Klinghoffer Blog Archive 4-30-03 to 6-13-03
Click here for Judith Klinghoffer's latest blog entries.
THE SAD STATE OF THE ROADMAP 08-18-03
I could not have written this better.
Posted by Judith 6:06 p.m. EST
DAN PIPES AND PEACE INSTITUTE GRANTS
It seems that the Daniel Pipes controversy is reaching a peak and being the naive political amateur I am, I had to listen to Marty Moss-Cohen on NPR to figure out what the fuss is all about. Apparently, it is all about the grant money distributed by the Institute of Peace.
Without Daniel Pipes on the board, the money will continue to flow to the mainstream practitioners of Middle East Studies, those who argue that the terrorism emanating from radical Islam is a marginal though"understandable" response to Western"aggression" in the Third World as a whole and in the Middle East in particular. Their studies focus on the"sins" committed by the West against the Arab world with the creation of Israel as the most egregious symbol of this Western"aggression." Solve the Arab Israeli conflict, they have been teaching their students and telling American presidents and you have solved the problem of Middle east radicalism. No one followed this advice more religiously than President Clinton. Under no president did radical Islam enjoy greater growth than under the same president.
Consequently, when President Bush searched for a Middle east academic who could explain to him 9/11 he had to reach out to an eminent octogenarian named Bernard Lewis. For young Middle Eastern scholars who did not share the establishment's point of view had difficulty getting funded or finding a teaching position. Dan Pipes had to find private financing.
Daniel Pipes views Radical Islam as radical political ideology which uses terror as a legitimate method to achieve its goal of world domination. He wants to confront this virulent ideology in the same manner the US confronted Nazism and Communism, i.e., ideologically, economically, politically and militarily. He can be expected to support funding for scholars who would look into the governance problems which retarded Middle east development and left it prey to the virulent ideology of radical Islam.
Such funding is the lifeline of Middle east studies at our universities. Ph. D. students consciously or unconsciously choose topics which can be funded. Universities seek scholars able to attract funding. So, though as a single board member Dan Pipe's voice would not be decisive, it would help widen the range of projects funded by the Institute. Campus Watch is proof of his commitment to encouraging such much needed reform in Middle Eastern Studies.
Therefore, it is absolutely vital not only to our country's long term national security but to world peace that he be appointed to the board to help insure that Americans would be in possession of more varied, and hopefully, more accurate, analysis. Mistaken academics fearful of losing their fiefdoms should not be allowed to stand in the way!
Posted by Judith 6:06 p.m. EST
I AM BACK 08-15-03
Sorry about the lengthy silence. I had hoped to continue to post from Western Canada but it did not work out. Sorry! To be honest, little new is happening in these dog days of summer except forest fires, heat waves and power cuts. But, thank God, no major terrorist success! This does not mean that all is well. The Palestinian Authority continues promote child sacrifice and leading Egyptian Islamic clerics call for Jihad Against U.S. Troops in Iraq.
It is a small wonder that Moslems feel humiliated. Given such religious and political leadership, how else can they feel? Still, they should be encouraged by the few courageous voices which refuse to be intimidated into silence and by the fact that their voices are varied. A Saudi call for reform follows a Syrian call for reform. Then, their is a Then there is a reminder that the Arabs, too, have occupied non Moslem lands.
"RED TAPE" IS THE ENEMY OF THIRD WORLD DEVELOPMENT
My friend just came back from a year in Turkey. He has been invited to revamp their English curriculum."How was it?" I asked."The country is wonderful. The people are wonderful. The bureaucracy is terrible." His words reminded me of the Anna Lanoszka's perceptive op-ed in the Canadian paper The Globe and Mail about that very same subject."Cutting through the development barrier" means busting bureaucracy and building trust. Yes, trust! Indeed, the American success in Iraq, depends on generating trust in a country very much bereft of it.
CANADA, OH CANADA
A popular commentator of Canadian political culture summed it up thus: Canadians want to keep Americans out, the French in and the natives down in the subconscious. Well, signs of the First Nations are everywhere but what remains uncounscious is the RACISM treatment accorded to Asians in Canada. No, I am not talking about immigration laws. I am not talking about the concentration camps in which Canadians like their Southern neighbors confined their Japanese residents during the Second World war. I am talking about the treatment of Chinese born in Canada. Did you know that until 1947 Chinese Canadians could not vote, were barred from civil service as well as professions such as pharmacy, accountancy and law.
I discovered this during a visit to the Chinese Cultural Center in Vancouver. Suprised at my ignorance on the subject, I rushed to the book store. I looked under suffrage, elections, voting and nothing. Actually, I discovered that French Canada did not permit its women to vote until 1945! But there was nothing about the disfranchisement of the Chinese. It seems that they failed to pass the appropriate victimhood test.
A canandian professor suggested that Canada become "A new kind of 'World power" by"doing a job the U.S. cannot: Nation-building". After visiting Chinatown, his criticism of the US sounds more hollow than ever.
DO NOT RELEASE AL AKZA PRISONERS 08-04-03
This is not a very nice post. But it is imperative that the punishment fit the crime.
In southern Jerusalem late Sunday, a 40-year-old woman was seriously wounded and her three children were also hurt as Palestinian gunmen fired on their car, Israeli emergency service officials said. The woman's daughter, nine, was shot in the leg, while the other children were only lightly hurt by shrapnel, public radio said.
The shooting comes exactly a month after the Israeli army pulled out of the nearby West Bank town of Bethlehem and surrounding villages, as part of a deal to transfer security responsibility to Palestinian security forces.
The Al Akza brigade took responsibility for the attack. Hence, their prisoners should not be released! And their Palestinian families should know who to hold accountable for their continued imprisonment.
Mistakes are unavoidable but let us not repeat the costly Oslo ones!
Posted by Judith 8p.m. Est.
NEWS FROM THE IRAQI WMD FRONT 08-02-03
It looks as if David Kay is going to deliver for Bush. At least this is what the Debka reports.
FRENCH VANDALIZE ANGLO-SAXON WAR GRAVES
First they vandalized Jewish graves, now its the turn of those who dared to kick the Nazis out.
INDIA TOO IS BUILDING A FENCE
For decades India has been consturcting a fence to prevent militants' infiltration between India and Pakistan. The Indian fence is made of a thick mud wall, topped by an 8-foot high, 30-tier maze of barbed wire, along with Israeli ground sensors, radars, and French thermal-imaging devices to detect movement. Some 900 miles of fence have been completed, and the intent is to cover the entire 1,800 miles of border with Pakistan. The fence is now pushing ahead in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan considers this area disputed territory and objects to the fence along the cease-fire line. Some 21 bulldozer drivers constructing the wall have been shot.
Maybe there too, good fences will make good neigbors.
CHINA BITES THE BULLET 08-01-03
Good news from Korea. America did nothing and in so not doing forced China to act. After all, the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula is worse for China than it is for the US. Three cheers to the Bush administration. See my article on the subject.
SUICIDE BOMBING PAYS
That is the chilling message of this chilling article entitled THE GLOBALIZATION OF GAZA
GALBRAITH DOES NOT LIKE IRAQ
The NYT quotes Peter W. Galbraith wish to see Sadam judged by"the world" rather than by Iraqis. Of course, he works for Indict, a London based group vying for a piece of the action. This reminded me of Galbraith's keynote speech last spring in a Kurdish conference at American University (I think!). He told the audience not to settle for ANYTHING LESS THAT FULL KURDISH INDEPENDENCE. I thought that was a rather irresponsible recommendation (the Kurds with whom I discussed the matter seemed to agree) and I think his recommendation now is similarly irresponsible.
ISRAELI ARABS ARE IN DANGER
No, Israel is not the main danger facing the Israeli Arabs. The Palestinian leadership is. Having destroyed the Palestinians under their own authority, they are now turning their attention to those living in Israel. First, they recommended that they engage in fictious marriages with non-citizens and then began to train their children in blowing them selves up!
This from the Israel National News:
Police in the Galilee have arrested four summer camp organizers on charges of rebellion and incitement. The four have been running a camp they call Camp of Shahidim - Holy Martyrs - for Israeli-Arab children and youth. Channel 10 TV says the camp is designed to"erase from the children's heads the propaganda of the Zionist educational system."
The police who arrived at the camp yesterday were astonished to find that one of the organizers was a Jewish left-wing activist from Haifa, age 48, who has already been charged 150 times with incitement and rebellion. The police arrested him, as well as three others, and are pursuing a fifth.
The camp is geared for 6-15-year-olds, of which 200 attend. Education Minister Limor Livnat said she has no doubt that these camps"base their appalling content of incitement and hatred on the same material that we see in camps like this in the Palestinian Authority - funded partially by the United Nations." She stated, as an example,"The Shahids Boy Scout Camp."
MORE ON THE PRO-TERROR CONFERENCE AT RUTGERS
Well, I am NOT happy. Some Jewish organizations, including Hillel, made a tactical decision to not to challenge the conference but to use it for recruitment. Newspapers decided it is a"freespeech issue" and refuse to entertain all arguments to the contrary. Republicans to use McGreevey's support for the conference against him and so it goes. Read this article to learn more and do not forget to check out the petition asking"No sanction for promoting ethnic hatred and advocating violence at Rutgers University."
Posted by Judith 12:00 p.m. Est.
SAUDIS FUME BUT REFUSE TO COOPERATE 07-30-03
The media is filled with Saudi complaints of unjustified vilification. I needed to go to Albawaba.com for the following:
After the White House meeting, Prince Saud spoke for about an hour with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. He said later she told him U.S. authorities want to question Omar al-Bayoumi, an employee of the Saudi aviation authority who befriended two of the Saudi hijackers on their arrival in California.
Earlier, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz on Tuesday ruled out the extradition of al-Bayumi.
"We have never handed over a Saudi to a state or a foreign side and we will never do it," Prince Nayef told al-Hayat.
Reports that Omar al-Bayumi is an agent of the Saudi government are baseless and not true," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, said last week.
DO SIGN - IF YOU AGREE
HOW LOW CAN ONE SINK? 07-29-03
As I have mentioned a friend of mine started a petition to Governor McGreevey asking him to stop the ISM from holding its conference at Rutgers. At one point some people began to post hateful messages. Fair enough. But this one went too far. Somebody noticed that I share the last name with Leon Klinghoffer, the terror victim of the Achilles Laurel shipjacking. So, they posted the following signature:
Name - Leon Klinghoffer
Profession - Professional Long Distance Swimmer (wheelchair Olympics)
State/City - Bottom O' The Briny Sea
Here is an instructive paragraph from today's NYT:
But the startegy of setting condions for possible troop deployment in Iraq could backfire. When Secretary General Kofi Annan of the UN asked Mr. CHirac in May to sen Frenceh troops to lead a peacekeeping force in Congo, Mr. CHirac did not say no but responded with tough condiditions. He was said by aides to have been stunned when the conditions were swiftly met.
ONLY ISRAELI CONCESSIONS? 07-27-03
Barry Rubin whose new book about Yassir Arafat is about to hit the stands sent me this excellent analysis of the media coverage of the Abas visit:
other words, this conception of the story—not
shared by the Bush administration but dominating the
way most others are presenting it--Abu Mazin or the
Palestinians don’t have to do anything except say what
they want and explain what a great job they are doing.
Israel’s job is to make concessions, there isn’t much
question of getting anything in return except a
“continuation” of the ceasefire. Bush’s job is to put
pressure on Israel until it gives what Abu Mazin
idea that Israel might have legitimate demands or
concerns, the notion that maybe there isn’t so much of
a ceasefire after all, the very definition of the
Roadmap (which we should always remember is called a
“Performance-Based Roadmap”), and other such key
factors are left out of the equation.
can see this orientation in many of the media
stories and in international reactions. The
politicians and journalists are straining to say over
and over: what will Israel give? Why doesn’t Israel
make more concessions? It isn’t enough! Even when the
specific items—releasing the prisoners; stopping the
building of a security fence—aren’t even in the
the same time, Palestinian obligations under the
Roadmap, like dismantling the terrorist groups and
really stopping incitement, are barely mentioned or
are declared unreasonable.
There should be no doubt, however: this is not the
Bush administration’s position. Even the State
Department briefings stress the requirement for
Palestinian action and effectiveness.
Which reminds me of my favorite line in Abu Mazin’s
White House statement: The Palestinians, he boasted,
have stopped the attacks, something that the mighty
Israeli army failed to do. Funny, I can remember being
repeatedly told over the last two years by the
Palestinian leadership that of course it had no
control over the attacks and no connection with them.
He who turns the spigot off so easily is the one who
turned it on in the first place.
runner up was Abu Mazin’s statement that those
whose release he is demanding are “political
prisoners,” despite their own proud and officially
sanctioned record of murder or attempted murder.
entally, it went generally unnoted that Abu
Mazin climbed down from his earlier statement that he
would never visit Washington unless Arafat could go
anywhere he wanted.
And of course the attacks have not stopped, though
they have fallen by perhaps fifty or sixty percent. My
other favorite reporters’ line of the week was from a
journalist who explained to me that the continuing
terrorism was only being waged by “renegades.”
That sounds good to someone who doesn’t give it
another moment’s thought but the flimsiness of the
excuse is embarrassing. By definition, anyone who
attacks is an “opponent” of the ceasefire. Yet are
these people stopped, deterred or punished? Are they
insulted and disgraced or winked at and even helped?
In that case, they may be opponents of the ceasefire
but instruments of the Palestinian leadership, at
least the real leadership that continues to be in
control behind Abu Mazin’s back.
led me recently to ask about Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon’s trip to Washington. After a
few moments it became clear that the story was defined
as follows: Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazin was
going to Washington to make demands, what will Sharon
concede and what will President George Bush do if he
doesn’t do so?
other words, this conception of the story—not shared by the Bush administration but dominating the way most others are presenting it--Abu Mazin or the Palestinians don’t have to do anything except say what they want and explain what a great job they are doing. Israel’s job is to make concessions, there isn’t much question of getting anything in return except a “continuation” of the ceasefire. Bush’s job is to put pressure on Israel until it gives what Abu Mazin wants.
idea that Israel might have legitimate demands or concerns, the notion that maybe there isn’t so much of a ceasefire after all, the very definition of the Roadmap (which we should always remember is called a “Performance-Based Roadmap”), and other such key factors are left out of the equation.
can see this orientation in many of the media stories and in international reactions. The politicians and journalists are straining to say over and over: what will Israel give? Why doesn’t Israel make more concessions? It isn’t enough! Even when the specific items—releasing the prisoners; stopping the building of a security fence—aren’t even in the Roadmap.
the same time, Palestinian obligations under the Roadmap, like dismantling the terrorist groups and really stopping incitement, are barely mentioned or are declared unreasonable.
There should be no doubt, however: this is not the Bush administration’s position. Even the State Department briefings stress the requirement for Palestinian action and effectiveness.
Which reminds me of my favorite line in Abu Mazin’s White House statement: The Palestinians, he boasted, have stopped the attacks, something that the mighty Israeli army failed to do. Funny, I can remember being repeatedly told over the last two years by the Palestinian leadership that of course it had no control over the attacks and no connection with them. He who turns the spigot off so easily is the one who turned it on in the first place.
runner up was Abu Mazin’s statement that those whose release he is demanding are “political prisoners,” despite their own proud and officially sanctioned record of murder or attempted murder.
entally, it went generally unnoted that Abu Mazin climbed down from his earlier statement that he would never visit Washington unless Arafat could go anywhere he wanted.
And of course the attacks have not stopped, though they have fallen by perhaps fifty or sixty percent. My other favorite reporters’ line of the week was from a journalist who explained to me that the continuing terrorism was only being waged by “renegades.”
That sounds good to someone who doesn’t give it another moment’s thought but the flimsiness of the excuse is embarrassing. By definition, anyone who attacks is an “opponent” of the ceasefire. Yet are these people stopped, deterred or punished? Are they insulted and disgraced or winked at and even helped? In that case, they may be opponents of the ceasefire but instruments of the Palestinian leadership, at least the real leadership that continues to be in control behind Abu Mazin’s back.
HOW TO WEAKEN ABAS 07-26-03
No one is more delighted with the rise of Mahmoud Abas (it is important to drop the use of his nom DE guerre Abu Mazen) as I am. I also believe that he enjoys widespread support within the Palestinian people. Otherwise, the terrorists would not have agreed to a cease fire! He signed the road map in which he agreed to dismantle the terrorists infra structure and create a single authoritative authority with which Israel can negotiate and hold responsible for noncompliance.
Arafat signed the same agreement in Oslo and then ignored it without being held to account. How? By focusing world attention on the Israeli settlements which were NOT a part of OSLO. The terrorists and Arafat demand that Abas follow the same strategy. Instead of trying to fulfill his own obligations they told him he should focus world attention on the release of prisoners which were NOT part of the ROAD MAP.
The success of this strategy will UNDERMINE Abas and prove that Arafat and the terrorists were right - Abas does not need to comply with his obligations to benefit from Israeli concession and world support.
No - the release of prisoners is not a way to strengthen moderates and encourage Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular to take their responsibilities seriously. The opposite is true.
WHO WON THE INTIFADA?
It is worth reading Khuttab's analysis.
Unfortunately Kuttab end his thus:"To be honest I would say that the Palestinians have lost the latest round in points rather than through a knockout, which means that they still have a chance to regroup themselves. This means that national unity must be preserved at all costs. Palestinians must be careful not to fall in the trap of a civil war or a leadership struggle and, at the same time, try to agree on an honest evaluation of what is possible in the current political landscape".
In other words, do everything but do not dismantle the terrorist infrastructure.
Reports from the Bush-Abbas meeting seem to imply that Bush was not buying. We may have peace yet!
INTELLECTUAL HONESTY COMES AT A PRICE AT THE PA
But, then, I should not be too tough on Kuttab. Being honest can be dangerous in the Arab World and, most especialy, in the region Arafat controls. Read this!
I am reading Woodward's"Bush at War" and I came across something Bush said as he was planning to address the nation for the first time after 9/11
We will defeat our enemies, we will set a tone for future Presidents, he said."Two years from now only the Brits May be with us."
Posted by Judith at 9 p.m. EST
MCGREEVEY JOINS OPPOSITION TO ISM CONFERENCE AT RUTGERS 07-23-03
Well, I am delighted. In fact, this is the most delicious crow I ever ate. After checking with Assemblyman Egan's office, I am forwarding the most encouraging email I received from him. His office also assured me that the Assemblyman discussed the matter with the governor and the governor is committed to work hard to make sure that the conference does not happen. This does not mean that we can drop our vigilance. I do hope that you will help strengthen the Governor's position by signing the petition bellow.
This is the important part of the email:
In the email you sent, your criticism of the Governor for appointing Amir Baraka, is misdirected. He was not appointed by Governor McGreevey. He was appointed by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities and the New Jersey Council on the Arts. C:52;16A-26.9, otherwise known as the New Jersey William Carlos Williams Citation of Merit, only allows the Governor to present the citation. It does not allow the Governor to be part of the selection process. Nor does it allow him veto power over the selected choice.
You also criticized Governor McGreevey for his stance on the proposed conference at Rutgers University. You may be surprised to know that Governor McGreevey expressed serious concerns about this conference and his position on the conference has not changed. It is my belief that the Governor shares your views on these matters, and I feel compelled to assure you that Governor McGreevey is and will continue to work hard to end racism in New Jersey
This further strengthens by belief in democracy. Sooner or later in works.
AN INCISIVE ANALYSIS OF ANTI-AMERICANISM
I highly recommend this National Interest article> reprinted by frontpagemag.com.
CNN PLAYS GOD AGAIN
CNN editor admitted after the fall of Iraq that it had failed to broadcast the information it had showing the brutality of the regime. It is doing it again.> How sad!
Posted by Judith at 9 p.m.EST
SAY NO TO HATE IS THE NAME OF THE PETITION 07-22-03
I could not be more delighted. My friend, the father of an alumnus and a current Rutgers Univerity Student took the initiative and posted a petition asking University president and the state governor to cancel the three day pro-terrorist international conference tentatively planned to take place at Rutgers. I have just read and signed the petition asking"No sanction for promoting ethnic hatred and advocating violence at Rutgers University."
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself and forwarding it to your friends. Together we should be able to make a difference.
If you wish to know why there are few moderates speaking out in the Arab world, click here.>
Posted by Judith 8:00 p.m. EST
SAD TIMES AT RUTGERS AND NEW JERSEY 07-18-03
Rutgers University decided that the best way to inaugurate its next academic year is with a three day international conference of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement. The Movement supports"any" measure Palestinians may choose to bring about the destruction of the state of Israel. That means it supports terror and suicide bombers.
The president of the university decided that"freedom of speech" equals providing the"deplorable" views of the groups public money and a location for their conference. The AAUP university leadership did not bother to ask their members' opinions and came out in support of the President. Our governor soon backed him. I beg to differ and have only just began to fight. Here are some letters I posted to my listserv:
1.Does anyone imagine President McCormick would have agreed to have a three day Ku Klas Klan conference on campus? Or that he would have had the guts to ask Black students not to let such a conference upset the campus harmony?
2.Well, now the AAUP stepped in to protect the right of a group of anti-Semitic terrorist advocates to use university funds and locale for a three day conference. See their press release bellow.
First let's be clear, this is NOT a free speech issue. Free speech means the right to express you opinion on street corners or even march in downtown New Brunswick. It does not include the right to public funds (extracted from students) to PAY for a major conference promoting terror and homicide bombing.
Second, the AAUP"leadership" is wrong. These days, holding a philo-Semitic, anti terrorist conference would help promote 'the mission of the University as promoting the free exchange of ideas and discourse on a variety of issues, including those that are controversial". Anti-Semitism is all the rage. Note our esteemed former New Jersey poet laureate.
Finally, to hold this kind of conference at the state university is an affront to all the New Jersey citizens who lost their lives on 9/11 to suicide bombers.
What can I say, some people never learn. They must wait until they themselves are hurt. The hurt of their fellow citizens does not seem to touch them.
As a member of a family who lost most of its members during the holocaust and as a friend of Israelis and Americans who lost their lives to suicide bombers both here and in Israel, I have vowed never to commit the crime of silence. I urge you to make the same commitment.
3. Once a philosopher. Twice a pervert. This is how this New Jersey voter feels about our spineless governor. I cannot imagine ever voting for McGreevey again. The man has done nothing but encourage ethnic conflict in New Jersey. He began by appointing a premier racist named Amir Baraka (ne LeRoi Jones) to the position of New Jersey poet laureate.
Here are some of the exalted verses that made him worthy of the honor:
"Who do Tom Ass Clarence Work for
Who doo come out the Colon's mouth
Who know what kind of Skeeza is a Condoleeza
Who pay Connelly to be a wooden Negro"
Then there is:
"nihilismus. Rape the white girls. Rape their fathers. Cut the mothers' throats. Black dada
Nihilismus, choke my friends".
Then, came 9/11 and the New Jersey poet laureate responded to it with his infamous anti-Semitic blood libel.
Our governor proclaimed not to have known who he was dealing with and took long months to take away his official title. Baraka used the time to spread his racist message in schools and colleges all over the state.
