Daniel Pipes: Destroying Sculptures of Muhammad





[Mr. Pipes is the director of the Middle East Forum. His website address is http://www.danielpipes.org. Click here for his blog.]

This month, Denmark's police foiled a terrorist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard, the artist who drew the strongest of the twelve Muhammad images, prompting most of the country's newspapers to reprint his cartoon as an act of solidarity and a signal to Islamists that their threats and violence will not succeed.
This incident points to the Islamists' mixed success in curbing Western freedom of speech about Muhammad – think of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses or the Deutsche Oper's production of Mozart's Idomeneo. If threats of violence sometimes do work, they as often provoke, anger, and inspire resistance. A polite demarche can achieve more. Illustrating this, note two parallel efforts, dating from 1955 and 1997, to remove nearly-identical American courthouse sculptures of Muhammad.

In 1997, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that part of a 1930s frieze in the main chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. be sandblasted into oblivion, on the grounds that Islam prohibits representations of its prophet. The seven-foot high marble relief by Adolph Weinman depicts Muhammad as one of 18 historic lawgivers. His left hand holds the Koran in book form (a jarring historical inaccuracy from the Muslim point of view) and his right holds a sword.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist, however, rejected CAIR's pressure campaign, finding that the depiction "was intended only to recognize [Muhammad] … as an important figure in the history of law; it is not intended as a form of idol worship." Rehnquist only conceded that court literature should mention that the representation offends Muslim sensibilities. His decision met with riots and injuries in India.

In contrast, back in 1955, a campaign to censor a representation of Muhammad in another American court building did succeed. That would be the New York City-based courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the New York State Supreme Court. Built in 1902, it featured on its roof balustrade an eight-foot marble statue of "Mohammed" by Charles Albert Lopez as one of ten historic lawgivers. This Muhammad statue also held a Koran in his left hand and a scimitar in the right.

Though visible from the street, the identities of the lawgivers high atop the building were difficult to discern. Only with a general overhaul of the building in February 1953, including its statues, did the public become aware of their identities. The Egyptian, Indonesian, and Pakistani ambassadors to the United Nations responded by asking the U.S. Department of State to use its influence to have the Muhammad statue not renovated but removed.

Characteristically, the State Department dispatched two employees to convince New York City's public works commissioner, Frederick H. Zurmuhlen, to accommodate the ambassadors. The court, Chief Clerk George T. Campbell, reported, "also got a number of letters from Mohammedans about that time, all asking the court to get rid of the statue." All seven appellate justices recommended to Zurmuhlen that he take down the statue.

Even though, as Time magazine put it, "the danger that any large number of New Yorkers would take to worshiping the statue was, admittedly, minimal," the ambassadors got their way. Zurmuhlen had the offending statue carted off to a storehouse in Newark, New Jersey. As Zurmuhlen figured out what to do with it, the Times reported in 1955, the statue "has lain on its back in a crate for several months." Its ultimate disposition is unknown.

Then, rather than replace the empty pedestal on the court building roof, Zurmuhlen had the nine remaining statues shifted around to disguise the empty space, with Zoroaster replacing Muhammad at the westerly corner spot. Over a half-century later, that is where matters remain.

Recalling these events of 1955 suggests several points. First, pressure by Muslims on the West to conform to Islamic customs predates the current Islamist era. Second, even when minimal numbers of Muslims lived in the West, such pressures could succeed. Finally, contrasting the parallel 1955 and 1997 episodes suggests that the earlier approach of ambassadors making polite representations – not high-handed demands backed up by angry mobs, much less terrorist plots – can be the more effective route.

This conclusion confirms my general argument – and the premise of the Islamist Watch project – that Islamists working quietly within the system achieve more than those relying on ferocity and bellicosity. Ultimately, soft Islamism presents dangers at least as great as does violent Islamism.



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R.R. Hamilton - 3/7/2008

I support a woman's right to leave Islam without being killed -- How about you?

Oh wait, we had this discussion, didn't we, and you said my position was "genocide". As you must be against genocide, then you must be against a woman's right to choose her religion (unless it be Islam).

I'm done with you.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

What a perverse little fellow you are, Mr Hamilton. Can I take it you are a bit flaky on women's rights, then?


R.R. Hamilton - 3/6/2008

Considering the source, this is high praise indeed.

Seriously, I took an intelligence test the other day -- one linked from History News Network (http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/)-- and made a perfect score, but your assessment gives me more satisfaction and confidence that the test result did.

It should make you feel better about my moral compass to know that if I learned that YOU were kidnapped by jihadis and were being raped and scheduled for beheading, I wouldn't torture anyone to facilitate a rescue. Oh, and you'd probably like the Karakawas; true, they were cannibals, but they didn't eat you all at once.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

And yours must have been the 51st, my overly literal, Mr Bolton.


Sally Gee - 3/6/2008

I think you add a special distinction to the term "moral midget", Mr Hamilton, when you apply your ameoba-like intelligence to any problem.

But, simply as a matter of logic and to take account of the nature of the Gulag, as well as to keep out thinking tidy, shouldn't we also throw in all employees, shareholders, bondholders and sub-contractors (incuding public relations consultancies) of the Correctional Corporation of America and Wackenhut, its nearest contemporary comparators, as well?


R.R. Hamilton - 3/6/2008

Where I grew up, we had "genocided" (exterminated) the Kawakawa Indians. We were proud to do it. Further west of us, we genocided the Comanches -- again, we were happy to do it. So genocide is not a "bad thing". It depends on whose being genocided.

I'm sure the question will be asked of me: "So, you approve of the Nazi extermination of the Jews?" Well, no, while I understand the roots of the German antipathy for Jews (who dominated the Communist movement in Central and Eastern Europe), I cannot justify the genocide of the Jews on that basis.

Just as there are "war crimes tribunals" for the Nazis, there should be similar tribunals for Communists. Guards in the Gulag should be treated no differently than guards at Dachau.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

The problem here is that you act as if you really do not know what genocide is about. So, when many of us read what you write, we think that you are consciously - since this has been brought to your attention repeatedly - spitting in the face of Armenians, Jews, Gypsies, Sudanese, Rwandans and others who really have experienced genocide. Which is to say, what you are doing is not only wrong, it is despicable - the work of a Klu Klux Klan allied person of no moral worth.

And, at this point, you are a confirmed liar, having now cited a letter by a number of people you evidently respect who think "shoah" was used to mean "disaster." Funny that lying tends to blow up in your face. Explain this one away, Ms. Gee.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

Gazans cannot go to Israel so long as they are shooting rockets at Israel. That is the price of Hamas' war.

It is up to Egypt to decide whether or not to let Gazans into Egypt. Or, does Israel also rule Egypt?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

You mean there's no wall around Gaza and the inhabitants aren't all penned in? I guess someone somewhere must be making fools of us all, heh?


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Well, Mr Halderman, I get the sense that I'm a lot brighter and better read than you, so I'm not in the least embarrassed when I am obviously right in my judgement that the use of the word Sho'ah, in context, meant Holocaust in plain English (as it were).

On the other hand,I do have a responsibility to people as intellectually disadvantaged as you seem to be. Language gains meaning in use and not by some archaic formula which genocidal Zionist PR apologists come up with when it suits them. Genocide is threatened; genocide is taking place; and the world can watch and do nothing - and betray the trust of those sacrificed in earlier genocides - or it must intervene and stop it. Clear enough?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

How about facts and logic? That would be an improvement over mere self-esteem, ideological certainty, ignorance, and hatred.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

And assertive, too! Whatever next?


A. M. Eckstein - 3/4/2008

The situation can best be described as one in which, Hamas having fired 800 missiles into Israel since January, all 800 aimed at Israeli civilians, the Israelis are finally retaliating.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

But, what you describe simply is not genocide. What you describe is called war.

And, I should add, Palestinian Arabs are not, to quote you, "rounded up" in Gaza. Rather, that is where they live. Would you prefer they not live there so that they would not be "rounded up"?

What is actually happening in Gaza is that it is ruled by religious fanatics who, to quote their founding covenant, do not believe in peace conferences or peace negotiations but, instead, believe that only war can solve their problems. And, as they say in that covenant, the highest duty is to die fighting in that war. People that take such an attitude can expect others to defend themselves. That is the custom on Earth, after all.

I should add, the Christians who live in Gaza are being systematically oppressed by the Muslim population. That is what the Hamas party wants for non-Muslims over whom they may or hope to rule. Church bells can no longer even be played so as to be heard outside of a church.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

So genocide doesn't mean genocide unless we use the primitive technology of gassing, Mr Halderman.

Well, the Palestinian's are pretty well rounded up in Gaza and Israel is going for a hi-tech solution with bombs, artillery shell and bullets. But your's is a point of view, I suppose.

So that we can meet some middle ground, maybe the only word to describe what is actually happening on the ground is a Holocaust.


Sally Gee - 3/4/2008

Oh, now I see. You've got an award for Incoherent Rambling as well. Sorry not to have mentioned it before.


Craig J. Bolton - 3/4/2008

This must be a new record. What is that, around 50 posts having exactly nothing to do with the blog entry purportedly being commented upon? I guess some people are just so obscessed by their hatred of Israel that they can't think of anything else to talk about.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

She can't answer you, Mr. Halderman.


art eckstein - 3/4/2008

Incoherent rambling is no substitute for logic and evidence.


