage to the US culture and, frankly, have alterred it. There are those, a distinct minority but who hold basically your view, who claim that Spanish speaking people should leave because they have a different heritage and because they speak a different language and that their political demands should be ignored. The majority position, so far as I know, is that such people, including their demand to participate in the politics of the US, are perfectly legitimate. I note: demographically, if current trends persist, people who speak Spanish as their first language will come to dominate the US.

On your theory, Americans should throw the newcomers out as they have different political aims and speak a different language and their leaders have political aspirations. On my theory, such hostility is primarily racist although, clearly, the newcomers must also accomodate those who live here already. On your theory, we should say, you are invading our American culture and, hence, you have no standing and must leave or accept permanent second class status. To me, that is all crazy talk. And it is just as crazy when you assert essentially the same thing about Jews who migrated to what is now Israel by permission of the then ruler of the land.

Now, lastly, I note that what you assert is not really quite correct. Those Palestinian Arabs who lost their homes lost them largely due to their unwillingness to seek accomodation with the Jewish population of the region and due to starting what ended up being an unsuccessful a war of annihilation. Morally speaking, those who start wars to kill off a population do not have much to say when they lose.

You next write: the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli-Zionist conflict,is basically an Arab nationalist anti imprerialist confrontation of Zionism

Jews were oppressed people, whether they lived in Arab countries or in Europe. They sought to bring an end of their oppression. Such contributed to what occurred to the Palestinian Arabs. However, had oppression not been the backdrop and had such not been basically a universal feature of life in Europe and in the Arab regions, Jews would likely have viewed the call to Zion in strictly religious terms. That, however, was not the world these people lived in including the world that those Arabs who lived in historic Palestine offered.

Your position, in a nutshell, is that those with homelands have rights and owe no accomodation at all to those without rights. There are, according to the Boston Globe, 50 million refugees today and most of them, like the Jews until the re-creation of Israel, have no prospect of obtaining rights -. As a result, there is an irreconcilable moral dilemma that pits the stateless and those who already have homelands. Which is to say, those without states, with as much right, morally speaking, as the rest of humanity to a state, will not have real rights without concessions by those with rights and states including concession of land to form states. Think about it. Your position basically adopts the view of reactionaries that the landed ought have all the rights.


As for your group of conclusions, I do not think they follow from your initial two assertions. Instead, notions of "Zionist" agression are mere propaganda, not serious analysis of a very difficult problem.

You have, rather than analyzing the problem, failed to recognize that the hostility to Jews resulted not only from political dissagreements which were not resolved but also from culture including the belief (a) that Jews deserved to be treated contemptuously and (b) that Jews are the deicide people who deserved to wander the Earth forever.

Once the propaganda you have mentioned is eliminated and the causes of the dispute are found, the most pertinent issues can be examined including why the Arab side failed to seek accomodation early on or accept partition long ago. To quote Saudi Prince Bandar, "Since 1948, every time we've had something on the table we say no. Then we say yes. When we say yes, it's not on the table anymore. Then we have to deal with something less. Isn't it about time we say yes?" ("The Prince - How the Saudi Ambassador became Washington's indispensable operator," by Elsa Walsh, originally published in The NewYorker on March 24, 2003. The article now appears on the website of the Saudi Arabian embassy to the US at http://www.saudiembassy.net/StatementLink/03-ST-Bandar-0324-NewYorker.pdf.

As Palestinian intellectual Tawfiq Abu Bakr writes:

[Yet] when a state became a definite option following the Clinton initiative in late 2000, and when the moment of truth arrived, we reverted to the 'all or nothing' policy. We kicked away all our words over the past three decades, and we went back to square one: the very beginning. This is the disaster that led to the [current] disaster, which is evident in every alleyway and every street of our land.

I write these words now because I have heard Palestinian officials, some of them from the PLO, from among those who exploited their appearance on the satellite channels, crowing like roosters until the last star disappeared that Israel is an aging state and will live no longer than [only] 10 more years while we are still in the spring of our youth.

It is difficult to find a greater and more deeply rooted culture of self-deception than that in our Arab and Palestinian arena; a culture of daydreams in the height of a burning summer. People cling stubbornly to rosy dreams and delude themselves that these are the facts because they have failed to realize all their dreams.


Tawfiq Abu Bakr, "The Palestinian 'All or Nothing' Policy," Al-Ayyam, September 3, 2003 (translated by MEMRI at http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/news/infocus/?disp_feature=LsCPgY.var).

Which is to say, the Palestinian side still persists in its delusion - the same delusions which long pre-date Israel - that accomodation and reconciliation are unnecessary. But, in fact, such accomodation and reconciliation were always necessary to resolve the dispute.

On your last conclusion, I do not deny that there is a "nationalist" component to the dispute. However, the nationalist component is one of many including religious components which now predonimate and make settlement rather difficult.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Hello Peter,

It has been a while. I hope that all is well with you.

Regarding your post, I half agree. Cole's post is pretty poor. And there are certainly multiple causes.

On the other hand, the issue involved is not limited to the Middle East. Mr. Atta and his friends were a product of the German educational system, German culture, German life and German mosques. I have noted before that among those whom financed the WTC include people from Pakistan including the Pakistani ISI (spy agency). The killer of Mr. van Gogh was a product of Dutch society. Those involved in the Bali bombing, Jemaah Islamiah (which is believed to be a subsidiary of al Qa'eda), were not even originally from the Middle East.

What can one say about people who (a) have no event of consequence in common, (b) are of different ethnicity, (c) were educated and aculturated in very different sorts of societies, (d) were raised and educated in different countries located ten thousand miles from each other but (e) all are of the same religion and claim a more or less common goal which relates to that religion? I submit that the only way to make sense of the terrorism is to examine that which all involved have in common.

The thing they have in common is they all appear to have the same goal - a goal which arises out of a common religion. Hence, to understand what is going on, you must examine the religion and why, at this point, the religion serves as a rallying cry for their goal.

Noting that women are not treated equally, that there is an absence of separation of state and religion, that depotism prevails, that free speech does not exist, that open inquiry does not exist, etc., etc., does not tell us very much if we are looking for causes. All of these problems (which are certainly real), after all, exist in parts of the world where people, despite the above, accept their fate. Moreover, the above noted problems are not universal within the world which has produced the Jihadis. Some of the noted problems do not even exist in Indonesia yet that country has a large number of people involved in the Jihad movement and none of these problems exist in Germany or elsewhere in Europe where there is much unrest among Muslims. So, in fact, I think it is rather difficult to view your noted factors as being centrally causal. Instead, they are peripherally involved, if at all. On the other hand, it is conceivable that addressing such problems may bring other forces into these societies and these other forces may, in due course, undermine the Jihad movement.

The real question is whether, as Bernard Lewis claims, the centuries of defeats on the battle field and the ultimate conquest of the Muslim regions by Europe, in a religion which makes martial conquest absolutely central to God's mission for man, have bred ressentiment thus filling people with hate and making people look for scapegoats (e.g. the US), whether, as Bat Ye'or argues, Islam, for the first time since the end of the colonial era, is now able, once again, to manifest itself politically, whether, as Mr. Cole would have it, the terror is a product of occupation (something Irfan Khawaja convincingly refutes above) or, lastly, whether the last 80 years or so have been decisive, as a variety of other scholars, although mostly apologist for Islam, assert.



Robert F. Koehler - 3/17/2005

Problems between Japan and S Korea are also on the rise concerning sovereignty over the Takeshima island chain between the two countries

Islands Come Between South Korea and Japan

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A41813-2005Mar16?language=printer


Robert F. Koehler - 3/17/2005

The expulsion of Japs of Korean ancestry is tied up with the rising tensions in east Asia between Japan vs. China/N Korea. It is not getting wide coverage and commentary because US policy needs Japan as an ally against China too. The US has been encouraging Japan to change her constitution from avowed pacifism so as to re-militarize. Lately Japan has enraged China by intruding in her affairs over Taiwan. Competition is also high for oil exploration & exploitation among all east Asian countries, particularly between Japan and China and the Japs hold some 800 billion US dollars in reserve currency.

I find it disgusting as well that the vast amount of debate on this page is insanely focused on one country of several that Cole mentioned in his essay, though I wouldn't blame Cole for this. His expertise is Middle East affairs so his analysis will touch on all parties in that region. Chalmers Johnson from the Japan Policy Research Institute's (JPRI) expertise lies in east Asian affairs and makes no mention of Israel in his working papers or briefings. Does that make him an anti-Jew or anti-Zionist? I don't think so. His latest policy paper contains a fairly comprehensive analysis of all the above and more, and most especially the why of US policy in the region. I don't think that would mollify your opinions or feeling concerning the fate of Japs of Korean decent, but I believe you will have a more fuller and greater understanding of why this tragedy has occurred.

No Longer the Lone Super Power: Coming to Terms with China
http://www.jpri.org/publications/workingpapers/wp105.html


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Mr. Simon,

You certainly make a point. However, I suggest the following:

You speak of a region. Note: those who led the attacks against the US on September 11 lived and were educated in Germany. They were, in large measure, a product of the German educational system and the culture which prevails in Europe.

Others evidently involved in the attack lived in Pakistan. And I am not merely referring to Arabs living in Pakistan since there is considerable evidence that a good portion of the money for the attacks came from people in the Pakistani ISI (See generally Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, by Bernard-Henri Lévy)

Not so very long thereafter, around 200 or so people were blown up in Bali. Those behind the attacks were from Indonesia. Those involved in conducting the massacre, so far as I know, have no special biographical event in their life which required them to kill large numbers of innocent people in Bali. Muslims are not oppressed in Indonesia and neither were those involved in committing the massacre. Those involved expressed religious grounds for committing the massacre. Further, in Indonesia there have been a substantial number of churches attacked and a large number of Christian children were mailed exploding dolls as Christmas presents.

An attack occurred in Spain killing around 200 people also. Those involved appear to be from North Africa and perhaps other places.

The point here is that we have people involved in seemingly connected events from places which are clearly not in the same region - unless you consider the land from Western Europe to the Asian islands to be the same region.

If these events are somehow united - and this seems rather likely - what unites these events is the religion of the perpetrators and the religious doctrine within the religion that these people follow.

And note: there are a host of other similar events, again with the uniting thread of religion.

So, the reasonable question to ask is whether and to what extent Islamic belief is important. That is why I explore the question as I do.

In this case, the most likely proposition is that religion - in this case the revival of the political aspects of a religion - are the most significant issue. Again: Islam, in its classical embodiment, is an expressly political religion which seeks to conquer the world. Such, at the end of the day, appears to be what is behind the attacks.

Please note, before anyone screams: I am not challenging Islam's decency or the Muslim culture. I am merely making the observation that the motivational element, in a religion which is reviving politically, is the religion and, more particularly, the Jihad doctrine and its application with reference to the concepts of the dar al-harb and the dar al-Islam.



Arnold Shcherban - 3/17/2005

Irfan,

You said that I did not understand your objections to Cole's article and then in your last post you fell in the same logical circular fallacy I responded to: you said that "Cole claims that foreign occupations explain Islamic terrorism". To me it means you never carefully read my entire post.
To really understand what Cole claims and what he doesn't
I recommend you to actually and carefully READ my post.

Let me suggest you also the following brief explanation of the origins of Muslim/Islamic terrorism: Israeli-Palestinian conflict and 1967 war, Western and especially British, colonialism, and post-colonial power
structures in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and African Muslim countries, then US increasing economical and political interference (one may call it gradual and smooth transformation of colonialism into economical and military imperialism of the superpower) and the Cold war
period with the Soviet Union's fruitless attempts to change the dynamics of the region in its favor, though
on much lesser scale and intensity than the respective
moves of the Western powers led by the US, repressive
regimes supported and sponsored by the latter (including Saddam Hussein's one, up to its invasion to Kuwait) causing poverty of their population majority and fabulous riches of the oil elite, US military presence all over mentioned regions and others.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Irfan,

Spaceba Bolshoi.


N. Friedman - 3/17/2005

Arnold Shcherban on March 16, 2005 at 2:06 PM Mr. Friedman,

You write: But the premise of an analysis of the policies of any country towards any others has to be based on equal standards, neither on the notion like "good country" does good things, "bad/evil country" does bad ones, nor on the notion like noble goal justifies the means.

I disagree with this. During WWII, the US and its allies did things as bad as the facsist/Nazi axis. In judging the matter, I think we ought to consider that a victory for the Nazis and facsists would have furthered mankind's fall toward a dark ages. So, in that regard, it is necessary to know who is who.

You add: As far as the US support for Israel being "good", I would be very careful in such a wholesale generalization.
Far from all of this support was and is good, unless the opinions of the 140-145 UN members against 1 or 2 (the usual ratio of the voting on the Israel-Arab conflict) don't count (the opinion I heard from you and some others on these boards).


I think the UN represents national interests, not sentiments about right and wrong. In the UN, oil and moneyed interests matter and have the ability to control votes. That is a fact of life. Such fact, however, does not tell me anything about the justice of the matter or the morality involved.

You write: Europe does worry "about oil and money", but to say that it does it "by contrast" with US, is to invoke a huge roar of laughter around the world, most of Americans inclusive, once more time clearly demonstrating the same double standards you (along with some others) apply when comes to the assessment of the US position towards the rest of the world. Somehow you stubbornly refuse to take even momentous look at the mirror. I'm sorry to say, but so far only hardcore right-wing conservatives of the fascist type, like David Horowitz and Ann Coulter, were making similar outrageously false comparisons.

I can only account for what I think and do not much care about Mr. Horowitz or Ms. Coulter.

I do not deny that the US listens to moneyed and oil interests. Those interests have a different impact in the US than in Europe.

For example, during the 1973 oil crisis, the US government stood its ground against the embargo and showed that the US, not the oil producers, have the upper hand. Europe, despite observing what the US did, acquiesed in the demands of the oil producing countries by adopting an anti-Israeli position.

In other words, as much as oil and money speak in the US, the government has always not caved in to the oil producing interests.

What are the odds of those intellectuals with all those features and qualities taking the position, provided it is wrong and "is not supported by the record"?

Outside of the hard sciences, I have seen no reason to think that academic types have any better record than the overall record of stock brokers. And that is not so good.

Which is to say, one must read a variety of viewpoints and, having examined them, make a reasoned judgement. I become suspicious when I am told that most intellectual think this or that. Most scholars say that the Muslim world was very tolerant. Other scholars, who have examined what Muslim tolerance means, have painted a picture which is dreadful. How do we decide between opposite pictures? I think that we have a judgement call. And college professors are no better at that than me. In many cases, since they have no experience in the commercial and political world, they are book wise but not wise.


Expectancy to be attacked is not measurable and therefore cannot be tested statistically. Thus the validity of your respective statement cannot be either confirmed or denied.

I guess I cannot imagine what sort of statistical evidence would satisfy you. What would be the measure, Arnold?

Reading European papers, as I do, I can say that the number of stories about Israel during the last 20 or so years exceeds, by a factor of probably several thousand, the number of stories about the Sudan. In Sudan, 2 million people died since 1983 in a Jihad. In Israel, during that time, a few thousand people died. In Sudan, 100,000 people were turned literally into slaves. In Israel, none so far as I know. In Sudan, food was used as a weapon to force Christians and animists to convert to Islam. In Israel, nothing of the sort happened. In Sudan, 4 million people were displaced since 1983. In Israel, maybe 10 people, maybe 1000. Why do the papers report more about Israel than Sudan? I cannot prove why - although I have some suspicions and the theory I have set out.

On the other hand, I think I can say that, objectively, there is a lot of antisemitism in Europe. Here is a report on the topic.
http://www.crif.org/index.php?menu=5&dossier=33&PHPSESSID=b5301d647245c6a8379014efc7ee595e

I also told you what I saw in Europe, namely, that Jewish institutions are behind tall wall with gates that have guards. That hardly suggests a peaceful situation. Here is a bit of anecdotal evidence:

Americans "have no true perception of what goes on in France with respect to antisemitism," she [Helene Keller-Lind] told me recently while on a personal visit to Cleveland.


********************************

"What efforts?" scoffs Keller-Lind. Apart from some firm statements to the effect that "no Jew should be afraid to live in France," the government has done little, she says, to curb the numerous incidents that take place. When antisemitic incidents occur, few people get arrested and fewer still are prosecuted. Most attacks, she adds, never even get reported. This is particularly the case in poor suburban neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs are intermingled, and if a Jew lodges a complaint there is fear of reprisal.