Let me reiterate again: Neither the Baraka case nor the pro-terrorist"New Jersey Solidarity" conference have anything to do with the issue of free speech. Free speech means the right to express you opinion on street corners or even march in downtown Newark. It does not include the right to public funds (funds student are forced to pay to a state university are public funds) to PAY for an international conference promoting terror and homicide bombing. I suggest doubters read today's New York Times article on the subject Trenton Backs Rutgers U. on Conference along with the profile of Charlotte Kates, the group's self professed Communist leader Public Lives: A History of Left Turns
Note the following developments: At first McGreevey's spokesman said that"the governor has grave concern about whether this is going to be a balanced, open forum or a pro-scripted anti-Israeli rally and he intents to present them to President McCormick."We take this very seriously," the spokesman concluded. After he spoke to McCormick he no longer took those concerns seriously. Instead he fell back on the bogus free speech argument. Instead, he announced that there is no proof the organizers"espouse terrorism."
The governor must be the only person in the world who does not understand that"We unconditionally support Palestinians' human right to resist occupation and oppression by any means necessary" means we support terror and suicide bombings. (As Americans learned on 9/11 that any argument valid to murder Jews is valid to murder Americans, Australians, Russians, Philippines, Moroccans, etc..)
What are the governor's current concerns? Security for the racists and those protesting against them. McCormick assured him"that Rutgers will work with the conference organizers to provide adequate security for the event, while allowing attendees and protesters a chance to express their views".
So, additional public funds will be used to protect the participants in the ethnic clashes expected to accompany this conference.
BRAVO McGreevey - You really know how to bring us together!
I will keep you abreast of further developments.
Posted by Judith 12p.m. Est.
THE NOT TOO SPONTANEOUS GRAFFITI COMES DOWN - 07-15-03
Good news can come in funny packages. This one demonstrates that the hate messages were as centrally financed as the suicide bombers. Surprise, suprise!
BUT DO NOT PUT ON ROSE COLORED GLASSES YET
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY TV: MOHAMMED ORDERED MUSLIMS TO KILL JEWS
Palestinian Media Watch reports on yet another PLO TV broadcast presenting the murder of Jews as a religious obligation. Dr. Hassan Khader, founder of the Al Quds Encyclopedia, appeared on PA television on Sunday with the following quote from Mohammed:"The Hour [Day of Resurrection] will not arrive until you fight the Jews, [until a Jew will hide behind a rock or tree] and the rock and the tree will say: Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!"
Although the basis for the current negotiations between Israel and the Arabs is that the conflict is not a religious dispute but rather a political one, PLO religious and academic leaders repeatedly cite Islamic sources demanding, in the name of Allah, that Jews be hated and even killed.
Yesterday's broadcast is but another example of the world-view propagated by the PA media according to which Redemption is dependent on Muslims' murder of Jews. Click here to view the broadcast, as well as a previous televised citation of the same source by a Muslim religious leader.
PMW also reports that yet another PA summer camp for children has been named for a terrorist. The most recent one is now named Shihad Al-Amarin, in memory of the founder of the suicide terror division of Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade.
A report in Sunday's edition of the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida writes that 150 boys and girls aged 12 and 13 are taking part in the camp, and that"yesterday the camp's participants went to the home of the shahid Jihad Al-Amarin, where [they were greeted by] the shahid's wife, children and family. During the visit there were speeches praising the virtues of the shahid Jihad Al-Amarin, who was assassinated a year ago by the forces of the occupation.
Other schools and camps have been named for Dalal Mughrabi, who participated in the bus hijacking and murder of 37 Jews in Israel in 1978; for Ayyat al-Akhras, an Arab girl who killed two Israelis as she blew herself up in a supermarket in Jerusalem in March 2002; and others.
THE BATTLE IN IRAN GOES ON
Despite the deafening silence of the international media, the battle for democracy in Iran goes on.
350 Iranian dissidents demand regime reforms In an open letter to the Supreme Leader, they hit out at the judiciary and call for all political prisoners to be releasedScreams The Singapurian Strait Times
Khatami took to heart Abbas' example and threatened to resign. I hope he does not end up folding the way Abbas did. It would be revolutionary if Middle Eastern moderates will stop letting totalitarian rulers use them to legitimize their curropt regimes. In the meantime Blair demonstrates that he can stand up to Bush - He insists on maintaining his ties with Yassir Arafat!
Posted by Judith, 10p.m. Est.
THANK YOU BILL SAFIRE - 07-14-03-
The New York Times decided Truman's anti=Semitism and complete dismissal of the holocaust were not worth mentioning. Thank God for Bill Safire for saving the paper of record from itself. These is how he ends the beautifully nuanced piece:
This diary outburst reflected a longstanding judgment about the ungrateful nature of the oppressed; in a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, he repeated that"Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on top they are just as intolerant and as cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath."
Did this deep-seated belief affect Truman's policy about taking immigrants into the U.S., or in failing to urge the British to allow the Exodus refugees haven in Palestine? Maybe; when the National Archives release was front-paged last week in The Washington Post, historians and other liberals hastened to remind us that the long-buried embarrassing entry was written when such talk was"acceptable." The director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum dismissed it as"typical of a sort of cultural anti-Semitism that was common at that time."
For decades, I have refused to make such excuses to defend President Nixon for his slurs about Jews on his tapes. This is more dismaying.
Lest we forget, Harry Truman overruled Secretary of State George Marshall and beat the Russians to be first to recognize the state of Israel. The private words of Truman and Nixon are far outweighed by their pro-Israel public actions.
But underdogs of every generation must disprove Truman's cynical theory and have a duty to speak up. I asked Robert Morgenthau, the great Manhattan D.A., about Truman's angry diary entry, and he said,"I'm glad my father made that call."
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TREATS RIGHT THOSE WHO ARE WITH US
that is the central message of T. Christian Miller's article in The Los Angeles Times I can only say - bravo!
Posted by Judith 6:30 p.m. Est.
IF IRANIAN STUDENTS BLEED, IT DOES NOT LEAD- 07-011-03 The inability of bleeding Iranian students to capture the attention of the international press is most astonishing. The emotionally charged NYT story decribe"three students, Ali Moghtaderi, Arash Hashemi and Reza Amerinassab, were thrown into three separate cars by about 15 armed men. Mr. Moghtaderi's face was covered with blood, after having been shoved to the ground by the men". It was placed on page 8.
The New York Times is not alone. Imagine if this had occurred in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Iraq or even in China. As my daughter would say, what gives?
Perhaps the correct explanation is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Iranian authorities are charter memebrs of Bush's axis of evil. Bush is the enemy of the"international press," hence the Iranian clerics are the friends of the media. Sorry, freedom seeking students!
THE REAL SAD STORY
A friend sent me the following description of this past week's events in Iran:
Violent three-way clashes in Tehran marked the July 9 anniversary of the brutally suppressed student demonstrations of 1999, despite the Islamic regime's advance crackdown against the pro-democracy student movement. Hundreds of hard-line Islamic vigilantes, police and students milling about outside Tehran University got into running battles Wednesday night. Police clashed with students as well as with the Basiji vigilantes, who are fiercely loyal to Iran's radical spiritual leader Ali Khamenei and controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, to prevent them from getting closer to the university. DowntownTehran was jammed with loudly hooting cars and Basijj motor-bikers.
In expectation of trouble, the authorities had banned gatherings and closed campuses. Riot police lined the streets around Tehran University. Earlier Wednesday, three student activists were hauled off by vigilantes after declaring President Mohammed Khatami's reforms a failure and declaring the intention of staging a sit-in opposite the UN.
Official preemptive actions included the arrest of the entire student leadership along with protest organizers after inciting them to demonstrate for ten nights in June in order to catch them off-balance a month before the anniversary. To make the student leaders show their hands, the pro-government Kayban and Jomhouri-e Eslami newspapers published inflammatory reports of government plans to privatize universities and force students to pay prohibitively steep tuition. The Basij were used as agents provocateurs to fan the flames of protest so as to mark out student activists for arrest or worse. Basij students are granted free tuition and exemptions from university entrance exams.
despite mass arrests - even official figures showed some 4,000 people had been detained - multitudes of non-students kept on joining the protests, keeping them on the front burner for days. They then moved on to hunger strikes that went on and off for about three weeks.
But they failed to make much of an impact on the domestic and international press and many gave in to exhaustion. By the time July 9 rolled around, most student leaders were behind bars or in hiding, with death threats being made covertly and openly against their families. A new wave of arrests and trials has begun. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources, known political reformists have been targeted and at least seven newspapers belonging to the freedom camp will be closed.
Though cheered on from Washington and Iranian émigré communities around the world, the pro-democracy students and reformists have failed to shake the theocratic regime which has ruled Iran for a quarter century.
But demonstrators may get a second chance; more street protests are expected soon. The United States is also keeping Teheran under pressure with accusations of granting sanctuary to senior al-Qaeda operatives and demands that Iran throw all its nuclear sites open to closer and unannounced international inspections.
AN IRANIAN STUDENT ASKS: Are You Hearing Us?
Posted by Judith 10p.m. EST
BAD NEWS ARE ALL AROUND US- 07-09-03
Sorry for having neglected the blog. But I trust most of you were busy enjoying the holiday. My daughter was visiting and I was also trying to put together a few words of"wisdom" about the mess in Iraq. You can read the results in the new issue of HNN. The Wall Street Journal is right we are in the midst of a guerrilla war in Iraq and the sooner we acknowledge it the better. I, as usual, believe that empowering Iraqis and sideling Mideast experts will go a long way towards solving the problem. To follow events in the Middle East, click on Debka in the list of my recommended sites. I hope you like them and you like the new format. More changes to come, promise!
AMERICAN DIPLOMAT IS NOT SURE IF LEBANON DESERVES TO BE A NATION-STATE
If you are interested in the efficient manner in which our diplomats make friends and influence people click here and find an apt description of Ambassador Battle's disasterous meeting with American-Lebanese. For example:
The last and crowning surprise was that Mr. Battle talked a lot more than he listened. He was clearly annoyed at the questions, lashing out at his audience that he is not here to listen to their comments, but take their questions and answer them. Never mind that he consistently deflected the questions and never addressed the real concerns of his audience. To the question of whether he, as the self-proclaimed student of history, believed that Lebanon deserved to be a nation-state, Mr. Battle cited examples of numerous other countries that had become nation-states at the end of the 19th century and with the de-colonization process of the 20th century. He believed that Lebanon’s borders were drawn in an arbitrary way. At the end of the question-answer session, Mr. Battle bolted out of his chair, refusing to take more questions. The social, I thought, had turned into a great asocial disappointment and a bitter duel of nerves
So, Israel is not the only victim of Arabists!
I love to post good news. Here is one from Corsica. The citizens of Corsica defeated a referendum supported by all powers that be in both the island and in the French mainland. It was eferendum was designed to set up a single executive body to run Corsican affairs. Why did the Corsican oppose it? Because reportedly they, unlike the French government, did not wish to cave in in to nationalists and violent tactics.
Posted by Judith at 12 A.M. EST
GREAT NEWS FROM THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY - 07-02-03
The new poll numbers are in, hidden on page 8 of the NYTimes in an article entitled"Skepticism Lives on Scarred Jerusalem Street." What do they show? They show that 61% of the Israelis and 56% of the Palestinians supported the"road map" leading to the establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel.
A couple of weeks ago History news Network published a letter I sent from Israel bemoaning the indefinite delay in of election in the PA. At the time, 80% of the Palestinians told pollsters they did not believe coexistence with a Jewish was possible. Commentators translated their answer to mean that given a chance, they would support the rejectionists. I begged to differ.
This is how I ended my letter:
"Only election would make the Palestinian leaders dependent on their population. Citizens, unlike ideological elites, put their daily well being before their emotional demands for revenge. Many Palestinians may wish to see Israel destroyed just as many Israelis would love not to have them as neighbors. But both know this is merely wishful thinking and both will rather live together than continue to bleed".
When given a chance citizens moderate their ideological leaders. This is true in the Palestinian territories and this would be true in Iraq. (More about that in my next week posting). Don't be afraid to give them a chance. Our founders dared and look at the results!
SHOULD WE CANONIZE ANTI-ISRAELI ACTIVIST RACHEL CORRIE?
Oliver Kamm has the answer and the fact I wish I could write blogs as good as his. Do click Here
Happy Fourth of July.
Posted by Judith at 5:15 P.M. EST.
I DEMAND AN APPOLOGY FROM M. DOWD - 06-29-03
This Jewish woman demands an apology from a Catholic one. Writing about Scalia Dowd equates what she calls the"Old School" with the"Old Testament." Both representing an"era when military institutes did not have to accept women, and elite schools did not have to make special efforts with blacks, when a gay couple in their own bedroom in irons, when women were packed off to Our Lady of Perpetual Abstinence Home of Unwed Mothers."
First, let me remind her that the only thing the"Old School" had to do with the"Old Testament" is that those who believed in it were not only persecuted mercilessly by the followers of the"New Testament" but were persona non grata in them. Anti-Semitism celebrated in them. Dowd clearly has some"issues" with the Catholic Church but the facile manner in which she attributes everything she dislikes in it to my holy book is inexcusable most especially since it is factually wrong. My Tanach (which she calls the Old Testament) is the ultimate text of revolutionary liberation and that was the reason slave owners were not permitted to read much of it to their slaves. And do remember Deborah - our celebrated military leader. No, it was not Jews who conceived or advocated sending women to convent. In other words, stop using my holy book as a club.
For those of you not familiar with debka.com, here is a sample. Do take into account that at times their reach acceeds their grasp. On the other hand, it should be recalled that Syria is the only Arab country ruled by the Baath Party. Syria’s Pivotal Role in Iraqi Resistance Is Glossed over in Washington
Posted 4 p.m. EST
I AM BACK - 6-27-03
Six weeks is a long time to be away from home. Luckily, my daughter has kept this blog going. Now its time for me to get back to work. Let me start by sharing with you some of what susrprised me.
I have learned that Cambridge, England has a flourishing community of evangelist Anglicans; that Spain, like Ireland has been transformed from a country of emigrants to a country of immigrants and that those immigrants are often the descendents of former emigrants and, that Israelis, like their brethren elsewhere, are preoccupied with the fluctuation of the dollar, the misbehavior of politicians and the conflicting advice of health gurus. In other words, they remain normal, if a little weary.
SUICIDE BOMBERS IN ISRAEL KILL ARABS, TOO
"What does an Israeli Arab woman feel about the fact that her husband was murdered in a terrorist attack perpetrated by a Palestinian woman who blew herself up at the entrance to a shopping mall?" asks Haaretz correspondent Vered Levy-Barzilai ."What is the experience of an Arab in Israel whose beloved brother was killed in a suicide bombing? How does the family cope with this unexpected loss and bereavement? Where do they channel their rage and frustration? Where do they direct their outcry of grief?" Here is part of the answer:
Aeda Tuataha isn't yet capable of talking about it. Her brother-in-law, Hasan, 48, married and the father of four, the principal of an elementary school in Jisr al-Zarqa, says quietly,"What should I tell you, that I am starting to develop a hatred for the Palestinian people? That would not be true. That I now think that all the Palestinians are despicable murderers? No. I know there are all types. In the meantime, the pain is greater than any anger. Certain things keep going through my mind. The question that cuts through my heart is: How is it possible to come and murder innocent people, just like that, without any thought about what will happen to their families? It's such a barbaric deed that the mind can't take it in. I am in a state of shock. And I was in shock before this, too, when Jewish friends of mine from Hadera were killed in terrorist attacks. I have lost two friends to terrorist attacks.
ISRAELI ARAB DOCTORS TREAT THEM ALL
This is the inspiring, heart breaking message of the op-ed article written by Helen Schary Motro. I am posting it because it accurately describes the reality of the city where I grew up:
Ghalab Tawil originally took a job as a cleaner in Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital so he could spend time with his daughter Iwan, 13, who has leukemia. Tawil often slept by her side. But Iman is no longer hospitalized, so Tawil spent Saturday night at his home in Shuafat, north of Jerusalem. Early Sunday he boarded the first bus to work. He never arrived, because at 5:45 a.m. a Palestinian detonated a bomb that killed Tawil and six other passengers. Tawil, like his murderer, was a Palestinian.
The next day, when a 19-year-old Palestinian exploded her bomb at the entrance to a mall in Afula, three people were killed. One was Hassan Ismail Tawatha, 41. After 15 years as an employee he had dreamed of opening his own electronics business. Tawatha was not at the mall to shop. He was there as a student, attending a preparatory electronics course run by a local college. The next day his entire village of Jissr al Zarka turned up for the funeral. Tawatha, too, was an Arab.
And so the list goes on, of Arabs killed or wounded in attacks perpetrated by Palestinians who see themselves as heroes, and who are often perceived as martyrs in the communities they come from.
What would the suicide bombers' answer be if they knew that some of their victims would be Arabs? Would they call it collateral damage, worthwhile for the cause they believe they are serving? What would Iman Tawil say to that, now that she has no father left? She and the other orphans?
Of Israel's 6 million citizens, approximately a million are Arab. Although Israeli society is far from integrated, it is far from apartheid. In Haifa, Arabs and Jews live together in the same neighborhoods. On Jerusalem's streets the two peoples rub shoulders daily, their children play in the same parks and some attend the YMCA's binational kindergarten. In a northern town like Afula, or a southern one like Beersheba, Arabs and Jews ride beside each other on the escalators of the shopping mall.
When ambulances raced most of the 71 wounded in the blast Monday to Afula Hospital, they were received by Dr. Aziz Daroushe, the Arab physician in charge of its emergency room. About 20 percent of the hospital staff and 40 percent of its patients are Arab. Hitam Hamoud, 26, a Galilee Arab also injured in the blast, lies in its intensive care unit. He has regained consciousness and his condition has improved enough to exchange notes with his parents by his bedside; doctors are waiting until he is stable enough to be operated on.
Over the last two and a half years of the intifada, many Arabs have numbered among the casualties of attacks perpetrated by Palestinians.
Shahada Dadis, 30, a pharmaceutical representative, was shot to death in January 2002 while on the way to Jenin with medical supplies. A 1-year-old Arab girl suffered third-degree burns to her face and body in a bombing in Hedera in the autumn of 2000. Maysoun Amin Hassan, 19, who was scheduled to study psychology at Haifa University, was one of nine people killed in a bus suicide bombing in August 2002.
Ahmed Salah Kara, 20, a truck driver, was shot dead when a Palestinian gunman opened fire at an industrial depot in April. Nizal Awassat, a father of 11, was killed in August 2002 when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire as he sat in a coffee house beside Jerusalem's Old City.
Suad Jaber, on her way to hand in the final semester paper for her degree in mathematics and statistics, was among 14 killed in a bus bombing in October 2002. Kamar Abu Hamed, 12, was killed with 17 others on her way home from school in March.
The stories of Jewish victims are neither more tragic, nor less. When people set out with murder in their hearts, there is no telling whose lives will be shattered. How can any be justified, how can any be glorified, how can any lead anywhere but sorrow?
BUT THEIR FATE IS OF NO CONCERN TO ANYONE
Levy-Barzilai reports that no condolence called has ever been received from any Arab or Moslem official. The same has been true of American Moslems. Note the sermon given on Friday, June 13, 2003 in Qatar's capital Doha and broadcast on Qatari television. In it Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi urges his followers to continue to"the martyrdom operations that shook their foundations, undermined their (Israeli) existence, and sowed fear in their hearts" but argues against continuing such operation in Arab countries in part -
because they kill peace-loving, innocent people. Not everyone who was killed in Riyadh was American and not everyone who was killed in Casablanca was American or foreign. Not every foreigner deserves to be killed. Killing has specific conditions. There are people whom we call 'under Muslim protection' who have entered our country. They must not be harmed and their blood must not be spilled. The brothers harmed, among others, a Belgian club, even though Belgium's opinion was good - it opposed the war on Iraq and wanted to try Sharon and some American officers...
So what else is new? you may justifyably ask. The Arabs never cared about the Palestinians. THANK GOD THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO CARE ABOUT THEMSELVES!
Posted by Judith at 4p.m. EST.
LOOK WHO’S GIVING MONEY TO HARVARD – 6/16/03
My mother forwarded this letter she received, and I think it’s worth reading:
Dear Friends -
From time to time, we will share news of Jewish interest from our own and other campuses, particularly where action by email is possible.
As you may have heard, in July 2000, the Harvard Divinity School accepted a $2.5 million gift from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al- Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, for the creation of an endowed Professorship in Islamic Religious Studies. Zayed funds the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, a prominent think-tank of the Arab League, based in Abu Dhabi. The Center is described on its website as the"fulfillment of the vision of Sheikh Zayed". It routinely promotes and publishes Holocaust denial literature and Jewish blood libels, as well as publications claiming that the U.S. military was behind the September 11th attacks. The above facts were discovered by Rachel Fish, a Masters' student at Harvard and have been reported in various local and national media, including the Harvard Gazette, Boston Globe, CBS Evening News, NPR's"All Things Considered" and The Jewish Week.
On March 19th, Dean Graham of the Harvard Divinity School met with a student delegation, including Rachel Fish, who requested that the School return the donation to Sheikh Zayed. Dean Graham, who in May 2002 Signed a petition calling on Harvard to divest from Israel, promised to Research the facts and to get back to the students within 4 to 6 weeks. Unfortunately, the Harvard Administration has so far remained silent on the issue.
An organization was founded --"Students for an Ethical Divinity School" -- whose website www.moralitynotmoney.com contains an email petition encouraging the return of the donation. We encourage you to take a second,visit the site and its Timeline, and determine if you agree with its content. If that is the case, you might consider signing on.
Jewish Chaplain and Director Hillel at Columbia University and Barnard College The Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life
POSTPONING ELECTIONS GIVES VICTORY TO ARAFAT – 6/13/03
BY JUDITH KLINGHOFFER
Here I go again with my advice. This time from Israel where the situation is fast deteriorating. Within days after the seemingly ground breaking Aqaba summit, in which the new Palestinian Prime Minister dared call Palestinian targeting of civilians terror, they discovered that nothing has changed. A furious Yasser Arafat determined to prove his relevance struck back. No longer satisfied with cooperating with the rejectionists surreptitiously in order to keep Israel and the West in line, he began to cooperate with them openly. He not only permitted the Fatah (the Palestinian organization he founded and which is under his direct control) to join Hamas and Islamic Jihad the attack on Erez check point but permitted them to take joint responsibility for the attack.
"Do not have false hope", the attack seemed to say to Israelis and Palestinians alike. Nothing has changed or is about to change. After all, the Erez juncture is not just another checkpoint where citizens are blocked from carrying out their daily lives. It is the juncture through which the citizens of Gaza cross into Israel to work. It has been closed by the Intifada depriving thousands of their jobs. Taking a calculated potentially lethal risk, Israel agreed as part of its contribution to the success of the road map to reopen the juncture and again allow Palestinian workers to enter Israel. Gazans were thrilled. Arafat and the Islamists were not. They had no intention of letting Mahmoud Abbas demonstrate to the Palestinians that the end of violence carries tangible rewards.