N. Friedman - 3/4/2008

Ms. Gee,

What is it that you want me to look at in the convention? What nonsense argument are you planning to make?

I have a suggestion: show me an expert legal opinion that supports your position - whatever it may be. Then I can consider it. A legal opinion coming from you, who knows exactly zero about law or, so far as I can tell, anything else, is meaningless garbage from an idiot.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Don't tell me that you've also been multi-awarded for the impoverishment of your logic and the weakness of your evidence, and for your outstanding record for deploying personal insult ineffectively. No wonder Mr Friedman thinks you've got that star quality he so obviously yearns for!


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

Personal insults are no substitute for logic and evidence.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

"I can just imagine the jolly, if brutalizing, conversations he must have had in his day job as deputy defence minister planning genocide."

It's hard to imagine anything more vile than this, especially on the basis of a mistranslation.
I'm sure, however, that Gee has lower to go.

I challenge Gee to provide specific examples of the intentional Israeli murder of civilians in Gaza as a matter of state policy. EVIDENCE (other than intentional mistranslations).

As for Hamas or Fateh, I can cite their *intentional* murder of (literally) a thousand Israeli civilians since 2001. That is EVIDENCE.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Once a pantaloon, always a pantaloon, heh, Mr Eckstein? And why not, I ask? You do it so well and there must be a demand for it somewhere, and don't worry abut the embarrassment you cause the more sensitve of us who have to repeatedly observe your petulant displays.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

It makes the intention plain, Mr Friedman, it make the intention plain and after the past couple of days, it's not going away. I can just imagine the jolly, if brutalizing, conversations he must have had in his day job as deputy defence minister planning genocide and it probably seemed quite natural to him to share the prospect of the Palestinian Sho'ah with the rest of the world. Many politicians have made the mistake of publicly telling the truth too early before, and many will no doubt do it in future.

I don't think he'd get away on your argument about a linguistic confusion in a jury trial even in Israel, though, let alone the ICC.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Mr Friedman, why not take the trouble to remind yourself of the precise terms of Article 2 of the Genocide Convention 1948?


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

And again, Ms. Gee, you are falsely asserting what the speaker said.


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Even assuming - just to make you happy (but, so that it is clearly, without agreeing with you) - that the Israeli in question said what you falsely claim, that does not make the operation into genocide. It, instead, makes the speaker wrong.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

That's not what Vilnai said. N.F. and I have proven that, to the satisfaction of people who have never previously posted on this topic. Der Spiegel translated Vilnai correctly, but Gee insists on her mistranslation because the translation suits her ideology even if it is untrue. Gee never gives up her insanity, her ignorance, or her malevolence.


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

The Economist is not saying what Gee wants to believe it is saying. But then, careful reading is not her strong suit.


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

Ms Gee

Genocide is not tricky at all in order for the term to contain any truth at all there has to be mass killing of people based on religion, ethnicity, or race with the intent to eliminate all of the said group. In your own post you use the words "a few Palestinians."


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

If the Israelis were systematically exterminating the people living in Gaza by rounding them up putting them in concentration camps and gassing them to death then I would call genocide but that is not what is happening. It is your careless and inflammatory use of the term that devalues the experience.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein, your problems seem to be deeper and more intransigent than I first imagined. As The Economist says, Vilani warned "...Palestinians publicly that they were bringing a shoah on themselves, a biblical Hebrew word that means “catastrophe” but these days almost invariably refers to the Nazi Holocaust". Why would The Economist seek to mislead us about the contemporary common usage of "a biblical Hebrew word"? What's in it for them?




Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

But having the deputy defense minister say that's the intention does give it a pretty strong gloss wouldn't you say, Mr Friedman?


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, a military campaign, even a very violent one, does not make that campaign into genocide, no matter how many times you yoke together words expressing your "thoughts."


A. M. Eckstein - 3/3/2008

The Economist does not say that Vilnai threatened to create The Shoah, or to bring a genocide; he just meant the Palestinians would bring a catastrophe ("shoah" in that sense) on themselves if they kept shooting hundreds of rockets a month at Israeli civilians.

Vilnai may have to resign, but if he does, it will not be because he was threatening genocide; rather, the case is somewhat parallel to what happened in Washington DC a few years ago: a City official described the City budget as "niggardly". There was a huge uproar, and though this word has absolutely no relationship to the N-word, absolutely none, that City official was indeed forced to resign. Such a capitulation to Gee-like ignorance was a day of shame for DC.


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Do you determine genocide by who it may be possible for you to blame, Mr Halderman? Isn't that the ultimate way of devaluing the experience of those who have lived through the event?


Sally Gee - 3/3/2008

Oh, so sorry. How right you are, Mr Halderman. Killing a few Palestinians doesn't really count as anything very much does it? Certainly not genocide. Why, that might imply they are people after all and they might have human rights. But then, what can we be expected to make of it all when The Economist reports, "It did not help that Israel’s deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, was stupid enough to warn Palestinians publicly that they were bringing a shoah on themselves, a biblical Hebrew word that means “catastrophe” but these days almost invariably refers to the Nazi Holocaust. Mr Vilnai should, surely, now be sacked".
http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10792645

Very tricky stuff this genocide business, heh, Mr Halderman?


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

I think you are being unfair to Friedman, Eckstein and even Baker to place them on the same level as Gee. To call what is going on in Gaza genocide is to devalue the experience of those who have lived though one. Also, her linguistic argument displays stubborn stupidity and nothing else.


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

Ignorant people have taken to throwing around the word genocide so cavalierly that it really has lost all meaning. But let us accept your definition, Ms Gee, for the purpose of a question. Do you assign equal blame to Egypt? After all, the suffering of the people of Gaza could easily be alleviated if the border with Egypt were open. Also, when the border was breached by the Gazans themselves did food, medicine and other essentials cross, no longer range rockets did.


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

Ms Gee

After reading your posts in this second string it has become even clearer to me that you have way too much self esteem.


Keith Halderman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee

I was planning on putting up a link to the article but I believe I will do you a favor and not broadcast your astounding display of ignorance any further. They speak Hebrew, you do not, so where do you get off lecturing them on the meaning of a word spoken in that language. Secondly, if the Israelis were inclined towards a genocide (which by the way is a very much over used word these days) do you not think would have happened already, there has certainly been enough provocation. I suspect you would not have nearly as much of a problem with genocide if it were the Jews who were ONCE AGAIN on the receiving end of it. You realy should be embarrassed by the lame arguments you have made in this string.


R.R. Hamilton - 3/3/2008

Watching the four of you fight is like watching Hamas, CAIR, the IDF, and AIPAC all together. The only way to determine the dumbest here is to see who posts last.

That may sound unfair. Maybe it's just my personal view, but I (nearly) always let an idiot's response to my posts go unanswered. An intelligent response deserves a reply, does it not?


N. Friedman - 3/3/2008

Ms. Gee,

Genocide and HaShoah are two different words with two different meanings. And, to a Hebrew speaking Israeli, HaShoah and Shoah have two different meanings and, in either event, neither word means genocide.


art eckstein - 3/3/2008

Gee continues, intentionally now, to fail to distinguish in Hebrew, a language she doesn't speak but which was what Vilnai was speaking, between HaShoah (the Holocaust) and shoah (a disaster in general). Der Spiegel (a journal that does not love Israel) did NOT make this mistake when translating Vilnai into German.

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was NOT mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for reasons of her own vicious hatred-ideology, even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

"No one said anything that could be translated as "genocide." When Ms. Gee says that, she is simply lying."

But isn't the word Sho'ah used day to day to describe genocide or not? And if you deny Sho'ah are you not denying the Holocaust? And if the deputy defense minister of Israeli threatens Sho'ah on another people is he not threatening genocide? And have Israel's actions in Gaza during the course of today demonstrated the truth of those genocidal threats quite precisely?


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Again, General Vilnai said nothing about genocide, a fact which Ms. Gee--in her indomitable refusal to listen to facts--refuses to accept. Vilnai said nothing about planning genocide. Nothing.

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was MISTRANSLATED into English, but was NOT mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel (not a journal that loves Israel), but which Gee INSISTS on mistranslating for reasons of her own vicious hatred-ideology, even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments.

Case closed.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mr Friedman, when you say "contrary to fact" do you mean a "lie"? If so, do you mean a deliberate lie or, you distinguish between intentional lies, you know, the sort of display we've seen put on by you and Mr Multi-Award Eckstein about the form the relationship takes between the Sho'ah, the Holocaust and the well planned genocide campaign in Gaza, and unintentional or inadvertent lies arising out of and honest misunderstanding or lack of simple ignorance or an inability to understand the question that is being asked?