********************************

"Countless teachers" Keller-Lind has spoken to claim when an incident occurs they get no support from their non-Jewish colleagues. Nor does it help that some teacher unions are leftwing, virulently anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian in their publications.

Jewish institutions are often targets, as well. Last November, for example, a Jewish school in Gagny, on the outskirts of Paris, was badly damaged by a firebomb. (For once, the government classified that as a "hate crime.")

********************************

Even that last number drops daily as more and more French Jews decide to leave. "Aliyah is going up to a country hurting economically and security wise," Keller-Lind says in reference to Israel. "That means French Jews don't feel comfortable in France."

********************************

Her son, 27, who spent five years in Israel, says he can't talk to his French university classmates about that period in his life because they are so anti-Israel. Even though he doesn't have a Jewish last name, he feels uncomfortable in France and has applied for a visa to Canada.

Before Keller-Lind leaves the offices of the Cleveland Jewish News, Web producer David Seltzer snaps her picture. "I see you're wearing a kipa," (skull cap), she says, more to herself than to him. "You wouldn't do that in public in France. And if you were wearing a hat, they'd lift it up to see if there was a kipa underneath."


"Antisemitism a growing problem in France? Mais oui," By, Cynthia Dettelbach, Cleveland Jewish News, February 20, 2004, at http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/articles/2004/02/20/community/editor/hdet0102.txt.

I also think that the criticism of Israel is also driven by Antisemitism. Here is some anecdotal evidence (regarding the so-called human rights meeting at Durban in September of 2001) which, while it did not take place in Europe, had wide support and positive editorial coverage from the European papers:

On entry to the Forum grounds, every participant was accosted by virulent antisemitic slogans, pamphlets, slurs and chants. There was a steady stream of incidents of people from the Jewish caucus being threatened, verbally abused and harassed for no other reason than that they were Jewish and had stood up for the rights of the Jewish people. The overall impression and effect was to make anyone who was Jewish feel unwelcome and unwanted.

An officially sanctioned booth at the Forum of the Arab Lawyers Union handed out antisemitic hate propaganda that violated international human rights and South African legal standards - cartoons portraying Jews with hooked noses, blood dripping from fangs, with pots of money surrounding the victims. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a czarist forgery, along with other traditional antisemitic literature, were on sale at the Forum. The Afro-Brazilian National Congress handed out a flyer with the headline "Down with the Nazi-Israel Apartheid." Similar flyers and posters were plastered all over the official information tent, as well as tents allocated for regional meetings.

***********************

Some of the comments directed at Jewish participants were "You do not belong to the human race." "Chosen people? You are cursed people." "Why haven’t the Jews taken responsibility for killing Jesus." "They’ve sucked our blood all these years." At a rally on Friday August 31st, there was a poster reading "Hitler should have finished the job". At another rally during the Forum, a person shouted "kill the Jews". These sorts of comments were incessant, endemic.


"Civil Society Smashes Up," by David Matas, The B'nai Brith Canada Institute for International Affairs, http://www.bnaibrith.ca/institute/articles/dm020107.html.


In The Observer (UK) - a major UK publication associated with The Guardian, there was this sweet poem by Tom Paulin:

Killed in Crossfire

To me the Zionists, who want to go back to the Jewish state of 70 AD (destruction of Jerusalem by Titus), are just as offensive as the Nazis. With their nosing after blood, their ancient 'cultural roots', their partly canting, partly obtuse winding back of the world, they are altogether a match for the National Socialists. - Victor Klemperer, 13 June 1934
We're fed this inert
this lying phrase
like comfort food
as another little Palestinian boy
in trainers jeans and a white teeshirt
is gunned down by the Zionist SS
whose initials we should
- but we don't - dumb goys -
clock in that weasel word crossfire


http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4137757,00.html

This all speaks for itself.



E. Simon - 3/17/2005

How would you describe the Israeli "left" after 1967? Or is "imperialism" just a right-wing thing?


E. Simon - 3/17/2005

Mr. Friedman,

You go to great lengths to point out theological issues regarding Islam as a social system. But I think Prof. Chamberlain has a good point: Personal motivations are at least as important. And since personal motivations are also more likely to be addressed by the current political transformation taking place (or struggling to take place) in the region, whereas a hypothetical religious transformation is less likely, if at all, to be facilitated by non-Muslims, isn't the former a more productive discussion to be having here?


E. Simon - 3/17/2005

Omar - what on earth do the two have to do with one another? This sounds like a particularly weak strand; please elaborate.

I assume you also stand in unrelenting opposition against the expansionist designs of Egypt's Nasser, Jordan's Hussein, Syria's Assad in 1967. Further, it's interesting that you would launch into charges of racism as being a motivation for the denial of Palestinian self-determination in those lands after 1967. Surely your unwillingness to lay the same charges against the regimes in charge there previously for doing the same suggests there could have been other motivations - like the fact that the only one willing and capable of taking over (Arafat) was committed to destroying the same ones (Israel - or Jordan, take your pick) whom he demanded yield them. So anyways, we come back to square #1. What was the excuse for denying self-determination prior to 1967? Or for forbidding housing and citizenship to Palestinians in other Arab countries today?

Surely it couldn't be a racist proposition that says Jews shouldn't be entitled to self-determination, could it?


N. Friedman - 3/16/2005

Omar,

We shall have to agree to disagree on most of the issues.

However, a few points. I note that I was not saying that fighting began in the 1930's. Rather, there was substantial fighting in the 1920's as well including the massacre at Hebron. Moreover, in the 19th Century, there were massacres of Jews. The same for the 18th Century, etc., etc.

When I referred to the 1930's, what I was attempting to communicate is that the decision by Jews to work for partition rather than accomodation occurred in the 1930's and such was the result of fighting that had occurred. I was not indicating who began fighting because it really does not matter. In fact, the Arab side clearly started the fighting.

As for my "so what" comment, I reiterate that that the objection by Arabs was not that homes were to be lost or that the culture was to change - as no one had any way to know that at the time -. The objection was to reaching an accomodation which provide Jews with dignity so that they would not be treated like dhimmis. The Muslim Arab side adopted the view that they were entitled always to have superior political rights to others so that sharing power, absent force, was out of the question - as is traditional in the Muslim world when faced with power sharing with non-Muslims - and the Christian Arab view was that Jews are the deicide people and must wander the Earth. Niether response - in fact, no response other than political equality - would be acceptable to anyone who believes at all in freedom and/or individualism.

I reiterate that the right for oppressed people to escape oppression by finding refuge where refuge is available is a basic human right. The Arab side objected - as you effectively claim -, in effect, that their cultural and political rights are more important than the lives of oppressed people. In my view, that is not much of an objection.

I also reiterate that migrants have the same right to pursue politics as non-migrants. As even you admit, Jews did seek accomodation but such failed after there was fighting between the sides. At that point, normal people, unwilling to abide by other people's unreasonable intolerance, make their own way. Which is to say, the Arab objection is, in my book, entirely unreasonable and, frankly, unreasonably selfish.

My various analogies with other people who have been displaced but not allowed to return are pertinent. You have not explained the difference because there is none. You merely imagine there is a real difference. In fact, many of these examples are far worse than what happned to the Palestinian Arabs.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/16/2005

Although the post was not directed toward me, I hope noone minds my interjection of a few thoughts on Arnold's post:

1) “Far from all of this support was and is good, unless the opinions of the 140-145 UN members against 1 or 2 (the usual ratio of the voting on the Israel-Arab conflict) don't count (the opinion I heard from you and some others on these boards).”

I do not dismiss the votes of so many countries lightly. However, it is a fact that the UN did nothing to aid Rwanda in 1994, or Sudan today, and that allows countless notorious human rights violators (such as Cuba and Libya) to chair their human rights commission. I bring these examples up because, to me, they represent a situation where the majority of members were wrong. Just as I do not take all congressional laws as automatically right and just simply because the representatives of over 260 million people says so, I also do not take as automatically right and just UN votes, particularly when the voting block consists of so many nations whose moral authority has no credibility to me.

2) “What are the odds of those intellectuals with all those features and qualities taking the position, provided it is wrong and "is not supported by the record"?
I submit very small. It does not mean it absolutely, positively cannot be wrong, but science tells us that making the latter conclusion would be, at the least, unwise...”

I agree, however I do not believe that the intellectuals of the world have any such consensus that would make me have to chose between them and me. Intellectuals are as split over Israel as they are over most matters, with those coming from countries hostile to Israel tending to adopt a more hostile view and those coming from countries friendly or ambivalent tending to be more friendly or ambivalent. I have read numerous articles written by French, British, or German scholars saying the same things Israeli scholars are saying. It is the politicians far more than the intellectuals who benefit from demonizing Israel and the United States.

3) “To wrap this part up: give us PROOF, FACTS (that allegedly you care about so much, but me and those world intellectuals - don't) that those attacks HAPPENED, and their quantity in the "most European cities" to make any objective judgement on the phenomenon in question.”

Again, this challenge was posted to Mr. Friedman and not myself, but I hope no one minds if I post some proof to substantiate his point. The following is merely a small sample of the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe from the BBC. If you need more evidence, there is so much out there, I would be more than willing to post more:

“The wave of anti-Semitic attacks in France is a "new and extremely worrying social factor", says a report.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3759834.stm

“Last month, 19 members of the Duma threw their support behind a letter to the country's prosecutor general. Claiming that a centuries-old Hebrew text incites violence, the letter compared Judaism to Satanism and accused Jews of ritual murder. It also called for all Jewish organisations in Russia to be investigated and banned.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4271783.stm

“Attacks against Jews in Europe have sharply increased, says a report by a European anti-racism watchdog.
The study singles out Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain, where it says the rise in anti-Semitism has been of particular concern.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3586543.stm

“The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Britain last year rose by 7% compared with 2002, figures show… These reports resulted in the second highest annual total number of such incidents since records began in 1984 - the highest total recorded was 405 in 2000.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3505373.stm

“The suicide bombings on Turkish synagogues are evidence of a global rise in anti-Semitism, Britain's chief Rabbi has warned.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3276595.stm

"European and North American states have pledged to fight a growing wave of anti-Semitism in the West."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3670821.stm

"A major conference on anti-Semitism has opened in Berlin with calls for renewed efforts to fight the problem. The event was convened in response to an apparent rise in anti-Jewish incidents in Europe."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3665373.stm


Arnold Shcherban - 3/16/2005

Mr. Friedman,

<...the US's support of democracy, when it does so, is good. And the US's support of Israel is also good. Europe, by contrast, worries about money and oil. You can bank on it following a policy narrowly honed to that aim.>

I totally agree with you on the US support for democracy, I just would add REAL democracy, i.e. power of the people for the people, not power of the elite for the elite, covered with a fig leaf of paper democracy. And I'm not the one who blames US and Israel "for all the world's sins". On your request I can name several big GOOD things that this country has done and still does.
But the premise of an analysis of the policies of any country towards any others has to be based on equal standards, neither on the notion like "good country" does good things, "bad/evil country" does bad ones, nor on the notion like noble goal justifies the means.
And those are the notions/ principles are traditionally the cornerstones of the "analysis" done by the US mainstream intellectuals, making the analysis itself redundant, since the premises inevitably lead to the conclusions arrived.
As far as the US support for Israel being "good", I would be very careful in such a wholesale generalization.
Far from all of this support was and is good, unless the opinions of the 140-145 UN members against 1 or 2 (the usual ratio of the voting on the Israel-Arab conflict) don't count (the opinion I heard from you and some others
on these boards).
At least, I don't recall any similar case when such overwhelming majority voting IN ACCORD with the US was
dismissed as prejudiced towards some other country by
ANY serious and unbiased intellectual in the whole world.
Once again, American double standards in all their illuminating "beauty"...

Europe does worry "about oil and money", but to say that it does it "by contrast" with US, is to invoke a huge roar of laughter around the world, most of Americans inclusive, once more time clearly demonstrating the same double standards you (along with some others) apply
when comes to the assessment of the US position towards the rest of the world. Somehow you stubbornly
refuse to take even momentous look at the mirror.
I'm sorry to say, but so far only hardcore right-wing conservatives of the fascist type, like David Horowitz and Ann Coulter, were making similar outrageously false comparisons.

About the world intellectuals whom you blame for ignoring
the facts of life/reality. Let's consider some circumstances, which I hope are so basic and well-established that you won't dare to deny:
first - many of them are of Jewish descent. (Apparently
they are also prejudiced against Jews and the US);
second - the very essense of their professional activity
is weighing/analysing the FACTS (and quite a number of them are very respected and outstanding professionals);
third - as far as their other intellectual achievements are concerned, noone (including you) apparently blame them
for the same deadly sin - ignoring or misinterpreting the facts or their conclusions "not supported by the record".
However, on some mysterious reason(s), especially considering the so obvious to every thinking and well-informed individual overall nobility and goodness of the US and Israel, they fall in the fallacious trap of prejudice just... when the issue concerns the rest of the world versus US and Israel, but never when the overwhelming amjority of the world are in concord
with the latter countries!!!???
What are the odds of those intellectuals with all those features and qualities taking the position, provided it is wrong and "is not supported by the record"?
I submit very small. It does not mean it absolutely, positively cannot be wrong, but science tells us that
making the latter conclusion would be, at the least, unwise...

<The fact is that Jews cannot walk down the street in most European cities wearing a yarmulke without expecting to be attacked.>

Nice try, Mr Friedman.
Expectancy to be attacked is not measurable and therefore cannot be tested statistically. Thus the validity of your respective statement cannot be either confirmed or denied.
(The same thing as with the famous (infamous?) proof of existence of God.)
Evaluation of the significance of social phenomena (which
is analyzed statistically) are always based primarily on real, not expected, theoretical outcomes of the corresponding events.
To wrap this part up: give us PROOF, FACTS (that allegedly you care about so much, but me and those world intellectuals - don't) that those attacks HAPPENED, and their quantity in the "most European cities" to make any objective judgement on the phenomenon in question.
So far, it has been nothing more than what they call 'anecdotal' claims.

Unless, you want to continue the practical, i.e. statistical discussion of issue, I consider it closed.




N. Friedman - 3/16/2005

Derek,

It is Mr.


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/16/2005

Good point. (I do not know if you are Mr. or Ms., or Dr., so I am sorry for a less respectable address) -- I guess I was responding to Chris's point that there was a point at which some accepted Jews into he Middle east when compared to their ostracism in Europe. My larger point is that jews have been in what we now term "Israel" for long enough to acknowledge that they are a reality. I am not a big fan of going back centuries -- if jews have been a reality in the ME for a century, I think that they are a viable presence. In other words, no policy, public or foreign, ought to be predicated on 18th century maps.
dc


N. Friedman - 3/16/2005

Derek,

I do not think it accurate to say that Jews were ever "accepted" into a Muslim society in the Middle East. A more accurate assessment by Bernard Lewis is that Jews were thought of as objects of contempt. And, to be blunt, Lewis is being generous.


N. Friedman - 3/16/2005

Mike

Fair correction. I note that the issue is entirely religious in nature. It is not that there is an infrastructure but that any non-Muslim forces are present for any reason in the Hijaz (i.e. the Islamic/Arab heartland). Such, you will note, is a rather central issue in Islam.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 3/16/2005

"This long time span of foreign occupation spawned the Czechs and Slovaks a unique way of dealing with foreign occupation by just surviving within the system without trying to tip the boat over (“The Good Solder Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War” by Janoslav Hasek is a magnificent novel that portrays this very outlook)."

I should add that the Czechs actually have a word for this attitude towards oppression. They call it "Svejkism."


Michael Barnes Thomin - 3/16/2005

"I do not think that we "occupy" Saudi Arabia. That does not make any sense at all. Having a base and occupying a country are very, very different things. We also have bases in the UK but I have yet to hear the British call such an occupation. That is because it is not."

A valid point and a welcomed criticism. I misused the word “occupy,” so allow me to clarify. The U.S. armed forces presence in Saudi Arabia infuriate Moslems for the reasons you presented, but also because a Western culture has a military infrastructure on “holy land,” which was my originally intended argument. Sorry for the confusion.

Regards,
Mike


Robert F. Koehler - 3/15/2005

Of course Cole is biased and ideological. Who is not? The only valid question is whether Mr. Cole is factually and therefore technically correct.

