Matthias Küntzel: Iran's Obsession with the Jews





[Matthias Küntzel is a Hamburg-based political scientist and a research associate at the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: On the New Anti-Jewish War is forthcoming this year from Telos Press. This article was translated from German by Michael Bugajer and John Rosenthal.]

On December 12, 2006, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally brought to a close the infamous Holocaust deniers' conference in Tehran. A strange parade of speakers had passed across the podium: former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the nutty followers of the anti-Zionist Jewish sect Neturei Karta, and officials of the neo-Nazi German National party, along with the familiar handful of professional Holocaust deniers. Frederick Töben had delivered a lecture entitled "The Holocaust--A Murder Weapon." Frenchman Robert Faurisson had called the Holocaust a "fairy tale," while his American colleague Veronica Clark had explained that "the Jews made money in Auschwitz." A professor named McNally had declared that to regard the Holocaust as a fact is as ludicrous as believing in "magicians and witches." Finally, the Belgian Leonardo Clerici had offered the following explanation in his capacity as a Muslim: "I believe that the value of metaphysics is greater than the value of history."

If this motley crew had assembled in a pub in Melbourne, nobody would have paid the slightest attention. What gave the event historical significance was that it was held by invitation, at the Iranian foreign ministry: on government premises, in a country that disposes of the world's second-largest oil reserves (after Saudi Arabia) and second-largest natural gas reserves (after Russia). And in this setting, the remarks quoted above provoked not dismissive laughter, but applause and attentive nods. On the walls hung photographs of corpses with the inscription "Myth," and others of laughing concentration camp survivors with the inscription "Truth."

The Tehran deniers' conference marks a turning point not only because of its state sponsorship, but also because of its purpose. Up until now, Holocaust deniers have wanted to revise the past. Today, they want to shape the future: to prepare the way for the next Holocaust.

In his opening speech to the conference, the Iranian foreign minister, Manucher Mottaki, left no doubt on this point: If "the official version of the Holocaust is called into question," Mottaki said, then "the nature and identity of Israel" must also be called into question. The purpose of denying, among all the Nazis' war measures, specifically the persecution of the Jews is to undermine a central motive for the establishment of the state of Israel. Auschwitz is delegitimized in order to legitimize the elimination of Israel--that is, a second genocide. If it should turn out, however, that the Holocaust did happen after all, Ahmadinejad explains that it would have been a result of European policies, and any homeland for the Jews would belong not in Palestine but in Europe. Either way, the result is the same: Israel must vanish.

This focus explains why the conference's sponsors attached so much importance to the participation of a delegation from the Jewish sect Neturei Karta. Although it does not deny the Holocaust, the sect welcomes the destruction of Israel. That objective was the common denominator uniting all the participants in the conference. In his closing speech, Ahmadinejad formulated it with perfect clarity: "The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall. . . . The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated."

Holocaust denial and the nuclear program

Just as Hitler sought to "liberate" humanity by murdering the Jews, so Ahmadinejad believes he can "liberate" humanity by eradicating Israel. The deniers' conference as an instrument for propagating this project is intimately linked to the nuclear program as an instrument for realizing it. Five years ago, in December 2001, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani first boasted that "the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything," whereas the damage to the Islamic world of a potential retaliatory nuclear attack could be limited: "It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality." While the Islamic world could sacrifice hundreds of thousands of "martyrs" in an Israeli retaliatory strike without disappearing--so goes Rafsanjani's argument--Israel would be history after the first bomb.

It is precisely this suicidal outlook that distinguishes the Iranian nuclear weapons program from those of all other countries and makes it uniquely dangerous. As long ago as 1980, Khomeini put it this way: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."

Anyone inclined to dismiss the significance of such statements might want to consider the proclamation made by Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who stands even higher in the Iranian hierarchy than Ahmadinejad. A few months ago, on November 16, 2006, Rahimian explained: "The Jew"--not the Zionist, note, but the Jew--"is the most obstinate enemy of the devout. And the main war will determine the destiny of mankind. . . . The reappearance of the Twelfth Imam will lead to a war between Israel and the Shia." The country that has been the first to make Holocaust denial a principle of its foreign policy is likewise the first openly to threaten another U.N. member state with, not invasion or annexation, but annihilation.

Yet it's all confusing. Why, if Iran wishes Israel ill, does it deny the Holocaust rather than applaud it? Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial has been especially well received in the Arab world, where it has won praise from Hezbollah, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas. Yet in the Arab world, Hitler is admired not for building highways or conquering Paris, but for murdering Jews. How can Holocaust denial be most prevalent in a region where admiration for Hitler remains widespread? To unlock this paradox it is necessary to examine the anti-Semitic mind.

Brother Hitler and Eichmann the Martyr

Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism at its most extreme. Whoever declares Auschwitz a myth implicitly portrays the Jews as the enemy of humanity: The assumption is that the all-powerful Jews, for filthy lucre, have been duping the rest of humanity for the past 60 years. Whoever talks of the "so-called Holocaust" implies that over 90 percent of the world's media and university professorships are controlled by Jews and are thereby cut off from the "real" truth. No one who accuses Jews of such perfidy can sincerely regret Hitler's Final Solution. For this reason alone, every denial of the Holocaust contains an appeal to repeat it.

Consider this passage written by an Egyptian columnist for the state-controlled newspaper Al-Akhbar, Egypt's second-largest daily, and published in April 2002:

The entire matter [of the Holocaust], as many French and British scientists and researchers have proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German government in particular and the European countries in general. But I, personally and in light of this imaginary tale, complain to Hitler, even saying to him from the bottom of my heart, "If only you had done it, brother, if only it had really happened, so that the world could sigh in relief [without] their evil and sin."

Often, however, enthusiasm for the Holocaust is expressed unvarnished. In 1961, when the trial of Adolf Eichmann dominated the headlines, such enthusiasm became evident for the first time. The Jordanian Jerusalem Times published an "Open Letter to Eichmann," which stated: "By liquidating six million you have . . . conferred a real blessing on humanity. . . .

But the brave Eichmann can find solace in the fact that this trial will one day culminate in the liquidation of the remaining six million to avenge your blood." Arab writers such as Abdullah al-Tall eulogized "the martyr Eichmann," "who fell in the Holy War." In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt summarized the mood in the Arab world:

The newspapers in Damascus and Beirut, in Cairo and Jordan did not conceal either their sympathy for Eichmann or their regret that he "did not finish the job"; a radio broadcast from Cairo on the opening day of the trial even included a little sideswipe at the Germans, reproaching them for the fact that "in the last war, no German plane had ever flown over and bombed a Jewish settlement."

This heartfelt desire to see all Jews exterminated was reiterated in the Egyptian daily Al-Akhbar in April 2001 by the columnist Ahmad Ragab: "[Give] thanks to Hitler. He took revenge on the Israelis in advance, on behalf of the Palestinians. Our one complaint against him was that his revenge was not complete enough."

Obviously, from a logical point of view, enthusiasm for the Holocaust is incompatible with its denial. Logic, however, is beside the point. Anti-Semitism is built upon an emotional infrastructure that substitutes for reason an ephemeral combination of mutually exclusive attributions, all arising from hatred of everything Jewish. As a result, many contradictory anti-Jewish interpretations of the Holocaust can be deployed simultaneously: (1) the extermination of millions was a good thing; (2) the extermination of millions was a Zionist fabrication; (3) the Holocaust resulted from a Jewish conspiracy against Germany that Hitler thwarted and punished; (4) the Holocaust was a joint enterprise of the Zionists and Nazis; (5) the Zionists' "Holocaust industry" exaggerates the murder of the Jews for self-interested reasons; (6) Israeli actions against the Palestinians are the "true" Holocaust--and so on.

We are dealing here with a parallel universe in which the reality principle is ignored, and blatantly contradictory fantasies about Jews all have their place so long as they serve to reinforce anti-Semitic paranoia and hatred: a universe in which the laws of reason have been abolished and all mental energy is harnessed to the cause of anti-Semitism.

Amid the confusion, this universe is characterized by two constants: the refusal to come to terms with the facts of the Holocaust as it actually took place; and a willingness to find in the Holocaust a source of encouragement and inspiration, a precedent proving that it is possible to murder Jews by the million. This is why the precise content of Ahmadinejad's Holocaust tirades is not the issue. He is obsessed with the subject because he is fascinated by the possibility of a second Holocaust.

Why, then, did Ahmadinejad repeatedly and publicly embrace the ultra-orthodox Jews at the conference? Why did he personally greet every Jew present and say that "Zionism should be strictly separated from the Jewish faith"? Let us take a look at modern anti-Semitism in Iran.

Ahmadinejad and the Jews

Ahmadinejad's great inspiration, the Ayatollah Khomeini, not only recognized the mobilizing power of anti-Semitism in the struggle against the shah, he made use of it himself, as far back as the 1960s. "I know that you do not want Iran to lie under the boots of the Jews," he cried out to his supporters on April 13, 1963. That same year, he called the shah a Jew in disguise and accused him of taking orders from Israel. This drew a huge response from the public. Khomeini had found his theme.

Khomeini's biographer Amir Taheri writes: "The Ayatollah was by now convinced that the central political theme of contemporary life was an elaborate and highly complex conspiracy by the Jews--'who controlled everything'--to 'emasculate Islam' and dominate the world thanks to the natural wealth of the Muslim nations." When in June 1963 thousands of Khomeini-influenced theology students set off to Tehran for a demonstration and were brutally stopped by the shah's security forces, Khomeini channeled all their anger toward the Jewish nation: "Israel does not want the Koran to survive in this country. . . . It is destroying us. It is destroying you and the nation. It wants to take possession of the economy. It wants to demolish our trade and agriculture. It wants to grab the wealth of the country."

After the Six Day War of 1967, the anti-Semitic agitation, which drew no distinction between Jews and Israelis, intensified. "[I]t was [the Jews] who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present," Khomeini wrote in 1970 in his principal work, Islamic Government. "[T]he Jews . . . wish to establish Jewish domination throughout the world. Since they are a cunning and resourceful group of people, I fear that . . . they may one day achieve their goal." Then in September 1977, he declared, "The Jews have grasped the world with both hands and are devouring it with an insatiable appetite, they are devouring America and have now turned their attention to Iran and still they are not satisfied." Two years later, Khomeini was the unchallenged leader of the Iranian revolution.

Khomeini's anti-Semitic attacks found favor with the opponents of the shah, both leftists and Islamists. His anti-Semitism ran along the same lines as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the turn-of-the-century hoax beloved of the Nazis that purports to expose a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. The Protocols was published in Persian in the summer of 1978 and was widely disseminated as a weapon against the shah, Israel, and the Jews. In 1984, the newspaper Imam, published by the Iranian embassy in London, printed excerpts from The Protocols. In 1985, Iranian state authorities did a mass printing of a new edition. Somewhat later, the periodical Eslami serialized The Protocols under the title "The Smell of Blood: Jewish Conspiracies."

Just two years ago, in 2005, at the Iranian booth at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I was readily able to buy an English edition of The Protocols published by the Islamic Propagation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Other anti-Semitic classics were also available, such as Henry Ford's The International Jew and Mohammad Taqi Taqipour's screed Tale of the "Chosen People" and the Legend of "Historical Right." The cover of the latter volume caught my eye: a red Star of David superimposed over a grey skull and a yellow map of the world. Obviously, even after the death of Khomeini in 1989, the worldwide dissemination of anti-Semitism by Iran continued.

The fact that 25,000 Jews now live in Iran, making it the largest Jewish community in a Muslim country, is not incompatible with the foregoing. The Jews in Iran are made clearly to feel their subordinate Dhimmi status. Thus, they are not allowed to occupy higher positions than Muslims and so are disqualified from the leading ranks in politics and the military. They are not allowed to serve as witnesses in court, and Jewish schools must be managed by Muslims and stay open on the Sabbath. Books in the Hebrew language are forbidden. Up to the present, the regime, which has time and again published anti-Semitic texts and caricatures, has prevented such hate-mongering from resulting in violence against Jews. Nevertheless, the combination of incitement and restraint leaves the Jewish community in a state of permanent insecurity. Today, the Jewish community serves Ahmadinejad not only as an alibi in his power game, but also increasingly as a deterrent: In the event of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, this community would find itself hostage and vulnerable to acts of reprisal.

Irrespective of the leeway that Ahmadinejad has, for the time being, left the Iranian Jews, his rhetoric is steeped in an anti-Semitism that is unprecedented for a state leader since World War II. Ahmadinejad does not say "Jews" are conspiring to rule the world. He says, "Two thousand Zionists want to rule the world." He says, "The Zionists" have for 60 years now blackmailed "all Western governments." "The Zionists have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural, and media sectors." "The Zionists" fabricated the Danish Muhammad cartoons. "The Zionists" are responsible for the destruction of the dome of the Golden Mosque in Iraq.

The pattern is familiar. Ahmadinejad is not a racist social Darwinist who, Hitler-like, wants to eliminate every last trace of "Jewish blood." The term "half-Jew" is not used in Islamist discourse. But he invests the word "Zionist" with exactly the same meaning Hitler poured into "Jew": the incarnation of evil.

The Iranian regime can court the Jewish Israel-haters of Neturei Karta all it wants, but anyone who makes Jews responsible for the ills of the world--whether calling them Judas or Zionists--is clearly driven by an anti-Semitism of genocidal potential. Demonization of Jews, Holocaust denial, and the will to eliminate Israel--these are the three elements of an ideological constellation that collapses as soon as any one of them is removed.

Ahmadinejad inhabits a delusional world that is sealed off from reality. The louder the liberal West protests against Holocaust denial or the Islamists' demands for the destruction of Israel, the more conviced Ahmadinejad becomes of Zionist domination. In a conversation with the editors of the German newsweekly Der Spiegel, the Iranian president reacted as follows to the remark that the magazine does not question Israel's right to exist: "I am glad that you are honest people and say that you are required to support the Zionists." Only when we too finally realize that the Holocaust is a Jewish lie--only when we too want to annihilate Israel--only then will Ahmadinejad be convinced that we are academically credible and politically free. It is this lunacy that makes the revolutionary mission of the Iranian leadership so dangerous.

Which brings us to the question of the broader significance of Iranian Holocaust denial. The Islamist mission is by no means restricted to Israel.

"Historical War"

In his first speech on the guiding principles of his politics, Ahmadinejad made this clear: "We are in the process of an historical war, . . . and this war has been going on for hundreds of years," he declared in October 2005. This is a war, then, that is not fundamentally about the Middle East conflict and will not end with the elimination of Israel. He continued: "We have to understand the depth of the disgrace of the enemy, until our holy hatred expands continuously and strikes like a wave." This "holy hatred" is boundless and unconditional. It will not be mitigated by any form of Jewish or non-Jewish conduct--other than subordination to sharia and the Koran.

In his letter to George W. Bush, the Iranian president described his objective: "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems." The letter also tells how the liberal democracies will be shattered. Even here (if slightly diluted), the ideology of martyrdom--You love life, we love death--is propagated: "A bad ending belongs only to those who have chosen the life of this world. . . . A good land and eternal paradise belong to those servants who fear His majesty and do not follow their lascivious selves."

Shiite Islamism confronts us with an adversary who reviles the achievements of modernity as Satan's work, who denounces the international system created after 1945 as a "Jewish-Christian conspiracy," and who therefore wishes to overturn the accepted historiography of the postwar period. At the start of the Holocaust deniers' conference, Foreign Minister Mottaki explained that the problem is the "wording of historical occurrences and their analysis [are written from] the perspective of the West." As against this "Western" historiography, Islamism wants to create a new historical "truth," in which the Holocaust is declared a myth, while the Twelfth Imam is deemed real. Whereas the delusional worldview of Holocaust denial is elevated to the norm, any deviation from it is denounced as a symptom of "Jewish domination."

Even as he is conducting his religious war, Ahmadinejad is also playing the role of a global populist. He addresses his speeches to all the world's "oppressed." He cultivates good relations with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez and ingratiates himself with the Western left by using anti-American rhetoric. His use of the word "Zionist" is strategic. It is the Trojan horse by which he makes his anti-Semitism respectable, allowing him to be at once an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier and the ultimate spokesman for the "oppressed nations."

Of course, Iran would not have to rely on Holocaust denial to pursue its strategic objectives. Yet Ahmadinejad insists on the point, in order to provide ideological undergirding to his push to destroy Israel. He also speculates that this project might win the approval of the Europeans. After all, in Europe the delegitimization of Israel has been going on for some time--if for different reasons. Recently the BBC organized a symposium on the question of whether Israel would still exist in 50 years. In a poll taken four years ago in the E.U., 59 percent saw Israel as "the biggest danger to world peace." Even in the United States, a growing number of intellectuals are convinced that Israel and its American supporters are the real source of the problems facing American foreign policy.

The alarm cannot be sounded loudly enough. If Iran is not put under pressure without delay and forced to choose between changing course and suffering devastating economic sanctions, the only remaining alternatives will be a bad one--the military option--and a dreadful one--the Iranian bomb.



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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Having failed to find any meanigful comment to make on Professor Shahak's extremely well documented and referenced delineation of the fundamental precepts of the spiritual/ethical foundations of Zionism (Post # 105932 of Feb 23,2007)), let alone refute it, Professor Eckstein have chosen to say precious little except pointing out that Professor Shahak is a chemist and is, as expected, a controversial figure.

Though none of these facts are valid reasons NOT to comment Professor Eckstein consistently refuses to tell us himself ANYTHING about the Jew/Goyim(Goy) relation ,except some wooly non binding concept, eg "the righteous among the nations".
Thus Professor Eckstein avoids the precise issues of:
-Murder and Genocide and
-Saving of Life
in the relation between Jew and Goyim
raised by Shahak.

By totally evading to touch on these SPECIFIC and well defined allegations made by Shahak on the seminal matters of Justice, LIFE and Death etc in the Jewish perception of the relation between JEW and Goyim the inevitable conclusions are:
- both allegations are correct and irrefutable.
-Eckstein's non response is tacit confirmation and as such is a declaration of surrender re the specific issue of the Jewish perception of the Jew/Goyim relation.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Dwell on what Shahak said not on what you accuse him of being; Prof!

Of course I do NOT take your word re what, who, Shahak is considering your record of LIES and fabrications with me and with OTHERS!.

His book seems to be erudite with so many references to basic documents (NOT TV serials!).

Forget about Shahak and touch on the LIFE and DEATH issues he raised in the thorny domain of Jew versus Goyim in Jewish law and doctrine .

But, of course, you will NOT because, as always, you have nothing of substance to say Prof!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
The LIFE and DEATH issues Shahak raised in the Jew/Goyim relationship are:

-Murder and Genocide and
-Saving of Life

If Shahak LIED, as you accuse him,you TELL US what the truth IS about both issues.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
YOU insist on EVADING the major issues of LIFE and death in the JEW/GOYIM relationship as codified in Judaism ( the alma matter and spiritual fountainhead of heinous Zionism).

THESE are:

-Murder and Genocide and

-Saving of Life


BOTH have been dealt with extensively by Shahak.

You neither dare comment nor answer the allegations made.
Cowardly .

Kindly leave your wife out of this, what else would she say with a husband like you?

Your inane responses are so much PR gibberish that my pity for your students increases with every response you make.

Is EVASION your guiding motto in life; so it seems.

Comment on, or refute, Shahak's detailed allegations or surrender; which you practically did but dare NOT face.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Dresner
The requested email address has been emailed.
Regards


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof Eckstein
While I readily accept the veracity of the press reports you have quoted (post #106005) I still maintain that you have failed to address the issues of:
-Murder and Genocide and
-Saving of Life
Which, Shahak alleges, are basic and fundamental perceptions (dictates?)of the spiritual/ethical spring board of Zionism.

For all that we all know from the press report you quote is that some doctors in an "Israeli" medical facility helped out some wounded Palestinians.

So what?

Do you imply that this reported act nullifies and invalidates the basic ethical/moral/confessional contention made by Shahak about the issue of ”Saving of Life” in the spiritual spring board of Zionism?

What does it prove beside the fact that there are in "Israel" some decent people.

Whoever denied THAT?
Whoever maintained otherwise?
Do we not ALL know that?

Conversely for you, and the press ?, to highlight this event is tantamount to considering it a "freak" event worthy of note and propagation. .


However re your implicit contention, through the quote you post, and your earlier false explicit accusation of me being an anti Semite I reiterate here my unshakable stand.
I have consistently believed and maintained, here at HNN and elsewhere, that there is a fundamental difference between JEWS, being the adherents to a monotheistic faith ( a " people of the BOOK") and Zionists , being the followers of the pernicious,
aggressive, colonialist and racist political creed Zionism.

To US the two terms are neither analogous nor interchangeable and quite often contradictory as evidenced by the cases of Professors Chomsky and, yes, Shahak among many others.
Had you been reading me carefully you would have noticed that my advocacy is the "DeZionization of Palestine" and the "dismantlement of the Zionist nation/state" of Israel !

Back to the issues under discussion; I gather, aside from some irrelevant quotes, that you refuse to address the grave contentions of Professor Shahak re:

-Murder and Genocide and
-Saving of Life .
In the spiritual foundation of Zionism

Once more I urge you, Professor, to make a comparative study between the Moslem/Dhimmi relation in Islam (which seems to preoccupy you inordinately) and the Jew/Goyim in Judaism (which you seem to avoid).

Like I said before I will thank you no matter what comes out if you post it here at HNN and we all are given the opportunity to read it.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Among the herd the late Professor Israel Shahak have been accused of many things including being a liar etc.
A quick trip to Google will uncover a wealth of information about this exceptional man.
Out of my visit I have selected the following testimony of the Guardian.

"Israel Shahak
Belsen survivor who attacked Israel's treatment of Palestinians

Elfi Pallis
Guardian

Friday July 6, 2001


Israel Shahak, who has died aged 68 from complications caused by diabetes, was for 25 years a highly popular professor of organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But during the same period, Shahak, an old-fashioned liberal, was also chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. As such he was accused of being an "Israel hater", was spat at in the streets, and received constant death threats.

Shahak was the youngest child of a prosperous, cultured Polish Jewish family; when, during the wartime Nazi occupation of Poland, the family was forced into the Warsaw ghetto, his father even sought out a chess tutor for his son. But soon the family was torn apart. Shahak's older brother escaped and joined the Royal Air Force, only to be shot down; Shahak's father disappeared and the hiding of fair-haired Israel with a poor Catholic family ended when his mother could no longer pay for his keep.

In 1943 both were deported to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Shahak was a starving 12-year-old when he was liberated. Soon afterwards, he emigrated to what was then British Mandate Palestine. After setbacks - he was rejected as "too weedy" when he volunteered for a kibbutz - he became a model citizen. After Israeli army service in an elite regiment, he became an assistant to Ernest Bergmann, the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.

Shahak underwent two major conversions in his life. Aged 13, he scientifically examined the evidence for the existence of God and found it wanting. Then, shortly after the l967 six-day war, he concluded from observation that Israel was not yet a democracy; it was treating the newly occupied Palestinians with shocking brutality.

For the next three decades, he spent all his spare time on attempts to change this. He contributed to various small leftwing papers, but when this proved to have little impact, he decided to alert journalists, academics and human rights campaigners abroad. From his small, bare West Jerusalem flat poured forth reports with titles such as Torture in Israel, and Collective Punishment in the West Bank. Based exclusively on mainstream Israeli sources, all were painstakingly translated into English.

World coverage gradually improved, but Shahak never let off, he never became blasé. Watching him read out a small news item about an Israeli farmer who had set his dogs on a group of Palestinian children was to see a man in almost physical distress.

Shahak came to believe that these human rights incidents stemmed from Israel's religious interpretation of Jewish history, which led it to ignore centuries of Arab life in the country, and to disregard non-Jewish rights. Confiscation, every schoolchild was told, was "the redemption of the land" from those who did not belong there. To Shahak, this was straightforward racism, damaging both sides. It was a minority view, but after the 1982 war, when the Israeli liberal sector grew, Shahak was able to put it forward in the reputable daily Ha'aretz. After retiring in 1991, he could also turn his ideas into books.

Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press, 1994), studied the attitudes to non-Jews held by Israel's religious establishment. Shahak also emphasised the fate decreed for Jewish heretics: death. Shortly after the book appeared, Premier Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Orthodox student.

Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, (Pluto Press, 1999) written with Norton Mezvisky, looked at the growing power of rightwing orthodox groups. "A fundamentalist Jewish regime, if it came to power in Israel," Shahak warned, "would treat Israeli Jews who did not accept its tenets worse than it would treat Palestinians."

To reverse this process, Shahak gave up most things, including marriage and a family. A great music lover, he allowed himself one concert or opera visit per year. He was fond of philosophy and had started writing a book on Spinoza earlier this year, but passed most evenings scanning local newspapers. Despite his criticisms, he remained fiercely proud of the country's free press.

Having been urged to write his autobiography, Shahak only found time to write a superb piece on his childhood under Nazism for the New York Review of Books. In it he recalled listening to some Polish workmen talking during his days on the gentile side of Warsaw. Discussing the situation, one young man had defended the Germans by pointing out that they were ridding Poland of the Jews, only to be rebuked by an older labourer: "So, are they not also human beings?" It is a phrase Israel Shahak never forgot.

Israel Shahak, academic, human rights campaigner, born April 28 1933; died July 2 2001"






omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I never thought that you, to succour a friend in trouble, would believe that:
"...this reported act nullifies and invalidates the basic ethical/moral/confessional contention made by Shahak about the issue of ”Saving of Life” in the spiritual spring board of Zionism?"


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Dresner
Did you receive my email address posted earlier to you?
Regards
OMAR


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
If you believe that by citing one (single?) incident/event, you have demolished a scholarly , extremely well documented and researched study that would only show that our standards are different!

I believe , if any thing, it disproves your contention in the sense that you consider this ordinary event note worthy; is that because you, yourself, deem it so "exceptional" ?(The press seem to, otherwise they would not have reported it!)
(To claim that it is the exception that proves the rule is CHILDISH and I would NOT claim that; however others seem to, inadverently of course)
STILL
Your silence re the other issue Is noted.
The other issue raised by the late distinguished Professor Shahak is:

-MURDER and GENOCIDE.

in the spiritual fountainhead of Zionism.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Re: A note to Mr. Baker (#106006)
by art eckstein on February 24, 2007 at 8:53 AM
Mr. Dresner, while continuing the debate here, I am seeking to be polite, as you have urged. And at least I gave you a real email address.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]

Re: A note to Mr. Baker (#106024)
by Jonathan Dresner on February 24, 2007 at 2:48 PM
There was nothing fraudulent about Mr. Baker's email address, just old.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]"

Need I say more about desperate straw clutching , implicit accusations and standards by some...the pity is that was, IS, the standard!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Re: A note to Mr. Baker (#106006)
by art eckstein on February 24, 2007 at 8:53 AM
Mr. Dresner, while continuing the debate here, I am seeking to be polite, as you have urged. And at least I gave you a real email address.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]

Re: A note to Mr. Baker (#106024)
by Jonathan Dresner on February 24, 2007 at 2:48 PM
There was nothing fraudulent about Mr. Baker's email address, just old.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]"
(Thanks Mr Dresner)
Need I say more about desperate straw clutching , implicit accusations and standards by some...the pity is that was, IS, the standard!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Well I guess that as long as people in the West are NOT able to distinguish, as we do, between "Jew" and "Zionist" the myth about a "second" Holocaust" will persist in western minds to everybody’s , but mainly to Jews', detriment.

As far as the anti Zionist movement is concerned the "dismantlement", the diZionization, not the "destruction", of Israel will involve the radical rebirth/transformation of the Jews residing presently in Palestine into a spiritual/confessional community , among others, residing in Palestine, as distinct from their present identity as usurping "colons" bound together by the pernicious, aggressive and racist political creed: Zionism.
The myth of the “second” Holocaust seems to be designed and envisaged by the Zionist movement as a potentially lucrative business promising ample political and financial rewards. A potential replay of the First unmythical and abominable Holocaust that was exploited and milked into the service of an abject colonialist project.

I note with pleasure that Ahmedi Nejjad was quoted correctly, in a post otherwise replete with Zionist sloganeering and blind anti Iran hatred,. in his statement:


"The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall. . . . The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated."

The campaign against Iran’s nuclear research and potential nuclear capability , if not coupled with a parallel call for Israel’s nuclear disarmament, is a campaign to maintain Israel’s regional monopoly of same and thence Israel’s military superiority.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Simon
Bizzare that an incident, an event should invalidate ages long doctrinaire/theological perceptions and dictates.
Your "Yes" could be easily construed as confirmation of Shahak's allegations UNTILL that event occurred.
Bizzare...indeed.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, October 2001, page 71

Israel and Judaism


With Israel Shahak’s Death, A Prophetic Voice Is Stilled


By Allan C. Brownfeld

The death of Israel Shahak in July has taken from us a genuinely prophetic Jewish voice, one which ardently advocated democracy and human rights, and rejected the ethno-centrism which has come to dominate both the state of Israel and much of organized Judaism—not only in Israel but in the U.S. and other Western countries as well.

This writer first met Israel Shahak on a visit to Jerusalem in 1973. We kept in contact ever since, meeting when he visited the United States. He wrote a number of very thoughtful articles for Issues, a journal which I edit.

In many ways, Shahak was a victim of history who tried to learn from his own experience and apply what he learned to others. A Holocaust survivor, he preferred to emphasize his opposition to racism and oppression in any form and in any country.

After being liberated from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, Shahak and his mother emigrated to British Mandate Palestine. He went on to have a distinguished career as a professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was repeatedly voted as the most admired teacher by students.

Following the 1967 war, Shahak became a leading member of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights and was elected chairman in 1970. He devoted the rest of his life to opposing Israel’s inhumane treatment inflicted upon its Arab citizens and upon Palestinians in occupied territories.

While American newspapers, both Jewish and general, completely ignored the death of Israel Shahak, a July 6 obituary in The Guardian of London by Elfi Pallis notes that, “Shortly after the 1967 six-day war, he [Shahak] concluded from observation that Israel was not yet a democracy; it was treating the newly occupied Palestinians with shocking brutality. For the next three decades, he spent all his spare time on attempts to change this. He contributed to various small…papers, but when this proved to have little impact, he decided to alert journalists, academics and human rights campaigners abroad. From his small, bare West Jerusalem flat poured forth reports with titles such as ‘Torture in Israel,’ and ‘Collective Punishment in the West Bank.’ Based exclusively on mainstream Israeli sources, all were painstakingly translated into English.


Shahak never let up, he never became blasé.

“World coverage gradually improved, but Shahak never let up, he never became blasé. Watching him read out a small news item about an Israeli farmer who had set his dogs on a group of Palestinian children was to see a man in almost physical distress. Shahak came to believe that these human rights incidents stemmed from Israel’s religious interpretation of Jewish history, which led it to ignore centuries of Arab life in the country, and to disregard non-Jewish rights. Confiscation, every schoolchild was told, was ‘the redemption of the land’ from those who did not belong there. To Shahak, this was straightforward racism, damaging both sides.”

Israel Shahak’s vision can perhaps best be found in his books, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press, 1994) and Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Press, 1994) written with Norton Mezvinsky. (See Mezvinsky’s remembrance of Israel Shahak in the Aug./Sept. issue of the Washington Report, p. 11.)

In Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Shahak points out that while Islamic fundamentalism is vilified in the West, Jewish fundamentalism goes largely ignored. He argues that classical Judaism is used to justify Israeli policies which he views as xenophobic and similar in nature to the anti-Semitism suffered by Jews in other times and places. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly, in his view, than in Jewish attitudes to the non-Jewish peoples of Israel and the Middle East.

Shahak draws on the Talmud and rabbinical laws, and points to the fact that today’s extremism finds its sources in classical texts which, if they are not properly understood, will lead to religious warfare, harmful to men and women of all religious beliefs.

This book, Shahak wrote, “is, in a way, a continuation of my political activities as an Israeli Jew. Those activities began in 1965-66 with a protest which caused a considerable scandal at that time: I had personally witnessed an ultra-religious Jew refuse to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath in order to call an ambulance for a non-Jew, who happened to have collapsed in his Jerusalem neighborhood. Instead of simply publishing the incident in the press, I asked for a meeting with the members of the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem, which is composed of rabbis nominated by the State of Israel. I asked them whether such behavior was consistent with their interpretation of the Jewish religion. They answered that the Jew in question had behaved correctly, indeed piously, and backed their statement by referring to a passage in an authoritative compendium of Talmudic laws, written in this country. I reported the incident in the main Hebrew daily, Ha’aretz, whose publication of the story caused a media scandal.”


The Talmudic World View

In the end, Shahak reported, “Neither the Israeli, nor the diaspora, rabbinical authorities ever reversed their ruling that Jews should not violate the Sabbath in order to save the life of a Gentile…It became apparent to me, as, drawing on knowledge acquired in my youth, I began to study the Talmudic laws governing the relations between Jews and non-Jews, that neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics since the inception of the State of Israel, nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of those laws, and the world view which they both create and express is taken into account.”

The Hatanya—the fundamental book of the Habbad movement, which is one of the most important branches of Hasidism—declares that all non-Jews are totally Satanic creatures “in whom there is nothing absolutely good.” Even a non-Jewish embryo is said to be qualitatively different from a Jewish one. The very existence of a non-Jew is “inessential,” whereas all of creation was created solely for the sake of the Jews.

Shahak points out that a widespread misunderstanding about Orthodox Judaism is that it is a “biblical religion,” that the Old Testament has in Judaism the same central place and legal authority that the Bible has for Protestants and even Roman Catholics. He notes that, “…the interpretation is rigidly fixed—but by the Talmud rather than by the Bible itself. Many, perhaps most, biblical verses prescribing religious acts and obligations are understood by classical Judaism and by present-day Orthodoxy in a sense which is quite distinct from, or even contrary to, their literal meaning as understood by Christians or other readers of the Old Testament, who see only the plain text.”

In the Decalogue itself, the Eighth Commandment, “Thou Shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15) is taken to be a prohibition against “stealing” (that is, kidnapping) a Jewish person. “The reason,” Shahak writes, “is that according to the Talmud all acts forbidden by the Decalogue are capital offenses. Stealing property is not a capital offense (while the kidnapping of Gentiles by Jews is allowed by Talmudic law)—hence the interpretation.”

In numerous cases, Shahak shows, general terms such as “thy fellow,” “stranger,” or even “man” are taken to have an exclusivist and chauvinistic meaning. The famous verse “Thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18) is understood by classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism “as an injunction to love one’s fellow Jew, not any fellow human. Similarly, the verse ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ (Leviticus 19:16) is supposed to mean that one must not stand idly by when the life (‘blood’) of a fellow Jew is in danger; but a Jew…is in general forbidden to save the life of a Gentile, because ‘he is not thy fellow.’”

The differentiation in appropriate treatment for Jews and non-Jews to be found in Talmudic commentaries is, Shahak shows, not simply an academic question. Instead, it relates to current Israeli government practices which are justified by reference to religious law.

A book published by the Central Region Command of the Israeli army, whose area includes the West Bank, contains the following declaration by the command’s chief chaplain: “When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to Halakah [Jewish law] they may and even should be killed….Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized….In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good civilians….”

Many contemporary Israeli policies refer to Talmudic rules. Thus, Shahak declares, “The Halakah forbids Jews to sell immovable property—fields and houses—in the Land of Israel to Gentiles. It is therefore clear that—exactly as the leaders and sympathizers of Gush Emunim say—the whole question of how the Palestinians ought to be treated is, according to the Halakah, simply a question of Jewish power; if Jews have sufficient power then it is their religious duty to expel the Palestinians….Maimonides declares; ‘When the Jews are more powerful than the Gentiles we are forbidden to let an idolater among us; even a temporary or itinerant trader shall not be allowed to pass through our land.’”


Jewish Fundamentalism

In the book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, Shahak and co-author Norton Mezvinsky lament the dramatic growth in recent years of Jewish fundamentalism which has manifested itself in opposition to the peace process and played a role in the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the murder of 29 Muslims at prayer by the American-born fundamentalist, Baruch Goldstein.

They cite, for example, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, who wrote a chapter of a book in praise of Goldstein and what he did. An immigrant to Israel from the U.S., Ginsburgh speaks freely of Jews’ genetic-based spiritual superiority over non-Jews; “If you saw two people drowning, a Jew and a non-Jew, the Torah says you save the Jewish life first….Something is special about Jewish DNA….If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah probably would permit that. Jewish life has an infinite value.”

Shahak and Mezvinsky point out that, “Changing the words ‘Jewish’ to ‘German’ or ‘Aryan’ and ‘non-Jewish’ to ‘Jewish’ turns the Ginsburgh position into the doctrine that made Auschwitz possible in the past. To a considerable extent the German Nazi success depended upon that ideology and upon its implication of being widely known early. Disregarding even on a limited scale the potential effects of messianic…and other ideologies could prove to be calamitous….The similarities between the Jewish political messianic trend and German Nazism are glaring. The Gentiles are for the messianists what the Jews were for the Nazis. The hatred of Western culture with its rational and democratic elements is common to both movements…. The ideology…is both eschatological and messianic….It assumes the imminent coming of the Messiah and asserts that the Jews, aided by God, will thereafter triumph over the non-Jews and rule them forever.”

It troubled Israel Shahak that the lesson many Jews learned from the Nazi period was to embrace ethno-centric nationalism—just what had created such tragedy in Europe—and to reject the older prophetic Jewish tradition of universalism. He was particularly dismayed with the organized Jewish community in the U.S. and other Western countries, which promoted ideas of religious freedom and ethnic diversity in their own countries, but embraced Israel’s rejection of these same values.

It was Shahak’s view that bigotry was morally objectionable regardless of who the perpetrator is and who the victim. He declared: “Any form of racism, discrimination and xenophobia becomes more potent and politically influential if it is taken for granted by the society which indulges in it.” For Jews, he believed, “The support of democracy and human rights is…meaningless or even harmful and deceitful when it does not begin with self-critique and with support of human rights when they are violated by one’s own group. Any support of human rights for non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the ‘Jewish state’ is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist….”

In an article about his childhood for The New York Review of Books, Shahak recalled listening to some Polish workmen talking during the Nazi occupation. Discussing the situation, one young man defended the Germans by pointing out that they were ridding Poland of the Jews, only to be rebuked by an older laborer, “So are they not also human beings?” It is a phrase that Shahak never forgot.

During his life, Israel Shahak was rebuked, spat upon and threatened with death for his defense of human rights. How long will it take before he is recognized as a genuine Jewish prophetic voice in an era when such voices were difficult to find? After all, as the Bible tells us; “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew 13:57).

Israel Shahak may be unlamented in his own country today, but future generations may well look back to his example, much as contemporary Germans do to figures such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who opposed Nazism and was executed for his part in the plot to assassinate Hitler.

Israel Shahak understood all too well the violations of human rights and the human spirit all around him. He insisted on telling that truth to his fellow countrymen and to the world, upholding a Jewish tradition far older than that established in 1948.

Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist and associate editor of the Lincoln Review, a journal published by the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, and editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism.


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Home > Archives > October01 > With Israel Shahak’s Death, A Prophetic Voice Is Stilled






omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
You disparge Professor Shahak for obvious reasons.
Obviously I will NOT take YOUR word about the man and his scholarship.

However rereading him I note he has, almost, substantiaited every word he wrote with specific references.

His exceptional vision and objectivity cum courage must have chocked YOU.
Understandable, to say the least.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Israel Shahak (1933-2001)


By Norton Mezvinsky

The greatness of Israel Shahak was perhaps best illustrated by his personal compassion for, understanding of and sensitivity to his fellow human beings. Although an iconoclast and in many ways a solitary figure, he was to this writer and to a number of others far more than a good and trusted friend.

His concern for human emotion and his insight into the human psyche made him a special person. Those of us who knew him well, and others who knew him less well, often approached him with some of our personal problems. He not only listened attentively and comprehended, he advised and counseled us.

Equally important, he often sought out individuals, some of whom were friends and some of whom he hardly knew, who were in difficult and stressful situations and/or were experiencing tragedy. He offered emotional support and whatever other help he could muster. He often displayed great personal courage in his concern for others. Witness, for example, the time he risked his life in order to save a female student from the flames surrounding her when an explosion occurred in a university chemistry laboratory. (A scar on his face gave testimony to this act.)

On another level he displayed great concern and courage in 1969 when he and one other Hebrew University faculty member staged a sit-down protest against the Israeli government’s putting Palestinian students in jail under the administrative detention provisions of the emergency defense regulations. In the late 1960s, ’70s and ’80s Israel Shahak, again as a faculty member, actively supported the personal struggles of Palestinian students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to achieve equal rights. When his friend Fouzi El-Asmar was jailed in 1969 under the same emergency defense regulations, with no formal charges pressed against him, Israel Shahak kept in touch and supported him. He then visited his friend during the period of Fouzi’s house detention. Soon thereafter, Israel Shahak convinced Fouzi, who at that time was not fluent in English, to help his people by accepting an invitation to go on a lecture tour to the United States and explain to Americans the plight of Arabs in Israel. These are but a few of the many such examples that indicate the character of the man.