In one master stroke Arafat ended the promise of Aqaba, demonstrated the powerlessness of the summiteers and scuttled any possibility of improving the lives of the Palestinians.
Israel had to respond. Israel should have targeted Yasser Arafat. But not wishing to go back on its word to George W. Bush, Israel took out its wrath on a top Hamas leader named Rantissi. Having given up the hope that Abbas will take upon himself the dismantling of Hamas, a reluctant Israel Defense Force did. The targeted assassination was botched but an all out Israeli - Hamas war has been launched. In short, the Israelis, Palestinians and Americans lost. Bloody shoes of dead and injured children are sure to fill the region’s screens.
Why did the summiteers turn out to be so weak? Because Yasser Arafat succeeded in postponing indefinitely the Palestinian elections and Abbas is a leader who serves at the pleasure of Arafat. We are constantly told that Arafat would be re-elected and that Hamas is very popular but were this the case, they would be delighted to call for elections. Milosevic believed the polls and called for elections. And surprise, surprise, he lost.
There is only one way to empower moderates. It is to provide people with an opportunity to vote and vote again. It is the need to get elected which forces Begin and Sharon to evict settlers and opt for a territorial compromise. After all, Begin was among the founders of the Herut party whose slogan was"There are two sides to the Jordan River. This is ours and the other too." In other words, it rejected the British creation of Jordan. Sharon is amongst the leaders of the settlement movement and had argued that Jordan is Palestine. Likewise, it is only the need to get elected and reelected by a pragmatic populace which would force a Palestinian leaders to come to terms with reality and end the havoc created by terrorists. At least two rounds of elections should precede the establishment of a Palestinian state. The time has come to realize that Arab-Israeli peace and regional progress will follow, not precede, Palestinian and regional democratization.
It is also time to stop buying the absurdity that Arafat is the legitimately elected leader of the Palestinian people. He has been elected once, if one can call it an election. His sole opponent was an elderly woman who ran because she wished to avoid creating a precedent of uncontested elections but she failed to even campaign for the post. A Palestinian friend compared those elections to the ones conducted by Saddam Hussein. Since then Arafat scuttled all Palestinian demands for a second election. He clearly does not trust his chances. Bush almost forced him - Arafat announced that he will stand for reelection in January. Unfortunately, the Bush administration permitted him to postpone the date indefinitely and replace an election with the appointment of a prime minister. Big mistake! If Bush wants to save himself from Clinton's humiliating experience, he’d better stop permitting Arafat to outsmart him. The only way to empower a alternative Palestinian leader is to legitimize him. The only way to legitimize him is through carefully monitored elections. Only election would make the Palestinian leaders depended on a population. Citizens, unlike ideological elites, put their daily well being before their emotional demands for revenge. Many Palestinians may wish to see Israel destroyed just as many Israelis would love not to have them as neighbors. But both know these is merely wishful thinking and both will rather live together than continue to bleed.
Posted by Joella Klinghoffer - 8:24 p.m. EST
DICTATORSHIPS AND DIPLOMACY: US, MORALITY AND WORLD OPINION – 6/11/03
BY JUDITH KLINGHOFFER
Some weeks ago, I posted a message arguing that it was a mistake for the UN to treat all countries as if they were equal. Having been on vacation when the responses appeared, I was unable to partake in the follow up debate. I did, however, dip into some interesting books. Here is a good story on the subject of the differences between regimes from the new Antony Eden biography: On April 25, 1956 Khrushchev (during his visit to London) addressed an audience gathered by the foreign ministry. As the regular translator was sick, another translator known for his love of the 19th Gulf hole took his place. He translated thus:"He (Khrushchev) says he is pleased to be here, but if we are pleased is another matter." Then went on,"He says Russia and Britain have much in common. Don't you believe him. We haven't got eight million prisoners in Siberia." The British diplomats were horrified but when Khrushchev was told about the incident, he heartily laughed. As the Rabbis said,"in goes wine, out comes truth" and no one recognized it better than the man who exposed and repudiated Stalin's terror.
Unfortunately, not only diplomats but also academicians strive to obfuscate the basic truth about the differences between democracies and dictatorships. This tendency works for the benefit of tyrants and against the good of their hostages - the vast majority of people living in the country. Participation in international organizations provides tyrants with an aura of undeserved legitimacy based on the concept which places national sovereignty as the single relevant requirement for participation. An alternative model is posited by the European Union - it made democracy (a combination of elections and human rights) a sine qua non for any attempt to join the EU.
The beneficial results for Eastern European countries cannot be overstated. For example, Hungary was punished for its participation in World War I with a loss of almost half of its territory. The problem of"Hungarians abroad" has been an explosive issue in that country ever since. If Hungarian nationalism in Romania and Slovakia did not cause worldwide headlines, it is because the Hungarian government did not wish to undermine its prospects to enter the EU. The Arab League is beginning to think about copying the EU formula. A way should be found to revamp UN bodies in a manner which would tie governance to participation in international bodies. The prestige weapon is one non violent weapon the international community has to democratize the world.
Posted by Joella Klinghoffer – 2:00 p.m. EST
BEGINNING OF A DIFFERENT INTIFADA? - 6/6/03
I meant to post this a while ago, but the following is an excerpt from an Associated Press article from May 20, describing Palestinians protesting for the first time not against Israel, but against their own militants. If this sort of movement could gain momentum, there might actually be some hope for peace . . .
Palestinians Protest, Blame Militants
By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip - Hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and blocked a main road Tuesday in a rare burst of anger at Islamic militants whom they blamed for prompting Israeli military attacks by using their town to fire rockets into Israel.
The protest erupted two hours after Israeli troops withdrew from this Gaza town, following a five-day takeover during which they flattened orchards, demolished 15 homes, knocked over garden walls, tore up streets and damaged the sewage, water and electricity systems.
The Israeli military said much of the destruction, especially of homes and orchards, was aimed at depriving militants firing rockets of cover.
In an unusual protest, about 600 Beit Hanoun residents blocked a main thoroughfare with trash cans, rocks and burning tires to show their anger at the militants and Palestinian Authority (news - web sites) officials.
"They (the militants) claim they are heroes," said Mohammed Zaaneen, 30, a farmer, as he carried rocks into the street."They brought us only destruction and made us homeless. They used our farms, our houses and our children ... to hide."
A LOOK INTO YASSER ARAFAT’S MIND AND POLICY
The recent speech delivered by Yasser Arafat to mark Nakba Day makes pretty chilling reading. Note that he mentions Jerusalem and other sites as being holy to Christians and Moslems, but makes no mention of them being holy to Jews.
FRIENDLY JOURNALISTS: HOW TERRORISTS GET THROUGH CHECKPOINTS IN ISRAEL
The following report is worth reading:
Israel Line - Tuesday, June3,
Details Regarding Mike's Place Terrorist Attack Revealed >
The two terrorists who murdered three Israeli's at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv on April 29 crossed from Gaza with the help of an Italian journalist, HA'ARETZ reported. The terrorists were British citizens of Pakistani origin, who were recruited by Hamas in Damascus, Syria. The two traveled to Israel via Jordan, crossing the Allenby Bridge on April 12, and then proceeding to travel throughout the country, as well as across the West Bank and Gaza. While in Gaza, they finalized their plans for the attack with Hamas leaders and created themselves a" cover" by posing as activists from the International Solidarity Movement. The biggest problem they faced concerned crossing from Gaza back into Israel once they were ready to carry out the attack. They solved it as an Italian journalist offered them a ride in her car through the checkpoint together with some other Italian reporters. At the time, foreign journalists were allowed to pass through checkpoints virtually without inspection, and the assistance therefore enabled the two terrorists to slip through undetected. Since then, Israel has tightened the rules regulating foreign journalists and now subjects them to checkpoint inspections. Shortly after the attack, Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz announced that the explosives had been smuggled through the Allenby Bridge crossing in Koran books, which were obtained in Gaza. The investigation also revealed that the bomb used in the attack was assembled via a highly sophisticated technique that is used almost exclusively by armies and intelligence services, and almost never by terrorist organizations.
Posted by Joella Klinghoffer - 8:50 p.m. EST
ABANDONED ALLIES: THE TALE OF THE LEBANESE CHRISTIANS – 6/2/03
To achieve success in the war on terror, it is crucial that those who aid and fund terrorist organizations be made to face negative consequences for these actions. No less important, however, is that individuals and groups who actively oppose terrorist organizations be, at best rewarded, and at worst not harmed by this opposition. The following article describes the plight of a group who the author describes as “pioneers in the war on terror”, who fought against Palestinian radicalism and then against the deadly Hezbollah, and who received as a reward displacement from their homes, poverty, and isolation. This cannot be allowed to happen again.
Lebanon Abandoned: Broken Promises Three Years Later
By Chris Mitchell
Middle East Bureau Chief
May 27, 2003
Several hundred Israeli soldiers died over the years protecting Israel's northern border. The pullout created major changes in both people and places.
CBN.com – on the ISRAEL-LEBANON BORDER — Three years ago this month, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israeli troops out of the south Lebanon security zone. While Barak made good on a campaign promise, the pullout had a devastating impact on thousands of south Lebanese, many of them Christians.
The date was May 23, 2000. Israeli troops ended a more than 18-year presence in south Lebanon. The unilateral withdrawal appeased many Israelis weary from a bitter and bloody battle with terror. Several hundred Israeli soldiers died over the years protecting Israel's northern border. The pullout created major changes in both people and places.
CBN News went to see the"good fence" that divides Israel and Lebanon. For years, this border crossing symbolized the friendship with Israel and its northern neighbor. Today, three years after the Israeli pullout from south Lebanon, the good fence is deserted and anything but friendly. The good fence today symbolizes the tension on Israel's northern border and bears silent witness to a chaotic scene three years ago.
Back then several thousand Lebanese Christians fled south Lebanon when the Israeli army pulled out. Despite assurances they would have time to move their families and belongings, the pullout came suddenly and with little warning. Most, including employees from the CBN television station in south Lebanon, fled across the good fence with just the clothes on their backs."It was terrible. Nobody knew what was happening, and all of a sudden your whole life was turned upside down," said Beverley Timgren who operates the Arazim Dental Clinic in Israel.
Timgren's ministry offers complete dental service to the south Lebanese at a nominal fee. She fled along with the south Lebanese three years ago after serving within south Lebanon for years. She knows the difficult adjustment many of them have had to make."Starting a new life in a country like this is very, very difficult. Everything that they worked for, they left behind. They're enemies of their own government now because they're friends of Israel. They're really struggling to come to terms with everything," she said.
The south Lebanese have not done well. Some returned to Lebanon and received harsh prison sentences for collaborating with Israel. Others scattered to various countries in Europe and North America. Still others stayed in Israel, where they are despised by fellow Arabs for their alliance with Israel, and largely ignored by Israelis. It is hard to get work, and they face language and culture barriers. Now Israel's most loyal Arab allies are stateless and virtually abandoned.
They can not go home. Most would rather return to Lebanon, but the Lebanese government, a virtual puppet of Syria, considers them to be traitors.
CBN News talked with a south Lebanese woman, who asked not to be identified. She lost her husband in the war while he served in the South Lebanese Army [SLA]. This widow's situation is typical of many south Lebanese living in Israel.
"Now, we are not getting much assistance and I have to pay rent and all the utilities, electricity and water, all the expenses of my family. It's very difficult to manage... Very difficult. I don't know what to do. I don't know who to talk to. I don't feel really settled and I have concerns in managing life for my children," she said. The Lebanese Christians' plight is magnified by the fact that they are pioneers in the war on terrorism. They began fighting in the mid- 1970's when they helped battle thousands of Palestinian radicals then based in Lebanon. Later they kept their alliance with Israel and helped hold the Iranian-backed Hezbollah at bay.
Yaer Ravid, an Israeli intelligence officer, helped forge this relationship between Israel and the Lebanese Christians."The contribution of the SLA to the war on terrorism is important, central in several areas. They invested much effort, sacrificed many sacrifices, many wounded and dead. In other areas, they were heavily involved in helping the IDF," he said.But Ravid calls the treatment of the SLA by Israel in the past three years shameful.
"All the years that we worked together, it was clear, and it was made clear to them that if a day would come when the IDF would have to withdraw and they came here, they would receive the rights, the full rights of Israeli citizenship. And they would receive the benefits of army veterans according to the number of years. They would receive compensation, house for house, belongings for belongings, and of all the promises almost nothing has happened," he said.
Timgren says the south Lebanese do not want to be forgotten. She said,"They want to be understood. They want to be supported. They want people to think about them and that they need help."
Posted by Joella Klinghoffer - 8:20 p.m. EST
WHY ELECTIONS MATTER: SLOBODAN VERSUS SADDAM - 5/30/03
A week and a half ago, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that he was leaving his position and announced that he would probably begin a movement to call for new elections in the Palestine Authority within six months. Good for him. Elections do matter, and can dramatically empower the citizenry of troubled regions, enabling them to throw out disastrous leadership and take back their country.
The most powerful example of this is the demise of Slobodan Milosevic after the end of the Kosovo war. Milosevic at the end of that war was in a similar position to Saddam Hussein at the end of the Gulf War – he had just lost a war to the United States and had made his county an international pariah. Yet he was still in power. Yet unlike, Saddam, Milosevic actually held a contested election - and he lost! Therefore, while the Bush I administration thought that losing the Gulf War would be enough to bring about the end of Saddam, they were wrong, because the Iraqi people were given no opportunity to peacefully throw him out. The people of Yugoslavia, when given the opportunity, took it.
Probably for political reasons, the election which toppled Milosevic has been cast into oblivion. The prevailing wisdom is that Milosevic was brought down by street protests. While this is a partial truth, the protests followed an election in which even Milosevic conceded that another candidate had received more votes than he had. The only issue of contention was whether the margin of victory was close enough to warrant a runoff (Milosevic claimed it was.) Worried that Milosevic would try to rig any runoff in his favor, there were protests, and Milosevic finally gave in. While the protests were important, of crucial importance also is that the person the protesters wanted to install in power had, everybody acknowledged, just won a statewide election.
Yet the magazine The Nation, in a three-page article in the May 5 issue entitled “Letter from Belgrade”, refers only to “the mass street protests that brought down Milosevic,” never mentioning the election. Britain’s The Guardian, in a May 29th article about upcoming protests against Mugabe in Zimbabwe, commented that, “Even if the protest does not succeed, it could pave the way for future action which could topple the regime, in the way that the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was forced out of office in Belgrade by a popular uprising.” Again, no mention of the election. What gives? Well the left obviously doesn’t want to give any comfort to what they consider to be the American pro-democracy imperialists. On the other hand, The Nation also quotes Bush administration press secretary Ari Fleischer as referring to the bombing campaign against Serbia as hastening Milosevic’s fall from power. Again, there is no mention of the election, unless The Nation skipped it. But the truth is that the right may be no more eager than the left to discuss the election. For if Serbia is acknowledged a democracy, the fact that we went to war against them would give the lie to the notion that democracies never fight each other.
Yet even if no one wants to talk about it, it happened and it matters. It shows that when a leader brings his country to ruin, voters will, if given a fair opportunity eject him. Think of the record of Yasser Arafat over in Palestine – violence, poverty, unemployment, curfews . . .who really thinks he’d win the next election?
Posted by Joella Klinghoffer - 9:49 pm EST
A LOOK AT PALESTINE’S NATIONAL ANTHEM – 5/27/03
People wondering how exactly the Palestine Authority breeds militants might want to check out their national anthem. Note that this was adopted as the official anthem AFTER the Oslo Accords, where Arafat supposedly renounced violence as a means of achieving Palestinian statehood. Also note the references to going “back” to Palestine – they’re clearly not referring to the West Bank and Gaza.
My country , my country
My country, the land of my grand fathers
My country, my country
My country, my nation, the nation of eternity
With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge
The longing of my blood to my land and home
I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars
I have conquered the impossible, and crossed the frontiers
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the guns
And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle
Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire, Palestine is my revenge and the land of eternal
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
I swear under the shade of the flag
To my land and nation, and the fire of pain
I will live as a guerrilla, I will go on as guerrilla, I will expire as guerrilla until I will be back
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
JEWISH BARBIE? A LOOK AT OUR “ALLIES” IN SAUDI ARABIA 05-23-03
Anyone who wishes to argue that Arab anti-Semitism is merely anti-Zionism should read the following dispatch from memri.org.
The Al-Madina regional branch of the Saudi religious and morality police, formally known as"The Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices," recently launched its new website. The site posts news items, citizens' violations, and includes a section that allows citizens to inform anonymously on persons they suspect of violating religious and moral laws.
[Included in the sight is the following:] Another section of the website, the"Exhibit of Violations," displays confiscated items from the"permanent collection of violations of Islamic law at Authority headquarters in Al-Madina." The section shows photos of perfume bottles shaped like a woman's torso . . . Also shown is a photo of several Barbie dolls, along with the text:"The enemies of Islam want to invade us with all possible means, and therefore they have circulated among us this doll, which spreads deterioration of values and moral degeneracy among our girls." On the photo, under the heading"The Jewish Doll," is a story titled"The Strange Request." The story reads:"One girl said to her mother: 'Mother, I want jeans and a shirt open at the top, like Barbie's!!' The dolls of the Jewish Barbie in her naked garb [sic], their disgraceful appearance, and their various accessories are a symbol of the dissolution of values in the West. We must fully comprehend the danger in them."
WHO KILLED MOHAMED AL-DURA?
Remember the 12-year old boy killed in crossfire at the very beginning of the Intifada? His death was blamed on Israeli soldiers and his picture shown all around the world. A must-read analysis in the Atlantic Monthly concludes that the boy could not have been shot by the Israeli soldiers known to have been in involved in the fighting that day. More disturbing, there is some evidence that the tragic images were staged by the Palestinians themselves.
I have been unsuccessfull linking, but the article can be found at http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2003/06/fallows.htm
ROAD MAP TO WHERE?"RIGHT OF RETURN" REVISITED
Let’s consider the highly unlikely rosiest possible scenario – Abu Mazen succeeds in ending the 2nd Palestinian Intifada – does that mean that peace is at hand? On May 8, Sharon told the Jerusalem Post that the Palestinians must drop their demand for a right to return to the state of Israel for the 4 million or so descendants of the approximately 700,000 Arabs who fled Israel during the 1948 war. Abu Mazen promptly retorted that “The right of return is one of every refugee and I cannot abandon that right.” Since such a mass Arab immigration to Israel would destroy the demographic balance of the Jewish state, is the road map leading to an impassible roadblock?
Reason for Worry: An indication that Abu Mazen considers a significant Arab return to Israel a serious possibility rather than simply a rhetorical demand is found in the following report from memri.org:
According to Abu Mazen, the participation of Israeli Arabs in the Intifada was a"grave mistake" that did damage to the implementation of the right of return of Palestinian refugees . . . During his lecture to the heads of the Popular Councils, he said:' . . . At the beginning of the Intifada the first wave of their demonstrations broke out. Thirteen people were martyred and 80 were wounded, and then the Israelis said: 'They live amongst us for 50 years, and this is how they behave? How can we bring back the refugees?' And thus, quick as lightning, every Israeli began to ask himself: 'Can we agree to the return of such people? What benefit will be gained by this?'"
Reason for Hope: The following excerpt is from an article that appeared in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on September 5, 2002, entitled, “Abu Mazen and Nabil Sha’at to Palestinian Refugees: You Aren’t Going Back to Israel”:
Abu Mazen has been behaving in recent weeks not only as an"activist" prime minister but also as a national leader. His associates say that he has just visited the Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria. Abu Mazen, himself from a family of refugees from Safed, convened the people of the camp and told them - this according to one of his associates - the following:
"I'm sure that you all want to go back to Palestine, to the homes your families left in the Galilee, Jaffa and Haifa." A roar of agreement came up from the crowd, and Abu Mazen went on:"Indeed, the Israelis expelled us from our lands, and I and my friends in the leadership will insist on our right to return. But it is important for you to know what is awaiting all those who choose to realize that right and prefer it over the option to settle in the new state of Palestine or to emigrate to Canada, or Europe, or to join families in other countries." He went on to describe at length the fate awaiting refugees who seek to strike their roots in the state of Israel."You won't be going back to your home, nor to the neighborhood or the village. The houses, neighborhoods, and villages are all gone. New cities have been built on your lands, and in your houses, Jewish babies have been born. You will join a Palestinian minority in a country where the language of the state is not their language, its culture is not theirs, its flag is not theirs, and the anthem is not theirs. No jobs await you, nor a welcome home."
Abu Mazen said that if that's not enough to persuade the refugees to give up the honor of carrying a passport bearing a menorah, they should also know there will be no way back. He explained that the choice of one of the options means forgoing the others. In other words, those who choose to go to Israel will block their own way to the West. Nor will the new state of Palestine be able to accept the tardy. (Palestinian experts are now examining the ability of the putative state to absorb the refugees, with regard to housing, employment, health services, infrastructure, etc. They're hoping for Israeli help, due to Israel's wealth of experience in such matters). Apparently, Abu Mazen's meeting with the refugees is not a one-time affair. Nabil Sha'ath, currently in charge of the negotiations on the refugee issue, told the Palestine-Israel Journal about a similar visit to the Rashadiyeh refugee camp in Jordan."I told them that if anyone tells them it is their duty and not only a right, they should slap them back. I told them they won't find their homes in Sheikh Munes, and that nowadays it's called Ramat Aviv."
A SHORT INTRODUCTION 05-18-03
Hello, blog-readers! This is Joella and as my mother indicated I will be maintaining this blog while she travels oversees. I'll include dispatches from my mother from her travels and well as whatever else I find that I think may interest you. I apologise for the week of silence - I am an attorney and have just completed a two-day trial - but from now on I will attempt twice-weekly postings, so stay tuned.
DISPATCHES FROM THE ROAD, PART I - A POLISH PERSPECTIVE
My mother emailed me the following exchange between herself and a Polish journalist: When she asked him whether Poland is not alienating her new European allies by her recent pro-American stands,he answered,"Who should we trust? The Germans who attacked us twice in the last century or the French who betray everybody?"
THE"LUNATIC" ISRAELI SETTLEMENT MOVEVENT 05-11-03
I should not be writing this post. I should be packing. I am leaving tommorrow for a six week tour of Europe and Israel. Hence, my blog will be maintained by my daughter, Joella (a graduate of Michigan Law School). In fact, it will be a kind of mother-daughter blog. I will be sending her emails from the road and she will post those along with stuff she thinks appropriate. It should be interesting.
But back to the subject of Tom Friedman . For the extremist invective he uses in his recent column is the reason for this post. The subject of his wrath is the settler movement. One may agree or disagree with the settlement movement but why call them"lunatic?" Note that Friedman does not refer to Hammas, Islamic Jiahad, Hizballa or even Al Kaida as lunatic even though their strategy is not only immoral and self destructive but also totally ineffective. In fact, the reason Friedman refers to the settlement movement strategy as"lunatic" is beacause he actually things that it is moral, constructive and effective.