Terrorism is said to be the tactic, technique or weapon of the weak against the strong that intervenes in the affairs of a weaker country in pursuit of the stronger powers interests. Whether its used against Americans, Russians, Indians, Israelis, or any other power is beside the point. So long as America remains a hegemon projecting her power outward in pursuit of her economic & militant interests can only lead to becoming inescapably embroiled in the chaotic affairs of those countries where her interests lie. America had a free ride in global opinion in the aftermath of WW II and during the cold war. Unfortunately for America, the world geo-political balance has and is continuing to change since the fall of the FSU. American interference & power projection in the affairs of countries today is increasingly being resented, rightly and/or wrongly, and from now on there will always be indigents in those countries where she is involved who now hate and want to kill Americans. That's just the harsh reality of the sunk cost or the transaction price of hegemonic power that has finally caught up with the US.

In that regard Mr. Cole is right.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Arnold,

Being generally supportive of the US does not mean supporting all that the US does. I support that which I believe to be good. In particular, the US's support of democracy, when it does so, is good. And the US's support of Israel is also good. Europe, by contrast, worries about money and oil. You can bank on it following a policy narrowly honed to that aim.

That the intellectuals of the world hold the US and Israel responsible for all the world's sins speaks to the state of the world's intellectuals, not to the facts. The position of most intellectuals, if you have their views accurately accounted for, is not supported by the record. I really do not care to value what the world, when it speaks with prejudice, thinks.

As for Europe and Jews... The fact is that Jews cannot walk down the street in most European cities wearing a yarmulke without expecting to be attacked. Synagogues are behind walls and gates with guards. Such things are not the case in the US nor in India nor in Japan. Such is case in Europe - which I have seen with my own eyes - and, for whatever reason, people on the Left see fit to deny what is occurring. Prior to WWII, people on the left and right said the very same thing about life for Jews in Germany that you say about Jews in Europe today. Such denial was wrong then. It is wrong now. While the threat to actual life comes from people not born in Europe, the threat is still real and employs the same rhetoric as occurred in the 1930's - including substantial use of an alleged Jewish world conspiracy, alleged Jewish control of the US and Britain, etc., etc. -

You may think that Europe is not heading toward its 1930's demonization of Jews but, frankly, the facts say otherwise.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Arnold,

Being generally supportive of the US does not mean supporting all that the US does. I support that which I believe to be good. In particular, the US's support of democracy, when it does so, is good. And the US's support of Israel is also good. Europe, by contrast, worries about money and oil. You can bank on it following a policy narrowly honed to that aim.

That the intellectuals of the world hold the US and Israel responsible for all the world's sins speaks to the state of the world's intellectuals, not to the facts. The position of most intellectuals, if you have their views accurately accounted for, is not supported by the record. I really do not care to value what the world, when it speaks with prejudice, thinks.

As for Europe and Jews... The fact is that Jews cannot walk down the street in most European cities wearing a yarmulke without expecting to be attacked. Synagogues are behind walls and gates with guards. Such things are not the case in the US nor in India nor in Japan. Such is case in Europe - which I have seen with my own eyes - and, for whatever reason, people on the Left see fit to deny what is occurring. Prior to WWII, people on the left and right said the very same thing about life for Jews in Germany that you say about Jews in Europe today. Such denial was wrong then. It is wrong now. While the threat to actual life comes from people not born in Europe, the threat is still real and employs the same rhetoric as occurred in the 1930's - including substantial use of an alleged Jewish world conspiracy, alleged Jewish control of the US and Britain, etc., etc. -

You may think that Europe is not heading toward its 1930's demonization of Jews but, frankly, the facts say otherwise.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

Mr. Friedman,

<I do not support a pan-Americana agenda. I do support the US, however, more generally.>

The world majority, including many, many intellectuals, currently do think (based on many facts and events in different locations on the Earth's map) that the US conduct its policies with the main goal in mind - world hegemony. I'm not here to argue this or any other point, since I guess you know where I stand on the issue in question by now. However, since the mentioned conclusion
is mine as well, you adherence to the US policies, consequently means the support of 'Pan-Americana design', as they call it, the design that has been unambigously confirmed lately in Bush inauguration speech.
More and more people (in fact a majority now), even in the countries with such a loyal to the US goverments, as UK, give this country's overall govermental policies quite unfavorable look.

<I object to Europe because Europe is home to too many antisemites, too many anti-Americans and too many supporters of tyranny in the Arab and greater Muslim world.>

Well, in regard of anti-semitism, the same can be said
about US, Russia, Latin America, Africa, etc.
However, what really matters is whether the overwhelming majority of contemporary European GOVERMENTS conduct anti-semitic policies, or not. I don't think you find many
serious and unbiased experts even in Israel itself, or in this country, who will conclude that they do, though some Jewish folks hold different opinion.
It is true that the last decade has seen a considerable increase in anti-semitic incidents in Europe (and not only there), but they were more the result of actions of separated, unconnected antisemitic elements/groups than
the deliberate, ideologically prearranged and executed
common-base campaign, having any wide popular support.
One should not forget one more, perhaps, most important, circumstance: the change in populational make-up occured
over several last decades in some European countries, e.g. France, Germany, and others. I'm talking of course,
of significant relative percentange of people of Arabic/Muslim origin living in those countries now.
It is understandable therefore, that French or German goverments try to maintain more cautious and balanced position towards Israeli-Arab conflict, in general than
they used to do, say, 40-50 years ago. Some interpret that position as anti-Israel, and/or anti-semitic. But again, it's very unlikely they can make it stick.

And I'm sincerely lost trying to figure out which exactly European policy "has rendered" it so "terribly antisemitic".

I strongly suspect the policy you refer to is the one that opposed basically by only two sovereign nations in the world: Israel and the US ... against the rest of it.
Be more specific, if I'm wrong.

<...because Europeans have returned to their views of the 1930's.>

This is just outright ludicrous and therefore deserves no comments.


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/15/2005

Chris --
I am confused. Where am I "wrong" based on what you have asserted? If anything you are enunciating my point. My point was that there was a never a point when there were not Jews in the Middle East (European Jews are still Jews, fyi). That Jews were in fact accepted into the Midedle east simnply tells me that those who claim that these are intractable age old conflicts are wrong. This too does not go against anything I have ever said. So perhaps, rather than YOU making it personal by presuming that we disagree about so much that we can never possibly agree, make your points without presuming to know who is right or wrong when you have not actually shown a single factual error on my part.

And how could my discussion about "states" possibly be "a personal thing"? The nation state is a powerful force. Werre it not, Palestinians would not be clamoring for their own state. Dismiss tha nation state if you want. Then please go into the West Bank and tell the people there who want a state that they are seeking an invalid model, that they are wrong, that it must be a personal thing.

As usual, the only one with the personal issues is you. This is no surprise, of course. It will also not be the last time.
dc


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Arnold,

I do not support a pan-Americana agenda. I do support the US, however, more generally.

I object to Europe because Europe is home to too many antisemites, too many anti-Americans and too many supporters of tyranny in the Arab and greater Muslim world.

My interest - and I do not deny this - is with the US being a force in the world, hopefully for good, and for a strong and secure Israel, also hopefully for the good. The Europeans have an agenda which is not on all fours with that. And the Europeans have adopted a policy which has rendered Europe terribly antisemitic.

In my book, a policy which has made Europe today rather similar to Europe during the Dreyfuss affair but with an atmosphere permissive of rhetoric used during the Nazi years is deserving of serious critism. Europeans ought to step back and realize that their obsession is really money masquerading as morality masquerading as Judeophobia. Hence, you will hear me demonize Europe because Europeans have returned to their views of the 1930's. They deserve to be exposed and condemned. And I shall continue to do so.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Michael

You write: True, but you must recall that Saudi Arabia was occupied by U.S. military bases, and guess where most of the terrorists implicated in 9/11 came from?

I do not think that we "occupy" Saudi Arabia. That does not make any sense at all. Having a base and occupying a country are very, very different things. We also have bases in the UK but I have yet to hear the British call such an occupation. That is because it is not.

The problem with the US having a base in Saudi Arabia goes back to the origins of Islam. The Prophet, you will recall, held that there could only be one religion in the area. That, you will recall, led to the cleansing of the region of Jews, Christians and pagan. The presence of any large number of such people thereafter has been unacceptable to Muslim based on the precept set down. Which is to say, the issue is not occupation. The issue is religion and, more generally, religious intolerance.

I, you will note, am not intending to justify or not justify the US presence but is, instead, to explain the basis for the Muslim objection to the presence of a US base.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

No you should have not, Mr. Friedman, since it would have been redundant.
Everybody on these boards who's read your comments even once felt your bash-Europe-left-and right-and-the-Left-in particular (as long, as they don't fit Pan-Americana design) ideological stance.
On the contrary, none on these boards has heard from you
a single objection to the same Europe's actions when they
do fit mentioned design.
What can be more illustrative than such position?


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Adam,

Excellent post.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

I should have labelled my last post by the name noted on this post, namely, Re: Israel, the Left and Europe


Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

Moshe,

Can you be more ridiculous than accusing me - a Jew, in
"prejudice against the Jews"?!
Somehow I've begun doubt your objectivity lately, which I respected more than any other feature in your comments before.
Any person of average intellect that interprets any term in the CONTEXT it was used would understand my usage of "Super-Jew" as the generalized image of the ultra-Jewish nationalist, whose attitude to the matter in question is, I quote myself, the following:
<either total denial of the wrong/crimes commited by Israel and Jews, in general, or by the perpertual attempts to justify, legitimize those or minimize their
meaninfulness and impact on the ideological matters and
practical policies of other countries.
On the other hand the crimes committed by the opposite party(ies) are always pictured as having no social, ideological or political undelying rationale, as nothing more than wanton murder out of pure hatred (remember infamous: "they hate our freedoms"?) and/or religious fanatism.>
Do you really imply that I'm incapable of calling Arab ultra-nationalists Super-Muslim, or American ultra-nationalist - Super-Yankee???
Only that being so could have demonstrated my prejudice against the Jews, in particular. Correct me, if I'm wrong here.

In fact, I'm "prejudiced" against any ultra-nationalism,
and that is one of the major reasons I regularly (as you might have noticed) invoke that "double-standard" argument: before condemning others look at your own mirror (world) image.
Moreover, on numerous occasions I called those NON-JEWISH ultra-nationalists 'fascists' or fascist-type extremists, which I believe was taken as much more degrading by my audience, than just Super-Something.
My position is always well-balanced on history, factual evidence and the logic of the events.
When being just inaccurate (not mentioning, plane wrong),
I always admitted my mistakes/errors and I always been
an internatiolist, never nationalist.

Thus, to accuse me of being prejudiced against any nationality is an absurd and grave violation against the truth.
As it concerns religion, I'm an atheist and therefore consider ANY religion a LEGEND based on human emotions and idealistic ideology, similar to some of the economically and ideologically motivated social theories.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

This reposts and includes further augmentation of what I previously noted to Adam with regard to the nature of Israel's opposition.

In fact, the main reason for objection to Israel - and this should make any real liberal's blood boil - is moneyed interests including, most particularly, oil. The so-called moral objections, which come from the Left, find support, including direct financial support, because such viewpoint smooths relations with Arab countries - which, in the end, means, there is substantial money to be made so anti-Israeli views are basically a result of political barter. In time, such support became self-perpetuating.

In the case of Europe - where criticism of Israel is the loudest and most outrageous - the fact is that Europe has pursued a policy, which originated in France, to gain advantage with respect to the Arabs. Such policy has related in part to Europe's perceived need to secure oil supply (and such issue came to a head after the Arab oil embargo in 1973) and Europe's desire to sell military and other technology to the Arabs. With that in mind, Europe, except when pushed, supports the status quo in the Arab countries no matter how disfunctional they may be and, to smooth relations with the Arabs, takes the Arab League view of Israel. In fact, the Arab League provides preference to European business and guarantees oil supplies based on the explicit demand, accepted by the EU and before that the EC, that there be a hostile, Arab League dictated, posture regarding Israel.

Now there is nothing wrong with attempting to secure economic advantage as the Europeans have done. But, the price demanded by the Arab side, which Europeans have willingly paid, involved the EU's officialdom adopting the Arab League view of the Arab Israeli conflict and such view has reached an hysteria since 2000. If you examine European policy, you will note that Europe's version of an even-handed policy about the conflict reads - if you look at official pronouncements - nearly word for word from the policy published by the Arab League. And, European politicians, in pursuit of advantage, have helped fund institutions which spout the Arab version of history, including of the Arab Israeli dispute. Such has included funding education at the university level with an Arab positive approach and an approach which demeans Israel.

The left in Europe have been brought up in an atmosphere where the reporting - and this is also connected with EC and now EU policy - covers events from the Arab point of view and an anti-Israel point of view. Hence, they see one side of the conflict and such has colored events substantially. If a person attends college, the colleges have received substantial funding for Euro-Arab funding sources within the EU (and previously the EC). Such funding is intended explicitly to highlight and paint the Arab side positively and, at the same time, to paint Israel black.

EU beaurocrats, in accordance with policy directives from informal agreements between the EU and the Arab League, moreover, have astutely followed the Arab League line most particularly about the Intifadah. Which is to say, the EU acts as amplifier for whatever nonsense comes out of the Arab League countries vis a vis Israel. Hence, dealing with the Palestinians is said to be central to world peace - despite terrorism coming from Muslims in Europe, Muslims in Indonesia, Muslims in Pakistan, Muslims in Chechnya, etc., etc. Forcing Israel to the Green line is also said to be vital. Israel's efforts at self-defense are deemed illegitimate while terror attacks are said to be "understandable" if they are mentioned at all. Ending terror against Israel is not, based on what EU sources, central at all. Rather, what Israel does is central. Whether or not that is true, such point of view is the result of actual policy decisions by the EC and now the EU and the underlying hostile atmosphere which such policies have funded.

Which is to say, anyone growing up in Europe - and people on the Left tend to like change - learn of Israel's alleged outrages and want to change the status quo. In such an environment (and, if you doubt me, go to Britain and watch EuroNews or the BBC which just happen to treat Israeli news as if it were local news, not the news in a distant country).

While Israel began to be demonized in earnest, real horrors deserving of central attention have been ignored. Probably the worst horrors of our time are occurring in Africa and most at the hands of Arab and Muslim forces (e.g. in Sudan and Nigeria). In Sudan, while Israel was turned into boogey man, 2 million Christians and animists were butchered or starved to death since 1983 in a Jihad which eventually, in the early 1990's, was even publically declared. 200,000 slaves - as in the real McCoy type of slavery - were taken. Christians and animists were forced to give up their children so that the kids could be forced to convert. Withholding of food was used as a tactic to force adults to convert.

All of these horrors - which make the Arab Israeli dispute into far less than a minor squabble over a few miles of land - have been ignored by the Left. The real reason for this is that money is associated with demonizing Israel. Hence, departments at universities - and universities tend to have predominantly left wing teachers on staff -, with money from the EU or directly from Arab sources just happen to see the world as the source of their funding wants it seen.

That, in a nutshell, is why Israel is demonized while, for example, the Islamist regime in Sudan is basically ignored.


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/15/2005

Chris --
I am confused. Where am I "wrong" based on what you have asserted? If anything you are enunciating my point. My point was that there was a never a point when there were not Jews in the Middle East (European Jews are still Jews, fyi). That Jews were in fact accepted into the Midedle east simnply tells me that those who claim that these are intractable age old conflicts are wrong. This too does not go against anything I have ever said. So perhaps, rather than YOU making it personal by presuming that we disagree about so much that we can never possibly agree, make your points without presuming to know who is right or wrong when you have not actually shown a single factual error on my part.

And how could my discussion about "states" possibly be "a personal thing"? The nation state is a powerful force. Werre it not, palestinians would not be clamoring for their own state. Dismiss tha nation state if you want. Then please go into the West Bank and tell the people there who want a state that they are seeking an invalid model, that they are wrong, that it must be a personal thing.

As usual, the only one with the personal issues is you. This is no surprise, of course. It will also not be the last time.
dc


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

Good points Gonzalo,

The problem, as I see it, is that Palestinians are seen in the West through one lens: that of an occupied people. Terrorism therefore, is either justified on self-defense grounds, or the argument is made, such as in this article by Cole, that terrorism is the natural outgrowth of occupation and thus the only problem lies with the occupier and not the terrorists.

By contrast, Israel is viewed only as an occupying force in the eyes of this group of “the left.” Just as Palestinians can do no wrong so long as they are occupied, Israel can do no right.

