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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Poor Hamas schizophrenics

Here is a comparison of what Hamas has been saying in Newsweek and the Washington Post over the past couple of days, and what their charter says (which they still accept in full.)
Hat tip to The Zionist Conspiracy for the idea.

Hamas Media Blitz Hamas Charter
There must come a day when we will live together, side by side once again. For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.
Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.
Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant role in public life. The Muslim women have a no lesser role than that of men in the war of liberation; they manufacture men and play a great role in guiding and educating the [new] generation.... The women in the house and the family of Jihad fighters, whether they are mothers or sisters, carry out the most important duty of caring for the home and raising the children upon the moral concepts and values which derive from Islam; and of educating their sons to observe the religious injunctions in preparation for the duty of Jihad awaiting them. Therefore, we must pay attention to the schools and curricula upon which Muslim girls are educated, so as to make them righteous mothers, who are conscious of their duties in the war of liberation. They must be fully capable of being aware and of grasping the ways to manage their households. Economy and avoiding waste in household expenditures are prerequisites to our ability to pursue our cause in the difficult circumstances surrounding us. Therefore let them remember at all times that money saved is equivalent to blood, which must be made to run in the veins in order to ensure the continuity of life of our young and old.
The West has nothing to fear from Hamas. We're not going to force people to do anything. We will not impose Sharia. The PLO is among the closest to the Hamas, for it constitutes a father, a brother, a relative, a friend. Can a Muslim turn away from his father, his brother, his relative or his friend? Our homeland is one, our calamity is one, our destiny is one and our enemy is common to both of us. Under the influence of the circumstances which surrounded the founding of the PLO, and the ideological invasion which has swept the Arab world since the rout of the Crusades, and which has been reinforced by Orientalism and the Christian Mission, the PLO has adopted the idea of a Secular State, and so we think of it. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought. Thought is the basis for positions, for modes of conduct and for resolutions. Therefore, in spite of our appreciation for the PLO and its possible transformation in the future, and despite the fact that we do not denigrate its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine by adopting secular thought.
Hamas wants peace.We hate bloodshed and killing. We don't want to fight. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.




The Arafatization of Hamas III

Once again, an American "news" source allows a Hamas terrorist to give unfiltered opinions on its own pages. Once again, the Hamas terrorist uses the key words of the liberal "progressive" movement to support his terror aims (taking care not to make the liberals think that Hamas is promoting a theocracy.). And once again, Hamas is saying the exact opposite message in Arabic.

This time it is the Washington Post:

DAMASCUS, Syria -- A new era in the struggle for Palestinian liberation is upon us. Through historic fair and free elections, the Palestinian people have spoken.

Accordingly, America's long-standing tradition of supporting the oppressed's rights to self-determination should not waver. The United States, the European Union and the rest of the world should welcome the unfolding of the democratic process, and the commitment to aid should not falter. Last week's victory of the Change and Reform Party in the Palestinian legislative elections signals a new hope for an occupied people.

...Through its legacy of social work and involvement in the needs of the Palestinian people, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) flourished as a positive social force striving for the welfare of all Palestinians. Alleviating the debilitative conditions of occupation, and not an Islamic state, is at the heart of our mandate (with reform and change as its lifeblood).

Despite the pressures of occupation and corrupt self-rule, Palestinian civil society has demonstrated its resilience in the face of repressive conditions. Social institutions can now be given new life under a reformed government that embraces the empowerment of the people, facilitates freedoms and protects civil rights.

Our society has always celebrated pluralism in keeping with the unique history and traditions of the Holy Land. In recognizing Judeo-Christian traditions, Muslims nobly vie for and have the greatest incentive and stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three Abrahamic faiths. In addition, fair governance demands that the Palestinian nation be represented in a pluralistic environment. A new breed of Islamic leadership is ready to put into practice faith-based principles in a setting of tolerance and unity.

...Hamas has elected 15 female legislators poised to play a significant role in public life. The movement has forged genuine and lasting relationships with Christian candidates.

As we embark on a new phase in the struggle to liberate Palestine, we recognize the recent elections as a vote against the failures of the current process. A new "road map" is needed to lead us away from the path of checkpoints and walls and onto the path of freedom and justice. The past decade's "peace process" has led to a dramatic rise in the expansion of illegal settlements and land confiscation. The realities of occupation include humiliating checkpoints, home demolitions, open-ended administrative detentions, extrajudicial killings and thousands of dead civilians.
...
As the Israelis value their own security, Palestinians are entitled to their fundamental rights to live in dignity and security. We ask them to reflect on the peace that our peoples once enjoyed and the protection that Muslims gave the Jewish community worldwide. We will exert good-faith efforts to remove the bitterness that Israel's occupation has succeeded in creating, alienating a generation of Palestinians. We call on them not to condemn posterity to endless bloodshed and a conflict in which dominance is illusory. There must come a day when we will live together, side by side once again.