Friedman does not fear the failure of the movement but its success. Why? Because he is afraid that an Israel from river to sea will not be a Jewish Israel. He judges the settlers' lunacy to be their wild optimism. But then the settlers are the legitimate sons and daughters of the Zionist movement which created Israel out of just such wild optimism. Zionism won against all odds because it confronted death with life. It responded to the Holocaust by making the desert bloom. While 200 million Arabs wasted their energy on trying to destroy the little Jewish oasis, Israel built a thriving modern state out of refugees and holocaust survivors.
Given the conditions under which the settlers live they could have turned into a vigilante group. Indeed, a few atempted to go in that direction. But, thank God, the movement did not. Instead, they decided to retaliate with a shovel. Those illegal outposts, Friedman is so incensed about, are places where terrorists killed Israelis. The movement undertook to consecrate the spot on which terrorists spill Jewish blood by erecting a new Jewish community. You murder - we build, is their motto.
So, regardless of whether one agrees with the settlers goals, one cannot but admire their means. I can imagine nothing more beneficial than an all out global building competition and let it be started in the Holy land. Let the Palestinian demonstrate that they can redirect their energy into building the most democratic and just state in the world and show that you can defeat the settlers in their own game. The time has come to end the immoral, self destructive and ineffectual culture of death in the Palestinian territories not only for the sake of Israeli security but for the sake of the children, the future citizens of a Palestinian State.
Sorry for the"sermon" but I have grown up in the mixed city of Haifa where 25% of the university students are Palestinians and so are the doctors in the hospital where my former classmate is practicing and where a Palestinian surgeon operated on my brother in law's heart. In other words, I know Palestinians, I have Palestinian friends and terrorism is not their only game.
A POLISH VIEW AND A MUST READ!
World Press Review publishes translation of intersting article. This one is from their June issue and is fabulous. It is called We, the Traitors and was written by Adam Michnik for the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza on March 28, 2003.
Here are some key paragraphs:
I remember my nation’s experience with totalitarian dictatorship. This is why I was able to draw the right conclusions from Sept. 11, 2001. Just as the murder of Giacomo Matteotti [leader of Italy’s United Socialist Party] revealed the nature of Italian fascism and Mussolini’s regime; just as the great Moscow trials showed the world the essence of the Stalinist system; just as “Kristallnacht” exposed the hidden truth of Hitler’s Nazism, watching the collapsing World Trade Center towers made me realize that the world was facing a new totalitarian challenge. Violence, fanaticism, and lies were challenging democratic values.
This is not the place to analyze the ideology that, while disfiguring the religion of Islam, creates a crusade against the democratic world. Saddam Hussein takes part in this just as Hitler and Stalin did before him. He asserts that in the holy war with the “godless West” all methods are permitted. Waiting for this sort of regime to obtain weapons of mass destruction would be plain recklessness.
This logic is accused of leading to the idealization of the United States, of not leaving room for critical reflection on American policies. In answer to this, I guarantee that I have not forgotten about the U.S. intervention in Vietnam or the American support of despotic, anticommunist regimes in Latin America—the perpetual argument of the intellectuals of the Western European left. However, I also have not forgotten that the American defeat in Vietnam resulted in the North’s armed conquest of the South and a wave of terrible repression. I also realize that while condemning the dictatorships of [Rafael] Trujillo or [Augusto] Pinochet, I should remember the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. Brutal power is equally repugnant whether executed under a red banner or a black one. The belief that there was no rightist or leftist torture, no progressive or reactionary torture, was a fundamental principle we lived by. It led us to reject the hypocrisy of the Western left, which proclaimed that even bad communism was better than good capitalism because it was the former and not the latter that led to a bright future.
What, then, is our betrayal? Today we reject the notion of equality between a regime that belongs to the democratic world—even if it is conservative and disagreeable—and a totalitarian dictatorship, whether its colors are black, red, or green. This is why we will never again say that Chamberlain is no better than Hitler, Roosevelt no better than Stalin, and Nixon no better than Mao Zedong, even if we do condemn Roosevelt for Yalta, Chamberlain for Munich, and Nixon for Watergate.
We do not like Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon because of his brutality and his primitive demagogy, but we would not equate him with the Hamas leaders who openly call for barbarian suicide attacks. George W. Bush may not be our hero, but he is the one we will support in the war with Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein.
THE IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTRY CONTINUES TO THRIVE IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
I so wanted to believe that this time will be different but as Barry Rubin's perceptive analysis reveals, it does not seem this way. What a pity.
Please use a new term for understanding the Middle East:"Sahhafism." It is named after Muhammad Said al-Sahhaf, former Iraqi minister of disinformation who attained international prominence for his lies during the Iraq war. Sahhaf maintained Iraq was winning throughout the fighting, denying there were U.S. forces in Baghdad as their presence was televised around the globe.
Yet while Sahhaf was ridiculed in much of the West he was believed up to the last moment throughout the Middle East. A few days earlier his view-that the war was going badly for the United States and relatively well for the Iraqis-was echoed by experts and journalists throughout the United States and Europe.
Sahhafism means to tell obvious lies that are widely believed in the Arab world and accepted in the West. The Middle East has been living through the era of Sahhafism for decades. And it has not ended with the reign of Saddam.
A short film just made in Egypt serves as a parable of both the pitfalls and powerful continuity of Sahhafism. Entitled,"I am not Sahhaf," it tells of an Egyptian man who admires the Iraqi minister so much that he comes to think he is Sahhaf. Finally, even the man's family is convinced and tries to turn him over to the United States for a reward. On one hand, the film ridicules Sahhaf and how the Arab media repeats such lies, shaping the masses' views in the process in a manner which enslaves them to the existing dictatorial, repressive, corrupt, and incompetent systems that rule Arab states. But it also ends by proclaiming the war's real purpose was to achieve U.S. control of Iraq's oil, a prime example of Sahhafism in action.
The West has great difficulty in comprehending Sahhafism. It either tends to assume the lies are true or rejects the idea that so many Arabs actually believe them. An Arab liberal intellectual characterizes Arab reaction to the war as" catastrophic" because it is dominated by Sahhafism: The United States won this round but continued pan-Arab or Islamist struggle will bring certain victory, even if it costs billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and scores of years.
Sahhafism is an old theme in the Arab-Israeli conflict and especially in Palestinian politics. Many Palestinian activists and politicians maintain they are winning their war against Israel and should continue to ultimate victory no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, one of them is Yasir Arafat.
What better example of the incomprehension of Sahhafism could there be than a remark made by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher at his May 7 briefing. A reporter said Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazin is being criticized by his own people for being close to the United States. The journalist asked whether his meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell would further reduce his legitimacy and credibility with Palestinians.
Here is Boucher's response:"I have never heard anybody be accused of losing legitimacy because he met with partners to achieve peace for his people."
Alas, Boucher and large sectors of the State Department don't understand the paradox that has prevented peace for so long. He who meets with the Israeli or American"enemy" is suspected of betrayal. He who makes progress in negotiations is suspected of surrender. He who concludes a deal would be suspected of treason.
So, is it better to continue the struggle, suffering, deaths, economic decline, Israeli occupation, the refugee situation of so many Palestinians abroad and at home, and the lack of a state or to make a permanent compromise peace with Israel? Any European, many Americans, and some Israelis must conclude that of course the latter choice is preferable. Unfortunately, that is the wrong answer.
For those who hope otherwise and expect the current roadmap to break through this roadblock, there has been one signal after another that Arafat is still in charge and has no intention of making any real change; that the"rebels" against him are inclined toward submission to his will, and that those directly responsible for the violence have no intention of stopping or being stopped.
Rather than list here all these indications-Arafat's"unreform" of the cabinet, his establishment of a National Security Council to ensure his supremacy, his continued control over security agencies, his many appointments of loyalists to positions in the Interior Ministry as if Abu Mazin didn't exist, and so on--let me just mention one heartbreaking detail.
Recently, Nabil Amr stated in an interview:"Arafat is the elected president of the Palestinians. I advise the Americans to open a dialog with Arafat." Amr was the first high Palestinian official to criticize Arafat. Last September he asked Arafat,"What is to be done now…that Israeli tanks are in full control of the West Bank and surround Gaza….Now…that every Palestinian militia on the streets acts without any central command and controls and defines the battle as [it sees] fit?" In other words, Arafat's Sahhafism was insisting that the Palestinians were doing very well with their rebellion but in fact the Israelis were in West Bank towns as surely as the United States was in Baghdad.
At the time, the only response was that Arafat's security forces opened fire on Amr's Ramallah home as an apparent warning to him to be quiet. Amr still speaks out but now he does so to endorse leadership by the man responsible for not only originating but continuing these mistakes.
What is most impressive about Arafat's continuing control is not that it is happening-which is no big surprise-but that he and others do so little to conceal it. He will succeed in getting Americans and Europeans to ignore this reality but-as so often happens in his career-this apparent victory will be one more disaster. He will only succeed in wrecking one more plan that would have brought benefits to the Palestinians.
Posted by Judith 4:00 P.M. Est.
IN THE NEW YORK TIMES HOMOCIDE BOMBER IS A VICTIM 05-10-03
I have just discovered this invaluable website. It is called TIMES WATCH and it includes the following item
Greg Myre describes a Palestinian terrorist who blew himself up trying to kill Jews as just another victim of “scattered violence” and “bloodshed.”
Myre writes: “Israeli attack helicopters fired missiles that killed a senior Hamas militant driving in Gaza City today. Three more Palestinians were killed in scattered violence, including one who blew himself up with a car bomb next to an Israeli tank in southern Gaza. The bloodshed pointed to the challenges facing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who is scheduled to arrive Saturday for talks on putting the latest Middle East peace plan, called the road map, into effect. The plan says Palestinians must halt attacks, and Israel is required to withdraw troops from Palestinian areas, but the fighting has not subsided since it was introduced last week.”
Myre’s “were killed” formulation makes it sound as if the suicide bomber was a victim of an Israeli attack. Also, when a terrorist manages to kill no one but himself, it can’t really be described as “bloodshed”—more like a perfect outcome.
MEDIA SILENCE ABOUT ANTI-SYRIAN OCCUPATION DEMONSTRATION IN LEBANON
In a Slate article entitled"Lords Over Lebanon" Michael Young writes:
Although it went unreported in the international media, during last weekend's visit to Beirut by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, 250 protesters took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. Riot police intervened and several demonstrators were imprisoned or taken to the hospital.
Young goes on to assert that things are getting better:
A few years ago anti-Syrian protests would have been inconceivable. Walk the streets of Beirut today and you won't feel the same weight of Syrian domination you would have in the past. In an effort to prove his army is not an occupation force, Syrian President Bashar Assad has gradually pulled troops out of areas in and around Beirut and in the north. Gone are the more egregious signs of Syria's military presence—portraits of the late President Hafez Assad, intelligence agents questioning passengers at Beirut airport, and soldiers occupying expensive properties—so that one might almost forget that Lebanon very much remains a Syrian province.
I am glad but it still does not explain the reason the media silence then - when things were so bad) or now - when media attention could pressure Syria to liberalize further, if not to leave Lebanon all together.
Posted by Judith at 12:00 P.M. Est.
"AMERICAN STOOGES" 05-09-03
I lost my temper yesterday. So I sat down and wrote this piece instead of correcting final exams. Frontpage Magazine posted it and it is worth reading.
THE NORWEGIANS ARE AT IT AGAIN
The Oslo agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians based on cutting a peace deal with a terrorist organization is an acknowledged bust everywhere except in Norway. Oslo put them on the map and they like it there. So, hence:
"Norway courts the Tamil Tiger rebels to negotiate peace".
Norwegian diplomats tried to persuade with Tamil Tiger rebels to start fresh talks with Colombo yesterday after a Japanese envoy failed to end the deadlock in Sri Lanka's peace process, officials said". more - I ended an article discussing the collapse of Olso type talks thus:
, the collapse of the Colombian and Israel attempts to change the spots of their leopards does not bode well for Sri Lanka's recent attempt to change the stripes of the Tamil Tigers. Indeed, it is time to rethink the entire process.
Pity the Sri-Lankan government. They are in for a fall.
poste by Judith 6:00 P.M. Est.
INDOCTRINATING CHILDREN TO SELF-SACRIFICE AND THEN USING THEM AS HUMAN SHIELDS 05-07-03
In my April 29 NRO article I wrote that ME peace depends on the Palestinians choosing"Life or Martyrdom." It is sickening to learn that their educators not only continue to choose martyrdom but they indoctrinate their children to do so.
Reports documenting the comprehensive Palestinian Authority [PA] encouragement of their children to aspire to heroic Death for Allah, Shahada, have brought repeated denials by PA leaders in English. However, in their own Arabic language media they continue to see encouraging children to Shahada as a national achievement. In a candid interview this week on PA TV the Director of the Palestinian.
"Children's Aid Association", an agency whose function is to help children, stated that as education policy with other values, Palestinians teach their children to aspire to Death for Allah - Shahada.
The following is the text of the interview:
Journalist Samir Shahin:"The children only wanted to leave [school] and throw stones at the Israeli soldier, and to reach Shahada [Death for Allah]. They aspired to Shahada as a first priority.
Moderator: Mrs. Firial, in your opinion, does the Palestinian child understand the concept of Shahada?
Firial Hillis, C.E.O. of the Palestinian"Children's Aid Association":"The concept of Shahada for him [the child] means belonging to the homeland, from a religious point of view. Sacrifice for his homeland. Achieving SHAHADA in order to reach Paradise and to meet his God. This is the best. We also teach our children to protect the homeland, belonging and to reach Shahada". [PATV,May 4, 2003]
No, they are not taught the value of building a homeland, only of dying as the highest priority. I bet this fund gets donations from well meaning humanists.
Then this is from today's"Haaretz" about the Israeli raid in Gaza:
"The soldiers called on the wanted men to give themselves up, or at least to allow women and children to leave the house, but they refused, witnesses said. According to army sources, the men shouted:"Everyone here will die as martyrs, including the children!" The wanted men then began firing at the soldiers.
After a gun battle that lasted several hours - in which the Palestinians shot anti-tank rockets and bombs as well as guns at the IDF forces - the soldiers broke into the house. According to Brigadier General Gad Shamni, the commander of the IDF forces in Gaza, this was deemed necessary, despite being more dangerous, in order to remove the women and children.
"[The wanted men] were holed up inside the house, using the women and children as human shields," another senior officer told Haaretz.
A gunfight at close range then ensued on the first floor. Two of the three wanted men were killed and two soldiers, a woman and baby girl were injured. The baby was evacuated to an Israeli hospital in serious condition.
The soldiers then forcibly removed the rest of the women and children from the house. Tanks then shelled the house, destroying it and killing the third Abu Hin brother."
Keep these stories in mind as you read the next postings.
ECONOMIST:PALESTINIAN PROMISES TO FIGHT TERROR - BELIEVABLE
Yesterday, I went to my neigborhood"Borders" to have coffee and magazines. Here are a couple of jems I uncovered. In an editorial entitled"America's next challenge is Israel," the editors opined:
The Palsetinian Authority has said that it accepts the map as it is. The assurrances of the new Prime Minister, Mr. Abbas, that he will do all he can are reasonably credible, though the problems were cruely underlined this week with a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharaon has showered the map with conditions. In particular, teh Israelis insist on political violence being brought to a decisive end before they make a move!
How"unreasonable" can the Israeli P.M. be! He refuses to take Abbas's"reasonably credible assurrances at face value! Can you imagine!
AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD NOT CARE ABOUT THE FATE OF IRAQIS
This amazing sentence appears in an article entitled"Reflections on a war" by Phillip Glassthe NATION:"But as fortunate as his (Saddam Hussein's) disappearance must be for the Iraqis, it should be a matter of indifference to the American people."
Imagine somebody saying, as fortunate as the disappearance of an abusive father must be for his children, it should be a matter of indifference to his neigbors." Apparently, for the Nation, soveriegnty trumps all, even crimes against humanity.
DERSHOWITZ ON ARAB AND ISRAELI HUMAN RIGHTS RECORDS!
Here are some paragraph form a National Postarticle:
If a visitor from a far away galaxy were to land at an American or Canadian university and peruse some of the petitions that were circulating around the campus, he would probably come away with the conclusion that the Earth is a peaceful and fair planet with only one villainous nation determined to destroy the peace and to violate human rights. That nation would not be Iraq, Libya, Serbia, Russia or Iran. It would be Israel.
The intergalactic visitor would wonder what this pariah nation, Israel, must have done to deserve this unique form of economic capital punishment. If he then went to the library and began to read books and articles about this planet, he would discover that Israel was a vibrant democracy, with freedom of speech, press and religion, that was surrounded by a group of tyrannical and undemocratic regimes, many of which are actively seeking its destruction.
He would learn that in Egypt, homosexuals are routinely imprisoned and threatened with execution; that in Jordan suspected terrorists and other opponents of the government are tortured, and that if individualized torture does not work, their relatives are called in and threatened with torture as well; that in Saudi Arabia, women who engage in sex outside of marriage are beheaded; that in Iraq, political opponents are routinely murdered en masse and no dissent is permitted; that in Iran members of religious minorities, such as Baha'is and Jews, are imprisoned and sometimes executed; that in all of these surrounding nations, anti-Semitic material is frequently broadcast on state-sponsored television and radio programs; in Saudi Arabia apartheid is practiced against non-Muslims, with signs indicating that Muslims must go to certain areas and non-Muslims to others; that China has occupied Tibet for half a century; that in several African countries women are stoned to death for violating sexual mores; that slavery still exists in some parts of the world; and that genocide has been committed by a number of countries in recent memory.
Our curious visitor would wonder why there are no petitions circulating with regard to these human rights violators. Is Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza -- an occupation it has offered to end in exchange for peace-- worse than the Chinese occupation of Tibet? Are the tactics used to combat terrorism by Israel worse than those used by the Russians against Chechen terrorists? Are Arab and Muslim states more democratic than Israel? Is there any comparable institution in any Arab or Muslim state to the Israeli Supreme Court, which frequently rules in favor of Palestinian claims against the Israeli government and military? Does the absence of the death penalty in Israel alone, among Middle East nations, make it more barbaric than the countries which behead, hang and shoot political dissidents? Is Israel's settlement policy, which 78% of Israelis want to end in exchange for peace, worse than the Chinese attempt at cultural genocide in Tibet? Is Israel's policy of full equality for openly gay soldiers and members of the Knesset somehow worse than the policy of Muslim states to persecute those who have a different sexual orientation than the majority? Is Israel's commitment to equality for women worse than the gender apartheid practiced in Saudi Arabia?
Posted by Judith at 8:00 P.M. EST.
WILL THE ARAB WORLD COME TO REALIZE THAT SUCCESS IS THE BEST REVENGE? 05-07-03
I hope the answer to my question is"YES." In the meantime, we watch with great interest the internal battle for the Arab soul with the help of the Middle East Media Research Institute. It latest dispach brings us the frustrated articles of a Tunisian Intellectual named Al-Akhdar. It is a must read. It starts thus:
All the peoples of the world are moving forward along the course of history towards globalization, a society of knowledge, and political modernization - all but you, who race in the opposite direction.
The Eastern European countries have moved peacefully and with lightning speed from murderous Stalinist totalitarianism to democracy, and from economic backwardness to continuing economic growth that amazed even the most optimistic predictions. As for you, you're moving in rapid steps from backwardness into sub-backwardness, and from poverty into sub-poverty. As population growth and weapons acquisitions increase, economic growth and education decline into degradation. The peoples of mankind are governed by the law of progress, while you are governed by the law of regression.
You replaced the dictatorship of the Shah for the theocracy of [Ayatolla] Khomeini, from the pores of whose skin the blood was dripping. In Sudan, Hassan Al-Turabi - nicknamed by our media 'the pope of world terror' - turned against Al-Sadeq Al-Mahdi's elected government after he was toppled by free elections, and established on the ruins [of Al-Mahdi's government] a militaristic and bloody Islamic regime, unique of its kind in the annals of this country, that set it back decades in all spheres.
Febrile and delusional with the solitary, fixed idea of military vengeance for their two centuries of defeat at the hands of the West and Israel, your political and intellectual elites became crippled. [This is] instead of restoring your legitimate rights through negotiation, as is being done by your contemporaries - except for you who are resolved to achieve through terror what others have achieved through diplomacy.
GOOD NEWS FROM THE IRANIAN - EU FRONT
I have just finished watching a most instructive documentary currently shown on the Sundance Channel. It is called Stealing the Fire and it details the German role in nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and its connection to Nazi scientists. It includes the story of Iraq. It is, therefore, most encouraging to read the following items:
EU foreign ministers expressed concern that Iran could possibly be the next US target during an informal meeting on the Greek island of Rhodes for talks on a joint European defense plan, the Frankfurter Rundschau reported Saturday, IRNA reported.
"This security policy debate is being quickened following fears in European capitals that Iran could be the next US target," the paper said, adding that"information by diplomats and increasing statements from Washington" appeared to be backing the concerns.
"Iran is reportedly working on the nuclear bomb. Hence, the EU is looking to intensify its talks on a cooperation treaty with Tehran following what appears to be discreet requests from the US," it said.
According to the daily,"Brussels will look to convince Iran to completely submit its nuclear industry to the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."
And here is the icing on the cake:
German customs blocked last year the export to Iran of 44 detonators that would have been well-suited for building nuclear bombs, the weekly Focus reports in its issue to appear Monday.Posted by Judith 12:30 A.M. EST
Two Iranian brothers attempted in November to export the detonators manufactured by the German firm Behlke and bought by two German intermediaries, Eva-Marie H. and Harald H., who had indicated they were bound for a domestic customer, Focus reported
THE"ELECTED" ARAFAT 05-04-03
This morning I watched Fareed Zakaria, the realist who warned about the pitfalls ofelections, most especially, the danger of"one election one time," wax lyrical about the"elected Palestinian Authority president,Yassir Arafat. The Palestinian Authroity is one of the most democratic in the Middle East, he said. Actually, Arafat and his authority are a classic example of a single elections. None other than the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, Abu Mazen complained:
If we look carefully at the state of the Palestinian institutions, we will find, for example, that it has been a long time since the PLC was elected, and there is no choice but to hold new general elections to 'renew' the [PA's] legitimacy. The same goes for the local councils, for which the last elections were held in 1976. Some five years have passed [since] the government [was put together], and the ministers [still] sit in their seats. They do what they want… as if the ministries were their own [private] property. The same goes for the security apparatuses, among which, it transpired during the [IDF] invasion [of the territories], there is no coordination, and anarchy [reigns] in them.It is just as important to recall the real nature of the January 1996 Palestinian elections. Arafat made sure that no viable candidate would oppose him though in the last moment an elderly grandmother called Sameeha Khalil, a social worker with no previous political experience decided to throw her hat into the ring. She simply thought that having Arafat run without opposition would creat a bad precedent. A British reporter describes her campaigning style:
When I visited Mrs Khalil at her office in Ramallah in early January 1996, the only subject she seemed interested in discussing was a freak snowstorm that had brought the city to a standstill."Isn't it beautiful? How refreshing!" she exclaimed. It came as no surprise that Mr Arafat won a landslide victory.