The following is a reposting of something I said in an earlier article on this web-site in an attempt to try and generate some typology of this group that we have been speaking about. I post it here simply because I find it relevant:

********************************************************

“It is unfortunate that in the modern political lexicon, we have no word to accurately describe the people that Mr. Friedman and I are talking about. Calling them “liberals” or “the left” is an offense to me, since I do not believe that the terms can accurately be used to describe them, however unlike other political movements (such as xenophobic ideologies or neo-Nazis) the group of which I speak has no unifying theme, only a collection of ad-hoc political beliefs. Calling them the “extreme left,” is, in my view, the most appropriate given the lack of concise terminology to use. They are a diverse group, yet share some common values, certainly enough and cohesive enough to rightly be called a political movement.

I am going to use this post to attempt to map out the beliefs of this group, as I see them.

The group of “far left” people that I am referring to generally share in the following characteristics. Please note that I am not trying to put a normative judgment on these people, although I do not support them. Right now, I am simply trying to articulate who they are in the following modest and admittedly simplistic list:

- Capitalism: They believe that capitalism is inherently wrong and should be opposed. Some once looked to Communism for the solution, but most are divided between Socialism and some sort of non-Communist communal economic system. Although most economists and political scientists know that “pure” capitalism is no longer practiced in the industrialized world, this group holds the concept in particular disdain.

- USA: They believe that most of the problems in the world, from hunger, to AIDS, to conflicts, to authoritarian regimes, have been or are being caused by the United States. The US, in this view is a hypocritical bully, whose every action is motivated by greed, lust for power and influence, imperial ambitions, or some other nefarious purpose, and to the extent that we do something “good,” it is not nearly enough, and probably contained some hidden motive. This belief often invites an extremely negative view of American history, which is essentially a history of one racist and imperial policy after another, from the Native Americans to the Iraqis.

- The “international community”: The answer to stopping this massive juggernaut of the US lies in international law and non-economic international organizations, which are essentially the ying to our yang. The UN, EU, AU, AL, etc. are everything that we are not: benevolent, caring towards their citizens, and have a far more humane welfare state than we do. The only problem with these organizations is that they are prevented from reaching their full potential because of the American veto.

- Globalization: This group opposes globalization at all cost, seeing it as a tool of wealthy nations to exploit and enslave poor nations. Thus the WTO, and other economic agreements should be completely redesigned to allow greater say of Third World Nations. Indeed, it was the protests at the WTO meetings in Seattle, Washington, etc. that really brought this group into the homes of most Americans.

- Racism: Generally speaking, all things being equal, if 2 or more parties are involved in a conflict, the Western party is always and completely at fault. If there is no Western nation involved, then the “white” country is at fault over the “non-white” country. In the event that neither party in the conflict is white, then no one is at fault, and the conflict, regardless of how brutal or large-scale, must be ignored from sight and not interfered with by Western or white countries, so as not so impose our own morality on another culture (NOTE: If we do get involved, it is because the US has stuck its nose where it doesn’t belong and only because of greed, oil, etc.) This extreme sympathy for the non-white world often leads to a reverse-relativism, whereby any action that we do is seen as terrorism or worse, but even the attacks of 9/11 are viewed through the prism of poetic justice.

- And this brings us to Israel. Israel has become a poster child for these people. It is a racist, Nazi, genocidal, Apartheid, empire whose goal is the total annihilation of the Palestinian people, whose land they violently invaded in 1948. Israel is the cause of most of the ills of the world, including hatred for the US, all conflicts arising in that region and perhaps elsewhere, and above all, it is the cause of Muslim terrorism. The only thing that this group cannot agree on is whether Israel is our creation, our Frankenstein’s monster, so to speak, or whether it is WE who are controlled by Israel (in others words, which of us id Darth Vader, and which is the Emperor). Although not EVERYONE in this group is anti-Semitic, indeed many of its mot prominent leaders (Noam Chomsky in particular) are themselves Jews, most believe that our unholy alliance with Israel is due, in part or in whole, with the disproportionate and presumably disloyal influence of American Jews, whose first loyalty is to Israel and “their own kind.” Start a protest against the Iraq war, launch a march against globalization, a conference against racism or a peace rally for human rights, and you will see signs of the star if David next to a swastika, images of goblin looking Jews eating Palestinian children, and other such signs. In the land of this group, all roads lead to Israel.

The above points pretty much describes the ideology of this group which I have called “the far left.” I welcome any disagreements with my observations or addendums, particularly from Mr. Friedman, whose opinion I have grown to greatly respect.

(PS: Everything that I have posted here is documented and I would be more than happy to supply the source of my information for anyone who wants them)”

http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=55396


Les Hildering - 3/15/2005

"It is odd to see the West's passionate defenders of human rights, gay rights, female equality, and secular humanisim side with", for example, with Israel


Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/15/2005

Another interesting dissonance to consider is that the anti-Israel left has allied itself with some of the most reactionary and illiberal forces in modern history. It is odd to see the West's passionate defenders of human rights, gay rights, female equality, and secular humanisim side with, for example, Hezbullah, Iran, and Hamas against the Zionist entity.

Put another way, if you think that the state of liberal freedom, free speech, and equality and justice for all are endangered under Bush, Christian evangelicals, and the Patriot Act, just wait to see what happens if Israel is taken over by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

This strange bedfellowship is increasingly revealed in instances in London and other places when members of Queers for Palestine have been routinely beaten up at anti-Israel protests for daring to challenge Palestine's human rights record, even as they give their unwavering support to Palestine's struggle for self-determination.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Adam,

As always, yours is an excellent post. You might add to the list of flags the many European flags which incorporate the cross.

You might also add the Arabs who have served as cabinet ministers in Israel.

You might add that Israel, unlike its neighbors, has genuine freedom of religion. Try practicing Christianity or Judaism in a public way in any country near Israel. And, note: many, if not most, European countries have a single established religion, Christianity.

I frankly cannot imagine how a liberal can object to Israel on principle. A person can say, this or that policy is bad but to object to a country which has contributed substantially to the world in numerous fields, has outstanding freedoms under terrible circumstances, etc., is bizarre, to say the least.

One only need to compare Israel with France or Germany. France bans public expression of religious devotion (e.g. the head scarf). I am aware of not one Muslim or Arab in the country's national assembly. None, so far as I know, on a high court. None, so far as I know, who is a cabinet minister. Etc., etc. France, in fact, has a right of return law for people of French blood - whatever that means -. Yet... 10% of France is Muslim but, in effect, they are entirely unrepresented and the law favors the French.

Germany, like France, has no Muslims - Turk or Arabs - national legislators, at least so far as I know. Not a single such justice on the country's highest court. Not a single such ambassador. Etc., etc., And, like Israel, Germany has a law of return for people of German heritage. Again... A substantial portion of Germany's population is Muslim but, in effect, they are entirely unrepresented and the law favors Germans.

Britain, you will note, had colonies all over the world and colonists did not quite have the rights of Englishmen and English women. My recollection is that such even applied in places like Hong Kong. England, I recall, sent its navy to have it out with Argenina over the Faukland Islands - which, presumably, has British colonists on it. Yet, no one says that Britain has no right to exist.

In fact, the main reason for objection to Israel - and this should make a liberal's blood boil - is moneyed interests and, most particularly, oil. The so-called moral objections find support because there is money to made - lots of it - in the Arab countries.

In the case of Europe - where criticism of Israel is the loudest and most outrageious, the fact is that Europe has pursued a policy, which originated in France, to gain advantage with respect to the Arabs. Such policy has related in part to Europe's need to secure oil supply (and such issue came to a head after the Arab oil embargo in 1973) and to sell military and other technology to the Arabs. Europe, except when pushed, supports the status quo in the Arab countries no matter how disfunctional they may be.

Now there is nothing wrong with attempting to secure economic advantage as the Europeans have done. But, the price demanded by the Arab side, which Europeans have willingly paid, involved the EU's officialdom adopting the Arab view of the Arab Israeli conflict and such view has reached an hysteria since 2000. If you examine European policy, you will note that Europe's version of an even-handed policy about the conflict reads nearly word for word from the policy published by the Arab League. And, European politicians, in pursuit of advantage, have helped fund institutions which spout the Arab version of history, including of the Arab Israeli dispute. Such has included funding education at the university level with an Arab positive approach and an approach which demeans Israel.

Now, no liberal ought to speak kindly about the effort to demonize Israel, especially when the objection is really economic. While Israel, through some of its settlement policy (i.e. settlement on land which Israel ultimately intends to cede), has not always helped its own cause, such is not justification for demonizing Israel. And any real liberal knows the difference and is offended by the demonization.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

Les,
I think you are absolutely correct in your assessment and I would identify the turning point as 1967.

Since that time, the Palestinians have been viewed as the victim, first of history, than of Israel, and today of what many liberals perceive as the most conspicuous example of Western imperialism as manifested through the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (and indeed all of historic Palestine in many circles).

Virtually any left-leaning demonstration on any topic, be it a protest against the war in Iraq, demonstrations against the WTO and World Bank, or anything else I can thing of commonly sees signs amongst the crowd of a Star of David twisted into a swastika (this, among other things, has prevented me and my colleagues from joining numerous protests that I thought were otherwise worthwhile).

A google search of virtually any combination of “left,” “hate,” and “Israel” reveal a host of articles, some interesting, others mere rants of why this situation has developed, but I do agree that “the left” (to be distinguished from liberals or liberalism) do harbor am intense dislike, indeed outright hatred of Israel and tend to designate it accordingly. Thus any negative word or phrase that one can possibly attribute to a nation has been used to describe Israel including, by limited to, Nazi, racist, fascist, Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc.

Of course, although Jews are overwhelmingly liberal (they are the largest Democratic voting block after blacks) many also support Israel, but not all (Noam Chomsky immediately comes to mind). It should be noted that being Jewish does not make one automatically a Zionist and that the vast majority of Zionists in this country are not Jewish at all, but evangelical Christians.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Edward,

Are you agreeing or disagreeing with my assertions. Certainly, a list of military actions hardly answers my argument since, again, one needs to consider similar context, which is a state of war. The issue is the nature of the responses and their circumstances and goals.


Les Hildering - 3/15/2005

Is it possible that Palestinians are assuming the traditional Jewish mantel of underdog and outsider?
Is that why for the first time since the creation of Israel that American left is no longer totally in support of Israel?
I wonder if the spread of diversity has increasingly observed Jews as very powerful or a component of power and privilege and Arabs as a minority. I don't know but I am struck at the left's growing disenchantment with Israel which frankly was rarely seen 10 years ago.

When Harvard's Summers tried to paint critics of Israel as antiJew, many felt he was revealing growing Jewish frustration with the lack of uniform support for the nation of Israel among the educated people. I don't know but a nation with nukes, with the backing of the world's only superpower and with Apaches and tanks is hard to see as a besieged nation under attack.

Jews may see themselves as underdogs, maybe they are, but that vision I think is increasingly hard to maintain among America's progressive community. Am I wrong or right?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

1) “Is any country that by law and tradition privileges through ethnocentrism a religion over all others a democracy or a theocracy or if you will a partial democracy?”

Don’t almost all countries do this? After all, American law is based entirely on Western Christian notions of morality. Religions whose religion or tradition calls for harming animals, smoking peyote, preventing women from leaving the home are, at the bare minimum discouraged while the Protestant ethic of individuality, private property, and free markets (if we are to believe Weber) are codified through law and tradition.

Furthermore, a look over the religious makeup of our government (both state and local) and a reading of virtually every presidential inaugural address leaves little doubt that Western Christianity is “privileged” while other faiths are merely tolerated.

This may not be morally right and may not even represent the type of democracy you are referring to, but it is the way the United States has been formed and judging by the strong negative reaction of European countries over massive immigration of Arab Muslims and North Africans, one can clearly see this same “privilege” there as well.

This, of course, is to say nothing of the persecution non-Muslims face throughout the Middle East and Africa, the Sudan perhaps being only the most egregious example.

2) “How can a liberal intellectual look at Israel and defend the notion of a country, not to mention its flag, that is so ethnocentric and dismissisve of multiculturalism and pluralism.”

I don’t know about other intellectuals, but as a liberal, my support for Israel is based on the fact that the country represents the liberal policies that I support, including the following:

- Freedom of speech and of the press, no matter how critical they are of government action

- Israel is the only state in the region where homosexuals are not subject to physical retaliation
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3211772.stm

- Unlike even the United States, who interned Japanese Americans in camps simply for the unsupported threat of infiltration, Israel employs no such restrictions on Israeli Arabs despite a far greater security concern. Arabs in Israel have equal voting rights, currently hold 8 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, have held various government posts, including one who served as Israel's ambassador to Finland and the current deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, and even a justice on the Supreme Court. In 2002, the Israeli Supreme Court also ruled that the government cannot allocate land based on religion or ethnicity, and may not prevent Arab citizens from living wherever they choose.

- Israeli treatment of women and minorities are remarkably liberal, and exceptionally so compared to its neighbors

The Israeli flag is, unfortunately, an exception to this list of liberal actions, as are several other Israeli actions that I oppose on liberal grounds, and I personally would have loved to see another symbol on it (or none at all). However, Pakistan’s flag has the crescent and the star (ditto with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey), traditionally Islamic symbols, Saudi Arabia has a flag that says the following right on it, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.” I have also never heard anyone object to the flags of numerous European countries which contain am image of the cross.

I would be more than happy to denounce them all but will not single out Israel for some special or unique crime.


Edward Siegler - 3/15/2005

...respond to Mr. Friedman's statement that Israel has behaved "rather well compared to most other countries" by listing every instance of an Israeli military operation without mentioning why those operations took place and with a detailed accounting of every bad thing that resulted from them? This discussion would seem incomplete without it.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Les,

No. The idea of a Jewish state is not racist, unless you hold that the idea of a French state, a German state or a Russian state is racist. The issue is what politics the state has pursued and, when particular politics were pursued, under what circumstances and for what reason.

In the case of Israel, the bottom line is that neither Europeans nor Arabs ever treated Jews as equals. That is the initial context which relates to Israel's existence and policies. The rest is conditioned by the fight by Arabs to eliminate Israel on pretext grounds such as Zionism's allegedly racist character when, in fact, the issue is that Muslims reject Jewish rule as inherently illegitimate and many Christians, particularly in that part of the world, hold that Jews are the deicide people and condemned to wander the earth. With the actual circumstances in mind, Jewish politics in Israel provides Israeli Jews with the same rights as other peoples on the earth.

Now, Israel, like the rest of the world's countries, does its share of bad things. However, it has not behaved worse than any of the Western countries - which live under easier circumstances - and certainly far better than any of the Arab countries. In fact, Israel has behaved, particularly since it has real enemies who employ war-like tactics, rather well compared to most other countries.


Les Hildering - 3/15/2005

Is the notion of a Jewish state racist?
Would the notion of a Protestant United States be racist?
Is the notion of an Arab state under the Shariah racist?
Is any country that by law and tradition privileges through ethnocentrism a religion over all others a democracy or a theocracy or if you will a partial democracy? How can a liberal intellectual look at Israel and defend the notion of a country, not to mention its flag, that is so ethnocentric and dismissisve of multiculturalism and pluralism.

I would say the same about the Vatican but the Holy See is in many ways a mere appendage of a state.

I strongly support Israel's right to live and do not approve of bombings and suicides but I don't think either that one side has claim to modernism and "western values."


Edward Siegler - 3/15/2005

Could it be that there is a fundamental distinction between deliberately targeting civilians for the sake of striking terror into the hearts of common people and combating armed opponents? Could there be a difference between non-combatants being killed accidentally and non-combatants being killed on purpose? Is there a real difference between manslaughter and murder or between homicide and accidental homicide? Or are these false distinctions invented by "power politics?"


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Diana,

Excellent post as usually from you.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Oscar,

In response to your comment, there may be something to the dissaffection argument. However, I do not think it all that well translates into Western politics. There, of course, is the exception of dissaffected Muslims living in Europe - as Atta did -. However, I do not think that his reaction is satisfactorally explainable in Western, political terms.

I think to understand the terrorists, one needs to leave one's assumptions behind. I say this in view of your comment "Their peculiar interpretation of Islam provides a vocabulary for understanding both the problem and their role in a solution."

Please note what I am not contesting: Islam is a great religion. The religion is a source of peace to its followers. The culture it created has brought great joy to its followers and has added substantially to the world and its culture. It is not an evil religion.

That said, Islam is not really that much like Christianity. Unlike Christianity, Islam is not only personal but overtly political. As Ibn Warraq would say, it is a totality, governing all aspects of life and politics.