Israel Shahak was born in Warsaw, Poland, on April 28, 1933. His parents were well-educated, cultured and prosperous Polish Jews. During the Nazi occupation, he and his family were forced into the Warsaw ghetto. His older brother escaped to England, joined the Royal Air Force, was shot down and killed. His father disappeared. His mother put Israel into hiding with a Catholic family, but in 1943 he and his mother were both captured by the Nazis and deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After being liberated in 1945, he and his mother emigrated to Palestine, which was then under British mandate.

He received his secular and Orthodox religious education in Palestine-Israel. After graduation from high school he served in an elite unit of the Israeli army during his required military service. He served in the reserve forces well into his adult life.

He then attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and received his doctorate in chemistry in 1961. After doing post-doctoral work in chemistry for two years at Stanford University in California, he returned to the Hebrew University as an instructor, thereafter rising to the rank of professor. Year after year he was voted most admired teacher by students. As a chemist, he made significant contributions to cancer research.

Concerned about his diabetic condition and wishing to devote himself to other work, he retired from teaching in 1990.

Throughout his adult life Israel Shahak remained a proud Israeli Jew who acquired a deep understanding of and had a keen appreciation for the positive features of Jewish history. From the time that he arrived in Palestine in 1945, he felt at home and never entertained the thought of leaving to live permanently somewhere else. Jerusalem was the city he most loved. As a young student he reacted strongly against what he observed were negative features, including inherent racism, in classical Judaism. In the mid-1960s he agonized about the reactionary nature of Zionism and the oppressive Zionist character of the state of Israel. In 1965 Israel Shahak began his political activities against both classical Judaism and Zionism. After the 1967 war he became more outspoken and active.

Israel Shahak achieved wide recognition in Israel, in Arab countries and communities, and throughout much of the rest of the world from 1967 until he died on July 2, 2001. He vigorously advocated universal human rights for all people and constantly preached and acted against individuals and institutions, most often within his own society, who oppressed others. For over 30 years, he focused his major attention upon Israel’s denial of human rights to and oppression of Palestinians.

After the 1967 war Israel Shahak became an active and leading member of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, and was elected its chairperson in 1969. The League, whose members were Jewish and Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel, protested and campaigned against Israeli governmental policies and actions that deprived Palestinian citizens of their human rights. It provided some legal and other aid to oppressed Palestinian citizens, and additionally collected and disseminated information Ûertaining to the plight of Palestinians in the territories occupied since 1967. Under Shahak’s leadership the League expanded its work and became more effective.

By the early 1970s Israel Shahak decided that too little was known outside of Israel about the denial of human rights to and oppression of Palestinians in the Jewish state. He wanted to disseminate more information, especially in the United States.

When he and I met in Jerusalem for the first time in late 1971, he emphasized this point and argued that this could conceivably help in the Palestinian human rights struggle. If more Americans knew the facts, he believed, some of them might be moved to object. If others in the United States who were already concerned with the plight of the Palestinians were better prepared and armed with more factual data, they, he also argued, could be more effective in attempting to influence others.

All of this, he hoped, could lead to more Americans objecting to what the Israeli government was doing. This might cause the U.S. government to object about some actions to the Israeli government and might, in turn, influence the Israeli government to temper, if not altogether cease, some of its oppression. Even if all the above was wishful thinking that did not produce the most desired results, he concluded, providing information could still be valuable.

I concurred with his analysis, and we decided to act together. Our campaign to disseminate information in the United States actively began with my organizing Israel Shahak’s first lecture tour in 1972. Subsequent tours, planned by me and others, occurred during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. During these tours he lectured to groups at universities, colleges, churches, organizations and other institutions. He also spoke privately with many people, including some members of Congress and State Department officials.

When he spoke, Israel Shahak clearly pinpointed how the Israeli government denied to Palestinian citizens of the Jewish state certain rights reserved for Jews, and how Palestinians living in the occupied territories, who were not citizens, were treated far worse. He discussed limitations on freedom of speech and expression, land ordinances, living restrictions, unequal pay, job restrictions, land confiscation, destruction of houses, jailing and house detention under provisions of the emergency defense regulations, torture of prisoners, collective punishment, assassinations, educational discrimination, limitation of political activity, deprivation of citizenship and a host of other measures. He carefully provided documentation for each of his points. He often distributed his English translations of articles, critical of many of the above measures, that had appeared in Israel’s Hebrew-language press. At times, he interspersed his human rights criticisms with analyses of other Israeli policies.


The Zionist Source

Israel Shahak always maintained that Israeli oppression of Palestinians stemmed from the Zionist character of the Jewish state. He understood well, as a Holocaust survivor, that those who have been oppressed, in this case Jews, can and sometimes do become oppressors. For Shahak this was a human condition not limited to one group of people. His learned essay “Zionism as a Recidivist Movement,” in the book Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections (Amana, 1989) is a brilliant exposition of his long-held view of Zionism.

Shahak contended that Zionism arose as a reaction against progressive change and came to dictate much of Israel’s foreign and domestic conduct. Together with the state’s militarism, it shapes Israel’s territorial aspirations and domestically allows only a less-than-equal status for the Israeli minority of non-Jews. For Shahak, Zionist ideology, powered by Israeli sovereignty, constituted the root cause of the deprivation of human and national rights of displaced Palestinians and of the inequities in the status of Palestinian citizens of the Jewish state. Zionism—both a reaction against and a mirror image of anti-Semitism—resembles other exclusive chauvinistic movements.

Shahak argued that Zionism is not motivated by positive Jewish values but rather is desirous of a modified, heavily-armed Jewish ghetto. Here, Shahak differed with some Israeli Jews of the left who criticize a few of the specific oppressive measures affecting Palestinians but who refuse to criticize Zionism adversely and, indeed, call themselves Zionists. Shahak labeled these Israeli Jews supreme hypocrites.

Soon after his first United States speaking tour, Israel Shahak and I decided that regular distribution in the United States of English translations of critical articles from the Hebrew press, chosen for their substance by Shahak, would be useful. We were able to convince a few people to back such a venture. For a while the National Council of Churches supported the publication of Swasia, which I co-edited and which distributed to subscribers on a regular basis some of these translations. Americans for Middle East Understanding underwrote a pamphlet, published by the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, titled Report: Human Rights Violations during the Palestinian Uprising 1988-89. This pamphlet, which I edited, consisted of English translations of articles from the Hebrew press, selected and with an introduction by Shahak, and was widely distributed.

A few publications, including the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, published some of the translations. From 1988 until 1997 Frank Collins, supported by Washington Report editor Richard H. Curtiss, distributed to a growing list of subscribers his publication, Translations from the Hebrew Press, which contained Shahak’s selected and translated articles. In addition to all of the above work, Israel Shahak wrote articles, published in a variety of English and American periodicals and journals, in which he presented his analyses, sometimes based in part on articles from the Hebrew press.

In the 1970s and 1980s Israel Shahak was severely criticized by some of his Israeli Jewish antagonists. He even received a few death threats. Undeterred, he continued to address his own public in speeches and writings. In the 1990s, his audience was more receptive. His negation of the Oslo accords as a peace process, his denunciation of the current Palestinian political leadership, his critique of Classical Judaism and Jewish fundamentalism in Israel seemed to provoke serious consideration, if not full acceptance, of his condemnation of Zionism and his plea for Palestinian human rights.

Israel Shahak’s three books were published between 1994 and 1999. In his first book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (Pluto, 1994), he drew upon research and contemplation dating back at least four decades and added some new thoughts. This scathing attack upon Classical Judaism and its more modern outgrowth, Orthodox Judaism, is vintage Shahak. As a lover of prophetic Judaism and as a disciple of Spinoza, Shahak in a learned and rational manner condemned the parochialism, racism, and hatred of non-Jews which too often appeared in the Judaism that developed during and after the Talmudic period. and which to a goodly extent still exists. In commenting about this book, Noam Chomsky wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.”

Shahak’s last book, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto, 1999), which I co-authored, is a more in-depth study of one important aspect of Classical and Orthodox Judaism. This book assesses the importance of and the growing influence and power of Jewish fundamentalism in Israel. It traces fundamentalism’s history and development and examines its various strains. The book places the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin within the context of a tradition of punishing and killing Jews considered to be heretics and/or informers. The anti-democratic nature of Jewish fundamentalism is readily apparent in our analysis.

Both of the above books highlight the connections between some of the negative aspects of Zionism and strains of Classical-Orthodox Judaism. In these books Shahak reiterated and amplified his previously oft-repeated contention that these connections threaten peace and constitute danger for both Jews and non-Jews.

In his other book, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies (Pluto, 1997), Shahak presented an analysis of Israeli foreign policy compiled in reports he wrote between 1992 and 1995. Drawing mostly upon revelations in the Hebrew press, he argued that Israel was conducting a covert policy of expansionism on many fronts in order to gain control not only of Palestine but of the entire Middle East.

One tragedy of Israel Shahak’s death was that it came too soon. He was at the height of his productive capacity. He was a rare intellectual giant and a superior humanist. Edward Said described him as “a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity.” Gore Vidal ended his introduction to Jewish History, Jewish Religion by depicting Israel Shahak as “the latest, if not the last, of the great prophets.” This man was worthy of such praise.

Editor’s note: All the books discussed in this article are available from the AET Book Club.

Norton Mezvinsky, a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University, is the co-author with Israel Shahak of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel.


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Home > Archives > August-september01 > In Memoriam: Israel Shahak


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman

NO, I did NOT.

HOWEVER If you accuse the late honourable , exceptional and distinguished Professor Shahak
(rahamaat ALLAH alieh)of making up his footnotes YOU prove it.

That would be a very serious charge and the onus of proof falls on the accuser as you, a lawyer, knows well .

Otherwise it would be cheap insinuation and cheaper character assasination of a departed man of honour, of exceptional courage and erudition and a distinguished scholar who is no longer with us to defend himself .

IT is because of people like Shahak and Chomsky that I believe that the situation in the ME is NOT hopeless.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
Did you note Mr Dresner's comment on your post (posted above in MY thanks to Mr Dresner)?
What does THAT tell YOU?
IT, however ,DOES tell everybody a lot about YOU.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

All religions, including Islam, have a record of unsavory practices undertaken under their name (NOT the practioner's), some verging on the abominable.
I do NOT hold Christianity, for example, responsible for the burnings on the cross practiced by Christians during the Inquisition, and else where, nor for the Holocaust for that matter!

Nor do I hold Islam responsible for 9/11.

Those who can NOT tell the difference between the genuine dictates of a certain religion and the practices of some of its adherents, no matter how much those adherents consider themselves to be its true manifestation, are NOT worth the effort of a serious discussion as is the case with.....
The so called challenge you refer to was mostly to “practices “, possibly true, probably the figment of sick imaginations from a source that CAN NOT tell the important difference I refer to and hence unworthy of any reply.

I did propose a comparative study between Moslem/Dhimmi in Islam versus Jew/Goyim in Judaism , because I myself am totally unqualified to undertake it re BOTH religions.

I hope somebody, somewhere, will undertake the task objectively.
(That would be truly revealing to all. )

Such a study, to be of any value as a guide, no matter how peripheral, to the future interrelations of humankind MUST distinguish between genuine "religious dictates" , objectively and truly emanating from that religion's basic sources (for Islam that would be the Koran first and foremost then the Hadith),and the "practices" by adherents. of /belivers in that religion.

What struck as extremely remarkable about Professor Shahak’s study is his marked ability to see and tell the DIFERENCE between “DOGMA”and “PRACTICE” in his constant references to basic “books”, first, then to some practices according to the “dictates “ or “allowances” of that “book” all, meticulously referenced as are the footnotes of chapter FIVE (Chapter 5: The Laws Against Non-Jews) which includes no less than 70 references( attributions) to no less than the Torah, the Talmudic Encyclopedia,Psalms,Maimonides etc with the exactness seen in the extract from footnotes posted below.
TO SUM UP:
A simple declaration that Shahak is a liar is totally unacceptable as a rebuttal of such a study.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX End of Post XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Chapter 5: The Laws Against Non-Jews
1 Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, 'Laws on Murderers' 2, 11; Talmudic Encyclopedia, 'Goy'.
2 R. Yo'el Sirkis, Bayit Hadash, commentary on Beyt Josef, 'Yoreh De'ah' 158. The two rules just mentioned apply even if the Gentile victim is ger toshav, that is a 'resident alien' who has undertaken in front of three Jewish witnesses to keep the 'seven Noahide precepts' (seven biblical laws considered by the Talmud to be addressed to Gentiles).
3 R. David Halevi (Poland, 17th century), Turey Zahav" on Shulhan 'Arukh, 'Yoreh De'ah' 158.
5 Talmudic Encyclopedia, 'Ger' (= convert to Judaism).
6 For example, R. Shabbtay Kohen (mid 17th century), Siftey Kohen on Shulhan 'Arukh, 'Yoreh De'ah, 158: 'But in times of war it was the custom to kill them with one's own hands, for it is said, "The best of Gentiles -- kill him!"' Siftey Kohen and Turey Zahay (see note 3) are the two major classical commentaries on the Shulhan 'Arukh.
7 Colonel Rabbi A. Avidan (Zemel), 'Tohar hannesheq le'or hahalakhah' (= 'Purity of weapons in the light of the Halakhah') in Be'iqvot milhemet yom hakkippurim -- pirqey hagut, halakhah umehqar (In the Wake of the Yom Kippur War - Chapters of Meditation, Halakhah and Research), Central Region Command, 1973: quoted in Ha'olam Hazzeh, 5 January 1974; also quoted by David Shaham, 'A chapter of meditation', Hotam, 28 March 1974; and by Amnon Rubinstein, 'Who falsifies the Halakhah?' Ma'ariv", 13 October 1975. Rubinstein reports that the booklet was subsequently withdrawn from circulation by order of the Chief of General Staff, presumably because it encouraged soldiers to disobey his own orders; but he complains that Rabbi Avidan has not been court-martialled, nor has any rabbi -- military or civil -- taken exception to what he had written.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Green's fervent prayer that no nuclear arms are ever used is commendable and shared by all ; however Green should understand that Israel regional MONOPOLOY of nuclear arms is categorically unacceptable, and will never be.

It would underline the regional military superiority of the Zionist colonists of Palestine an equally unacceptable proposition no matter what the cost.

Green's worry about the damage a nuclear weapon would inflict on ALL should be, were it sincere, coupled with a clear stand against Israel's nuclear weapons and a call for Israel's nuclear disarmament...I see no sign of that anywhere in his post.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
All religions, including Islam, have a record of unsavory practices undertaken under their name (NOT the practioner's), some verging on the abominable.
I do NOT hold Christianity, for example, responsible for the burnings on the cross practiced by Christians during the Inquisition, and else where, nor for the Holocaust for that matter!

Nor do I hold Islam responsible for 9/11.

Those who can NOT tell the difference between the genuine dictates of a certain religion and the practices of some of its adherents, no matter how much those adherents consider themselves to be its true manifestation, are NOT worth the effort of a serious discussion as is the case with.....

The so called challenge you refer to was mostly to “practices “, possibly true, probably the figment of sick imaginations from a source that CAN NOT tell the important difference I refer to and hence unworthy of any reply.

I did , however,propose a comparative study between Moslem/Dhimmi in Islam versus Jew/Goyim in Judaism , because I myself am totally unqualified to undertake it re BOTH religions.

I hope somebody, somewhere, will undertake the task objectively.
(That would be truly revealing to all. )

Such a study, to be of any value as a guide, no matter how peripheral, to the future interrelations of humankind MUST distinguish between genuine "religious dictates" , objectively and truly emanating from that religion's basic sources (for Islam that would be the Koran first and foremost then the Hadith),and the "practices" by adherents of /belivers in that religion.

What struck as extremely remarkable about Professor Shahak’s study is his marked ability to see and tell that DIFERENCE between
“DOGMA”and “PRACTICE” with his ceaseless, constant references to basic “books”, first, then to some practices according to the “dictates “ or “allowances” of that “book” .All being meticulously referenced as are the footnotes of (Chapter 5: The Laws Against Non-Jews) which includes no less than 70 references( attributions) to no less than the Torah, the Talmudic Encyclopedia,Psalms,Maimonides etc with the exactness and precision seen in the extract from footnotes I post below.

TO SUM UP:

1-A simple declaration that Shahak is a "liar" or is "incorrect" is totally unacceptable as a rebuttal of such a study.

2- I note YOUR (plural) INABILITY to respond to SHAHAK in kind.

3-I see no SUBSTANCE in the writing of that who can NOT tell the difference between a "religion " and the "practices" of some of its adherents to discuss or respond to.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX End of PostXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXX EXTRACT from footnotes XXXX
Chapter 5: The Laws Against Non-Jews
1 Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, 'Laws on Murderers' 2, 11; Talmudic Encyclopedia, 'Goy'.
2 R. Yo'el Sirkis, Bayit Hadash, commentary on Beyt Josef, 'Yoreh De'ah' 158. The two rules just mentioned apply even if the Gentile victim is ger toshav, that is a 'resident alien' who has undertaken in front of three Jewish witnesses to keep the 'seven Noahide precepts' (seven biblical laws considered by the Talmud to be addressed to Gentiles).
3 R. David Halevi (Poland, 17th century), Turey Zahav" on Shulhan 'Arukh, 'Yoreh De'ah' 158.
5 Talmudic Encyclopedia, 'Ger' (= convert to Judaism).
6 For example, R. Shabbtay Kohen (mid 17th century), Siftey Kohen on Shulhan 'Arukh, 'Yoreh De'ah, 158: 'But in times of war it was the custom to kill them with one's own hands, for it is said, "The best of Gentiles -- kill him!"' Siftey Kohen and Turey Zahay (see note 3) are the two major classical commentaries on the Shulhan 'Arukh.
7 Colonel Rabbi A. Avidan (Zemel), 'Tohar hannesheq le'or hahalakhah' (= 'Purity of weapons in the light of the Halakhah') in Be'iqvot milhemet yom hakkippurim -- pirqey hagut, halakhah umehqar (In the Wake of the Yom Kippur War - Chapters of Meditation, Halakhah and Research), Central Region Command, 1973: quoted in Ha'olam Hazzeh, 5 January 1974; also quoted by David Shaham, 'A chapter of meditation', Hotam, 28 March 1974; and by Amnon Rubinstein, 'Who falsifies the Halakhah?' Ma'ariv", 13 October 1975. Rubinstein reports that the booklet was subsequently withdrawn from circulation by order of the Chief of General Staff, presumably because it encouraged soldiers to disobey his own orders; but he complains that Rabbi Avidan has not been court-martialled, nor has any rabbi -- military or civil -- taken exception to what he had written.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

CHAPTER 6

Political Consequences

From: "Jewish History, Jewish Religion:
The Weight of Three Thousand Years"
by Professor Israel Shahak





Political Consequences

THE PERSISTENT ATTITUDES of classical Judaism toward non-Jews strongly influence its followers, Orthodox Jews and those who can be regarded as its continuators,

Zionists.

Through the latter it also influences the policies of the State of Israel. Since 1967, as Israel becomes more and more 'Jewish', so its policies are influenced more by Jewish ideological considerations than by those of a coldly conceived imperial interest. This ideological influence is not usually perceived by foreign experts, who tend to ignore or downplay the influence of the Jewish religion on Israeli policies. This explains why many of their predictions are incorrect.

In fact, more Israeli government crises are caused by religious reasons, often trivial, than by any other cause. The space devoted by the Hebrew press to discussion of the constantly occurring quarrels between the various religious groups, or between the religious and the secular, is greater than that given any other subject, except in times of war or of security-related tension. At the time of writing, early August 1993, some topics of major interest to readers of the Hebrew press are: whether soldiers killed in action who are sons of non-Jewish mothers will be buried in a segregated area in Israeli military cemeteries; whether Jewish religious burial associations, who have a monopoly over the burial of all Jews except kibbutz members, will be allowed to continue their custom of circumcising the corpses of non-circumcised Jews before burying them (and without asking the family's permission); whether the import of non-kosher meat to Israel, banned unofficially since the establishment of the state, will be allowed or banned by law. There are many more issues of this kind which are of a much greater interest to the Israeli-Jewish public than, let us say, the negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria.

The attempts made by a few Israeli politicians to ignore the factors of 'Jewish ideology' in favor of purely imperial interests have led to disastrous results. In early 1974, after its partial defeat in the Yom Kippur War, Israel had a vital interest in stopping the renewed influence of the PLO, which had not yet been recognized by the Arab states as the solely legitimate representative of the Palestinians. The Israeli government conceived of a plan to support Jordanian influence in the West Bank, which was quite considerable at the time. When King Hussein was asked for his support, he demanded a visible quid pro quo. It was arranged that his chief West Bank supporter, Sheikh Jabri of Hebron, who ruled the southern part of the West Bank with an iron fist and with approval of then Defense minister Moshe Dayan, would give a party for the region's notables in the courtyard of his palatial residence in Hebron. The party, in honor of the king's birthday, would feature the public display of Jordanian flags and would begin a pro-Jordanian campaign. But the religious settlers in the nearby Kiryat-Arba, who were only a handful at the time, heard about the plan and threatened Prime Minister Golda Meir and Dayan with vigorous protests since, as they put it, displaying a flag of a 'non-Jewish state' within the Land of Israel contradicts the sacred principle which states that this land 'belongs' only to Jews. Since this principle is accepted by all zionists, the government had to bow to their demands and order Sheikh Jabri not to display any Jordanian flags. Thereupon Jabri, who was deeply humiliated, canceled the party and, at the Fez meeting of the Arab League which occurred soon after, King Hussein voted to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinians. For the bulk of Israeli-Jewish public the current negotiations about 'autonomy' are likewise influenced more by such Jewish ideological considerations than by any others.

The conclusion from this consideration of Israeli policies, supported by an analysis of classical Judaism, must be that analyses of Israeli policy-making which do not emphasize the importance of its unique character as a 'Jewish state' must be mistaken. In particular, the facile comparison of Israel to other cases of Western imperialism or to settler states, is incorrect. During apartheid, the land of South Africa was officially divided into 87 per cent which 'belonged' to the whites and 13 per cent which was said officially to 'belong' to the Blacks. In addition, officially sovereign states, embodied with all the symbols of sovereignty, the so-called Bantustans, were established. But 'Jewish ideology' demands that no part of the Land of Israel can be recognized as 'belonging' to non-Jews and that 110 signs of sovereignty, such as Jordanian flags, can be officially allowed to be displayed. The principle of Redemption of the Land demands that ideally all the land, and not merely, say, 87 per cent, will in time be 'redeemed', that is, become owned by Jews. 'Jewish ideology prohibits that very convenient principle of imperialism, already known to Romans and followed by so many secular empires, and best formulated by Lord Cromer: 'We do not govern Egypt, we govern the governors of Egypt.' Jewish ideology forbids such recognition; it also forbids a seemingly respectful attitude to any 'non-Jewish governors' within the Land of Israel. The entire apparatus of client kings, sultans, maharajas and chiefs or, in more modern times, of dependent dictators, so convenient in other cases of imperial hegemony, cannot be used by Israel within the area considered part of the Land of Israel. Hence the fears, commonly expressed by Palestinians, of being offered a 'Bantustan' are totally groundless. Only if numerous Jewish lives are lost in war, as happened both in 1973 and in the 1983-5 war aftermath in Lebanon, is an Israeli retreat conceivable since it can be justified by the principle that the sanctity of Jewish life is more important than other considerations. What is not possible, as long as Israel remains a 'Jewish state', is the Israeli grant of a fake, but nevertheless symbolically real sovereignty, or even of real autonomy, to non-Jews within the Land of Israel for merely political reasons. Israel, like some other countries, is an exclusivist state, but Israeli exclusivism is peculiar to itself.

In addition to Israeli policies it may be surmised that the 'Jewish ideology' influences also a significant part, maybe a majority, of the diaspora Jews. While the actual implementation of Jewish ideology depends on Israel being strong, this in turn depends to a considerable extent on the support which diaspora Jews, particularly US Jews, give to Israel. The image of the diaspora Jews and their attitudes to non-Jews, is quite different from the attitudes of classical Judaism, as described above. This discrepancy is most obvious in English-speaking countries, where the greatest falsifications of Judaism regularly occur. The situation is worst in the USA and Canada, the two states whose support for Israeli policies, including policies which most glaringly contradict the basic human rights of non-Jews, is strongest.

US support for Israel, when considered not in abstract but in concrete detail, cannot be adequately explained only as a result of American imperial interests. The strong influence wielded by the organized Jewish community in the USA in support of all Israeli policies must also be taken into account in order to explain the Middle East policies of American Administrations. This phenomenon is even more noticeable in the case of Canada, whose Middle Eastern interests cannot be considered as important, but whose loyal dedication to Israel is even greater than that of the USA. In both countries (and also in France, Britain and many other states) Jewish organizations support Israel with about the same loyalty which communist parties accorded to the USSR for so long. Also, many Jews who appear to be active in defending human rights and who adopt non-conformist views on other issues do, in cases affecting Israel, display a remarkable degree of totalitarianism and are in the forefront of the defense of all Israeli policies. It is well known in Israel that the chauvinism and fanaticism in supporting Israel displayed by organized diaspora Jews is much greater (especially since 1967) than the chauvinism shown by an average Israeli Jew. This fanaticism is especially marked in Canada and the USA but because of the incomparably greater political importance of the USA, I will concentrate on the latter. It should, however, be noted that we also find Jews whose views of Israeli policies are not different from those held by the rest of the society (with due regard to the factors of geography, income, social position and so on).

Why should some American Jews display chauvinism, sometimes extreme, and others not? We should begin by observing the social and therefore also the political importance of the Jewish organizations which are of an exclusive nature: they admit no non-Jews on principle. (This exclusivism is in amusing contrast with their hunt to condemn the most obscure non-Jewish club which refuses to admit Jews.) Those who can be called 'organized Jews', and who spend most of their time outside work hours mostly in the company of other Jews, can be presumed to uphold Jewish exclusivism and to preserve the attitudes of the classical Judaism to non-Jews. Under present circumstances they cannot openly express these attitudes toward non-Jews in the USA where non-Jews constitute more than 97 per cent of the population. They compensate for this by expressing their real attitudes in their support of the 'Jewish state' and the treatment it metes to the non-Jews of the Middle East.

How else can we explain the enthusiasm displayed by so many American rabbis in support of, let us say, Martin Luther King, compared with their lack of support for the rights of Palestinians, even for their individual human rights? How else can we explain the glaring contradiction between the attitudes of classical Judaism toward non-Jews, which include the rule that their lives should not be saved except for the sake of Jewish interest, with the support of the US rabbis and organized Jews for the rights of the Blacks? After all, Martin Luther King and the majority of American Blacks are non-Jews. Even if only the conservative and Orthodox Jews, who together constitute the majority of organized American Jews, are considered to hold such opinions about the non-Jews, the other part of organized US Jewry, the Reform, had never opposed them, and, in my view, show themselves to be quite influenced by them.

Actually the explanation of this apparent contradiction is easy. It should be recalled that Judaism, especially in its classical form, is totalitarian in nature. The behavior of supporters of other totalitarian ideologies of our times was not different from that of the organized American Jews. Stalin and his supporters never tired of condemning the discrimination against the American or the South African Blacks, especially in the midst of the worst crimes committed within the USSR. The South African apartheid regime was tireless in its denunciations of the violations of human rights committed either by communist or by other African regimes, and so were its supporters in other countries. Many similar examples can be given. The support of democracy or of human rights is therefore meaningless or even harmful and deceitful when it does not begin with self-critique and with support of human rights when they are violated by one's own group. Any support of human rights in general by a Jew which does not include the support of human rights of non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the 'Jewish state' is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist. The apparent enthusiasm displayed by American rabbis or by the Jewish organizations in the USA during the 1950s and the 1960s in support of the Blacks in the South, was motivated only by considerations of Jewish self-interest, just as was the communist support for the same Blacks. Its purpose in both cases was to try to capture the Black community politically, in the Jewish case to an unthinking support of Israeli policies in the Middle East.

Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews. This is what many Jews justly demand from non-Jews: to confront their own past and so become aware of the discrimination and persecutions inflicted on the Jews. In the last 40 years the number of non-Jews killed by Jews is by far greater than the number of the Jews killed by non-Jews. The extent of the persecution and discrimination against non-Jews inflicted by the 'Jewish state' with the support of organized diaspora Jews is also enormously greater than the suffering inflicted on Jews by regimes hostile to them. Although the struggle against antisemitism (and of all other forms of racism) should never cease, the struggle against Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism, which must include a critique of classical Judaism, is now of equal or greater importance.



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

A propos;I refer you to ISRAEL SHAHAK REMEMBERED/3 which is my main interest NOT Judaism per se.

Are you, or any body else reading these lines, aware of any study by a neutral party,now that we have a liberal Jewish sudy,
that you recommend about the Jew/Goyim dualism .


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Shakak was the best qualified man , objectively and subjectively, to tell everybody the truth about the underpinnings of Zionism.

Zionism, the bane of modern times, is the main force behind the call for an Israeli regional MONOPOLY of nuclear weapons ie the campaign against the nuclear research, and possible nuclear military capability, of IRAN.

I hope that makes the relation clear.

(I note with satisfaction the herd's reluctance, and marked unhappiness, to go to the roots of the problem.)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"What we need is for Omar to point to large numbers of intellectuals, and large and powerful political parties within the Arab and Muslim world, that 1)criticize Muslim violence, and 2)urge concessions for peace with israel. " Eckstein.(#106069)

Re (1) plenty but unfortunately not published in English to the best of my knowledge.
Although the majority do know and uphold the difference between "violence" and "legitimate resistance" to aggression,colonization and occupation

Re(2)Fortunately very few to offer "consessions" to the usurping, aggressive , colonialist and racist state of "Israel".


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Discredited"!!! , that is by you and the rest of the herd.,BUT NOT by OTHERS, who count.
The late sage and human SHAHAK is as relevant as the day he wrote those words; possibly more so today.
As we say in Arabic "He is a Prophet not acknoeledged by his own people".
You should be proud that , inspite of every thing, YOU had a man of this calibre.
If anything HE and his likes are your salvation .


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"There could not possibly be a comparison as they are not similar concepts."
Of course there could NOT be a comparision betewwn the justice which ordains the death penalty for some and NOT others, depending on the confessional affiliation, and that which which has the same penalty for the same crime irrespective!
OF COURSE NOT!
That much we agree about.
OF COURSE NOT!!!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Whether expressed one way or another, though mostly as anti Arab, anti Islam vituperation, the Herd are all agreed about one thing: Israel to maintain its nuclear arms monopoly and no other major state in the region (Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) to have a similar capability!

On the one hand this stand is only to be expected, on the other it is to be welcomed.

To be expected for Zionist Israel is becoming gradually more aware of the region's, progressive and correct, perception of its usurping, aggressive/expansionist and ALIEN character and its consequent total regional rejection; hence the need to be always on guard and ready to face the day of reckoning.

To be welcomed for, more than any other thing, this nuclear armament monopoly, and its political and economic implications, underlines Israel’s aggressive /expansionist ambitions and highlights its ALIEN character.

This attitude will only accelerate and deepen Israel's alienation in the region and its total rejection by it ... a positive development by any standard considering its usurping, aggressive and racist i.e. Zionist provenance!

Cohen of the Washington Post was correct, and possibly more clairvoyant than he intended to disclose ,when he deemed the establishment of Zionist Israel in Palestine as a mistake and said so in as many words.
.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

That, Shahak's Chapter 6 "Political Consequences"is posted for THE FIRST TIME, not "Over and over again" as you state, or rather as you fabricate.
Unless of course you show people when was it posted before.
OK?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Has the late distinguished Professor ISRAEL SHAHAK been a "liar" and "proven" repeatedly to be wrong why are some so worried about postings with his writings?
To worry about something written,or said, and the implicit desire to censor him,or censor those that quote him, is usually indicative of a hidden apprehension that people would know something BEST left unknown.
We,I, never worry about Al Warak no matter what he has to say and never care irrespective of any build up he receives simply because he has nothing of value to say.
WHY are some so worried?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


The latest Zionist/Israeli addiction is Iran.

The ridiculously misnamed and catastrophically mismanaged, for all except Israel, "war on terror" seems to have been sidelined, for now , in favour of the "Iran" ("Second" Holocaust myth etc) craze.

This shift seems to be, from a Zionist viewpoint, amply warranted for the following reasons:

1- Iran is the first nonArab nation to voice categorically it total rejection of a Zionist entity colonizing Palestine. (Turkey next?)
Coming from an erstwhile friend, and occasional strategic ally, this volte face must have hurt badly.

2-Iran seems to have successfully deployed Islam (the radical nemesis of Jewish Zionism) as a weapon against Zionism; a radical transformation of the present, and more so of the potential, balance of power between the pro and anti Zionist camps.

3-Iran seems to be, so far, the only viable regional competitor for Israel's nuclear armament capability and monopoly.

4-Iran seems to be an equally transfixly addictive issue to the neocon /Zionist Administration of President Bush.

Considering 1, 2 and 3 above, 4 seems to offer Israel the rare opportunity of a strategic demarche on the cheap: a US paid for, in blood and treasure, war to the sole benefit of Israel.

There precious little doubt about Zionist/Israeli intentions and designs re Iran, the question is : will the USA be duped once more?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"If" is a very unsafe escape route in this case Mr Friedman.
Either I DID or I DID NOT("post the "nonsense"/SHAHAK"S chapter 6 before" #106357). No two ways about it.
Your apology is noted.
However that is unimportant, the important thing is your oblique call for censorship to stop the "abuse of this web site".


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I will NOT take your word for it nor the Professor's considering....!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
1-
Both of you may be,or may NOT be, the authorities that you claim( I note you have stated you did NOT read SHAHAK but still judge him) ,however what is indisputable is that you two are die hard partisans of the Zionist cause.

The late distinguished Professor SHAHAK being the anti Zionist, the counter Zionist par excellence, (a "light" among his people and the anti Zionist movement), it is only natural to take your words about him with a sackfull of salt.

2-
RE your statement:
"It is a repeat of your refusal to admit to the fact that Hezbollah TV broadcasts traditional Antisemitic trash"
there again you FABRICATE.

What I said, from memory and conviction, is that:
a-I have NOT seen the TV series at the origin of the melee (you change the "TV series "into "Broadcasts"); two different things .
b- I inquired about it, the TV series, and was told by people in the TV business that it, the TV series, DID HAVE an anti Semitic slant.
c-It, the TV series, did cause concern in the HA party, I was also told.

As to the overall view of
Arab/Moslem anti Zionism , including HA, re anti Semtism I have repeatedly reiterated that:

d- All over the enlighted (forget about the lunatic fringe, for now)Arab/Moslem world we distinguish between JEW and Zionist.

e-I also stated that the HA leadership is extra careful about the issue of anti Semitism/anti Jew out of religious conviction and political considerations ; naming Anis Nakash, seemingly a higher up strategist, as a refence point.

That is the gist of what I said, from memory and conviction, as a careful reading of my posts will confirm!

However For you to presume that more was said to build up a (false)precedent is a FABRICATION and an attempt to put words in my mouth; NOT for the first time.

3-
Last but not least kindly spare me the personal, and professional, advice!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
You state(#106057):"If I misinterpreted Dresner's comment about not having a valid email address from you, Omar, I apologize."
That was NOT a misinterpretation; it was a failed fishing expedition and a cheap insinuation in a long record of.....


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

The perennially unworthy Professor and incorrigible LIAR (See post #105823) Eckstein is back at it: substituting reason and knowledge with personal insults.

Noting that he is much more adept at that, and at lying, it is understandable but still unacceptable.

For him to depict those who see through his blind racist biases, and personal incompetence cum total vacuity, as:
"crazed barbarians such as Omar are a very strong presence in the Middle East "
tells us more about his ineptitude and intellectual bankruptcy than anything else except, possibly, his (sole?) capability at pejorative vituperation.

No more, or no less ?, is expected from him ; being what he is.
However to depict as crazed "barbarians" those who reject and oppose the racist Zionist dogma and its aggressive and alien offspring, Israel, might be the first shot in an attempt at a new classification of human kind .

Considering its provenance from a disciple of the ultra racist Zionist creed and its formative influence which discriminates between "Jew" and "Goy" in everything up to the dictates of the principles of universal justice, with a different punishment for the SAME crime depending on the racial/confessional provenance of the criminal, this inane attempt at classification does not surprise me.

The surprise would be if he is still (?) a "Professor" in that unlucky University stuck with him until....


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Former Meretz leader decries 1967 war crimes


Yossi Sarid tells Egyptian daily that killing of unarmed Egyptian soldiers by Israeli army after 1967 war is war crime

Roee Nahmias Published: 03.03.07, 14:49 / Israel News




Former Meretz leader Yossi Sarid told the Egyptian daily al-Ahram that the execution of Egyptian captives by Israeli soldiers at the end of the Six Day War in 1967 was a war crime.


Israel 's Channel One television aired a documentary earlier this week in which it was claimed that an elite Israeli army unit commanded by Labor MK Benyamin Ben-Eliezer executed 250 unarmed Egyptian soldiers.


"The killing of Egyptian captives in the Six Day War was a war crime … but the problem in the region is that war crimes are numerous," the newspaper quoted Sarid as saying on Saturday.


The claims made in the documentary received intensive media coverage in Egypt.


Sarid told the newspaper that although he had not seen the documentary he was aware that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes against Arab soldiers during the Six Day War.


"Punishing those behind those crimes 40 years after the 1967 war is difficult but history will judge those people," Sarid told al-Ahram.


Israeli-Egyptian relations were strained three years ago when the Egyptian Foreign Ministry raised the possibility of demanding that Israel paid compensations for Egypt for the alleged killings.


(Y Ahronot; March 3,2007)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

The FACTS are in SHAHAK's books; I urge interested people to read them then form their opinions; unlike Mr Friedman who admits NOT reading them BUT has an opinion.
Bizzare what blind patisanship can do to the ,otherwise, sane.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


My earlier posts about the distinguished late Professor Shahak, mainly incorporating extracts from his writings or testimonials about the man from people who knew and/or worked with him, gave rise to an incongruous request to name a parallel/counterpart to him in the Arab/Moslem word.

The ridiculousness of the request, tendered by some as a request ,and in the form of a “challenge” by the herd, followed immediately upon their failed effort to denigrate the man and disparage his scholarly work springs from either:
A-A complete ignorance of the intrinsic nature of Zionism/Israel , a baffling underestimate of the tremendous damage it inflicted on the Palestinian people and Palestinian society and thence the true value of Professor Shahak as a prominent and devoted “Israeli” civil rights advocate and a fearless anti Zionist .
But mainly it springs out of :
B-Their false and illusory presumption of a parallelism, verging on an equivalence, between the aggressive and racist Zionist movement and the Palestinian Arab /Moslem/Christian liberation of Palestine movement which struggles to liberate, decolonize Palestine and restore Palestinian/Arab legitimate rights in their homeland.

Professor Shahak was one of the most prominent, if not the most prominent,” Israeli” Jew to reveal and document the true, intrinsic, nature of Zionism as a retrogressive, racist and colonialist movement.

His exposure of the objective historical fact that by colonizing Palestine, and populating it with aliens ( chosen and admitted on an brazen straight forward racist/confessional basis), the Zionist movement NOT only aggressively dislocated, dispossessed and disfranchised its indigenous Palestinian/Arab inhabitants in their homeland but equally disclosed the true colonialist and racist nature of the “nation/state” of Israel .
Thus laying the historical, political and ethical foundations of the anti Zionist movement in Jewish circles in particular and in the West in general..


Shahak’s exposure of the Israeli nation/state and his objective substantiation and absolute denunciation of the pernicious nature of the dogma that inspired and motivated it was achieved with outstanding scholarly research and immense personal and public courage

Hence his exceptional value as a man and a scholar of immense objectivity, personal courage and scientific integrity.

With nothing in Arab/Moslem life of similar, or hardly approaching, the racism, retrogression, aggressiveness and the general vileness of Zionism an exact “parallel” can NOT ever, objectively, appear to be named!
Hence the utter absurdity of the request by some and of the “challenge” by others; the herd !.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Professor Eckstein
Re your post #105870: If it makes you feel better you can go on ranting; it does not hurt me, coming from you Prof!
I would willingly apologize when an apology is due; none was in a badly constructed post.

Your frequent sneakily insidious attempts to create a parallelism between Moslem and Dhimmi on the one hand and Jew and Goyim on the other are, as expected from you, infantile for those in the know!

However let us see you doing something original and of value for a change

As a professor of History etc why do not you write something about this proposed parallelism of yours..??
A comparative study.

It would be enlightening and we all will peruse it with great care.
It would also be a challenge to your academic capabilities, your objectivity and your honesty.

I, for one, will thank you if you do irrespective of what comes out although, for obvious reasons, I believe you will NOT.

Prove me wrong Professor and let us see your mettle!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

AND HOWEVER CONCERNED THESE PEOPLE WERE, THEY DIDN'T STOP THE SHOW. "THIS ANTI-SEMITIC SEWER RAN FOR 29 EPISODES ON HEZBOLLAH TV. NOT ONE EPISODE. NOT TWO OR THREE, FOLLOWED BY OOPS WE'RE MAKING A MISTAKE HERE. BUT TWENTY-NINE EPISODES--THE ENTIRE SERIES.

Do you deny this?"
No I do NOT ; I am told they did NOT stop it.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Go to post # 106073 of Feb 25/2007 (Israel SHAHAK REMEMBERED)Prof you will find the reply to your challenge.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

The FACTS are in Professor Israel SHAHAK'S Books; urge the readers to read them and make up their own minds.
I only extracted some of his rich writings, I trust the readers to make up their minds after reading them.
You never came, Prof, one cm close to proving them to be wrong.