It may just be a self indulgent impulse on my part, but I really would like to understand both your mind-sets and how your thought processes operate to help me get to know just what to look for in those men I will be well advised to avoid coming into contact with in future.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Not to understand that words have different meanings in different language is, frankly, to be a brute.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, what you write is not only contrary to fact but it is a lie.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mr Freidman, far too complicated a plot even for the late Mr Alfred Hitchcock. Sho'ah is as Sho'ah does, and what it does do when General Vilnai, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defense uses the term is make it absolutley clear that Israelis are planning genocide in Gaza, no more, and no less.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Sorry you find me hateful, Mr Friedman, but no, to deny what has been said and to deny what we are seeing reported by the BBC from Gaza is to trivialise the sacrifice may by so many innocents at the hands of the Third Reich. And to deny the horrors Gaza has experienced, continues to experience, and those which will soon follow if we are to believe the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defence warning of the Palestinian Sho'ah spits in face of all those, that long ist of the dead, subjected by organised military forces to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity.

Smoke and mirrors, Mr Friedman, but the Gaza genocide has begun and the question is, will the world let it continue as long as it did the fate of the Jews under the Third Reich without bringing Israel's racist fantasists to heel, with whatever weapons it might take and whatever it may cost, including nuclear bombs.

And when the law finally reasserts itself, it will be my duty to stand witness for the people of Gaza against chicken hearted apologists like you when you are indicted for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was NOT mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Yes, N.F.: as with Omar, we are dealing with an anti-Israel propagandist who is so ignorant and ridiculous that it is a reasonable hypothesis that the person is actually an Israeli agent.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Art,

Ms. Gee must be in Israel's straw man brigade.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

N.F. is not denying the Holocaust! He's denying that Mr. Valpai was threatening to recreate it--the latter is a fabrication, and the difference is obvious to anyone who can read.

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was NOT mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments

Gee is becoming ever more irresponsible and out of control. I'd say with her later ridiculous accusation she was undermining her credibility, except that would imply she had some.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

I gather that you have never heard of the term "borrow word."

In English, "Shoah" is a borrow word, meaning that it is derived from another language, not that it is identical to a seemingly identical word in another language.

In fact, when an Englishing speaking person of Jewish-American background uses the word "Shoah" in English while in the US, that speaker likely does mean the horrible events that affected Jews during WWII.

However, to a Hebrew speaking Israeli speaking in Hebrew in Israel to Israelis, the word "shoah" can have many meanings while "HaShoah" likely refers to the events that affected Jews during WWII.

Incidentally, are you on the payroll of Israel? You must be part of Israel's straw man brigade. You are, by far, the best propagandist for Israel I have ever seen.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Right.

Yes, not for the first time (or even the first time on this thread), we've caught Gee in an outright lie. As you say, she knows what she's doing, she's just not very good at it. Or rather, to her dismay, she's met two people who know what they are talking about and can take her to the woodshed every time. No wonder she's furious.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mr Friedman, are you also a Holocaust denier now? This is just too, too Alice in Wonderland for words. My mind boggleth over, as they say in Britspeak.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mr Friedman, keep this up and you'll have me to pity you as much as you do yourself. But, on the bright side, you'll probably just continue to make me squirm with embarrassment for you.

If the same word is not the same word, when might a different word mean the same as the same word? Is this some sort of elaborate Wittgensteinian logic game you are playing? Or are you just confused because you are aware of the crushing sense of emptiness at the very center of your being? Why not seek out a trained counsellor? I'm sure there are lots and lots who can throw in Hebrew as a second language and you can tease out all the different meanings of the same word together.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Sometimes I think you two only exist keep each other company while you whimper in self pity. Losers.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Professor,

You need to go one step further. No one said anything that could be translated as "genocide." When Ms. Gee says that, she is simply lying.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Gee persists in her craziness: "So why did the Israeli Defense Minister, Mr. Matan Vilnai, say it is?"

He didn't. This fact has now been pointed out to Gee repeatedly.

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was NOT mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was not mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Actually no. The word is not the same in both languages. "Shoah" is a borrow word in English, meaning that it is based on a word in a foreign language, not that it is the same word.

In Hebrew as used in Israel, "shoah" has a number of meanings. However, normally the Hebrew word used in Israel to express the events during WWII that affected Jews is "HaShoah," not "shoah." So, that fact suggests that what appeared in The Guardian is erroneous. i>The Guardian's translation does not suggest itself either from the word "shoah" or by the sentence in which it appeared or even in the entire statement made.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Professor,

You are being too kind to her. I think she knows exactly what she is doing. She is just not that great at it.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was not mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

I notice too that when Gee is caught and confronted with having committed outright mistakes--such as her false accusation that we didn't answer the issue of "soft Islamism"--instead of apologizing for the gross error and perhaps learning to be more careful, she just responds with even more of her vicious personal vituperation.

A pitiable performance.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, Ms. Gee. Mr Vilnai never said anything about genocide. That, frankly, is a lie.

And, I can assure you, nothing is being done in your name.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Genocide has nothing to do with Gaza. It does, however, have something to do with Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of people have died and are continuing to die.

Is it now your intention, Ms. Gee, to interpret the word "genocide" so that its meaning is trivialized? Or, are you just a brute, who wants to yoke together words without the slightest care of what they mean?

There is no genocide in Gaza. And, to suggest so is to spit at Armenians, Jews, Sudanese Christians, Congolese and others who really have been subject to genocide. That is pretty hateful of you.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

That's ok. I am sure he hopes you stay in Europe.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

So why did the Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, Mr Matan Vilnai, say that it is?

Oh, and the Sudanese are not killing in my name so far as I am aware.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

I'm just hoping he avoids the whole of Europe while I'm here.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Israel is not plotting nor carrying out genocide in Gaza.

Gee is not concerned with genocide in any case. If she were, she would be focused on Darfur. She's just a crude propagandist.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

What has the tragedy in Darfur got to do with the Israeli genocide in Gaza, Mr Eckstein, other than emphasise the fact that the pitiless consequences of half-assed imperial adventures may take decades, even centuries, to unfold?


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Perhaps it is your allergy to the Professor, a man who, according to you, would be a reason for you to take a different taxicab if you learned that he was ever in that taxicab.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Now you're catching on, Mr Friedman. There my be hope for you yet. The word is the same in both languages; the meaning is the same; only the frame of reference, or as you term it, the Galaxies differ. So genocide it is, then. Perhaps the multi-awarded Mr Eckstein may profit from your example.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

You mean to tell me that it is all just an elaborate illusion, Mr Eckstein, and Israel is at peace with its neighbours and its Defense Ministry is not plotting and implementing genocide in Gaza? Maybe not so ridiculous after all, heh?


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

We cannot talk about the same thing being said in two different languages. We can talk about similar thoughts being expressed but, quite obviously, each language is its own little Galaxy.


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

I have to say that your comment above has to be the least thoughtful thing you have written thus far. On your book, all languages work the same. And, in your book, they work the same even in different countries.

That is a nutso theory.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Well, if we're being very Freudian, I may well not understand what I myself are saying, but I do understand what Israel's Deputy Defense Minister said all too well, oh Man Of Many Awards But So Little Insight Into Anything.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Maybe it's something to do with the way you write Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

The NY Times has a frontpage story today about the horrors being inflicted on the innocent people of Darfur by the Islamofascist government in Khartoum--actions which *dwarf* anything Israel is doing in response to thousands of rockets shot from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians.

Oh well, maybe the NY Times story is just another one of Gee's Jewish conspiracies.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Exactly: "THE Shoah"--HaShoah. Not "shoah" in general. You don't understand what you yourself are saying.

We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was not mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

I have no idea what Gee is talking about. She should concentrate her attention on the horrors visited upon the Sudan by her hero the Mahdi, and the horrors visited upon Darfur by the current Sudanese Islamofascist government: 400,000 civilian dead in three years according to the UN. Or else she should stop her masquerade posing as a general humanitarian, and accept her role as hate-the-Jews girl.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

They are arguments which have only been deployed by the US-Israel lobby since it dawned on you that only in Israel is the prospect (and, sadly, according to footage on the BBC, today's reality) of committing genocide in Gaza taken so lightly. What is known in Britspeak as a bit of a faux, y'know, Mr Multi-Awarded Eckstein.

As a result of this exchange, I have been told that my father's grandfather always referred to the Sho'ah and he lived it and he knew precisely what to call it.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

1. Gee wanted a discussion of soft Islamism, from both me and N.F. Now she objects that the discussion which was on the thread above, and which she failed, to read is too long. She continues to make herself look ridiculous.

Omar can't read, either. The distinction is drawn VERY sharply by me, and still distinctly but less sharply by N.F., between Islam in general and the Islamofascist movement of which Omar is
unfortunately a good example. It is OMAR, not N.F. or myself, who insists on equating Islamicist jihadism (Islamofascism) with Islam in general. That equation by Omar is a disservice to Islam, and especially to those progressive Muslims who are working hard for reform--just as other progressives work hard for reform in other religions.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Sounds like a cross between Bush's America and Gaza under the Israeli cosh, Mr Eckstein. Thanks for reminding me once again why I chose to study abroad in a country where the notion of academic responsibility is taken seriously.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

Prof
All that boils down to is that your real enemy is Islam; exactly my point!


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

All very relevant I'm sure. But to what purpose, I ask myself? Perhaps Mr Eckstein will come to regard this verbose post as the epitome of his mighty contribution to the sum total of human ignorance in the years to come. Maybe we should nominate him for the Bernard Lewis Award for Partial Understanding and Misleading Distortions, 2008, to show him our appreciation.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

That's just totally ridiculous.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Both Omar and Gee are factually wrong again. Neither one of them evidently have not read this exchange on the thread above, from yesterday.