Moreover, the politics of Islam, as a religion, have a purpose. While part of that purpose is clearly to permit followers to lead a good life, akin to the sense understood in Christianity or any other religion, another part, which is more important to non-Muslims, concerns how Muslims are to address the non-Muslim regions and those non-Muslims who came under Muslim rule.

The religion divides humanity into believers and others. That, you will note, is true of all monotheistic religions. However, Islam has rather specific things to say about the divide which are substantially different from Christianity or Judaism or any other religion I know anything about.

As I have mentioned, the world is divided between the dar al-Islam (House of Islam) and the dar al-Harb (House of War). You and I live in the House of War and, in the context of Islam, are harbis - that is people who, by definition, are at war against Islam. The region of the dar al-harb, whether it is Israel, America, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Vietnam, etc., were once, whatever the facts, Muslim and are not now rightfully held by non-Muslims.

Islam posits a goal of righting the wrong inherent in the above divide. Such involves not merely a spiritual war and evangelical war but, as necessary, actual fighting, when and where circumstances permit.

Now note: the goal of world conquest, politically speaking, is hardly unique to Islam. Such is the goal of fascism, communism and various other philosophies and governments. However: and this is a critical point: The fact that Islam is not alone in seeking to conquer does not negate the fact that Islam has that goal inherent in the faith. Which means, such belief, to the extent held by Muslims, is rather dangerous for non-Muslims because such belief causes actual war. As VS Naipaul says, Islam can be thought of, at least as it relates to non-Muslims, as a form of imperialism.

In the context of Islam, many believing Muslims hold the view that Jihad, for purposes of conquest, requires the establishment of a caliphate. Others disagree but, so far as I have read, most view the caliphate as an important prerequisite to conquest.

I mention the above since it ties directly into our discussion of terror. Which is to say, the concern here is that, in fact, the terrorists have not latched onto a peculiar version of Islam. Instead, they have latched onto the Islam which existed prior to the time that Europeans came to control the Muslim regions and back to the time before the Muslim armies were decisively defeated.

Which is to say, the real concern is that the Islamist terrorists are, in fact, part of a revival of classical Islam. If that supposition is correct - and I think it is likely -, terrorism will not be a passing fancy. To the extent that such terrorism succeeds, it will continue to be used, not to avenge oppression but to restore the Caliphate.

Note: it may be that traditional rule by a Caliphate would assert a form of reason which the terrorists, who have no land to rule and, hence, no responsibility, reject. In such circumstances, the Caliphate could potentially acknowledge that the goal of conquest is impractical. On the other hand, what we have seen from Islamist rule in Iran (which is Shi'a which has slightly different ideas but there is an analogy nonetheless) is that a governing authority with responsibility has worked with terrorists. Were Iran's power to become unchallengable (e.g. if it were to obtain a substantial nuclear force and missile capability) - which, eventually, it will since there is no imaginable reason for any country to disadvantage itself to enemies and potential enemies -, the great probability is that the use of terror against the West will increase very dramatically because there would be no practical response, apart from war against a nuclear power which would not be a realistic option. Which is to say, a Caliphate might also make matters far worse. I suspect the latter is the greater probability.

Unless and until the Muslims themselves decide to reform the imperialist aspects of the religion, we can assume that such will play a major role in the thinking of Muslims, to the extent that such politics can be pursued. That includes people devoted to terrorism.

Please note: I doubt that most Muslims much think about Jihad or conquering the world. So, in that sense, the terrorists are not ordinary. However, to suggest that the terrorists are outside of the mainstream of Muslim thought is, I think, contradicted by history.

Now, dissafection surely plays a role in how people think. On the other hand, to the extent that Muslims turn to religion for answers for their dissafection, they are going to hear about the glories of Islamic conquest, the reason for such conquests and the Jihad doctrine.

As the scholar MJ Akbar (an Indian Muslim) has written, in his excellent popular book Shade of Swords (pp's xv - xvi):

Jihad is the signature tune of Islamic history. If today's Muslim rulers are reluctant to sound that note, it is often because they are concerned about the consequences of failure. As in every bargain, there are two sides. Allah promised victory to the Muslim, but only if the believer kept faith with him. Defeat becomes an indictment of the ruler, and is therefore risky, particularly as Muslims have a long tradition of holding their rulers accountable. They are enjoined to do so.

I submit that the Islamic terrorists have latched onto the very point above made by Akbar.


Oscar Chamberlain - 3/15/2005

Speaking only for myself, I have a tendency not to comment on articles that bring up something entirely new to me, except perhaps to than the author.

So it is at least possible that a lack of comments does not always equal a lack of interest.


Diana Applebaum - 3/15/2005

I find it troubling that Juan Cole and more than a few posters to this list spend vast, almost pathological amounts, of time focusing on the crimes of the Jews - real and imagined. There is nothing new in Cole's analysis this week. And nothing new in the anti-Israel allegations made in these posts.

The news on this week's list - in the sense that an old but unfamiliar story can be "new" - is in the fascinating post by Tessa Morris-Suzuki about the forced "repatriation" to North Korea of tens of thousands of ethnically Korean citizens of Japan - well, not citizens exactly, the stripping of their citizenship was part of the Japanese strategy for ridding itself of this unwanted minority.

The article has been up for 24 hours, and there is not a single posted comment. Why? Well, it's not about America and its not about the Jews. Odd how defenders of human rights tend to lose interest when it's not.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Omar,

In response to your comment that the US was Israel's main backer except for a short time, the US had rather little to do with Israel until well after the Six Day War. That is no short period of time.

I comment next on your "forced" remark in conjunction with the immigrants political motives.

First, the vast majority of people who migrate - and this was true of Jews at all times in the region - were not overtly political. Instead, such people merely wanted to make a life. However, there were some people with political motives but, again, until the 1930's - after Jews began being killed -, the politics was mostly to find accommodation and acceptence and a way to participate in the region's politics.

Now, you claim that the migration was forced on the Arab population. My response is, so what? People are forced on each other all over the world - even now. In the US, blacks migrated from the South to Northern cities. Whites in the cities objected and claimed the Blacks were being forced on the Whites and changing the culture. The newspapers saw that objection for what it is, RACIST. I do not see how the Arab objection is any less racist.

The appropriate response to migration is to find accomodation. That applied to both sides since, in fact - as you admit-, the migration was permitted by the rulers. That, rather than fighting, ought to have been the end of the matter.

As for the equality issue, you misread what I wrote. I noted the power sharing arrangement in Lebanon and the trouble it has caused. I note that permitting non-Muslims to participate in governing in Muslim countries has been - and remains - rather problematic. There is a millennia of history supporting my view.

Your most significant point, that Jews dispossed and displaced Arab from their homes is, I think, a distortion of the facts. While there were Arab displaced from their homes, that is not the entire story. First, such displacement was the result of a war started by the Arabs. As Benny Morris has stated:

Critics of Israel subsequently latched on to those findings that highlighted Israeli responsibility while ignoring the fact that the problem was a direct consequence of the war that the Palestinians - and, in their wake, the surrounding Arab states - had launched.

"Peace? No chance," The Guardian, February 21, 2002, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,653594,00.html. I see no reason to doubt the noted point.

Moreover, if I recall correctly, Jews were also displaced. Correct me if I have the figures slightly wrong, but there were about 100,000 Jews, all told, living in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as Gaza. All of these people were dispossesed - as much so as the Arabs. From 1948 to mid-June in 1967, Jews, and not just Israelis, were not even allowed to visit places like Jerusalem - which is the holy of holies in Judaism. Jordanian law, to this day, does not permit Jews even to become a Jordanian citizen. Yet... Jews have lived in that region, until they were expelled, for more than two millennia.

Which is to say, the issues are not so simple as you suggest.

And, for whatever reason, the Arab world took out their displeasure against Israel by oppressing Jews in Arab dominated countries. Hence, all told 856,000 Jews were persecuted and then dispossessed from their homes - being forced to leave their belonging behind - accross the Arab world.

It seems to me that the issue for Palestinian Arabs is not dispossession or displacement. The issue is that the refugees were not resettled. That, however, was a political decision which did not need to be made. And that decision, and the disaster it caused, was not made by Israel nor did Israel approve of it.

Which is to say, Christians were displaced in very large numbers from Turkish land, Muslims were displaced from Greece - none of these people were allowed to return to their former homes and the same for their offspring and none can return now. In the case of the Indian subcontinent, 14 million refugees were created including Muslim who ended up in Pakistan and Hindus who ended up in India. None of these people or their offspring has been allowed to return to their former homes. In Europe, 12.5 million Sudeten (i.e. ethnic Germans who had, for many, many centuries, made their homes in places which became, in modern times, Poland and Czechoslavakia) were, at the same time that Arabs and Jews were fighting, were forced at gun point to give up their homes and live in Germany. None of these people or their offspring has been allowed to return to their former homes. Which is to say, but for a political decision by the Arab side, Palestinian Arabs would long ago have resumed a normal life - just like Jews who were expelled from Arab controlled terrority and countries. That, in a nutshell, is the issue.



Oscar Chamberlain - 3/15/2005

What I am trying to do, perhaps successfully, perhaps not, is understand Al Qaeda in the context of its environment. I dn't think that I conflated the two, as you suggest.

An idle thought. It would seem that some Al Qaeda leaders have a background vaguely similar to leftist intellectuals: children of some privilege who become disaffected from that privilege. The disaffection has some legitimacy as it is rooted in part in the oppression of their governments. Their peculiar interpretation of Islam provides a vocabulary for understanding both the problem and their role in a solution.

Any thoughts?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

In point of fact, there are numerous posts here that I find interesting and wish I had the time to respond to all of them. However, I generally reserve judgement on posts unless I feel I have something to contribute to the dicsussion.

If you disagree, I would be more than happy to address any specific questions you have about my feelings on this issue rather than simply read you make an accusation about what posts I choose to respond to.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

Les,
I disagree with your suggestion and believe that there is nothing wrong at all with criticism and even flat out dislike for Israel, Israelis, or Israeli policy. However, if you post something unfair about Israel, the United States, or any other nation or topic, you must be prepared that others may step in to disagree.

When one uses a term like "Super-Jew" to describe a defender of Israel, I do not see how one can reasonably argue that ethnicity has nothing to do with it.

As I have said in my post before, people that I know (including myself) are loath to use the accusation of anti-Semitism arbitrarily or without cause, however as soon as the subject of Israel comes up, the accusations inevitably come up that Israeli supporters think all criticism is anti-Semitic. This, to me, is a clever way of trying to preempt any defense of Israel by making the defender feel as if the defense is somehow illegitimate.

I have never said, or even suggested, that anyone’s argument is inspired by “loathing of Jews” and believe that this again is simply a straw-man argument.

As for your claims that my “activities on this post are not ideological but utterly dispassionate analysis disassociated with his ethnicity,” I agree and do my best to keep it that way.


Les Hildering - 3/15/2005

Few deny LEHI was a terrorist group. That is not to say Palestinians have not engaged in terrorism either or the US. I agree many Palestinians do not want Israel to exist and vice versa. Yet the stronger state of Israel as Adam,
N and others need to realize can make the concessions due to its power and backing by the US. I think Diana makes some good points too but I think generally these posts reflect EVERYONE'S IDEOLOGICAL position as Adam apparently charges only those who may not agree on Israeli issues.


Les Hildering - 3/15/2005

I think Mr Moshe comes close however to implying that intellectual criticism of the State of Israel is attacking his religion. Note Mr Moshe's use of the "ideological" as a kind of implication that one's argumentation is not inspired by ideas but loathing of Jews. Of course Mr Moshe's activities on this post are not ideological but utterly dispassionate analysis disassociated with his ethnicity.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Les,

The PLO engaged in countless massacres in Lebanon. In fact, the PLO and its allies killed 100,000 people - and Arafat himself ordered many of the massacres.

At least in part for revenge for some of that killing, the Maronite militia - known as the Phalange - massacred Palestinians including - among other incidents - at the two noted refugee camps. Sharon is charged with having not realized that the Phalange would have murder on their agenda. That may or may not be a fair assessment. I think it unfair but I can understand one arguing otherwise.

In any event, the bottom line is that the massacre itself was the work of the Phalange, for the Phalange's own purposes. And, if you read the Kahane commission report, that fact is made clear. Since you rely on that report for your assessment of Sharon, you presumably have to accept the basis for the commission's findings, which include primary responsibility by the Phalange and for the Phalange's own purposes.

Now, in a war that killed far more than 100,000 people, you complain about one massacre, committed by Maronites and find only the involvement of Israel important and worth mentioning. Why is that, Les? Is your view that Arabs have no reasoning power so that they are not conscious moral actors? I await a rational explanation.

What should we say, Les? Were the massacres by the PLO, ordered by Arafat and his underlings, unworthy of mention? Is the fact that the main actors in the Sabra Shattila massacre, from the Phalange, are unimportant to events in Lebanon? Is it that you just do not like Israel? Please educate me.


E. Simon - 3/15/2005

I think your criticisms of Israel are valid, and those noted can be said to be helpful against abating terrorism, but we know terrorism against Israel has a long history. Particularly one might note the 19 year history during which the only land of which Israel was in occupation was land alloted it (+ceasefire lines w/belligerent neighbors) by the U.N. Surely we can say that after Oslo the terms changed and that Palestinian recognition of Israeli security beyond a certain land boundary should have gone faithfully unquestioned. But given the length, depth and breadth of the conflict and the entrenched and unrealistic tenacity of the various Arab positions for so long (-demonstrated Israeli willingness to make peace with and give land to Egypt) the onus lay with the the party who had claimed to have so radically changed course as to make reconciliation possible - the Palestinians. Renouncing violence was seen by Israel as a sine qua non as lives can not be given back but land can. Especially land with evacuated housing, that might in the future be made available to a people who claim to lack for it and long for dwellings as such.

Also, one should distinguish between members of Israeli parliament who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state and official state policy to negotiate with a serious Palestinian interlocutor to that obvious end. Hamas will also be less problematic if it can be successfully incorporated into the P.A., regardless of the fact that their preferred, official stance will likely remain the same. And one should distinguish between settlers who act as terrorists but can be reigned in by a state willing to do so and Palestinian terrorist factions who previously lacked a willing governmental structure to reciprocate.

I also think it's unrealistic to expect that what would have been available (and was OFFERED) in 1967 should be available in 2005. A country should not have to suffer by giving up assets acquired as a result of banking on building up its own protection in the face of longstanding and recidivist military onslaught. Of course the Palestinians should get contiguous territory with virtually all of Gaza, most of the West Bank, access to and governance over parts of Jerusalem and perhaps land swaps with parts of Israel, but again, this just shows how the territory issue has many more creative outlets for resolution than does the targeted murders of civilian non-combattants.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Oscar,

I posted the below in the wrong place and am re-posting it for your attention.

You write: On the other hand, Islam, as a religion, is not a bit more agressive and is not a bit less peaceful, than any other major world religion: Christian, Budhist or Judaism.

What is the basis for that assertion? While I do not think Muslims are unusually violent, the Jihad doctrine in Islam is rather interesting and quite different from war doctrines in Judaism or Christianity. I am not as familiar with Buddhism so I shall ignore it.

In fact, Islam posits a world with two warring forces in which Muslims are asked to fight - as in war - a near eternal battle. More particularly, there is the dar al-harb, land of war, which is posited to be at war against Islam. The dar al-Islam is the realm under Muslim rule. Jihad - a form of total war - is a force intended to conquer the dar al-harb and bring it within the rule of Islam.

Such a war, you will note, is quite different from the concept of crusades or holy war in Christianity. And Judaism has not had such a doctrine for millennia.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Oscar,

You write: On the other hand, Islam, as a religion, is not a bit more agressive and is not a bit less peaceful, than any other major world religion: Christian, Budhist or Judaism.

What is the basis for that assertion? While I do not think Muslims are unusually violent, the Jihad doctrine in Islam is rather interesting and quite different from war doctrines in Judaism or Christianity. I am not as familiar with Buddhism so I shall ignore it.

In fact, Islam posits a world with two warring forces in which Muslims are asked to fight - as in war - a near eternal battle. More particularly, there is the dar al-harb, land of war, which is posited to be at war against Islam. The dar al-Islam is the realm under Muslim rule. Jihad - a form of total war - is a force intended to conquer the dar al-harb and bring it within the rule of Islam.