Re your presumed challenge to me I urge you to read my post #106073 of 25 Feb/2007 addressed to Mr Friedman.; in the "PROFESSOR ISRAEL SHAHAK REMEMBERED" thread.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Clutching at the straw of demanding an apology,where none is due, unworthy Professor Eckstein chose to ignore, shirk away, from my challenge for him to make a a comparative study about his implicit parallelism between “Moslem” and “Dhimmi” in ISLAM and Jew and Goy(Goyim=nonJew) in JUDAISM.
To carry the point, and the challenge further I post a narrative about Jewish consideration of nonJews in Jewish LAW; hoping to hear from Eckstein a comment thereon.


The following is extracted from: “


CHAPTER 5
The Laws Against Non-Jews
From: "Jewish History, Jewish Religion:
The Weight of Three Thousand Years"
by Professor Israel Shahak,
who is a Professor in title but unlike poor Eckstein, is also in substance and merit.
_____________________________________(Start of EXTRACT)___
"AS EXPLAINED in Chapter 3, the Halakhah, that is the legal system of classical Judaism - as practiced by virtually all Jews from the 9th century to the end of the 18th and as maintained to this very day in the form of Orthodox Judaism - is based primarily on the Babylonian Talmud. However, because of the unwieldy complexity of the legal disputations recorded in the Talmud, more manageable codifications of talmudic laws became necessary and were indeed compiled by successive generations of rabbinical scholars. Some of these have acquired great authority and are in general use. For this reasons we shall refer for the most part to such compilations (and their most reputable commentaries) rather than directly to the Talmud. It is however correct to assume that the compilation referred to reproduces faithfully the meaning of the talmudic text and the additions made by later scholars on the basis of that meaning.
The earliest code of talmudic law which is still of major importance is the Misbneh Tarab written by Moses Maimonides in the late 12th century. The most authoritative code, widely used to date as a handbook, is the Shulhan 'Arukh composed by R. Yosef Karo in the late 16th century as a popular condensation of his own much more voluminous Beys Yosef which was intended for the advanced scholar. The Shulhan 'Arukh is much commented upon; in addition to classical commentaries dating from the 17th century, there is an important 20th century one, Mishnab Berurab. Finally, the Talmudic Encyclopedia - a modern compilation published in Israel from the 1950s and edited by the country's greatest Orthodox rabbinical scholars - is a good compendium of the whole talmudic literature.


Murder and Genocide

ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH religion, the murder of a Jew is a capital offense and one of the three most heinous sins (the other two being idolatry and adultery). Jewish religious courts and secular authorities are commanded to punish, even beyond the limits of the ordinary administration of justice, anyone guilty of murdering a Jew. A Jew who indirectly causes the death of another Jew is, however, only guilty of what talmudic law calls a sin against the 'laws of Heaven', to be punished by God rather than by man.
When the victim is a Gentile, the position is quite different. A Jew who murders a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of Heaven, not punishable by a court.1 To cause indirectly the death of a Gentile is no sin at all.2
Thus, one of the two most important commentators on the Shulhan Arukh explains that when it comes to a Gentile, 'one must not lift one's hand to harm him, but one may harm him indirectly, for instance by removing a ladder after he had fallen into a crevice .., there is no prohibition here, because it was not done directly:3 He points out, however, that an act leading indirectly to a Gentile's death is forbidden if it may cause the spread of hostility towards Jews.4
A Gentile murderer who happens to be under Jewish jurisdiction must be executed whether the victim was Jewish or not. However, if the victim was Gentile and the murderer converts to Judaism, he is not punished.5
All this has a direct and practical relevance to the realities of the State of Israel. Although the state's criminal laws make no distinction between Jew and Gentile, such distinction is certainly made by Orthodox rabbis, who in guiding their flock follow the Halakhah. Of special importance is the advice they give to religious soldiers.
Since even the minimal interdiction against murdering a Gentile outright applies only to 'Gentiles with whom we [the Jews] are not at war', various rabbinical commentators in the past drew the logical conclusion that in wartime all Gentiles belonging to a hostile population may, or even should be killed.6 Since 1973 this doctrine is being publicly propagated for the guidance of religious Israeli soldiers. The first such official exhortation was included in a booklet published by the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army, whose area includes the West Bank. In this booklet the Command's Chief Chaplain writes:

When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed ... Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good.7
Of course, this doctrine of the Halakhah on murder clashes, in principle, not only with Israel's criminal law but also - as hinted in the letters just quoted - with official military standing regulations. However, there can be little doubt that in practice this doctrine does exert an influence on the administration of justice, especially by military authorities. The fact is that in all cases where Jews have, in a military or paramilitary context, murdered Arab non-combatants - including cases of mass murder such as that in Kafr Qasim in 1956 - the murderers, if not let off altogether, received extremely light sentences or won far-reaching remissions, reducing their punishment to next to nothing.13


Saving of Life

THIS SUBJECT - the supreme value of human life and the obligation of every human being to do the outmost to save the life of a fellow human - is of obvious importance in itself. It is also of particular interest in a Jewish context, in view of the fact that since the Second World War Jewish opinion has - in some cases justly, in others unjustly - condemned 'the whole world' or at least all Europe for standing by when Jews were being massacred. Let us therefore examine what the Halakhah has to say on this subject.
According to the Halakhah, the duty to save the life of a fellow Jew is paramount.14 It supersedes all other religious obligations and interdictions, excepting only the prohibitions against the three most heinous sins of adultery (including incest), murder and idolatry.
As for Gentiles, the basic talmudic principle is that their lives must not be saved, although it is also forbidden to murder them outright. 15 The Talmud itself expresses this in the maxim 'Gentiles are neither to be lifted [out of a well] nor hauled down [into it]'. Maimonides16 explains:

"As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war ... their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: 'neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow'17 - but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow."

In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides - himself an illustrious physician - is quite explicit on this; in another passage18 he repeats the distinction between 'thy fellow' and a Gentile, and concludes: 'and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment...'
However, the refusal of a Jew - particularly a Jewish doctor - to save the life of a Gentile may, if it becomes known, antagonize powerful Gentiles and so put Jews in danger. Where such danger exists, the obligation to avert it supersedes the ban on helping the Gentile. Thus Maimonides continues: ' ... but if you fear him or his hostility, cure him for payment, though you are forbidden to do so without payment.' In fact, Maimonides himself was Saladin's personal physician. His insistence on demanding payment - presumably in order to make sure that the act is not one of human charity but an unavoidable duty - is however not absolute. For in another passage he allows Gentile whose hostility is feared to be treated 'even gratis, if it is unavoidable'.
The whole doctrine - the ban on saving a Gentile's life or healing him, and the suspension of this ban in cases where there is fear of hostility - is repeated (virtually verbatim) by other major authorities, including the 14th century Arba'ah Turirn and Karo's Beyt Yosef and Shulhan 'Arukh.19 Beyt Yosef adds, quoting Maimonides: 'And it is permissible to try out a drug on a heathen, if this serves a purpose'; and this is repeated also by the famous R. Moses Isserles.
The consensus of halakhic authorities is that the term 'Gentiles' in the above doctrine refers to all non-Jews. A lone voice of dissent is that of R. Moses Rivkes, author of a minor commentary on the Shulhan Arukh, who writes.20"

END of Part ONE of EXTRACT


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
I believe it was quite beneficial that some of the Hurd posted their ,direct and indirect, perceptions of the "boundaries" of the "nation/state" of Israel.
These are not theoretical perceptions; these are Zionist doctrinaire visions and ambitions/objectives.
Hence my constant reference to Zionist/Israeli "expansionism"...it is built in the racist and aggressive Zionist creed!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
1-It is extremely relevant in that it shows the intrinsic nature of the spiritual fountain head of Zionism where discrimination in LAW re matters of LIFE and DEATH , ie RACISM at its most open , is not only allowed but advocated and encouraged.
2- Historically, in ancient times, it has been practiced against the Malakites (?), discontinued at the era of NO TEMPORAL power, for lack of power, and then resumed ,with the acquisition of temporal power, in Palestine.
Very SAD indeed but true; this is the doctrine that inspires , motivates our enemies and guides them towards the future.
As much as you, and I, hate to confront this extremely unpleasant fact and its implications for the 21st century this major building block of Zionism must be confronted outright and recognized for what it TRULY IS.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


Professor Eckstein
Clarke might have his excuses for NOT making the link between my post and the subject under discussion.
You have NONE except your cowardice.

I challenged YOU to compare between the subconscious parallelism you so frequently imply between Moslem and Dhimmis in Islam and Jew and Goyim in Judaism, to, no doubt, detract from and alleviate the utter racist baseness of the latter in matters of relations with other religions' followers.

I challengingly proposed that YOU make a comparative analysis of how both religions, Judaism and Islam, consider and deal with their non coreligionists ie, for the hundredth time: Moslem versus Dhimmi in Islam and Jew versus Goyim in Judaism.

As expected you, out of pure unmitigated cowardice and intellectual vacuity, failed to meet the challenge.
So I made the first step, quoting a JEWISH cum ISRAELI scholar no less, hoping to hear from YOU about this cardinal issue of JEW/GOYIM interrelationship , being the spiritual foundation of Zionism, that you so assiduously ignore and try to side line.

YOU continue, out of pure cowardice and intellectual bankruptcy, to evade the issue; hoping that it will go away, that it will NOT be noticed by others!

It is an indisputable historical and “sharia” ( NOT “shoura”; if you still recall the difference between the two terms) fact, as you constantly maintain, that Dhimmis, ie nonMoslem people of THE BOOK (Christians and Jews etc), were subjected to the special, the "gizya", tax in Islam while Moslems, as you always FAIL to note, were subjected to an other tax, "Al Zakat", to which Dhimmis were NOT subjected.

I dared you to point out, to tell us, something/anything about the Jew/Goyim relation in Judaism.

Since YOU FAILED I dare YOU, Challenge YOU , to comment on the material extracted from Professor Shahak's erudite and well documented book.

Do NOT hide behind the inane pseudo issue of an apology, where NONE is due neither subjectively nor objectively, SHAHAKS’ material is posted HERE above; dare you comment??!
Waiting eagerly to read your comments.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
The term Racism, as you know, have come to be disassociated from " race" to allow for all forms of discrimination based on, the always faulty, perception of special privileges to, the "superiority complex" of, a specific group bound together by a special, unique and exclusive tie/bond.
Afrikaners of now defunct racist South Africa did NOT all belong to the same "race".
Nor did racist US citizens of the erstwhile South of the USA!
Colour was the binding tie in both cases not "race".
Zionist/Jewish "racism" is based on, derives from, the absurd contention that they are (God's) "chosen people".
Their binding tie is confessional. And, as such, is as ruinous and pernicious as any other form of “racism”

However many Jews, a majority?, do hold the common "race" perception. Orthodox Jewry, no small part, believe that they all belong to the same "race" and share a common ethnic provenance; hence their acceptance of the Jewish ness of a new born is conditional on him being given birth by a Jewish women; to ensure the "blood" (racial/ethnic)continuity, so to speak.
(Do you NOT recall the storm that met Arthur Koestler's book about the racial provenance of East European Jews and his denial of a common ethnic/racial relation between them and Diaspora Jews ?)

Crimes and murders have been committed by the Zionist/Jewish state on a racist basis; it is an undeniable fact that demonstrations by "Israeli?" Arabs have been invariably met with gunfire resulting in many deaths.
Gunfire, on the other hand, is seldom, practically never, used against Jewish demonstrators.(Read Shahak about Kufur Kassem, in the extracts above).

Beit Shalom , the Israeli civil rights movement, has documented the numerous racist discriminatory practices of the state of Israel against Arabs both Moslems and Christians.

How DOES Zionist/Israeli RACISM tie up with the subject of a nuclear Iran?

-Historically and rationally RACISM has always been a potent motive force behind AGGRESSION and EXPANSIONIST aggression in particular.
Israel's ambitions to expand into the occupied West Bank is undoubted, and is defended by the Herd here at HNN, and its preparatory steps to expand into the occupied Golan (imposition of Israeli Laws etc) are a matter of record.
So is its ambition to be the predominant power in the region.

-Israel's declared position to be the SOLE owner of nuclear weapons in the region and hence to be the super regional power is due in no small part to its “racist” perceptions of itself and of the region.

The ridiculous contention, noting Israel’s past record, modus operandi and spiritual foundations unfortunately shared by you, that it would deal more responsibly with it is another offspring from a "racist "attitude .
I urge you to reread Shahak above about LIFE and DEATH in the relation between JEW and GOYIM and consider the political, including war time, and moral implications of this undeniable spiritual/ ethical foundation of Zionism.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
When your side kick , Professor Eckstein,or yourself comment on Shahak I will consider responding to to your and his "accusations".

You refer to "practices "some of which, most of which, I have never accepted nor defended (inspite of his continuous efforts as an incorrigable LIAR to put words in my mouth).

That you (plural) fail to respond to Professor Shahak's challenge to the very basic tenements of the spiritual/ethical foundation of Zionism is ODD indeed and must imply the absence of any rational riposte from you.

Do you agree or disagree with what Shahak had to say?

Eckstein will most probably find an inane excuse not to respond to the challenge.
How about you Mr Friedman; let us see your mettle!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Poor, very poor, response Prof; as expected.
Shahak had many things to say; dwell on what he said first then on who he is.

Is that NOT the correct approach?

Do you teach your students to disparge people that say unpleasnt things or to dwell on what was said or written.
Poor students of an unworthy Professor.Poor U of M!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Prof
Can you tell us any thing about the Jew versus Goyim relation in Judaism?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

...you win the prize for the least evasive answer (so far) to my question which opened the thread. Google is hardly in the category of a respected atlas publisher, so your exhibit is basically disqualified, but it does contain a SORT of a map. (Although it is not very well-labelled: only two of five countries are even identified and there is nary an "armistice" in sight).

Sort of out-of-date though too, it looks like. What's with the dotted line between Israel and LEBANON ? Do they think that Sharon plus life-support tubes is still up there twiddling his thumbs while Palestinian refugees next door are being slaughtered in their tents ?

Don't bother answering my last point - that was a rhetorical question. And don't bother larding your reply with another half dozen irrelevant and deceit-based insults either. You won that contest, in the liftime category, long ago already.



Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Nobody else here uses quotes around posters names, and no other tenured professor has 1% as many comment posts on this website as you, Mr. E. With those salient facts mentioned, I will leave it to linguists to discuss where "juvenile" best applies on this page. But regardless thereof, please do remember to watch the bad habit of lying. I never said I didn't care about genocide in the Sudan and you have no evidence to support such an insulting and irrelevant insinuation. You can set the agenda in your classroom ( come to think of it, why not do that for a change, preferably without insulting the students right and left? ) but if you want to do so here, you need to write your article or start your own thread. By the way, it is not in the slightest "clear" that you "don't support the settlements in the West Bank," but that is also off-topic. My interest is not in shoving never-ending and dubiously-readable litmus tests down people's throats. Goodbye.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

To recap the latest efforts at distorting the plain words written on this page:


1. “Re: point proven (#106192)
by art eckstein on February 26, 2007 at 3:23 PM

Mr. Clarke, N.F. hits the nail on the head when he says that you ignored the powerful impact of Palestinian terrorism in the 1996 Israeli election to the point that it ceased to exist. That is a major historical error.”


-------------------------------------

2.

“Re: hogwash (#106219)
by art eckstein on February 26, 2007 at 5:59 PM

Well, Mr. Clarke, I can't vouch for what you THINK you said, but this is what you ACTUALLY said....


‘biases and comparisons (#106100)
by Peter K. Clarke on February 25, 2007 at 6:01 PM

...It is certainly true that there always have been extremists on both sides, and that Hamas took advantage of a weaker interim Israeli government following Rabin's murder to launch attacks killing (according to the New York Times Almanac, 1998, p. 596) 60 Israelis, in early 1996. Then, in May,

"in Israel's first direct election of a prime minister, Likud's hard-line Benyamin Netanyahu narrowly defeated Peres as the Israelis chose 'security' over 'peace.' In less than a year the peace process had come to a virtual standstill as the Netanyahu government pushed ahead with new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem provoking public disapproval by the U.S. and others that Israel was violating the 1995 accords."

This short capsule history does not indicate whether Netanyahu & Co, ever explained how that regime's building hideously ugly military-like fortresses for religious zealots in locations designed to maximally antagonize Palestinians was supposed to help protect Israelis in Tel Aviv or Haifa.’


Surely you can see why BOTH myself and Mr. Friedman (not just me) concluded that you did not accept that Palestinian terrorism was "a big part of the equation" in that election, and that your reference to "extremists on both sides" is doubly misleading about the extent and impact of Palestinian terrorism on that election. It was perfectly natural for Mr. Friedman to say that in your reconstruction, the impact of Palestinian terrorism almost reaches the vanishing point--and for me to agree with him. And when you say that in four years on HNN you've never heard what I say in my own entry cited above--that tells us how much has been missing on a factual basis. (btw, I stand by my numbers. 47 Israelis were killed in the suicide-bomber bus massacres of Feb. 25 and March 3, 1996 ALONE.)

If you wish now to distance yourself from your reply to me at #106100 above, I welcome that. If you do not wish to do so, then you should realize more clearly what you are saying.”


----------------------------------


I “distance” myself from nothing in response to your fictions, Mr. E.

a) I never did “not accept that Palestinian terrorism was "a big part of the equation" of the peace process failing in the mid 1990s

b) I never reduced Palestinian terrorism to a "vanishing point." That is why I specifically mentioned it in my account of 1995-96, even though in that particular period (not all periods) it was less significant than the loss of Rabin, in my view. Please refer to a dictionary if there is confusion about the difference between “less significant” and “vanishing.”

c) That particular episode in the mid ‘90s, the replacement of Rabin by Netanyahu and the resumption of a policies of building settlements (which was as deliberately provocative as any terrorist attack) was what I referred to in my remarks about HNN not covering things. I never said and never even implied that HNN had not had articles discussing Palestinian terrorism. There are hundreds which do that, as any regular reader over the past few years here knows well.


I stand by the New York Times account, and my interpretations thereof:

1. Rabin and Arafat agreed to and began implementing the Oslo deal in 1993-95

2. Rabin was murdered in 1995 by an Israeli fanatic, acting on behalf of and praised by Israeli extremists, in a great historic turning point systematically ignored and smokescreened for many years since then by Likudnik propagandists whose deceptions infest the American news media and this website. The biased track record of HNN in this regard is quite clear, though certainly nowhere near as thorough and one-sided as the majority of comment-posters on this page.


3. In the wake of the confusion following Rabin’s murder, Hamas saw an opening to do its part to help torpedo the peace process by launching a new round of terrorist attacks

4. The Israeli voters, by a narrow margin, cowardly chose in 1996 the worst Prime Minister in that country’s history

5. That disastrous Prime Minister (whose raping of history (Iran 2007 = Germany 1938) is the take-off for the ridiculous article on this page, which Mr. E. and his allies here have invested scores of posts trying to rationalize) then completed the torpedoing of the peace process by resuming the building of settlements for Israelis religious fanatics and murderers in regions which every, or nearly every (nobody here rose to that “challenge”) Atlas maker agrees are occupied lands, not part of the permanent or legitimate sovereign territory of Israel.


I disagree with most of Mr. Baker’s views and most importantly with his massively mythologized depiction of “Zionism” as the driving force of Mideast if not world history six decades after the Zionism became effectively obsolete by the successful and lasting creation of the state of Israel, but I have to fully agree with his characterization of the fictionalizing which is still -despite the needed intervention of the editor- being systematically used to misrepresent my views here. No professor of history worthy of the title would do such things. In the history of HNN, only one has, on a repeated basis. This would never happen if HNN were moderated like a real history website. There are marketing and practical reasons for not doing so, but these should be more properly acknowledged, and do not excuse the massively repeated choice of propaganda-oriented articles flatly contradicting the mission statement.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

What "matters" to me is relevance to the topic of the page, not saluting other barely related pet topics you want to shove down people's throats. The Sudan horrors are a serious situation with important historical roots. Why not write a column on Sudan instead of hanging out in the comment lists beating up on other posters for not going off on irrelevant tangents with you?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This article offers a few interesting insights which don't add up to any kind of coherent conclusion.

There is good evidence here that Iranian president Ahmadinejad is highly prone to anti-Semitic remarks, as was Khomeini decades earlier, is solidly on public record as favoring the elimination of the state of Israel, and that this anti-Semitic and anti-Israel bluster, thinly disguised as "anti-Zionist", is riddled with lies and inconsistencies.

So what?

If Ahmadinejad were to completely cease all this demagogical rhetoric, and stop talking about Zionists, Israel, and the Holocaust altogether, or better yet, if he had never ever made a public utterance on such topics to begin with, would this

a) make Iran under his misrule less of a threat to peace and stability in Iraq, in the Mideast and the world?

b) excuse the lies and evasion behind Iran's strides towards nuclear weaponry?

c) invalidate international efforts to impose collective and "devastating" (to use Küntzel's translated word) economic sanctions on Iran?

d) have any meaningful effect on the demographic and economic predicament of the Iranian people?

e) render less disastrous for the civilized world, and less helpful to Ahmadinejad, the Cheney-Bush administration's massively failed and deceit-based attempt to remake Iraq?

f) or, if none of the above (a-e) are of any concern, and all we (HNN) care about is minimizing risks for Israelis, what evidence is there that Ahmadinejad's asinine bigotry and so far utterly empty threats are 1/100th as important to the security of Israel as

(i) Iran's possession or non-possesssion of deliverable WMD?

(ii) the desires and concerns of the Iranian masses?

(iii) the ability of the ruling Iranian clerics to persuade millions of Iranians to commit suicide or force them to do so against their will?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Your summary of the foregoing discussion is askew, Mr. E.

First of all, the title and principal subject of the article is Ahmadinejad's obsession with anti-Jewish anti-Israeli and Holocaust denial sentiments, not the calculations of potential future nuclear conflict or brinkmanship in the Mideast. Secondly, Israel's many failings do not come even close to a level justifying Ahmadinejad's outrageous statements, and you will not find a remark of mine asserting such.

There is, therefore, no relevance of your desired comparative inter-governmental atrocity tangent to anything I have said, and there remain no grounds for you to cast negative aspersions about my indignation being unfairly focused in one direction only.

Believe me when HNN runs an article saying that America is part of international Zionist campaign to use the Holocaust as an excuse for all sort of other horrors (as it HAS, roughly speaking, on a number of prior occasions) I will be (and have BEEN) in the front rows condemning THAT form of ravaging history (unless I am busy with my day job). I am not anti-Israel, I am anti-hypocrisy and anti-deception, anti- bogus historical parallels. An honest count, however, will not show a very close balance here on HNN between articles slanted towards pro-Israeli-extremism and articles slanted towards anti-Israeli-extremism. I am nonetheless reasonably sure that if Ahmadinejad was to be the featured author of an article every few weeks or so over the next several years, rather like Daniel Pipes or Judith Klinghoffer have been over the past few years, for example, that I would then soon be excoriated regularly by some Achmed Al Eg-Stein and put under inquisition for being anti-Islam and "only being infuriated" by the actions of Moslem dictatorships.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


You are 180 degrees off from reality, once again, Mr. Friedman.

This article is an "important" contribution to this week's insweep to the dustbin of history. It amounts to little more than a scrambled and confused cut-and-paste recycling of out-of-context excerpts from the already well-documented history of Anti-Semitism.

You are correct to imply that Küntzel's article is essentially a knock-off of Benny Morris, and it is also appropriate to refer to Morris as "well known."

Morris is mainly well-known for having a rather combative and disagreeable personality, and for being an apologist for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians during the establishment of Israel in the late 1940s. His credentials as a historian or analyst of Iran appear to be precisely nil.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Morris


Morris's notion of a "Second Holocaust," as outlined in the article from the New York gutter rag you cited, amounts to little more than ahistorical and fear-based speculation.


It is instructive to step aside from this polemical hysteria for a moment, and reflect on the actual history of the real Holocaust (not the denialist farce which is already rearing its ugly and ignorant head on this page).

The mass-murder inflicted upon European Jews (among others) in the early 1940s was something beyond the imagination of almost every one in the world a decade earlier when Hitler first got into power, and started ranting from a position of authority and establishing a "consolidation" inconceivable in today's theocratic yet pluralistic Iran. Most people then, including most Jews, were incapable of seeing Hitler and the Nazis for what they really were. Instead, visions were trapped in the past. It was widely assumed that the Nazis would produce just another, albeit slightly nastier and more modern, installment of the age-old waves of occasional anti-Semitic pogroms which had disgraced Europe from time to time over past millennia. Very few people were able to break out of this no longer relevant past and really figure out the true (and, as it developed, much more horrific) reality that was shortly to follow.


Morris's "Second Holocaust" fantasizing today amounts to the same sort of lazy and self-delusional thinking: that the most immediate past is necessarily the best guide to what might happen in the future.


It is time to face reality,

1. Ahmadinejad is very different from Hitler, notwithstanding some rhetorical likenesses,

2. Iran in 2007 is very different from Germany in 1933,

3. The Mideast today is very different from Europe in the 1930s (although both are/were instable and dangerous places),

4. Secular European fascism of the early 20th century is very dissimilar to the Mid-eastern Shiite fundamentalism of the early 21st century,

5. Israel today is very different than Jewish Europe in the early 1930s,

6. Global geopolitics today are radically different than their counterparts 70 years ago,

7. Railroads, concentration camps, and crematoria have little in common with nuclear warheads and missiles,

and to dispense with the warmed-over fearmongering that clouds our ability to uncover the true nature of what is undoubtedly a very serious threat (to Israel, to America, and to the world) coming from the current nuclear-fixated regime in Iran.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Okay, let me first say this one last time, Mr. Eckstein: I am under no moral obligation whatsoever to "express outrage" or "expend energy" in response to anybody’s irrelevant and inappropriate litmus-testing on these comment boards. I would suggest that a cessation of head-banging against that stone wall is long overdue. Two wrongs, even if one is more wrong than another, do not make a right, in any moral code employed in the civilized world.

Secondly, look up the word "relevance" again, if you are truly "mystified" about my lack of expending moral energy on your pet tangents. You might, for future reference, at least bother to put these divergent agenda items (which really belong on completely different page) into your own comment thread instead of barging into unrelated discussions with them.

You are a man with an overriding and narrow mission, Mr. Eckstein, an approach not very consistent with the stated objectives of this website:

"To expose politicians who misrepresent history. To point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history."

Maybe it's time to re-examine that mission, or at least the tactics used to further it, because it certainly does not seem to be succeeding in the
slightest. After hours of typing and dozens of posts on this page, what have you accomplished?

1) Omar Baker will be more careful, less imprecise and less ineffective in his steadfast and single-minded attacks on Israeli policy. And meanwhile, 2) the real world of politics and history is completely oblivious and unaffected by this great diversion of your talents.

I guess I can say you have been helpful in making more clear to me the incredible ability of scholars, who ought to know better, to mistakenly apply, in a new form of error, the same ghost-of-the-past misapplied 40 years ago by Lyndon B. Johnson in his Vietnam escalation disaster: "We have learned from Hitler at Munich that success only feeds the appetite of aggression." But I don't suppose that enlightenment for me was among your intentions either.




Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thank you Mr. Baker for this interesting biography. I must say that I have neither the time nor the inclination to wade back through nearly 200 prior posts to find the 20 or 30 prior comments which might offer clues as to how this could possibibly relate to the anti-Israel and Holocaust denial rhetoric of the Iranian prime minister, or even why you brought this guy up in the first place, but his life story is informative and thought-inspiring nonetheless. I wonder if and when someone will get around to posting a similar biography about an Arab or Moslem who dedicated his life to exposing unfair treatment of Jews or Israelis by Arab or Moslem authorities.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, Mr. Eckstein, it has been awhile, and I suppose students of ancient history have finally had some attention in the meanwhile, but corroborating one tangential correction of his hardly makes your non-student Friedman any less ignorant of basic European history. (The Holocaust DID occur in Europe.) After years posting comments on this website, it has not yet penetrated his cranium that Europe is not and never has been anything remotely resembling a single nation-state. Not since the fall of Rome at any rate (if even then).

To be sure, the personality of historians who write for trash-can- liner Likudomanic newspapers, on topics outside their expertise, is certainly almost entirely independent of the character of such "news" organs, and Wikipedia is hardly infallible. So, I stand corrected (probably) on my (mis)interpretation of Wiki and Mr. Morris. But this is a slender straw for you to clutch. More dubious, moreover, is your condoning of ethnic cleansing by saying, in essence, "lots of folks have done it." Every ethnic group also commits burglary, rape, and murder, but such crimes are no less immoral if they are committed in regions or by peoples where the frequency is lower than elsewhere.

I also note that the much more pertinent (to the topic of the page) profound differences between Europe on the eve of the Holocaust and the current geopolitics of the Persian Gulf (although there are superficial anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial similarities, of course) which I pointed out above, are studiously ignored by you and Friedman both. How surprising that real history seems to be of little interest here unless it fits prefabricated ideologies.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. S.,

I do not "blame" Dr. Eckstein for preaching to the choir and thus not achieving his goals on this page. I observed this result.

I disagree that double-standards of condemnation (which I have been falsely accused of, but have never esoused) are behind Ahmedinejad's dangerous demagoguery.

By the way, if you like open-mindedness (as I do) why not read my post above, "another take," which DOES give a convincing story for atn least some of what is making Ahmedinejad tick, and add a comment there, rather than interupting a discussion between Eckstein and me? I interrupted once some months back when you and Baker were having a tussle, and you all but condemned me to everlasting hell in your next half-dozen comments. I will not return that favor, but you might make a better effort to place your sometimes insightful and always verbally interesting comments where they best fit on the page.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I do believe that large absolute numbers, albeit small and often un-noticed relative minorities, of "intellectuals" urging "concessions" exist, and could drop a few names were that my point. What I was hoping for (and not necessarily from Baker, any one can offer it), however, was a counterpart representative biography to that of Shahak.

I agree, by the way, that pointing these people out is "what we need." What "we" -in a very broad international sense- "need" even more (in my humble opinion), however, is for such people to be encouraged and not discouraged by inflammatory, one-sided and deceptive rhetoric, such as that exhibited by Ahmadinejad, and by those who feed his demagoguery, inadvertently or otherwise by using superficialy applicable but actually invalid and dysfunctional historical analogies.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I think it is time for you go back to grading papers and attending committee meetings, Dr. Eckstein. After only one post here you have reverted to your prior practice of making up lies.

I never said "only Israeli action infuriates" me. Nor did I ever remotely suggest that Ahmadinejad should be ignored. This rapidly resurfaced serial misattribution speaks volumes about the hypocrisy and logical bankruptcy of your dubious involvement here.

Ahmadinejad is not pushing for Iranian “Lebensraum,” he is not trying to take over Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. He is not speaking of a 1000 year empire. Nor, at least based on this very neo-con article, does he appear to be mistreating Iranian Jews anymore than Jews in other Mid-eastern Moslem countries are being mistreated. He IS, however, clearly exploiting both the blunders of the crooked and inept neo-con Cheney-Bush administration and the barbarities committed and endorsed by the uncivilized "neo-con"-linked crypto-fascist fringe of Israeli politics, and is clearly BENEFITTING from the slipshod analogies being made about him from such sources. Ultimately his ilk and the Israeli lunatic fringe feed on each other and support one another.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I stand by the historical observations I have made of the article in question here, Mr. Eckstein, reject your unfounded and irrelevant personal misattributions, and wonder if you will ever get around to making your first informed, accurate and relevant-to-the-article comment about history in this thread.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

NF: 1. "Israel has had...nuclear weapons for more than 35 years. None of the Arab states around Israel have ever made a stink about it. Why? Because they know Israel has no intention of using such weapons."

Maybe. It might also be that Egpyt, Saudi, etc. don't make a stink because then their populaces would clamour for nukes for their countries. Remember, the Islamists are not (yet) in control in these countries. How to reduce their support for the radicals by the moderates without completely toppling the moderates themselves: THAT would be a worthy topic to discuss. [Note to NF: if you are not a citizen of Israel you don't have to add the BS disclaimer on the nukes as even the prime minister himself forgot to do recently).


2. "The issue, in any event, is not about nuclear weapons. It is about the self-destructive philosophy of the leadership - or at least some of it - in Iran."

Not really. The issue raised by Küntzel's article, which is the theoretical subject of this page, is Ahmadinejad's belligerent and inflammatory rhetoric which according to the Iran expert I quoted above (Küntzel being no Iran expert whatsoever) is being stoked by "America's declining fortunes in Iraq and Hizbullah's touted victory against Israel last summer." Leaping to the assumption that this rhetoric is based mainly on a "self-destructive philosophy" which gives full rein to further explicitly non-self-destructive variations of dangerous rhetoric, is not a good solution to it, especially if one also ignores the expert's insight that what is really going on in Iran is a internal struggle between "aging" radicals represented by Ahmadinejad versus younger conservatives, and the expert's suggested opportunity to exploit this.

See: A different (and more credible) take from Takeyh (#105889)
by Peter K. Clarke on February 22, 2007 at 6:41 AM


OB: Was Israel's nuclear weaponry a major issue for Shahank? I thought it was violations of human rights and general mistreatment of Arabs under Israeli control.


AE: I personally don't need to be convinced about the existence of a parallel, but I think someone should develop it in the form of a bio on a Palestinian or other Arab or Moslem. Whatever his initial misquotes or misunderstandings about the finer details of orthodox Judaism, Baker has come up with half of the parallel. I don't think it is necessarily incumbent upon him to develop the second half as well, although he or anyone else here may do so with my encouragement.


I think there is probably merit to the following proposed approach, but not unless U.S. negotiaters are at least as adept and skilled as their Iranian counterparts, which hardly seems likely under the current lame lame-duck Administration in America.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17202829/site/newsweek/

Time to Change Tacks on Iran

By Ray Takeyh
Newsweek International

Feb. 26, 2007 issue - Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the United States has pursued a series of failed policies toward Iran. It has variously sought to topple the regime, threatened military action and proposed strictly limited dialogue—all with an eye toward boxing Tehran in and limiting its influence in the region. This strategy of "containment" continues to dominate U.S. policy.

President George W. Bush repeatedly insists that "all options are on the table"—a not-so-subtle reminder that Washington might yet use force to halt Tehran's nuclear program. Yet realistically, the United States has no military option. Iran has dispersed many nuclear facilities and hardened others. Even if U.S. forces could find and destroy those targets—quality intelligence is a serious hurdle—they could be rebuilt relatively quickly. The bottom line: Washington must accept certain distasteful facts—beginning with Iran's ascendance as a regional power and the staying power of its regime. It should open talks with Iran, not in order to limit its growing power—an impossibility—but with a view toward regulating it and curbing potential excesses. In other words, Washington should embrace a policy of détente, just as it did in the past with such seemingly intractable enemies as China and the Soviet Union.

Could Tehran ultimately prove to be as willing a negotiating partner as Beijing and Moscow once were? There are reasons to hope so. One is Iran's emergence as the largest and most militarily powerful state in the Persian Gulf. That very fact will force Tehran to choose between coexistence and confrontation with the United States. For all its hot rhetoric, Iran is no Nazi Germany; by and large, its leaders are tactical opportunists. They seek to avoid war. Furthermore, the Iranian regime is undergoing a transformation of its own. This internal divide is not as commonly thought: moderate reformers versus conservative fundamentalists. No, the real fissure is generational. The elders of the 1979 revolution retain ultimate authority—but they are increasingly challenged by a rising cohort of younger conservatives, eager to abandon failed policies of the past.

This emerging group looks askance at the strident rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Its members tend to stress Iranian nationalism over Islamic identity, and pragmatism over ideology. The only way for Iran to realize its potential, they argue, is for it to behave more judiciously in the international arena. That means accepting certain limits on Iranian influence, acceding to certain international norms—and negotiating with the nation's adversaries. Over the past two years, members of this pragmatic faction have risen to influence within the highest ranks of government, the intelligence community and the military. Among them: the commander of the Iranian Navy, Abbas Mohtaj, and the head of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, who has been leading Iran's negotiating team in talks with the United States and Europe.

Building on their links to traditional clerical networks and their intimate ties to the Iran's Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini, these men are trying to wrest control of Iran's international relations from the most militant old-guard mullahs. The real significance of Iran's municipal elections in December 2006, in which Ahmadinejad's camp scored poorly, lay not so much in the revival of the reform movement as in the fact that many of these younger conservatives did well.

So far, the new pragmatists have managed to nudge Khameini toward accepting the idea of potential negotiations with the United States. "We may be sure that the Americans are our enemy," said Larijani in a recent speech. But he added: "Working with the enemy is part of world politics. I believe that normalizing relations would in itself be beneficial." Yet Iran's political landscape is volatile. America's declining fortunes in Iraq, Hizbullah's touted victory against Israel last summer and the success of Ahmadinejad's defiant nuclear diplomacy seem to prove right those who call for confrontation.

As it stands, Khameini, generally prone to indecision, seems disinclined to settle this internal debate. For Washington, the challenge is to resolve the uncertainty in its favor. A more imaginative policy of engagement, with normalization as the starting point of talks rather than the endpoint, might pave the way for a broader breakthrough on issues from nukes to terrorism. Armed with the prospect of a new beginning with the United States, the pragmatists might find themselves in a position to sideline Tehran's aging radicals—and usher in a more stable era of U.S.-Iran relations.

Takeyh is a fellow at the New York Council on Foreign Relations. This essay is adapted from a forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

So, now the whole Likudnik-gang is here. How complete. Now we can all have tea and discuss how unfair it is that we cannot be children for life.

I am not particularly worried about the remote possibility of a madman in Israel using nukes to attack other countries. I have also never and will certainly not now defend in the slightest the lying and cheating practiced for many years as matter of policy by Iranian regimes, including less menacing predecessors of the current very disturbing tyrant, but UN member and number-1-UN-insulter Israel has hardly set a fine example of civilized international behavior in recent years. As Israelis who are not card-carrying rightwing propagandists know, there WERE good excuses for Israel to resort to a few double-standards to international law, when it was surrounded by countries at war with it that were backed by up a superpower. Not coincidentally, those were the years when the country repeatedly brilliantly outmaneuvred its adversaries. Now it slaughters 1000 Lebanese in order to NOT get back two soldiers it carelessly lost, and the kneejerk gang here expends hundreds of asinine posts in defense of the utterly indefensible.

Go ahead, Mr. Simon, try to be consistent, once you have look the word up in a dictionary. Tell us why Ahmadinejad should be allowed to blow up anything he feels like, the way the Israeli PM does while George Megaincompetent Bush licks his boots.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It was a suggestion, not a challenge, Mr. E. but I take your point that I did get a response from Baker.

I draw the conclusion from that response that there are good parallels to Shahak on the Palestinian side, but that Baker doesn't want to go there because it would detract from his mission to make "Zionism" the be-all and end-all of problems between Israel and the rest of the world.

If your mission here is less extreme and uncompromising than his (in the other direction), you might care to evidence this by finding a Palestinian who has done some of what Shahak has done and posting the results for us. You are of course free to do this or not do it, as I am free to then "draw my conclusions."


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

...about the longish prior post above. I had meant to cite my even earlier post (much further above) with the Takeyh piece, not fully reproduce that piece a second time.

To AE: Since that piece is now straight above us, however, I would suggest that does not support quite the negative opinion you have about negotiations with Iran, although I stand by my earlier position (where it seems we agree) that there is snowball's chance in hell of such negotiations and manueverings between the US and the different Iranian factions going much of anywhere unless we get a different set of folks doing the negotiating from the US side. I do think you still need to be careful about assuming negative things about people. Baker has a tendency to take extreme positions and is certainly not very flexible on such positions, but there are no good grounds for drawing an equivalance between his views and Ahmadinejad's.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks for reading my prior post, Mr. Simon, but you went to the wrong one. I was referring to the article by Takeyh here:

A different (and more credible) take from Takeyh (#105889)by Peter K. Clarke on February 22, 2007 at 6:41 AM

which you can also find lower down:

Replying to the "calls" (#106087)
by Peter K. Clarke on February 25, 2007 at 3:09 PM


Your points are not without merit, but the "linkage" or non-linkage needs to be seen in a broader historically informed Iran-wide context, e.g. exactly the crucial context which Küntzel, being a specialist on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust with no expertise in Iran, utterly fails to provide. (As a result his article is little more than a explication of Netanyahu's political rhetoric. Rhetoric vs Rhetoric. To be sure, the cunningly fanatical Iranian politician is evoking Hitler, and the crooked demagogical Israeli politican is evoking Churchill, but both are lying hypocrites. Not a source for open-minded intellectuals to rely on).

If you want to continue the discussion on the real nature of the Iranian threat and what might be concretely done about it, please go to that lower post, or start a new thread. We are almost off the right edge here, and have completely gone off the map issue anyway.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Very true and very pertinent Mr. Simon. I was going to make the same point myself once we got a name to work with (which I will now google). But, you didn't give the full story.