What? Omar and Gee factually WRONG? What a surprise!


1. Re: an extraordinarily mild and well reasoned post (#119787)
by N. Friedman on March 1, 2008 at 2:44 PM
Ms. Gee,

Where have I tried here to create any confusion here? That is in your head.

What I said is that Omar can answer to his comment that equates Islamism and Islam. I would be interested in his views since he, unlike me, is Muslim. And, as I have said before, Omar is familiar with his religion and is capable of explaining himself.

If you want my view, Islam and Islamism are not two wholly different things. They are related and interwoven. As I understand it, Islamism is a word used for the revival movement among Muslims and an Islamist is one who is part of that revival movement. Islamists tend, to varying degrees, to emphasize politics that will advance the religio-political aims of Islam that most Muslims understand Islam to have.



2. Re: an extraordinarily mild and well reasoned post (#119789)
by art eckstein on March 1, 2008 at 2:50 PM
N.F. and I have had this debate before. He sees Islamism as more integral and natural to Islam than I do.

As here:

"Reply to N.F. (#105216)
by art eckstein on February 9, 2007 at 8:19 AM

N.F., I find myself in the odd position of having to defend Islam. Given my frequent clashes with that ignorant, paranoid, dishonest and self-deceptive fool Omar, this is not pleasant for me to do. But I do think that Islam as a religion is not static but is both hugely complex AND existing in a historicized context. Hence trends within it are capable of development in any number of directions, some of which are good.

Even Ibn Warraq (no friend of Islam, as you know) acknowledges that many passages in the Koran are simply ignored by many Muslims, including the most offensive and aggressive passages: he cites the example of doctors in Pakistan who refused to amputate the limbs of thieves. But this act by the doctors in itself changes "really-existing Islam."

Even more pertinent, some Muslims, including prominent ones, interpret Sura 9.5 to mean that Muslims have the right to abrogate at will any peace treaty made with non-Muslims, whereas others say that 9.5 deals with a very specific case, and point to verse 48.26 which says one must keep the terms of treaties with those who have kept their terms with you. The Koran is a complex and often self-contradictory text, and some verses will be more influential than others of a contrary trend, depending on the historical context and the influence of certain thinkers.

Of course, we should not be worried about those Muslims who go with 48:26 but about those who DO believe in the above interpretation of Sura 9:5. And if they are the vast majority of Muslims now, we should be very worried indeed, because it means effective diplomacy between such Muslims and non-Muslims is impossible because such Muslims are totally untrustworthy.

But even if this latter bad situatiion were the case, that does not mean that such a situation is "the real and only Islam," past, present, future, forever. Historical change over time is the primary perception and focus of historians. (Of course, the changes need NOT be in what we would call a positive direction! That's what I've said is the difference between trends in 19th c Islam, as far as I understand them, and trends today.)

The jihadists have a strong, indeed, unanswerable case for being AN authentic and indeed ONE major Muslim tradition. And as you say, N.F., you and I are in strong agreement on the nature of the current crisis, and on much else, including how to help Muslim "moderates" by treating the jihadists as the barbarians they are, and treating ignorant fools and liars such as Omar as one should treat such people; and we're in agreement on much else too. I am not optimistic nor naive about Islam. But I do not see a picture of total bleakness either. The current situation is a historical situation caused by specific historical forces, and we are in agreement again that mostly those destructive forces come from within Islam itself. Where we differ is in our understanding of whether those terribly destructive and aggressive forces MUST go unanswered in Islam on THEOLOGICAL grounds."


The only "hate-head" around here is Gee the Jew-hater. She gets the Alfred Rosenberg award practically every time she posts.


3. Re: an extraordinarily mild and well reasoned post (#119791)
by art eckstein on March 1, 2008 at 3:06 PM

The previous post does not mean that I disrespect N.F.'s position, let alone N.F., a person I respect highly. We just disagree somewhat on the issue of how integral political Islamism has to be to Islam in general. N.F. sees it as more integral than I do, and I admit he has a case; but I side somewhat more with Pipes on this.

[ Reply ] [ Return to Comments ]

4. Re: an extraordinarily mild and well reasoned post (#119792)
by N. Friedman on March 1, 2008 at 3:41 PM

Professor,

We certainly have discussed the subject before. Please note that I do not claim that Islamists have made no innovations. Rather, my position is that the principle, albeit not the only, source of Islamism is Islam.

The innovations including, for example, those which derive from Nazism. Innovations include, for example, recasting certain Hadith as referring to a current political program rather than, for example, to describe events associated with the return of the Mahdi. [See the Hamas Covenant for a good example, where this Hadith - "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).]

On the other hand, the millennial goal of bringing the entire world under Islamic rule is not remotely an innovation. It is the dominant view during most of the history of Islam.

Such was described by Muslim writers at great length. As explained around 1906 or 1907, by the greatest non-Muslim Islamicist of all time, Ignaz Goldhizer (d. 1921):

In addition to the religious duties imposed upon each individual professing Islam, the collective duty of the "jihad" (= "fighting against infidels") is imposed on the community, as represented by the commander of the faithful. Mohammed claimed for his religion that it was to be the common property of all mankind, just as he himself, who at first appeared as a prophet of the Arabs, ended by proclaiming himself the prophet of a universal religion, the messenger of God to all humanity, or, as tradition has it, "ila al-a?mar wal-aswad" (to the red and the black). For this reason unbelief must be fought with the force of weapons, in order that "God's word may be raised to the highest place." Through the refusal to accept Islam, idolaters have forfeited their lives. Those "who possess Scriptures" ("ahl al-kitab"), in which category are included Jews, Christians, Magians, and Sabians, may be tolerated on their paying tribute ("jizyah") and recognizing the political supremacy of Islam (sura ix. 29). The state law of Islam has accordingly divided the world into two categories: the territory of Islam ("dar al-Islam") and the territory of war. ("dar al-?arb"), i.e., territory against which it is the duty of the commander of the faithful ("amir al-mu'minin") to lead the community in the jihad.

As further explained by scholar M.J. Akbar, a Muslim of India background, in his excellent introductory book, Shade of Swords (pp's xv - xvi):

... There are Muslims today, for instance, who will convert jihad into a holy bath rather than a holy war, as if it is nothing more than an injunction to cleanse yourself within.

It is true that the Prophet insisted that a greater jihad was the struggle to cleanse impurity within, but that does not take away from the fact that the lesser jihad inspired the spirit that once made Muslim armies all-conquering, enabled Muslims to protect their holy places, and ensured that most of the community lived with the protection of Muslim power despite formidable challenge from Christian alliances in a world war that was virtually coterminous with the birth of Islam. So often did Muslim armies, whether in the west or the east, triumph against odds that it conjured up a sense of a self-replicating miracle. Faith in Allah's bargain was reinforced by each victory, particularly against Christian armies who mobilized repeatedly not only to destroy Muslim empires but also Islam, which they called a heresy against Christ.

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

(Emphasis added). Jihad, I should add, is mentioned on a number of occasions in the Koran in the context of making war. That is not just my view. It is the view of every major Muslim scholar I know of. But, I do not see that it matters. To nearly ALL of the Muslim theologians from the early times, the calls to make war to expand the realm of Islamic rule were typically taken as calls for Jihad.

A rather good examination of Jihad in Islam is set forth in David Cook's rather brilliant book, Understanding Jihad. The first chapter of the book can be found online here. My only criticism of this book, which focuses at length on Jihad in the context of the ascetic idea, is its focus on the Hadith which reads, "there is no asceticism in Islam; the asceticism in Islam is the holy war." While Cook may be correct this Hadith played a substantial role in how Jihad fighters saw themselves through the ages, the origin of the Hadith involved objection to ascetic movements such as the Sufi. Be that as it may, I would highly recommend Cook's book because it is written by a first rate scholar and historian and, so far as I am concerned, settles this question definitively.

While traditional doctrine held that Jihad was, other than for defense, a doctrine of state, there has always been dissent on this point, with many Muslims through the ages viewing Jihad as an individual endeavor.

In Patricia Crone's brilliant book, God's Rule - Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought, she shows rather clearly that terrorism - i.e. NGO or private Jihad - was a problem from the very beginning and remained a problem throughout the period covered by her book - six hundred years!!! She chronicles the difficulties that such terrorists caused rulers since the Jihadis did not always act in accordance with state policy and sometimes frustrated it. In any event, these Jihadis would live on the outskirts of the Muslim regions and raid into non-Muslim territory, spreading terror and death as they raided.

The cult of the Assassins, chronicled rather well in Bernard Lewis' book on the subject, discusses sleeper cells in countries which, on signal from the old man of the mountain, would assassinate political leaders and, in the process, kill themselves. I realize they were neither Sunni or Shi'a but they are still within the Muslim tradition, with branches both in what would be today's Iran and Lebanon. Likewise, in his book about slavery and race in Islamic history, Lewis notes raiding into Europe for slaves and also into Africa and Asia for slaves. Today, raiding for slaves in Africa continues in places like Eritrea and Sudan. In fact, the principle issue of concern to the Mahdi pretender who fought with your country's Mr. Gordon was protecting the right to take slaves in raids into Christian and animist territory.