The failed policies of the U.S. administration are the result of the inherent contradiction in its position as Israel's strongest ally and an "honest broker" in the conflict. World nations have condemned the brutal Israeli occupation. For the sake of peace, the United States must abandon its position of isolation and join the rest of the world in calling for an end to the occupation, assuring the Palestinians their right to self-determination.

We appeal to the American people's sense of fairness to judge this conflict in light of the great thoughts, principles and ideals you hold dear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the democracy you have built. It is not unreasonable to expect America to practice abroad what it preaches at home. We can but sincerely hope that you use your honest judgment and the blessings of ascendancy God has given you to demand an end to the occupation. Meaningful democracy cannot flourish as long as an external force maintains the balance of power. It is the right of all people to pursue their own destiny.

The writer is deputy political bureau chief of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas). He has a U.S. doctorate in engineering and was indicted in the United States in 2004 as a co-conspirator on racketeering and money-laundering charges in connection with activities on behalf of Hamas dating to the early 1990s, before the organization was placed on the list of terrorist groups. He was deported to Jordan in 1997.
The terrorists have completely co-opted the language of the Left in their pursuit of genocide against Israeli Jews. At the moment, the world doesn't seem to be buying it, but Hamas knows quite well the lessons of Arafat - just keep hammering at it for a while, blame all terror attacks on Fatah and Islamic Jihad, keep getting the amoral "even-handed" liberals to assimilate their message of a Holy Land where Jews and Christians pay a jizya tax to live there, where blowing up grandmothers in buses is just "resistance against occupation," where democracy is a tactic for an extremist Muslim theocracy.

Nobody wated to talk to Arafat while the PLO was hijacking planes in 1970, but he addressed the UN in 1974. Islamists have patience, and they know that the world has many people who will use any excuse to believe them against the Jews.

Some pro-Israel liberals think that today's calls by the West for Hamas to reform are meaningful.

Just wait a few months or years, as Hamas successfully becomes mainstream and considered "moderate". Once again only Israelis who want to live in their land will be called the "extremists."

It will not take too long for the Arafatization of Hamas to be complete, and rags like the Washington Post are only too happy to accelerate that process.

Your crazy Uncle Ned

This month's Muslim outrage has been directed towards Scandinavians over the Danish newspaper printing cartoons of Mohammed:
Norway's Foreign Ministry was heeding a warning Monday from Islamic groups that want all Scandinavians out of Gaza. The groups claim the Scandinavians have offended them by printing controversial caricatures of their prophet Mohammed.

One Islamic group burned a Danish flag over the weekend.

PHOTO: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

The first drawing, which showed the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb, appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in September and was re-printed in a Norwegian Christian publication called Magazinet earlier this month. Islamic law forbids any illustrations of the prophet Mohammed, so the caricatures have spurred protests from Islamic countries and from Muslims living in Denmark.

One Islamic group demanded on Sunday that all Scandinavians leave the Gaza Strip within 48 hours. Armed members of another group, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, handed out pamphlets in Gaza encouraging Danes and Swedes to leave within three days.

Members of the al-Aqsa Brigade burned a Danish flag, and a Norwegian Foreign Ministry official said the ministry has alerted Norwegians to the groups' threats.


A year ago it was supposed Koran desecrations, the year before that it was supposed Israeli digging under the Temple Mount. There is no end of source for Muslim "outrage", often resulting in riots and deaths.

World reaction to these periodic outbreaks of insanity is interesting. The craziness of the Islamic world is taken as a given in Western reactions.

Geopolitics is partially based on the idea that Arabs and Muslims are completely irrational. Instead of treating them like normal adults who need to take responsibility for their actions, we treat them like your crazy Uncle Ned who makes a scene every Thanksgiving. We smile nervously, say whatever we need to say to calm him down for now, lock up the liquor cabinet and hope he doesn't drive into a crowd. And when he acts sort-of rationally, we fall all over ourselves complimenting him on not setting the table on fire.

So we now see entire nations and former world leaders who publicly condemn the horrible fact that free speech exists in some parts of the world and try to say the right things to avoid a billion Uncle Neds from getting more pissed off. Better to say a little white lie than to risk finding out what Ned could do when he becomes really belligerent. It never works, of course, but what else can we do?

The Arabs have perpetuated this idea of their own mass psychosis when it is convenient for them. How many times have we heard threats that the "Arab street" will rise up unless the West does whatever the Arab world demands this week? Isn't that the same thing as threatening to unleash a few million Uncle Neds?