Palestinian intellectuals suffer from the lack of security in the form of a functioning state, in no small part because the state they might have gotten from Noble Laureate Rabin, during a time of relatively low violence and low mistrust, was thrown at least a generation into the future by evil Zionist murders who did in Rabin, and by the cowards in the Israeli electorate who rewarded that killing by voting which resulted in the installing of playboy Netanyahu as his successor.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Are you "Embarassed" by your first name, or by hypocritically making an issue of other people's names, or just afraid that your monumental violations of minimally-enforced rules on civility and
relevancy might cause YOUR posts to be deleted? Go ahead, use the cusswords that come so readily to your history-deficient tongue, unless you are too "cowardly."


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

While I respect Mr. Baker’s right to civilly express his opinions relevant to the topic of the page, and admire his consistency in standing up to what one now departed poster a few months ago once aptly referred to as "pack animals," I do not share his position on the Israeli nukes. I agree that it is desirable that they be eliminated, and the sooner the better, but they do not pose anywhere near a comparable threat to regional peace and stability which nukes in the hands of the Iranian theocrats would. We all know that, unlike its Arab neighbors, Israel is a democracy (for Jews at least) whose religious leaders, even the most lunatic among them, do not routinely advocate suicidal mass murder of civilians as a legitimate tactic of ideological-furtherance. As a practical matter, furthermore, countries and parties, including Hamas, need to accept the decades-long internationally recognized right of Israel to exist AS a Jewish homeland WITHIN in its pre-1967 boundaries, BEFORE any attempt to get Israel to abandon its nukes has any realistic chance of success. In contrast, once the most-internationally incompetent and disastrous US presidency of all-time is finally gone, there IS a realistic, though not hugely probable, chance of striking a Palestinian-Israeli deal that would finally rescue the all-but-inevitable two-state solution from the clutches of the lunatic fringes on both sides. It will probably be too late then to stop Iran from getting the bomb, however, in which case we will have to learn to live somehow with this lasting legacy of the monumental failures of neo-con-hypocrite American foreign policy non-leadership of recent years. And, we had better understand that probably-coming dangerous predicament from the perspective of sane, civilized citizens of the world, and not succumb to herd-worship of the paranoid world-views of half-crazed West Bank religious-nut-case terrorist-settlers.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Eckstein, I have been following HNN for over four years but you raise a part of Israeli-Palestinian history that I don't think has ever been covered here in the hundreds of articles on the Mideast.

It is certainly true that there always have been extremists on both sides, and that Hamas took advantage of a weaker interim Israeli government following Rabin's murder to launch attacks killing (according to the New York Times Almanac, 1998, p. 596) 60 Israelis, in early 1996. Then, in May,

"in Israel's first direct election of a prime minister, Likud's hard-line Benyamin Netanyahu narrowly defeated Peres as the Israelis chose 'security' over 'peace.' In less than a year the peace process had come to a virtual standstill as the Netanyahu government pushed ahead with new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem provoking public disapproval by the U.S. and others that Israel was violating the 1995 accords."

This short capsule history does not indicate whether Netanyahu & Co, ever explained how that regime's building hideously ugly military-like fortresses for religious zealots in locations designed to maximally antagonize Palestinians was supposed to help protect Israelis in Tel Aviv or Haifa.

I think it does addresses Simon's counterfactual query, however. We, of course, will never know whether Palestinians might have torpedoed the peace process even with Rabin alive, but it seems unlikely that HE would have have joined in the torpedoing as wantonly as Netanyahu did.

It remains an unanswered question why the settlements and the assasination of Rabin have almost never been mentioned in HNN columns whereas we have had article after article here toeing the right-wing Likud or post-Likud line, week after week, year after year. Some unwittingly so (like the one on this page apparently) most clearly not unwittingly. Baker's rants against "Zionism" are a mud puddle compared to that ocean of bias.

It certainly seems to me that Arafat, (even making allowance for his relative impotence) was even less willing to deal with the murderous fanatics in his midst than the Israelis were, but that does not explain a long series of articles, and "herd-like" all-out defenses of them, here which essentially claim that all (or perhaps, very grudgingly admitted, almost all) of the evil deeds have only ever come from one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Simon's other counterfactual query is harder to speculate on, but if I have to speculate, I would say that it seems to me that most Palestinians intellectuals fear intercenine violence retribution almost as much as unpredictably bloody Israeli incursions, and would gladly trade both for a state that would almost necessarily be so weighted down with compromises and limitations and so surrounded by decades of evasions and maneuverings that tightly controlled Stalinistic repression of free speech would seem a relatively remote risk.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

This is not amazing to me at all. It is consistent with a bunch of things I've read suggesting that the Iranian nuclear threat is almost surely going to be used where it benefits Iran, e.g. to gain sway over immediate neighbors in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. not for some lunatic Holocaust-maniac Armageddon attack against Israel. There is a long history here too, going back to Iran-Contra where the Israelis were involved with Iran. This is yet another reason why the article here is such a silly croc. Not that Holocaust denial or anti-Semitism is not serious stuff, or that nukes held by a theocracy aren't either, but to reflexively assume that because somebody plays Hitler that therefore he must BE a second Hitler is childish silliness.

Speaking of silliness, I would rather buy swamp land in global warming sinking Florida than bet on Israel not having nukes. How many Jews were involved in the Manhattan project? Do you think Israelis, in one of the high-tech capitals of the world can't figure out how to do 60 year-old physics? Why did the Israelis jail the whistleblower (can't recall his name, something like Mordica maybe) if all they wanted was a bluff? Why bluff anyway if you can have the real thing?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"will the USA be duped once more?"

You mean: as it was in 2002-03 when the "cakewalk to Baghdad" was fanatically demanded as the only possible solution to "Saddam bin Laden-Hussein's imminent "mushroom cloud" ?

I highly doubt it.

But don't be fooled the other way either. Israel may or may not be mainly a tactical-rhetorical scapegoat for him (we will never get anywhere near the truth with the pathological Likudnik fibbers, insult-addicts and brainwashed extremists on this page), but Ahmadinejad is up to no good: not for Iranians, not for Arabs, not for Moslems, not for anyone except his own dupes and puppet-masters.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Iran's leader has spoken about reclaiming lands for Islamdom and about destroying Israel as part of a strategy to begin that that process. So, you are factually mistaken."

Maybe such a statement exists (which would of course be quite different than anything spouted by the atheist Hitler), and I missed it. (As did the German author in this article that nobody but me has anything to say about. Surprise, Surprise.) But certainly not based on your atrociously lousy memory of what you might have read in propaganda rags, which you suppose qualify you to brag about your imagined superior knowledge, motormouth 3rd grader style.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Sure, Friedman, "no facts" just 40 years of "majority of defense experts" and "most worldwide intelligence agencies" versus your, I don't what, fear that you won't be allowed to emigrate to Israel some day if you haven't toed the company line while the in US?

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu

Or maybe you think all the experts are wrong, maybe because Israel is like Saddam's Iraq?

Whatever. It's a free country (still, I think) so believe what you want. Buy coastal property in Florida.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Ashawri was in the first Madrid round of negotiations (back when incompetence was not the number one characteristic in the US executive branch). I suppose she is busy now teaching her students (remember those?) or maybe feeding her family since according to the latest UN report (and we do acknowledge the UN here, at least when it comes to convoluted legal mumbo jumbo attempts to show that all major atlas makers have royally screwed up for 40 years) half of Palestinian children are now starving, and the whole society is basically living on handouts. What a boon to Israeli security, of course: Another generation of war and hatred, and chances to build more military bunker settlements even if the rubberstamp nitwit in the White House has only two years left so the direct pipeline to the US Treasury may not flow as freely.

There are more moderates than just Ashwari and Nuseibeh on the Palestinian side. There was a whole delegation in the 2003 Geneva gathering which Colin Powell would have helped make something out of, if the Cheney & Rummy & Co rubberstamping chickenhawks hadn't cowed him back into line.

I am not so sure how "civilized and self-critical" Israel would be if it were under 40 years of oppression and occupation. I wouldn't stay at the King David Hotel if I were a British officer under such conditions of instability.

As for the mid 1990s, they were another time, and a lost opportunity for Israel and the Palestinians both and no attempt to hide that here will change the reality, as more or less accurately summarized by the NY Times.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I already said what I "proposed": a less incompetent US executive branch.
More specifically: The current administration, featuring the most screwed-up and ruinous foreign policy in US history, has squandered American leadership in authority in the world, thrown away trillions of dollars in massively botched invasion and occuptation and sitting-duck intervention, badly damaged our military capability, strengthened Al Qeada except (for the time being in Afghanistan), turned Iraq from an instable tyranny to an even more instable anarchy of anti-US resentment and future terrorist recruitment, helped Hamas and Hezbollah achieve new heights of popularity and power, surrendered wholesale to the North Korean Stalinist wackos, and on the Waziristan havens, and done little about Saudi support for terrorism. Stay tuned for surrender on Iran, and cut-and-run from Iraq. It is not only "realistic," but probable that no matter who or what the successor administration, it will be less disastrous for America, for Israel, for the world than current clowns. You cannot spin your way out of the historic catastrophe the inept hypocrite neo-cons have wrought, but the inevitable regime change in the US will come none too soon for the future of America. Neither decades-outdated and anyway historically-incomplete ideas about "Zionism," nor screwball paranoia-based expectations of an imminent Swastika flying over the presidential palace in Tehran, have more than very minor relevance to these broader, and (for America) not very cheery, geopolitical trends.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Well, I googled Mr. Rosenthal and he seems to have been a fine reporter and editor, even if he was too busy "keeping the paper straight" to hire in West Greenwich Village" and even if he went temporarily bonkers along with most of the US and the Congress in 2002-03 thinking that for some reason we had to immediately rush, no time for allies or plans, to get rid of the WMDs Saddam had supposedly had for many years prior already.

But I have news for you:'

1. He was not a historian
2. Terrorism is not the only thing which "did not end" in the 1990s. Taxes, the common cold, and children wetting their beds also failed to be wiped out. Nothing to do then, I guess, but hunker down in the bunker and hope to outlive the next Holocaust. Maybe Netanyahu will be elected to replace the hapless Olmert and then we can all cheer him when he visits America for the next fleecing of the flock.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

( http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_RVPQTVP )

Crazy men speak craziness and what that means is almost never what they say.

Hitler, who was fanatical and psychologically unhinged but not insane, never said he would murder millions of Jews. At least not in any precise formulation in print anywhere that anyone has found. He effectively DID it, however. And a lot of somewhat less nasty things leading up to it. THAT is what is important to learn and remember about Hitler. Not a failure of 1930s politicians to use mythical crystal balls.

Ahmadinejad has not SAID he would use first-strike nuclear bombs to kill millions of Israelis (and Arabs). Nor is there any indication of him sending millions of jack-booted goose-stepping troops on Blitzkriegs throughout the Mideast and to build rail lines to transport Jews and Gypsies in box cars to concentration camps in the Syrian desert. There is, however, a very legitimate and highly serious concern that he or some theocratic and fanantical successor might USE future nukes in a future first strike, and THAT, not Likudnik poppycock, is what legitimate historians and concerned citizens are paying attention to (in bonafide scholarly and intellectual forums, not on this page, obviously).

Your immediate problem here, Eckstein is not that you are speaking about a epoch of history you are not even ignoring students in, but have ignored yourself, but that your rants are straight from crooked crypto-fascist playboy Netanyahu's play book. He does not speak for most Israelis, let alone any American, and he speaks for no serious historian of 1930s Europe.

By the way, I am not aware of any "postings above" which support Ahmadinejad's principles, and I see no good reason for you to invent any such fable.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Israel is surely not the "only significant actor" but neither are its policies solely a reaction to brutality upon it.

Your excerpt from Elazar and Sandler fails to mention either Rabin's assassination or settlements, a glaringly blatant ommision which matches the general pattern of bias in nearly all the quotes provided by Friedman et. al. here on HNN, and 80-90% of HNN articles on the Mideast here as well. THOSE OMISSIONS -Rabin, settlements- was what I meant by "new history," not new to me but new to HNN.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

It is a long stretch indeed, but the closest parallel by far to your ever-loathed Chamberlain is your ever-beloved Likudnik-bootlicking clown George W. Bush. He appeased India and Pakistan, he has appeased North Korea, and he will probably try, in his lame way, to appease Ahmadinejad too. No betrayal of America is too extreme if it might lend his rock-bottom presidency some face-saving pretense of achievement.

As for pro-Ahmadinejaders not in the White House and Knessett, e.g. here, I don't think Baker meant to express support for A-jihad's rhetoric, but for the factually-correct quotation thereof. The clarification is, however, his (Baker's) to make. I certainly agree that there is nothing pleasurable about even the most insulting member of the UN being wiped off the map. Any such attempt would negate the core purpose of the UN and create nothing but misery for the whole region which is yet another reason why most analysts think it unlikely, at least in the medium term.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Baker insists on historically abusing the term "Zionism." A small minority of the minority of Jews who actually live in Israel (as opposed to those cowardly cheering or witlessly supporting its terrorist fringe from afar) support taking MORE Arab land. The real debates amongst Israelis are when and how to GIVE UP already illegally-occupied land (outside the internationally recognized pre 1967 boundaries), and how badly to brutalize the Palestinians whose land they are occupying. The real debate amongst Palestinians meanwhile is whether or not to continue shooting themselves in the foot by (some of them) insisting on the complete disappearance of Israel as a Jewish (sic "Zionist") state as a goal, and the legitimacy of blowing up civilians as a tactic.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The George W. Bush administration's monumental foreign policy disasters (especially but by no means only in Iraq) are hardly "irrelevant" to the rise of Ahmadinejad, the success of North Korea's tyrants, and the general triumph of terrorism, religious extremism, barbarity, instability and anti-Americanism around the world over the past 6 years. Aren't there some students of ancient history who need attention on a topic you know something about?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

To advocate "negotiations," to be conducted by the same incompetent American leaders whose towering, incessant and arrogance and-ignroance-drenched mis-steps and blunderings have steadily weakened America's negotiating position, is to embrace fantasy. All that Rice, Cheney Bush etc. are capable of "negotiating" now are the terms of appeasement and surrender to tyranny and extremism. Truly effective negotiations will only come when these inept buffoons and crooks are gone, by which time it will probably be too late to avert Iran getting the bomb. The likelihood in any case is for two years of photo-ops, stalling, token sanctions and token negotiations and gobs of empty "spinning." What we here OUGHT to be discussing (instead of propaganda-based and dubious parallels to 1930s Germany) is how to accelerate that transfer of power in America (to competent hands) and how to realign the "West's" policies and goals to fit our now greatly-weakened position due to the ineptitude of the past 6 years.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I think there is probably merit to the following proposed approach, but not unless U.S. negotiaters are at least as adept and skilled as their Iranian counterparts, which hardly seems likely under the current lame lame-duck Administration in America.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17202829/site/newsweek/

Time to Change Tacks on Iran

By Ray Takeyh
Newsweek International

Feb. 26, 2007 issue - Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the United States has pursued a series of failed policies toward Iran. It has variously sought to topple the regime, threatened military action and proposed strictly limited dialogue—all with an eye toward boxing Tehran in and limiting its influence in the region. This strategy of "containment" continues to dominate U.S. policy.

President George W. Bush repeatedly insists that "all options are on the table"—a not-so-subtle reminder that Washington might yet use force to halt Tehran's nuclear program. Yet realistically, the United States has no military option. Iran has dispersed many nuclear facilities and hardened others. Even if U.S. forces could find and destroy those targets—quality intelligence is a serious hurdle—they could be rebuilt relatively quickly. The bottom line: Washington must accept certain distasteful facts—beginning with Iran's ascendance as a regional power and the staying power of its regime. It should open talks with Iran, not in order to limit its growing power—an impossibility—but with a view toward regulating it and curbing potential excesses. In other words, Washington should embrace a policy of détente, just as it did in the past with such seemingly intractable enemies as China and the Soviet Union.

Could Tehran ultimately prove to be as willing a negotiating partner as Beijing and Moscow once were? There are reasons to hope so. One is Iran's emergence as the largest and most militarily powerful state in the Persian Gulf. That very fact will force Tehran to choose between coexistence and confrontation with the United States. For all its hot rhetoric, Iran is no Nazi Germany; by and large, its leaders are tactical opportunists. They seek to avoid war. Furthermore, the Iranian regime is undergoing a transformation of its own. This internal divide is not as commonly thought: moderate reformers versus conservative fundamentalists. No, the real fissure is generational. The elders of the 1979 revolution retain ultimate authority—but they are increasingly challenged by a rising cohort of younger conservatives, eager to abandon failed policies of the past.

This emerging group looks askance at the strident rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Its members tend to stress Iranian nationalism over Islamic identity, and pragmatism over ideology. The only way for Iran to realize its potential, they argue, is for it to behave more judiciously in the international arena. That means accepting certain limits on Iranian influence, acceding to certain international norms—and negotiating with the nation's adversaries. Over the past two years, members of this pragmatic faction have risen to influence within the highest ranks of government, the intelligence community and the military. Among them: the commander of the Iranian Navy, Abbas Mohtaj, and the head of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, who has been leading Iran's negotiating team in talks with the United States and Europe.

Building on their links to traditional clerical networks and their intimate ties to the Iran's Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini, these men are trying to wrest control of Iran's international relations from the most militant old-guard mullahs. The real significance of Iran's municipal elections in December 2006, in which Ahmadinejad's camp scored poorly, lay not so much in the revival of the reform movement as in the fact that many of these younger conservatives did well.

So far, the new pragmatists have managed to nudge Khameini toward accepting the idea of potential negotiations with the United States. "We may be sure that the Americans are our enemy," said Larijani in a recent speech. But he added: "Working with the enemy is part of world politics. I believe that normalizing relations would in itself be beneficial." Yet Iran's political landscape is volatile. America's declining fortunes in Iraq, Hizbullah's touted victory against Israel last summer and the success of Ahmadinejad's defiant nuclear diplomacy seem to prove right those who call for confrontation.

As it stands, Khameini, generally prone to indecision, seems disinclined to settle this internal debate. For Washington, the challenge is to resolve the uncertainty in its favor. A more imaginative policy of engagement, with normalization as the starting point of talks rather than the endpoint, might pave the way for a broader breakthrough on issues from nukes to terrorism. Armed with the prospect of a new beginning with the United States, the pragmatists might find themselves in a position to sideline Tehran's aging radicals—and usher in a more stable era of U.S.-Iran relations.

Takeyh is a fellow at the New York Council on Foreign Relations. This essay is adapted from a forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs.
© 2007 Newsweek, Inc.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

...than assassinating Israelli prime ministers

Okay, Kovachev, so after all your Likudomanical ranting and raving, we are back to the legitimate boundaries for Israel being those shown in every atlas in the civilized world for the past half century. How to get the lunatic fringes of both Israelis and Palestinians to stop denying this remains a question unaddressed by your childish outbursts.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"Were they to arm with nuclear weapons, the world would be in for a much, much worse ride than now is occurring."

Realigning to that "much much worse" likelihood is what I meant. I hope we can still avert it, but it was never going to be easy and we have lost six years, and are set to lose another two, due to the asinine blunders of the nincompoop president whose titanic disasters for America you still can't seem to acknowledge.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The article IS basically garbage, but that does not mean Ahmadinejad is not a threat: to Iranian students, to Iranian intellectuals, and to basic human rights and democracy WITHIN Iran.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Give us break, Friedman. Over the past year or two, for every post of Baker's which goes off-topic to mount a prefab soap box, there are a dozen by you doing the same. This pot calling kettle black is even lamer than usual. Here, the article itself is basically off the topic of the real threats posed by Ahmadinejad, but where in the prior 300 posts on this page have you ever said a peep about that? HNN violating its own mission statement?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Completely wrong. Friedman claimed Rabin said, what it turned out Peres was alleged to have believed. In Friedman's upside down world Israel has no nukes and those Norwegian-Euro-Nazis on the Noble Peace committee gave the award which Netanyahoo deserved to Rabin, and you san't trust anyone with a European last name (like Man of Peace or Cornerstone.)


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Re: Better frenzied shouting... (#105908) by Peter Kovachev on February 22, 2007 at 11:00 AM

Your misunderstanding of the word fact in the above post, Mr. K., suggests the desirability of trading at least one of the "5 or 6" atlases in your possession for a good dictionary.

Here, meanwhile, are documented FACTS, concerning the borders of Israel, from three books in on my shelves:

1. New York Times Almanac 2005, p. 612: None of Israel's 1967 territorial seizures are within the borders of Israel. Gaza, West Bank, and Golan are depicted as if separate independent countries.

2. Hammond World Atlas, 1992, p. 58. Ditto, except Golan is shown as if a zone within Syria.

3. Times Atlas, 9th edition, 1994, pp. 35-36. This is on a much bigger scale than the other two. Gaza is shown as being on the Israeli side of the Egypt-Israeli border (perhaps due to the terms of the Camp David deal) but is separately marked off from the rest of Israel under the designation "Israel Military Administration." Golan is done the same way, except it is shown as part of Syria. The West Bank is shown as a kind of no-mans-land, not in either Jordan or Israel, but in between those two, and again marked as under "Israel Military Administration."

For those not possesssing a dictionary, Points 1-3 above are FACTS.

Two additional points derive from these three facts. All three maps have two things in common re Israel's borders:

(a) Israel is a recognized sovereign state bordering Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

(b) Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights are not part of that sovereign state.


Now for an INTEPRETATION of these last two points:

I. A minority of Moslems, sometimes including one regular HNN poster present on this page, ritually denies point (a).

II. A minority of Jews, steadfastly including four regular HNN posters present here as well, is kneejerkingly committed to endless asinine obfuscation concerning point (b).

I would be interested in having, from Mr. Kovoachev or anyone else here, DOCUMENTED FACTS, including titles and dates of publication, from any atlases or reference books published in EUROPE OR NORTH AMERICA, which contradict in any way the fundamental shared depictions of my three books, e.g. as in points (a) and (b) above.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Maps published in the civilized world expose the dirty lies in the Likud crap you have been duped by.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I agree that Baker's thread-opening comment is "beyond the pale" (nowithstanding the -no doubt unintended- anti-Semitic tinge to that expression in this context). But I see little difference between this and scores of earlier ones by you. In your "violations", you tend to put a figleaf opening sentence or two of relevancy, before dumping huge cut-and-paste quotes from one of your favorite anti-Arab authors or neo-con propaganda websites like front-page. Baker is somewhat more clusmy in his irrelevancies but not more irrelevant.
Practice what you preach for a change, I would say.

Meanwhile, in my humble observance anyway, Mr. B. is not less civil than you, except when egged by some of the hotter-heads here.

I cannot say I have never posted a comment irrelevant to the page-article either, but I at least acknowledge the divergence. In actual practice here, relevancy is a self-policed rule, and self-policing begins with oneself.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Baker, The theological theory you have presented is very interesting, but not good evidence of actual historical discriminatory practice by Israelis against non-Jews, and seemingly not very relevant to the question of Iran's current and future relations with Israel.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Baker,

Thanks for your reply which, however, explains little.

1) "Racism" would be discrimination based on race. What you are talking about is discrimination based on religious classification. A Jew or "Goy" can be pale, brown, purple, curly-haired, wide-eyed, short and stout or tall and skinny, etc.

2) You haven't supplied examples of discriminatory application of death sentences in Israel post 1948. I am not doubting that examples exist, but I suppose that they are infrequent. Would something like Sharia law as it is actually practiced in Moslem countries today be an improvement from the standpoint of basic human rights? I am quite skeptical of that.

3) I don't see how any of this connects to the motives for (a) Ahmadinejad's immflammatory and historically dubious rhetoric or (b) his regime's hell-bound drive to develop nuclear technology that is of no major benefit to the people of an oil-rich country.

You seem to be allying yourself with far-right-wing Israeli dogma in the article & on this page, with just one difference. They think Ahmadinejad is "obsessed" with the Jews because he wants to reenact what Hitler and the Nazis did. You think he is thusly obsessed because Judaism or some ill-defined and historically questionable "Zionist" subset of it, is so fundamentally immoral and hypocritical (how it compares in this respect to other major institutionalized religions being unmentioned). Maybe I am misundertanding some nuance in what you are saying, but two crocks of BS do not add up to the truth. The Iran experts (see my earlier post above), give a totally different and vastly more believeable account of what the various divergent Iranian elements are likely up to and why.

PKC


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I never did any such thing. You are fictionalizing again, Mr. E. I merely pointed out that terrorism was not the ONLY thing going on.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thank you again, Mr. Baker for explaining. I am afraid, however, that what you have mostly explained is your own confusion and lack of clarity.

Your English is very good most of the time but there are some vocabulary hang-ups which tend to tie you and your comment threads into knots (even before the nemisis herd of insulters, dupes, and rude propagandists lines up to mindlessly stampede you, time after time).

"Race," for example, is an extraordinarily unscientific and ahistorical concept that would be best excised from any conversation, except where it has extreme convenience value (e.g. as a synonym for skin color or geographic origin, as in South Africa).


Even were this not the case, it is hard to seem what you gain by using such lazy, scrambled-up and inherently misleading sloganeering. "Racism" without a definable "race" being involved amounts to meaningless hot air.

To the extent that "race" has any explanatory merit to the issues of THIS page, one would probably have to say that Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian Arabs are ONE race, albeit with some "subraces" therein, and Iranian Moslems, Iranian Zorastrians and Iranian Jews are a different race. Discrimination againts Arabs or Moslems in Orthodox Jewish theory or actual Israeli practice is thus inherently NOT racist.

But, even supposing it somehow were. So what?

1. Would you rather have a neighbor who is (a) a non-racist terrorist, murderer and religious freak, or (b) a racist who however hates and harms no other human being, regardless of perceived superiority or inferiority ?

2. Would you rather that the Israeli (or Iranian) government (or any other government) (a) give up prejudicial propaganda or (b) foreswear nuclear weapons?

As long as we are making unsupported and irrelevant wholesale invidious distinctions all over this page, I will also throw in the theory that answers to questions 1 and 2 above basically separate nihilistic fanatics from sensible people.

By the way, calling "Israeli-Palestinian Semites" one "race" and "Persian Indo-Arayans" another, might suggest that the angry war of words between Ahmadinejad and his Israeli adversaries (not to mention most of the rest of the civilized world) is based on "racism" EXCEPT that nobody ANYWHERE (to my knowledge) is using such a term to describe that dispute. It would be rather like saying that Napoleon III declared war on Prussia in 1870 because he didn't like the (soon-to-be) Kaiser's moustache.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

...Mr. K., for

a) at least obliquely addressing the topic of the thread (here: #105961
February 23, 2007 at 2:31 PM) and

b) investing in a sorely-needed ironic touch

I am wondering, however, why you can't cite the titles and publication dates of the atlases you proclaimed earlier:

Re: Better frenzied shouting... (#105908) by Peter Kovachev on February 22, 2007 at 11:00 AM

“Canadian high school atlas where Israel is shown with the Sinai, Judea, Samaria and Gaza as aunbroken and unmarked parts of that nation state.”

“British school system one which shows most of Jordan and big chunks of Lebanon and Syria as part of a suggested Jewish state.”


Might your silence reflect your reluctance to admit to being a bad liar (e.g. like your occasional neo-Wallerstein-superaltern Roman historian sometimes sidekick) ?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

"no Jews I am aware of have argued that Judea and Samaria are now a part of the modern State of Israel" sayeth would-be-trickster Mr. K above. But that is NOT what I claimed in my opening comment of the thread.

North American propaganda organs for neo-Likud fanatics do NOT argue directly for what those fanatics believe. They are more careful than that. They instead throw up huge and endless duststorms of camel dung in order to dupe people in believing that every (or nearly every -see below re Mr. K's pending evasion) major publisher in the civilized western world has magically made the same error, decade after decade, by drawing Israel's boundaries at the internationally recognized pre 1967 limit of occupation. I suggest you stay away from neo-Wallersteinian-semi-peripheral quasi-Marxist trickery, Mr. K, and leave the pathological misattribution and fibbing to Eckstein. He is better at it than you, whereas your comparative advantage lies more in clever insults and catch-phrases, and occasional flashes of humor.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Saying that "only Israeli actions infuriate me" is a two-bit lie, Mr. E. Go back to second grade and learn how to tell the truth if you can't find a way to realize this. I won't ask you to apologize for something that is second nature, but we will all be better off if you could try to stop doing it. Do try harder and I will stop making disparging (though deserved) references to it in comments to other posters.

I have, for example, ALSO been "infuriated" from time to time by periodic lies from a number of posters about my views on points and topics other than Israeli policy. I am also more than a little upset at having a president who is the best agent Bin Laden could ever have hoped for. Elected by people whom you seem to tend to praise (when you aren't busy chasing phantom terrorists or "barbarians" or whatever you consider the much-abused but very hardheaded Mr. Baker). And I am also unpleased by a so-called History News Network that publishes mountain-range loads of crappy ahistorical propaganda (of many varities not just Likud-coward-fascist species that scars this page).



In sum, it would be very desirable if you could try to control your habit of misattributing when you get annoyed. I will gladly agree to not repeatedly ask you how long you have been beating your wife and why you can't do the same to your mistress. We will all be happier and heathier if you can stop this game-playing.

Exercise your American Constitutional right to free speech by explicating your educated and semi-informed rational reasoning for why right-wing Israeli world-views need to dominate every discussion about the Mideast, if that is your heart's desire, but stop the juvenile fibbing. Criticize my opinions all you want, but don't put words in my mouth. If you can afford the time to waste by being here, you can afford to deal with real issues and not make up phony ones.

Thank you and good evening.

Peter


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Friedman, we have here an article based on a bunch of right-wing Israeli BS spouted by a German tool, or dupe, who may or may not be genuinely concerned about another mass-slaughter of Jews like that perpetrated by his country, however improbable such a repetition of history may be. Right wing Israeli BS also the fuel driving the "Israel Lobby" (for want of a better term) in America, and the basic strategy of that BSing process is to take extreme fanatical positions NOT supported by most Israelis (or most sane people anywhere else) and pawn them off as being basic existential matters pertinent to Israel as a whole. This is a serious matter because most of the US Congress swallows or pretends to swallow these deceptions. A lot of American Jews do not, and they are strangely absent from HNN most of the time.

The point about where Israeli’s real borders are is an example of this incessant selfishness-and-paranoia-based extremist obfuscating. It has come up a number of times in the past on HNN, and Kovachev raised it again this time (in the comments starting here (#105890 by Peter Kovachev on February 22, 2007 at 8:14 AM).

OF COURSE Israel’s boundaries are not “final” until there is final deal in which a credible Palestinian authority credibly agrees to permanently accept those. Probably that final deal is some years away at least, and the final line will probably be close but not exactly on the actual line of 1948-67. But, the Israeli government has never claimed permanent rights to land outside that demarcation (only the religious nuts in Israel did), and no such claim was ever recognized internationally, and that is why atlas makers still show that as the boundary. It is a load of stinking Likud-terrorist crap (or stinking anti-Semitic Iranian theocratic lying) to try to claim that Israel does not have borders like every other country.

Since this whole page is about the Likud crapola view (of Iranian crapola) it is very MATERIAL to discuss the stupefyingly moronic lie that Macmillan and Hammond and the New York Times have been ignorantly making the same glaring mistake for decades.

Okay, you can still choose to believe that this idiotic lie so dear to you is not a lie and that you know better than generations of New York Times editors, but guess what, YOUR STUPIDITY is NOT the topic of this thread!!

If you think the topic of this thread -my request for any citations of atlases contradicting the mainstream ones I cited- is “immaterial,” that is your right. But in that case have the primary school manners to go play ball on some other part of the playground. In other words, stop dropping your diarrhea of childish irrelevance into this thread. If you don’t want to discuss the topic of this thread, go start your own.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Thanks, "Eckstein," for asking unadorned straightforward questions. If you don't like quotes around posters' names, let's also agree to drop those, along with dropping other gratuitous and time-wasting insults.

The basic topic of the article here on this page is the Iranian president's policy towards Israel and its people. The opinion of the article-writer also happens to precisely match that of no serious and qualified historian of the pertinent regions and time periods and, as I pointed out above, very closely follow that of the most extreme major politician on the Israeli political spectrum (Netanyahoo). Not long ago, this politician sharply rebuked Ariel Sharon (who was himself banned from the Israeli government for many years due to his extremism) for not being extreme enough. So, the relevant topics here are the Iranian president, his Holocaust denial, anti-Semitic and Armageddon rhetoric, his verbal attacks on Israel, the overall threat to Israel and the rest of the world posed by Iran's nuclear program, and the spin put upon all of this by fringe Israeli politicians and polemicists and German spokesmen for them. That is why I have been discussing these matters here and not Tibet, Sudan, or the price of pork bellies in Texarkana.

In this particular thread, the more narrow subject under discussion is the strange attempt of those same fanatical Israeli interests, for similar reasons, to deny that the country has recognized international borders.

(It is a tangent to the main topic of the page, but it was raised by another poster in a prior thread, and I have followed it up because I happen to believe in honesty and disclosing subterfuge (e.g. the pretenses that Israel is not a real country, either because it is "racist" "colony," or some kind of time-warped Warsaw ghetto plus high tech Kibbutzes but with no recognized borders, and thus allowed to bomb and invade and kill and act maniacal with impunity whenever it feels like it, and America should bankroll it and cover for it, no questions asked.) )

Since there are, obviously, some extenuating historical circumstances involving Israel's borders, however, I have invited you and anyone else to provide examples of legitimate mainstream map-makers in major Western countries, which do NOT show Israel's borders as excluding Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan heights. That is the specific topic of the thread.

The subjects of comparative atrocities and relative indignation, which you brought up in your comment immediately above, are irrelevant to both the article and the thread. That does not mean they are not important issues or not worthy of fair-minded, intelligent and trick-free discussion, but it does mean than I will adhere to HNN rules on relevancy and refrain from discussing them here.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2007

Peter,

I do not think I do quite what you claim - or at least not that I recall. I think you fail to understand the significance of what I post and why I use quotes - usually not full articles, by the way. Such usually is intended to address the comment I am replying to, whether or not you recognize the significance. And, where a star in the field (e.g. Bernard Lewis) says something on point and I have access to his comment on the matter, I post a snippet from it.

Omar, in the above cases, has done nothing of the sort. His are totally gratuitous comments that are unrelated - unless the goal is personal testimony regarding what Professor Küntzel argues to be true, except extended to a Muslim Arab. Which is to say, Omar's comment shows an obsession with Jews as Jews. But, to note: Omar is not, so far as I know, an Iranian so his comment is, in any event, unrelated.

In any event, I think Omar needs to be taken to task in this case because there is no reason for him to be spewing out garbage about Israel, Jews, Zionism, etc., in an article about Iran.


art eckstein - 3/4/2007

Exactly my point, Omar--whoever these people were they were ineffective in preventing this sewer of medieval anti-semitism from being shown on official Hezbollah TV for TWENTY-NINE episodes.

I guess OTHER people, more powerful and more influentual within Hezbollah, over-ruled whatever "concerns" (as you put it) these "Hezollah liberals" (my word) had--assuming that the latter even voiced any of their "concerns" as the sewer spilled out its vile material during Ramadan.


art eckstein - 3/4/2007


Does Omid deny that the following events occurred at the Tehran Conference?

1. German-born Australian Frederick Toeben, a leading speaker at the confence, said there that the Holocaust was "a great lie to justify the much more serious crimes committed by the Zionists in the past decades." Toeben, who has served a jail sentence in Germany on charges of inciting racial hatred, denied that six million Jews had died during World War II saying that "if something had ever occurred," the number of casualties would be much lower.

2. Holocaust denier Bradley R. Smith of the US told participants he is convinced that "gas chambers never existed because otherwise famous politicians like Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt or the pope [Pious XII] would have certainly spoken."

3. Robert Faurisson, a French professor who also denies the existence of gas chambers, addressed the conference Monday saying that it is "courageous and useful to establish the truth about something wich never existed."

"The courage of people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will allow the truth to emerge in the end and uncover this great lie which has influenced the history of humanity from World War II until today," he concluded.


4. Former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke told the conference that the gas chambers were not used to kill Jews. "This conference has an incredible impact on Holocaust studies all over the world," said Duke,

5. Mohammad Ali Ramini, an Ahmadinejad adviser who has called the Holocaust a "myth," announced at the Conference that he will chair a committee to find "the truth on the genocide of Jews."
Other members of the committee will be Robert Faurisson, the Frenchman who denies the existence of gas chambers, along with Holocaust deniers from Syria, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, the United States and Bahrain.

6. At the Conference, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a former interior minister and one of the founders of Lebanese militia Hezbollah, who labeled the Holocaust as a "tale."
"All the studies and research carried out so far have proven that there is no reason to believe that the Holocaust ever occurred and that it is only a tale," he stated.

7. Austrian historian Wolfgang Froehlich, who served a two-year jail sentence in his home country for denying the Holocaust, did not read out his speech — which was handed out to participants — for fear of being jailed again.


Does Omid deny that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Holocaust as a "myth" and called for the destruction of Israel while rejecting charges of anti-Semitism? (DUH!)


art eckstein - 3/3/2007

I can't resist pointing out the following. Omar's response to the article about Iran was in good part to attack not merely Israel but Judaism itself (via the notorious Shahak). He thereby proved Mr. Friedman's point (made in connection with Hezbollah anti-semitism--which Omar crazily denies) that Islamists really do NOT draw a distinction between Israelis and Judaism. Why, Omar himself proves it.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Peter,

The complained about comments are beyond the pale. They have exactly nothing to do with the topic or the discussion. They are just plain tu quoque. That and nothing more. And, in this case, they are posted as a separate topic, not in answer to anything. so, the post is entirely gratuitous.

Now, accusing me is an example of tu quoque. Whatever my sins may be, - and I trust you understand the word "logic" -, that does not excuse anything done by a different person. Such is irrelevant, logically speaking, to someone else's activity on this page.

The Shahak posts are about Judaism's faults and allegedly respond to an article about how Iran is obsessed with Jews. I suppose that Omar's line of argument shows that it is not just Iran that is obsessed with Jews. He, after all, posts things that would tickle Ahmadinejad pink. But, of course, that does not address Professor Küntzel's article.

I suggest we reclaim civility and all promise to follow the rules.




N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Peter,

At least you state a disagreement rather than play tu quoque. However, you do not point to any facts or events or theory to suggest that the article is "garbage." You merely make a bald assertion.

How about justifying your position. Then, there would be something to discuss.

The alternative: One could say that your disagreement is garbage. Now, I would not say that but bald assertions lead to that sort of assertion. And, having read you on topics other than the Middle East, I know that you are capable of supporting your theories.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Professor,

What Omar is doing here is violating HNN policy. His various articles here have nothing at all to do with the topic of Professor Küntzel's article.

Rather than address Professor Küntzel, article, Omar is employing the tu quoque logic fallacy - throwing mud at the accusers (e.g. Jews are as evil as Iranians) rather than addressing the topic at hand.

His posts, such as those on Shahak and about 1967 - and I agree with you that Israel did wrong if the cited article is correct -, both seriously violate the HNN policy that reads: "Please do not post comments that are irrelevant to the subject under discussion." What Rules Govern HNN's Discussion Boards and Blogs?. I think that the tu quoque comments should be removed.

If he wants to post his own blog on HNN, he should do so at HNN's blog posting cite. See, Sign Up. He should not do so in connection with this article.

He is, of course, perfectly free to disagree with Professor Küntzel and I would enjoy reading his views on the actual topic - if he has formed any. But, the way for any critic to do so is to address Professor Küntzel's facts and argument, not to blog posts about Judaism, Israel and Zionism, which have exactly nothing to do with Professor Küntzel's article.

By the way, Art, you should take a look at Neville Chamberlain's Real Mistake--And Bush's, by Jeff Shear and the comments thereafter. The discussion is on a higher plain.

As for my analysis of Shahak, I note that he does have a following (e.g. Christopher Hitchens, et al). However, I have seen no one who has an explanation for the alleged fabricating which you have brought out. That sort of thing is inexcusable and disqualifies a scholar. And, no one claims, so far as I know, that Shahak knows a thing about Judaism - and his article suggests that my assertions are correct.

Even if Shahak knew what he was talking about, Omar refuses to address our accusations. Rather, he smears us as supporting a cause he dislikes. That, in addition to his tu quoque is an ad hominem attack on us. But, that speaks to Omar's current MO, not to the topic at hand.



art eckstein - 3/3/2007

If this happened in 1967, it was bad. Of course, if Omar now wants to start stacking up Arab and Muslim wartime atrocities in general vs. Israeli ones, then Omar is going to lose again, and badly.

Mr. Friedman, I thought this thread was over and thus left you alone here. Sorry. On the other hand, you've more than held your own.

All best,

Art


art eckstein - 3/3/2007

I thought this thread was over, but come back to find that Omar still has no understanding either of what a fact is or what a logical argument is.

Omar can offer no evidence that Shahak was correct in his various slanderous assertions, nor can he offer any evidence that the specific evidence I cited (showing that Shahak was, at the least, dreadfully wrong if not a liar) was incorrect. Nor has he offered any evidence that Mr. Friedman is incorrect in his won demolition of Shahak. Omar offers NOTHING--no evidence, no argument. His only "argument'" is to characterize our general political positions. But in the modern world, FACTS matter. If you think we are wrong, Omar--offer contrary information, don't substitute attacks on our character for facts and logic!!!
.