Bat Ye'or, in her contraversial but brilliant book The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam chronicles raids - razzias - into Christian portions of Spain and into France from Andalusia for purposes of pillaging Christian regions and capturing girls to bring back for the harems. Moreover, she notes that such raids would include the burning down of villages and churches, etc., etc.. She further notes that such raids occurred numerous times a year and had the approval of both religious and political leaders. This behavior continued over the course of hundreds of years - in fact, throughout the time of Muslim rule in Spain -, and more than once a year.

The achievements of Islam are great. However, the theme of expanding the region of the world governed by Islamic rule, today's Islamists are not all that far out of step with tradition.



omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

Prof
It is telling that you have nothing to say !
Absolutely nothing or ,at least, to say publicly!
Why NOt come out with something relevant, substantial and meaningful and unburden your soul??


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Gordon disobeyed orders, acted irresponsibly in a vain effort to prevent the Sudan from falling to the Mahdi, and paid for his misjudgment with his life and the lives of hundreds of his supporters.

The Mahdi reimposed slavery, imposed a vicious Islamofascist regime, and engaged in aggressive jihadist wars which cost tens of thousands of lives, while the economy of the Sudan collapsed. Muhammad Ahmad himself, however, had a fine time.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008


We are talking about something that was said in Hebrew that was mistranslated into English, but was not mistranslated into German (for instance) in Der Spiegel, but which Gee insists on mistranslating for her own vicious hatred-ideology reasons even when faced with rational and evidentiary arguments.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Are we talking about the same thing that is said or a different thing or something else altogether?


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Not when you consider their mind-sets, Omar. Sadly, and it's a regrettable fact, they are fairly typical run-of-the-mill paranoid Zionist religio-ethnic hateheads who have a special down on Islam and Muslims.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

So you're saying that Hebrew speakers live in a world of mysterious smoke and mirrors using unfamiliar words with meanings freed from commonsense and any notion of reality, including the basic reality of the actual use of language by the vast majority of English speaking Jews?

Wow! And here's me thinking that genocide is just genocide but you're saying that Hebrew is as subtle and differentiating an istrument as Inuit, which is reputed to have 40 plus different words for snow. Again, wow! Tells you a lot about colonising Hebrew speakers and the way they see the rest of the world though.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

God, the Sudan then sounds just like Israel now, Mr Eckstein. Maybe that's the most likely - nay, the inevitable = outcome of any kind of imperialist intervention.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Without the support of the British government, Gordon's motives were an irrelevance. By disobeying his lawful orders (we may well be justified in thinking that his behviour is best regarded as treasonable), he chose to play poker with the lives of his men and Sudanese civilians, his bluff was called, and they all lost.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008


The fact of the matter is that out of, hitherto, some 50 plus or minus posts of the herd, by both the "gentleman" and the "multi awarded Prof", re Pipes post, none touches on the question of "soft Islamism" as distinct from "hard Islamism"!

"Soft Islamism" is supposed to be the antonym of "hard Islamism" with its, presumably,concurrent "violence", "extremism", "fanaticism" etc etc that, the latter, is supposed to be their grounds for opposing it!!

That is a highly intriguing phenomenon!


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

Mr Friedman
I note with interest your belittling of the other "motives" in Gordon's mission with the use of "whatever" in your :

"Whatever Gordon's motives,...."

Do you contend that Gordon's SOLE motive was :" to combat slavery"??
OR
is it that "combating slavery" is the only one you deem noteworthy?


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Omar,

Whatever Gordon's motives, the fact is that the motive of the Mahdi pretender included, rather prominently, support for the slave trade. History is a cunning thing and Gordon's role included undermining that peculiar institution.


omar ibrahim baker - 3/2/2008

Gordon went into the Sudan to combat slavery to spread education and culture, to raise the standard of living, to improve life in general, but mainly, aside from teaching the ladies piano playing and flower arrangement:
**** to spread democracy,
&
**** to teach the Sudanese about the respect due human rights.
(It is blasphemy and libel to entertain the notion of, or even suspect the word "colonialism" with which historically the UK, then Great Britain, never ever had absolutely anything to do !)

Just as Bush went into Iraq and with the same mission!
And we have highly awarded
"scholarly" fools ( with the academic equivalent of Oscars for the role of " best supporting actor" of course) who spread the "word ":

-out of sincere, heart felt conviction?
-service to the ulterior cause?
-ingrained racist psychological build up?
-congenital perverted mental formation?
-all of the above??
-none of the above??
-name other causes, maladies, symptoms


N. Friedman - 3/2/2008

Ms. Gee,

Do you know the difference between something said in Hebrew and something said English. Evidently not.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Gee, the association of the word in your circles of English-speakers has no relevance to how General Vilnai used it in Hebrew. Der Spiegel (no lover of Israel) translated Vilnai's words and meaning correctly. You refuse to accept that fact for reasons of your own hatreds.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

That's an extraordinarily distorted version of events. As for local leaders, Gordon worked with what there was. No one's hands were clean in the Sudan except his on the slavery issue.

The Madhi's Islamic jihadist expansionism after Gordon's defeat and death got the Sudanese involved in wars with neighbors that cost tens of thousands of lives. Under his regime, slavery was reimposed, thousands of books of Islamic theology were burned as heretical, while military jihad replaced the hajj as the primary duty of Muslims. This is Gee's hero.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

This is kind of basic, but if we wish to understand what a word means as a tool of communication, it is well to look to its more general use. And Shoah, in my family and other families I mix with, always use the term Shoah to mean the Jewish genocide to distinguish it from the more general Holocaust.

Maybe you and Friedman belong a some sort of cult which attaches special meaning to special words for whatever reason - in this case, to cover the ass of a minister in the Israeli government who signalled the coming genocide in Gaza.

Just think if the Iranians and Syrians, or a free Iraq, had a nuclear weapon with an adequate delivery system. Think how many Palestinian lives it will save. Maybe then, the association of the Jews with genocide will truly be a thing of the past.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Mixed up confusion, indeed, Mr Eckstein.

Gordon's plan was to maintain a British and Egyptian presence in the Sudan and rule it. His intention was to have the Sebehr Rahma, a local leader, appointed to take govern Sudan, but the British government refused to accept Rahma because he was former slaver.

That is, Gordon wanted to cut the sort of deal that the invaders have time and again made with local leaders against the interests of the Afghani and Iraqi people.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

No, the term HaShoah means the Holocaust. That is different from using the term the way General Vilnai
used it. Gee still doesn't understand the difference, crude and malevolent as she is, a difference that N.F. and now myself have pointed out to her. She calls intellectual differentiation between words "nitpicking."

Nothing can be done with her, and her behavior is exactly as I predicted. Her position was initially taken through sheer ignorance; now it is maintained through hatred.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

So, we get there in the end: the word Shoah actually means the Jewish genocide to Jewish people. A headline makes that perfectly clear and even Mr Eckstein shouldn't find that too hard to understand. And all your nit-picking, no doubt prompted by Israel's lobby machine in different western countries, only confirms and reinforces the the basic story: the State of Isreal is planning to intensify its genocidal policies against the inhabitants of Gaza over the next few days. Full stop.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

I didn't say Gordon was a hero to ME; I said he was a Victorian hero. He had many faults, as one can read in Lytton Strachey's "Eminent Victorians". He was a "fanatical Christian" but unlike fanatical Muslims in the West he did not seek to impose his beliefs on others, for instance in the Sudan. At Khartoum he was acting officially on behalf of the Egyptian government, which was a Muslim government. He did attempt to end slavery in the Sudan.

Gee is now reduced to making anti-colonial heroes out of reactionary indigenous slaveholders, who reimposed slavery once he was dead. No doubt she also sees al-Qaeda in Iraq as heroic as well.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

Gordon's was no hero, merely a fanatical evangelical Christian whose sin was disobeying orders and being responsible for the unnecessary loss of the lives of his soldiers and countless Sudanese civilians.

It was settled British government policy to abandon the Sudan but this did not suit Gordon who preferred to make policy by establishing facts on the ground.

The siege, which began on March 18, 1884, ended with the city's capture on January 26, 1885. Gordon had characteristically refused to evacuate Khartoum although it remained possible diplomatically and logistically feasible until very late in the famous siege, presumeably under the misapprehension that God was on his side.

Now, as then, The Sudan, like Afghanistan and Iraq, seems strangely resistant to imperial adventurers and, as Gladstone had cause to note, turned out to be a bit of an expensive business, as is the case, I believe, with Afghanistan and Iraq right now.


art eckstein - 3/2/2008

Readers: note that Gee depends upon the use of a headline, and in headlines the article ("the") that precedes the noun is by custom dropped; so "Shoah" in the headline refers to THE Shoah, the Holocaust (HaShoah in Hebrew). In addition, Shoah here in the headline is capitalized. That too might be headline-eze, but in any case it makes it clear in yet a different way that this is a reference THE Shoah. Again, that is simply not the way the word "shoah" (general word for "disaster") was used by General Vilnai.

Gee's reputation for ridiculously careless research and for grasping at straws to prove her extremist views just grows ever more enormous.