The London-based Sunday Telegraph on January 21, 1996 detailed the measures taken by what a reporter described as"Yasser Arafat and his henchmen" to guarantee Arafat's election as council head and his party's control of the assembly."So effective were Arafat's pre-election tactics," wrote the newspaper's correspondent Con Coughlin,"that on election day the ire of the phalanx of international observers gathered to monitor the electoral process was directed at the Israeli security forces.""The blame for undermining [the election's] democratic merit must rest squarely on Arafat's shoulders," the paper reports."Journalists have been jailed, newspapers closed and intimidated, candidates bribed and opponents beaten up. Every calumny in the canon of electoral misconduct has been committed to ensure Arafat and his supporters achieve an overwhelming victory." Though there were candidates who could have been serious opponents to Arafat's bid for council head,"it was made clear to all of them that Arafat and his bully-boys would rigorously, and no doubt violently, oppose such a move."Palestinian youths chanted"We will blow up Tel Aviv" as they marched through the West Bank town of Jenin after the vote. To the ultimate peril of the peace process, Israel and the world convinced themselves that such talk should be ignored.
Peace Watch was chosen by Israel's Foreign Ministry to act as official observers of the Palestinian Arab elections. Dan Polisar, director of Peace Watch, summed up the PLO elections:
I would start with the events preceding election day. The true story starts with what happened throughout the election campaign. The election system was designed in such a way that it was practically impossible for any party other than [Arafat's] Fatah to win. So they removed any possibility of an opposition before anything started...Concerning election day itself,in general things went well; however, there were some problems, which the more we investigate, the more serious they appear to be. For example, there was a serious problem of secrecy in the voting booths. At the moment when citizens sat and cast their ballots, there were all sorts of people who stood behind them and could see what choice they were making. Amongst them were the PLO police. They showed up in numbers far exceeding what the Palestinian Arab law itself permits...there were members of Jabril Rajoub's security service, Fatah loyalists who are known for carrying out missions, not all of them exactly within the confines of law. This was obviously intimidating to the voter.
No one expects a perfect first elections and Arafat would have probably won regardless. Still, the fact that he flatly refused to try his luck again is instructive. I have yet to talk to a Palestinian who likes Arafat. As a Palestinian responded to my querry why they do not try to change the Palestinian leadership:"I did not elect him. You know, Arafat was elected like Saddam Hussein, 98%." Yes, I know, it was only 87% in 1996 but his point was well taken. Abu Mazen should not try to waste his meager political capital trying to rebuilt Arafat's diminishing authority.
Posted by Judith at 6:00 P.M. Est.
SPAIN TAUGHT THAT REGIME CHANGE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE VIOLENT 05-03-03
The Op-ed page of today's NYT was most instructive. There they were, the story of the war crimes unearthed by the overthrow of one totalitarian Baath regime followed by a plea by a self professed expert, member of the American foreign policy establishment to spare the remaining Baath party regime. The Op-ed page of today's NYT was most instructive. There they were, the story of the war crimes unearthed by the overthrow of one totalitarian Baath regime followed by a plea by a self professed expert, member of the American foreign policy establishment to spare the remaining Baath party regime.
Indeed, Flynt Leverett entire purpose is to make sure not only that Assad's henchmen are spared the fate of those of Saddam but also that they continue their war crimes. Only those who believed that the Iraqis loved Saddam believe that the Syrians love Assad Junior. It was amazing to watch on FOX and Public TV the same British reporter interview with a straight face a Syrian man who assured him that the Syrians love their president and want him to rule forever. Not a word was mentioned about the inevitable minder or the coercive nature of the Syrian Baath regime. How pitiful! How absurd!
Does that mean that the US should go to war against Syria? Not necessarily, it should convince Assad that if he wishes to remain in his palace (and, yes, I will bet you anything, he has plenty of those), he should follow in the footsteps of Juan Carlos, the heir apparent of Franco who has so ably been helping transform Spain from autocracy to democracy. Last week Iraqi leaders members gathered in Spain to discuss their country's future, the Spanish experience could be an excellent guide for the Syrians as well as the Iraqis. Few care recall that prior to Franco's death, most experts believed in the viability of a Spanish democracy or the ability of that country to remain united.
Remember the"Jenin Massacre?" Supposedly Israelis entered Jenin and ruthlessly killed hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians, especially women and children. Oh, yes. Apparently there was no massacre. Even the UN investigators that their was no massacre. That does not mean that there is no documentary asserting that"big lie" in campuses around the world but most of the furor died down.
Now its the turn of the Americans to suffer the Israeli fate, become subject to great lies. At first, the embedding of the journalist made the big lie difficult to sell. But now we had the museum story to be followed by the release of hazzardous materials. Of course, its all the fault of those heartless Americans:
Dr. Zeidan related his efforts to contact the American forces to warn them of the dangers at the Nuclear Energy Authority:"
'I tried to reach the Authority in order to tell the American soldiers about the dangers. There was strong Marine protection. The tragedy occurred after the Marines retreated and were replaced with other soldiers; the Authority remained without protection. They were aware of the situation because Dr. Al-Barad'i, the director of the [International Atomic Energy Agency], called them to come and protect Al-Tawitha area… to avoid radioactive and biological contamination…'"
'In every country there are weak people and thieves alongside good people. What happened was… that those insects were released before being sterilized, because when the war started, the employees fled and left the insects inside the building… the looters came in, removed the air conditioning units and the doors and released the insects…'"
Dr. Zeidan said that the Marines, under the command of an officer named Mike, tried to protect the place, and he added: 'I saw a person using a barrel that used to contain radioactive materials to carry milk to the dairy. He bought the plastic barrels from citizens not knowing that they were contaminated, and started to use them to carry milk to the dairy. We told Mike, who escorted us, about that… [and] they brought instruments to measure radioactivity in the area. But on the following day, despite the fact that we set up a time for a meeting – they refused to meet with us…'
I bet you the big lies will continue. How else will the losers convince the world that even Saddam was better for the Iraqis than the Americans and their allies?
posted by Judith 6:00 p.m. Est.
FACING FACTS AND CHANGING DIRECTIONS 05-02-03
You want Middle East peace, then end the policies which encourage the continuation of the strife. This is the message of ABRAHAM D. SOFAER He has little confidence in the road map and this is the reason:
Quite apart from its wildly optimistic timetable, many substantive objections can and should be raised to the road map. Still, it may be stipulated that the plan's aim--a two-state solution--is a reasonable one, accepted by the present Israeli government. But the mere recitation of a valid aim, even when coupled with a scheme for negotiations and escalating concessions, will hardly suffice to realize the peace envisioned by the road map's authors. The problem is that this road map, like many plans for Middle East peace, expects to bring an end to Palestinian violence against Israel without addressing the reasons why the Palestinians have deliberately and repeatedly chosen that path.
Dennis Ross, the former U.S. negotiator for the Middle East, recently admitted that ever since the last Gulf War, he and other U.S. negotiators failed to take seriously the Palestinian Authority's steadfast refusal to end violence. (As Mr. Ross put it in State Department doublespeak:"The prudential issues of compliance were neglected and politicized by the Americans in favor of keeping the peace process afloat.") Instead, in the face of the continuing violence, the U.S. kept pressing Israel to make further concessions, thereby convincing Palestinians that they could go on cheating and killing and still procure the benefits for which they had been negotiating. In the end, it seemed reasonable to suppose that they might even force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza as it had been forced to withdraw from southern Lebanon in the summer of 2000.
But Palestinian violence is a much more serious and difficult problem than even Dennis Ross now admits. It is the product of an environment that fosters, shelters, encourages and rewards acts aimed at nullifying Israel's very existence. And that environment is itself the creation not only of the Palestinians, or of the Arabs, but also of the international community--including the U.S. To change this situation requires changing not just the actions and attitudes of Palestinians but the policies and practices of others, again including the U.S. No recognition of these facts, let alone any acknowledgment of the need to do something about them, has been made part of the road map--which is again why it shares the basic flaw of every Middle East peace plan that has preceded it.
His article is too long to post but his comments about the UN role in perpetuating violece are particularly relelvant in this day and age when Bush is urged to let the US in:
Consider, first, the longstanding strategy of Arab states and the Palestine Liberation Organization to keep as many Palestinians as possible living under horrible conditions in refugee camps, close to Israel. The camps, first set up after the 1948 war that followed the establishment of the state of Israel, are administered by an arm of the United Nations, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. UNRWA now spends more than $400 million a year to assist a population that has swollen over the past half century to some 4.5 million, relatively few of whom are refugees by any accepted definition of the term. The whole system could not have been better designed both to endanger Israel's security and to damage its moral reputation.
What would an alternative look like? It would include plans for building permanent homes for Palestinian refugees within Palestinian territories on the West Bank or in nearby states. As the scholar Scott B. Lasensky has recently suggested, incentive programs could also be put in place to encourage refugees to relocate and neighboring Arab states to accept them. Such resettlement could commence immediately; as long as it does not, we will be continuing to aid in solidifying the sentiments that lead to terrorism.
Second, the Palestinian educational system is an abomination; it, too, is largely funded by the U.N., with the substantial support of American taxpayers. In their schools, Palestinian children are taught mendacious versions of their own history as well as of Jewish culture, history and beliefs. Generations have been fed on propaganda that denies the legitimacy of the state of Israel while simultaneously glorifying intolerance, fanaticism and"martyrdom."
Very little that is actually useful--engineering, computer technology, science, finance--is taught in these schools. In the private, religiously funded schools, things are still worse. There, in the words of Itamar Marcus," children have been taught to hate, and to die for Allah. Their childhood has been destroyed by indoctrination to hate and kill Jews as well as Americans and Westerners in general."
The U.N. and the U.S. have allowed these terrible practices to continue for years. Although efforts have been made recently to restrict the flow of funds to some schools, little if anything has been done to halt the teachings themselves. How can Palestinians realistically be expected to accept Israel as long as they continue to convey to their children that Israel is unacceptable, and that terrorism against it is a noble undertaking?
LONDONISTAN OR BRITAINISTAN 05-01-03
For the longest time Britian ignored warnings that its liberal assylum policy was turning it into a terrorist haven. It can do so no more . Indeed, many in Britian are afraid that their terrorists may start blowing up British targets and not only foreign ones. That is Philip Johnston's message:
Many waking up to yesterday's news of another suicide bomb attack in Israel will have been taken aback by the involvement of British Muslims in the atrocity. What could possibly have taken two young men, one brought up in Derby, the other from Hounslow, to a beachside bar near Tel Aviv to blow themselves and innocent revellers to pieces?
of Al-Muhajiroun, an Islamist group with a base in London. Choudary was by no means surprised to discover a British involvement in the suicide attack. Muslims, he said, had an obligation to support their fellow believers in jihad and the greatest sacrifice they could make was to lay down their own lives while taking those of others.
Apart from the two Israeli bombers, in recent years Britain has supplied Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who masterminded the kidnap and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. Originally from east London, he attended a British public school before dropping out of the LSE.
Richard Reid, born in London, tried to carry out a suicide attack on a Paris to Miami flight in December 2001, but was overpowered by passengers. There are seven British Muslims held by the Americans in Guantánamo Bay after being captured in Afghanistan. Three are from Tipton in the West Midlands. A few years ago, another British-born Muslim extremist, belonging to the Pakistani-based militant organisation Jaish-i-Muhamnmad, killed 32 people when he rammed a lorry packed with explosives into an Indian army barracks in Kashmir.
One thing that all have in common, apart from their faith, is that they attended mosques or events where fundamentalist messages were routinely issued. The trial earlier this year of Abdullah el-Faisal, an imam, gave an insight into the content of those messages. He was convicted on charges of incitement to racial hatred for producing tapes urging audiences to kill Western unbelievers.
El-Faisal, a Jamaican, travelled round Britain, addressing audiences in Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, Maidenhead, Bournemouth and London. He exhorted Muslims to take up arms against Jews, Hindus, Americans and other"infidels". In the early 1990s, he was a preacher and prayer leader at Brixton Mosque, where Richard Reid worshipped. He also led study circles with young Muslims in Tipton.
After his trial, one investigator said:"We simply don't know how many young impressionable Muslims may have gone to training camps and returned with the knowledge and resources to commit acts of terrorism as a result of his words.''
Britain is a tolerant society that prides itself on letting people speak their minds, whatever their opinions. But it must also be incumbent on those who see fanaticism in their midst to combat it, not simply to condemn.
If the extremists are allowed, unchallenged, to continue preaching their doctrine of hate to young Muslims, then the next suicide bomb attack could well be in Britain.
Is it possible that the British like their fellow European (as a French intellectual recently explained to Charlie Rose)trust that all the Moslem fury will be directed at Israel and the US?
ARAFAT - AL QAIDA - HAMMAS
One of the more provocative websites is Debka file. Its information should be taken with a grain of salt. But it is always worth a visit. Especially when it reports on Arafat's favorite battle cry:"Go dring the sea water." It must be a unique regional insult. It was the one with which former Egyptian President Gammal Abd'l Nasser insulted Lyndon Johnson shortly after he took office. If any of you know the history of this phrase, I would love to learn about it. In the meantime, these are some of Debka's analysis of th ecurrent developments:
The speeches Arafat and Abu Mazen delivered to Palestinian lawmakers left no room for illusions. Arafat was quite frank about his intentions. After promising the Palestinians a state whose capital would be Jerusalem, he invited those who stand against him “to go and drink the salt water of the sea!” This has been Arafat’s triumphant battle cry since September 2000, his way of informing adherents that their campaign of terror is unbeatable and would go on.
He is known to have targeted American victims at every opportunity, although on the quiet. Now the mask and gloves are off. Assuming the victorious posture of the only Arab Muslim leader remaining to challenge the world’s number one power – Saddam Hussein was vanquished in 30 days and Bin Laden has failed – Arafat confidently and unequivocally declared war on the United States – and not just in the Palestinian-Israeli context. In ringing tones addressed to the entire Middle East, he called on the Shurfa (noble men) and “free men” to fight the American occupation of Iraq.
Arafat last referred to Shurfa in October 2002, when he praised the “noble men” who assassinated Laurence Foley, head of USAID, after he was charged by President George W. Bush with overseeing the reconstruction of the reformed Palestinian civil administration.
For an audience familiar with Arafat’s coded references, this was a clear order to extend the war of terror to US targets. A suicide bomber was immediately dispatched to the closest accessible location to the US embassy in Tel Aviv: Mike’s Place café-bar, a favorite nightspot of young Israelis and tourists.
NO SECURITY GUARANTEES TO NORTH KOREA
The same "experts" who urged the US not to get rid of Saddam Hussein and to engage in bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang, are now urging Washington to provide a regime which starves its people with security guarantees. I cannot imagine a better incentive for murderous regimes to focus on developing nuclear weapons than such guarantees. This is even more obvious after the ousting of Saddam Hussein. By all means, give the North Koreans food, fuel, medicine, warm cloths and even DVDs but do not give their regime a security guarantee.
Let's remember that if Castro is still executing his citizens, fermenting trouble in Latin American and convincing his fellow Human Rights Commission members to make a mockery of the United Nations, it is because Kennedy gave him a security guarantee in 1962. Moreover, one of the reasons the North Vietnam felt free to fight so relentlessly, it is because at the Glassboro summit Lyndon Johnson assured a worried Nikolai Kosygin that the US will not invade North Vietnam. While fear of a nuclear holocaust at the height of the cold war may have justified those guarantees, I know of nothing similar to justify one to the North Asian member of the axis of evil. So, let's not!
LIFE VS. MARTYRDOM
That is the name of my National Review Online article. I am thrilled to see Safire agrees.
THE TEMPTATION OF PUTIN 04-30-03
Well, it seems that Putin gambled and lost big. The American swift victory in Iraq has not only lowered commodity prices (oil, gold, precious stones) but also undermined the attractiveness of Russian weapons and military know how advice. It is a small wonder that Putin forgot his manner with Blair. All Putin has to show for the high economic price is the renewed entent with old Europe. All the losers can do is stick together. Once again the Chinese have outsmarted him. Russian bitterness is palpable.
PRAVDA.Ru has already reported that Russia keeps its gold and forex reserves in the form of American and German state securities on the New York and London exchanges. The American government, transnational banks and corporations use Russian oil profits and strategic reserves. They invest the Russian money in the economy of China, for example, and create jobs for their people and pay them social allowances. The Russian money was also used to wage war against the defenseless Iraqi nation. Yet, Russian people, and the people of other developing countries (which will always remain at that stage - developing, but never developed) suffer from horrible working conditions and low living standards. The government simply reads its official documents, talks about the stable budget despite the reduction in oil prices, economic stability and a lot of other things. The presence of lies and lack of conscience is very real.
let's make sure we do not face a Weimar Russia!
MAINSTREAM MEDIA IGNORES HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES IN NON WESTERN COUNTRIES
Racism celebrates in much of the world but you would be hard pressed to find it in the mainstream media. No wonder Tom Friedman has to see a skull to believe that Saddam Hussein was indeed a butcher. Note the following story entitled Black Day in Cairo.
Sitting in his dingy two-bedroom apartment located on the edge of the Cairo suburb of Maadi, Michael Lagu, 32, a Sudanese refugee, recalled a series of incidents that he said have forever changed his perception of the country he used to call his second home.
Lagu, his wife, and their three children fled Sudan in 1999 to escape persecution at the hands of the Islamic fundamentalist government in Khartoum. They found shelter in Egypt and applied for asylum. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) studied Lagu’s case and granted him and his family refugee status and temporary protection in Egypt, while the office made arrangements for resettlement in a third country.
For a while, things seemed to be going reasonably well for the family. Lagu washed dishes at a restaurant. His wife found employment as a maid for an Egyptian family. The children attended the African Hope School in the fashionable suburb of Maadi. Then Lagu found himself locked up in a local police station, along with his wife and hundreds of Africans, most of them Sudanese Christians from southern Sudan. None had any idea why they were there.
For Lagu, the story had begun in late January as he was returning home from the passport control authority. He had gone there to renew his residency visa under an arrangement between the UNHCR office and the Egyptian government.
“Suddenly, two men grabbed hold of me and dragged me towards a microbus that was waiting a few meters away,” he said. Lagu suspected that the two men, who were dressed in plain clothes, were policemen, though they did not ask to see his papers. “I told them I was a refugee and that I had valid residence papers, but this meant nothing to them,” he said. “When we got to the bus, I realized that it was crowded with Africans.”
What he had not realized was that a campaign was underway to round up Africans residing in the Maadi area. On Jan. 28 and 29, police wagons and microbuses crawled the neighborhood relentlessly. Witnesses report hearing policemen refer to the day as “Black Day,” and Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, reported that the intake sheet at the Maadi police station was headed, in Arabic, “Operation Track Down Blacks.”
The World Press Review is filled with such forgotten stories.
ANTISEMITISM IS NOW CALLES ANTI NEO CONSERVATISM
Here we go again: Anther conspicacy theory. It is awfully reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Here is an an example from Abu Dhabi:
Arab political governance is no longer an Arab issue only. It very much drives American policy and war making, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The strange but powerful coalition of American Christian mullahs, pro-Israeli zealots, populist militarists and ascendant neoconservatives that has fuelled George Bush's assault on Iraq has several aims in mind, related to oil, Israel, terror, democracy.
If you think this is an Arab phenomenon, think again or better yet read the perceptive article written by By Robert J. Lieber which is entitled"The Neoconservative-Conspiracy Theory" and was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It starts thus:
The ruins of Saddam Hussein's shattered tyranny may provide additional evidence of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, but one poisonous by-product has already begun to seep from under the rubble. It is a conspiracy theory purporting to explain how the foreign policy of the world's greatest power, the United States, has been captured by a sinister and hitherto little-known cabal.
A small band of neoconservative (read, Jewish) defense intellectuals, led by the"mastermind," Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (according to Michael Lind, writing in the New Statesman), has taken advantage of 9/11 to put their ideas over on an ignorant, inexperienced, and"easily manipulated" president (Eric Alterman in The Nation), his"elderly figurehead" Defense Secretary (as Lind put it), and the"dutiful servant of power" who is our secretary of state (Edward Said, London Review of Books).
Thus empowered, this neoconservative conspiracy,"a product of the influential Jewish-American faction of the Trotskyist movement of the '30s and '40s" (Lind), with its own"fanatic" and"totalitarian morality" (William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune) has fomented war with Iraq -- not in the interest of the United States, but in the service of Israel's Likud government (Patrick J. Buchanan and Alterman).
How sad for me and you!
POLL REVEASL - MOST IRAQIS IN BAGHDAD WELCOME US 04-29-03
A majority of Iraqis actually welcome the US invasion on their country though the jury is still out on whether coalition troops should pull out immediately or stay back, according to an opinion poll conducted by NDTV in Baghdad.
In what is billed as the first-ever opinion poll in the war-ravaged country in the last 25 years, 668 men and 332 women took part in the exercise conducted on April 22 and 23 in 25 different locations in the Iraqi capital.
Was the US war to remove Saddam correct? • RIGHT: 54 • WRONG: 32
Should US troops stay on to rebuild Iraq • GO BACK: 52% • STAY ON: 43%
Sample of 1,000 respondents in Iraq.Don’t knows not included. To the question ‘‘Should America stay on and help re-build Iraq, or should they go back now?’’, 52 per cent wanted the US troops to return immediately while 43 per cent felt the they should stay on. And clearly while a large per cent of Muslims want the Americans to stay on, many Christians in Baghdad wanted an American presence in Baghdad to help rebuild the devastated country.
In a city completely ravaged by war, with no power, water or food, getting even a photostat machine to get a copy of the questionnaire was a problem, not to mention the 1,000 copies that were needed for the exercise. The channel said the problem was solved by its translator, Ahmed Khalid Hamdan, who took the help of an Indian company, PCP International Limited, which was made to open its premises, while the core team provided power with a portable generator set. For more, click
Does this not renew your faith in the Arab wish for democracy?
HOPE RAISES ITS HEAD IN THE MIDDLE EAST
I hope you will read my National Review article which explains the reason I think there is hope. Perhaps its coming on Yom Hashoa is a good omen. But unless we ignore the calls for Israel to make unilateral gestures, most specifically the type recommended by James Bennet on the NYT (withdrawing and releasing detainees!) which would make the escalation of terror more likely this opportunity will also be lost. Also, we must hold Palestinians supporters feet to the fire. It is there credibility which is at stake. I pasted here is the last paragraph of my piece since it is the one includes my recommendations to what is to be done.
To follow in his (ben Gurion) footsteps, Dahlan wants to disband not only Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also Fatah's Al Aksa brigades. The recent Al Aksa suicide bombing in Kfar Saba was in part that militia's response to Dahlan's appointment as the head of internal security. There are some reports indicating that Arafat promised the Al Aksa brigades Nablus commander that his funding will not be affected by the creation of the new government. Clearly, Yasser Arafat is no Chaim Weizmann. But a unified quartet position bolstered by Arab states had successfully forced Arafat's hand once and can do so again. As a fruitful peace process clearly depends significantly on limiting Arafat's mischief making. And limiting Arafat's mischief making will depend on insuring that every penny they send to the Palestinian Authority is addressed to Salam Fayyad, Mahmoud Abbas's new finance minister. Empowering Dahlan to create a unified Palestinian force depends on vocal international rejection of all Palestinian violence and affirmation of Israel's right for a muscular self defense. Dahlan must be able to argue that terror undermines progress towards statehood. How else can he justify cracking down on the various terrorist Palestinian terrorist organizations? In short, the ball is in the court of all those clamoring for a solution to Arab-Israeli conflict. Let's see if they can stay the course. After all, a multilateral success on this thorny issue would provide an excellent vehicle for international fence mending and rehabilitating Colin Powell's tarnished reputation.