OMAR--NOTHING SHAHAK WROTE AND YOU CITED WAS CORRECT. NOTHING. And NOTHING I WROTE IN FACTUAL REFUTATION AND MR. FRIEDMAN WROTE IN FACTUAL REFUTATION OF SHAHAK HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE INCORRECT. YET THIS IS A MATTER OF INDIFFERENCE TO YOU.

If you think either myself or Mr. Friedman is WRONG, PROVE it with FACTS, not with general attacks on our character. You cannot argue our facts are wrong until you show that they are wrong. Saying we are, in your opinon, people of bad character is simply NOT an argument that our facts are wrong. You must engage our FACTS.

As for Hezbollah--you reassert that there were people in Hezbollah who were "concerned" about the anti-semitic aspects of "The Disaspora" series when it was shown on Hezbollah TV during Ramadan 2003..

You name NO ONE specific, and you have refused to do so.

AND HOWEVER CONCERNED THESE PEOPLE WERE, THEY DIDN'T STOP THE SHOW. THIS ANTI-SEMITIC SEWER RAN FOR 29 EPISODES ON HEZBOLLAH TV. NOT ONE EPISODE. NOT TWO OR THREE, FOLLOWED BY OOPS WE'RE MAKING A MISTAKE HERE. BUT TWENTY-NINE EPISODES--THE ENTIRE SERIES.

Do you deny this?

DO YOU DENY THAT THE NEXT YEAR, 2004, HEZBOLLAH TV WAS TOSSED OUT OF FRANCE ON GROUNDS OF ANTI-SEMITISM? YOU CANNOT.

Omar's ONLY argument is an a priori ideological one--Shahak agrees with something he'd like to think is true about Judaism and Jews. Therefore Shahak is correct, and there is no need to confront the FACTS that he is incorrect.

"What is needed is not irrefutable faith but irrefutable arguments", as a philosopher once said. Omar confuses the first with the second.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Omar,

What does this have to do with Matthias Küntzel's article titled Iran's Obsession with the Jews?

The article Iran's Obsession with the Jews is about Iranian attitudes regarding Jews, not Israel's dispute with its immediate neighbors.

Do you have any integrity at all? Or, are you merely a propagandist?

Let me get to the point. You are disgracing yourself!!!


N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Omar,

Again: Shahak has been shown - subject to someone, in fact, anyone showing that a professor of History, Professor Art Eckstein, is wrong - to have fabricated. In addition, on material that Omar has quoted from Shahak, Shahak misstates basic issues on the topic he addresses including, most specifically, Judaism.

So far as I am concerned, people can read Shahak if they like but they should do so with an open eye including the fact that Shahak's honesty and scholarship has been called into serious question.

In any event, we have Omar engaging in blatant propaganda - exactly the opposite of what this website is supposed to be about -, being unable even to support or deny what Shahak says. So, Omar has no idea if what Shahak says is scholarship or garbage. So, Omar's recommendation is not worth anything.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2007

Omid,

You write: "The alleged "Denial" agenda of this holocaust conference is a deliberate mistranslation of the conference's title started by mainly American media sources."

And what is the correct translation for the conference? And, if not a correct translation, is the term not, in any event, an accurate representation of the views of most of those present at the conference?

You write: "This article is pure garbage and consists of the typical false accusations being spread by American and European media."

And, what evidence do you have that the article is not accurate?

You write: "Iran has never posed a threat to israel; it has always been the other way around."

What is your proof of this? The president of Iran seems to sound rather threatening to me.

You write: "Indeed it was the U.S./Europe which encouraged and supported Iraq/arabs in their war of aggression against Iranians from 1980-1988, as well as having a hand in bringing down the Shah in the late 70's."

But, this point does not support the view that Israel is a threat to Iran. Rather, your point suggests that the US and Europe are threats to Iran.

I shall get to the point about your entire discussion. The only facts you cite do not support your position.


Omid Avery - 3/3/2007

The alleged "Denial" agenda of this holocaust conference is a deliberate mistranslation of the conference's title started by mainly American media sources.
This article is pure garbage and consists of the typical false accusations being spread by American and European media. Iran has never posed a threat to israel; it has always been the other way around.
Indeed it was the U.S./Europe which encouraged and supported Iraq/arabs in their war of aggression against Iranians from 1980-1988, as well as having a hand in bringing down the Shah in the late 70's.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2007

Omar,

To follow your theory - since you throw this point at me below -, why should I ever accept your word, since we disagree in our politics? Following your theory, I should merely say that everything you write is, unless also said by someone of my politics, made up since you have the wrong politics.

Now, up to this point, I have not done that until now even though such is what you are say when you say you will not take my word due to the fact that I support Israel. I now say the same as you: since you support the Islamists, everything you say can never be trusted. It is all taquiah.

In any event, I only see the material posted once so my apology is reiterated. But following from now on your theory - which I am now only doing in order that you get a taste of your own medicine -, I am not going to take your word for things because you support the wrong causes.

I certainly hope that you realize that there is no point in having a discussion if we deny all evidence presented due to ideological reasons rather than factual reasons. And, we could call a truce and agree that facts posted are facts but are subject to posting of facts that show errors and fabrications and other mistakes. Is that acceptable? Or, should we merely throw propaganda at each other and learn nothing from it? The choice is yours.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2007

CORRECTION:

Strike: "You are not stating something which, if it was previously stated, was not clearly stated."

Substitute:

You are now stating something which, if it was previously stated, was not clearly stated.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2007

My dear pen pal Omar,

Facts are facts without regard to one's ideology. The problem with Shahak is not that he opposes Zionism but that he, if the Professor's evidence is correct, fabricates. The second problem is that he does not appear to know very much about the religion he discusses. From that I conclude that he is not worth reading.

Now, I have, in fact, read Anti-Zionists. Not all of them make things up. I can, with respect to such people, state my disagreements. With someone like Shahak - at least based on the information now available to me - I cannot say such a thing.

As for the rest of your comment, I read your numerous debates with Professor Eckstein regarding Hezbollah TV. You are not stating something which, if it was previously stated, was not clearly stated. I now understand your position on that matter more clearly.

As for the notion that a real distinction is drawn between Jews and Zionists among serious Islamists - if that is your point -, I think you are mistaken. I think that the distinction is not drawn and I think that is why you spent so much time on this page addressing Judaism.





N. Friedman - 3/2/2007

Omar,

Think about what your comment says about you.

The Professor is a tenured professor at a major American university. He is a highly regarded scholar. Thus far, he has not made things up although, like everyone else on this cite, he is not always correct. Neither am I and neither are you.

On your view, however, he would risk his very, very substantial reputation over material posted on a website read by his peers. So, to the one audience that actually matters to his livelihood, you think he makes things up. Think about that point, while you are ahead.

In this case, he has cited a substantial scholarly authority that I am familiar with and I know for a fact does not cite things out of context.


It is one thing to say you disagree with the professor. It is another thing not to take his word about something regarding which there is no imaginable serious dispute - namely, that your source fabricated material.

In this case, you are making a fool of yourself. It is a repeat of your refusal to admit to the fact that Hezbollah TV broadcasts traditional Antisemitic trash. That is a fact that two seconds time of research would confirm.

Note, Omar. When I make an error, I admit to it. That is something that you need to learn to do. It will help you in debates. In that I argue for a living, I can tell you that credibility is everything. And, not admitting verifiable errors destroys your credibility. In this case, you are doing exactly that, and over what? Some fourth or fifth rate science professor who thinks he knows something about topics he has not spent remotely sufficient time to master. And, it is obvious that he has not mastered the topic.

Again: Omar, argue on behalf of the Arab cause or the Muslim cause or the Palestinian Arab cause to your heart's content. I shall disagree with some of what you write. But: make your arguments factual. Otherwise, it is all just trash - and not even good propaganda. And, in short order, trash does not fool anyone. Take that as a bit of lawyer's advice.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

correction:

Strike: "In Islamic law, only Muslims can head to heaven. And non-Muslims are subject to different laws than Muslims and non-Muslims can not give testimony against a Muslim and are subject to more severe penalties than non-Muslims.
"

substitute:

In Islamic law, only Muslims can head to heaven. And non-Muslims are subject to different laws than Muslims and non-Muslims can not give testimony against a Muslim and are subject to more severe penalties than Muslims.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Correction.

There are circumstances where a non-Jew might be put to death where a Jew would not - in classical Jewish jurisprudence.

What I should have said is that Jewish law places far fewer restrictions on non-Jews than it does on Jews. Hence, non-Jews need not follow most of the laws that an Orthodox Jew would hold him or herself to have to follow. And, notwithstanding only following those laws applicable to non-Jews, the non-Jews is deemed righteous and deserving of respect and able to be resurrected.

On the other hand - and contradicting your view:

In Islamic law, only Muslims can head to heaven. And non-Muslims are subject to different laws than Muslims and non-Muslims can not give testimony against a Muslim and are subject to more severe penalties than non-Muslims.

But again, Omar: none of this matters and none of this has anything to do with today's topic. And, more than that: the number of Jews who would advocate enforcing laws differently for Muslims is likely well under 0.001% or, in practical terms, nearly no one. So, Jewish law could be the worst on Earth. It has no practical consequence for non-Jews since essentially no one is applying it to non-Jews or even is trying to apply it to non-Jews. So, this is another non-issue. And worse than that, since there are large numbers of Muslims who would reinstate the dhimma pacts, hence create greater inequality than now exists.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

If you did not post the noted nonsense before, I apologize for the mistake.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

But, the death penalty would not apply to those out of the faith.

So, what you write is, once again, nonsense. And again: goyim is not a term of politics or law. It is just a label.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

A very popular error—having the courage of one’s convictions. It is rather a matter of having the courage for an attack upon one’s convictions. Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

You have a man of conviction such as Shahak and he convinces you by virtue of his conviction. He may even have believed his own words. He is even worse than a liar.

Yet, what he writes does not make it to first base so far as its truth quotient.



N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

Thus far, the evidence shows that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is not just wrong, it is stupid and unrelated to the religion as has been understood in the last 2000 years. His other comment has been shown - and you are free to rebut the evidence brought forward by the professor - to have been fabricated. That makes him something other than a credible observer.

So, again, why would any rational person take Shahak's word about other things? So far, Omar, no one on this website has tried to help you out on this. Not even Peter C. So, I doubt anyone gets past the problems that have been raised by the Professor or me.

Maybe your idea of a sage is a person who knows not what he claims and makes things up to boot. Most people have different ideas about such things.

In any event, the goal on this website is not to repost other people's articles - over and over again. As I see it, you are abusing this website.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

I misread your comment. In answer to your question, I am not aware of a substantive treatise on the topic of a Jewish goyim dualism in Jewish thought. Such may perhaps exist but it strikes me as an unimportant topic.

There are, on the other hand, many treatises on the separation, prior to the late 18th Century, of Jews from mainstream society in the Christian European regions. But, given the history of that issue, it is rather difficult to assign that to dualism as Jews were not masters of their own fate. There are also good treatises on Jews in Islamic society where, once again, Jews were not the masters of their own fate.

Please note that the word goyim is not really an operative word. It is a label to which can be applied positive or negative attributes. Hence, Jews speak of the righteous among the nations. And, they speak of the unrighteous of other nations. And, the word nations or goyim in that usage is akin to Islamic use of the word "umma" that in Islamic usage can be applied not only to the Muslim umma but to other religious communities.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, which is rather authoritative, for what it is worth, the issue of other nations can be understood thusly:

No Need for Creeds in Judaism

The remark of Leibnitz, in his preface to the "Essais de Theodicee," that the nations which filled the earth before the establishment of Christianity had ceremonies of devotion, sacrifices, libations, and a priesthood, but that they had no Articles of Faith and no dogmatic theology, applies with slight modification to the Jews. Originally race -- or perhaps it is more correct to say nationality -- and religion were coextensive. Birth, not profession, admitted to the religio-national fellowship. As long as internal dissension or external attack did not necessitate for purposes of defense the formulation of the peculiar. and differentiating doctrines, the thought of paragraphing and fixing the contents of the religious consciousness could not insinuate itse lf into the mind of even the most faithful. Missionary or- proselytizing religions are driven to the definite declaration of their teachings. The admission of the neophyte hinges upon the profession and the acceptance of his part of the belief, and that there may be no uncertainty about what is essential and what non-essential, it is incumbent on the proper authorities to determine and promulgate the cardinal tenets in a form that will facilitate repetition and memorizing. And the same necessity arises when the Church or religious fellowship is torn by internal heresies. Under the necessity of combating heresies of various degrees of perilousness and of stubborn insistence, the Church- and Islam, were forced to define and officially limit their respective) theological concepts. Both of these provocations to creed-building were less intense in Judaism. The proselytizing zeal, though during certain periods more active than at others, was, on the whole, neutralized, partly by inherent disinclination and partly by force of circumstances. Righteousness, according- to Jewish belief, was not conditioned of the acceptance of the Jewish religion. And the righteous among the nations that carried into practise the seven fundamental laws of the covenant with Noah and his descendants were declared to be participants in the felicity of the hereafter. This interpretation of the status of non-Jews precluded the development of a missionary attidude. Moreover, the regulations for the reception of proselytes, as developed in course of time, prove the eminently practical, that is, the non-creedal character of Judaism. Compliance with certain rites -- baptism, circumcision, and sacrifice -- is the test of the would-be convert's faith. He is instructed in the details of the legal practise that manifests the Jew's religiosity, while the profession of faith demanded is limited to the acknowledgement of the nity of God and the rejection of idolatry (Yorei De'ah, Gerim , 268, 2). Judah ha-Levi ("Cuzari," i. 115) puts the whole mat ter very strikingly when he says:

"We are not putting on an equality with us a person entering our religion through confession alone [Arabic original, bikalamati=by word]. We require deeds, including in that term self-restraint, purity, study of the Law, circuscision, and the performance of other duties demanded by the Torah."


(Bold type added by me).

As you can see, the issue of the OTHER is rather different in Jewish thinking than in either Christian or Islamic thinking. In any event, goyim is not an operative word.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

It is time to stop re-posting material from a person who has been discredited by actual evidence


N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

There could not possibly be a comparison as they are not similar concepts.

The dhimma is a pact relating to the treatment of a certain class of people (i.e. non-Muslim monotheists) conquered in war. And dhimmi are those subject to a dhimma. Goyim is nothing of the sort. It has nothing to do with conquest or conquered people and involves no pact of concession. It is merely a word that labels those of other nations. That, and nothing more.

To make this a bit clearer to you, the word has more to do with Kfir (infidel) than it does dhimma. Now do you understand? And, since Jews do not consider other religions to be false, it does not even quite match with kfir.



N. Friedman - 3/1/2007

Omar,

You already posted this comment. Why are you posting it again. See, Re: ISRAEL SHAHAK REMEMBERED (#106073 ) by omar ibrahim baker on February 25, 2007 at 1:37 PM

And, I responded to your post in detail. See, Re: ISRAEL SHAHAK REMEMBERED (#106084) by N. Friedman on February 25, 2007 at 2:33 PM and, in addition, at Re: P.S. to Omar (#106188) by N. Friedman on February 26, 2007 at 3:08 PM.

Below are my two detailed responses to what you wrote:

Re: ISRAEL SHAHAK REMEMBERED (#106084)
by N. Friedman on February 25, 2007 at 2:33 PM


Omar,

I do not take up the late Mr. Shahak because I have not read him. I note that Professor Eckstein cited substantial sources that say that what you quote Shahak for is made up. I take that as shown, subject to you having evidence that shows otherwise. I gather that you do not.

I also take it as shown that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is contradicted by the list of commandments - which is the complete list of them. And I take Maimonides to be a better source than Shahak in determining what Judaism is about - since he is the greatest authority about Judaism who has thus far lived. In this regard, I would take Ibn Sinna as a better source than you or me about what Islam is about. I trust you would as well.

Such is the problem with what you cite. You look to a man who has been shown to make things up yet you think he is reliable; and you also look to him notwithstanding the fact that his position is contradicted by the greatest Jewish authority of all times, namely, Maimonides.

Why would I even bother reading Shahak, since we have credible evidence that he is not trustworthy and, further, on a topic I know something about, he is in error as well.

As for a comparison between the dhimma and goyim, there cannot possibly be a comparison since the formation of Jewish law as we know it today post-dates the time that there was a nation ruled according to Jewish principles. So there is no basis for a comparison.

But note: Judaism does, as I posted, distinguish between Jew and the Other. That is certainly true. And, not everything in Judaism is particularly nice when it comes to the Other. But, the basis of the distinction is not remotely akin to that between infidel and believer, as in, for example, Islam and Christianity. That is not a matter that is contestable. It is a black and white fact. Shahak can deny that but any real student of Judaism will tell you that such is not the case. The argument does not even make it to first base.


Re: P.S. to Omar (#106188)
by N. Friedman on February 26, 2007 at 3:08 PM


Omar,

I replied to your # 106073. I note that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is contradicted by the 613 commandments which are at the heart of orthodox Judaism. And, I noted that Maimonides view does not support Shahak's position either. And, I noted that you needed to provide better evidence to support your use of Shahak at all because Professor Eckstein had credible evidence that Shahak had made up the very material you had presented.

Again, I have not read Shahak. And, if you read my comments, you will note that I do not take the view that Judaism is all kindness and roses for non-Jews. But, Shahak's version of reality is simply not supported by the record, as Judaism has very specific commandments about dealing with non-Jews. In fact, I cited the pertinent commandments.

I did not cite commandments out of context. I cited them for what they are normally understood to represent. Hence, either the commandments do not represent the Jewish view - which is absurd since Maimonides reports them himself - or Shahak did not know what he is talking about or, if we are to be unkind, maybe Shahak intentionally cited material out of context from scripture and other sources, when the rabbinic version would view the materials differently.

Lastly, I noted that it is not really possible to compare directly the dhimma - a concept that relates to conquered nations - with goyim, which refers to nations per se or to those of the various religions. This is not because Jews in ancient times did not engage in war. It is, however, because the formation of rabbinic Judaism post-dates that era in Jewish history. So, there is no basis to make a direct comparison. In this regard, I note that rabbinic Judaism is not really the same as Biblical Judaism.

Now, the dhimma is, in part, developed from Islamic concepts. However, it is also something with a history. Upon conquering portions of the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim conquerors incorporated into Islamic thinking the rules employed by that empire including rules for dealing most especially with that empire's Jewish population. However, the Muslim conquerors applied such rules not only to Jews but also to Christians, among others.

So, if one is looking back, the jizya tax comes from the Koran. The notion to force such tax to be paid so that the dhimmi would feel subdued is from the Koran. The rules restricting dhimmi from administration and regarding dress, testimony, etc., comes largely from Roman law but became part of the Shari'a.

I also note that the Biblical view on what to do with conquered areas is complicated. In some instances, the view was to kill all involved - which some claim was an advance over what other groups did in ancient times (Gulp). But, that approach was not universal to the Bible. And again, the Biblical view and the rabbinic view differ, as the rabbis did not merely read the Bible as blueprint or literally. They would argue one sections principles against others and then conclude what might be the applicable general principle. And, the rabbis were in non-Jewish states, since Israel and the other Jewish states had been conquered.

I believe that Islamic approach to examining contradictions in holy texts is rather similar to the rabbinic approach, although there is no general rule in Judaism about later in time abrogating that which is earlier in time. Judaism, after all, does not center on any one figure but on a story with quite a number of important figures, so it is not important to place words into the context of the life of the founder of the religion. Rather, the goal in Jewish scriptural analysis is to get at general rules of behavior from contradictory materials by examining the context carefully and on the basis of perceived moral norms.


I should add, so that there is no mistake, what follows are the commandments that relate to dealing with non-Jews:

53. To love the stranger (Deut. 10:19) (CCA61). See Love and Brotherhood.
54. Not to wrong the stranger in speech (Ex. 22:20) (CCN49).
55. Not to wrong the stranger in buying or selling (Ex. 22:20) (CCN50).
56. Not to intermarry with gentiles (Deut. 7:3) (CCN19). See Interfaith Marriages.
57. To exact the debt of an alien (Deut. 15:3) (affirmative).
58. To lend to an alien at interest (Deut. 23:21) According to tradition, this is mandatory (affirmative).


Now, if you having something real to say, say it. Cite some evidence that the above information - i.e. Maimonides's list of the Jewish Commandments - is wrong. Cite some evidence or take it for granted that Shahak's analysis is incorrect.


N. Friedman - 2/27/2007

Peter,

You write:

2. Rabin was murdered in 1995 by an Israeli fanatic, acting on behalf of and praised by Israeli extremists, in a great historic turning point systematically ignored and smokescreened for many years since then by Likudnik propagandists whose deceptions infest the American news media and this website.

I have highlighted the part of that statement which strikes me as odd. Note that I cited AM Rosenthal who has never been, no matter how you stretch the matter, a Likud sympathizer. But also note: the Likud was not in one step regarding how to deal with the territories. As Benny Morris notes, Sharon favored a two state solution although Netanyahu did not.

But as Rosenthal admits, a fact that you need to consider because even Haaretz (which is, if anything, an organ for the left side of the internal Israeli debate), Netanyahu actually went further than Rabin was willing to go, as matters stood. In fact, Netanyahu was willing to go further than Peres and Peres was, by anyone's reckoning, far more conciliatory than Rabin ever was.

The other point that stands out in all of your discussions on the dispute is the failure to distinguish that period from, say, 2005 or today. First, the extremist fringe among Israelis was just that, a fringe. Their actual support was not widespread, not before then, not then and not since then either. They had, however, a tactical connection with the secular Likud party among which there were those who thought that ceding land, whether or not by agreement, makes war more, not less, likely. And that group split into at least two sides, with those like Sharon who always favored a two state solution as the eventual end of the conflict and those like Netanyahu who always thought such to be a pipe dream.

Second, what support the fringe group had long ago faded in Israeli politics and, in fact, that group largely changed its position, most especially after Sharon told them in no uncertain terms the existential facts of life. Hence, as I tire of repeating, such fringe group did not do anything other than dignified protest against Sharon's pull out of Gaza. That is a fact and it is an important one as that group made a fundamental decision to stand with Israel, not with their dreams, and not to obstruct the country's politics. In other words, the "fringe" showed a flexibility that, for example, has yet ever to rear its head on the Palestinian Arab side.

Third, the failure of the Gaza pullout has also had an important impact on all of Israel's politics. So, the attitude of Palestinian Arabs in response to the Gaza event may have set back the two state idea for a generation, if not permanently. In fact, the more likely future - and it is not impossible that the surrounding Arab states have also so concluded - is for any territory that Israel might someday cede to come under the control of Jordan.

Fourth, the rise of Islamist power makes any talk of peace into mere talk. Such people oppose peace on principle and it is a very large percentage of all Palestinian Arabs. Such group includes people who opened advocate genocide - as does the party that rules the PA territories. Such group is not the mirror image of any major party in Israel. Rather, such group is exactly equivalent to the radicals which you oppose everywhere else except, evidently, in Israel. My suggestion: Peter. Read the HAMAS covenant. That document is a blue print for that group's thinking and what they do. You can bank on that.


art eckstein - 2/27/2007

Here's what Mr. Friedman wrote about this situation, Mr. Clarke;



Re: hogwash (#106236)
by N. Friedman on February 26, 2007 at 10:39 PM
Professor,

Even Omar is more open to self-criticism than Peter generally is. I wish you good luck trying to get Peter even to stand by his own assertions.

Your posting here unfortunately proves Mr. Friedman right, does it not?

You have to deal with the fact that it is not just ME who believes you discounted the impact of terrorism on the 1996 Israeli elections in your version. If that were the case you could call me crazy, or (as you do) a liar. But Mr. Friedman read your posts the same way, and still does, and predicts you won't back down in the face of the obvious evidence of what you wrote--and he was correct on all counts. Since it's not just me who read your posting the way I did, I think you must canvass the possibility that the problem lies in what you wrote.

I'm not sure whether you now want to continue to downplay completely the impact of those terror attacks of Feb. 25 and March 3, 1996, just before the election--because that's what "I distance myself from nothing I wrote" would mean, because what you wrote was that you'd never HEARD of the terror being an important issue in the elections before. Or is it that, in self-contradiction to "I distance myself from nothing", you now link your points 3 and 4 and ADMIT at least a little the impact of these terror attacks in swaying the close election, but STILL wish to put the major blame on the Israelis, not the Palestinians, the Isrtaelis whom you dare to describe as "cowardly" (you mean in the face of terror, and an aged Prime Minister who had proven incapable of stopping it?) I can't telI which you mean, and I also can't change such blindness in terms of understanding that complex events occur because of a synergy in which the Palestinian terror--an external event--played a crucial role in swaying the election.

But in any case, Mr. Clarke, you must face the fact that I'm not alone in describing your position the way I did. And that means I'm no liar. You just can't accept the implications of what you wrote--as Mr. Friedman predicted would happen.


N. Friedman - 2/27/2007

This is an interesting article.


N. Friedman - 2/27/2007

Professor,

Even Omar is more open to self-criticism than Peter generally is. I wish you good luck trying to get Peter even to stand by his own assertions.


N. Friedman - 2/27/2007

Professor,

Maybe you are correct. I just see you gaining nothing valuable while antagonizing Omar. In any event, his position is rather obvious.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Well, Mr. Clarke, I can't vouch for what you THINK you said, but this is what you ACTUALLY said:

First, this is what I wrote:

Re: unfair disadvantage (#106097)
by art eckstein on February 25, 2007 at 4:32 PM
"As for the 1996 election, Mr. Clarke, you leave out the Palestinian terrorist contribution to Netanyahu's victory. Following the 1994 Rabin-Arafat peace-signing ceremony on the White House lawn, Israel was shaken for three years by terrorist attacks that killed 270 Israeli citizens. I think this had something to do with what occurred in 1996, for the Labor govt under Peres proved unable to stop it, and the Arafat PA proved, as usual, unwilling to do so. It's a big part of the equation..."



And here is what YOU, Peter, wrote in response to my assertion that Palestinian terrorism was "a big part of the equation" in the 1996 Israeli elections:

2. Clarke's reply:


biases and comparisons (#106100)
by Peter K. Clarke on February 25, 2007 at 6:01 PM

Mr. Eckstein, I have been following HNN for over four years but you raise a part of Israeli-Palestinian history that I don't think has ever been covered here in the hundreds of articles on the Mideast.

It is certainly true that there always have been extremists on both sides, and that Hamas took advantage of a weaker interim Israeli government following Rabin's murder to launch attacks killing (according to the New York Times Almanac, 1998, p. 596) 60 Israelis, in early 1996. Then, in May,

"in Israel's first direct election of a prime minister, Likud's hard-line Benyamin Netanyahu narrowly defeated Peres as the Israelis chose 'security' over 'peace.' In less than a year the peace process had come to a virtual standstill as the Netanyahu government pushed ahead with new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem provoking public disapproval by the U.S. and others that Israel was violating the 1995 accords."

This short capsule history does not indicate whether Netanyahu & Co, ever explained how that regime's building hideously ugly military-like fortresses for religious zealots in locations designed to maximally antagonize Palestinians was supposed to help protect Israelis in Tel Aviv or Haifa."


Surely you can see why BOTH myself and Mr. Friedman (not just me) concluded that you did not accept that Palestinian terrorism was "a big part of the equation" in that election, and that your reference to "extremists on both sides" is doubly misleading about the extent and impact of Palestinian terrorism on that election. It was perfectly natural for Mr. Friedman to say that in your reconstruction, the impact of Palestinian terrorism almost reaches the vanishing point--and for me to agree with him. And when you say that in four years on HNN you've never heard what I say in my own entry cited above--that tells us how much has been missing on a factual basis. (btw, I stand by my numbers. 47 Israelis were killed in the suicide-bomber bus massacres of Feb. 25 and March 3, 1996 ALONE.)

If you wish now to distance yourself from your reply to me at #106100 above, I welcome that. If you do not wish to do so, then you should realize more clearly what you are saying.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Dear N.F.,

This isn't just "stick-it-in-your eye." I am simply asking Omar to be a modern, self-critical person. I do believe he makes that claim, by trotting out "evidence" and so forth as if he knew how to participate in an academic debate and discussion. I am thus simply asking him to do what any of us modern people do in discussions and debates.

Of course, Omar in one sense has been an education to us all as to how a premodern, pre-empirical non-self-critical person behaves.

Nevertheless, by challenging me ("challenge" is his word, you know) on the basis of poor Shahak he accepted implicitly that I would answer him, and in that sense he was insisting on participating in a modern (not premodern) interaction. I answered him, and crushed him with facts. So did you.

But it is not fair that he asks questions but is not asked questions back on the grounds that to ask him tough questions provokes him. (That's a pricniple of appeasement, as you well know since you've read the excellent Gilbert and Gott, "The Appeasers".) Omar has asked harsh questions, and he has gotten back our crushing answers; now he must expect in his turn to be asked serious or even harsh questions. That's a modern interaction.

The only thing "unfair" in my questions to Omar (which I think you believe are legitimate questions per se) is that it may be psychologically impossible for Omar to respond to them rationally. That's what you suppose and you may be correct. But that does not lessen his responsibility to do so. Omar is not a child. He cannot be expected to be treated gently when he has been vicious and wrong. To do so--well, THAT would be patronizing, I truly believe, N.F

Of course, if Omar cannot respond rationally to my questions, that will be another lesson to us all about him. Your point is that we already know this about him.

To which I have two responses:

a. There may be people here, or even people who read this particular internet interaction in the future, who do not know this about him.

b. But even more, I really want to know his answers. He SEEMED in his reply to you to say that 9/11 was non-Islamic. So were the terrorists who did this heretics, or "non-Muslims"? I want to hear him say that--or else reveal that he cannot say that. I think either answer would be enlightening. And the same with his possible answers to my other questions. And if he refuses to answer at all, that will be enlightening also.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

Your version of events sees the terrorism as far less than it is. To the Israelis, it is not a thing, it is close to being the main thing - although there are some other issues.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Professor,

I recall reading Omar's words. I am not sure what difference your question makes other than to raise Omar's arches. We, after all, know Omar's views about this matter unless he is playing games.

Consider: Omar has made clear his view that he finds at least something appealing in the Islamic political vision, as seen from the present looking back toward the seventh century, of a consensual polity of equals as he would envision the prophet and his companions created and desired. And, I think he has said that he understands that if what a religion claims is true, then it is not odd to believe that such should be made available to all mankind. And, I think he has said he sees at least something in at least some of the rhetoric of Hezbollah (while denying their rabid antisemitism that is there for all to see). Lastly, he claims not to be religious yet... he views concepts from other faiths as rough equivalents of Islamic concepts and, when I have misstated slightly an Islamic concept, he has pounced on me for doing so.

With such tiny bits of information in hand, I think I can fairly well predict, unless Omar is lying - which I doubt - what he deep down thinks about events such as 9/11 and about events in Iraq. So, I do not think it all that important to raise his arch so that the discussion descends toward yet another abyss.

Another point, people raised in more traditional cultures do not typically imagine their own tradition to be other than perfect. Only people raised in a truly contemporary society - and rarely even then - are critical of their own religion and culture. That goes doubly for faiths that espouse their own inerrancy.

I think you are asking Omar to do consider an idea he cannot address without raising arches. So, I think you are being a bit unfair.


E. Simon - 2/26/2007

Thought this article might make an interesting addition to the discussion:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/830309.html


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Omar wrote, in response to you:

"Nor do I hold Islam responsible for 9/11. Those who can NOT tell the difference between the genuine dictates of a certain religion and the practices of some of its adherents, no matter how much those adherents consider themselves to be its true manifestation..."

So I am asking him whether those who flew the planes into the Towers, and the millions and millions who cheered them, are bad Muslims, in fact (Khajarite) heretics, or indeed, whether those who flew the planes into the Towers are--in Omar's understanding--Muslims at all, since although they acted in the name of Islam, and perpetrated mass murder of innocents as an act of worship, and are viewed as very very good Muslims by millions and millions of Muslims, who DO view their acts as the true manifestation of Islam, Omar doesn't hold Islam to blame.

Even if he says all these tens of millions ARE bad Muslims, I also ask him to explain why Islam is so suspecptible so often to such a misinterpretation.

N.F., you of course have pretty much provided answer to that question. I'd like to see Omar's answer, however, though I doubt I'll get it.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Professor,

And, you might also note that Netanyahu continued working toward a two state solution in which he really did not believe. So, he pursued what his electorate wanted, notwithstanding his reservations about it.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Professor,

I think you are pushing the envelope of friendly conversation a bit here.

I am not sure it is for Omar to distance himself from people with whom he likely has no connection in the first place. I think it enough to note that the Jihad is pushed by those who claim the mantle of tradition while those who claim what you and I would call moderation largely appeal not to tradition but to moderation, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali noted in The New York Times. Hence, in a debate, the Jihadists win with the religious masses since the moderates do not come with their own citation to scripture.

Nonetheless, there is certainly a traditional argument against NGO style offensive terrorist Jihad violence. It, however, is likely not being much heard, at least in Sunni circles, because (and I recall reading this in a Pakistani newspaper) there is no Caliph - the party designated to call a Jihad in Sunni Islam.

The absence of a Caliph creates a difficult problem of how to pursue the traditional Islamic project to bring Islamic rule to all the world. Without a Caliph, one can give up on the project or one can make due with the reality that exists. And, to the extent one believes in religion as the, not a, thing, the more important is the project to bring Islamic rule to all the Earth. So, tradition allows the lunatics to appeal to scripture and common sense.

This is true even if attacking women, children, elderly and clerics is not proper according to the ulemma, yet clearly did occur on 9/11, with Muslims cheering for it all over the world.




art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Mr. Clarke, N.F. hits the nail on the head when he says that you ignored the powerful impact of Palestinian terrorism in the 1996 Israeli election to the point that it ceased to exist. That is a major historical error.

We cannot know whether Netanyahu would have defeated the allegedly more "peacenik" Peres WITHOUT the terrible impact of the Palestinian terror before the election, i.e., if no such terrorism had occurred. But since Peres' inability to handle the terrorism was the single most important "external" issue in the election campaign, it is obvious that Netanyahu would have had a very much tougher time defeating Peres, and might well NOT have defeated him at all--except for the Palestinians.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Omar distances himself from 9/11--which was done as an act of worship in the Muslim religion. Are you saying those who flew the planes were not good Muslims, Omar?

Omar, you need also to explain why, if this was a terribly unIslamic act, that is NOT the view of so many Muslims, among whom bin Laden has enjoyed great support and among whom those who flew the planes into the Towers are viewed as Muslim HEROES, not Khajarite heretics. Are all THOSE people bad Muslims as well?

And do you distance yourself from the Muslim murderers of 34,000 civilians in Iraq--every civilian the victim of an "act of worship" in the form of terrorism? Were the terrorists bad Muslims in your opinion?

If so, if all those people are misinterpreting Islam and are bad Muslims, how come Islam is so susceptible to such persistent misinterpretation? Please explain that.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

[reposted]

Omar,

I replied to your # 106073. I note that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is contradicted by the 613 commandments which are at the heart of orthodox Judaism. And, I noted that Maimonides view does not support Shahak's position either. And, I noted that you needed to provide better evidence to support your use of Shahak at all because Professor Eckstein had credible evidence that Shahak had made up the very material you had presented.

Again, I have not read Shahak. And, if you read my comments, you will note that I do not take the view that Judaism is all kindness and roses for non-Jews. But, Shahak's version of reality is simply not supported by the record, as Judaism has very specific commandments about dealing with non-Jews. In fact, I cited the pertinent commandments.

I did not cite commandments out of context. I cited them for what they are normally understood to represent. Hence, either the commandments do not represent the Jewish view - which is absurd since Maimonides reports them himself - or Shahak did not know what he is talking about or, if we are to be unkind, maybe Shahak intentionally cited material out of context from scripture and other sources, when the rabbinic version would view the materials differently.

Lastly, I noted that it is not really possible to compare directly the dhimma - a concept that relates to conquered nations - with goyim, which refers to nations per se or to those of the various religions. This is not because Jews in ancient times did not engage in war. It is, however, because the formation of rabbinic Judaism post-dates that era in Jewish history. So, there is no basis to make a direct comparison. In this regard, I note that rabbinic Judaism is not really the same as Biblical Judaism.

Now, the dhimma is, in part, developed from Islamic concepts. However, it is also something with a history. Upon conquering portions of the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim conquerors incorporated into Islamic thinking the rules employed by that empire including rules for dealing most especially with that empire's Jewish population. However, the Muslim conquerors applied such rules not only to Jews but also to Christians, among others.

So, if one is looking back, the jizya tax comes from the Koran. The notion to force such tax to be paid so that the dhimmi would feel subdued is from the Koran. The rules restricting dhimmi from administration and regarding dress, testimony, etc., comes largely from Roman law but became part of the Shari'a.

I also note that the Biblical view on what to do with conquered areas is complicated. In some instances, the view was to kill all involved - which some claim was an advance over what other groups did in ancient times (Gulp). But, that approach was not universal to the Bible. And again, the Biblical view and the rabbinic view differ, as the rabbis did not merely read the Bible as blueprint or literally. They would argue one sections principles against others and then conclude what might be the applicable general principle. And, the rabbis were in non-Jewish states, since Israel and the other Jewish states had been conquered.

I believe that Islamic approach to examining contradictions in holy texts is rather similar to the rabbinic approach, although there is no general rule in Judaism about later in time abrogating that which is earlier in time. Judaism, after all, does not center on any one figure but on a story with quite a number of important figures, so it is not important to place words into the context of the life of the founder of the religion. Rather, the goal in Jewish scriptural analysis is to get at general rules of behavior from contradictory materials by examining the context carefully and on the basis of perceived moral norms.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Omar,

I replied to your # 106073. I note that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is contradicted by the 613 commandments which are at the heart of orthodox Judaism. And, I noted that Maimonides view does not support Shahak's position either. And, I noted that you needed to provide better evidence to support your use of Shahak at all because Professor Eckstein had credible evidence that Shahak had made up the very material you had presented.

Again, I have not read Shahak. And, if you read my comments, you will note that I do not take the view that Judaism is all kindness and roses for non-Jews. But, Shahak's version of reality is simply not supported by the record, as Judaism has very specific commandments about dealing with non-Jews. In fact, I cited the pertinent commandments.

I did not cite commandments out of context. I cited them for what they are normally understood to represent. Hence, either the commandments do not represent the Jewish view - which is absurd since Maimonides reports them himself - or Shahak did not know what he is talking about or, if we are to be unkind, maybe Shahak intentionally cited material out of context from scripture and other sources, when the rabbinic version would view the materials differently.

Lastly, I noted that it is not really possible to compare directly the dhimma - a concept that relates to conquered nations - with goyim, which refers to nations per se or to those of the various religions. This is not because Jews in ancient times did not engage in war. It is, however, because the formation of rabbinic Judaism post-dates that era in Jewish history. So, there is no basis to make a direct comparison. In this regard, I note that rabbinic Judaism is not really the same as Biblical Judaism.

Now, the dhimma is, in part, developed from Islamic concepts. However, it is also something with a history. Upon conquering portions of the Byzantine Empire, the Muslim conquerors incorporated into Islamic thinking the rules employed by that empire including rules for dealing most especially with that empire's Jewish population. However, the Muslim conquerors applied such rules not only to Jews but also to Christians, among others.

So, if one is looking back, the jizya tax comes from the Koran. The notion to force such tax to be paid so that the dhimmi would feel subdued is from the Koran. The rules restricting dhimmi from administration and regarding dress, testimony, etc., comes largely from Roman law but became part of the Shari'a.

I also note that the Biblical view on what to do with conquered areas is complicated. In some instances, the view was to kill all involved - which some claim was an advance over what other groups did in ancient times (Gulp). But, that approach was not universal to the Bible. And again, the Biblical view and the rabbinic view differ, as the rabbis did not merely read the Bible as blueprint or literally. They would argue one sections principles against others and then conclude what might be the applicable general principle. And, the rabbis were in non-Jewish states, since Israel and the other Jewish states had been conquered.

I believe that Islamic approach to examining contradictions in holy texts is rather similar to the rabbinic approach, although there is no general rule in Judaism about later in time abrogating that which is earlier in time. Judaism, after all, does not center on any one figure but on a story with quite a number of important figures, so it is not important to place words into the context of the life of the founder of the religion. Rather, the goal in Jewish scriptural analysis is to get at general rules of behavior from contradictory materials by examining the context carefully and on the basis of perceived moral norms.




art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Both examples you gave to us, Omar, were WRONG. Factually WRONG.

You cannot make an "argument from authority" when the "authority" you cite has already turned out to be wrong on BOTH factual cases you yourself presented.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

You cannot read.

I did not say Israel has no nukes. I said it was likely mostly a bluff. Here are my exact words: The second part of what you say is less certain. That is, while Israelis may issue leaks and the like about a nuclear program, there are real reasons to believe it mostly a bluff. I think I know my position quite well. You, evidently, did not read it carefully.

And, I noted, with reference to the Rabin matter, that Peres was part of the Rabin government and that the matter on which I cited Peres was where Peres stated Israel's official position (i.e. the position of his boss, Mr. Rabin). That little detail escaped Peter's otherwise remarkable ability to read.

I did not say Netanyahu was or is a peacenik. I said he went further than Rabin's government was willing to go. That is not something I made up. It is established fact.