Sally Gee - 3/2/2008

This is a story from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, where I guess nobody reads Hebrew and, despite the predoninance of Jews amongst their readership, are still unaware of the correct formulation to use when describing the Jewish response to the events of the Holocaust for they chose, no doubt in the absense of adequate consultation with Messrs Eckstein and Friedman, to go with the headline:

“Panel to tweak French plan on Shoah”

Published: 02/27/2008

“Influential French Jews met with the country's education minister about changing an unpopular approach to teaching the Holocaust to fifth-graders.

“Holocaust survivor Simone Veil and Serge Klarsfeld, the president of the Association for Sons and Daughters of the Jewish Deportees of France, were among those who met Wednesday with Xavier Darcos in an effort to redraft President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to have 10- and 11-year-olds adopt the name of a child killed during the Holocaust.

“The plan has been intensely criticized. Following Sarkozy's announcement earlier this month, 85 percent of those surveyed in an Ifop poll "disapproved" of the proposal. Veil had denounced it for being too heavy a burden for young children, while Klarsfeld supported the idea.

“Though maintaining that Sarkozy "will not back down" from his plan, which is scheduled to launch in September, government officials have responded consistently to criticism by offering the alternative option of pairing an entire classroom rather than individuals with a child victim.

“On Feb. 18, Darcos made that option seem more like the only one available one when he said, "We're going to move things a little bit, so that it will be a class rather that will adopt a child."

“The education minister's committee is charged with coming up with a new proposal that is "admissible, educational and not traumatizing," Darcos said.”

http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/107246.html


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

There was a time when every educated person knew of John Charles Gordon. He was killed by fanatical Islamic Madhists at Khartoum in 1885. Gordon's sin was trying to end the slave trade. No doubt Ms. Gee would defend slavery on mulicultural grounds, as long as Muslims do it. Gordon is one of the great Victorian heroes.

The Mahdi after his victory over Gordon set up a typical Islamofascist regime in the Sudan; though it reinstuted slavery, it was not as genocidal as the current Islamofascist regime in the Sudan, about which Ms. Gee has never had anything to say, though this regime has murdered at least 400,000 (Muslim) civilians since 2003 (the 400,000 figure comes from the UN; the number may be as high as 700,000)--to nary a sound from the Muslim world. The Muslim world also had nothing to say about the previous Islamic regime's murder of a million Christians and Anamists in the south of the country.

But the Mahdi's descendants do actually oppose the current regime as too extreme.

N.F. was trying to give Gee a hint about whom he meant. Her own lack of knowledge of history is pathetic, and when combined with her fanatical willingness to hurl personal insults at people (i.e., that he only knew about Gordon from "Four Feathers"), her conduct is appalling.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

N.F., we can't stop Ms. Gee from drinking the Kool-aid.

In the real world, Gee simply refuses to make the distinctions in language which N.F. rightly pointed out: that there is a gulf of difference between HaShoah (the Holocaust) and "shoah" as a general noun, meaning disaster. It was in the latter sense that the Israeli general spoke, and so it was translated by, e.g., Der Spiegel. A world of haters such as Ms. Gee was willing to mis-translate it for political purposes, and she still is.

As I said at the beginning of this conversation (#119777), where I knew it was going to go, Gee's hate-filled argument here was based at first on her sheer ignorance, but when told the truth this would make no difference to her, and her position would become based on rejecting facts in favor of maintaining malicious and false propaganda.

So it has turned out.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

There was a time when every educated person knew of John Charles Gordon. He was killed by fanatical Islamic Madhists at Khartoum in 1885. Gordon's sin was trying to end the slave trade. No doubt Ms. Gee would defend slavery on mulicultural grounds, as long as Muslims do it. Gordon is one of the great Victorian heroes.

The Mahdi after his victory over Gordon set up a typical Islamofascist regime in the Sudan; though it reinstuted slavery, it was not as genocidal as the current Islamofascist regime in the Sudan, about which Ms. Gee has never had anything to say, though this regime has murdered at least 400,000 (Muslim) civilians since 2003 (the 400,000 figure comes from the UN; the number may be as high as 700,000)--to nary a sound from the Muslim world. The Muslim world also had nothing to say about the previous Islamic regime's murder of a million Christians and Anamists in the south of the country.

But the Mahdi's descendants do actually oppose the current regime as too extreme.

N.F. was trying to give Gee a hint about whom he meant. Her own lack of knowledge of history is pathetic, and when combined with her fanatical willingness to hurl personal insults at people (i.e., that he only knew about Gordon from "Four Feathers"), her conduct is appalling.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

If you say so, Ms. Gee. However, in the real world, you have done no such thing.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

No, Ms. Gee. I was trying to give you a hint.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

You knowledge of African slaving comes from a movie called "The Four Feathers"? The mind boggles, truly. You're a little bit of a know nothing, then, all too obviously demonstating the virtues of the Shakespearian platitude, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Well, I never. Who would have thought. Do you draw on any particular TV progammes to fill out the remaining areas of bleak ignorance? I don't think a plea of ignorance will help you much in your libel trial and I sure that Gordon Brown's lawyers are on the job right now.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

You knowledge of African slaving comes from a movie called "The Four Feathers"? The mind boggles, truly. You're a little bit of a know nothing, then, all too obviously demonstating the virtues of the Shakespearian platitude, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Well, I never. Who would have thought. Do you draw on any particular TV progammes to fill out the remaining areas of bleak ignorance? I don't think a plea of ignorance will help you much in your libel trial and I sure that Gordon Brown's lawyers are on the job right now.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

What's interesting is your response, 'cos I've got you both absolutely dead to rights.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

First, you take former Israeli General Vilnai wrong. Now take me wrong. Interesting.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

Have you ever heard of Colonel Gordon in Sudan? Have you ever seen of the movie - fiction, alas, but about real events - The Four Feathers?

Evidently not. Otherwise, you would not have made the comment you made.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

So, Mr Friedman, I hope your use of the term "brute" does not, in this instance, once again reflect your willingness to casually place dogs and African Americans in the same category. Why is it that those who disagree with you or belong to the wrong religio-ethnic group are consigned to the status of animals? Is this a minor quirk, an ideological psture, or a major character flaw? I wonder...


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Mr Friedman, I hope you are not competing unfairly for this year's Rosenberg award by even hinting that Mr Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, is in any way associated with the conduct of the African slave trade. Perhaps we shall have the honour of seeing you defend yourself in the English libel courts before I return home.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

No. You are trying to recast words to fit your politics. That is you, not me. And, as I said, brutes improperly yolk together terms, due to a burning hatred. They also manipulate the meaning of words.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Mr Eckstein, I hope you're not deliberately trying to wound my feelings and undermine my sense of worth and self esteem. That would make you a very ungallant and disagreeable sort of fellow indeed and, if only I had your sef regard and lack of awareness, I would feel the temptation to develop your degree of whining self pity to cope with the traumatic effects of your criticism.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Oh right. Different term, same outcome. Isn't the power of thought amazing? You can categorise and re-categorise the same thing but the essence remains the same. Aren't you a clever boy then?


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

FURTHER CORRECTION:

I did not mean your country's Gordon. I was referring to Gordon of Great Britain. I do not know what possessed me to make you British.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

CORRECTION:

Strike the following paragraph:

The innovations including, for example, those which derive from Nazism. Innovations include, for example, recasting certain Hadith as referring to a current political program rather than, for example, to describe events associated with the return of the Mahdi. [See the Hamas Covenant for a good example, where this Hadith - "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).]

SUBSTITUTE THE FOLLOWING:

The innovations including, for example, those which derive from Nazism. Innovations include, for example, recasting certain Hadith as referring to a current political program rather than, for example, to describe events associated with the return of the Mahdi. [See the Hamas Covenant for a good example, where the following Hadith is turned into a call for action now when, traditionally, it was not - "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).]


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Professor,

We certainly have discussed the subject before. Please note that I do not claim that Islamists have made no innovations. Rather, my position is that the principle, albeit not the only, source of Islamism is Islam.

The innovations including, for example, those which derive from Nazism. Innovations include, for example, recasting certain Hadith as referring to a current political program rather than, for example, to describe events associated with the return of the Mahdi. [See the Hamas Covenant for a good example, where this Hadith - "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).]

On the other hand, the millennial goal of bringing the entire world under Islamic rule is not remotely an innovation. It is the dominant view during most of the history of Islam.

Such was described by Muslim writers at great length. As explained around 1906 or 1907, by the greatest non-Muslim Islamicist of all time, Ignaz Goldhizer (d. 1921):

In addition to the religious duties imposed upon each individual professing Islam, the collective duty of the "jihad" (= "fighting against infidels") is imposed on the community, as represented by the commander of the faithful. Mohammed claimed for his religion that it was to be the common property of all mankind, just as he himself, who at first appeared as a prophet of the Arabs, ended by proclaiming himself the prophet of a universal religion, the messenger of God to all humanity, or, as tradition has it, "ila al-aḥmar wal-aswad" (to the red and the black). For this reason unbelief must be fought with the force of weapons, in order that "God's word may be raised to the highest place." Through the refusal to accept Islam, idolaters have forfeited their lives. Those "who possess Scriptures" ("ahl al-kitab"), in which category are included Jews, Christians, Magians, and Sabians, may be tolerated on their paying tribute ("jizyah") and recognizing the political supremacy of Islam (sura ix. 29). The state law of Islam has accordingly divided the world into two categories: the territory of Islam ("dar al-Islam") and the territory of war. ("dar al-ḥarb"), i.e., territory against which it is the duty of the commander of the faithful ("amir al-mu'minin") to lead the community in the jihad.