Such a war, you will note, is quite different from the concept of crusades or holy war in Christianity. And Judaism has not had such a doctrine for millennia.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Oscar,

There are a billion Muslims. They have different causes and goals. Many are allegedly angry at the US. Most, no doubt, have better things to worry about than the US and probably are not angry with anyone. The causes for those who attack us are their own causes, not the causes of the billion Muslims. The cause of al Qa'eda is the recreation of the Caliphate. What you are doing is grafting other people's alleged causes onto al Qa'eda.




Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

Mr. Khawaja,

No generic, world-wide social or political or natural phenomenon can be completely exhausted by just one theory. There will always be exceptions, like the one you
threw into the flame of the current argument on the origins and sources of terrorism. I can add more fuel to
the same flame by contributing some other facts that don't fit the shoes of "occupation" reasoning.
Noone can even prove that there is such unifying theory,
embracing all details and aspects of any more or less complicated phenomenon.
However, in all sciences, and history and sociology are no exceptions in this regard, there always has been and still is the strong tendency to generalization, to the creation of some sort of unifying theory, that would explain as much of the certain phenomena, as it is theoretically possible.
It seems to me that the Cole's article has to be regarded
as one of such attempts, and pretty successful at that too. I called it successful, because it does explain very significant bulk of the origins of terrorism over 20th and the start of 21st century, though I personally can add one more of those, that is in my view
quite significant as well: domestic anti-democratic, repressive, or outright murderous/terrorist regimes ... with no foreign occupation.
To make the major point I submit here even clearer, I
immediately "rebuff" my "regime" generalization with a couple of much stronger examples to the contrary than the one you suggested (while following your logical pattern): former Soviet Union under Stalin's rule, and Nazi Germany. Despite obviously being repressive and moreover the most murderous regimes in the history of mankind, somehow they didn't provoke any significant anti-govermental terrorist activity within the respective countries.
But I know many more justifications of the added reason
than the number of exceptions anyone, myself included, can deliver, and so I feel solid ground under the generalized conclusion I reached above. Note: the article's author illustrated his theoretization with 6 or 7 historical events, while you in the attempt to rebuff it presented just one exception. And although I'm sure you and many of us can find more exceptions of this kind, I nevertheless dare to submit that their argumentative power won't be as strong and logically meaningfull, as of the ones given by the article's author.

On the other hand, Islam, as a religion, is not a bit more agressive and is not a bit less peaceful, than any other major world religion: Christian, Budhist or Judaism.
To my view the greatest woes would fall on mainkind from
the one main source: ideological fanaticism and dogmatism, whether it was religious or secular.
Labeling any specific religion as being particularly anti-humanistic or humanistic (the tendency we currently observe) on the grounds of the 'events of the day' is ahistorical and counterproductive.
Somehow I could not read out from Cole's article what you allegedly did: application of Islamic standards to Islam.
What I did draw from it is the attempt of the application of the same analytical standards the US historians normally apply when reasoning on the actions of this country or its friends to the non-friendly ones, the unbiased practice we unfortunately encounter here so rarely it's become precious commodity.
I might not "agree completely" with every detail of Cole's
argumentation, but in essense and spirit his article is
good and explanatory.


N. Friedman - 3/15/2005

Irfan,

That is the most intelligent post I have read at HNN. Very, very good.

It would seem to me that it is difficult to view the spread the dar al-Islam sort of Jihad doctrine in Islam, unless you are a Muslim, as not being terrorist in its essence. Surely, that surely must be how the victims of Jihad have seen it through the ages - just as the Sudanese Christians and animists saw it in Southern Sudan -. On the other hand, I can see your point that a believing Muslim would not view the doctrine as such.

I checked you out after reading your post. I also am a fan of Nietzsche.


Oscar Chamberlain - 3/15/2005

My comments on the American presence in the middle East and Al Qaeda motives were based on a statement of bin Laden's. In point of fact, they probably would see our departure as a step in the direction of a caliphate.

However, of greater importance to my argument is the recognition that Al Qaeda's power at its height hinged not simply on its goals but on a more general anti-American sentiment that provided it support ranging from volunteers and money to simply looking the other way.

The people who created that environment and who provide a source for volunteers cannot be put under a single flag or cause.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

1) “It is disgusting to see how at every non-praising word about Israel or about actions of some Jews the ideological zealots of a ridiculous type a-la-Jews-always-right raise a stink of being slandered, anti-semitism.”

I speak for no-one but myself, but I have not used the word anti-Semitism on this post. Just as you seem to lament some people coming to the defense of statements which they believe are inaccurate or unfair, I too must lament the tendency of some opponents of Israel to accuse Israel-defenders of accusing everyone of anti-Semitism. This is a straw-man argument that I believe is used in order to insulate someone from the charge of anti-Semitism.

That being said, it is my opinion that your post did contain, in fact, anti-Semitic slurs, particularly your use of the term “super-Jew” to describe someone who defends Israeli actions. The term is pejorative and clearly displays a prejudice against Jews.

2) “However, it is frequently invoked by exactly the attitude demonstrated on these boards by some Super-Jews: either total denial of the wrong/crimes commited by Israel and Jews, in general, or by the perpertual attempts to justify, legitimize those or minimize their meaninfulness and impact on the ideological matters and practical policies of other countries.”

Is it not also possible that one can totally acknowledge wrongs/crimes committed by Jews or Israelis and yet still point out their differences between those actions and some other action? For example, the actions of Zionist terrorists were awful and should not be ignored or justified, but they should also not be compared to suicide bombings in cafes for the purposes of murdering innocent people.

3) “By their dogmatic and stubborn adherence to the whole sale accusations in anti-semitism, regardless of the issue in question, those archi-Sionists cause significant recruit in the ranks of real antisemits, the sad fact they never admitted.”

I hear Israel-defenders ACCUSSED of claming anti-Semitism far more frequently than I have ever heard anyone actual make a claim of anti-Semitism. I am reminded of how, during the Passion of the Christ debate, so-called “Jewish groups” were said to have accused the film of being anti-Semitic. Despite all of the hype, I was unable to locate a single Jewish organization that ever made the claim.

Furthermore, to suggest that such claims may in fact CAUSE anti-Semitism is, to me, as outrageous as claiming that Civil Rights lawsuits in this country CAUSE racism.


Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/15/2005

Mr. Petit, perhaps it makes you feel good about yourself to come onto this website week after week in order to call those who differ from your perspective stupid and uneducated, but to us adults, it hardly seems appropriate in this forum frequented by teachers, scholars, professors, and other PhDs.

But after reading and re-reading your post, I find that it itself is a perfect example of "doctrine, twisted ideology, and silly blind faith," especially the bizarre notion that the practice of non-violence is fundamentally at odds with conservativism, as if it were a political program itself rather than a mere tactic, a humanitarian means to an end. Is "argument" inherently leftist? Is "debate" inherently conservative? If you call it "hypocrisy" to argue for the virtues of non-violence, you must offer a reason. Before and after I toured some Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank in 1999, my sympathies lay squarely with their plight and against Israel. After witnessing the vicious attacks by Hamas and others against the insidious threat of Israeli pizza parlors once the violence began again, I can't help myself feeling more sympathy for the Israelis, although I still believe both sides share much of the blame. Am I a hypocrite to believe that a non-violent movement in Palestine would be more effective than terrorism?

I do not consider myself a conservative, and I have never been, to my knowledge, a "Zionist clown." Instead, I respect intellectual honesty and non-ideological sincerity. I read Juan Cole often and appreciate his expertise in Mideast history, which is often useful (for example, in deflating the ridiculous idea that the US occupation of Iraq has had some kind of magic direct effect on recent events in Lebanon or Egypt). Nonetheless, his response to the news is endlessly predictable, as he will frequently go to absurd lengths in order to interpret everything that happens in line with his own ideological pre-commitments, even to the point of completely ignoring certain events. His predictions surrounding the invasion of Iraq have turned out to be dead wrong. His vision of a Sunni-Shiite alliance between Falluja and al-Sadr never happened. When Iraqis under US occupation voted in an Iran-friendly government, he still insisted that it was a less democratic election than Iran in 1997, when every single candidate had to be confirmed by the mullahs. If Cole had any intellectual honesty, he would own up to his own failed predictions and always be adjusting his assessment of the situation. So that's why I find it useful to be skeptical of Cole -- appreciate his knowledge, but be wary of his agenda.

Other than that, I have to admit I don't know what you are talking about in most of the rest of your post, which seems a sophomoric rant at best. But I hope that coming onto HNN to sneer at your inferiors helps you deal with your anger.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

Finally, you have nothing to say in essense.
Keep it up, since this is the only way you can maintain
the integrity of your "comments".


Matt Duss - 3/15/2005

E.-
I don't disagree with what you've written, per se, just with your implied characterization of Israel as merely reacting to Palestinian terrorism, instead of carrying out policies which invite a violent response, which is closer to reality. Indeed, the new report of the Israeli governments complicity in new outpost construction is yet more proof of Israel's bad faith in this regard.

While it may be true that Israel left some Hamas terrorists alone for the sake of reconciliation, it's also true that Israel continued its inhumane policies of colonization in the West Bank, all the while insisting, preposterously, that Arafat curb terrorist resistance to that colonization. This is not meant to defend Arafat, and I know that there are some Palestinian extremists who oppose the very existence of Israel (just as there are Israeli extremists, quite a few of them in the Israeli government in fact, who oppose the existence of a Palestinian state), but one cannot seriously deny that Israeli policy in the occupied territories bears responsibility for inciting terrorism.


Arnold Shcherban - 3/15/2005

Mr. Cohn already submitted excellent, though brief, response to one of those whom I call Super-Jews below.
I just would like to add a bit more.
It is disgusting to see how at every non-praising word
about Israel or about actions of some Jews the ideological zealots of a ridiculous type a-la-Jews-always-right raise a stink of being slandered, anti-semitism.
I know slander and anti-sermitism when I see one. I also know that often anti-semitism comes "naturally" without much reason for that.
However, it is frequently invoked by exactly the attitude
demonstrated on these boards by some Super-Jews: either total denial of the wrong/crimes commited by Israel and Jews, in general, or by the perpertual attempts to justify, legitimize those or minimize their
meaninfulness and impact on the ideological matters and
practical policies of other countries.
On the other hand the crimes committed by the opposite party(ies) are always pictured as having no social, ideological or political undelying rationale, as nothing more than wanton murder out of pure hatred (remember infamous: "they hate our freedoms"?) and/or religious fanatism.
Every time the overwhelming majority of international community condemns the wrong perpetrated by Israel and/or
its soldiers/citizens those Super-Jews scream "Murder!",
accusing practically the whole world in the anti-semitism, and hate towards the Jewish state, repeatedly illustrating the main principle of all liers and
slanderers: 'the best defense is the offense'.
By their dogmatic and stubborn adherence to the whole sale accusations in anti-semitism, regardless of the issue in question, those archi-Sionists cause significant recruit in the ranks of real antisemits, the sad fact they
never admitted.


E. Simon - 3/15/2005

Matt,

For the sake of reconciliation, many former Hamas terrorists were left alone by Israel while it was assumed they abstained from engaging in acts of mass murder against its civilian population. Obviously this was stopped when Israel's assumption that the P.A. - under Arafat - would control conditions to the extent necessary to prevent those acts on that scale, proved false. Now, Abu Mazen has indicated that he intends to do something about a problem that is no longer just about mass murders of Israeli non-combattants, but about contesting whether or not a government can be constituted in his jurisdiction that has a monopoly on the force of arms. This is a very standard modern definition for government as it precludes conditions favorable to anarchy. And because of this, you will note, Israel is considering once again a decision to release many murderers to the Palestinians - as it has done many times. Prisoner releases involving hundreds to thousands of Hizbullah terrorists occurred throughout the eighties because Israel stood something to gain. Back then it (that "something") was a few captured Israeli soldiers whose lives and freedom were considered important to a democratic government. This time it is a politically stable relationship with the Palestinian Authority.

We can go on and on about the historical record. The above illustration demonstrates that the best way to deal with former terrorists depends on a way forward for the future. Most analysts of the Arab-Israeli dispute believe a future assumes governments that can deal with each other and not anarchy.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/15/2005

Actually, it was Israel's unwillingness to play by what Thomas Friedman called "Hama Rules" (named for the city in which Assad murdered up to 20,000 innocent people) that led to Israel's withdraw from Lebanon.

For a glimpse of what actually happened in those chaotic times (rather than simply assume whatever happened was because of or caused by Israel), I would strongly recommend his book, From Beirut to Jarusalem.


Diana Applebaum - 3/14/2005

Sharon failed to anticipate or to preclude the Christian Phalange killings at Sabra and Shatilla. That does not make him either a "butcher" or a "war criminal." There is a vast difference between a man who issues orders to kill, as Hitler did, and a man who fails to act affirmatively to prevent a massacre that he also failed to anticipate.

Failure in command is not admirable, but it is not murder, either.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

I am not sure how you can acknowledge the fact that it was "a Lebanese Christian militia allied to Israel" that "killed hundreds of civilians at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps," and yet still call him "a butcher and a war criminal."


Matt Duss - 3/14/2005

I assume nothing, it's a matter of historical record that both men were terrorists, Begin as a member of Irgun and Shamir of the Stern Gang.

My definition of terrorism is: the use of force or threat of force against non-combatant populations to achieve a political goal.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

Your obvious contempt for any alternative explanation is precisely why I am so skeptical of attempts to blame Sharon for something which he did not do.

"Israel had allowed the Phalange to enter the camps as part of a plan to transfer authority to the Lebanese, and accepted responsibility for that decision. The Kahan Commission of Inquiry, formed by the Israeli government in response to public outrage and grief, found that Israel was indirectly responsible for not anticipating the possibility of Phalangist violence."

I would agree with that: Israel bears "indirect" responsibility.

You on the other hand, seem to hold one man responsible for their deaths calling "Sharon, the butcher of Arab babies at Sabra and Chatila."

I would advice you to take your own advise on Israeli politics and you will see that I am correct.


E. Simon - 3/14/2005

Matt,

When Hamas and PIJ decide they want to be part of building a state that will take responsibility for the Palestinians collectively and not just a political faction acting out of its own interests alone, then a decision might be made to as to pardon them for past actions or, instead, to try them for continuing with affairs that are certainly not in the interest of that state. Should the former occur it will be a good day, not a funny day.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

I cut and paste the above from BBC. No plagiarism intended.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

Mr Sharon was Israeli defence minister when a Lebanese Christian militia allied to Israel killed hundreds of civilians at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps.

An Israeli investigation in 1983, the Kahan Commission, found Mr Sharon indirectly responsible for the deaths, and public pressure forced him to resign.

He is a butcher and a war criminal.



Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

Study Israel politics sir. Read the conclusions on Sharon's complicity. You apparently are unaware dear sir of the official record. Need I explicate it to you in full. I do have to WORK for a living you know.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

You assume that both men are terrorists. I disagree. Perhaps you could define what you mean by the term?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

Hitler was the head of the Nazis. Sharon was NOT the head of the Christian Phalangist militia. The fact that I have never once... not once... heard anyone condemn the Christian Phalangist militia for the attacks, or anyone else involved in the civil war for numerous massacres, I must assume that attempts to pin the blame on Israel is ideologically motives rather than an objective assesment of blame.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

And Hitler never visited a camp. Orders, responsibility is the issue here. Both culpable.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

For the record, neither Sharon nor Israelis killed anyone at Sabra and Chatila.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

Irfan,
Excellent points, and I agree completely.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

Or Sharon, the butcher of Arab babies at Sabra and Chatila


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

Mr. Friedman:

I think this ended up in the wrong place:
_________________________________

Okay, I read it. Please correct me where I'm wrong.

It appears Les was saying that he "wonder[ed] if those who see only one side of the dispute even know about Dayr Yassin or the LEHI perpetrators of wanton destruction of Arab civilians." In essense that Nathanial wouldn't say such vitriolic things if he, and people like him, knew what he cites.

You, in turn, said, "There were also terrible massacres in Hebron against Jews... You have not made a serious point." Presumably, you mean that because Palestinians also perpetrated atrocities that ... uh, what?

Upon review, it's difficult to not come away with the impression that it is you who missed the point. But, I'm open minded, please edify me if possible.
_______________________________

Upon reflection, Mr. Friedman, unless you feel otherwise compelled, I think we should drop this point. I'm sure we will have other opportunities to spare on more substantive matters than the one at hand.


Matt Duss - 3/14/2005

When were Shamir and Begin arrested, tried, and sentenced by the Israeli courts? Did I miss that?

In other words, don't make me laugh.


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

Okay, I read it. Please correct me where I'm wrong.