The Nobel Prize was given to those who started the ball rolling. I doubt Netanyahu would have gone down that path. On the other hand, he clearly did not stop the ball rolling. Rather, he went beyond what Rabin's government was willing to do. That is true no matter how you want to twist the facts.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/26/2007

In other words readers--
Omar, having been proven humilatingly and totally wrong on the FACTS in his retailing of every aspect of Shahak's assertions, and offering no new facts to back those assertions up, and having issued a "challenge" (HIS words) to me which I have more than met, now refuses even to engage in the far worse history of Muslim violence and genocide, on which I issued, in fairness, a similar challenge to him, with specific questions.

All too typical.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/26/2007

Right.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Professor,

I agree. I also note that Peter and I had this dispute a little while ago.

He defended his position on the ground that the evidence I cited came from Shimon Peres, who had made Israel's position under the Rabin government, clear. I had cited a fairly recent Haaretz article which explained the history rather succinctly.

Peter has his own version of history. It is based on - and this will get him angry but, I think, it fairly explains his views - European thinking. His is the European thinking that advances European goals to appease Arabs by recasting Arab attacks on Israel into euphemisms while exaggerating Israel's doings.

In this case, we have Peter essentially blotting out terror as a factor affecting Israeli thinking - when, in fact, it is central to understanding it - and casting Netanyahu as an ogre who offered nothing when, in fact, he continued the process started by Rabin's government and, in some ways, went further than Rabin's government was willing to go.

In this case, you caught him reducing terror to the vanishing point when, as everyone knows full well, it was central to bringing Netanyahu to power.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/26/2007

N.F., you are quite right, as far as I can see, that Netanyahu--despite being vilified, as we see so often here--actually was willing to give the Palestinians more than Rabin did.

So that argument falls away as well in the face of facts.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Professor,

I agree with your point. I do note, however, that Netanyahu actually carried further than Rabin was, at the time at least, prepared to do.

In any event, this was likely all in vain as it seems more likely, as I see things, that the Arab side was either not acting in earnest or, perhaps, was unable to act due to the size of the rejectionist group.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Peter, of course Rabin's assassination was important, and the book I excerpted from discussed Rabin's assassination at LENGTH. And if you go back and read my post, I say that Palestinian terrorism was not the only factor in Netanyahu's election.

But YOU left Palestinian terrorism OUT in YOUR account of the election, as if Netanyahu's came simply out of some inherent evil and aggression in Israeli society. And not only did you leave terrorism completely OUT, but when I then said it WAS important in the election, YOU said that you'd been posting on HNN for four years and this was "a new history" to you--I think you were being sarcastic here, and indicating (a) that what I said was not true and (b) that no one thought this I was pointing out how distorted the omission of terroism was on your part, how misguided you were to say that this was "a new history" to you, when REAL scholars of Israeli politics, in a book published by a prestigious press, say Palestinian terrorism was the most important EXTERNAL factor in Netanyahuy's election.

If you want to continue to live in a fantasy that Palestinian terrorism was NOT a crucial factor in Netanyahu's election, and that the terrible attacks before the election were "a turning point, perhaps THE turning point" that led to Netanyahu's election, I can't help that.

Obviously if Rabin had been running against Netanyahu the election would have turned out differently. It's terrible that he was assassinated. His murderer is in prison. By contrast, Palestinian terrorists, who intentionally kill innocents, are heroes to their people.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

No one denies that Israelis have interests. But, the main one, above all others, is ending the dispute. If you do not understand that, you live on a different planet.

So yes, some want to keep the captured territories and settle on them. That is true. But, even among that population, all but a few nuts - ala the nut who killed Rabin - would trade the land if it might end the dispute.

What planet are you on?


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Answer my challenges, Omar. I answered your challenge. And I destroyed you. And Friedman destroyed the rest. (Yelling doesn't change things. Repeating falsehoods doesn't change things. You lost because you were careless and wrong.)

Now, since I have answered your challenges to me, answer my challenges to you.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

Answer my challenges. I answered yours.


art eckstein - 2/26/2007

1. Peter, you remarked that my pointing out the impact of Palestinian terrorism on the Israeli election of 1996--this was "new history" to you. But it is NOT new to those who know the region.

From Dan Elazar and Shmuel Sandler, Israel's 1996 Election (Frank Cass, 1998):

--The Radical Palestinians' Terrorist Campaign

Those Palestinian groups opposed to the existing peace process--Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)--had launched many terrorist attacks since the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 and continuing during the months leading up to the election campaign. Some of these operations took place within Israel itself; others were directed against Israeli civilians, soldiers, or installations in the West Bank and Gaza.

Although a large portion of such plans were foiled--by prior arrests, the terrorists' mistakes, or the action of defensive forces on the scene, enough were successful to inflict several hundred casualties. The attacks were of many types, including individual knifings, drive-by shootings at automobiles or passers'-by, kidnappings, and--most significantly--suicide bombings directed against buses or pedestrians.

This phenomenon was a constant presence but reached its peak in a wave of five fatal attacks in Israeli cities during February-March 1996. The most important were three suicide- bombings, two on Jerusalem buses, and a third at a major Tel Aviv intersection. These events had a tremendous effect on the mood in Israel. In fact, they can be said to be a turning point- -perhaps the turning point--in determining the election's outcome. [REPEAT, PHILIP: THESE PALESTINIAN TERROR ATTACKS "HAD A TREMENDOUS EFFECT ON THE MOOD IN ISRAEL. IN FACT THEY CAN BE SAID TO BE A TURNING POINT--PERHAPS THE TURNING POINT--IN DETERMINING THE ELECTION'S OUTCOME."]

The level of terrorism significantly declined between early March and the election, a development attributable to tougher Israeli security measures and a PA crackdown. Still, this issue- -and especially the February-March wave--became not only a campaign's central debate, the most important theme in the opposition's advertising, and perhaps in decision making by hitherto undecided voters.

The incumbent government, its allies, and supporters had two main arguments to explain these events. First, the high level of terrorism was labeled the desperate acts of those who knew that the peace process was defeating them. The January Palestinian elections, resulting in victories for Arafat and his supporters, coupled with splits in Hamas showed that events were moving in the right direction. Since the assaults were an effort to destroy this progress, for Israel to change course would be to give the terrorists a victory.

Second, the government insisted that the ongoing peace process would reduce terrorism by strengthening the PA and giving it the willingness and power to repress or constrain these forces, and the Palestinian population an incentive to reject them. In short, the terrorism upsurge was said to be a transient phenomenon that would be eliminated most quickly and completely by continuing the policy of negotiation and compromise. Arafat's crackdown on the terrorist groups following the February-March attacks was taken as proof of this assessment's correctness. 

During the election campaign, the opposition and its supporters portrayed the upsurge in terrorism as proof that the government's policy had failed. In contrast, it claimed that terrorism was increasing precisely because of the compromises implemented in the peace process. The PA was said to be ignoring or even, at worst, abetting Hamas<thorn>s activities. Thus, continuing the existing policy would further intensify the level of anti- Israel violence. There was no real peace, but only intensified violence, while Israelis were said to fear going about their daily activities.

There is little evidence as to the intentions of Palestinian terrorist groups directly vis-a-vis Israel's election. Certainly, they wished to wreck the peace process by undermining support for it within Israel, while "proving" to Palestinians that Israel had no intention of fulfilling its commitments and that they were more effective battlers for Palestinian rights than was Arafat.

Generally, they looked on the existing peace process as an Israeli trick and as a betrayal by Arafat of the traditional goalof destroying Israel. The PA's consolidation of power weakened the prospects for Islamic forces to seize hegemony among the Palestinians. At the same time, Hamas was constrained by fear of Arafat's repression, knowing also that by acting to split the Palestinian people it would become a pariah. Finally, trying to prevent Israeli withdrawals put Hamas in the ridiculous--and unpopular--position of seeking to preserve the occupation.

There is very little evidence that the Hamas attacks were connected with the election. According to Muhammad Abu Warda, a Hamas activist who recruited the suicide bombers, the goal of the February-March terrorist attacks was to bring down the Peres government. Israeli army intelligence officers made similar suggestions, and even Christopher suggested that Iran was dispatching terrorists for such a disruption. It is possible that the PA's police--who had arrested him--urged Abu Warda to say this. During his trial in August, however, Abu Warda's boss, Hasan Salama, said that the attacks had nothing to do with the elections.(24)

Perhaps intimidated by the PA's crackdown, stronger Israeli security measures, and a closure of the territories, the terrorist groups were far less effective during the latter part of the election campaign. Nonetheless, the impact of their attacks on Israeli voters--no matter what the radicals' intentions--was undoubtedly the most powerful external factor influencing the election. [REPEAT: THE IMPACT OF PALESTINIAN TERROR WAS 'UNDOUBTEDLY THE MOST POWERFUL EXTERNAL FACTOR INFLUENCING THE ELECTION."]

That this is "a new history" to you says quite a bit, Peter.

I'm not saying Palestinian terrorism was the only factor. But obviously it was a huge factor.

One you forgot to mention or didn't know about in discussing the results of the election.

2. You have yet to name any Palestinian "moderates" who spoke or are speaking out against Palestinian brutality against the Israelis, as Shahak spoke out against Israeli brutality towards Palestinians. Do you know any names?

3. Your note about Ashrawi of course proves my point that she is no longer very active.

4. "40 years of oppression" typically ignores the 20 previous years of Jordanian occupation. In that period, the West Bank area was officially annexed by Jordan. Speaking of maps, look at any pre-1967 map and you'll see this. Obviously the Israelis are very tough. Friedman is right that the Jordanians were very tough. Nobody talks about their action and they have been wiped from the slate of history, as you yourself (perhaps inadvertantly) show.


Peter, Israel is not the only significant actor in the Middle East; it is acted upon as much as being an actor, and HOW it is acted upon, with huge brutality, is an important factor in determining its politics.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

Notwithstanding your point, most of the last 40 years were, for Palestinian Arabs, an improvement over what they had in Jordan. Only since the arrival of Arafat did living standards plummet. He did nothing to reverse that trend although he was only partially the cause.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

Rosenthal is not an historian. What of it? Is he incorrect? You have no facts suggesting that he is. If you have some facts, bring them forward for us to discuss.


N. Friedman - 2/26/2007

Peter,

I am well aware of what you say. I note that no one actually knows. And Vanunu could well be a plant.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Oops, too many "n"s: I mean to write Hanan Ashrawi.

But she has little influence now in any case.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

I do not deny that Iran may seek to dominate its neighbors. But, frankly, the assumption that Iran is also not bent on destroying Israel is, to me, naive. In any event, what you write is not inconsistent with my point or that of Benny Morris or Bernard Lewis. Iran would, quite possibly, enhance its standing - if it is not destroyed in the process - were it to nuke Israel. In fact, such would scare the daylights out of Iran's neighbors.

I think that Professor Eckstein's point that there is real barbarism brewing in Israel's enemies speaks exactly to that point.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

Benny Morris does not even have faith in Sari Nuseibeh as Nuseibeh has never said that the Jewish nationalism is a legitimate movement.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Name someone beside Sari Nuseibeh or Hanan Nashrawi, neither of whom has any influence with Fateh or Hamas, who might be willing to compromise, Peter.

Name Palestinian intellectuals who complained about the intentional massacre of israeli civilians, 2/3 of them women and children in the Second Intifada, or who complained about the Passover Massacre, or who complained about the Maxim Restaurant Massacre which enjoyed 75% approval among the Palestinian people though 3 children were among the 20 dead.

Your faith in humanity is touching, Peter, but if such intellectuals don't speak out then they might as well not exist. If their society is so bloodthirsty that they FEAR to speak out, whose fault is that? The Israelis? My point in bringing up the terrorism of the mid-1990s was that what holds now (fear of intellectuals to speak out, assuming they exist) held then. So you don't know whether they exist, you have no evidence they exist, they might as well NOT exist even if they do, and Omar says they DON'T exist.

Where's the evidence that he is wrong?

You questioned him to come up with Muslim intellectuals who criticized Muslim authorities for their attitudes towards Israel and Jews the same way Shahak did the Israelis. He could not, and proclaimed his happiness that he could not. Think about it.

And the point is that Israel is a civilized and self-critical society facing societies that are neither.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

I clicked too soon. I should have posted my point about Netanyahu:

In 1993 Yitzhak Rabin decided to reverse himself, return most of the West Bank and create the foundations of a Palestinian state for Yasir Arafat. Terrorism did not end, not then and not after Benjamin Netanyahu was elected.

Mr. Netanyahu accepted what was written in Oslo, including the return of Hebron, which Labor did not dare carry out. But he would not accept Palestinian demands not agreed to at Oslo -- the end of Jewish building in Jerusalem, the return of all the West Bank and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. Terrorism went on.



N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

I invite this point from The New York Times, by AM Rosenthal The Half-Century War, September 9, 1997


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

I stated my view. I stand by my view. I may be wrong. I might not be. But, there are no facts by which to answer this issue as the Israelis keep the matter basically a state secret.

Note: that someone is jailed does not mean that he is not, in fact, an Israeli agent used to plant a story.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

Some possible evidence of the thaw I have referred to and which Professor Lewis sees. See Report: 3 Gulf states agree to IAF overflights en route to Iran, Haaretz, February 25, 2007. From the article:

Three Arab states in the Persian Gulf would be willing to allow the Israel Air force to enter their airspace in order to reach Iran in case of an attack on its nuclear facilities, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasa reported on Sunday.

According to the report, a diplomat from one of the gulf states visiting Washington on Saturday said the three states, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, have told the United States that they would not object to Israel using their airspace, despite their fear of an Iranian response.


That is pretty amazing stuff, don't you think, Peter? I wonder whether it is true or part of Washington's hard push at Iran.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

Peter's account also would not take into account that Netanyahu, notwithstanding his skepticism about ceding land to form a Palestinian Arab state at all actually offered more than did Rabin's government. Rabin's government, after all, was interested in ceding land to form a state confederated with Jordan, not an independent state. I might add that such position was delivered by Peres, who was far more conciliatory than Rabin ever was.



art eckstein - 2/25/2007

As for the 1996 election, Mr. Clarke, you leave out the Palestinian terrorist contribution to Netanyahu's victory. Following the 1994 Rabin-Arafat peace-signing ceremony on the White House lawn, Israel was shaken for three years by terrorist attacks that killed 270 Israeli citizens. I think this had something to do with what occurred in 1996, for the Labor govt under Peres proved unable to stop it, and the Arafat PA proved, as usual, unwilling to do so. It's a big part of the equation.

And I would add, once you accept the existence of terrorists willing to use hyperviolence against Israeli civilians,you have to admit that they were equally or even more likely to use it against Palestinian intellectuals who were critical of them. But the effect is that those intellectuals are silent--and it is important to remember that Omar is GLAD they do not exist.


E. Simon - 2/25/2007

Well, thank you for your kind words and generous appraisal of my post, but I am unclear on two assumptions in your response:

1. That a functioning state necessary protects intellectuals, no less the likely authoritarian (even if ostensibly less violent) Palestinian state that would have been created in the 1990s.

2. That Yitzhak Rabin would have been somehow amenable to "allowing" for a Palestinian state within a timeline any more accelerated than that followed by his various successors.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

You write: Maybe. It might also be that Egpyt, Saudi, etc. don't make a stink because then their populaces would clamour for nukes for their countries. Remember, the Islamists are not (yet) in control in these countries. How to reduce their support for the radicals by the moderates without completely toppling the moderates themselves: THAT would be a worthy topic to discuss. [Note to NF: if you are not a citizen of Israel you don't have to add the BS disclaimer on the nukes as even the prime minister himself forgot to do recently).

The first part of what you write could mostly be as you suggest. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia actually is ruled by Islamists, not be more secular forces such as rule Egypt. So, that part of what you say is incorrect - although the point is minor to what you state.

The second part of what you say is less certain. That is, while Israelis may issue leaks and the like about a nuclear program, there are real reasons to believe it mostly a bluff. Professor Morris gives a good explanation of why. As he notes, Israel, given its size and location, could never be in a position where it would be possible ever to use them - either they would be too early or too late.

That is to say, Israel more benefits from the bluff of such weapons than from their reality. And, that seems to be consistent with the country's publicly stated position. So, I always note their weapons with skepticism because I tend to think them more a bluff.

You write: "Not really. ..."

Well, Professor Lewis has a different take. He thinks that elements surrounding Ahmadinejad mean what they are saying and would let all Iran burn. They are not, he notes, the only forces in Iran but they are important and rather insane ones.

I take Lewis as being far greater an expert than the person you cite. In fact, a greater authority than he would be difficult to find.

I might also note that I previously commented on your expert's article. I do not recall you bothering to respond.

Note this from a recent Lewis interview:

What do the Iranians think of their nuclear program?

That is a delicate issue because the nuclear program has become a matter of national pride. Look at it from the Iranian point of view: The Russians in the north have it, the Chinese in the east have it, the Pakistanis in the south have it, and the Israelis in the west have it. "Who is to tell us that we must not have it?"

I think one should try to make it clear at all stages that the objection is not to Iran having [a nuclear capacity] but to the regime that governs Iran having it. I am told now that in Iran most recently, support has virtually disappeared for the nuclear program. Previously it had some support, but it is now increasingly being realized that this is a method of strengthening the regime, which means that it is bad.

What would the Iranian regime do with a nuclear bomb if it got one?

That depends entirely on the balance of forces within the regime. There are people in Iran who know that using nuclear weapons, even threatening to use nuclear weapons, could bring terrible retribution upon them. On the other hand there are people with an apocalyptic mindset, and their supporters...

Do you have a sense of how far Arab states are willing to go to change things in Iran? Will they cooperate with the Israelis and the Americans?
The Arab states are very concerned about the Shia revolution. They see a militant, expansionist Shia movement which already seems to be spreading from Iran to Iraq, through Syria to Lebanon, all the way across to the Mediterranean and eastward to Afghanistan and Pakistan and so on.

One has to bear in mind that there are significant Shia minorities in Saudi Arabia and all around the Gulf, all the Gulf States. Yemen is in a sense a Shia state, though not of the same branch. From the Saudi point of view, the Shia revolution really constitutes a major menace. That is why they were so quietly supportive of Israel in the Lebanon war, and I think they would take that line again if there is a further clash. Or, should I say, when there is a further clash.

Does the Iranian regime believe that a military attack on its nuclear sites would strengthen it? Do they think that it can be avoided - that they can manage to keep the West from attacking them?

My guess is that they do not expect to be attacked. Remember, they have no experience of the functioning of a free society. The sort of self-criticism and mutual criticism that we see as normal is beyond their understanding and totally outside their experience. What we see as free debate, they see as weakness and division and fear.

Therefore I think they have a very low estimate of the forces that oppose them, whether in the US or Israel or elsewhere. They expect to have it their way, whatever way they choose.


Also, note this from the same interview:

I have no doubt at all, and my Iranian friends and informants are unanimous on this, that Ahmadinejad means what he says, and that this is not, as some people have suggested, a trick or device. He really means it, he really believes it and that makes him all the more dangerous.

MAD, mutual assured destruction, [was effective] right through the Cold War. Both sides had nuclear weapons. Neither side used them, because both sides knew the other would retaliate in kind. This will not work with a religious fanatic. For him, mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already that they do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again.

In the final scenario, and this applies all the more strongly if they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights, the divine brothel in the skies. I find all that very alarming.

We turn now to the encouraging signs, the good news, such as it is. I would put it at two levels. One is that a number of Arab governments are coming to the conclusion that Israel is not their most serious problem and not their greatest danger.

This is very similar to what happened with [former Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat. If you go back to the Egyptian peace process, Sadat didn't decide to make peace because he was suddenly convinced of the merits of the Zionist case. Sadat decided to make peace because he realized that Egypt was becoming a Soviet colony.

The process was very visible. There were whole areas of Soviet bases and no Egyptian was admitted. Sadat, I think, realized that on the best estimate of Israel's power and the worst estimate of Israel's intentions, Israel was not a threat to Egypt in the way that the Soviet Union was.

So he took the very courageous step of ordering the Soviet specialists out of Egypt, facing the danger they might do what they did in Czechoslovakia or Hungary. They didn't, fortunately. Then he hoped that Washington would help him, instead of which Washington produced the Vance-Gromyko Agreement, a sort of diplomatic carve up, in effect giving Egypt back to the Soviets. That was [former president Jimmy] Carter's real contribution to the peace process. All the rest of it is imaginary; imaginary is the polite word.

That persuaded Sadat that he had to go to the Israelis.

I think that a number of the governments in the region have been through a similar process of reevaluation. During the recent war in Lebanon, it was quite clear that several Arab governments were quietly hoping that the Israelis would go in and finish the job. They were very disappointed that they didn't. That disappointment was certainly not a help, but that mood is still there. There is a willingness to reach some sort of a compromise to enable them to deal with what they see as the more pressing and more dangerous problem. That could be a short-term advantage. It might even lead to some sort of a peace process.

But as the Egyptian example I spoke of shows, that doesn't lead to any real cordiality. There is a peace process with Egypt, there is an exchange of diplomatic representatives and so on, but one would hardly talk about relations between Israel and Egypt, at the present time, as a model that one wants to extend to the rest of the Arab world. So it can bring some benefits, which might be quite substantial in the short range, but one should have no illusions about the long range.

The other encouraging sign, very faint and very distant, is of a genuine change of mood among people in some Arab countries. Talking to people in Arab countries in the last few years, some of those people express attitudes which I have never met before. I do not know how deep this goes and how strong it is, but it is there and it never was before. That is a good sign.


'The Iranians do not expect to be attacked' (Interview of Bernard Lewis).

Maybe Lewis is correct. Maybe not. However, I would bet more on his analysis than on that of your expert.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Peter, Omar is on record as supporting Ahmedijedad's position on the destruction of Israel. We talked about this.

Far worse is his stubborn adherence to proven falsehoods, and his refusal to answer the painful questions which others have put to him. As far as I can see, his answer to your question about whether there were people like Shahak on the Muslim side, as critical as Muslim behavior towards israel as Shahak was towards Israeli behavior, was that: no, there were not such people and he was GLAD there were not such people. You should find that attitude very disturbing, especially if it is widespread (which of course it is).


E. Simon - 2/25/2007

Sari Nusseibeh has come further than any Palestinian Muslims (I can provide links if you have trouble Googling him) - but his solitary example is about as far as it tends to go since death threats for such ideological "colloboration" (with the co-existence-seeking Zionist enemy, of course) tend to provide an unfair disadvantage to the Palestinians that doesn't exist to anywhere near the same degree among the Evil Zionists.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Well, you don't draw the conclusions I do. The qualifications Omar puts in about Muslim intellectual criticism about Muslim violence pretty much undermine the Muslim intellectual criticism of Muslim violence, and he admits that there is no Shahak among the Muslims, so he fails your test there.

He refuses to answer my own questions.

He refused to admit he was wrong, doubly wrong, in using Shahak and although everyone else is in agreement on this, he refuses to admit that this has occurred and he has been refuted in both parts.

In terms of negotiations, negotiations are always worth trying, and I am of course for it. But with open eyes. With the grossly incompetent bunch in charge of the US Govt (we agree on this) it's hard to see much likelihood of success, and you must see that it is people like Omar who are in charge of Iran, so it's unlikely to see much movement on the Iranian side either.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Mr. Clarke, the following posting is easy to miss, but Omar has in fact responded to your challenge. His answer is that there are NO intellectuals in the Muslim world similar to Shahak among the Israelis, AND HE IS HAPPY THAT IS THE CASE:

Re: P.S. (#106079)
by omar ibrahim baker on February 25, 2007 at 2:04 PM
"What we need is for Omar to point to large numbers of intellectuals, and large and powerful political parties within the Arab and Muslim world, that 1)criticize Muslim violence, and 2)urge concessions for peace with israel. " Eckstein.(#106069)

Re (1) plenty but unfortunately not published in English to the best of my knowledge.
Although the majority do know and uphold the difference between "violence" and "legitimate resistance" to aggression,colonization and occupation . [BTW, I THINK THIS PRETTY MUCH ENDS THAT PART OF THE DISCUSSION, TOO. AE]

Re(2)Fortunately very few to offer "consessions" to the usurping, aggressive , colonialist and racist state of "Israel". [THERE YOU GO. AE]


Mr. Clarke, draw your own conclusions.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

As for Omar and the evidence I presented, Omar's problem is that he picked up a word, goyim, and merely projects an Islamic concept onto it. He did that one other time. He noted that religions all want to be shared by all the world. He dropped that comment when I replied that Judaism has the concept of contractual relationship with God such that there could be more than one valid contract with God, not just Judaism.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

I do not take up the late Mr. Shahak because I have not read him. I note that Professor Eckstein cited substantial sources that say that what you quote Shahak for is made up. I take that as shown, subject to you having evidence that shows otherwise. I gather that you do not.

I also take it as shown that Shahak's understanding of Judaism is contradicted by the list of commandments - which is the complete list of them. And I take Maimonides to be a better source than Shahak in determining what Judaism is about - since he is the greatest authority about Judaism who has thus far lived. In this regard, I would take Ibn Sinna as a better source than you or me about what Islam is about. I trust you would as well.

Such is the problem with what you cite. You look to a man who has been shown to make things up yet you think he is reliable; and you also look to him notwithstanding the fact that his position is contradicted by the greatest Jewish authority of all times, namely, Maimonides.

Why would I even bother reading Shahak, since we have credible evidence that he is not trustworthy and, further, on a topic I know something about, he is in error as well.

As for a comparison between the dhimma and goyim, there cannot possibly be a comparison since the formation of Jewish law as we know it today post-dates the time that there was a nation ruled according to Jewish principles. So there is no basis for a comparison.

But note: Judaism does, as I posted, distinguish between Jew and the Other. That is certainly true. And, not everything in Judaism is particularly nice when it comes to the Other. But, the basis of the distinction is not remotely akin to that between infidel and believer, as in, for example, Islam and Christianity. That is not a matter that is contestable. It is a black and white fact. Shahak can deny that but any real student of Judaism will tell you that such is not the case. The argument does not even make it to first base.




art eckstein - 2/25/2007

1. Omar simply refuses to accept that Shahak was refuted on half of what Omar posted, to everyone's satisfaction here, by what I posted.

2. Omar similarly simply refuses to accept that the other half of what Shakah wrote and Omar posted was totally refuted by Mr. Friedman. Perhaps Omar didn't read what Mr. Friedman wrote. In any case, he offers no refutation of Friedman's arguments and evidence--NONE. He simply ignores it. Perhaps he believes that shouting loud is a good substitute for argument and evidence.

3. Omar having challenged me and lost (see 1 and 2), refuses now to take up my challenge to him, the questions I asked him. (In terms of genocide, I note that he simply ignores the 80 million dead killed by the Muslim invasions of India--as well as the 1,000,000 killed by Muslims in Darfur over the past two years.) He won't take up my challenge, though I was courageous and reasonable enough to accept his.

4. Omar, finally, refuses Peter Clarke's challenge to point to figures within the Muslim world similar to Shahak, figures who heavily criticize the injustice of Muslim authorities towards Israelis as Shahak critized Israeli policy. And as I said, since Shahak wasn't alone, we would need lots more than one Muslim intellectual to fulfill "the Clarke Parallel." Note, Mr. Clarke, that Omar doesn't even try to fulfill your question to him, but changes the subject by repeating material about Jews and Judaism that everyone here already accepts were false accusations.




E. Simon - 2/25/2007

Respectfully, I have just read your post (#106030), and analytically disconnecting the rhetorical fictions and double-standards in it from the Iranian president's aims seems like an unclear approach. The way he is pushing nuclear development is through an appeal to Iranian nationalism, and he drives at that nationalistic appeal by - in an adversarial manner - setting up Western powers collectively and the Security Council in particular as being "unfair", "unjust" in their governance.

As Western powers generally don't seek to delegitimize Israel's existence, but to defend that existence as a reason for rectifying and atoning for the Holocaust and preventing its recurrence, Ahmedenijad's questioning of the Holocaust - and therefore, Israel's legitimacy - is essential in questioning the authority of the West in global governance in general and the conflicts of the Middle East in particular.

You are, in effect, trying to disconnect linkages that Ahmedenijad is SPECIFICALLY trying to create. Bully for you in doing that - (most of us here can already see through them, too), but such redundant efforts only give the impression of taking Ahmedinejad's thoughts seriously, rather than exposing his political aims. It's like saying the Aryan Brotherhood is wrong in its historical (mis-)interpretations and disregarding the political agenda that it seeks to advance with such (mis-)interpretations as being unworthy of serious condemnation because of that. But to do so assumes that fighting ignorance should ONLY be an end in itself and that the politically monstrous ends that are sought by enjoining them with rhetoric fused to that ignorance is merely an abstraction. It merely isn't, however.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

Israel does not have a monopoly on nuclear weapons in Iran's region. Look at the countries that border Iran including, most particularly, nuclear Pakistan. Look a little bit wider afield and you find nuclear India. Look a bit to the north and you find nuclear Russia.

Israel has had, or, I should say, supposedly has had nuclear weapons for more than 35 years. None of the Arab states around Israel have ever made a stink about it. Why? Because they know Israel has no intention of using such weapons.

All of these states, however, are up in arms at present about Iran to the extent that Saudi Arabian officials are now speaking with people close to Israel about how the two countries can work to counter Iran. That ought to suggest something to you.

The issue, in any event, is not about nuclear weapons. It is about the self-destructive philosophy of the leadership - or at least some of it - in Iran. As Professor Lewis notes, the leadership thinks that sacrifice of large numbers of Iranians is doing them a favor - as in giving them a ticket to heaven. Or, in simple terms, we have the rule of religious fanatics.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

Here we part company, at least in part.

We - i.e. infidels - have no positive role to play at all in what Muslims want to believe. Consider, anyone we encourage is supported by an infidel and, hence, suspect. We are more likely to retard a more humane Muslim region than to cause one. That ought be something to learn from the Bush administration and its goal to bring democracy to the Medieval world.

Refraining from the hubris of thinking that we can alter the course of the Islamist revolution is the point I have been arguing for quite a long time. We can do little because the issues involved on the Muslim side are self-created and self-driven in large measure and because they touch on religion, a subject that people are very touchy about. So, we are not in much of a position to make a positive contribution.

In this regard, consider the role that Christians played through the ages in informing Jews about the alleged shortcomings of Judaism. Aside from the fact that most of what was said was obviously not so, even real points made were not remotely welcome. If anything, such assault on Judaism tended to preserve Judaism.

Rather than attempting to help people who can only help themselves, we ought look at the forces at play and the ideology that drives it. Such ideology, in its current form, is unstable. It has been a constant throughout the ages in Islam, which is a major reason why Jihad was turned into a communal, rather than an individual, activity by mainstream Islamic theologians.

So, the force on the loose, NGO Jihad, is potentially a danger to destroy Islam. Eventually, that will come home to roost: either because the Jihadists take one step too far and the world brings down a reign of bombs on the Islamic regions or because the Jihadists turn on each other and it becomes self-evident to Muslims that what they are doing will destroy Islam by fitna - i.e. internal fighting -.

I do not wish any of this on anyone, mind you. But, as an observer, I suspect that one of the two paths will occur in due course. I note that Professor Eckstein noted this as well in a different discussion. In any event, neither of us want such to occur. But, I note that it is internal events to the Islamic regions that are important, not our support for a few dissident writers who, in fact, take positions that contradict classical Islamic theology.

Again: you have us support modernists pretending to be religious. Such people will never persuade the religious of anything. And, it is religion that is on the rise among Muslims. Such is the force to watch.




N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

That is fine. There is no substantial self-critical movement by Muslims. Everyone knows that such is true. But, I would not say there are no such critics at all.

Consider Ms. Irshad Manji. She meets the bill exactly, although she is not, so far as I can tell, a scholar in the class of a Ibn Warraq.

Anyway, the real issue raised by Clarke remains even though there are some relatively lonely self-critical Muslim voices.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Again, N.F., I just wouldn't count Warraq, because he is not writing as a Muslim. In fact, he wrote that chapter when he was no longer a Muslim, but an apostate (as we agree).

So we still need a MUSLIM intellectual, a Beleiver, and indeed, lots more than one, who will fulfill what we may call "Clarke's Parallel." We are waiting for Omar to provide us some examples.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

It appears that we saw the same information.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Finkelstein was listed as a speaker at the Tehran Conference, yes, along with the likes of David Duke, etc.

http://adelaideinstitute.org/2006December/contents_program1.htm

14:00-17:00 - Aras Hall

THIRD SESSION: VIEWPOINTS ON HISTORIC APPROACHES



Chairman: Mr Torjanzadeh, Tajikistan

1. Patrick McNalley: University of Chuo, Japan

"A Philosopher looks at the Holocaust"

2. A Pengas: Senior Researcher, Greece

"The geopolitical environment of the Holocaust myth"

3. T Boshe: Senior Researcher, Jordan

"The Holocaust and history"

4. Norman Finkelstein: USA


Perhaps Finklestein did not go: it's possible. He claims to have been in Chicago that night, so i could be wrong that he went.

I think even so he would need to explain why he was listed originally as a speaker, and what correspondence with the Ahmedinejad government led them to list him as a speaker. They surely didn't do it without his permission. It'd be an interesting correspondence to see.

Anyway, I drop this point, since I can't prove he went, just that he was officially listed as a speaker.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

Ibn Warraq is an apostate. That is certainly true. But, one might read Bertrand Russell with reference to Christian society, even though he rejected his faith. So, I do not quite agree with you. Think of Warraq more of a lapsed Muslim, not a person from a different background.

In any event, Warraq does touch on the treatment of non-Muslims, including Jews, under Islam. The very book you cite has an entire chapter, if I recall correctly, on the topic.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

And one lone intellectual isn't enough, either, to make the parallel. Shahak was not a lone figure but, as is obvious from what Omar himself posted, enjoyed significant support among a certain section of the Israeli population. Therefore, What we need is for Omar to point to large numbers of intellectuals, and large and powerful political parties within the Arab and Muslim world, that criticize Muslim violence, and urge concessions for peace with israel. Large numbers of intellectuals, and large and powerful political parties with that belief, exist in israel--or they did, until the genocidal Second Intifada destroyed the Israeli Left.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

N. F.--

Ibn Warraq is no longer a Muslim. In fact, his most famous book is entitled "Why I am Not a Muslim."

So ibn Warraq is not a good example.

And in any case it's not a Muslim intellectual who is merely self-critical of Islam that's at issue--but one who specifically emphasizes the unfair treatment of Jews and Israelis by Muslim authorities as strongly as Shahak did the opposite. That's the example Clarke asked Omar for.

We're waiting for one.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Peter,

You have this pretty much correct. Shahak has no obvious connection with the matter, unless it is to delegitimize people in service to the Ahmadinejad's goal. I do not, however, accuse Omar of that. I merely note that such is the only imaginable connection to the topic.

Your other point is also reasonable, namely, that Omar might be a bit more self-critical. Actually, there are some Muslims who do exactly what you note. Among them is Ibn Warraq - who writes under a pseudonym for fear of being killed. His writing is rather careful and interestin reading and he was a student of the late great scholar of Islam, W. Montgomery Watt. There are a few others, I believe, but Warraq provides enough to chew on for quite a long while, although his writing is derivative, not original.



N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

Are you sure that Finklestein went? I heard he was invited and listed but, at the same time, I heard he claimed he did not go.

Do you have any sources on this matter?


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Next Omar will be calling upon Prof. Norman Finklestein of De Paul University (after all, he's a Jew, isn't he?) to validate that the Holocaust never happened. Same sort of deal.

Ahmedinejad already invited Finklestein to the Tehran Conference to deny the Holocaust.
And he went.


E. Simon - 2/25/2007

Judaism also accepts that seeing the proverbial light, in whatever sense one understands what it means to be positively disposed to doing - and to being perceived as being on the side of doing - good, is a /choice/ that must be actively pursued. Omar's refusal to be critical with the facts on his Shahak pet project is a good example of a stark contrast to such a mindset.


E. Simon - 2/25/2007

I'd say that it's bizarre that you would call Zionism "ages long doctrinaire", that is until I note your bizarre efforts to fuse it subtly with bashing Judaism, but then again, I tend to take account of your doing and saying bizarre things - including your crumudgeonly assuming that Israel's humanitarian medical practices are some one-time, recent fluke.


E. Simon - 2/25/2007

If you believe yourself to be above any moral obligation to express outrage at the selectively applied double standards of condemnation used to fuel Ahmedinejad's dangerous stances, then at the very least, intellectual integrity would demand that you take account of this glaring discrepancy. And at the moment, your credibility on the issue of intellectual integrity is about as far from obvious as one can portray.

Second, a willingness to be enlightened requires an open mind, so blaming Eckstein for not achieving that "mission" sounds like a bit of a blame-shifting cop-out.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

The Professor came up with reputable people who say that Shahak has made up facts including the facts you cite.

That, in the law, means that your source stands discredited and unreliable. And, this is not on a minor matter of speaking slightly ahead of the facts. Rather, it is on a matter that calls the man's character into question.

Now, when one has facts shown to be wrong, the burden returns to discredited side to rehabilitate his position.

Lastly, I remind you that you have not dealt at all with the issue I raised about Shahak's understanding of Judaism. The Jewish position on people of other religious confessions is rather well set out by commandments. And, I gave you a helpful explanation of the term goyim and how it plays in Jewish thinking and law. Judaism's position is a mixed bag by modern standards but it is rather far from being hostile to goyim.

Again: the concept of the righteous among the nations is, so far as I know, unique to Judaism. Contrast that with religions which hold people of other religions to be infidel or which condemn such people to eternal damnation. By such standards, Judaism is rather humanitarian and progressive. And there are no wars to bring Judaism to infidel. There are no evangelicals to bring the bible to unbelievers either. Why? Because Judaism accepts that there are other paths to God's truth, not just Judaism.



art eckstein - 2/25/2007

Peter, with this excellent post you prove your point made to me in posts above that you are not a mere propagandist.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

If I misinterpreted Dresner's comment about not having a valid email address from you, Omar, I apologize.

This is all part of a general controversy, however, on whether people are using their real names on this blog. I am, Friedman is, Peter K. Clarke is not.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

How about dealing with the substance of what Professor Eckstein writes, namely, that the material you quoted includes factual material that has been shown by reputable scholars to be made up. Note: these are not differences of opinion between Shahak and others. We are talking about questions of fact.

So, please provide evidence, if you have any, that what Professor Eckstein shows to be factual problems are, in reality, factual. Otherwise, the Professor is correct that your source stands refuted. And not just for me, Omar. No one else here believes in discredited "facts."

And, as I also mentioned, Shahak's interpretation of Judaism is also contrary to fact. I posted the complete list of Jewish commandments. He appears, by contrast, to have created his own commandments that only he knows about.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

1. None of what is written in praise of Shahak above changes the fact that one of the two main Shahak instances you yourself cited, Omar, the business about Jews not helping non-Jews, is FALSE. PROVEN FALSE. EVERYONE HERE ON THIS BLOG ACCEPTS THAT IT IS FALSE.

This is NO minor thing. You spent 45 of about 95 lines on this particular Shahak point on your post at 3:09 a.m. on Feb. .23. THAT'S HALF of what you cited from Shahak on that major posting. AND IT WAS FALSE FROM SHAHAK, FULLY HALF OF WHAT YOU CITED FROM SHAHAK WAS FALSE AND PROVEN FALSE, AND EVERYONE HERE ACCEPTS THAT IT WAS FALSE.

You mistakenly accepted it as true without checking the actual FACTS (which one should always do), AND it turns out that you relied on an unreliable source.

It's not the first time, of course. The pronographer Avnery, eagerly cited by you back in the summer, was proven FALSE on the facts about the benign nature of Muslim rule--leaving out , for instance, the tens of thousands of Christian children kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam by the Ottomans.

Shahak may have been a saint, unlike Avnery (though many in israel don't think so)--but Omar, Shahak's GENERAL character is NOT an argument against the FACT that Shahak got HALF of what you cited TOTALLY WRONG. (The other half has been dealt with in posting above, about India.)

Omar: I note now that you have NOT accepted my challenges above, though I accepted YOUR challenges and beat you on them.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

1. Following up a bit on Mr. Friedman--K.S. Lal, a historian many of whose books on medieval India is standard, estimates the losses inflicted upon Hindu India by the Muslim invasions was about EIGHTY MILLION dead over a period of 500 years (ca. 1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D.). It is the largest holocaust in history, done by Muslims in the name of Islam. Wasn't done by Jews, Omar. It was done by Muslims, not by Jews. Judaism, especially in its ancient form, was certainly not peaceful. But Jews historically have never done ANYTHING like Muslim violence. They don't do anything like the scale of Muslim violence NOW. 1,000,000 dead in the SUDAN, Omar. That was done by Muslims, not Jews.

In regard to violence, it is obvious that, obsessed like Ahmedinijad by Jews, you (to coin a phrase) strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

2. One of the main Shahak instances you yourself cited Omar, the business about Jews not helping non-Jews, is FALSE. PROVEN FALSE. EVERYONE HERE ON THIS BLOG ACCEPTS THAT IT IS FALSE. This is no minor thing. You spent 45 of about 95 lines on this particular Shahak point on your post at 3:09 a.m. on Feb. .23. THAT'S HALF of what you cited from Shahak. AND IT WAS FALSE FROM SHAHAK, PROVEN FALSE. You mistakenly accepted it as true.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

Have you checked his "substantiation"? I note that some writers make up their footnotes.


art eckstein - 2/25/2007

I stand by my point, Mr. Clarke. I objected and still object to the fact that what should have been a discussion of Ahmedinejad's obsession with Jews became, with your help, a discussion of the delicts of Israel, in which there was no context ever presented to show that Israeli actions, even when brutal, are NOTHING compared to those of their neighbors.