There is of course a solution. It is to treat everyone as actual mature grown-ups, and when they act irresponsibly they should be punished, not rewarded or coddled. It seems like an obvious point when the Uncle Neds are running nations, but somehow the West can't quite figure this out.

They'd rather condemn the rational parties.

The Arafatization of Hamas II

From MEMRI, a Hamas leader on Al-Jazeera, in Arabic of course:
Hamas Leader Khaled Mash'al: "Some people believe it is impossible to combine resistance with politics. As long as we are an occupied people, resistance is our natural right."

[…]

"The Legislative Council is one of the Oslo Accords' political frameworks, but the Oslo plan is over. It is no longer effective, and no one follows it anymore, and I don't think our people will accept the revival of Oslo, after it has been buried and eulogized by all."

[…]

"We will not accept any formula that undermines some or all of our rights. In other words, we are committed to the liberation of the land and to Jerusalem. We will not agree to any kind of disregard [of our right] to Jerusalem. We are more committed to Jerusalem than Sharon and the enemy leaders. We are committed to the right of return and to our rejection of the settlements. We are committed to the resistance and adhere to its weapons. These are our choices and our fundamental principles, which the Palestinian people supported even before the elections. In the elections, I believe, the Palestinian people clearly demonstrated this support, in a democratic manner. No one should accuse us of being out of line or singing out of tune. There are internal Palestinian agreements. True, the Palestinian Authority was founded on the basis of the Oslo Accords. We recognize that this is a reality, and we will deal with it with the utmost realism, but without neglecting our fundamental principles and our rights. We will honor any agreement or commitment, as long as they benefit our people and do not infringe upon its rights. In other words, we will honor our Palestinian commitments, provided they serve our people and do not infringe upon its rights, and we will not accept dictates. This is, very clearly, our position. We are capable of maintaining this position, despite all the pressure. As for recognizing [Israel] and amending our charter - Hamas is not the kind of movement that succumbs to pressure. The occupation has no legitimacy. We will not recognize it, no matter how much time passes. We will never recognize the occupation as legitimate, and we will not give up on our rights. However, we are realistic, and we know things are done gradually, in stages."

[...]

"America may not recognize a certain country, yet it succumbs to reality. Today we, the Palestinians, do not recognize the legitimacy of the occupation, but this does not mean I want to abolish Israel in a matter of moments. I have a plan of commitment to my land and my rights."

[...]

"Succumbing to the will and pressure of others is unacceptable, but by our own decision, we can either calm or escalate the situation, depending on what is required at each stage. But if anyone expects Hamas to agree to take steps that it would not agree to in the past, I say clearly, brothers and sisters: We will not withdraw from our fundamental principles, from our rights and our strategic goals. The map of Palestine, for any Hamas member and for any Palestinian, is the well-known Palestinian map, just like any European or American - if you ask him about his country's map, he says to you: 'My country's map is this and that...' When they bring us someone from Europe or America who is willing to give up his country's map, and accepts a distorted map - come back to us then. The Palestinian rights remain intact. But we believe in acting according to stages, gradually and realistically, and we have the ability to obtain our rights, step by step. We will establish our state on any piece of land we liberate, providing we have real sovereignty over this land, Allah willing."

[...]

"There is a difference between regarding the period of calm as divergence from the resistance - which will never happen - and regarding the period of calm as one of the tactics of the resistance."
Now look at a description of the PLO plan in 1974:

The PLO was born with a committment to the destruction of Israel and in the early days of the organization, they would consider nothing other than that immediate objective. The October 1973 Yom Kippur War convinced the Arabs that they would not be able to destroy Israel through military action within its post-1967 boundaries. Thus they embarked upon a new three-stage strategy for Israel's destruction, embodied in the Palestine Liberation Organization's 1974 Political Program, commonly known as the "Phased Plan", adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestinian National Council, held in Cairo, June 9, 1974.

The plan has three main articles:

  • Through the "armed struggle" (i.e., terrorism), to establish an "independent combatant national authority" over any territory that is "liberated" from Israeli rule. (Article 2)

  • To continue the struggle against Israel, using the territory of the national authority as a base of operations. (Article 4)

  • To provoke an all-out war in which Israel's Arab neighbors destroy it entirely ("liberate all Palestinian territory"). (Article 8)

The Phased Plan remains the basis of PLO actions, even in the era of the Oslo Accords. Speaking on September 1, 1993, just after the announcement of the 1993 Israel-PLO agreement, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat announced on Radio Monte Carlo that the Oslo agreement:

  • ...will be a basis for an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the Palestine National Council resolution issued in 1974... The PNC resolution issued in 1974 calls for the establishment of a national authority on any part of Palestinian soil from which Israel withdraws or which is liberated.