As further explained by scholar M.J. Akbar, a Muslim of India background, in his excellent introductory book, Shade of Swords (pp's xv - xvi):

... There are Muslims today, for instance, who will convert jihad into a holy bath rather than a holy war, as if it is nothing more than an injunction to cleanse yourself within.

It is true that the Prophet insisted that a greater jihad was the struggle to cleanse impurity within, but that does not take away from the fact that the lesser jihad inspired the spirit that once made Muslim armies all-conquering, enabled Muslims to protect their holy places, and ensured that most of the community lived with the protection of Muslim power despite formidable challenge from Christian alliances in a world war that was virtually coterminous with the birth of Islam. So often did Muslim armies, whether in the west or the east, triumph against odds that it conjured up a sense of a self-replicating miracle. Faith in Allah's bargain was reinforced by each victory, particularly against Christian armies who mobilized repeatedly not only to destroy Muslim empires but also Islam, which they called a heresy against Christ.

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


(Emphasis added). Jihad, I should add, is mentioned on a number of occasions in the Koran in the context of making war. That is not just my view. It is the view of every major Muslim scholar I know of. But, I do not see that it matters. To nearly ALL of the Muslim theologians from the early times, the calls to make war to expand the realm of Islamic rule were typically taken as calls for Jihad.

A rather good examination of Jihad in Islam is set forth in David Cook's rather brilliant book, Understanding Jihad. The first chapter of the book can be found online here. My only criticism of this book, which focuses at length on Jihad in the context of the ascetic idea, is its focus on the Hadith which reads, "there is no asceticism in Islam; the asceticism in Islam is the holy war." While Cook may be correct this Hadith played a substantial role in how Jihad fighters saw themselves through the ages, the origin of the Hadith involved objection to ascetic movements such as the Sufi. Be that as it may, I would highly recommend Cook's book because it is written by a first rate scholar and historian and, so far as I am concerned, settles this question definitively.

While traditional doctrine held that Jihad was, other than for defense, a doctrine of state, there has always been dissent on this point, with many Muslims through the ages viewing Jihad as an individual endeavor.

In Patricia Crone's brilliant book, God's Rule - Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought, she shows rather clearly that terrorism - i.e. NGO or private Jihad - was a problem from the very beginning and remained a problem throughout the period covered by her book - six hundred years!!! She chronicles the difficulties that such terrorists caused rulers since the Jihadis did not always act in accordance with state policy and sometimes frustrated it. In any event, these Jihadis would live on the outskirts of the Muslim regions and raid into non-Muslim territory, spreading terror and death as they raided.

The cult of the Assassins, chronicled rather well in Bernard Lewis' book on the subject, discusses sleeper cells in countries which, on signal from the old man of the mountain, would assassinate political leaders and, in the process, kill themselves. I realize they were neither Sunni or Shi'a but they are still within the Muslim tradition, with branches both in what would be today's Iran and Lebanon. Likewise, in his book about slavery and race in Islamic history, Lewis notes raiding into Europe for slaves and also into Africa and Asia for slaves. Today, raiding for slaves in Africa continues in places like Eritrea and Sudan. In fact, the principle issue of concern to the Mahdi pretender who fought with your country's Mr. Gordon was protecting the right to take slaves in raids into Christian and animist territory.

Bat Ye'or, in her contraversial but brilliant book The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam chronicles raids - razzias - into Christian portions of Spain and into France from Andalusia for purposes of pillaging Christian regions and capturing girls to bring back for the harems. Moreover, she notes that such raids would include the burning down of villages and churches, etc., etc.. She further notes that such raids occurred numerous times a year and had the approval of both religious and political leaders. This behavior continued over the course of hundreds of years - in fact, throughout the time of Muslim rule in Spain -, and more than once a year.

The achievements of Islam are great. However, the theme of expanding the region of the world governed by Islamic rule, today's Islamists are not all that far out of step with tradition.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

The previous post does not mean that I disrespect N.F.'s position, let alone N.F., a person I respect highly. We just disagree somewhat on the issue of how integral political Islamism has to be to Islam in general. N.F. sees it as more integral than I do, and I admit he has a case; but I side somewhat more with Pipes on this.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

N.F. and I have had this debate before. He sees Islamism as more integral and natural to Islam than I do.

As here:

"Reply to N.F. (#105216)
by art eckstein on February 9, 2007 at 8:19 AM

N.F., I find myself in the odd position of having to defend Islam. Given my frequent clashes with that ignorant, paranoid, dishonest and self-deceptive fool Omar, this is not pleasant for me to do. But I do think that Islam as a religion is not static but is both hugely complex AND existing in a historicized context. Hence trends within it are capable of development in any number of directions, some of which are good.

Even Ibn Warraq (no friend of Islam, as you know) acknowledges that many passages in the Koran are simply ignored by many Muslims, including the most offensive and aggressive passages: he cites the example of doctors in Pakistan who refused to amputate the limbs of thieves. But this act by the doctors in itself changes "really-existing Islam."

Even more pertinent, some Muslims, including prominent ones, interpret Sura 9.5 to mean that Muslims have the right to abrogate at will any peace treaty made with non-Muslims, whereas others say that 9.5 deals with a very specific case, and point to verse 48.26 which says one must keep the terms of treaties with those who have kept their terms with you. The Koran is a complex and often self-contradictory text, and some verses will be more influential than others of a contrary trend, depending on the historical context and the influence of certain thinkers.

Of course, we should not be worried about those Muslims who go with 48:26 but about those who DO believe in the above interpretation of Sura 9:5. And if they are the vast majority of Muslims now, we should be very worried indeed, because it means effective diplomacy between such Muslims and non-Muslims is impossible because such Muslims are totally untrustworthy.

But even if this latter bad situatiion were the case, that does not mean that such a situation is "the real and only Islam," past, present, future, forever. Historical change over time is the primary perception and focus of historians. (Of course, the changes need NOT be in what we would call a positive direction! That's what I've said is the difference between trends in 19th c Islam, as far as I understand them, and trends today.)

The jihadists have a strong, indeed, unanswerable case for being AN authentic and indeed ONE major Muslim tradition. And as you say, N.F., you and I are in strong agreement on the nature of the current crisis, and on much else, including how to help Muslim "moderates" by treating the jihadists as the barbarians they are, and treating ignorant fools and liars such as Omar as one should treat such people; and we're in agreement on much else too. I am not optimistic nor naive about Islam. But I do not see a picture of total bleakness either. The current situation is a historical situation caused by specific historical forces, and we are in agreement again that mostly those destructive forces come from within Islam itself. Where we differ is in our understanding of whether those terribly destructive and aggressive forces MUST go unanswered in Islam on THEOLOGICAL grounds."


The only "hate-head" around here is Gee the Jew-hater. She gets the Alfred Rosenberg award practically every time she posts.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

"Shoah" and "genocide" do not mean the same thing. In fact, "HaShoah" and "genocide" do not mean the same thing. In fact, "Holocaust" and "genocide" do not mean the same thing.

Brutes yolk together terms without any care as to their distinctions. That is the opposite of what thinking people do.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

Where have I tried here to create any confusion here? That is in your head.

What I said is that Omar can answer to his comment that equates Islamism and Islam. I would be interested in his views since he, unlike me, is Muslim. And, as I have said before, Omar is familiar with his religion and is capable of explaining himself.

If you want my view, Islam and Islamism are not two wholly different things. They are related and interwoven. As I understand it, Islamism is a word used for the revival movement among Muslims and an Islamist is one who is part of that revival movement. Islamists tend, to varying degrees, to emphasize politics that will advance the religio-political aims of Islam that most Muslims understand Islam to have.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

So you have to speak Hebrew before it is possible to distinguish between "genocide" and "genocide" in plain English? Grow up. This is how kids argue in a nursery - until some adult comes along and explains the difference between essentialism and nominalism. Perhaps I should take that responsibility on myself but, in all honesty, I'd rather pass.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

I think you're right - perhaps unwittingly - when you suggest that maybe Omar is correct, Mr Friedman. The confusion Mr Pipes, you and your fellow hatehead, Mr Eckstein, attempt to create provides a very sound basis for the joint award of the Alfred Rosenberg Prize for Crypto-Nazi Propaganda, 2008. I expect Mr Eckstein will be really pleased to add this to all his other awards.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

N.F. is exactly correct. There's a difference in Hebrew between HaShoah (the Holocaust) and "shoah" (disaster). Der Spiegel had the translation correctly. This is a fact Gee chooses to ignore.

As for Spielberg, obviously (1) the term in English does have the meaning of the Holocaust; but (2) I doubt that HE speaks Hebrew either. Not all Jews do, Gee.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

I shall look at the John Sinclair book. No doubt the late John Sinclair will shed great light on what was meant by the Israeli speaker in this instance. Or, do you refer me to Sinclair for some other reason?

I would suggest that, in this case, were there really an intent to wipe out the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, people would not be trying only to make political hay. Rather, people would be trying to stop such horrors from occurring. So would I.