It appears Les was saying that he "wonder[ed] if those who see only one side of the dispute even know about Dayr Yassin or the LEHI perpetrators of wanton destruction of Arab civilians." In essense that Nathanial wouldn't say such vitriolic things if he, and people like him, knew what he cites.

You, in turn, said, "There were also terrible massacres in Hebron against Jews... You have not made a serious point." Presumably, you mean that because Palestinians also perpetrated atrocities that ... uh, what?

Upon review, it's difficult to not come away with the impression that it is you who missed the point. But, I'm open minded, please edify me if possible.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Yehuda,

My point was that Les was not making a serious point. I was not making the point you assign to me. Read what I wrote.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/14/2005

I have enjoyed reading the exchanges above, but every time I want to write something, someone has already expressed my own thoughts on the subject. I turn now to the article at hand.

1) “Let's think about terrorism in the past few decades in a concrete and historical way, and it is obvious that it comes out of a reaction to being occupied militarily by foreigners.”

I want to express my support of the point Diana K. Appelbaum made in the first post to this article. While this above statement, by itself, sounds like a fair enough statement, it ignores a glaring reality which is that other similarly occupied people have not resorted to terrorism in fighting occupation, and even many that have do not practice suicide terrorism. What type of conditions would propel people to kill themselves in relatively large numbers in an effort to murder as many enemy civilians as possible? That is the question and this article does not even come close to answering it. Blowing up military command centers are not the same as blowing up pizza parlors and neither are the same as blowing up YOURSELF while trying to kill as many innocent civilians as possible. It seems that there is something unique about the latter that does not seem to duplicate itself in other cultures and countries. This is the real issue at hand.

2) “The intimate connection between foreign military occupation and terrorism can be seen in Palestine in the 1940s, where the Zionist movement threw up a number of terrorist organizations that engaged in bombings and assassinations on a fair scale.”

Although it has already been said, it bears repeating that while terrorists acts committed by Zionist organizations should not be condoned, forgiven, or ignored, nor should it be compared to modern Palestinian terrorism, which is of another type, under very different circumstances and with different targets.

3) “You want to end terrorism? End unjust military occupations.”

I am afraid that it is not so simply since the definition of “occupation” seems in dispute. For example, the article mentions “American hegemony” in Iraq, but could it really be called an “occupation”? And what of Saudi Arabia? Does the mere presence of American forces constitute occupation? Is Kashmir “occupied” simply because its inhabitants want to secede? Also, what happens when the government of a country invites another country in perfectly legally, yet a small group of people within that country denounce it as “occupation”? These are questions that have some very real consequences on what American foreign policy should be.

4) “The US needs to conduct an orderly and complete withdrawal from Iraq. And when all these military occupations end, there is some hope for a vast decrease in terrorism.”

This author seems to be asking an awful lot based on flimsy evidence and promises very little in return. Why should we leave Iraq? Is it because the people want us to leave or is it because the author believes we should leave? I have seen no evidence that the Iraqi people in general or the government in particular wants the US to leave the nation in chaos and I would remind the author that it was the American withdraw from Afghanistan following the Soviet exit that arguably led to its ascension as a terrorist haven.

As a side note, I was happy to read the last portion of the article, which did something that many authors talking about the Middle East seem simply unable to do: discuss occupations other than Israel.


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

Mr. Friedman:

Okay, duly noted without objection. And the implication of your "very narrow point" is what? That the Palestinians who died at the hand of Israeli terrorists or Israeli perpetrators of atrocity "caused [their] problem" by the violent acts of other Palestinians?

Please explain (I'm fasinated).


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Yehuda,

I was making a very narrow point. Which is: the Arab side has caused its share of problems.


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

Mr. Friedman:

You wrote:

"There were also terrible massacres in Hebron against Jews. There was also a massacre of Jews shortly after Deir Yassin. Doctors and nurses were butchered. You have not made a serious point."

Is your point that since Palestinians have committed atrocities against Israelis in the past, Israeli atrocities are justified?

That is a clear example of a "cycle of violence." And, what's to prevent a Palestinians from making the same argument to justify Palestinian violence?

Can’t you see the problem with your logic?


Diana Applebaum - 3/14/2005

No, Zionist terrorists are not called "freedom fighters" b Israelis, they are called terrorists. There are not very many of them, certainly not by comparison with the ranks of Hamas or Hezbollah, but when they appear they are arrested, tried, and sentenced by the Israeli courts.


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

Mr. Friedman:

The Israeli occupation has been condemned by every country on the globe, including the United States. It is manifestly immoral and should end. Jews, of all people, should know this.

With that said, my remarks related specifically to Nathanial's statement as a threat of future terrorism perpetrated by either Jews or Israel against Palestinians, not as a statement of preference. I took it to mean that "until Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, no Palestinian will have peace." If that's true, it's a terroristic threat that must be rooted in hate.

If I am wrong, please let me know -- and explain what he did mean.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Les,

There were also terrible massacres in Hebron against Jews. There was also a massacre of Jews shortly after Deir Yassin. Doctors and nurses were butchered. You have not made a serious point.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Yehuda,

Let us assume that the hate and ideology are indistinguishable. That does not mean that Nathaniel is necessarily wrong. Now, I would not make his argument but that is another thing.

Now. I do not think it is hateful for Israel to control or insist on retaining Jerusalem. Israel controls the territory. Ownership, as the saying goes, is nine tenths of the law. So, an Israeli making that argument is not hateful. It is a natural argument.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

I wonder if those who see only one side of the dispute even know about Dayr Yassin or the LEHI perpetrators of wanton destruction of Arab civilians.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Oscar,

There is a serious lack of evidence for your point.

The fact is that we were attacked by people who say they seek to create a caliphate. That is their principle goal. Our support or lack of support of Israel does not alter or affect that goal one iota Your view is a supposition. However, over a course of many, many years, al Qa'eda managed to show no interest at all in Israel. Which is to say, your view is not much of a supposition.

We have good reason to object to a caliphate as such would result in a rival empire with religious motivation. That would potentially return the world to the state it was in before the Ghazi were defeated at Vienna.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Chris,

A little knowledge is always dangerous, Chris. If you bother to investigate, Jews and Christians have not always been treated so nice by Muslims. In fact, the norm was not very nice - even if that may be better than what Europe offered to non-Christians.

Consider: Jews and Christians in Muslim regions were required to wear separate, specially colored clothing or insignia so that they would not be confused with Muslims. The clothing varied from place to place but the purpose, frankly, was to distinguish, discriminate against and humiliate non-Muslims for purposes of controlling them.

Further, Jews and Christians were required to pay a tax to support Muslims and Muslims only. The tax, which varied from time to time but which was often rather steep, provided no benefit to either Jews or Christians who had to collect another tax to support themselves. The tax was also to be paid under humiliating circumstances in which the tax master strikes a blow on the non-Muslim. In addition, there was a special land tax that applied only to Jews and Christians.

Moreover - and this should interest you, since you claim to be a lawyer -, non-Muslims could not testify in court against a Muslim. You can imagine what problems that led to. Imagine defending yourself if you cannot even challenge your accuser with your own testimony. And, if you were injured by a Muslim, your testimony would be useless as well. That, as history records, led to two particular issues: One, non-Muslims would pay Muslims to provide testimony but, often, the money was paid but no testimony was provided or, in any event, the testimony would be perjury; Two, Muslims who injured or killed non-Muslims would usually walk away scot free or with a slap on the back.

In addition, a non-Muslim attacked by a Muslim did not have a right of self-defense. If self-defense was offered, such not only was a crime but it placed the entire non-Muslim community at risk because such self-defense violated the basic agreement that permitted the particular non-Muslim group to live among Muslims.

TO note: the origin of such a policy - racist and apartheid in nature although, at one time, perhaps better than what Europeans did to conquered peoples and nations - goes back to the origins of Islam and to the system taken over from the Bizantines. It is now part and parcel of Shari'a (i.e. Muslim law)

In any event, as the Muslim armies advanced, non-Muslim societies were normally given the choice of converting or, entering into a contract of concession. If such was not accepted, fighting would generally ensue until concession occurred or conversion occurred. In many, many cases, the conquest was followed by terrible massacres, deporting people, enslaving people and other horrors. In any event, those who survived were often given the choice to convert, die or enter a dhimma agreement. In the case of pagans (although this was not consistently followed), the choice was to convert or die - which they did in very large numbers -.

The arrangement which resulted for survivors left non-Muslims having conceded privileges (per the dhimma agreement) but no inherent rights and certainly no equal rights. The basic lack of equality, whether or not the dhimma is in place, remains a basic feature of life for those living in Muslim dominated countries.

The issue today is that (a) the above arrangement has the stamp of religious authority behind it and (b) such arrangement - which was largely wiped out by colonialism - has resurfaced with a vengeance. As a result, there has been massive disrimination and persecution of Christians in many, many Muslim countries including countries which have not officially adopted Shari'a (i.e. Muslim law) and countries which have. Hence, there has been persecution in places like Iran, Pakistan as well as places like Egypt.

In Sudan, slavery (about 200,000 slaves were taken) reappeared and was religiously permitted; 2 million non-Muslims were slaughtered or intentionally starved to death. 4 million or so refugees were created. Food was used as a weapon of forcing conversion. This horror continued for about 20 years while, as you certainly know, the papers largely ignored this tragedy while overinflating a minor dispute involving Israel.

One is tempted to think that the reason Israel became a causa celebre is that such allowed moneyed interests - particularly relating to oil -, particularly in Europe, to trade with Arabs who supported the Jihad against the non-Muslim Christians and animists of Sudan, the persecution of Christians in Iran, etc., without fear of public backlash. In fact, there is a lot of evidence supporting that contention.


chris l pettit - 3/14/2005

as long as they are your terrorists, they are ok...if they are others' terrorists, they must be destroyed...along with civilians and their societies...I get it now...

long live power politics and animals who seek to never utilise their abilities to reason and recognise that all humans have rights recognised by universal law....

CP


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

"Only when the Nations refer to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel will terrorism finally end."

Wow! Consider the above remalk carefully. It's people like this, who make remarks like this, that cause the world to have seemingly unsolvable political and ethinic problems. Here must be a person so blinded by hate and ideology that he is indistinguishable from Muslims who want to push Israel into the sea -- indeed, people who wanted to purify the German race.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 3/14/2005

Yishay,


"The September 11th attacks were before occupation of Iraq. Does occupation increase motivation for terrorism? Probably yes, but ending the occupation can increase support by proving terrorism successful."

True, but you must recall that Saudi Arabia was occupied by U.S. military bases, and guess where most of the terrorists implicated in 9/11 came from?


"Soviet occupation of the Eastern bloc did not cause terrorist organizations to spring up. Why? Maybe soviet occupation was harsher then American one, maybe Czech culture was not as violent as others."

This is actually much more complicated, or at least just as complicated, then the situation in the Middle East. The Bohemian lands had been occupied by foreign rule since about 1526 (Hapsburgs). Moreover, the land that was once Great Moravia had been occupied by foreign power since about the 10th century AD (the invasion of the Magyars). Thus, the Czechs had been occupied for roughly five hundred years and the Slovaks had been essentially occupied for about one thousand years (note that Czechs and Slovaks had never considered themselves part of the occupying culture). This long time span of foreign occupation spawned the Czechs and Slovaks a unique way of dealing with foreign occupation by just surviving within the system without trying to tip the boat over (“The Good Solder Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War” by Janoslav Hasek is a magnificent novel that portrays this very outlook). In fact, the only time you see the Czechs rebelling in the modern period is when Maria Theresa and Joseph II tried to "Germanize" them (as well as Prague Spring in 1968), and the Slovaks got infuriated and had a national uprising when the Hungarians put through the policy of "Magyarization,", which as the name suggests, was an attempt to absorb their culture. The point here is that it is not necessarily that Czech culture is not as violent as others, but rather that Czechs have been dealing with foreign occupation for five hundred years and found the best way to survive within it was to wait it out. Moreover, it is not necessarily foreign occupation that breeds terrorism, although it is a driving factor, but what seems more plausible especially in regards to radical Islam is the threat of having their culture absorbed into the Western world.

“So will ending Foreign Occupations end Terror? Of course not. Ending some occupations (such as the occupation in Iraq, which was a stupid move), may lessen some hostility, and that may be worth it. But giving up use of arms all together will be encouragement to the thugs who usually control terrorists and open the west to their attacks.”

I somewhat agree with you on this point. I do not think that foreign occupation will end terrorism right away, but I do believe it will substantially decrease the number of potential future recruits for the cause.

Best regards,
Mike


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Yehuda,

My argument was that the goal and manner of the terrorism were rather different. The acts are all bad.


chris l pettit - 3/14/2005

As usual...

May I kindly direct your attention to the period during the Inquisition when the Middle Eastern Islamic groups were virtually the only ones to accept the Jews into the land that you would qualify as belonging to Israel (even though there were very few Jews there at the time...and stretching well into the next few centuries) when Fendinand and Isabella were dispossessing Jews of their lands and forcing them to either emigrate or embrace Catholicism. Or maybe the fact that a great percentage of Israeli settlers were from European states? Or that Jews and Muslims had lived peaceably in what was to be called Palestine on many occasions for hundreds of years (read Karen Armstrong and a host of others)? Why are you always turning this into the whole two state thing? Who has brought this up? Why do you always do this? Is it a personal thing?

By the way...I know you have little or no understanding of the legalities of the British mandate and exactly how it worked...before invoking that example, please educate yourself on the legal workings and violations thereof (that result in my comments that we must understand the colonial context when examining the situation).

CP


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

James,

I do not think I made an hysterical argument.

I am not even sure I disagree with all that much you have written.

I reiterate that the Palestinians adopted what amounts to a bigoted objection to power sharing. The same, you will note, has occurred in Lebanon aginst the Maronites. Unlike Lebanon, Jews managed to protect their own interest. In Lebanon, there was a bloodbath and a settlement which is, at best, interim.

One problem here is that what is now Israel never previously belonged to any of the local groups for well over a millennia. Further, the population was, historically speaking, rather fluid. The Arabs, in particular, came as conquerers (which is no different from or worse than any other group, historically speaking, but it is nonetheless true). Groups, other than Arabs had been settled (and displaced) in very large numbers over the centuries by conquerers and there was settlement of refugees of various groups by the Ottoman Empire as passions forced events in places like Greece and the Balkans. Which is to say, the Arab objection to Israel, when push comes to shove, actually concerned power sharing with non-Muslims, not the area's Arab culture - which, in fact, was not exclusively Arab in any event.

The issue I make is that the Muslims, most particularly (and I realize that this is a sweeping characterization but it is historically sound), hold that non-Muslims are only entitled to conceded privileges, not inherent rights and never equal rights. Such has been true for better than a millennia. And such is why objection is raised to rule by Jews and rule by Christians (e.g. in Lebanon). Such violates the Muslim notion of a just state.

In ancient times, such objection was par for the course. In modern times, holding such a view for religious reasons is open to serious criticism - or it ought to be -.

You might respond that Israel seeks rule by Jews. That is certainly correct. However, the issue for Jews is and has always been rather different. For Jews, the issue is and was rather clearly that (a) equal rights or anything of the sort was not on offer from the Arabs and (b) equal rights were not on offer from the Europeans, particularly in the period before WWII and there did not appear to be such a prospect thereafter (as, in fact, Jews hoping to return to their homes after WWII were massacred). Unless the issue of equality is resolved - and, with the rise of religion in the Arab world and Europe's traditional hostility to Jews resurfacing, such is a very, very long way off -, Israel has good reason to stand its ground.


Yehuda Cohn - 3/14/2005

"...the Palestinian Arab Jihadis are terrorists of a different order than the Jewish terrorists."

You must be so blinded by hate that can’t see how morally bizarre you look writing such nonsense.

Terrorism is terrorism, and it’s morally reprehensible, whether it’s committed by Irgun, the Stern Gang, Hamas, or Hezbollah; or the IRA, the Contras, or American revolutionaries. It’s the illegal use of violence to cause political change, and it’s always wrong and it always bears poison fruit.

Military occupation is equally wrong and it too bears equally poisonous fruit.