In addition to the action plan against Israel, Articles 5-6 of the PLO plan call for a revolution in Jordan to establish a new Jordanian regime which will ally itself with the Palestinian National Authority. Historically, Jordan comprised the bulk of the territory of Palestine, and a majority of its residents are of Palestinian origin. The PLO has never recognized the legitimacy of the Kingdom of Jordan as a state independent of Palestine.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Warning about posting on newspaper sites

At least one on-line newspaper will publicly leak out the IP address of a person making a comment on an article. This means that if you say something provocative, you can end up inviting hackers to attack your PC.

Knowing this information would have a dampening effect on free speech!

Another academic idiot

Yet another example of a terror-sympathizer masquerading as an unbiased academic. This one is at the University of Wisconsin.

My impression from the entire interview is not so much that he is maliciously against Israel as he is brainwashed from his academic forebears. He strives so mightily to be "even handed" that he completely loses his sense of morality, equating Israeli actions aimed at terrorists to suicide bombs aimed at children.

He is speaking at an anti-war, anti-Bush group, which the newspaper could have mentioned a bit more clearly.

Interestingly, his academic profile says that his specialty is the Jewish population of Algeria during French Colonial rule, which actually sounds interesting. I'm not sure what to make of his love of "classical Arabic music."
If you’re looking for a better understanding of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict then University of Wisconsin-Parkside historian Nathan Godley’s presentation on the topic is a must.

He will speak Thursday evening at the presentation sponsored by the Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice.

Godley, 34, joined UW-Parkside’s faculty last fall and teaches courses on World History, the Middle East and Islamic World, and imperialism. He also teaches classes on the Mediterranean and on post-colonial migration, as well as on various aspects of modern European history. His research focuses on the Jewish population of Algeria during French colonial rule from 1830 to 1962.

Godley holds graduate degrees in history from the University of Iowa and the Université Charles de Gaulle in Lille, France. He earned his bachelor’s degree in French and history from Keele University in his native England in 1993.

Recently Godley spoke with the Journal Times about the conflict and its history.

Where do the roots of the conflict lie?

To my mind, the roots of the present conflict lie primarily in the period between the two World Wars, when Great Britain had control of Palestine.

During this time, the British government, which governed the territory under a mandate from the League of Nations, allowed large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine.

This led to tens of thousands of Palestinian peasants being forced off their land, and allowed the Jewish community to build up both its population and the institutions that would later become the state of Israel. So this is when the two communities began to see each other as enemies and rivals for territory. (I have never heard about a single Arab who was forced off any land in Palestine before World War II. - EoZ)

If there had been some way back then to help Jewish immigrants integrate with less of a negative impact on the existing population, I think we would not have the depth of bitterness that divides the two communities today. (Yes, helping build the economy and providing jobs for more Arabs to immigrate to Palestine was some negative impact. -EoZ)

Of course, many of the Jews who immigrated at this time were fleeing racist persecution in Europe, and most Western countries — including the United States — shut their doors, so perhaps many of them might have gone elsewhere and lessened the pressure on an already crowded land. (Um, right now the land holds perhaps four or five times as many people as it did then. It must be unbearable. - EoZ)

Do you think people understand the problems?

I do not think that most people in America have a clear understanding of what drives the conflict. The U.S. media, as a general rule, does not report reliably on the climate of fear, bitterness, and anger that exists on both sides, and which feeds violence on both sides.

People make their judgments based on the images they get, which tend to focus on the Israelis as a heroic people struggling to survive, and to portray the Palestinians only through the desperate acts of terrorism that a few of them commit.

It is important to understand that elements on both sides commit horrifically violent acts against the others’ civilian population, and that, as a result, the majority of people on both sides is very fearful and angry about what the other side has done and might do to them on future.

It’s much easier for us to say that one side is “good” and the other is “evil” than it is for us to understand that both sides basically want to be able to live a normal life, but each is very angry at and afraid of the other. (And one elects leaders who advocate the genocide of the other. - EoZ)
And this is a history teacher.

Iran will make its move on influencing Hamastan

Shin Bet (Israel Security Services) head Yuval Diskin said Sunday that Iran was considering giving financial aid to the Palestinians if Europe and the US cease funding the Palestinian Authority in light of Hamas's victory in the PLC elections.
Sometimes, I hate it when I'm right.

The Democracy Pandora's Box

News-First Class (Hebrew) reports (translated by Daily Alert):
Islamic movements throughout the Middle East are lifting up their heads after Hamas's election victory.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is demanding "true democracy" from the Jordanian king in order to win in elections there, and is threatening a popular uprising if the government continues to ignore "the will of the people."
Here is another case where the President's mantra of "democracy" is boomeranging on him. The Egyptian elections were purposefully rigged, seemingly with the support of the US, to limit the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood; Jimmy Carter is enthusiastically supporting the new "moderate" Hamas; and now Jordan is in the sights of Islamic fundamentalists, using "democracy" as the argument.