Yes, I forgot. The first signs to watch is the Palestinian TV Is it starting to prepare its people for peace based on compromise? Is it stopping its spewing of hate?
ANOTHER HOPEFUL SIGN - ARAB PRESS EDITORIAL
An editorial in the Saudi-based Arab News brought to my attention by that most worthwhile media watch dog Honest reporting does, indeed, as they claim, offer provides welcomehonesty and hope for change:
For decades it has been difficult to find anything in the opinion pages of the Arabic language press that did not concern Israel. Every problem faced by Arab societies was blamed, in however obscure or far-fetched a way, on Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. The issue served as a sort of lowest common denominator, satisfying many journalists who were not equipped to write about anything else as well as many of those who rule the Arab world and who would prefer Israel -- rather than their own shortcomings -- to be the subject of heated discussion in the"Arab street"... The days when the Arab world could just scream"Israel!" are over. The time for peaceful coexistence, internal reflection and healthy, progressive thinking has come.
HELP STOP AMINA LAWAL FROM BEING STONNED TO DEATH ON 3RD JUNE
The Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Amina Lawal, condemned for the crime of adultery on August 19th 2002, to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death. Her death was postponed so that she could continue to nurse her baby. Execution is now set for June 3rd. If you haven't been following this case, you might like to know that Amina's baby is regarded as the 'evidence' of her adultery. The father denied everything when he realised the trouble he was in. To find out more about sharia law, see this Guardian article
Amina's case is being handled by the Spanish branch of Amnesty International, which is attempting to put together enough signatures to make the Nigerian government rescind the death sentence. A similar campaign saved another Nigerian woman, Safiya, condemned in similar circumstances.
By March 4th the petition had amassed over 2,600,000 signatures.
It will only take you a few seconds to sign Amnesty's online petition. Click here Enter your first name in the space marked"nombre", last name ("apellidos"), county ("provincia"), country, and In the drop down box pick Estados Unidos (USA). Then click on"Seguir" and go to the second page. There you have the option of entering your email address if you wish to receive follow-up information. In any case, be sure to click on"aceptar" to have your name added to the petition list. Please sign the petition now, then copy this message into a new email and send it to everyone in your address book. Posted by Judith at 4:00 p.m. est
DOES THE AMERICAN ADMINISTRATION WANT TO PROMOTE AN ISLAMIC REPUBLIC IN IRAQ 04-28-03
Here I go again, rubbing my eyes. Reading the paper I cannot but conclude that the Americans organizing Iraq say they want a secular state but act to promote clerical rule. How else can one make sense of the fact that secular Iraqis who try to emerge as leaders (like the INC's Challabi and or the self appointed mayor of Baghdad) are vilified and even arrested while the clerics spouting anti-American venom and operating militias and cuddled. Something is rotten in the former Kingdom of Iraq!
By the way, one does NOT have to chose between a complete separation of church and state and a church run state. Great Britian, Denmark, Sweeden and Israel to mention but a few pertinent example are all liberal democracies in which one religion has a preferred position. In the first three it is a specific branch of Christianity and in the last one, Judaism. Iraq could follow their example.
SOME ARAB STRAIGHT TALK
Bravo Jamil Khoury. What a courageous article! Let's hope he his call for Arab Americans to take the lead for freedom will be heeded. Here are some highlights:
For some, perhaps -- including many Arab Americans -- the rightness or wrongness of the war in Iraq is a simple question. For me it has not been. Rather, it has created within me a painful conflict of conscience.
I've found myself torn between my strong antiwar impulses and a keen awareness of the horrendous suffering inflicted by the regime of Saddam Hussein. This inner conflict has put me at odds with many people I know, both on the American left and among Arab Americans. At the same time, it has raised my hopes for a new frontier in Middle East activism.
Although Hussein's crimes are well documented, including the destruction of more than 4,000 Kurdish villages, the near eradication of the ancient civilization of the Marsh Arabs and the gassing of civilians, what exemplified for me the full horrors of the regime were the personal narratives. Since the mid-1980s I have been speaking to Iraqis, both in the Middle East and in the United States, who have shared graphic and heart-wrenching stories of torture, disappeared loved ones and murdered family members. These stories were often too painful to bear, let alone ignore, and it became clear to me that justice in Iraq could not be achieved through appeasing or containing a criminal dictatorship, but only through ensuring its demise.
Unable to trivialize or deny the courageous voices of Hussein's victims, or to be unmoved by the nearly universal support for war among organized Iraqi exiles, I landed in the precarious position of supporting military action to topple Hussein's regime while remaining highly skeptical of this war's architects and their geopolitical objectives. I adopted a lesser-of-two-evils equation, in which the nightmare of war paled beside the nightmare of the Iraqi status quo.
This has been most trying for me on the home front --"home" being at least in part the American left and the Arab American community, both nearly unanimous in their opposition to the war. Early on, I attended antiwar rallies and marches and found myself feeling alienated. I was dismayed by the failure of rally organizers to articulate an alternative (and realistic) vision for ending Hussein's dictatorship and promoting freedom for Iraqis. I was also struck by the noticeable absence of Iraqis and Iraqi Americans at such rallies and was greatly affected when local Iraqis expressed hurt and dismay about the protests.
While the left fell short of expectations, though, it was Arab American activists from whom I felt most estranged. I was appalled to see high-profile Arab Americans essentially dismissing the pleas of Iraqi exiles, some going so far as to suggest that the exile leadership lacked legitimacy. Instead of deferring to those most affected by the Iraqi regime -- those with family members living in Iraq -- the activists effectively removed Hussein's horrors from the equation and framed the discussion in terms of the United States vs. the Arab world. Yet the question remained: Who better than Iraqis to differentiate between liberation and foreign aggression and to define the best interests of their homeland?
It is time for Arab Americans to place a higher premium on freedom in the Arab world than on romantic notions of Arab nationalism or fidelity to the failed statist ideologies of yesterday.
Shouldn't we be the ones brainstorming ways to support a free Iraq, instead of gloating and peddling worst-case scenarios? This is an exciting and important time for Arabs. Iraq today stands a chance of becoming a model of civil society for the entire region.
Posted by Judith 6:00 p.m. est.
SOME COMMENTS 04-27-03
1. Does the CIA suggest the Agency's plots? If so what does tell us about its proclivities? First there were two anti-Israeli episodes. In the second one, the Mossad tried to kill the CIA director and his agents. Last night, the villain was a grieving billioner whose family and employees died on 9/11. He was trying to kill the members of the Saudi Royal family. At least half a dozen times, the Agency members emphasized that the Saudis are"our allies." Perhaps, the time had come to find out who finances this series? Wierd!
2. Tim Russet could not be nicer to the Jordanian ambassador. I suspect American politicians would love to have been treated so gently by Russet. He actually solicited advice on the best way to create a democratic society in Iraq from the Jordanian ambassador! A pity he can not get an interview with the former Iraqi information minister!
3. NGO are reluctant to work with the American army NGOs that are famous for arguing that they have no choice but to work with Huttu murderers, Sudanese slave traders and Iraqi Baath Party members refuse to co-operate with the American army. They worry they will lose their independence! What a surreal world they live in or is it the perfect segway to the next item?
THE ENEMY OF THE USA IS MY FRIEND
Galloway and his supporters are foolish to believe that an enemy of America is necessarily their friend argues David Aaronovitch in an article entitled Lies and the Left. Here are some excerpts:
Immediately after the Daily Telegraph published the first of the documents found in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, some on the Left were crying 'forgery!' Tariq Ali, interviewed on television, stated bluntly that it was an intelligence scam. The Guardian cartoonist, Martin Rowson, depicted the Telegraph dog digging up bones in a garden full of past security service frauds, with the caption, 'Weapons of Mass Distraction', the implication being that the documents were a plant designed to divert attention from the truth about the war. And the editor of Tribune , Mark Seddon, wrote in the Times that 'the discovery is a gift for the Government which has still not found a single shred of evidence for weapons of mass destruction_ (it) comes at a convenient moment_ I am reminded of the Zinoviev letter.'Galloway forgot that when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas or in the case of Galloway you help Bin Laden kill hundreds of innocent Kenyans and Tanzanians in addition to Americans.
To me it just shows how deep in denial some on the Left are. And this is, by the way, an argument with the Left, not with the anti-war movement, some of whose leading figures were themselves suspicious of Galloway. In the London Evening Standard on Friday the anti-war writer Will Self revealed that he had refused to speak on a platform with the MP. 'Anyone,' Self wrote, 'who had paid attention to Galloway's pro-Saddam statements should have realised that his motives for meddling in Iraqi politcs were far from humanitarian.' Anyone except Mark Seddon, Tariq Ali, Martin Rowson and a whole lot of others.
Leaving aside unproved accusations of personal gain, there are other explanations that might cover George's sudden blindness on the road to Baghdad. And the most obvious is that sin of the committed, the belief that my enemy's enemy is my friend. Or, in the context of the modern world, any anti-American will do. When Iraq stopped being a friend of the West it became a friend of George's.
True, the same people will often shield themselves with one half sentence about Saddam's 'appaling human rights record'. But this is a phrase invoked as a defence against the reality of that record. Constructed against the reality of what it actually means to be living in such circumstances, afraid ever to speak. The constant suggestion is that the 'human rights record' is bad, but whatever the Americans do is far, far worse.
posted by Judith 6:00 p.m. Est
SPAIN IS WITH US 04-26-03
The benefits of joining the coalition of the willing has just become clearer. It is Spain not Germany that is getting a chance to help organize post war Iraq. As I have explained this is aserious blow to German ambitions in the Middle East.
SADDAM'S NUMBERED VICTIMS 04-25-03
Here we go again. Another murderous dictator dehumanizes his victims by making them nameless. I wish the name of my blog would be less relevant. But then the Baath was born in the thirties. I do pity the Syrians. Perhaps, it time to start exposing that regime?
MOI IN A FRONT PAGE SYMPOSIUM
Symposium: Did the Left Go Too Far on Iraq?
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | April 25, 2003
During the American liberation of Iraq, the anti-war protests on both sides of the Atlantic included verbalized pronunciations of support for the enemy – which was headed by a despotic regime indebted to fascist traditions. How could the Left have been so disastrously wrong on this conflict? And so the question must be asked: did the Left go to far?
To discuss this issue with us today, Frontpage Symposium has invited Jeffrey Herf, a professor of Modern European History at the University of Maryland and the author of Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich (1984); War By Other Means: Soviet Power, West German Resistance and the Battle of the Euromissiles (1991); and Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys (1997); Ted Glick, a noted activist, the national coordinator of Independent Progressive Politics Network and author of Future Hope: A Winning Strategy for a Just Society; Judith Klinghoffer, a senior associate scholar at the Political Science Department at Rutgers University, Camden, the author of Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East and a History News Network blogger; and Thomas Spencer, author, historian and also a blogger for the History News Network.
To read it CLICK HERE.
PALESTINIAN PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY
I wish the Palestinian public's outlook was not as hopeless and helpless as it seems to be. It would have augured better for the peace. Let's hope Abbas and his new cabinet will break with Arafat and finally take pity on the people and lead them out of their current misery.
Posted by Judith 7:00 P.M. Est.
ANTI-ZIONSIM = ANTI-SEMITISM 04-24-03
Preparing for yet another symposium about leftist anti-Semitism I came across Martin Luther King's comments> on this subject. No one has ever imporved on his words:
You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely 'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this is God's own truth.
Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so.
Why is this? You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish people, the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the Holy Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans who cruelly murdered Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again suffered the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.
The Negro people, my friend, know what it is to suffer the torment of tyranny under rulers not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have begged, pleaded, requested--DEMANDED the recognition and realization of our inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty in our own country.
How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right of all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the fulfilment of God's promise, that his People should return in joy to rebuild their plundered land. This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.
And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.
There is more.
MORE ON THE INTERNAL PALESTINIAN BATTLE
One of the more interesting (though needed to be taken with a grain of salt)internet analysis to be found is that of DEBKA. Here is some of it:"Real Arafat- Abu Mazen Power Struggle Is Just Beginning – Terror Will Go on"
Only one man is smiling in the group photo of Yasser Arafat, incoming Palestinian reform prime minister Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian intelligence chief Osman Suleiman, who brokered an accord on the makeup of the new government. That man is Arafat. The rest were grim.
In the current round of the Ramallah power struggle, Abu Mazen with massive international backing may have forced Arafat to accept former Gazan security chief Mohammed Dahlan as internal security minister, but in the process he has fallen back on home ground and Arafat has come up smiling. Uneasy over Dahlan’s empowerment, the Fatah leadership and Palestinian institutions which first granted majority backing to Abu Mazen’s premiership has reverted to support of Arafat. This gives him the power to have every policy decision by the first Palestinian prime minister (who also holds interior) and his internal security minister overturned by a majority vote. Palestinians sources told DEBKAfile that next week, when Abu Mazen puts his cabinet to the vote at the Palestinian Legislative Council, pro-Arafat lawmakers may prove this point by forcing separate votes of confidence for every minister and rejecting them all one by one, thus stripping Abu Mazen of his cabinet.
Posted by Judith 6:00 P.M. Est.
NO DAHLAN - NO MIDEAST PEACE 04-23-03
No, the internal struggle between Arafat and Abu Abbas is not about personalities. It is about the possibility of peace. Abu Abbas and Dahlan do not love Israel more than Arafat. But they concluded that it is time to follow in David Ben Gurion's footsteps and say yes to what is attainable. Dahlan is quoted as saying that David Ben Gurion was the greatest leader. To found a viable state, Ben Gurion ignored the howls of both the right (Etzel and Lehi) and the left (Palmach) and disbanded their militias. He insisted on a single Israeli army under a single command. Similarly, Dahlan wants to disband Hammas, Islamic Jihad as well as the Al Aktza brigades and create a unified Palestinian arm force. Such action would turn the Palestinian Authority into a negotiator, able to cut deals. In other words, a real peace deal would become possible. Arafat would rather keep the terror option open, even if it means no Palestinian State. Abu Mazen denied the holocaust. Dahlan organized terror. But they seem to have made a strategic decision for peace at our time. Arafat has not. He is known to have said that the Palestinians can afford to lose 60,000 persons. It is time to save a few by getting rid of that arch terrorist!
NORMAL SHIA FERVOR
The administration seems to be taken aback by the sight of men beating themselves in Karbala. But this is rather a traditional exhibit of Muslim manhood I have witnessed in Malasia a few years ago. It ended in a merry parade on the main street of Kuala Lumpure as bleeding men were joined by laughing and cheering women and children. The more bloody they were, the more proud.There is nothing menacing about the Indian Muslims in that country and there is nothing menacing about this mode of celebration in Iraq. Indeed, the picture on the front page of the New York was Times reminded me of Woodstock. That does not mean that Iranian and Saudi fanatics are not trying to meddle or that they are not dangerous, it means that participation in this ritual does not necessary mean that these people would help them. I would suggest exposing them to some disillusioned Iranian and Saudi dissenters who would inform them of the facts of life under fundamentalist rule.
PARTIAL TRUTH IS ANOTHER NAME FOR FALSEHOOD 04-21-03
As Jeff Jacoby recently wrote in The Boston Globe:
Don't take my word for it. Listen to Thomas Friedman, who described in his 1989 best seller"From Beirut to Jerusalem" what it was like to be a reporter in Beirut during the years when southern Lebanon was dominated by Yasser Arafat's PLO and Syria's Palestinian loyalists.
"No discussion about the reality of Beirut reporting would be complete," he wrote,"without mentioning a major reporting constraint journalists there faced: physical intimidation." He explained, for example, how Syria's agents dealt with one journalist they didn't like: He was found with a bullet in his head and his writing hand mutilated with acid. Earlier, Friedman recalled his own terror on learning that Arafat's spokesman wanted to see him"immediately" about the stories he'd been filing to New York:
"I lay awake in my bed the whole night worrying that someone was going to burst in and blow my brains all over the wall." No"major breaking" news story was ever suppressed because journalists were too intimidated to report it,Friedman insisted. But behind that fig leaf, he conceded a shameful truth:
"There were . . . stories which were deliberately ignored out of fear. Here I will be the first to say `mea culpa.' How many serious stories were written from Beirut about the well-known corruption in the PLO leadership. . .? It would be hard to find any hint of them in Beirut reporting before the Israeli invasion."
then, an even more damning admission:"The truth is," Friedman wrote,"the Western press coddled the PLO. For any Beirut-based correspondent, the name of the game was keeping on good terms with the PLO, because without it would you not get the interview with Arafat you wanted when your foreign editor came to town."
There are moral costs to doing business with thugs and totalitarians. Reporters who forget that accuracy, not access, is the bedrock of their profession can too easily find themselves paying those costs -- trading off truth for a coveted interview or visa, turning a blind eye to dissent, treating barbaric criminals with deference. Or saying nothing when the dictator's son says he is planning a double assassination.
When"the name of the game" becomes"keeping on good terms" with the world's most evil men, journalism turns into something awfully hard to distinguish from collaboration. It didn't start with Eason Jordan, and it didn't end in Baghdad.
ASSURE IRAQIS THAT THE AMERICAN WERE THERE TO STAY
The most important ingredient of American success in Iraq is erasing its people's fear that the US will soon leave. For that means that it is not safe to go along with the Americans. It is much safer to demonstrate against them. So, conventional wisdom not withstanding, Washington must assure the poeple it would protect and reward those who help it rebuild Iraq.
CASTRO, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LATIN ANTI-AMERICANISM
This is the name of an article which ultimately deals with the price of John Kennedy's promise not to overthrow Castro. Michael Radu writes:
Recently, following a pattern understood by all but American liberals, Fidel Castro again did something he always does in response to U.S. efforts to improve relations with Cuba. He answered renewed congressional efforts to weaken the embargo by cracking down on the opposition. In the past, when then-President Jimmy Carter tried to improve ties, we wound up with the Mariel exodus and the emptying of Cuba's jails through migration to the U.S.; when Bill Clinton tried to improve relations, it ended up with American citizens being blown out of the skies by Castro's fighter planes and yet another mass send-off to Florida. This time, when a combination of greedy Republicans from farm states and leftist Democrats tried to weaken the embargo in the name of free trade, Castro answered by jailing 79 dissidents for sentences totaling over 2,000 years.
It is worth reading the rest.
BRILLIANT SOLUTION FOR THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF IRAQ
Bernard Lewis recently quipped:"We used to say, no taxation without representation, we can also say , no representation without taxation." Oil, it has recently been argued has been the curse of the Arab world as it permitted the rulers not only to rule without the consent of the governed but even without any reference to the well being of the governed. As Tom Friedman brilliantly notes, without having to drill their people. Writing for the Financial Times, Michael Prowse makes a suggests, "Give Iraq's oil to its people."
Here are some key portions:
The Iraqi people's immediate needs are for law and order, and food and medicine. But their longer-term prospects will rest almost entirely on the quality of the political and economic institutions that are created in their country in the next few years.
The US and its allies want a postwar Iraq to become something new in the Arab world: a democratic society with a market economy. But this goal will not be achieved by importing a few Iraqi exiles with a commitment to capitalism, or by premature elections.
If a market economy is to be constructed, reformers have to make the best possible use of Iraq's existing assets. Oil is by far the most important economic asset. Hence it has to be managed in such a way as to increase popular support for western-style institutions, while also ensuring that ordinary Iraqis get enough food and other essentials to survive what is certain to be a harsh transition.
Politicians such as Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, have stressed that"Iraq's oil belongs to the Iraqi people". Why not take them at their word? Why not give Iraq's oil to its people in the form of free share certificates? Every Iraqi would immediately become a shareowner, and have a legal right to an income sufficient to keep them out of poverty. As is well known, those who own assets tend to take a more benign view of capitalism that those who do not.
If the shares were distributed equally to all adults - to Iraqi women as well as men - reformers would greatly increase the prospects of future sexual equality in that nation. Just imagine: every Iraqi woman would have a secure income of her own. That might prove a phenomenally powerful social acid, something that could burn away centuries of oppression.
Of course, there would have to be many safeguards. Individual Iraqis could not be allowed to sell their shares for a long period otherwise the experiment in popular share ownership - and poverty relief - might prove short-lived. In fact, to start with it might be advisable to make the citizens' oil shares non-alienable. In other words the right of ownership would not include the right of sale.
A future Iraqi state would need revenue to pay for improved public services and the rebuilding of infrastructure. So it would have to tax (at source) the people's oil dividend income quite heavily. But the reform would still be worthwhile. If income from Iraq's principal asset were privately owned, then taxed, rather than flowing directly into the hands of politicians, the normal democratic trade-offs would at least exist. Iraq's future leaders would have an incentive to provide public services of real value because, as long as democratic institutions existed, they would face a challenge from a rival political party if they squandered tax receipts.
Posted by Judith 1:00 P.M. Est.
TOM FRIEDMAN ALMOST GOT IT 04-20-03
The Third Bubble is vintage Tom Friedman. It is perceptive, intellectually honest and full of creative connections. I especially liked the following paragraphs:
Like the stock market and corporate bubbles, the terrorism bubble was the product of a kind of temporary insanity, in which basic norms were ignored and excessive behavior was justified by new theories. In the case of the terrorism bubble, we were told that suicide bombing was the work of desperate people who had no other way to get America's or Israel's attention.
People across Europe and the Arab-Muslim world bought such theories. Some Muslim religious leaders even came up with rulings justifying the suicide bombing of civilians in pizza parlors. Arab media called the terrorists"martyrs." It was moral creative accounting: if you are weak, there is no limit on what you can do, and if you are strong — like America and Israel — you have no moral right to defend yourself. Worse, after 9/11, some in the Arab-Muslim world actually believed they had found a new balance of power with America — through the suicide bomber.
And we in America believed them, so we blew up the bubble more. We contorted our whole open society, and imprisoned ourselves. My daughter's high school symphony orchestra trip to New Orleans was canceled because of the recent terrorism alerts. Insane.
The trouble is with the ending:"The Arab-Muslim states need to understand that if they build up this terrorism bubble again — and it may well happen — America will burst it again. But they also need to know that if they want to rebuild their societies, starting with Iraq, on a real foundation of decency, tolerance and rule of law, we will pay any price and bear any burden to help them — if they want us".
Wrong! As I have previously argued, we will help them build a deomcracy for the same reason we helped the Japanese and the Europeans - two wars against Iraq are enough. Only a democratic Middle East will save us from having to fight another war in the Middle East. which leads me to ask:
ANYBODY HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS?