Humanity has gotten precisely the world it deserves.


chris l pettit - 3/14/2005

Mr. Rodriguez, you are absolutely right when you state that there are many root causes of terrorism. What interests me is that Cole is talking about the specific ones listed in his article...and that he can build a very strong case about those instances. It is very true that one can find many different ways to combat oppression and that the Tibetans (with the Dalai Lama) and Gandhi took very different routes. How ironic that conservative ideologues and Zionist clowns (not that you are either) can find uses for non-violence and the pursuit of human rights and the rule of law when it suits their purpose and their ideological argument! I am shocked...shocked I say...to see their rampant hypocrisy on the issue. Maybe if we recognise that there are many causes and the interrelatedness of occupation, doctrine, twisted ideologies, silly blind faith religions that can be manipulated, and all the other causes of both individual and state (read:US and Israeli) terrorism...and then realise that there are useful ways of dealing with the problem instead of Hobbesian and Machiavellian stances that have no logical or rational defense...we then can start to truly address the problem.

Unfortunately...I doubt many of the posters and "scholars" on this site are open minded or educated enough to achieve such a thing.

CP


Matt Duss - 3/14/2005

Haven't you heard? Zionist terrorists are called "freedom fighters."


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/14/2005

Mr. Dalrymple --
I'm confused -- who took whose territory from whom? There have always been Jews in the Middle East. Prior to 1948 and for decades before, Palestine was under British mandate. What mystical era are we talking about when this was not contested terrain, and why is it that the desire for two states in the Middle east constitutes a taking of anyone's land? A secular Israel for Jews, a state for Palestinians. This is not the ideal solution for some, but it is the only viable, workable solution. Accusing Siegler and Friedman of hysteria in light of the initial post by bakes seems to give away Mr. Dalrymple's politics as well as anything.
dc


Oscar Chamberlain - 3/14/2005

Actually, it is only rational to consider if United States foreign policy encouraged terrorism or, more precisely, if our actions made us a logical target. Such a question does not assume that the US is to blame, but it does assume that our actions may seem inequitous to others.

Our support for Israel is one factor that made us a target. Israel's creation was a consequence of British imperial power and, particularly from the time of the Yom Kippur War, we have become connected in manyminds with that imperial past.

The presence of troops in the Middle East is another. We know that is was a major factor in Osama ben Laden's actions.

So are some of our cultural values. In particular, our emphasis on individual freedom, including the freedom of women and the freedom to blaspheme (an utterly essential part of freedom of religion) enrage some in the Islamic world. (It apparently bugs some people on the FCC, too. But I digress.)

None of this means necessarily that we should ditch Israel, pull the troops out, or veil our women. ["Our women"? That's another digression.] We may decide, as many here have, that these things are worth that emnity.

But to pretend that what we are and what we have done are irrelvant because these guys are just crazy--and a couple of the posts to this article come close to that--that's simply wrong. Even if they are crazy.


James H Dalrymple - 3/14/2005

Lets keep things simple, when a group of people takes over another group of peoples territory, violence is the usual outcome. Each group will fight with the army they have.

America doesn’t understand what it’s like to be occupied (native Americans excepted) and this may account for your total lack of understanding on what causes a person to resort to suicide for a cause. Do you know what you would do if your house and family was evicted? The popular American film Independence Day tries to invoke this feelings of being occupied by a technologically superior power, how does America overcome this threat? – if I remember correctly by a suicide attack, and this film came out way before 9/11. There may have been innocents on that spaceship, cooks, cleaners. Ok, just a movie but there was no outcry about how disgusting and un-American it is to fight this way.

Throughout history people have used elaborate theories to justify their movements but to me anyway it’s all depressingly simple. Humans have always moved about (otherwise we would all still be fighting in Africa), and we have always fought over territory and the fight has always been brutal. Terrorism is awful, shock and awe is shockingly awful. From the point of view of colonisers, sometimes colonisation is successful, America, Australia etc. sometimes unsuccessful, Europe’s colonisation of Africa.

The way I read Mr Bakers posting is that Israel is probably going to fail because although initially successful they are losing momentum and probably don’t have the power to totally defeat the peoples who are fighting for their territory. The Arab people probably have the numbers and the will to win in the long run. It’s simply too early to tell.

Ps. I don’t mean to get stuck on the word colony but I don’t know any other word that describes the state of affairs when one group takes another groups territory.

Pss. Mr Friedman and Mr Siegler, becoming hysterical is no way to construct an argument.


Nathaniel Brian Bates - 3/14/2005

Only when the Nations refer to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel will terrorism finally end.


Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/14/2005

You're right. It also explains why Ghandi resorted to bombing British discos in India.

There are many "root causes" of terrorism, of which occupation is certainly one. What doesn't help, however, are when ideologues like Cole only focus on the ones that support their running narrative of the world (oppression by the West --> terrorism), while ignoring the many others that complicate his simplistic view. If he were an honest man -- and he isn't -- he would also address factors that, while not lending themselves to self-righteous criticism of Westerm imperialism, are undeniably fueling the kind of anger that leads to wanting to blow people up as they eat dinner. Just a couple that come immediately to mind are how some Mideast dictatorships deflect criticism of their own repressive policies by demonizing Israel in the state media, or the Saudis' promotion of Wahabism in order to legitimize and sustain their rule.

But again, addressing those factors don't directly support any particular ideological slant, so don't expect Cole to take them seriously anytime soon -- that would require intellectual honesty.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Edward,

And so you should. Just kidding.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Edward,

It is all a "conspiracy."


Edward Siegler - 3/14/2005

...everything that's gone wrong in the Arab and Muslim world is because of the outside interference of Zionism and Imperialism. It's all the Jew's fault. IT'S ALL THE JEW'S FAULT!!


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Les,

No. Terrorism is a war tactic. It aims to instill fear in order to obtain a result. In the case of the Jihadis, they aim to destroy Israel and kill en masse it Jews and force those who survive to emigrate from their homes.

Rachel Corrie, who worked with a group that has been charged and likely has been involved more than rhetorically in massacring civilians, is perhaps an unfortunately casualty. Of course, if she knew what the Palestinian Jihadi groups are really about, she is not an innocent victim.


Edward Siegler - 3/14/2005

I couldn't access that link but I assume it would have convinced me that deliberate attacks on civilians can be a-okay if you look at them the right way.


Edward Siegler - 3/14/2005

This assumption that the people who are murdering innocent civilians must have good reasons for doing so is an outgrowth of the "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" mentality. Because the terrorists must believe that their actions are justified there must be a justification for them. Our job should be to understand what motivates them and make a deal - withdraw troops prematurely and pretend that everything will be all right; sever relations with good allies and hope that the terrorists will be happier because of this; etc.

You've got to admit, thought, that it's a pretty warm and wonderful approach. The next time a bomb targeting civilians goes off near you just assume there was a good reason for it and that it might just be your own government's policies that brought it on. Come to think of it, I'm feeling better about terrorism already.


Les Hildering - 3/14/2005

http://www.rachelcorrie.org/


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Omar,

I hardly know where to begin. However, Israel survived for decades with nothing but kind words from the US. And, in many instances, the words were not kind (e.g. in 1956).

The region in and around Israel was not an "Arab environment." It was land with many Arabs - but also a host of other people - living on it.

Migration of people to that land was not forced. It had the permission of the rulers of the land - first Ottoman and then British -. The objection to the demographic change was, as it is everywhere on Earth, racist in character.

At heart, the right of oppressed people - such as Jews were at the time - to seek refuge where refuge is available is a basic human right, one that is as old as time. In the US, there was substantial migration of African Americans from the South to the North. Communities objected vehemently to the settlement of such people in their neighborhoods. However, the objection was primarily racist in character - and was branded such in all of the major US liberal newspapers - as was the Arab objection to the presence of Jews in a country which, in fact, had had a substantial Jewish presence for millennia.

At heart, the right of migrating people to participate in politics in their new homes is also a basic human right. The objection of the Arabs was that they would potentially have to share power - an objection which has caused havoc in Lebanon but which has, more or less, after terrible wars (far worse than those between Jews and Arabs), been accepted -.

In fact, the notion of a separate state for Jews - which differs in kind from what Herzl or Jabokinski originally advocated - was born out hostility that could not be resolved. That hostility - which was based in large part on the fact that Muslims object in principle, unless there is no choice, to living under non-Muslim rule or sharing power with non-Muslims (just like in Lebanon) - led to terror directed at Jews which in turn was answered in kind. By the 1930's, the Arab and Jewish groups were on a collision course. Hence, the idea of partition.

The problem right now for the Muslim world is to reject the notion of a dar al-Islam and dar al-harb. That means, accepting non-Muslim rule as legitimate.

The problem for Christians and Muslim Arabs, which you ignore, has taken on its own dimension. Christian Arabs in Israel proper are not much in revolt. However, Christian Arabs in the PA region have been attacked repeatedly by Islamic terrorists. That terrorism has caused large numbers to leave the area. It has, moreover, helped undermine Christian support for Palestinians as witness the recent change of heart by the Vatican regarding Muslim history which is now deemed a disaster for Christians living under Islam.


Edward Siegler - 3/14/2005

But it's so much easier to just blame the Jews for everything.


Edward Siegler - 3/14/2005

End "occupation" / end terrorism. I agree - it's like an advertising slogan: Buy Coke / get stuff free! End "occupations" and give the terrorists what they want / then they'll stop shooting at us. I've got to suspect that somehow there's more to it than that.


Yishay Lehman - 3/14/2005

There are so many things wrong here, that I don’t know even where to begin, and surely I will not be able to convince Mr. Baker, so I don’t know if I even should do the effort but a few short points:
1) The holocaust happened before 1948, so the enmity of Europe is something Zionism should not be held to account for.
2) Zionism is not Imperialism. Its founders were influenced like most intellectuals of the 19th century by colonialist thinking, but it is a distinct movement. For example, the Stalinist USSR was for the Jewish state while the Imperialist Britain wavered, and was more hostile then not to the idea in the second half of the 40’s.
3) It is true that historically the Moslem world was somewhat more tolerant then the Christian one to Jews (even though anti Jew outbursts like 1840 Damascus trail were there long before Zionism), but such kind of tolerance, which means Jews are tolerated as long as they acknowledge they are inferior and pay special taxes for the right to live, is not acceptable in the modern world.
4) Israel is not the main problem of the Third world or even of the Middle East. To put all the plight of the world on this tiny state, shows the paranoia and the obsession of the world with Jews.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Yishai,

No one talks in absolutes. However, the Palestinian Arab Jihadis are terrorists of a different order than the Jewish terrorists.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

The issue of terrorism and its causes has been studied rather carefully over the years. Every imaginable cause has been invoked. The books of Walter Lacquer on this topic are particularly instructive. He rather convincely shows that there is no consistent common thread.

There was substantial terrorism in Europe at various times. Thus, Germany had terrorism (e.g. the Bader-Meinhof gang) but did not occupy anyone at the time and, moreover Italy had terrorism, (e.g. the Red Brigade) but the terrorists were not challenging occupation. If I recall, neither of these groups consisted of poor people.

In the case of the Jihadis, the evidence suggests that they are not poor, not uneducated and not all or even mostly living "under occupation." In Egypt, which has not been occupied for many, many generations, there was substantial terrorism including, in particular, terrorism directed against tourists (e.g. at Luxor). Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the other Egyptian terror groups' "grievance" appears to be that the Egyptian state is not sufficiently devoted to Islam. There has been terror in Egypt against the Copts who, on occasion, object to their exclusion from society as a result of the increasing Islamic character of Egyptian society. The Copts certainly do not occupy the Muslim Egyptians yet the Copts are attacked.

Al Qa'eda appears to object to the presence of non-Muslims who supposedly occupy Arabia. In that they claim to seek a return of the Caliphate to govern the Muslim regions, it is reasonable to assume, since Saudi Arabia is not occupied, that the grievance is somewhat of an excuse - although, no doubt, there is the issue in Islam of requiring parts of Arabia to have only one religion practiced, namely, Islam -. The group includes educated people who are not all or even mostly impoverished. Its most harmful followers, at least thus far, lived in Europe where they clearly had privileges unavailable in their places of ancestral origin.

I do not think Indonesia occupies anyone yet the country had the Bali bombing and such bombing, among other acts of religious intolerance by Muslim groups, was the work of Muslim people from Indonesia. It should be added that there is substantial religious intolerance against Christians in Indonesia including innumerable attacks on churches and the mailing of exploding dolls (in large numbers) as Christmas presents. I do not know the education levels and economic status of the Indonesian terrorists.

Can "occupation" cause terrorism? Maybe. On the other hand, terrorism which directs its primary attention to killing innocent civilians - without warning - is unlikely to pertain to "occupation." Such tactic suggests a complete lack of any regard for human life. Such is one sign of a group with unlimited ends.

Of course, there is the case of Sri Lanka where the targets were often civilians. That terrorism, unlike the Jihadi terrorism, was at least confined geographically.

Islamic terrorism, on the other hand, is defined by its International character. Which is to say, it probably has rather unlimited aims. Feeding the terror by believing it has "legitimate" grievances - although, no doubt, there are grievances, whether or not legitimate - will merely convince the Jihadis that they can employ the same tactics for any and all causes.


Yishay Lehman - 3/14/2005

is not totally correct.
Jewish splinter groups have targeted civilians (Arab ones) in their actions in the 40’s, a fact Israeli books often hide. While I think the context was different then current Palestinian attacks, and your third point is correct, the main stream of Zionism did act against the splinter groups, this fact should make us aware are no a absolute “good guys” in the difficult drama of Arab-Israeli conflict.


N. Friedman - 3/14/2005

Diana,

On point 3, you understate the facts. Arafat's funding of terrorists continued during the Intifadah.

The BBC, of all places, reported that Arafat funded al aqsa to the tune of $50,000 per month during Intifadah. When that came out, his spokeperson said that the money was to ween al Aqsa from terrorism. From what I could discern, the BBC, consistent with it pattern of obsequious coverage, chose not to question the correctness of that explanation.


Yishay Lehman - 3/14/2005

Both the statement “Want to End Terrorism? End Foreign Occupations. “ and the article itself over simplify the complex picture of fight against terrorism.
Palestinian terrorism started before 1967 (when Israel conquered the west bank and Gaza strip). While the Hamas terrorism started only after the Oslo accord, and not before when Israel had full control of the territories. So sometimes relaxation of control is a cause of terrorism and not too much control.
The September 11th attacks were before occupation of Iraq. Does occupation increase motivation for terrorism? Probably yes, but ending the occupation can increase support by proving terrorism successful.
Soviet occupation of the Eastern bloc did not cause terrorist organizations to spring up. Why? Maybe soviet occupation was harsher then American one, maybe Czech culture was not as violent as others.
Radical Islam and even non-radical Islam (and Radical left in the west) see Tel-Aviv as occupied territory. Should Israel be erased? Most Israeli citizen will see that as a price too high too pay for ending terrorism. Radical Islam even sees Spain and Sicily as occupied territory. Should Spain become Moslem and Italy give up its southern parts? I assume even Mr. Cole will not support this.
So will ending Foreign Occupations end Terror? Of course not. Ending some occupations (such as the occupation in Iraq, which was a stupid move), may lessen some hostility, and that may be worth it. But giving up use of arms all together will be encouragement to the thugs who usually control terrorists and open the west to their attacks.


Diana Applebaum - 3/14/2005

"The intimate connection between foreign military occupation and terrorism can be seen in Palestine in the 1940s, where the Zionist movement threw up a number of terrorist organizations that engaged in bombings and assassinations on a fair scale. That is, frustrated Zionists not getting their way behaved in ways difficult to distinguish from frustrated Muslim nationalists who didn't get their way."

While it is gratifying to see Juan Cole admit that Jews were an indigenous national group in British Mandatory Palestine, there are several errors of fact and analysis here.
1) the rather small Jewish terror organizations confined their attacks to military targets (Hamas et al TARGET children and civilians)
2) the Jewish groups issued warnings before a bomb would go off to insure that not even British military men became casualties (Hamas et al do not issue warnings, their GOAL is to massacre innocent people
3) Jewish authorities put a stop to the terrorism by disarming the leaders. By contrast, Arafat actually funded the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade durig the Oslo years when he was supposed to be building a peaceful civil society. Let us hope that Mahmud Abbas moves rapidly to disarm Hamas.


Diana Applebaum - 3/14/2005

“it is obvious that (terrorism) comes out of a reaction to being occupied militarily by foreigners” But of course, why didn’t I realize that. This explains why terrorism is rampant among the occupied people of Tibet, why the Christian and animist tribes of Southern Sudan constantly blow themselves up with suicide belts in the pizza restaurants of Khartoum, why the Soviet Union had to be constantly on guard against the aggressive terrorists of occupied Hungary, Lithuania, and Romania.

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