It isn't democracy that is needed; it is freedom. If these Muslim states can live for a decade or so with a truly free press, equal rights for women, and the ability to criticize without fear, and then they decide they would rather live in a Shari'a state, that's democracy. Pushing democracy on people who are clueless about freedom is counterproductive and could be tragic.

Freedom should have been the stated goal all along, because now the US just looks hypocritical.

UPDATE: I saw this article after I posted:
Wednesday's Palestinian election, hailed by the world for passing without incidents of violence, was not the same as democracy, Likud Knesset candidate Natan Sharansky told The Jerusalem Post outside the Knesset on Sunday.

Sharansky, who wrote the influential bestseller The Case For Democracy, said that there should have been a process of democratization in the Palestinian Authority that culminated with an election, instead of holding an election that he said came instead of real democratic reforms.

"Democracy isn't hocus-pocus; it's a process," Sharansky said. "An election between a terrorist organization that wants to destroy the state of Israel and a corrupt dictatorship that does not care about helping its own people is not democracy. The results of the election were clean but it has nothing to do with democracy."

The Arafatization of Hamas

Hamas is starting down the road well-worn (and successfully managed) by Arafat.

Until the Islamic 'ummah is self-sufficient, it requires the West and it needs to speak soothing words to the West. The West, especially the media and the EU, is so starved to hear the words it wants to hear that it will happily and uncritically listen to whatever the terrorists say. And the terrorists, in turn, have learned what key words they need to say to feed the insatiable desire to feed the "peace at all costs" cult of the West. If they lie enough, more and more people will believe it.

This week's Newsweek International amazingly and disgustingly gives an uncritical and uncommented forum to a terrorist, paving the way for European pressure on Israel in a few weeks or months to reward the "moderation."
"Just Be Fair With Us"
By Muhammad Abu Tir

Feb. 6, 2006 issue - My message to the West—to America, to Europe, to everybody—is this: Hamas wants peace. We hate bloodshed and killing. We don't want to fight. There is a verse in the Qur'an that says whoever kills one soul kills all souls. And whoever brings life to people brings life to a nation.

Our problem is with the Israeli occupation. Israelis are killing our children. The West has been oppressive, too. You are biased toward Israel. You support Israel. You are capable of telling Israel, "Enough." You are capable of telling Israel to withdraw. Why is the West concerned about the security of Israel and not concerned about our security?

Stop your support for Israel. Stop calling us terrorists. This policy creates a feeling of oppression. The feeling of oppression can lead to disaster. I don't want to reach that stage. If the United States were occupied, would the people put up with such a situation? In World War II, when the Japanese planes hit Pearl Harbor, America was not quiet. It reciprocated by hitting Japan with a nuclear bomb. Just be fair with us.

The European Union and America should cooperate with us. We have ways of creating understanding among our people. We are facilitators, helpers, aides. The presence of Hamas is a guarantee of safety and stability in the region. Any money that is given to us will be channeled to the correct path. It's better than giving your money to greedy people. The poor have never seen that money whatsoever; it goes only to the swollen bellies. We are honest people. Whatever money we receive, it will go to that purpose. We would use it for education, for social work, for establishing infrastructure, for health institutions, for poor people, for orphans. It would go to the lower levels of society.

Don't be afraid that we'll use the money to buy arms. We can always find arms on the black market. It is obvious that we have built our military infrastructure in that way. Our weapons are the only guarantee of our existence. If a proper Palestinian state were established, then all the militias would melt inside the Palestinian Army.

We are open to the world. But the PLO has negotiated with Israel for 30 years. And what did Israel do? It did not reciprocate. Shimon Peres has said that if Hamas gives up its arms, we will negotiate. They have said the same thing to the PLO before. Does Shimon Peres want another 30 years for us to negotiate with them? We would be happy to work under the Irish model. But is Israel prepared to respect our political wing? Is Israel ready for such a formula?

The West has nothing to fear from Hamas. We're not going to force people to do anything. We will not impose Sharia. Hamas is contained. Hamas deals only with the Israeli occupation. We are not Al Qaeda.

ABU TIR is a former militant who ranked No. 2 on the Hamas list of candidates in last week's elections.
What kind of a "news" source gives a terrorist an unfiltered opportunity to manipulate the morons of the left? Only one that subscribes to the same agenda to an extent.