As Nathan Sharansky recently explained:"It does not matter if we approve or disapprove of the people elected. The important factor is the relationship between the electors and the elected. There is no chance of compromise with leaders who are not dependent on the standard of living of their people."
I am dreading the idea of Israel having to negotiate with Abu Mazan, a man dependent only on Yasser Arafat. This is what Dr. Nabil Shaath Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, explained at the time of Abu Mazen's appointment."The President (Arafat) remains the leader elected by the Palestinian people and he will remain the person to sign or reject the laws and he will appoint the PM or discharge him and other broad jurisdictions of the President; therefore, it is a mixture of parliamentarian system and presidential system".
A NEW CONSPIRACY THEORY
This is too good to ignore. Teshreen columnist Nabil Salih charged:"The [Israeli] Mossad sent its agents to destroy the antiquities in the National Museum [in Baghdad] in retaliation for the Babylonian captivity" of the Jews, in the 6th century B.C., after the destruction of the First Temple. No one can accuse Syrians of historical ignorance.
posted by Judith 6:00 P.M. Est.
CONGRESS OF VIENNA REDUX 04-19-03
Something akin to the Congress of Vienna gathered yesterday in Riyad. In 1815, European monarchs tried to erase the legacy of the French revolution. In 2003, eight Muslim countries led by an Arab countries, led by by Saudi Arabia, gathered to block the democratic transformation of the Middle East. Their action is best explained by the editor of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid:
The Arab media, printed and televised, which for 20 years had persistently tried to convince the people of the region that [what] they were seeing [in Iraq] was the people's army, the people's regime, and the people's ruler – collapsed. I say with confidence that the fall of Saddam Hussein and his regime was not an event important in itself, because they were bound to fall sooner or later, whether by American and British missiles or by the swords of the Iraqis. The real event is the challenge to political and cultural conventions. This is one of the rare instances in which these [conventions] are put to the test by live broadcast, and their collapse is demonstrated. These were the very same instruments that succeeded in obscuring the events of Basra and in describing the joy there as looting rather than the joy of the people; however, the images from the capital were far greater, and it was no longer possible to conceal the truth that rose like the sun before the whole world."
In this war, the Arabs were divided into two groups. One, the ruling [group], claimed that this is a war of survival, a war for honor, a war against the [coalition] conspiracy. Another group – silent, with most of its members from Iraq, with no means of expressing themselves, either because they are in exile abroad or oppressed within Iraq, knew that this was a war of liberation, or did not care what its goal was, for at least [they knew] it was a war to rid them of a corrupt, murderous regime which should go out like it came in."
It is an historical event for the regime, for which there is no precedent. All the past wars were wars with Israel or wars of regimes. But this one is the first of its kind. It is a war against the evil Arab situation.
It is this change that much of the world is currently trying to prevent by focusing on the less than pure motivations and behavior of the coalition. In so doing they make THE PERFECT THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD.
posted at 2:00 p.m. est
WALL OF SHAME 04-18-03
Three American Congressmen broke with the American policy of no more contacts with Yassir Arafat. Their names are, Republican representative from California, Darrell Issa; Democratic representative from New York, Maurice D. Hinton; and Democratic representative from West Virginia, Nick J. Rahall II. Trust James Bennet of the New York Times to put a positive spin on their destructive (to the peace process) act.
LEBANON THE ENSLAVED
From my mailbox:
RELEASE FROM NEAL -USA
Boston, Massachusetts, April 18, 2003
Venue: Baabda Palace, Beirut, Lebanon
Title: A New Government
Producer: The Syrian Regime
Director: Rustom Ghazaleh
Performed by: The Taef Troop
Starring: Emile Lahoud, Rafic Hariri
Co-starring: The rest of the puppets
A new play, once again, on the stage of occupied Lebanon. A new play but the same old deceitful content as all the"new plays" produced by the same producer/director for the past 12 years. What is sad about this whole affair is that regime insiders are admitting and justifying the direct role of Syria in appointing this new government by saying that Syria did not want too many crucial changes this time so it is not embroiled in Lebanese political infighting at this difficult time in its history!! The decree came down from Damascus and the servants ran around to make it happen. Lebanon does not need any more"new plays". What Lebanon needs is independence from the Syrian occupier that can only be achieved by the accord of its own people and without any outside interference. NEAL fully supports the call by Prime Minister Aoun for a Lebanese national meeting to be held abroad so that all the people of Lebanon can come together without any influence and decide once and for all on a free, sovereign, and independent Lebanon.
New England Americans for Lebanon
Posted by Judith 11:30 a.m. est
THE FARC PALESTINIAN PARALLEL 04-17-03
I have just received the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs and found in it an illuminating article by Jorge G. Castaneda who had served as Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs. It demonstrated that some people never learn. I was particularly annoyed by his recommendation that Colmbia adopt a"fight and talk" policy towards FARC (which has been designated by both the US and the EU as a terrorist organization) and recommended that the US engage in direct talks FARC, i.e., adopt Clinton's failed policy towards Arafat. You may wish to reread my articles comparing terror in the Middle East and Latin America and the importance of insuring that a governing elite DEPENDS ON ITS CITIZENS.
TRAVESTY AT THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The silence of the world media could not be deafening. African Christians are dying and no one cares ( see Amitai Etzioni's take on this subject). If this is not the worse mixture of racism and opportunism, I am at lose to say what is. Moreover, if this does not discredit the United Nations, I doubt anything ever will. Perhaps, that is the reason for the shameful global silence. The time had come to admit that not all nations are created equal and, indeed, not all nations deserve to serve on all UN committees. Europeans may be from Venus but they limit club membership to democracies with a stong commitment to basic civil rights and the rule of law. Isn't it time that the UN follow the EU's lead? Unfortunately, the EU cares too much about oil!
African nations lined up behind Sudan to help defeat a U.N. Human Rights Commission resolution today that would have kept the militant Islamic Khartoum regime under special scrutiny.
Western nations were able to get their point across to Sudan despite having to work through a mechanism led by Libya, the panel's chair, said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House in Washington, D.C.
"There is no way – with the commission being this dysfunctional in its makeup – that there could have been a special rapporteur reappointed," said Shea, who also is a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent panel established by Congress.
The special rapporteur – a monitor who visits the country to produce a published human rights status report – would have been maintained for another year with passage of the European Union-sponsored resolution.
Sudan's cleric-backed National Islamic Front regime in the Arab and Muslim north declared a jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine. About 5 million have become refugees.
About 3,000 people have assembled in Geneva for commission's 59th annual session. This year it has issued mandates to investigate 38 countries for human rights abuse.
A U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights staffer insisted that the result of the vote does not mean Sudan will escape U.N. scrutiny, pointing to the work of"thematic" rapporteurs who cover areas such as torture and summary execution.
Shea said another possible outcome was that Libya, in its position as chair, would have been permitted to appoint the special rapporteur.
"That would end up being a whitewashed report, which would be worse than nothing," she said.
"There is a very strong sense of division between north and south and a lot of bitter feelings about the war in Iraq not being handled by the U.N.," the staffer said on condition of anonymity."As a result, resolutions that they would have gone the extra mile to negotiate in previous years" were not given such effort this time.
The staffer said there is"less tolerance this year by member states for country-specific mandates in general because of this sense that there is a double standard being applied."
Sudan observer Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, believes France's oil interests in Sudan played a role in its initial effort to have the resolution introduced in a softer category.
Reeves charged that"other EU countries – Germany, Britain, Italy, Sweden – have also had their appetites whetted by Khartoum's relatively recent petro-wealth."
He chastised South Africa for being on the verge of casting a vote that"will register the most callous of attitudes toward fellow Africans, a vote that will declare in effect that the lives of the African peoples in southern Sudan no longer matter enough to warrant the assiduous human rights monitoring offered by a U.N. special rapporteur."
Reeves said,"Given South Africa's painful history, from which it emerged only because of international moral pressure against the hateful apartheid regime, this vote will be a disgrace – and one that history will record as an instance of overwhelming hypocrisy."
WHERE ARE NYT REPORTS ABOUT SYRIAN EMBARGO BREAKING?
On page 6B of today's NYT we discover that Syria has been helping Iraq get around the sanctions for about three years but the newspaper insists that it was no big deal clearly it was not included in all the news fit to print. CNN claims it withheld information to save lives. Why did the NYT withhold information? Thank God for the internet!
Posted by Judith 10p.m. est
KOREA ON MY MIND 04-16-03
I told you so. My article about the appropriate solution for the Korean crisis does look good this morning.
EXODUS THEN AND NOW
My email has been filled with good stuff. Here are parts of the reflections of a person called Yoram:
THOMAS JEFFERSON's PROPOSAL FOR THE DESIGN OF THE OFFICIAL SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES FEATURED THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT: The parting of the sea, with Pharaoh's chariots in pursuit and the motto"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." Jefferson considered Americans as the modern day Hebrews, the British Empire as the modern day Pharaoh, and America as the modern day Promised Land. Just like many other Founding Fathers, Jefferson followed John Lock's appreciation of the Old Testament (Lock read Hebrew!), as a key legal guideline for democratic societies. In fact, many colonists expressed their high regard for Judaism by teaching Hebrew (e.g. Harvard).
THE EXODUS HAS INSPIRED OPTIMISM, PERSEVERANCE & THE SPRING OF NATIONS. It has been a role/moral model for liberated societies. Jewish sages indicate that the term Spring is mentioned three times in the Torah, in reference to the Exodus from Egypt. Spring (which stands for liberty and the blossoming of nature) follows winter (which stands for enslavement). Winter cannot eradicate the prosperity of nature; it can only delay it. However, once spring goes through the"strait" of the winter season, nature explodes in exciting creations (A derivative of the Hebrew name of Egypt,"Mitzrayim," is Metzar, which is"strait" in Hebrew). Thus, individuals and nations should never lose hope during depressed periods (Terrorism? NASDAQ?). They should always keep their chin up, sticking to their FAITH, PRINCIPLES and STRATEGIC ASPIRATIONS (rather than short-term tactical maneuvers), getting ready for improved fortunes.
THE FOUR SONS also star during the Seder. They stand for family unity, regardless of one's faults. Jewish tradition provides a chance to those with a positive potential. Could one suggest that the WISE son is the USA?! Is the WICKED son the UN, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia and other nations which - just like the wicked son in the Seder - have excluded themselves from the moral obligation to do right?! Is the NAIVE son Canada and other free societies, which do not comprehend the threat of global terrorism?! Is the IGNORANT son Egypt and most Arab countries, which should have behaved and known better, but have been shocked by the US performance, and cannot ask any intelligent question?! The tale of Four Sons does not pertain to Iraq, Iran, Syria and other members of the Axis of Evil.
This message was sent by Professor Douglas J. Macdonald from the Department of Political Science at Colgate University:
Here is how the British Broadcasting Corporation, the state-run news outlet, describes the capture of the murdering bastard Abu Abbas in Iraq. Abbas was the one who shot a crippled American Jew, Leon Klinghoffer, on the Achille Lauro cruise ship and then rolled his body overboard in its wheel chair. Abbas said at the time that Klinghoffer was killed because he was Jewish and American. Note the lack of the term"terrorist" and the description of the event as"an elderly American passenger died." Disgraceful whitewash.
"A wanted Palestinian fugitive, Abu Abbas, has been detained by US forces in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. He led the Palestinian Liberation Front, which hijacked a US cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, in 1985. During the hijack, an elderly American passenger died. Abu Abbas had been mentioned by US President George W Bush as an example of the kind of figure given refuge by the former regime of Saddam Hussein."
posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 1:45p.m. est
What Next: An Analysis 04-14-03
Who is the righteous person", the Rabbis ask."The one whose work is done by others." I am busy cooking for Passover today, so my work is done by suggesting that you visit the website dedicated to ablishing ongoing slavery and by Barry Rubin who was kind enough to permit me to post the following letter: I could not have written it better myself.
What does the Anglo-American victory in Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein mean for the Middle East? There is so much coverage, so many analyzes, and such numerous details of this historic event that it is easy to lose the main themes and realities.
Bear with me as we break away from the momentary headlines and the latest dramatic pictures of fighting, looting, or celebration to look at some of the deeper and longer-term issues at stake. Begin with an anecdote each illustrating one of the three key vital issues. The first pertains to Iraq itself, the second to the Arab world, and the third to how the West interprets the region.
First, on April 11, as Baghdad was being liberated, Iraqi exiles in Tehran stormed the Iraqi embassy, tore down pictures of Saddam and chanted,"Death to America!"
The attackers were from the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shia Islamist group which had long been backed by Iran but which had also cooperated with the United States in the planned invasion. Indeed, SCIRI was named the leading Shia representative at the December 2002 London conference of Iraqi opposition groups.
Now SCIRI is declaring that it would boycott any U.S. effort to create an interim government in Iraq. It would be easy to interpret SCIRI's position as the outraged patriotism of a group which rejected both Iraq's dictatorship and American occupation. Obviously, this is SCIRI's hope. Given the way Middle East politics are usually interpreted in both the region and the West, it might well get away with such posturing.
But anywhere else in the world, such behavior would be seen for what it really is: a combination of Iran's efforts to make trouble for both the United States and Iraq's future as well as, more troubling, the unbridled ambition of a radical group to seize power for itself and create a Shia Islamist dictatorship in Iraq.
Since the majority of Iraqis-including Kurds, Sunni, secular-minded Shia, and SCIRI's Islamist rivals-would never consent to accept a SCIRI regime, pursuing such a strategy would impose massive suffering and many thousands more deaths in some future Iraqi civil war. Those advocating it would be condemned and isolated. In the Middle East, however, the politics of gaining influence and respectability through voicing the most extreme militancy have been practiced too long with apparent success.
Of course, the great majority of Iraqis is glad that Saddam is gone and a majority no doubt supports the invasion as liberation. Most Iraqis surely want a better government with less violence and repression along with more freedom and economic development. Yet is the experience of the Anglo-American invasion and Saddam's overthrow enough to shock Iraqis into following a new path of unity, democracy, stability, development, and peace toward neighbors? This seems by far the most logical choice but will it be the choice made in practice?
Second, the United States wanted its intervention to bring down Saddam to be perceived as an Arab victory and not as an Arab defeat. After all, an evil and dangerous dictator who had killed many Arabs and Muslims was being forced from office. The United States would soon turn control of the country over to Iraqis, the Persian Gulf would be safer, and the way cleared to create a better life for Iraq's people. An example would be set showing the benefits of democracy and peace for all Arabs. Strengthening the forces of moderation would also help make possible a compromise resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict that would include an independent Palestinian state.
Of course, it is still quite early in that process and the United States has not had a change to fulfill its promises. Yet while perceptions may change in the longer run, the immediate reaction has seemed to shape the broader Arab response already. With the exception of some Gulf Arabs, notably in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who are relieved that Saddam is gone, most viewed it as a defeat. It was simply one more in a long series of disasters that had plagued the Arab world yet, curiously, done so little to prompt any consideration of the Arab ideologies, strategies, and tactics that had systematically led into those debacles.
Palestinians used the expression"nakba" to describe it, the phrase employed for their disastrous defeat in 1948. According to the newspaper al-Quds:
"This is not going to be the last nakba. The Anglo-American victory will open the colonialists' appetite to devour more Arab capitals. This nakba is added to a series of disasters that have plagued the Arabs and Muslims over the past century. Perhaps this latest disaster will bring about a genuine awakening of the Arabs and Muslims."
This is a vision bereft of any understanding of American motives, uninterested in trying to find a solution by changing course, and resigned to more tragedies in the future. The sole solution offered is the old discredited notion that Arabs and Muslims will unite, arise, and wipe out their enemies through force.
In Egyptian newspapers and in street interviews throughout the Arab world, the main regret seems to be that Saddam did not put up a better fight. True, tens of thousands more Iraqis would have been killed, the country's cities damaged far more severely, and the infrastructure flattened for many years to come. But honor would have been preserved.
Consider the response in far-off Morocco whose newspapers conclude that the Arab states' weakness means they will remain the prey of those more developed for a long time. They suggest U.S. policy is motivated only by a desire to seize Iraq's oil, as part of its long scheme to achieve world domination and that they won so easily because Saddam made a secret deal with the Americans. Indeed, the Americans are much worse than Saddam, says La Nouvelle Tribune, claiming that Bush who"pretends to free Iraqis from Saddam, is doing in few days what the latter has not done in 30 years."
Each group responds to the events in Iraq on the basis of its own ideology without learning anything new. Arab nationalists insist that more Arab unity is needed; Islamists suggest that Saddam's failure was that the regime did not apply Islam properly. The Egyptians propose for the five hundredth time an Arab security system, led by themselves of course, which will settle all disputes without the need for foreign intervention. Al-Qa'ida, Usama bin Ladin's organization, says the defeat proves that conventional warfare is no good and this proves it was right about using guerrilla tactics as a way of achieving total victory. This was precisely the great idea proposed by Yasir Arafat presented after the 1967 Arab defeat. As a result, thirty-five years later, there is still no Palestinian state.
There are, of course, others who blame Saddam Hussein's behavior both for his rejection by Iraqis and for his overthrow by the Americans. Some Arabs also point out that since Pan-Arab nationalism, radical Islamism, terrorism, armed struggle, dictatorship, and various other efforts have failed, perhaps the time has come to try democracy and moderation instead.
Perhaps this group will grow, especially if Iraq seems to be a post-Saddam success story. But so far the picture is similar to that of man who ceaselessly hits his head against a brick wall and every time he gets an injury insists it proves the need to bang his head harder. The problem is not that more people don't join in for the head-banging or collide with the wall harder, or try a different angle. What is needed is to step back in shock, awe, and horror at the fact that one has so long pursued such fruitless courses of action. Will the Arabs, at least those outside of Iraq itself, learn anything new from the Iraq crisis? Third, though, will many in the West learn anything new from these events? Consider the result of a recent meeting between foreign minister Jack Straw of Britain and Dominique de Villepin of France."Most notable," in the words of the New York Times report,"was their agreement on the need to end the cycle of violence in the Middle East as the only way to bring stability to the world."
How was this extremely ambitious goal of global harmony to be achieved? With a big smile and compliments for his good friend and colleague, Straw explained,"Dominique was saying to me upstairs, and I agree with him, that the thing that has caused the greatest degree of anger in the Arab and Islamic world has not actually been Iraq, but it's been this profound sense of injustice felt by the Palestinians."
Of course, it would be a good thing to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, an achievement that would require the willingness of both parties as well as creating a solution that would not just produce more conflict. Yet is this really the lynchpin of the region which, it follows, must then be imposed as fast as possible. And if it is so necessary to make the Arabs happy-the key to regional and even world piece-then obviously any Israeli interests or wishes could be deemed irrelevant.
The Straw-Villepin thesis, however, also misses entirely the point of everything that has just happened. The Americans were not launching a war to end all wars but rather a war to end the misconceptions that led to Middle East wars. Yet before the shooting had even stopped, its main ally-in concord with its main Western enemy regarding the region--showed itself eager to reinforce the region's most mind- and action-paralyzing cliché.
Only a few days earlier, Villepin refused to say that he preferred the Americans to win over Saddam in the war, was at least consistent. In his concept, France could appease and profit from Saddam, Syria, or Iran because these countries, after all, were not the problem disrupting the region. If only Israel would go away or make huge concessions, the Middle East would be a very fine neighborhood where everyone would live happily ever after.
For decades, this basic line has been endlessly preached as part of a broader doctrine: The Arabs loved their dictators, who in turn quailed in fear at the militancy of the"Arab street"; that the countries and masses, standing in iron solidarity with each other, would fight to defend each other; that unless pleased or appeased they would rise up against the West and side with its enemies; that the basic problem of America in the Middle East was that it was perceived as being too strong and carrying out anti-Arab policies; that all Arabs cared about was the Arab-Israeli conflict and were happy to sacrifice freedom and progress endlessly on its behalf; and so on. Elements of this conception were also applied to Iran.
Shivering in fear, then, the West should rush to assuage the anger detected by Straw and Villepin, something they would never think of doing regarding any other international dispute. To support Arab dictators and repressive regimes could be presented as a"pro-Arab" act, something that must seem rather bizarre nowadays to the liberated people of Iraq. And who knows what their counterparts in Syria and elsewhere really think?
Well, you might say, this article so far sounds like a pretty pessimistic assessment after such a great victory in Iraq. Has so little changed? The answer, which is far more optimistic albeit within limits, is this: the experiences of recent years and the war in Iraq so precisely showed the difference between words and realities:
--Iraqis said they loved Saddam and hated America. Thus, many in the West and most Arabs wrongly expected, even after it was clearly proven untrue, Iraqis would fight for him. Instead, even the elite forces surrendered or ran away, while most Iraqis welcomed the Anglo-American troops.
--Most Arabs said they opposed the attack and acted as they would do something, but when the time came they stood by and watched passively. This is an old story, showing how all the clichés about Arab politics have been proven wrong over and over again in practice.
--Most Arabs said that the only thing they cared about was the Palestinians, but when given the opportunity to help them, either in the conflict or in the peace process, they did nothing. The attacks of September 11, 2001, showed that anti-American terrorism had nothing much to do with this issue.
What is needed in the Middle East, then, is the same kind of analysis used to understand every other part of the world: look at interests, capabilities, the measurements of success or failure, and power relationships.
The problem of the Arab world is not Western imperialism and oppression, or Israel's existence and a continuing existence of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The problem of the Arab world is the control of dictatorships and ideologies which focus on these false accusations in order to prevent any challenge to themselves or to ride demagoguery into power. Indeed, this very factor is the cause of anti-Americanism and of an inability to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The origin of antagonism is not some spontaneous righteous outrage of the masses but a worldview cultivated by the ruling and main opposition institutions for a half-century.
It is the concealment of this mechanism, which should be so obvious, that takes up such a large part of what passes for scholarship and journalism on the Middle East.
One tiny example. On Sunday, April 13, 2003, CNN correspondent Rualla (spelling?) Amin was asked why some Arab volunteers came to fight for Saddam. They didn't know the war was lost, she explained, because the electricity was out in Baghdad and they didn't have relatives there to tell them what was going on in the country. This neatly sidesteps admitting the fact that they more importantly had virtually every Arab newspaper, radio and television station telling them that Iraq was winning the war. After all, if you are taught something all your life by your school, place of worship, government, media, and politicians without any contrary view being available-or if so only to be denounced as a plot by enemies to destroy your way of life-is it surprising that people believe what they are told?
Aside from the counter-terrorist and weapons of mass destruction issues, the war in Iraq was waged on the basis of the alternative way of viewing the Middle East described above. The current U.S. government simply does not accept the classic notions and it now has a major success to show as evidence that it is right.
This does not mean, of course, that the road to democracy, stability, and moderation in Iraq will be easy. Iraqis do not wish to live under Saddam Hussein's tyranny and are glad that he's gone, but Arab nationalist thinking, Islamism, communal factionalism, and personal ambition are still operational. That, too, is why returning Iraqi exiles must play an important role in overcoming these liabilities.