If Israel's many failings, the failings of any really-existing state, and failings far less egregious than those of Syria, or Egypt, or Saudi Arabia or Iran or Sudan--NONE of whose legitimacy is ever in question--become the focus here even in the face of Ahmedinejad's Hitlerian rhetoric, and are then employed to somehow justify the rhetorical attacks by this barbarian, this is a moral outrage. This was happening increasingly on this blog, even on the topic of Ahmedinejad. That is my point.

You seem to see this now.

But I have yet to see you express any outrage, or expend any moral energy, at any of the facts I have presented about israel's vicious neighbors--while you've expended much moral outrage-enegy against Israel. This mystifies me, if you are really outraged by bad acts in general.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Omar,

You keep citing to this Shahak as if he were real a scholar. That has yet to be demonstrated by you. And even worse for your position, some rather well known writers who are actually scholars claim that he is not one.

So, if you want to convince me, you have to do a bit better, citing a real scholar.

And to note: thus far, your contentions made about Judaism are, objectively, all incorrect - every single one of them. On that topic, I have sufficient expertise to be quite sure. So, that is a big strike against the position you cite.

Now, you speak about genocide. Is that really the path you want to go down, with reference to religion. Trust me, there is enough bloody history for anyone to turn to with any of the Earth's people. But note: likely the bloodiest history, bar none, of all time involves the Muslim invasion of India. Such is, by the way, the view of famed historian Will Durant.

So, I think it is time to walk away from citing bigots who sound as if they are scholars, when, in fact, they are not scholars but, more likely, frauds looking to make a dime.

Again: you walk away from smut, and I shall not present the dark side of Islam's history in India for all to see. Trust me, I am doing you a big favor.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

Yes, The Appeasers is a brilliant book. I am now in the middle of reading Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm. I just started book II thereof (i.e. beginning in early September of 1939). Churchill's position is consistent with what is presented in The Appeasers - or, perhaps, it is the other way around.


N. Friedman - 2/25/2007

Professor,

You are quite right about the view that the Orthodox would be dismayed about an "honor killing." That term would be seen as an oxymoron. There is no honor in such killing.



art eckstein - 2/24/2007

N.F., I am now reading Gilbert and Gott's "The Appeasers". A marvellous book-- a sad, sour but beautifully-written book. Thank you for recommending it to me! It has great relevance for today in its description of the appeasers' attitudes. All the appeaser-arguments we see today regarding Ahmedinejad and radical Islam in general are there regarding Hitler and the Nazi regime, are they not? Quite amazing to see.

(You may have noted above, N.F., that I already used the Lewis Carroll epigraph from the book on Omar.)


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

I know we mostly agree, N.F. You rightly note the opinion of the Orthdox, but I would note that the Orthodox represents only about 10% of Jews in the U.S. That means that 90% of American Jews do not agree.

And, of course, the idea that a girl should rightly be MURDERED for out-marrying would strike any Jews (including, I would imagine, the small Orthodox minority) as barbaric.


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Professor,

We actually agree for the most part here. I note, however, that Orthodox will, in fact, still shun and sit shiva for someone who marries outside of the faith. I know of such occurring to a relative of a good friend of mine.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

Fair enough, N.F. But Omar must still deal with the practical impact of Jewish belief as it really exists today--that is, with really-existing Judaism--as opposed to the far more oppressive practical impact of Islamic belief as it really exists today (and as you have laid out): that is, really-existing Islam. This really-existing Islam includes (as you note) widespread "honor killings" in Europe concerning inter-faith relationships, in which the murderers are viewed as heroes by the Muslim community.

He must explain why theoretical shunning which does not actually occur and has not occurred for over a century and which never involved death-penalty is nevertheless WORSE than proscribed prohibitions on intermarriage (at least for women) on penalty of death--death-penalties that are all too frequently carried out in the real world and right now.


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Art,

You write: Again--if Jews inordinately hate the Other, explain why U.S. Jews have a 50% intermarriage rate with non-Jews (who do not convert to Judaism). What is the Muslim intermarriage rate with people who do not convert? Start with THIS: A Muslim may not marry or remain married to an unbeliever of either sex (2:221, 60:10).

I am not sure I would look to intermarriage rate to show love or hatred of the OTHER. I think there are three issues here: One, that both Islam and Judaism have rules precluding marriage outside of the faith.

Two, that the two religions deal with the matter very differently. In Islam, the woman cannot marry a non-Muslim while the man can - and such occurs not infrequently, as in the father of presidential candidate Obama. In Judaism, neither is suppose to marry outside of the faith. However, in Islam, improperly marrying outside of the faith typically leads to death, as such is, as I understand the rule, the prescribed penalty. In Judaism, the disobedient one is shunned and treated as if he were dead.

Three. Most Jews do not follow the dictates of the religious law on such matters, as your evidence shows. By contrast, most Muslims still follow the pertinent rules which accounts for the fact that many Muslim woman die over the issue. It is sometimes called honor killing. But, the better word for it, employing our own secular standards, is barbarism.


Jonathan Dresner - 2/24/2007

There was nothing fraudulent about Mr. Baker's email address, just old.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

Since I have now answered YOUR question, Omar; and, as you can see, I have answered it in a fashion totally convincing to others. Fairness requires you now to answer MY questions:

1. As for the term "goy", you need to explain why this term is worse and more pejorative than "dhimmi" (the Guilty), kaffir, and "infidel".

2. You need to explain why it is good that Sharia law officially imposes severe and intentional humiliations upon non-Muslims (including inability to testify against Muslims in court) and has historically accepted such things as (for instance) mass forced conversions to Islam, and why, given those facts, Jewish Law is (somehow) worse and more oppressive to non-Jews than Sharia is to non-Muslims, both in theory and actuality.

3. Again, if Jewish law is worse in concept and more oppressive historically towards the Other than Islam is, then explain to us why the church bells toll in Jerusalem (and the mullahs call), whereas none toll in Khartoum (and there are no synagogues).

4. Again--if Jews inordinately hate the Other, explain why U.S. Jews have a 50% intermarriage rate with non-Jews (who do not convert to Judaism). What is the Muslim intermarriage rate with people who do not convert? Start with THIS: A Muslim may not marry or remain married to an unbeliever of either sex (2:221, 60:10).


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

Since I have now answered YOUR question, Omar; and, as you can see, I have answered it in a fashion totally convincing to others. Fairness requires you now to answer MY questions:

1. As for the term "goy", you need to explain why this term is worse and more pejorative than "dhimmi" (the Guilty), kaffir, and "infidel".

2. You need to explain why it is good that Sharia law officially imposes severe and intentional humiliations upon non-Muslims (including inability to testify against Muslims in court) and has historically accepted such things as (for instance) mass forced conversions to Islam, and why, given those facts, Jewish Law is (somehow) worse and more oppressive to non-Jews than Sharia is to non-Muslims, both in theory and actuality.

3. Again, if Jewish law is worse in concept and more oppressive historically towards the Other than Islam is, then explain to us why the church bells toll in Jerusalem (and the mullahs call), whereas none toll in Khartoum (and there are no synagogues).

4. Again--if Jews inordinately hate the Other, explain why U.S. Jews have a 50% intermarriage rate with non-Jews (who do not convert to Judaism). What is the Muslim intermarriage rate with people who do not convert? Start with THIS: A Muslim may not marry or remain married to an unbeliever of either sex (2:221, 60:10).


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Omar,

Again, the issue here is that Mr. Shahak's position is contrary to fact. That is a fact. He may also be a saint or a villain. I have no idea as I have never read him. But, I am very knowledgeable about the topic regarding which you cite him. On that topic, he has no idea what he is talking about.


E. Simon - 2/24/2007

Q. "Do you imply that this reported act nullifies and invalidates the basic ethical/moral/confessional contention made by Shahak about the issue of ”Saving of Life” in the spiritual spring board of Zionism?"

A. Yes.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

Omar, none of the fawning biography of Shahak you cite changes the fact that Shahak was wrong about the incident you cited, wrong in the material you quoted, and that you yourself have now been proven wrong by actual facts of Israeli life as adduced by me from an unimpeachable source, as Mr. Friedman rightly notes.

As for "goy", you need to explain why this term is worse and more pejorative than "dhimmi" (the Guilty), kaffir, "infidel"--and you need to explain why it is not bad that sharia law officially imposes severe and intentional humiliations upon non-Muslims, but Jewish Law is worse both in theory and actuality.

Again--explain why the church bells toll in Jerusalem (and the mullahs call), while none toll in Khartoum (and there are no synagogues).

Again--if Jews in ordinately hate the Other, explain why U.S. Jews have a 50% intermarriage rate with non-Jews (who do not convert). What is the Muslim intermarriage rate with people who do not convert? Start with THIS: A Muslim may not marry or remain married to an unbeliever of either sex (2:221, 60:10).



N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Omar,

Shahak could be the most exceptional man in history or he could be a pathetic liar. It is rather irrelevant. What he writes is contrary to fact, when it comes to Judaism. OK?


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Omar,

Again, you are talking nonsense. What Shahak states is incorrect.


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Omar,

I think that the Professor refuted your argument by means of a newspaper article which shows that Jewish doctors do treat non-Jews and Palestinian Arabs to boot. In other words, that is a topic you cannot any longer pursue in earnest since what you write has been shown to be false.

On the other hand, as someone rather familiar with the subject, but not Shahak, I think it can be said, based on information from his writings that you refer to, that Shahak is simply wrong on all of the points you cite.

I might suggest that you read Maimonides, among the greatest authorities on the topic. He is, in Arabic, Abu Imran Mussa bin Maimun ibn Abdallah al-Qurtubi al-Israili. Much of his writing is in Arabic. He wrote a treatise in Arabic that sets out the 613 Mitzvot (i.e. religious commandments or holy laws). The Arabic language title - in fact, the original title - for such book is Kitab al-Farai'd but it is known better as the Sefer Hamitzvot (which, in English, means "Book of Commandments"). A listing of the laws appears at Judaism 101.

In my view, a number of these laws are, by modern understanding, very barbaric although some are rather progressive by any standards. And I note: the majority of the world's Jews are not followers of such laws but, instead, follow secular law. And, the very large Jewish group called Reform Judaism (perhaps the largest group in the US) rejects all of these laws, employing a revisionist reading of the Torah, scripture, Talmud, etc.

Among the 613 Commandments are those relating to the treatment of non-Jews (i.e. gentiles or, as you put it, goyim) - and I am quoting from the cite previously noted:

Treatment of Gentiles

53. To love the stranger (Deut. 10:19) (CCA61). See Love and Brotherhood.
54. Not to wrong the stranger in speech (Ex. 22:20) (CCN49).
55. Not to wrong the stranger in buying or selling (Ex. 22:20) (CCN50).
56. Not to intermarry with gentiles (Deut. 7:3) (CCN19). See Interfaith Marriages.
57. To exact the debt of an alien (Deut. 15:3) (affirmative).
58. To lend to an alien at interest (Deut. 23:21) According to tradition, this is mandatory (affirmative).


As you can see, while Jewish law does distinguish by religious confession, it does not have the substantial discrimination that is part of the Christian tradition or the Muslim tradition. But, there clearly is some built into the law. Nonetheless, by the standards of most other religions, these are rather progressive and humanitarian.

One last point, Omar. Maimonides received a wide reading among Muslim theologians who held him in the very highest regard. He was, at his time, among the world's towering intellects, not to mention a famed doctor. Also, he was held in high regard among Christian theologians as well. Saint Thomas Aquinas calls him Rabbi Moses.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

This started as comments on a column discussing the explicit Iranian threat to destroy Israel, including employing nuclear weapons to do so. Somehow the Israel-haters, faced with a discussion of Iranian governmental barbarism and violence, try to turn the discussion into a discussion of Israeli delicts--and only the Israelis are in the dock, as if they are especially bad, and hence (the implication is) the Iranian threat is somehow a natural response to something, instead of pathological.

Hence my request that those who criticize Israel situate Israel within a CONTEXT--namely, the many other governments that have done FAR worse things and are NOT threatened with nuclear destruction by religious madmen.

Things look quite a bit different if you do.

Hence the relevance.

Similarly, the Muslim who blew the head off a female government official as an act of worship, since women according to his version of the Koran must remain in the home--that story too is relevant to the question we are addressing, because it drives home the issue of irrational, religious-driven violence within Islam.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

Mr. Dresner, while continuing the debate here, I am seeking to be polite, as you have urged. And at least I gave you a real email address.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

1. Omar quoted Shahak as follows:

"In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides - himself an illustrious physician - is quite explicit on this; in another passage18 he repeats the distinction between 'thy fellow' and a Gentile, and concludes: 'and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment...'"

2. Despite my having shown what a bad source Shahak was, Omar insisted that this was the Ugly Truth about Judaism, and Israeli society. To which I responded:

3. "Israeli hospitals treat Palestinians wounded by infighting
By DIAA HADID (Associated Press Writer)
Associated Press
02/05/2007

ASHKELON, Israel - Palestinian victims of bitter Gaza fighting between Fatah and Hamas loyalists are being given medical care at the hands of their traditional enemy - Israel.

A total of 10 people wounded in fighting have come to Israel for treatment, including eight recovering at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The southern coastal city is just five kilometers (3 miles) from the fenced Gaza Strip, where 31 people have been killed and more than 230 wounded in five days of the most recent factional fighting.

While thankful for their treatment, Palestinians recovering in Barzilai have still found it hard to accept that Israeli doctors are healing their wounds.

"It feels strange," said Abdullah Shalayil, 26, a policeman whose body was riddled with bullets during a gunbattle with Hamas loyalists. "Why is this happening to our people?"

In the past, Palestinians have been referred to Israeli hospitals for treatment - but usually, when they've been seriously injured by Israeli army attacks, or when they are suffering from ailments untreatable in Gaza.

Shlomo Dror, a military spokesman, said thousands of Palestinians are permitted to enter Israel each year for medical treatment.

But this appears to be the first time Israel is treating victims of internal Palestinian fighting, a symbol of how far the fighting in Gaza has gone.

"The hospital in Gaza I was staying in wasn't safe. There was fighting ... next to the hospital. There were even fights inside the hospital. We could have been shot," said Tawfik Ladu, a 23-year-old accountant.

Khaled Radi, spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said local doctors send the most serious cases to Israel, where medical care is far more advanced. The names are forwarded to Israeli authorities, who must give final approval for the wounded to enter.

Dr. Shimon Scharf, medical director at Barzilai, said as long as the hospital had spare beds, they would treat wounded Palestinians, regardless of how they get hurt.

"We don't ask, we don't differentiate. My concern is with the budget, not the number of casualties," he said."

4. Omar's only response to this was to yell louder. Readers, draw your own conclusions.


Jonathan Dresner - 2/24/2007

Mr. Clarke,

The email address in your user profile is not functional. Please update it immediately, or contact me (dresner@hawaii.edu) if you don't know how. Failure to do so may result in loss of commenting privileges.

Jonathan Dresner
HNN Assistant Editor.


Jonathan Dresner - 2/24/2007

Mr. Baker,

The email address in your user profile is not functional. Please update it immediately, or contact me (dresner@hawaii.edu) if you don't know how. Failure to do so may result in loss of commenting privileges.

Jonathan Dresner
HNN Assistant Editor.


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

1. Omar, I'll make you a bet: the more members of one religion marry members of other religions who remain in that other religion, the less likely the culture is to be prejudiced against the Other. The Jewish imarriage rate with non-Jews in the U.S. is about 50%.

What is the Muslim marriage rate with non-Muslims?

The group with the lower marriage rate to people of other religions is the group that is more prejudiced against people of other religions. A very low marriage rate with the Other indicates a very high level of prejudice against the Other. So, I repeat: what is the Muslim marraige rate with non-Muslims? (And by THAT I mean, non-Muslims who REMAIN non-Muslims.) The Jewish rate in the United States is 50%. What is the Muslim rate?

2. And as for "goy," what about not only dhimmi, but kafir and infidel? EACH ONE of those terms widely used in the Muslim world of non-Muslims is FAR more pejorative than goy.

3. I have already given you plenty of historical evidence that Shahak is a liar on the incident he raised, on the issues he raised, and I have cited you the head rabbi of Israel on the issue.

4. And then there's THIS, Omar, there's THIS:
 

Israeli hospitals treat Palestinians wounded by infighting
By DIAA HADID (Associated Press Writer)
Associated Press
02/05/2007

ASHKELON, Israel - Palestinian victims of bitter Gaza fighting between Fatah and Hamas loyalists are being given medical care at the hands of their traditional enemy - Israel.

A total of 10 people wounded in fighting have come to Israel for treatment, including eight recovering at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The southern coastal city is just five kilometers (3 miles) from the fenced Gaza Strip, where 31 people have been killed and more than 230 wounded in five days of the most recent factional fighting.

While thankful for their treatment, Palestinians recovering in Barzilai have still found it hard to accept that Israeli doctors are healing their wounds.

"It feels strange," said Abdullah Shalayil, 26, a policeman whose body was riddled with bullets during a gunbattle with Hamas loyalists. "Why is this happening to our people?"

In the past, Palestinians have been referred to Israeli hospitals for treatment - but usually, when they've been seriously injured by Israeli army attacks, or when they are suffering from ailments untreatable in Gaza.

Shlomo Dror, a military spokesman, said thousands of Palestinians are permitted to enter Israel each year for medical treatment.

But this appears to be the first time Israel is treating victims of internal Palestinian fighting, a symbol of how far the fighting in Gaza has gone.

"The hospital in Gaza I was staying in wasn't safe. There was fighting ... next to the hospital. There were even fights inside the hospital. We could have been shot," said Tawfik Ladu, a 23-year-old accountant.

Khaled Radi, spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said local doctors send the most serious cases to Israel, where medical care is far more advanced. The names are forwarded to Israeli authorities, who must give final approval for the wounded to enter.

Dr. Shimon Scharf, medical director at Barzilai, said as long as the hospital had spare beds, they would treat wounded Palestinians, regardless of how they get hurt.

"We don't ask, we don't differentiate. My concern is with the budget, not the number of casualties," he said.

5. As my wife says, Omar, you are a slave to your ignorance.



art eckstein - 2/24/2007

1. Shahak is a proven LIAR on the very topic you raise, Omar; his major accusation against action in Israel has been proven false; it was a famous scandal. You cannot use such people as sources, even if they say what you like,Omar. It's just terrible methodology--the source is UNTRUSTWORTHY. Don't you understand? He's not a historian, not a scholar of Judaism, and a proven liar on the very issue you raise. That he comforts you doesn't mean it's true.

1a. The LAST time you used a dubious source such as this--the pornographer Avnery--it wasn't just that the source had a dubious background (which should have warned you away from him), it was also that the source was proven UTTERLY WRONG in his depiction of "the golden age of non-Muslims under benevolent Muslim rule." He'd forgotten--to repeat--the TENS OF THOUSANDS of Christian children KIDNAPPED and FORCED TO CONVERT TO ISLAM, under the Ottomans, to cite one problem. You were destroyed and humiliated on that thread, precisely because of the dubious source you used. Now you do it again! But that's WHY you can't trust such sources: a source with a bad background is very likely to have big problems with the "facts" he purveys. That was proven BOTH with Avnery AND Shahak--yet you just ignore it, because you like what they say.

When I mentioned Shahak to the historian of Judaism in the Department, he just went off laughing, Omar. OH--HE MUST BE PART OF THE JEWISH CONSPIRACY, right?

GIVE IT UP.

For you to call incidents in Shahak "well documented" doesn't make them so, Omar. And you haven't responded to the refutation of Shahak regarding Jewish Law from the leading rabbi in Israel, which I posted.

That refutation goes back at least 2,000 years and has constantly been reiterated since (as the head rabbi emphasized in the case Shahak raised). For instance, Jesus healed on the Sabbath--it was never a charge raised against him. And he healed non-Jews--that was never a charge against him, either.
DUH.

2. Omar, you don't respond to the fact that Sharia law in theory AND in hideous historical reality has been far worse than whatever Shahak lyingly says about Jewish law and custom. That's PROVEN. PROVEN. That's WHY church bells ring in Jerusalem (or Haifa) but not in Khartoum. So the distinction from which I started long ago is compltely valid.

3. "Goyim" can be pejorative but it is simply NOT as pejorative a term as "dhimmi." Muslim invidious distinctions and terms for non-Muslims are FAR worse than anything from the Jews. I repeat--to coin a phrase, you strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.

4. Omar, for you to repeat loudly "Eckstein surrenders" when I have utterly destroyed your case does not make it so--though perhaps in your culture it does.

"Alice laughed.
'There's no use trying," she said; 'one can't believe impossible things.'
'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen {Omar}."

N. Friedman will recognize this quotation from "Through the Looking Glass." It's the epigraph of "The Appeasers", by Martin Gilbert


N. Friedman - 2/24/2007

Professor,

Exactly so.

To Peter: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." [Matthew 6:21]


art eckstein - 2/24/2007

"Peter", I've given you ample opportunity to express displeasure at the horrors I've mentioned. When you don't do so, and decry "a litmus test", it's a fair inference that other things matter to you. The defects of Israel obviously do. A lot.


E. Simon - 2/24/2007

When did I say Google was "respected" and what in the world does that even mean? I did refer to National Geographic, "Clarke"; did you refer to them? At all? Do you even care to? Or do you even care to specify whether referring to them qualifies me to have an understanding of what might, just might, constitute a "reputable" cartographer? Or are you just throwing garbage assertions around just for kicks, once again?

I included a google maps reference due to the increasing ubiquity and utility in using web-based, satellite-imagery confirmed cartographic sources. Perhaps you think such sources are condemned to forever suffer from a lesser degree of "respectability", but maybe I overestimate snobby outdated technophobe in you.

The dotted line between Lebanon and Israel denotes a boundary that has not been finalized between the two parties, being at a state of war (AND NON-RECOGNITION) and all. You might want to refer back to that thing about treaties being agreed to, once again. The fact that neither party asserts claims on each other's territory gives that boundary more weight, obviously, than the Green Line has, but God only knows why iterating that fact visually makes a reference out-of-date. (Did Lebanon at one point NOT have a southern boundary? Do you even understand whether or not you're even making a point?) It's not all that customary, but once again, the dotted line provides useful details to people who, unlike the pseudonymous "Peter K. Clarke" don't assume that they already knew everything - including the many things they obviously never bothered to even consider.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/24/2007

1. Thanks, "Eckstein," for asking unadorned straightforward questions. If you don't like quotes around posters' names, let's also agree to drop those, along with dropping other gratuitous and time-wasting insults

The difference, "Peter", is that I have the courage to use my real name; "you" do not. Therefore, use of quotation-marks around "Peter" is justified, while quotation-marks around my real name is nonsensical and juvenile retribution.

2. I'm not interested in the map question and don't support the settlements in the West Bank, as I would have thought I have made abundantly clear. The only people REALLY concerned with maps are those who want to wipe Israel off the map. But those people just don't seem to arouse your wrath much.

3. You seem to be admitting in the posting above that what I said was true: that only Israeli action (and perhaps Mr. Friedman) gets you infuriated. Blowing the heads off of women who dare to speak in public, as an act of worship of God--hey, who cares? Murdering 1,000,000 people in the Sudan, who cares?--HEY, what about Israel being so mean, why they keep terrorists in jail a LONG time!

4. Sometimes, "Peter", you say sensible things; other times, you seem to be taking a trip to Omar-Land.


E. Simon - 2/23/2007

"Peter" says, re: the 1948 armistice lines:

"and that is why atlas makers still show that as the boundary."

Actually, if you look at the lines in question REALLY close, the most detailed cartographers (i.e. rightwingnut Likudomaniac organs such as National Geographic) say "1948 Armistice lines". They use dotted lines instead of solid lines (if they go into such detail), and generally take pains to avoid the impression that the Green Line is understood to be an internationally recognized boundary.

The guys at Mountain View, who make one of the most ubiquitous web-based map resources, must also be in the pay of AIPAC:

http://www.worldcountries.info/Maps/GoogleMap-Israel.php

I'd ask Peter if he knows what an armistice is, but that would entail receiving more of his indignant, "You're so stupid to point out what I don't know" rants that are unfortunately stimulated by my asking a question that he doesn't know the answer to and yet is too good to look up the answer to.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

Where are the expressions, "Peter", of your bitter indignation at the conduct of states in this world other than Israel? Please direct me to them. I don't mean the U.S.--GW is such an eeeezeee target, on which we agree. I mean, say, Israel's neighbors, all of which engage habitually in activity that is worse than anything the Israelis do, or China, with its genocidal conquest of Tibet, or the Sudanese genocidal government with 1,000,000 dead on its hands, or to take a lesser malefactor Egypt, whose courts yesterday sentenced a man to four years in prison for criticizing Islam (on the internet). Where's your indignation?


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Peter,

Actually, Israel has always rejected the 1967 Armistice line as the country's boundary. At the same time, the Israelis were and still are, for the most part, willing to live within any boundaries that reasonably accommodate the Israelis while, at the same time, ending the dispute.

Now, you began this nonsense by arguing that Israel's control of the captured territories is illegal. Illegal is a legal term.

Your argument is objectively incorrect. I previously explained why. To you, that is taking a strangely Israeli position.

In fact, however, your position is a strange position, one that welshed on your country's openly stated promise, made at the UN and memorialized as UN 242.

Now, if you want to rant about stuff you do not know - and this is a prime example -, go ahead. But, you can expect me to point out when your facts are indisputably incorrect, as they are here.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Peter,

I think you incorrectly categorize the positions of the Professor, Mr. Simon, Mr. Kovachev and me.

Rather than address disputes, you employ ad hominem argument. One can take whatever may be a Likud position yet be correct. Or, one may be wrong. That depends on the argument, not on the person's politics.

Moreover, I think that there are a range of positions expressed by us, not the Likud point of view. As I have said repeatedly, I have no stake in internal Israeli politics. If the Israelis want to cede land, that is their concern, not mine. If they do not want to cede land, that is also their concern.

Were it my choice and were I an Israeli, I would be faced with that issue. I am not faced with the issue and I do not plan to force my gut reaction onto people who will have to live with the consequences of that choice.

I suggest to you that given the terrible circumstances faced by Israelis, the moral position for an outsider not opposed to Israel's existence is one that hopes the dispute will be solved, does not anticipate such occurring anytime soon and does not think it right to force his or her views on Israel, as if we would know what is really best.

I suspect that my view is shared by at least the Professor.

But note: mine is not pro or anti Likud. It is that of an outsider, not an Israeli.

On the other hand, I do not take the view that the Likud is a bad thing. I take the view that its position represents one of a number of possible legitimate options available to Israelis.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Professor,

Now that I have had my understanding corrected, we agree entirely on your point about the Cairo Declaration.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Peter,

The problem here is that what maps show matters not one iota.

Again: Maps before June 1967 showed Israel's borders. That did not make them recognized boundaries.

So, your entire argument is immaterial.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

Amazing to me that "Peter K. Clarke", who refuses to use his real name (unlike myself), continues to lie about an incident earlier in the week, hence the reference to "misattribution":

"Re: straw-clutching (#105829)
by art eckstein on February 20, 2007 at 6:51 PM
Come, now, Peter-- I never said you SAID that only Israeli actions infuriate you; I didn't quote you. What I SAID was that only Israeli actions infuriate you, other and far worse actions by others do not, and I then asked why that was--citing the EU definition of anti-semitism.

So I'm not lying about anything you said, since I wasn't quoting you (as you wrongly claim), which if you'd bothered to read SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY, you would have seen."

Sigh.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

N.F., it was just the appearance of the term "nation" in the statement of unutterable Muslim superiority in the Cairo Declaration as authored by 47 Muslim foreign ministers--a term which seems to exercize our poor ignoramus Omar when it is employed by Jews (as you pointed out)!--that amused me.

Art


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Professor,

The Cairo Declaration is subject to serious criticism. I am not sure, however, I would focus on its self-congratulatory parts. Westerners also do that, after all. I would, instead, focus on its rejection of Western values to the extent that they conflict with Islamic norms.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

Oh, and speaking of racism and "nations", how about THIS, from the preamble to "the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam" (1990), signed by the foreign ministers of 45 Muslim countries: It affirms "the civilizing and historical role of the Islamic Ummah, WHICH GOD MADE THE BEST NATION, that has given mankind a universal and well-balanced civilization..."







A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

Haven't we gotten off the topic, which is Ahmedinejad's Hitlerian rhetoric and atomic intentions? No one but Iranians are threatening the atomic destruction of other states--and on religious grounds as well, mass murder in Islam having become a popular form of worship, it appears. Shouldn't we then be talking about Iran--or, for instance, Muslim men blowing the heads off of Muslim women because they are govt officials instead of staying at home, as happened in Pakistan just three days ago?--rather than somehow the focus becoming on Israel's alleged delicts, which compared with (say) Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Iran are tiny tiny tiny?

Aren't you boys, to coin a phrase, straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel?


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

By contrast, "Dhimmi" means both "protected" and "GUILTY." It is a pejorative term formally and ab origo.


Peter Kovachev - 2/23/2007

Clarke, first of all, let me commend you on your intrepid research efforts. The seemingly simple act of reaching over to your bookcase and pulling out three books is in fact fraught with hidden dangers such as pulled tendons or a domino effect collapse of other books...if not, God-forbid, the entire bookshelf.

The volume of documentary sources you have thrown at me is dizzying and it will be simpler for me concede to your argument: the New York Times Almanac, the Hammond World Atlas and the times Atlas display the borders of Israel as you have described them. Happy?

While your argument may have no relevance to anything, I again must aplaud your first major research effort I'm aware of. Please remember to put the books back on the shelf before you catch hell from your mom for making a mess.

Now, for your point "b"; no Jews I am aware of have argued that Judea and Samaria are now a part of the modern State of Israel. Many, though, will argue that those lands rightfully belong to the Jewish state for a number of reasons, including religious, historical, political, ethical and strategic ones. You may disagree, but that's another issue.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Omar,

Goy, in Hebrew, means nation. Goyim is the plural version of the word. The word was originally used with reference to non-Jewish nations. The word goyim has acquired a secondary meaning that refers to the peoples of other nations.

Unlike other monotheistic religions, Judaism does not take the view that Judaism is the true faith while others are not. Rather, the religion treats the matter as one of a contract with God such that God can enter into different contracts with different nations, each contract being legitimate. So, Judaism is one of a number of true faiths. What Jewish nation is supposed to be is a light among the nations, not the sole source of truth.

Judaism, further, has a concept called the righteous among the nations. That refers to righteous people of other faiths. Such people are deemed as worthy of love and admiration as would be a righteous person who practices Judaism.

Is that sufficient for you?



N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Omar,

Why would I comment on Shahak, a man I do not know and did not mention? I do know that he is not an expert on Jewish law, Judaism or the Jewish people. And, the little that you cited sounds like he makes things up.

My suggestion is that you cite information from recognized experts. That might help your case. But, Shahak is certainly not an expert. And, the professor says that Shahak has a truth telling problem, for which the professor cites to online material which references some people I actually have heard of and who do have some degree of expertise and knowledge.

OK?


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007


Omar, can you explain to me why not merely in theory but in hideous historical practice sharia law has demanded the formal and legal humilation of non-Muslims? Jewish thought has nothing like this. Can you hear church bells ringing in Jerusalem? Yes. Can you hear them ringing in...Khartoum? No.

P.S. No point in dealing with Shahak when he's been proven wrong in his major accusation. He's as good a source as your previous one, the pornographer Avnery. Omar, you simply don't know what you're talking abou. As usual.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

Omar depends a lot on Israel Shahak, without--as usual with his sources--knowing who Israel Shahak WAS. His argument is: "SEE? Even the JEWS admit this about themselves!"

BUT Israel Shahak is one person--and he was a professor of chemistry, not history, and he was a proven liar. As here (from Wikipedia, to be sure, but basically correct if you look at the footnotes).

"L'Affaire Shahak"

In 1965, Shahak claimed to have witnessed a Haredi Jewish man refusing to allow his telephone to be used to call an ambulance for a non-Jew as it was the Jewish Sabbath. He further claims to have met with members of the Rabbinical court of Jerusalem who, he claims, confirmed to him that the man was correct in his understanding of Jewish law, and that they backed this assertion by quoting from a passage from a recent compilation of law. Shahak published his claims in Haaretz, and the issue was also taken up in The Jewish Chronicle, which led to significant publicity. Werner Cohn would state in 1994: "Dr. Shahak does not seem to notice that this clamor, which he duly notes, is in itself a refutation of his charge that current Jewish life is dominated by orthodox inhumanity."[3]
In 1966, Immanuel Jakobovits, who would later become Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, disputed the veracity of Shahak's story, and asserted that Shahak had subsequently been forced to admit that he had fabricated the incident (according to Jackobovits, "in true Protocols style") in order to support his thesis. Jakobovits also cites a lengthy responsum of the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, Isser Yehuda Unterman, who had actually ruled "the Sabbath must be violated to save non-Jewish life no less than Jewish lives." [4]


3. Cohn, Werner. "The Jews are Bad! (review of 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion,' by Israel Shahak)", Israel Horizons, vo. 42, no. 3 of 4, Autumn 1994, pp. 28-9.
4. Jakobovits, Immanuel. A Modern Blood Libel--L'Affaire Shahak, Tradition, Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1966.


As usual, Omar doesn't know what he's taking about.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

N.F. writes:

"Omar,

These are your accusations. It is for you, therefore, to prove them, not for the professor to disprove them. And, as noted, the professor has stated specific items that are expressly part of the Shari'a law, including portions that were incorporated into it out of Byzantine law.

But note: the Koran itself, while not including all of the restrictions that became part of the Shari'a law relating to conquered people of the book, calls for their payment of the jizya (poll tax) and that the payer br made to feel subdued. That is rather different than anything in Jewish law. And also note: all religions distinguish between believer and non-believer but not all place such express restrictions on non-believers."

For me, the first paragraph points out the methodological issue to an uncomprehending Omar, and the second paragraph, especially at the end, points out the historical issue very well.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Omar,

These are your accusations. It is for you, therefore, to prove them, not for the professor to disprove them. And, as noted, the professor has stated specific items that are expressly part of the Shari'a law, including portions that were incorporated into it out of Byzantine law.

But note: the Koran itself, while not including all of the restrictions that became part of the Shari'a law relating to conquered people of the book, calls for their payment of the jizya (poll tax) and that the payer br made to feel subdued. That is rather different than anything in Jewish law. And also note: all religions distinguish between believer and non-believer but not all place such express restrictions on non-believers.

Your better avenue of defense would be to deflect the matter by pointing out that Christian societies did at one time - until fairly recently, in fact - severely restrict non-believers and, most especially, Jews. That does not excuse what Islamic society did and what is reviving in Islamic society. However, it does provide a context in which tolerance, as Bernard Lewis notes, was not really part of human thinking - other than as societal self-description - until very recently.

Unfortunately, tolerance, as other than uncritical self-description has yet to find its way very far into Islamic society - at least so far as can be discerned. So, the contextualizing does not quite rescue your position, most especially given the Islamic revival which is tacitly and sometimes rather openly re-implimenting the restrictions, on the view that the Shari'a law is perfect.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

It is obvious that Sharia law imposes huge and humiliating penalties on non-Muslims and that historically it has been accompanied by massive violence against non-Muslims including the kidnapping and forced conversion of tens of thousands of children from Eastern Europe by the Ottomans.

You have presented no evidence--NONE--that Israeli law or Jewish attitudes towards non-Jews is anywhere and anyway like the severity of Sharia law and Muslim attitudes towar towards non-Muslims. I have given you five different major differences--to which you do not respond because you cannot respond. Church bells ring in Jerusalem--not in Khartoum (to take one example)--and that's TODAY. So, it's just a slander on your part. You've been caught at it, by Mr. Clarke among others. Your only response is to repeat the slander, in ever more hysterical tones--as if that were an actual argument.

Omar, every time you post an intervention, people think less of Islam.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Professor,

I do not argue that Islam cannot change but that it will not change readily or anytime soon.


art eckstein - 2/23/2007

I agree, N.F.


Folks with a sunnier view of the situation in the Muslim world try to dismiss people like Omar as merely a radical fringe, but Omar says he is not, and I am sorry to say that I believe him. Those who take a pessimistic view of the current situation within Islam (and as you know, I don't think the current situation need be this way forever within Islam) can employ Omar's manifold and manifest psychological and intellectual inadequacies as proof of the current problem we face.

I do wish we had a moderate Muslim voice to talk to on this blog. But then, that person would probably end up dead--like the female health minister in the Punjabi (Pakistan) govt, shot to death (her head blown off) as an act of worship by a Muslim male three days ago, on grounds that the Koran decrees that women should stay in the home.

Israel had nothing to do with THAT, Omar.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Peter,

The article to which you cite has noticeable defects for reasons I explained. The most obvious problem with it is the complete rejection of Shi'a bu Sunni as being, in a way, worse than infidels so that Sunni governments are even seeking improved relations with Israel's friends and - as of recent news - with Israel in order to counter the growing concern about Shi'a Iran.

The Islamic split may, in the end, be the force that defeats the Jihadists.

I note that the Bush administration has noted that a divide exists. Whether they are wise enough to exploit it remains to be seen.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Professor,

As I have said, Omar is a font of useful information. In him, we have an authentic voice of the Arab and Palestinian Arab viewpoint in raw form, without the addition of pleasantries which we hear when such views are presented by apologists for that viewpoint. He is invaluable.


art eckstein - 2/23/2007

1. Like the rest of us, In other words, Mr. Clarke sees that Omar has no facts to back up his passionate and ignorant convictions. NOT ONE.

Not for the first time.

Just as Omar does not have the grace to apologize for calling me a "liar" when it was HE who made a gross reading error in a posting of mine, an error which no one else made. Psychologically unable to take personal responsibility, including for his own gross mistakes, and viewing admission of error as a weakness, he must blame others even when to do so makes him look ridiculous..

Not for the first time.


N. Friedman - 2/23/2007

Omar,

It is Peter who speaks of boundaries, claiming that the world recognizes them. He points to maps.

I realize that you do not recognize them and that most Arabs do not recognize them. Peter, take note of this fact.




A. M. Eckstein - 2/23/2007

1. Omar, No one else misread my posting, which said TWICE the second time in CAPITAL LETTERS that this was an intervie with Nonie Darwish. You've been told this by others besides me.

As usual, then, Omar here displays once again his inability to take personal responsbility for mistakes he makes. Even when he makes mistakes of the crudest and most obvious kind, he can only blame others. As Nonie Darwish says (and she is the daughter of the Egyptian colonel who founded the anti-Israel Fedayeen in the Gaza Strip in the 1950s), this is an all-too familiar aspect of Muslim honor culture.

2. As for Omar's disgraceful ignorance: Omar, Jews never imposed a special tax on goyim, as Muslims did everywhere on dhimmis (the jezya tax) and Jews never kidnapped tens of thousands of Christian children and converted them by force to their religion, as the Ottomans did with the dhimmis of southeast Europe, forceably converting tens of thousands to Islam. Some of the other salient features of dhimmitude include: the Muslim prohibitions against Christians ringing church bells [I think you can hear them ringing in Israel, Omar! Though something like this IS imposed in Islamic Sudan]; the formal inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims with regard to penal law [Not true in Israel, Omar!]; the formal refusal of dhimmi testimony by Muslim courts, especially dhimmi testimony against Muslims [I don't think that happens in Israel in terms of testimony against Jews, Omar!]; the obligation for Jews and Christians to wear special clothes {I don't think that's imposed by the Israelis regarding Muslims, Omar!]
I'd say those were pretty big differences, Omar! Duh.

3. Do the French distinguish between French and non-French, the British between British and non-British, the Germans between Germans and non-Germans? Of course they do. But again, that's not the same as imposing special taxes, or forceably converting them to a religion, or not accepting their testimony in court, or making them wear special clothes. As usual, Omar mixes apples and oranges and can't tell them apart.


E. Simon - 2/22/2007

At no time during "Peter"'s participation here has there NOT been a policy at HNN against using pseudonyms. There are ways around it, as I understand, but not without significant additional requirements which I doubt "Peter" has fulfilled.

I first heard the allegation confidently thrown at him - ("not his real name") - by another poster whom he treated rudely, as he does with just about everyone who isn't conforming to his raison d'etre for being here - towing a specific political line with assertions and rhetoric, and bashing others' alleged politics with scarcely any interest in engaging the actual arguments that they might - lo and behold - actually be interested in addressing. When I'd had enough of his typical bravado-for-the-sake-of-diversion, I called him on it, and he responded by appealing to a sense of equivocation between my name and his own "nom de plume", as our snobby friend so appropriately put it. He has also made reference to "different pen names" that he posts under at sites where the predominant worldview is more to Omar's liking, so to speak - as I understood his reasoning - and the "Likudnik rapers of history", for example - might not have the fair chance that he thinks is so open to them here. Either way, it reinforces his whole idea of eschewing ideas for the sake of making intellectual discourse a political balancing act weighted according to his own arbitration, which should sound very familiar.