How can any self-respecting "news" organization do such a thing? No follow-up questions. No pointing out the obvious lies. No irony in its description of Tir as a "former militant." Nope - let him talk about fairness when he wants to utterly destroy Israel, let him talk about children when he indoctrinates them in hate, let him talk about how he hates fighting when his charter glorifies it, let him talk about how he has no problem with the West when he celebrates 9/11, let him talk about orphans when he created hundreds of Jewish orphans, let him talk about a "feeling of oppression" when he sends rockets to communities in Israel and human bombs into pizza shops, let him talk about not being al-Qaeda when both organizations sprang from the same Muslim Brotherhood and they share exactly the same goals.

Don't bother interviewing him - just let him write his own news. Newsweek will be happy to publish it. Because Newsweek is fair, doesn't believe in oppressing him, and supports the orphans. Because Newsweek would occasionally allow someone who is against wiping Israel off the map to write an article. It's only fair, right?

Already we are seeing articles where Hamas obliquely proposes a temporary "truce" with Israel as long as Israel capitulates completely to the Islamic 'ummah. These articles don't mention suicide bombings or rocket attacks - that is so 2004. We need to be fair with the terrorists, give them a chance, surely they will reform, they're just like us. Except for Bin Laden - he's still bad, because he didn't limit his targets to Jews.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The cult of the "Peace Process"

Rarely has there been a real-life doublespeak term as egregious as "the peace process." Just in Googling the news from only today, I see 248 entries using that term - invariably without the scare quotes.

Hamas' win "casts a pall" over the peace process, we read.

What exactly is the "peace process"?

It is, bluntly speaking, the process where Israel dismantles itself "piece by piece" in exchange for empty Palestinian Arab promises. Israel concedes land, outsources its security to third parties who don't care about Israel's security, and is asked to arm those who want to destroy it. In response, Israel gets vilified that it hasn't done nearly enough and it gets rewarded with more international pressure to give more and more in exchange to a people who cannot even stomach a map of Israel anywhere on their territory. Occasionally, Israel does get some temporary diplomatic benefit as a result of a concession - but never any from the supposed "peace partners." )

There is nothing remotely peaceful about the "peace process." It directly led to more Arab bombs and more terror than before. It emboldened terrorists to kill Jews. It also led to more Palestinian Arab deaths than before this "peace process" started.

Any process that causes thousands of deaths can hardly be called "peaceful." Any objective observer would see immediately that the life in the disputed territories and in Israel proper were much more peaceful in the 12 years before Oslo compared to the 12 years since, including the first intifada - both for the Palestinian Arabs and for the Palestinian/Israeli Jews.

And yet the world drinks from the Kool-Aid of the supposed "peace process" and is up in arms at the realization that the Palestinian Arabs freely elected a slate of candidates who have no interest whatsoever in peace, or even in pretending to want peace (which would be enough to further the charade.)

Here's where the cognitive dissonance kicks in. Since the only hope for peace is the peace process, the reasoning goes, we need to find a way for a bunch of murderers and thugs and terrorists to pretend to moderate a little bit so we can get the process of Israel giving up more land to them back on track.

The Fatah-led PA was enthusiastic about the "peace process" as long as it doesn't involve any actual peace for any Jews that happen to live in the neighborhood. That was enough for the world - they were on board with the agenda.

But now we have people who not only reject Israel's existence (like the PA) but also reject the hallowed "process", too! What a shame! What a tragedy! Only Jewish "extremists" act in such ways!

There are many potential problems with Hamas leading the Palestinian Arabs, but the death of the "peace process" is not one of them. It has caused nothing but grief and pain to thousands of people on both sides.

Real peace agreements involve real, tangible, and irreversible concessions on the part of both parties. Real peace, itself, more often than not is the result of a crushing defeat in a war and an imposed solution to the vanquished.

The "peace process" was always a farce, a triumph of wishful thinking over reality, a willfully blind denial of truth. And if its adherents would be honest with themselves, they would realize that it would never end until Israel doesn't exist any more.

Hamas poses great threats to Israel's and the world's security. But we should not mourn the death of the fake "peace process."

JIB jab

OK, I have not once asked for votes for the JIB awards and I'm not going to start now, despite this blog's abysmal performance in the voting for Best Designed Blog.

But to see Cross-Currents in first place in this category?

I just asked the esteemed Daughter of Ziyon her opinion of the CC design, without telling her that it was in first place, and she said, "Honestly? Ewwww."

It is plain, it is boring, and worst of all - it has ugly ads tacked on to the side.

It is certainly readable and it is far from the worst blog designed out there, but, come on, people! Vote for a blog that actually deserves the award, like Jewlicious or The View from Here!

Not that I would complain if you want to tell DoZ how much you like her design....

(I am not kvetching about the awards themselves, of course, but how could I resist that title?)

Friday, January 27, 2006

The day's best pun: ותמלא הארץ חמס

Thanks to Blog HaMincha, which is an excellent pun as well.