Yet there is also much reason to hope. Any possibility of even the barest opportunity for such a change for Iraq in our lifetimes would have seemed impossible only a year ago. The material interests of Iraqis will be a powerful force battling the abstract ideologies that have served them so poorly. The Kurds in the north already have a decades' experience in running a more democratic and open, though far from perfect, system. And Iraqi oil revenues will provide the money for reconstruction on a large scale.
Equally, the Arab world is not about to embrace a pro-Western, reformist, democratic model. For one thing, the regimes see what happened in Iraq as a direct threat to their rule. No wonder that Syria proclaimed that the United States seeks to"destroy" Iraq.
But it is not just a matter of any-unlikely-U.S. attack on other Arab states. As Winston Churchill so wisely said in March 1949,"The Kremlin fears the friendship of the West more than its enmity." The true threat is that the people in those countries will stop accepting what they are told and wonder whether the new Iraq is a good model for themselves. Why should they continue to cheer a system which has brought them nothing but defeat, failure, and humiliation?
There are also direct political advantages for the United States in its dealings with the Arab world. As Middle Eastern dictatorships increase their anti-American rhetoric they are also going to be far more cautious about tangling with such a powerful country. Here, too, rhetoric should not be mistaken for action. Calls in Iran for restoring relations with the United States are coming more openly and at higher levels than ever before. And if Syria's naïvely adventurous leader, Bashar al-Asad, goes too far in antagonizing America, it is his regime and not the United States that will suffer.
On the terrorism front, developments are likely to be along parallel lines. Middle Eastern radical regimes are going to be far more cautious about sponsoring terrorism against the United States or also, albeit to a lesser extent, against its friends. Spontaneous, low-level individual attacks may increase somewhat, but Egyptian President Husni Mubarak's warning of a hundred bin Ladins is as mythical as most of the official ideology about the Middle East.
But nobody but the Arabs themselves can stop the Arab world from continuing its long history of making self-inflicted wounds, then blaming them on others. Their power is not the"positive" one of forcing a change in American policy, destroying Israel, or such things but only the"negative" one of refusing to change when it is clear that they are the main victims of the dominant system and ruling ideologies. Finally, will the war in Iraq make it easier to resolve the Arab-Israeli or at least the Israeli-Palestinian component of it? The issue has perhaps less to do with the Iraq war itself than the accompanying American analysis of pressuring the Palestinians for political reform that would result in a leadership willing to make a compromise peace with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made a fascinating remark about Abu Mazin, the man who is supposed to be the prime minister whose power will challenge that of Yasir Arafat. Abu Mazin, he said, does not believe that Israel will be defeated by terrorism. In contrast to Arafat, he really wants to make a deal and knows a Palestinian state can be achieved only by negotiations, but there are still plenty of problems in the negotiations themselves, not to mention the very real likelihood that Arafat will retain power and sabotage any ceasefire or move toward moderation. But the Palestinian leaders who are criticizing Arafat and the continuation of the war against Israel don't need the war in Iraq to show them the bankruptcy of their own policy. It is quite visible on the ground and in their daily lives.
Barry Rubin is director of the GLORIA Center http://gloria.idc.ac.il and editor of the MERIA Journal http://meria.idc.ac.il. His latest book is The Tragedy of the Middle East (Cambridge University Press).
posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 6:00 p.m.est.
SPEAKING TRUTH TO TOM FRIEDMAN (AND EASON JORDAN)04-13-03
In his April 13, 2003 column entitled The Sand Wall Tom Friedman finally acknowledges Iraq proved that the argument that nationalism trumps freedom, democracy and modernization so religiously forwarded by the Arab media, government and academic elites does not accurately reflect the feeling of the Arab masses. He does not acknowledge his own complicity, as a member of the Western media, in selling that bogus argument in the West (not that the academic world did any better). Where were Friedman's stories about Hussein's atrocities? Gone with those of Eason Jordan's CNN? The same reporters who so courageously confront the leaders of democracies, can be trusted to keep the secrets of the dictators. Indeed, the most amazing aspect of Jordan's story is not the fact that he failed to warn Saddam's son in laws of Oudai's murderous intentions but Oudai's awareness that he can trust Jordan to remain silent. Note the similar honesty with which the Palestinian Authority spokesperson explains his expectation that the media would not tell the truth or at least not the whole truth?
According to an Arab-Israeli journalist who assists Jerusalem-based foreign media outlets, Abed Rabbo views media relations as an extension of the Palestinian cause.6 The PA information minister made this idea clear to an official Foreign Press Association (FPA) delegation that met with him in September 2001 to protest Palestinian Authority threats against foreign and Palestinian free-lance photographers who took pictures of Palestinian street celebrations following the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Abed Rabbo reportedly told the senior FPA representatives in no uncertain terms,"Palestinian national interests would come before freedom of the press."
NOT ALL COUTRIES ARE CREATED EQUAL
All men are created equal but all countries are not. Unfortunately, the United Nations likes to pretend that they are and thereby it serves to erase the differences between democracies in which the rule of law reigns and autocracies in which terror enjoys a free hand.
No where is absurdity clearer than in the UN Human Rights Commission. Even Human rights Watch complains about the new candidates. They include:
North Korea is bidding for one of six seats assigned to the Asian Group, despite being one of the most repressive and closed regimes in the world;
Cuba is among the candidates agreed upon by the Latin American group, despite its severe recent crackdown on dissidents and its refusal to cooperate with numerous resolutions passed by the Commission on Human Rights;
Russia is slated for one of two seats open for Eastern Europe, despite its refusal to admit U.N. experts to investigate abuses in Chechnya;
Egypt is likely to be put forward by the African group, despite its abysmal record of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, demonstrated only last week in its detention of anti-war demonstrators.
Israeli prime minister comments on the consequences of the Iraq war for Middle east Peace Here are some of the highlights:
Do you think there is a prospect of reaching a settlement in the foreseeable future?
"That depends first and foremost on the Arabs. It obligates a different type of leadership - a battle against terrorism and a series of reforms. It obligates the absolute cessation of the incitement and the dismantling of all terrorist organizations. But if there will be a leadership that understands these things and will carry them out seriously, the possibility of reaching a settlement exists."
Do you consider Abu Mazen a leader with whom you will be able to reach a settlement?
"Abu Mazen understands that it is impossible to vanquish Israel by means of terrorism."
Isn't that phrase"painful concessions" a hollow expression?
"Definitely not. It comes from the depth of my soul. Look, we are talking about the cradle of the Jewish people. Our whole history is bound up with these places. Bethlehem, Shiloh, Beit El. And I know that we will have to part with some of these places. There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. As a Jew, this agonizes me. But I have decided to make every effort to reach a settlement. I feel that the rational necessity to reach a settlement is overcoming my feelings."
Some people expect you to be an Israeli [Charles] de Gaulle - a national leader, a general, who at a certain point understands that reality has changed and turns his back on part of his own history and creates a dramatic historical turning point. Do you have any such aspirations?
"One has to remember one thing about the comparison with de Gaulle - `Algeria' is here. It is not a few hundred kilometers away. The required measure of caution here is therefore much greater."
Have you really accepted the idea of to states for two peoples? Do you really plan to divide western Israel?
"I believe that this is what will happen. One has to view things realistically. Eventually there will be a Palestinian state. I view things first and foremost from our perspective. I do not think that we have to rule over another people and run their lives. I do not think that we have the strength for that. It is a very heavy burden on the public and it raises ethical problems and heavy economic problems."
Even so, under your leadership Israel went back to directly controlling Palestinian cities.
"Our stay in Jenin and in Nablus is temporary. Our presence in those cities was created in order to protect Israeli citizens from terrorist activities. It is not a situation that can persist."
In the past you talked about a long-term interim agreement. Did you not believe in a permanent solution and an end to the conflict?
"I think opportunities have currently been created that did not exist before. The Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular have been shaken. There is therefore a chance to reach an agreement faster than people think."
Do you not fear that perhaps you won the battle against Arafat and against the terror but lost in the matter of the Palestinian state and the settlements? After all, the thing on the agenda now is the road map, which is not very comfortable for Israel.
"We supported the principles that were presented in President Bush's speech of June 24, 2002. As long as the sketch matches the speech, it is acceptable to us. Regarding the latest draft that was sent to us, we have 14 or 15 reservations that I have passed on to the White House."
What are the main reservations?
"The main issue is security. How terror will be handled. There is no difference of opinion in this matter but there is a difference in the wording.
The second matter is that of the implementation of the stages. Our understanding with the United States is that the will be no transition from one stage to the next without the completion of the previous stage. The determining factor is not the timetable but the execution. That is why the issue of the stages is of paramount importance to us.
Our third reservation concerns the right of return. This definitely poses a problem.
Is your willingness to recognize a Palestinian state conditional on the Palestinians backing down from their demand for the right of return?
"If there is ever to be an end to the conflict the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish people's right to a homeland and the existence of an independent Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish people. I feel that this is a condition for what is called an end to the conflict. This is not a simple thing. Even in the agreements we signed with Egypt and Jordan this was impossible. That is why they did bring about an end to the conflict. They are important agreements, very important, but they did not bring about an end to the conflict. The end of the conflict will come only with the arrival of the recognition of the Jewish people's right to its homeland.
That has to do with the end of the process. But do you think that the compromise on the right of return has to come beforehand?
This issue must be clear right from the outset.
Do you feel that the dark and violent period of the past three years is ending?
"I will make every effort to make it end. I do not intend to be passive. The moment a Palestinian state forms I plan to begin working with it. I will not wait for the telephone to ring."
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 4:30 p.m. est.
PAYBACK TIME? 04-12-03
The repeated media refrain is that President Bush has to pay with Israeli currency for the recapture the Arab and European hearts and minds (not to mention for Tony Blair's loyalty). Nothing would please me more than to have an opportunity to rejoice in the end of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Nothing makes me despair of it more than reading the way the Palestinian authority continues to teach its children to hate
This month's editorial of Al-Fateh"The Conqueror" a - monthly online magazine for children) is aimed towards both the children of Iraq and the Palestinians. It calls on them to cry out of faith;Oh, Allah, destroy the cruel, rapist Jews, Oh Allah, bring victory to our brothers fighting against them.
The eighth edition of Al-Fateh, was published yesterday and it seems that over the last eight months it has caught the eyes of its young readers. The number of visitors to the website, since it was first launched, is in excess of 1.6 million.
The current editorial starts by describing the suffering of the Iraqi children in light of the cruelty of the attackers, Their pure bodies torn to shreds, their heads in one place and their arms in another; in order to provoke fear and hatred in the hearts of the young readers. According to the editor, the enemy's hatred and insensitivity; are caused by the Jewish filth and they are inspired by the Jews; cruelty, heresy and barbarity.
The editor devotes a large part of the article to the issue of Palestinian collaborators who transfer information to the Israeli security forces. The editor describes them as people who sold their religion, their honor, their conscience; to the Jews and the Americans and became animals to be used at any time. He continues by calling them traitors to their own people, their land and their brothers. They betray Allah and his messenger [the Prophet Muhammad] and the Arabs and Muslims in Iraq, Palestine and around the entire globe. Palestinian collaborators have been operating for a long time now and are definitely a focal point of hate in Palestinian society.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 3:30 p.m. est.
PASSED OVER 04-10-03
Here I go again with my favorite holiday. But its symbolism has been constantly on my mind. I feel that this year I along with my Israeli and American families have been passed over. I have supported this war as I honestly believed it was not only necessary to going to be A Just War, a war which adds to the sum of human liberty. Indeed, it would be a war which would demonstrate that Arab people, if not their ideological elites, are no different from people world over. They, too, are yearning for a chance to live a decent life, unafraid of a midnight knock on the door. For too long exile was the only solution to that most rational fear. Justifiably, or not, much of the dangerous anti-Americanism which permeates the Arab world is based on the suspicion that American fear of Arab democracy is the reason for their having to live under brutal dictatorship. The first Gulf War seemed to validate that suspicion. Gulf war II had the potential of proving it wrong. The belief that the war was necessary and just did not blind me to its potential dangers. And that is the reason, yesterday, glorious celebration on the banks of the river of Babylon, filled me with the gratitude expressed in the popular Passover song – Dayenu (it would have been enough). Here are my feeble efforts. Do feel free to add to them.
Had there been victory in Iraq
Without WMD usage in or out of Iraq
It would have been enough
Had there been relatively low military and civilian casualties
Without it lasting a mere three weeks
It would have been enough
Had there been no wider war
Without decreased anti-war demonstrations
It would have been enough
Had there been no terrorist attacks
Without ridiculous self-defeating Arab media propaganda
It would have been enough
Had there been no environmental disaster
Without little damage to Iraqi oil assets
It would have been enough
Had there been Iraqi jubilation
Without causing Arab autocrats and ideologues to shake in their boots
It would have been enough.
So how grateful we must be that so much has gone right and so few of our fears have proved valid. Tomorrow is another day –today is for joy and gratitude.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 12:30 p.m. EST
ANTI-SEMITISM = ANTI-AMERICANISM RUN AMOK: 04-08-03
Muslim youths attack Jewish war protesters Here are some highlights: Do note that I changed the orderPARIS — Street protests against American and British military action in Iraq have escalated into attacks by Muslim youths on Jewish demonstrators, sparking fears of a new wave of anti-Semitism across France. The French government was forced to appeal for calm after protesters, some of them carrying pictures of Saddam Hussein, burned the Israeli flag and turned on Jewish students, attacking one of them with an iron bar, during a series of antiwar rallies. Noam Levy, a 24-year-old French Jew, was beaten with an iron bar as he took part in a Paris protest and needed several stitches to his head."As a Jew, I now know that I do not have a place in the antiwar protests," he said."I was shocked by the comparison of the state of Israel to the Nazis and by anti-Zionist slogans."
Banners at recent demonstrations have shown the Star of David intertwined with a Nazi swastika, while protesters shouted:"Vive Chirac. Stop the Jews."
Mr. Chirac, whose bitter opposition to the U.S.-led military offensive in Iraq has won him widespread support in France, has remained silent on the attacks, but Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin sought to rein in public sentiment, saying that people should"not choose the wrong enemy." What is the right enemy?
The fears of increased anti-Semitism come only a month after French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin reportedly told a group of lawmakers that"the hawks in the U.S. administration are in the hands of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon." Much too reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion for my taste.
Mr. Raffarin said last week:"We believe that this war was a bad choice — but the Americans are not our enemies. Being against the war does not mean that we want dictatorship to triumph over democracy. Our camp is the camp of democracy." Let’s hope so
ISRAEL CORNER 04-07-03
Israeli-Arab Appointed as Supreme Court Judge Minister of Justice Yosef Lapid appointed this morning Haifa District Court judge Salim Joubran as acting Supreme Court Justice until the end of the year, HA'ARETZ reported. Joubran's appointment - Lapid's first judicial appointment - will help reduce the workload of the other Supreme Court Justices and serve as a good-will gesture toward the Arab population of Israel. Joubran was recommended by Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak who said he was a suitable candidate for the position. Upon taking office, Lapid had said he would appoint an Israeli-Arab to the Supreme Court at a permanent position. Legal sources believe that if Joubran's 'trial' period were successful, he would become the first Israeli-Arab to become a permanent Supreme Court Justice. Joubran, 56, was born in Haifa and completed his legal studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1968. Between 1970 and 1982 he worked as an independent lawyer in Acre and served as Chancellor of the Israel Rotary Association. Joubran was first appointed to the bench in 1982 as a Haifa Magistrates Court judge, and in 1993 was appointed to the city's District Court. He is also a senior fellow in the faculty of general studies at Haifa University.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 12:30 P.m. EST
SPEAKING TRUTH TO TOM FRIEDMAN 04-06-03There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
These are the lines that came to my mind as I read Tom Friedman’s column, Watch Out For Hijackers. He correctly feels that this is a crucial time for both the United States and the Middle East. Still, I would like to take issue with him on two points. First, Friedman writes:The State Department has been upset about how the Arab media have been portraying the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Personally, I don't see what the problem is. As far as I can tell from watching the Arab satellite networks there's only a one-word, actually just a one-letter, difference in how they report the war and how U.S. networks report it. CNN calls it"America's war in Iraq," and Arab television calls it"America's war on Iraq.
Actually, the difference is most instructive. This is pointed out by Editor of the London Arabic Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, whose astute comparison between the coverage of the Six Day War and the current war can be found on the invaluable website Slow Down, Media of 1967:But when we examine the Arab media, [we find] that little has changed since the previous century. It seems as if today's wars are no different than those of forty years ago. At that time, the Arab media jumped ahead of the Arab armies by making false predictions. They assumed that publishing a headline about downing 100 Israeli warplanes in the war of 1967 would build self-confidence and may even come true in the future. However, those who doze off and wake up in front of Arab TV will not forgive the [Arab] media [for] its lies when the smoke clears up and the truth is seen in full."
Under the guise of patriotism, the Arab Media continues to shield the Arab people from the truth. Instead, it feeds them with hatred, recrimination and victimization, all of which serve the miserable status quo rather well.
Second, Friedman writes:Mr. Bush should visit the West Bank. It is a cautionary tale of an occupation gone wrong. It is a miserable landscape of settlements, bypass roads, barbed wire and cement walls. Why? Because the Israeli and Palestinian mainstreams spent the last 36 years, since Israel's victory in 1967, avoiding any clear decision over how to govern this land. So those extremists who had a clear idea, like the settlers and Hamas, hijacked the situation and drove the agenda.
Actually, the fault was less in the Israeli and Palestinian lack of ability to make a clear decision, than in their failure (or inability) to pay the price the decision would have cost. It should be recalled that the Israeli army was welcomed into the West Bank, if not to Gaza, as liberators. (The people of Gaza remembered 1956. Then, they, too, welcomed the Israelis as liberators only to pay a heavy price for their mistake when Israel withdrew. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? ) The West Bank elders issued a call for a meeting of a provisional Palestinian assembly. Delighted to be in the possession of the entire West Bank of the Jordan, the Eshkol government wanted to move to settle the Palestinian issue. Defense minister Moshe Dayan was especially enthusiastic as he had recently returned from Vietnam where he witnessed the consequences of the effort to run other’s people’s lives and became determined to avoid the same pitfall. Unfortunately, Washington also viewed the territories as strategic assets. It enabled it to become Israel’s lawyer. To get back the territories, Arab countries would have to pay both Israel and the US by curtailing their alliance with the USSR. Consequently, Rusk told Johnson that his job was to convince Eshkol to “abandon previous effort to set up independent entity on the West Bank.” In return, Israel got the military assistance it needed (more about all this in my book). Soon, the local Palestinian leadership was delegitimised. Their place was taken by Yassir Arafat who received money from the oil rich states to embark on a “people’s war” against Israel.
My point is not to engage in recriminations over past failures. It is to warn of the consequences of sacrificing democracy in Iraq to the appeasement of the European and Arab opponents of the war. I cannot imagine a more tragic mistake than permitting the UN to do with the Iraqis what they did with the Palestinians, turn them into permanent and professional victims. I remember attending a meeting of Amnesty International in Oslo prior to the murder of Rabin. The members were furious with the Palestinian Authority for preferring local Palestinians to NGO members. Iraqis may looking not only for someone willing to say no to a permanent US presence, more importantly they are looking for someone willing to say no to UN and NGO tutelage and continued Baathism. Bring on those outsiders. Anyone with a leadership potential and a shred of integrity has left the country years ago.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 12:30 a.m. EST
RUSSIAN NAVY DEMONSTRATES PRESENCE 04-05-03
One of these days I will learn to use links. In the meantime I will use a lower tech method. I found this item on Worldnetdaily reports:This is the first time Russian ships and subs have been sent to the area since the breakup of the USSR, reports Z News. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes visited Moscow in January, said the report, at which time the war games were planned for May. The vessels are scheduled to arrive in the Arabian Sea by the end of April. According to a report in the Latvian news service LETA, the ships from the Black Sea fleet will include the cruiser Moskva, military transport ship Cezar Kunikov and two guard vessels. They are scheduled to leave Sevastopol within a few days. The news service says more ships from the Pacific fleet will join the armada to double its size. Three nuclear submarines also will be part of the exercise. The Russian defense minister declined to comment on media reports about the presence of tactical nuclear missiles on board one of the battleships, reports Z News."No military ever comments on this," Ivanov told the news service. According to the Russia-U.S. agreement, ships are not allowed to carry tactical (short-range) nuclear missiles in peacetime.In a pre-war letter I sent to my friends, I suggested that the US need to have its own version of the Six Day War. The current speedy advance of the coalition forces is indeed reminiscent of that war. But so is the Russian strategic response. Thus in early 1968 the Soviets emphasized the Gulf’s proximity to their Southern frontier, replaced Egypt in Yemen and organized"the first Russian presence in the Gulf since 1903." As I often tell my students, geography is destiny. So, Bush called Putin to discuss Iraq. History does not have to repeat itself. On April 3, an editorial in Izvestia reminded its readers on April 3,"Bush is no Hitler, and Russia is not an Enemy of the United States: Russia and America have common ideals after all." After all,"Europe including Russia, the constituent part, is too weak to protect itself from the challenges of international terrorism." Paris and Berlin may hope to deflect Islamist fury towards the US, but Moscow and Delhi know better than entertain such illusions. Their hearts may be filled with anti-Americanism but their minds know better.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 8:45 p.m. EST
KERRY THE WICKED? 04-03-03
I feel so hip. I have my own blog. No longer will I have to choose between writing carefully argued articles and throwing slippers at my T.V. Hence, I can share my opinions with those interested enough to click on my blog. For example: I can suggest that John Kerry’s call for"a regime change in America" has, at the minimum, crossed the acceptable line. There is something distasteful in comparing a president of a constitutional Republic with the butcher of Baghdad. More importantly, when the Bush administration declares its intention to change the regime in Baghdad, it does not seek to exchange one ruthless dictator with another (though such a retention of the status quo would make many UN members very happy). No, it purports to replace a dictatorial regime with a democratic one. I am quite sure that Kerry’s disappointment with the voting patterns of the American people does not mean that he seeks to replace the American Republican regime with an Aristocratic one. After all, one of the major advantages enjoyed by elected governments is their ability to assure a peaceful transition of power. The loser accepts the winner’s right to run the country while the winner agrees to limit the duration and extend of his rule. At set intervals, we, the citizens, get an opportunity to choose the winner. In other words, the American government, whether we voted for the party in office or not, is"our" government and it has the right to speak and act in"our" name.
This is the principle emphasized by the Passover Haggadah (tradition maintains that all present and future Jewish souls stood on the slopes of Mount Sinai and publicly agreed to follow Gods commnadment). It relates to the Exodus but could not be more relevant to the current debate swirling around the war in Iraq. The text differentiates between the wise person who asks:"What are the rules, laws and customs that our God commanded?" and the wicked one who asks:"What is the meaning of the service to you?""Saying you," the rabbis explain,"the person excludes himself from the community, and because he excludes himself, he betrays the essential." Senator Kerry, who only recently discovered and even more recently acknowledged his Jewish ancestry, should learn that it is not the questioning, but the failure to view himself as part of the American leadership, not to mention people, that may turn him from wise to wicked.
Posted by Judith Apter Klinghoffer at 9:20 p.m. EST
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