But whoever or whatever he is, at least we can rest assured that he is - in his own words - a "real American". Well, a real American weenie and intellectual charlatan, in any case.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

But, this is not about what Westerners think. Israel's neighbors are its neighbors and it is with them to determine boundaries. And, the maps from the PA exclude Israel. That is a fact. So, if we go by maps, your view is contradicted by those more directly involved than world map makers.

But again, the issue has nothing to do with what map makers think. So, I do not see your point.

I suggest that, instead of insulting me, you read UN 242. Note the topic secure boundaries. That is something the world promised Israel and the other directly affected countries. Note the word "recognized." That refers to those involved, not the world of map makers.

And the lack of secure, recognized boundaries is clear because the document presumes that there was nothing recognized or secure - while, at the time, Israel's unrecognized boundaries appeared on lots of maps (but not on Arab maps).

Israel had only an Armistice line in 1967 and that line was not recognized by anyone. And, most of the Arab countries still do not recognize that boundary.

So, this has nothing to do with Likud. But, your use of the word Likud is your excuse for not thinking. In other words, labels mean more for you than facts.

It is time to grow up, Peter. Israel does not have recognized boundaries and it surely does not have secure boundaries. Until that situation exists, Israel is not under even a moral obligation to withdraw. It is, rather, within its rights to hold onto the land.

And note, again and lastly, your theory is contradicted by the fact that in 1967, before June, maps showed Israel's boundaries but no one recognized them, most especially not any of her neighbors.


James Spence - 2/22/2007

Mr. Baker,

I'm not sure if you actually come from a traditional part of Arab culture where honor is more important than facts, or, maybe you’re getting off on faking your writing style here for some bizarre purpose.

For example, if you really are Arab, why don't you temporarily drop the subjective and fatalistic way at looking at things and approach an argument like the elite and savvy Arabs do. That way, you’de be more interesting and taken seriously.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

Again, world maps have nothing to do with this matter.

And again: Palestinian Arab maps pretty much all exclude Israel within any boundary. In other words, Palestinian Arab maps - those issued by the PA or under its authority and those printed by others in the territories - see the matter as Omar does, not as you see it. And, what such people think matters more than what a Western map maker may think.

So, your point is: (a) That you can read a map? (b) that you do not understand a legal concept that does not turn on what map makers draw? (c) that you do not understand the matter sufficiently to post the opinion you have posted? I vote for the (a), (b) and (c).

I suggest you study UN 242 before you continue to make a fool of yourself, Peter C.


John Charles Crocker - 2/22/2007

I don't hold out much hope for the success of negotiations by the "diplomats" likely to be put forward by our current administration, but other actual diplomats will be involved in the negotiations.
The likely outcome in the short term is bluster and obstruction by both Ahmadinejad and the Bush appointed "diplomat" followed by economic sanctions on Iran.
For any real chance of success diplomacy has to be underway before our next president is elected so he/she can hit the ground running. We will then have had close to two years of ham handed diplomacy hopefully followed by close to one year of competent diplomacy before Ahmadinejad is up for reelection in '09.
If nothing is accomplished sooner this election would then amount to a referendum on his foreign policy. We need to have made a competent diplomatic effort (likely including sanctions) before this or he will probably be reelected and then any hope of reasonable outcome would become a pipe dream.

Khamenei has shown some signs of moderation as president and supreme leader. He may rein in Ahmedinejad if he feels it suits his (Iran's?) best interests or he may just continue to play good cop bad cop with Ahmadinejad.

Bombings or worse may become necessary. In order for us to make a credible threat of force we need to have extricated ourselves from the middle of the Iraqi civil war (or worse) and we need to have made an earnest effort at diplomacy or we will no chance to attract the necessary allies. I hope for all of our sakes and for the sakes of everyone in the region that it does not come to this.

Not quite finished but the wife is calling and this is a reasonable start.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

You write: we are back to the legitimate boundaries for Israel being those shown in every atlas in the civilized world for the past half century.

Once again, Peter, you fail to recognize even the slightest understanding of what was and is involved. The issue is not whether something appears on a map.

Again, per UN 242, the issue is secure and recognized boundaries - i.e. recognized by those directly involved, not on a map. That is a legal matter, not something that relates to what Western map makers may or may not prefer.

In any event, on Palestinian Arab maps - and their view is a lot more pertinent than those of Western map makers -, Israel does not even appear. So, with the party nearest to Israel, even your map theory does not fly. Frankly, what you are asserting is nonsense - both legally and factually.



A. M. Eckstein - 2/22/2007

I believe I have, "Peter." It was when I said I totally agreed with that long paragraph you wrote on the subject. You just can't read too well, it seems.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

There is zero case for the view that Israelis are "illegally" occupying any land. They may be using the land they captured for illegal purposes but, if UN 242 and its prodigy count, the control of the land is perfectly legal.

Consider that you apply a legal term a bit too hastily to describe what the UN, at the time, chose not to label "illegal." Hence, the actual wording of UN 242, which was drafted, as stated on the floor of the UN by the UK ambassador and echoed by the US ambassador, did not render the control of the land illegal. Rather, the language set a path to reconcile both sides' concerns - but which concerns, at the time, were vehemently objected to only by the Arab side - for the parties to determine, via negotiations, secure and recognized boundaries to which Israel might then withdraw. The USSR ambassador, in fact, complained in the UN session about the wording of the proposal, because it did not require Israel to vacate any land.

Now, the debate, overall, would move far further today if the world openly acknowledged its UN Security Council promises to Israel - that Israel would never have to withdraw other than to secure and recognized boundaries to be determined via negotiations, not dictated to by the International community (concerned principally about the flow of oil and lucrative contracts in the Arab regions, as is often the case in Europe) - rather than placing Israel in the position of believing that the world's promises are meaningless so that Israel is on her own. Countries do not do favors when others welsh on their promises.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter and Art,

Wow, a rare moment of some agreement.


Peter Kovachev - 2/22/2007

Didn't know you were an Atlas-collector, Clarke, a remnant of the days when your folks thought they had a bright boy and they should encourage his little hobbies?

Me, I only have about five or six of them kicking around (my parents were less optimistic than yours, it seems) and each has a different map of Israel. The one I like best is my old Canadian high school atlas where Israel is shown with the Sinai, Judea, Samaria and Gaza as aunbroken and unmarked parts of that nation state.

A friend of mine has bested me with a British school system one which shows most of Jordan and big chunks of Lebanon and Syria as part of a suggested Jewish state. I suppose it was made at a time when people had the sense to laugh at the very idea that there could be such a thing as a functioning Arab nation.

Then, of course, there are plenty of alternate-universe maps produced by alternate-universe people called "Palestinians" ...some of which even grace UN offices ...where Israel is not even shown, and where various Israeli cities sport what appeear to be very Arabic-sounding names.

So much for this round of the Clarke vs. Facts battle.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

N.F. writes:

"One last point: the assumption here is that there are better alternatives - policy wise that is - being proposed by those who might next be president. So far, not much has been said. We know that some would increase our role in Iraq (e.g. McCain) while some would decrease it (e.g. Edwards). However, none of that tells us much about what any of them would do to deal with the ongoing issue in the Islamic regions.

And, as I have been arguing for months, the driving force for what occurs in those regions is internally driven and is not really that much impacted by the policies of the US or the West or anyone else. Rather, the same forces have been steadily climbing toward power for many decades.

Those forces are vicious, devoutly religious, Medieval and terribly dangerous. Were they to arm with nuclear weapons, the world would be in for a much, much worse ride than now is occurring."

I am in total agree with his comments here. Many people on this blog are especially unwilling--as Chamberlain was unwilling in terms of Hitler--to face what N.F. correctly describes in the final paragraph I have quoted.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Professor,

You write to Peter: "And I know a helluva lot more about the history of the Middle East and its politics than you do."

That is because you actually read books.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

I would point out that the article overestimates our weakness - which, at this point, is very temporary unless we agree to its permanence by staying tied forever to Iraq.

And, the article proposes that we agree to a potentially permanent change on the theory that Iran will somehow prefer its Iranian identity to that of the let Iran burn crowd which was the view of the the original Ayatollah Khomeini.

Granting some of Iran's dreams of power as an Iranian power, even assuming that the article is correct, means creating an even more vicious conflict between the Shi'a and the Sunni. And, that is not likely to be such a good thing for the region. On NPR the other morning, a professor from, I believe, Birzeit University explained in rather summary form that Shi'a cannot govern Sunni Arabs. As I understood his meaning, he was saying that such goes against the natural order of things.

So, I think the author of the article may be fooling himself. Iranian power is not likely to be much of a stabilizing force. I note that the possible rise of Iran has already created somewhat of a thawing in relations between the Israel hating Saudis and friends of Israel. That ought to tell you how much concern Iran is to Sunni Arabs.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

You write: What we here OUGHT to be discussing (instead of propaganda-based and dubious parallels to 1930s Germany) is how to accelerate that transfer of power in America (to competent hands) and how to realign the "West's" policies and goals to fit our now greatly-weakened position due to the ineptitude of the past 6 years.

We have elections in the US. In two years, there will be a different president. Even if the president holds the exact same views as the current president, it would be difficult to imagine that the person would be as ineffective. Which is to say, some of the problem here is actually specific to Mr. Bush, without regard, in some cases, to the policies he pursues.

As for the notion that the US needs to realign due to weakness, I think you grossly exaggerate American weakness. What we have is a moment when our troops are tied up chasing a pipe dream that Medieval societies would embrace pluralism.

But, all told, the US still likely has more military and, moreover, political power than the rest of the world's countries unless they were all to unite against us. And, not even Bush could cause that as, for example, there are limits beyond which even France, for all its occasional belligerent talk, would not go.

So, I think you talk the talk of Apocalypse in the wrong manner. Those who are actually talking that talk and, perhaps, actually meaning it live in the Muslim regions. Such people are scary, whether the president is Bush or some new face.

With due respect, apart from dealing with Iraq, the issue is not "realigning" our foreign policy in some fundamental way - as if we can somehow become loved by people in the Muslim regions. The issue is to find a way both to deal with the storm that is not just beyond the horizon but moving overhead but without alienating allies who, for their own reasons, are incapable of supporting us for domestic reasons and due, in a number of cases, to their political agenda to abate America's preeminent power.

One last point: the assumption here is that there are better alternatives - policy wise that is - being proposed by those who might next be president. So far, not much has been said. We know that some would increase our role in Iraq (e.g. McCain) while some would decrease it (e.g. Edwards). However, none of that tells us much about what any of them would do to deal with the ongoing issue in the Islamic regions.

And, as I have been arguing for months, the driving force for what occurs in those regions is internally driven and is not really that much impacted by the policies of the US or the West or anyone else. Rather, the same forces have been steadily climbing toward power for many decades.

Those forces are vicious, devoutly religious, Medieval and terribly dangerous. Were they to arm with nuclear weapons, the world would be in for a much, much worse ride than now is occurring.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

By the way, Peter: is "Peter K. Clarke", your real name, as Art Eckstein is mine, or are you posting here via employment of a pseudonym? People are wondering, and I thought it was the latter. Could you clarify this? I'm surprised you haven't.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

The Bushies, as Clarke rightly says, are grotesque incompetents. The Iranian overture of 2003 should have been pursued, and they were incompetent not to do so.

On the OTHER hand, one should not make too much of this "offer": there is absolutely no guarantee the offer was sincere, or would have remained sincere once the situation in Iraq worsened and it became clear that the Americans were a lot weaker than they looked in April and May. The example of Israeli negotiating with the Palestinians, who constantly up their demands (as the Sudetens did with the Czechs) because the reality is they want to destroy Israel (ask Omar), is not, in this respect, encouraging.

The Bushies should talk to the iranian govt now--no harm in doing so, though Clarke is again correct that given the Bushies incompetence no great good is likely to result from it either. But any negotiation is a SYNERGISTIC interaction and the idea that we would be dealing with sincere and peace-loving Iranians would be naive in the extreme, so from the Iranian side, other than a proclamation of a propaganda victory, I don't see much likely movement. After all, the Iranians have beent talking to the allegedly more "sophisticated and flexible" Europeans for five years, and they have been unable to stop the nuclear program, and I don't believe the Iranian govt has ANY intention (at any price) of stopping it.

An American promise of no attack is not a powerful lever, given the likelihood that such an attack would actually shore up popular support for Ahmedinejad's govt . An actual major American invasion of Iran (as opposed to an air campaign to destroy the nuclear facilities) is impossible, given the small size of our land army.

Once more, though, any such policy of negotiation is based on the idea that the people around Ahmedinejad are minimally rational. But even on rational grounds there is little reason for the Iranians to give in on the nukes--and the idea that the people around Ahmedinejad are rational in western terms (though obviously things are complex, given the caution of the mullahs) is a dubious one in the first place.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

The elementary logic, Peter, is that even IF George Bush was an exact carbon copy of the politics, policies and personality of Neville Chamberlain, that would be irrelevant to criticism of Chamberlain himself for failing to perceive the real nature of Hitler, and allowing Czechoslovakia to be destroyed while Chamberlain and the other appeasers attacked the Czechs on MORAL grounds for being "inflexible" when we now know that NO amount of Czech negotiating flexibility was going to lead to a compromise settlement, given the apocalyptic goals of Hitler. Get the parallel?

That Bush is bad doesn't mean that Chamberlain gets excused. In any case, Bush's politics, personality and policies are NOT the same as Chamberlain's. So it's doubly irrelevant.

Bush had nothing to do with the rise of Ahmedinejad, as he has nothing to do with the murder yesterday of a liberal Muslim female leader in Pakistan by a religious fanatic who felt that the Koran decrees women should remain in the home, or the murder in Detroit yesterday of a Muslim woman and daughter by the woman's husband on the grounds that they un-Islamically disrespected him.

This barbarous violence is coming from a strain, a powerful strain, a "jihadist strai", within Islam itself. You see the primitive hatred, the ignorance, the pride, in Omar.

You know nothing of my work, which combines modern international systems theory and modern political science understanding of the conduct of states with the facts of ancient history. And I know a helluva lot more about the history of the Middle East and its politics than you do.


Peter Kovachev - 2/22/2007

"Zionism equal residency in Israel..." should read "Zionism DOESN'T equal residency in Israel..."

Sorry, if I got you all excited for nothing.


Peter Kovachev - 2/22/2007

Facts seem to forever get in the way of your life to complicate it and turn you into a joke, eh, Clarke?

Zionism equal residency in Israel or even a Jewish status. You can be a non-Zionist, like Neve Gordon, and be a Jew who lives in Israel or a Zionist as a non-Jew living in Canada, like me. It's largely a self-definition thing, if that's alright with you. Well over eighty percent of Jews worldwide support Israel as a Jewish state and a huge, perhaps even a greater number of non-Jews than Jews do too, with or without identifying themselves as Zionists by name. They should all unquestioningly accept your unique definition, of course, but they need to hear about you first.

The definition of what is "Arab land" is, alas, also being made without your august presence. Most of those who use the term would gladly saw your head off with a bread knife on Al Jazeera for suggesting that it doesn't include all of Israel...not to mention Africa, Spain, the Balkans, India, etc., etc... so keep your head down on this one as much as possible. As for your mythical "Palestinians," most who did actually own land still own it and live on it...with the help of Israeli pogey as their chief source of income. Take a trip to the Galilee or any of the Arab settlements thoughout Israel. Actually, don't; even I wouldn't want to see you lynched for showing your pale face around "their" turf. And brutalized they are, yes, by their own leadership, families, clans and local warlords and mobsters.

Other than all that, you're absolutely right, of course.


John Charles Crocker - 2/22/2007

Without the US participating in the negotiations with Iran there is considerably less chance of their success. Among other reasons for this is that only the US can promise that the US will not invade which will certainly have to be a part of any agreement Iran will agree to.

Iran did make an overture for direct negotiations with the US in 2003 and offered to put cessation of its nuclear program on the table. Khamenei backed the offer of comprehensive talks. Our position has weakened considerably since then, but our participation in directr negotiations sooner rather than later is still the best chance for a peaceful outcome.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/2932336.html
The above article has a reasonable plan for addressing the situation in the "finding the levers - and pulling" section. Some of this is now outdated and convincing Israel to go along would be problematic at best, but it is a good starting point.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

And say what to them, exactly, John? Do you think this is all about them wanting to talk directly to the U.S.?

I don't mean these questions sarcastically.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

No, N.F., I don't know his real name, but I thought someone else on one of these threads wrote that it was a pseudonym, and he hasn't denied it. If it is not a pseudonym, I apologize to him.


John Charles Crocker - 2/22/2007

As a start the US needs to participate in direct negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Professor,

Why do you believe that Peter C. uses a pseudonym? Do you know Peter C.'s real name?


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

This post was addressed to "Peter K. Clarke" (who doesn't have the honesty to post here under his real name, as I do).

And the first line should read: "Omar, like Ahmedijedad, etc. [That is, there should be a comma after the second ignorant barbarian mentioned.]

This is in case Omar, seeing his name, again thinks this post is addressed to him.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

Omar, like Ahmedinejad is on record as supporting all violent means to destroy Israel. He admires Ahmedinejad--not just the rhetoric but the INTENT. That isn't a "fable."
Omar also supports the goals of al-Qaeda, if you remember from the summer, which includes a world-wide Caliphate. His only quarrel with al-Qaeda is that occasionally its behavior can be counterproductive--he doesn't have a moral quarrel with sucide bombing as far as I can see. Like the 75-80% of the Palestinians he supports the continuous massacre of Israeli civilians.
"Peter", even if GWBush were an exact carbon copy of Chamberlain, that would not change the criticism of Chamberlain. By going after GW (as if any one here defended him!), you're just tyring to change the subject; its irrelevant to the discussion of Ahmedinejad. Chamberlain naively or cynically (depending on your position) allowed the destruction of Czechoslovakia WHILE criticizing the Czech goverment for not being more accommodating in its negotiations with the Sudeten German leader Henlein (sound familiar?), whom we NOW know was under orders from the Nazis to make ever more outrageous demands if the Czechs made concessions (sound familiar?)

As for Israel being the most insulting member of the UN, SUDAN engages in genocide at the million-DEATH level and is a respected member of the Muslim League and the Muslim group at the UN. CHINA invaded and conquered all of Tibet 60 years ago, destroyed Tibetan Bhuddist culture, and imported a million colonists of Chinese origin. (Now THAT"S colonizaton). Yet China is a respected member of the UN and sits on the Security Council. The SYRIAN government intentionally killed twice as many civilians in ONE WEEK in 1982 (about 20,000) than the Israelis have unintentionally killed in all its wars which the Muslims have inflicted upon it since 1948--but you apparently aren't exercized over ITS place in the UN.



N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Professor,

I think we agree entirely here.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Peter,

Why, on this Earth, do you call me a Likudnik? I am not Israeli and have no interesting in becoming an Israeli. I have no interest in the various positions taken by the competing Israeli parties. How Israel deals with its various problems is, for the most part, not my concern - at least not enough to care whether Likud or Labor or Kadima win. Were I to become an Israeli, then I would face the questions that Israelis face. I do not face them so it is not my part to choose sides anymore about Israel than I might do about the UK.

In any event, I know that throwing words around gets you off, but it does not help a conversation.

If you drop your ridiculous invective, I shall stop reminding you of something that is not so ridiculous but, instead, a matter that should bother you and anyone who has to read your comments, namely, that you have not read enough about the Islamic regions to hold any opinions, much less the ones you hold.

As for the "wiping" comment, that is not, by a long shot, the most outrageous thing that Ahmadinejad has said. Again, his program is to reclaim land in Europe, with Israel's demise merely being a part in a much bigger war. That, not whether he used this or that specific word or phrase - the focus upon which is merely smoke thrown out by apologists for a truly dangerous regime - is what concerns me. OK?

As for Baker, he is a master diplomat. However, we are perhaps paying the price, in many, many ways for his diplomacy at the expense of statesmanship, including, not to mention a small aside that might be remembered by you, his assistance after the vote in getting Bush II into office the first time.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

1. On the Iranian govt:
Oh, yes, N.F.! I think we were BOTH saying in the end that things were complex in Iran, though our emphases were slightly different. But not that much different.

2. On Ahmedinejad:

N.F. writes:

"To Peter, I note Churchill's point in The Gathering Storm that Hitler pretty much laid out what he would do and then did it. Ahmadinejad and the Islamists have pretty much laid out what they would do if they find a way - and it is scary as can be."


I agree completely with the parallel, N.F.. Chamberlain simply didn't believe that Hitler was as crazy as he seemed; it was impossible for Chamberlain (born in 1869) to believe that the head of ANY major state could be as out-of-control as Hitler was. That was Chamberlain's WEAKNESS, a weakness of imagination which "Peter K. Clarke" also suffers from, and which Hitler exploited at Munich in 1938 and right up to March 1939 when Hitler betrayed the Munich agreements and took over all of Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain went into shock: Herr Hitler he'd thought, was simply a person which specific grievances, Chamberlain should've read Mein Kampf. It's all in there, just like it's in Ahmedinejad's speeches. But lots of people just can't believe their ears.

Like I said, it's a failure of historical imagination.


N. Friedman - 2/22/2007

Professor,

I was not quite taking the view that all of Iran is the same. I believe we discussed that issue and I believe, based on what Benny Morris noted, that he saw the regime as having some inherent characteristics so far as the ruling party is concerned. Such, after all, is pretty much what his articles says.

As for crazy, I doubt that Ahmadinejad is any more crazy than Hitler - at least if we judge that by being certifiably crazy. They are crazy because their political agendas are crazy.

To Peter, I note Churchill's point in The Gathering Storm that Hitler pretty much laid out what he would do and then did it. Ahmadinejad and the Islamists have pretty much laid out what they would do if they find a way - and it is scary as can be.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

Wow, Omar--when you are going to apologize for your stupidity and carelessness in thinking a question I quoted and said was directed at Nonie Darwish on a blog a week ago was directed (somehow!) at you, and then you called me a liar because YOU never said what the question quoted Darwish CORRECTLY as saying?

Wow did you look barbarous and ignorant on THAT one!

Oh, but that's right. You can't apologize to a dhimmi. Even when you're wrong. So just keep calling him a liar in the face of all the facts cause that's what you've evidently been taught is morality.

Grotesque.


Peter Kovachev - 2/22/2007

Your monitor must be a veritable spittoon by now, Omar. Try to control yourself. Why should you object to the good professor's label "crazed barbarian," when that's precisely the PR image your heroes and leaders have been working so hard to project? Just turn on the news for half an hour on any given day and you'll see what I mean.

And you think YOU have problems with Zionists? So do I, and if you think you're mad, I'm seething! For example, what I can't understand for the life of me is how a supposedly Zionist Israeli population found itself with a stupid, inept government headed by a slick little poltroon interested only in giving away Jewish lands to psychopathic murderers. I'd also think that given the failed "disengagement" experiment, Gush Katif and the other evacuated Jewish communities should have been re-taken and turned into bristling fortresses after the firt Kassam, so that not even a spit-ball could fly out of Gaza. And, hello? Why is there still a thing called Hezbollah? After the first rockets on Israeli cities and towns I would have expected them to be pounded into an archeological layer...or atomized into a thin fart. But don't get depressed, governments change and there's still a chance to correct such errors.


art eckstein - 2/22/2007

Wow, Peter--you say you're unaware of anyone endorsing Ahmedinejad's principles? I guess you still can't read:

You say:
By the way, I am not aware of any "postings above" which support Ahmadinejad's principles, and I see no good reason for you to invent any such fable


Omar said (Feb. 19, at 3:44 p.m.)

"I note with pleasure that Ahmedi Nejjad was quoted correctly, in a post otherwise replete with Zionist sloganeering and blind anti Iran hatred,. in his statement:
"The life-curve of the Zionist regime has begun its descent, and it is now on a downward slope towards its fall. . . . The Zionist regime will be wiped out, and humanity will be liberated."

Duh.


art eckstein - 2/21/2007

Peter, I truly and heartily agree with what you wrote here:

"I already said what I "proposed": a less incompetent US executive branch.
More specifically: The current administration, featuring the most screwed-up and ruinous foreign policy in US history, has squandered American leadership in authority in the world, thrown away trillions of dollars in massively botched invasion and occuptation and sitting-duck intervention, badly damaged our military capability, strengthened Al Qeada except (for the time being in Afghanistan), turned Iraq from an instable tyranny to an even more instable anarchy of anti-US resentment and future terrorist recruitment, helped Hamas and Hezbollah achieve new heights of popularity and power, surrendered wholesale to the North Korean Stalinist wackos, and on the Waziristan havens, and done little about Saudi support for terrorism. Stay tuned for surrender on Iran, and cut-and-run from Iraq. It is not only "realistic," but probable that no matter who or what the successor administration, it will be less disastrous for America, for Israel, for the world than the current clowns."

But, still, I'm asking again: what do you propose as POLICY? Saying "I propose a less incompetent administration"--well, sure! But I'd like you to define competence in terms of specific policy choices that need to be made in the real and very dangerous world we face.

You and I clearly differ greatly on the nature and intensity of the Iranian nuclear threat. My study of the 1930s convinces me that when crazy men speak, they mean exactly what they say--even though rational people, appalled at the idea that this could be so, simply don't believe them. I think that's your problem with Ahmedinejad.

But I had a a long discussion with N.F. on the complex ins-and-outs of the complex Iranian govt about two weeks ago. Ahmedinejad isn't the whole govt. The mulllahs are more powerful than he (and they are somewhat divided), and he lost the municpal elections. But, as you can also see from some of the postings above, Ahmedinejad's principles of operation have plenty of supporters among the barbarous, the ignorant and the proud who make up so much of the Middle East


N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

Peter,

The speech involved was well publicized in the US. In the speech, he explained why he supports the Palestinian Arab cause and why he hoped for Israel's demise. It was not to help the Palestinian Arabs but, instead per se. He indicated that Islam had lost land to Christians in Europe. He said that Israel's demise would help in reclaiming lands lost to Europe.


A. M. Eckstein - 2/21/2007

Peter, I agree with your statement here:

"We all know that, unlike its Arab neighbors, Israel is a democracy (for Jews at least) whose religious leaders, even the most lunatic among them, do not routinely advocate suicidal mass murder of civilians as a legitimate tactic of ideological-furtherance. As a practical matter, furthermore, countries and parties, including Hamas, need to accept the decades-long internationally recognized right of Israel to exist AS a Jewish homeland WITHIN in its pre-1967 boundaries, BEFORE any attempt to get Israel to abandon its nukes has any realistic chance of success."

But you also must face the reality that crazed barbarians such as Omar are a very strong presence in the Middle East and you can see what HIS position IS. I'm sure you also understand that any hardline position by Israel will be seen by people such as Omar as insufferable dhimmi arrogance provoking "legitimate rage", whereas, conversely, any concessions proposed by Israel will not be seen as evidence of goodwill but as evidence of weakness to be triumphantly exploited. Given that sort of situation what do you then propose--realistically?


E. Simon - 2/21/2007

The initials of one's name do not, under any definition that can be achieved with a lesser degree of retardation than yourself, constitute a pseudonym. P.T. Barnum was not a pseudonym. J.K. Rowling is not a pseudonym. The false name of Peter K. Clarke, however, is a pseudonym. I anticipated last night that you would be so stupid as to make this blunder. Stop hiding behind your pseudonym before HNN deletes that account and prevents your sorry, pseudonymous self from coming here and putting more of your monumental stupidity on display behind the pithy pseudonym that makes you feel so undaunted in displaying it.


E. Simon - 2/21/2007

I think it's way beyond safe here to accept that he has absolutely no idea what his pseudonymous self is talking about. His post is truly a propogandistic rebuke in search of the appearance of an intellectualized exchange - (with "rightwing" "children" no less!)

It really takes an effort to look past the gibberish of his emoting with ignorance to understand what his own untrained mind was even trying to say. What a waste of time he is. HNN should give him the boot. Only a pseudonym would be so consistently willing to look so stupid.


E. Simon - 2/21/2007

Peter, in the unfortunate event that the above post not remain, I am astounded by how bizarre your comment is. Perhaps you do not realize that treaties are typically entered into voluntarily, which wouldn't be surprising - I expect you not to realize such things - or to look them up, for that matter. My comment had to do with Iran's violating an important treaty that it chose to sign, not Israel's not violating the same treaty - which it never chose to sign. Of course, I could understand why labelling a country "number-1-UN-insulter" could be an important intellectual crutch for someone whose pseudonymity provides good cover for not feeling obliged to provide evidence for whatever equivocating treaties you feel Israel is bound to and has, yet, shown evidence of not feeling itself bound to. But if that's the best you can do, then you could at least be honest to your pseudonymous self and admit that that's just a diversion that really doesn't have much of anything to do with what I said - as brief as it was.

But once again, I suppose it's easier to deceive oneself when one's basic identity is such an issue.


N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

Peter,

You assert a lot of facts. Please present evidence showing that your facts are correct.

Again: you are not an authority on the Middle East. You do not appear to have read much. So, there is no reason to trust your ever appearing bald assertions. So, cite your facts!!! Then we can discuss them.


E. Simon - 2/21/2007

You are one dumb a**hole, "Peter". And your own implied maturity has yet to reveal any intellectual components.

No need for further comment to a cowardly pseudonym who thinks that mentioning adherence to treaties that a country CHOOSES to sign (the NPT no less!) has anything to do with right-wing Israeli politics, except I suppose to idiots who have a bug so far up their behind as to moronically follow the line that Israel is the sum total of everything that's wrong with the world. Go and see if you can find me an example of these "Israelis who are not card-carrying rightwing propagandists" who think Israel SHOULD sign the NPT. Oh yeah, I forgot. That would entail looking it up or actually knowing what you're talking about, which means, you won't. It's just more of your blustering B.S. As usual.

You have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about and I highly doubt you would display such ignorance which serves no purpose other than serve up more of your pseudonymously posted propoganda. Nothing you say here has anything to do with my brief comment whatsoever, except, of course, to reveal those facts. It is incredible to imagine that you wouldn't even realize that. But I suppose it's easier to deceive oneself when one's basic identity is such an issue. You are a waste of everybody's time here.


N. Friedman - 2/21/2007

Peter,

Grow up. The professor's comment was fair.


art eckstein - 2/20/2007

Come, now, Peter-- I never said you SAID that only Israeli actions infuriate you; I didn't quote you. What I SAID was that only Israeli actions infuriate you, other and far worse actions by others do not, and I then asked why that was--citing the EU definition of anti-semitism.

So I'm not lying about anything you said, since I wasn't quoting you (as you wrongly claim), which if you'd bothered to read SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY, you would have seen.

Here is ecactly what I said, from #105810, as posted at ll:53 a.m.:

If "everybody does it," and many do it far more violently, why does only Israeli action so infuriate you? See the EU definition of anti-semitism.


Now, do you see any false quotations from you where I claim you ever said "only Israeli action infuriates me"? No. They aren't there.

And therefore you owe me an apology. Not that I expect to get it, any more than I ever get one from barbarous Omar when he makes one of HIS gross mistakes.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

Peter,

Apart from Iran, there are all but no Middle Eastern Jews in any Muslim country. So, it is difficult to make comparisons. In fact, your comment is further evidence of why you should read a book about that part of the world before ranting as you do.

In the case of Iran, the country at one point would sell Jewish people to Israel for $50,000 in hard currency per head. I have first hand knowledge of this. Nice guys, eh?

And, as always Peter, you lack the knowledge to make most of the nasty assertions that you do make - which may explain why you fail to recognize Iranian statements of the need to expand. In fact, Iran's leader has spoken about reclaiming lands for Islamdom and about destroying Israel as part of a strategy to begin that that process. So, you are factually mistaken.

Lastly, as a typical Peter C. slur, you call the article a neocon. Such, in logic, is called an ad hominem argument. Or, in English, your argument is invalid.

By the way, stop calling the professor a liar.


E. Simon - 2/20/2007

Omar's equivocating between Israel's possession of nukes and Iran's aspiration for nukes makes me wonder if he things modern treaties, such as the NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY which IRAN HAS SIGNED, NOT ISRAEL, should not be respected.


Peter Kovachev - 2/20/2007

You're forgetting, Omar, that the "Zionist colonialists" (a "colony" of what country, you never answered) are not the only ones who have (or is claimed to have) nukes. Forget Pakistan? Rumours would have it and their flag might indicate that its official religion is the "religion of peace."

Btw, Iran shouldn't have the nuke simply because it's run by a bunch of nutjobs. That's as good reason as any. Unfair? Who cares, chances are they'll have their "Osirak moment" soon enough, and then they can booh-hoo over the unfairness of it all.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

Peter,

I well appreciate your attempt to rehabilitate your argument. But, leave me out of your phony rant.

I merely posted, in the first instance, what Benny Morris thought. It exactly contradicts your position on evidence that, evidently, you accept. So, rather than consider the implications of that, you accuse Morris of favoring ethnic cleansing.

What Morris actually stated in the Haaretz interview - and I paraphrase - is that had Israel, in fact, driven out the Palestinian Arab population in its entirety, the dispute might not have acquired the intensity for Arabs that it came to have. So, he was making an observation, after which he made the further observation that had the conflict not have taken the turn it took, that might have been a good thing. Such, however, is something quite different from saying he favors ethnic cleansing - except for people who want to make controversy and tar Morris for not opposing Israel's existence.

Now, I never claimed expertise on European history. But, I have read enough to know how Jews were vilified. And, I know that such served to create an atmosphere in which genocide was more readily deemed to be acceptable. That much, among other things, I have read.

Again, Peter, since you are fond of demanding first line evidence from everyone else, let us now have some from you. Again: back up all of your assertions. And note: you are already one strike down, having misstated Morris' position.





A. M. Eckstein - 2/20/2007

If "everybody does it," and many do it far more violently, why does only Israeli action so infuriate you? See the EU definition of anti-semitism.

Ahmedinejad is certainly a Hitleresque figure--his rhetoric is Hitleresque, his attitudes are, he has pushed Iran as hard as possible to get an atomic weapon despite isolating Iran increasingly (and causing the Saudis to try to bankrupt his govet0 ,while overtly threatening the destruction of Israel on religious grounds. Yet you shrug your shoulders, and want to ignore the Hitleresque rhetoric coming from someone who will soon have atomic weapons. Would you be saying the same thing, say, if Ariel Sharon had continually threatened Iran with atomic annihilation, on, say, religious grounds? "Oh well, that's just rhetoric." Somehow, I can't see you taking that position, Peter...


art eckstein - 2/20/2007

N.F. is right (as usual); I do know Benny Morris--he does not have an unpleasant personality. Peter--did you pick up that slur on Wikipedia?

And of course Israel did not engage in widespread "ethnic cleansing": though there was some (which Benny Morris was the first to write about with emphasis), it was no more than the Arab armies against Jews did during the 1948 war. And this sort of thing not only was widespread in the last stages of WWII and decolonization (the 2,000,000 ethnic Germans purged from what is now Poland, for instance--and they were treated FAR more violently than any Palestinians were; or the 7,000,000 Hindus pushed from Pakistan and 7,000,000 Muslims pushed from India--ditto), but such conduct BEGAN in the Mandate of Palestine with the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Hebron--where they had lived for THREE THOUSAND years, by the forces of Hajj Amin el Husseini (the later ally of Hitler). This event occurred in...1929.

Muslim countries, in addition, DID engage in ethnic cleansing of Jews after 1948, and at least 900,000 Jews were forced to leave their homes (and somebody is living in them today, Peter, somebody has all that property--yet it's a topic that is NEVER discussed; only Palestinians are victims it seems), and arrived in Israel mostly penniless. That's 200,000 more victims than the Palestinian Nakbah. And THAT is why, whereas Arabs make up 20% of the population of Israel, Jews make up essentially 0% of, say, Egypt, Morrocco, or Iraq.

One EU definition of anti-semitism is when Israel is held to different standards of conduct than any other state.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/20/2007

Omar forgets that if --God forbid-- Ahmadinajad or anybody else in Iran were to send a nuclear weapon Israel's way, it might cause plenty of Arab deaths too. How do you feel about that, Omar?
By the way, last summer's war with the Hizbullah saw a few dozen Israeli Arabs dying from Hizbullah rockets, that were indiscrinately fired at Israel in the hope of killing civilians. What say you to that, `Umar?
As for his proposal that Jews become a "faith community," that is a polite way of denying our nationhood, although our nationhood was accepted by the Quran and traditional Arab historians, like Ibn Khaldun. It is also a thinly veiled invitation to Jews to become dhimmis, second or third-class subjects in the Islamic state. `Umar hates Zionism because it makes Jews a historical subject, not an object of oppressors, Western or Arab, and Zionism takes Jews out of the status of oppression to the Arabs/Muslims.
The Arabs are the conquerors and colonists in the Land of Israel. Read Moshe Gil on the history of the Land of Israel under the early Arab-Muslim conquerors.


Peter Kovachev - 2/20/2007

Odd and disjointed conclusions you draw again, Omar. You choose to believe Ahmedinejad's threats are figurative, even as he raves about the Mahdi whilst scrambling to assemble nukes. And unlike the Holocaust-denying sewage offal above, the Joe Morgan character, you do recognize the reality and the evil of the Holocaust on one hand, but at the same time you insist that the Jews should not draw any conclusions from that event, not to mention others preceeding it, and insist that they reject their historical connection to the land of Israel, drop aspirations of political independence, return to medieval pietism and effectively submit to dhimmi status to an imperialist Islam.

How rosy such a fate would be is hardly a guessing matter. A judenrein Middle East as your exxhibit "A" and as exhibit "B", the millions of Christians, Buddhist, Hindus and others ... all supposedly living as "spiritual/confessional communit(ies)," The latter would not doubt gladly testify to the noble intentions of the "Religion of Peace." Alas, they are a tad busy at this time, what with trying to keep their heads on their shoulders (literally) and their women and children from being abducted into slavery.


N. Friedman - 2/20/2007

Peter,

You cite Wikipedia. That is not a sufficient source for anything. That is now, however, the primary source of lazy Peter.

You state that Morris does not know anything about Iran. But, in fact, he does. Ask Professor Eckstein who knows Morris.

You state that Iran is not Germany. That is true.

However, you make a number of other comments that require evidence.

Provide exact sources - first hand sources - for your assertions. Otherwise, they are just rhetoric that is beyond your competence.

Again, you are not a Middle East scholar. You have not read any books about that region. You are simply stating your preferences - bald assertions.

Morris, by the way, is a left winger and not an apologist for anything. Wikipedia has his position wrong. Morris made a comment once to Haaretz which was misinterpreted.

In any event, Israel did not "ethnically cleanse." Otherwise, the country would not be 20% Arab.

And, the extent of Israel's activities vis a vis the Palestinian Arabs is known due to his scholarship. His view is that there was a war and that people lost their homes, some of them by armies acting out of line but, in a small percentage of cases, with actual intent. But, there was no plan to drive out Palestinian Arabs.


N. Friedman - 2/19/2007

Peter,

Contrary to your interpretation, this is an important article in the effort for Jews not to be swept away again in the whirlwind of world events. As well known historian Benny Morris writes:

As with the first, the second Holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds, by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals and media outlets. Different messages have gone out to different audiences -- but all have (objectively) served the same goal, the demonization of Israel. Muslims the world over have been taught: 'The Zionists\the Jews are the embodiment of evil' and 'Israel must be destroyed.' And Westerners, more subtly, were instructed: 'Israel is a racist oppressor state' and 'Israel, in this age of multi-culturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous'. Generations of Muslims and at least a generation of Westerners have been brought up on these catechisms.

The Second Holocaust, by Benny Morris.

I think what you are really saying is that your agenda is not the same as that of the author. But, frankly, the cause espoused by the author is an important one for people who care about their fellow human beings. So, this is not a trivial point. It is centrally important.


Joe H Morgan - 2/19/2007

The use of imprisonment to enforce acceptance of the holocaust stories is what the Tehran conference was all about, the growing number of Western societies that imprison historians.

There are no revisionists who question what really happened to the Jews during WWII, placed in concentration camps, tatooed, used in forced labor, 100s of thousands dying towards the end of the war of typhus and starvation, skeleton people found at camps during liberation, and large piles of yet cremated corpses.

What they dispute is what we were told the Zionist dominated Nuremberg trials "proved," that there was a plan of extermination, 6 million Jews dying in gas chambers.


Louis Nelson Proyect - 2/19/2007

Washington Report, November 1986

Special Report
Israeli Arms Sales to Iran
By Jane Hunter

In September, when the Israeli government radio accused Iranian troops of training Lebanese Shiite guerrillas for attacks on the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army, and said that Iranians themselves might also have been among those who attacked Israeli positions in Lebanon, the US media reported those charges in great detail. None found the time or space, however, to note how ironic it was for Israel to complain about Iranian military activities.

Iran might have been hard put to continue its costly six-year-old war with Iraq—not to mention simultaneously stirring up followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Lebanon—if Israel had not been willing to sell the Khomeini government great quantities of the weapons Iran desperately needed to keep its army in the field. That is only one of the anomalies of Israel's booming arms trade. US law and US policy also come in for some stretching and twisting.

Over the course of the Gulf war, Iran's quest for weapons has become legendary, with many countries and hordes of private arms dealers eager to conclude arms deals and reap the premium commissions Iran offers. Israel, with standing access to the same models of US-made arms upon which the Shah based Iran's arsenal, and with its desire to build up an indigenous arms industry, has led the pack. The London Observer estimated that Israel's arms sales to Iran total $500 million annually.

full: http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1186/8611002.html

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