(To those who don't understand Hebrew: It is a quote from Genesis 6:11. In English it is translated as "and the earth was filled with violence." The Hebrew word for violence in this verse is "Hamas.")

Interesting Holocaust article on alt.muslim

A flawed but illuminating article from a Muslim perspective about what the author claims represents the Muslim role in the Holocaust:
By Mas'ood Cajee, January 27, 2006

Six decades on since the slaughter of World War II and the Nazi holocaust, we hear extremist voices alternately exploiting or denying the Holocaust for political gain. By warping our memory of the Shoah (the Hebrew word for the Holocaust), both exploiters and deniers miss the stark, vital message of the Holocaust and its heroes - those who displayed uncommon moral courage in the face of evil.

Holocaust exploiters

A growing chorus of voices which exploits the Holocaust for political gain has been trying to smear Muslims - and Arabs in particular - with grand accusations of complicity in the Holocaust and support for the Nazis. These voices serve hawkish interests in Israel and the United States who wish to justify and legitimize continued war, violence, and yes - even genocide - against Muslims and Arabs. Identifying Muslims with and as Nazis eases the task of selling continued bloodshed to war-weary publics. Reading the books and op-eds of the smearers, one could almost conclude absurdly that the Nazi holocaust was an Arab Muslim and not a European Christian project. As evidence, the smearers usually trot out the pro-German Mufti of Jerusalem Amin Al-Husayni and the Bosnian Muslim SS "Handschar" division.

What these smearing Islamophobes don't like to tell you: the "Mufti" was actually an appointee of the Jewish administrator of British Palestine who completed one measly year at Al-Azhar and betrayed the Ottoman Sultan to join the British. The much-vaunted "Hanschar" SS division - disbanded after a few months due to mass desertions - was the only SS division ever to mutiny. Because they are allied to the power establishments in Israel & the United States, the Holocaust exploiters generally keep mum about American, Jewish, and Zionist complicity in the Holocaust. They aren't currently touting the cruel, forced 1939 return from Miami of the Jewish refugee ship SS St. Louis to Nazi Europe. Or that elites in the Anglo-American sphere widely admired Adolf Hitler throughout the 1930s - George Bush's hero Winston Churchill first condemned Hitler only five years after he came to power. Or that elements of the Jewish and Zionist leadership collaborated with the Nazis - as documented by Hannah Arendt and other Jewish historians (who called their actions "the darkest chapter of the whole dark story"). Or that today, Israel ironically dangles the specter of Holocaust - in its Nuclear avatar - over the mostly Muslim peoples of the Middle East.

Holocaust deniers

On the other side, too many Muslim and Arab intellectuals and leaders continue to fail in adequately addressing the Nazi holocaust and its implications for today in meaningful, humanitarian terms. Two recent examples include the Muslim Council of Britain's daft refusal to participate in Britain's annual Holocaust Memorial Day and the public indulgence in Holocaust revisionism and labeling of the Nazi holocaust as "myth" by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood chief Muhammad Akef. Deep-seated, knee-jerk anti-Zionism and the continuing occupation of Palestine have unfortunately blinded many Arabs and Muslims to the historical reality and legacy of the Nazi holocaust.

An intelligent and compassionate regard for the victims of the Nazi holocaust - Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, the disabled, and others - on the part of contemporary Muslims is critical for preserving ethical and communal integrity, for a just resolution of the Palestinian question and for the future - if there is to be one - of Western Muslims. Instead, the Holocaust remains a historical blindspot in Arab and Muslim discourse, and as a result it has become a potent political weapon to be exploited at will by those who view Palestinians and Muslims as enemies.

Holocaust heroes

In their perversion of memory, Holocaust deniers and exploiters share another moral ugliness. Both insult the memory of the countless Muslims who risked or gave their lives to rescue Jews threatened with extermination by the Nazis. The stories of the Muslim rescuers of Jews are largely unknown and unpublicized. Only in the past fifteen years have Holocaust researchers brought a few to the public's attention.

Several Muslims (whose stories of heroism and courage we know) have since been honored by Yad Vashem and other Holocaust memorial groups as Righteous Gentiles. They include: the Bosnian Dervis Korkut, who harbored a young Jewish woman resistance fighter named Mira Papo and saved the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the most valuable Hebrew manuscripts in the world; the Turk Selahattin Ulkumen, whose rescue of several dozen Jews from certain death at Auschwitz led to the death of his wife Mihrinissa soon after she gave birth their son Mehmet when the Nazis retaliated for his heroism; the Albanian Refik Vesili who - as a 16-year-old - saved eight Jews by hiding them in his family's mountain home.