Again, as used by the speaker, the word means disaster and has nothing to do with what occurred during WWII in Europe. That is perfectly clear from the context and The Guardian is wrong to suggests otherwise.

I should add: this is not the first time that factoids have come out of the UK.

Again, in most instances, the word "shoah" is used differently from the word "HaShoah." That, whether or not you wish to believe it, is a fact.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

At the risk of sounding fairminded, Mr Friedman, can I suggest that you may also benefit from reading John Sinclair's "Corpus, Concordance and Collocation", OUP 1991.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Oh, right then. Why did Mr Spielberg choose to set up the "Shoah Foundation"? Does he not speak Hebrew either?

Even though you appear to be a prize and ineducable idiot, Mr Eckstein, it may help to reduce your obvious confusion about the nature of language as a means of mutually intelligible communication if you were to read John Sinclair's "Corpus, Concordance and Collocation", OUP 1991. Perhaps then you will be less beguiled by Mr Friedman's third rate wordsmithing in the service of a terrorist state whose defence ministers casually and publically plot genocide. But, then again, perhaps not...


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Professor,

Maybe Omar is correct. On topics such as what his religion teaches, Omar is normally well informed. Maybe Islamism is Islam, as his comment suggests. I think we should let him explain what, if any, difference he sees between Islam and Islamism.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

The Guardian is, in this case, mistaken. And note: other sources (e.g. Der Spiegel - hardly a source of pro-Israel rhetoric) have translated the word differently - as in, e.g., if the Palestinian Arabs continue to fire rockets into Israel, the response by the Israelis will be devastating. That is, from what I can discern, a pretty accurate explanation of what was said.

In any event, this is not even a close call. The language used was not "HaShoah" and as the was later confirmed, he was using the word "shoah" in its ordinary sense to mean disaster.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

Pipes is well known for distinguishing carefully between Islam and Islamist supremicist fanaticism. This was admitted even by the liberal Harvard Magazine in its profile of him. Pipes holds a Ph.D. in Muslim History and speaks Arabic fluently.

The person equating all of Islam with Islamst supremicist fanaticism is Omar. That is a grave disservice to Islam, and especially to progressive Muslims. Omar should realize that the Islamist pushing for non-Muslim Westerners to obey Sharia law as imposed upon them in the interpretation of the fanatics among Muslim immigrants is creating a backlash. This backlash is quite natural, since Islamist supremicist fanatics are not *immigrants" to the West but rather intentional supremicist *colonists" in the West, intent upon imposing their foreign (and in my view, of course, repulsive) ideas upon the indigenous population. I thought Omar was against colonialism.


art eckstein - 3/1/2008

"Using the Hebrew word reserved for the Holocaust" is totally inaccurate.

Ms. Gee, who does not speak Hebrew, uses to back her up another left-wing crank who does not speak Hebrew either.

No doubt Israel-haters all around the world will delight in the same mis-use of the term as Ms. Gee does. But now she must understand that she misunderstands this Hebrew word and its use no longer out of ignorance but out of malice. She's been told the truth by N.F.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

Then, if i were you, it would be an idea to take the Guardian to task because they seem to have the same - widely held - understanding of the term Shoah I have. Perhaps you will advise Matan Vilnai to bring an action against the Guardiam under England's notorious libel laws. As if...

But let's just remind ourselves of the opening paragraphs of the story and ask ourselves why Israel's deputy defense minister can talk so freely about his willingness to commit genocide in Gaza - the ultimate Samson fantasy but this time with 20-20 vision.

"Israel's deputy defence minister yesterday warned his country was close to launching a huge military operation in Gaza and said Palestinians would bring on themselves a "bigger shoah," using the Hebrew word usually reserved for the Holocaust.

"The choice of vocabulary from Matan Vilnai, an often outspoken former army general, was unusually grave - the word is not normally used for anything other than the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews."


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Omar,

Is your point that Islamism and Islam are one and the same? Please explain.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Omar,

There are people who will say anything due to a political agenda. That is the way of the world.

The fact remains that the word "shoah" not only has many meanings but that, as used by the speaker, it would not usually have the meaning that refers to the events in Europe during WWII. Rather, when the word is normally used in connection with those events, it is normally used as "HaShoah," not "shoah."

In any event, we shall see whether something akin to HaShoah occurs in Gaza or whether, instead, the Israelis attempt to quell the firing of missiles by Hamas by means of an invasion. My bet is the latter. Somehow, I think such is your bet as well. Were it not, you would not be spending your time arguing with me. You would be warning the Gazans to try to save their lives. In fact, so would I.




omar ibrahim baker - 3/1/2008

Had Mr Friedman been watching Al Gezira TV yesterday he would have heard with his own ears, and eyes, a philosophy Professor at the University of Haifa, whose name I do not recall, express utter surprise and condemnation for the use of the term , NOT out of horror at the prospects, but because nothing can be compared to the SHOAH which is, he implied,a strict Jewish "monopoly" an
"appellation d'origine contrôlée'"
(Whether hewas worried itwould/could
be used by the Palestinians to black mail the world into paying reparations, both financial and political, endlessly he did NOT say!)


omar ibrahim baker - 3/1/2008

In an extraordinarily mild and well reasoned post Pipes sums up the issue as:
"Ultimately, soft Islamism presents dangers at least as great as does violent Islamism."
It is not only the mildness that is so surprising but equally his "truthfulness" in bringing out to day light the real enemy of Pipes and ilk: Islamism.
So it, the
neocon/Evangelist/Zionist/Jewish mission has nothing to do, or be bothered by, with the "violence"
,the "terrorism" ,the "fanaticism" etc etc of Islam.
But it has everything to do with Islam per se and the softer it is the more dangerous it becomes!

That is one more "opinion" to demonstrate the truth about the whole conflict!

Conversely, although I thank Pipes for it, I believe it was very ill advised, on his part and for his "cause", to declare it so bluntly no matter how "sincere" he is about it; which he is I have no doubt.

It is GOOD that PIPES and ilk are coming out into the open for all, including all Moslems, to see!

Thanks PIPES!



N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

Again, the word in question was not use to mean what you think. Again, two seconds worth of time investigating the matter would show you that, in fact, the word "shoah" is used frequently to refer to a disaster, not to what happened in Europe.

This, Ms. Gee, is not even a close call. Rather, it is people like you who have political agendas who intentionally change the meaning of what the speaker said.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

But it is also a much stronger and more specific term used by us to describe the Jewish experience of the Third Reich (as opposed to that of Gypsies, Russians and Czechs, for example) than the Greek term "holocaust". The "disaster" you speak of is planned genocide - nothing more, nothing less. It is one of the reasons why many religious Jews, amongst others, continue to question the existence of a distinctly Jewish state in Palestine.


N. Friedman - 3/1/2008

Ms. Gee,

Do you speak Hebrew? I doubt it. The word "Shoah" is a commonly used word in conversational Hebrew to mean "disaster." Nice try, though.


Sally Gee - 3/1/2008

It's so good to know that Mr Pipes gets everything in proportion unlike, say, the rest of the world. But just to ensure that we have the information to enable us to see the Israeli response to Islam as the rest of the world sees it, this is an interesting story I came across earlier today which some may find worthy of attention:

Israel's deputy defence minister yesterday warned his country was close to launching a huge military operation in Gaza and said Palestinians would bring on themselves a "bigger shoah," using the Hebrew word usually reserved for the Holocaust.

The choice of vocabulary from Matan Vilnai, an often outspoken former army general, was unusually grave - the word is not normally used for anything other than the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

Vilnai was speaking about his government's plans to tackle the continued firing of makeshift rockets, known as Qassams, from Gaza.

"The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves," he said, in a telephone interview with army radio yesterday morning.

His spokesman later tried to play down the force of his language, saying he meant only "disaster".

"He did not mean to make any allusion to the genocide," the spokesman said.

Vilnai appeared to suggest a big military operation was inevitable. "It will be sad, and difficult, but we have no other choice," he said.

"We're getting close to using our full strength. Until now, we've used a small percentage of the army's power because of the nature of the territory."

In just two days this week, Israeli military strikes killed 33 Palestinians in Gaza, among them several civilians, including four young boys who were playing football and an infant.

Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, killing one man in Sderot, and reaching as far as the city of Ashkelon, 11 miles away.

It was the latest in several recent rounds of violence in Gaza, a conflict that Israeli officials already describe as a "war."

According to the United Nations, 80 Palestinians were killed and 82 injured by Israeli military strikes in Gaza in January alone.

At the same time 267 rockets and 256 mortars were fired towards Israel, injuring nine Israelis.

Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, travelled to Ashkelon yesterday and said a response was "required." "Hamas bears responsibility for this deterioration and it will also bear the results."

In Gaza, Hamas leaders said they too now believed a big Israeli operation was coming. "This is proof of Israel's pre-planned aggressive intentions against our people," said Ismail Haniyeh, the deposed Palestinian prime minister.

"They want the world to condemn what they call the Holocaust and now they are threatening our people with a Holocaust."

Hamas is reported to have indirectly offered a ceasefire with the Israelis. However, the Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, who often mediates between the two sides and who was due in Israel next Tuesday, cancelled his trip after the latest escalation of fighting.


guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/01/israelandthepalestinians1

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