Most Holocaust historians would agree that Muslim Europe - Albania, Bosnia, and Turkey - responded courageously and righteously, especially in comparison to Christian Europe. While there were Muslims who collaborated with the Nazis, they were the exception and certainly not the rule. In addition, in North Africa the Sultan of Morocco, the Bey of Tunis, and the Ulema of Algeria all lent support to their beleaguered Jewish countrymen.

Continental Europe's only independent Muslim country - Albania - was also the only European country to have a larger Jewish population at the end of the war than at the beginning, according to Miles Lerman, a former director of the US National Holocaust Museum. Harvey Sarner, a Jewish American in awe of the Albanian Muslim response, penned the telling book "Rescue in Albania: One Hundred Percent of Jews in Albania Rescued from the Holocaust".

There were many Bosnian Muslims, especially in Sarajevo, who saved the lives of their Jewish compatriots. Indeed, the Jewish community in Sarajevo owed its very existence historically to the centuries-old Ottoman Muslim policy of providing sanctuary to Jews fleeing European Christian persecution.

Republican Turkey thankfully followed that same Ottoman tradition of rescue and sanctuary. Due to its neutrality during most of World War II, and its unique geographical proximity to both Europe and the Middle East, Turkey and Turkish diplomats living abroad played an important role for European Jews in danger during World War II and the Holocaust, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Muslim-majority Turkey rescued over 15,000 Turkish Jews and over 100,000 European Jews.

Like their Christian counterparts, the Muslim men and women who rescued Jews during the Holocaust are among history's true heroes, whose stories we should be telling our children and grandchildren. They represent the best of the Abrahamic and Islamic tradition and spirit. May He grant us true moral courage like them in the face of hardship and adversity. May God - the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful - free us of denying or exploiting the suffering of others.

Of course I have to strongly disagree with his characterizations of "Holocaust exploiters." The author minimizes the role of the Mufti of Jerusalem, the enthusiasm with which the Islamic world accepted German-manufactured anti-semitism, and he ignores the fact that the Arab world recruited Nazis to finish their job when Israel was born. This is not to accept his strawman that the Muslim world was a critical or even major component in the Holocaust; obviously the Nazis and willing European anti-semites didn't need any Muslim help in their quest for the utter destruction of all Jewish men, women and children. His points about European and American indifference to Hitler are well-known and utterly irrelevant in his attempt to minimize Muslim Jew-hatred.

It is also beyond obscene to characterize anything Israel does as "genocide", making the author guilty of his own accusation of exploiting the Holocaust.

It is a sad commentary to the Muslim world that even with these problems, the author is about as reasonable as one can find in the Islamic world, and the thrust of the article is an important one.

His points about Albania, Turkey and the Muslim "righteous gentiles" are well taken and do indeed deserve to be publicized to a wider audience. I was not aware of many of these details and they are an important chapter in the history of Europe during the '40s.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The nightmare Hamas scenario

My initial lack of concern over the Hamas victory may be premature. I had forgotten one of my own recent blog themes.

There is a way for Hamas to refuse to talk to Israel, ignore Western economic pressure, stay true to its Islamist roots and to appear to help the Palestinian Arabs in their day-to-day lives.

And the answer is Iran.

Iran would be overjoyed to have an Islamist fundamentalist terror statelet right next to Israel. It will provide more than enough money to offset the shortfall from any chance of the EU refusing to give aid to a terror group. It would increase Iran's influence and further its goals of being the world Islamist power. It would help Iran's popularity among the faithful, and it will solidify Iran's leadership role as the major threat to the West and eventual Islamist world domination.

As long as the world is willing to pay huge amounts of money to Iran for oil, the world will end up subsidizing the Hamastan terror statelet. For only a billion petrodollars a year, Iran can replace the EU, UN and US funds. (And the European twisted logic will then continue to find ways to give money to Hamas as a way to "maintain influence" over a bunch of thugs.)

Iranian missiles in Gaza could reach all of Europe.

Ultimately, Iran views Hamastan as the perfect delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons - an entire "nation" that would happily vaporize itself to destroy Israel.

"Hamas without veils"

Emanuele Ottolenghi makes my points far better than I made them.
Contrary to initial responses, Hamas’s projected victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections is a positive development. Not, as its apologists claim, because the proximity of power will favor a process of cooptation into parliamentary politics, and therefore strengthen the pragmatic wing of Hamas. There is no pragmatic wing in Hamas, and all differences within the movement — the armed wing and the political wing, Palestine Hamas and Hamas in Syria — are arguably tactical differences. No, the reason is, as Vladimir Ilich Lenin would put it, "worse is better."

Hamas’s favored outcome was not victory, but a strong showing that would leave Hamas with the best of both worlds: It would remain in opposition (or would be invited to join a coalition as a junior partner) but would impose severe limitations on the Fatah-led government on how to manage its relations with Israel. Hamas could thus claim to reject Oslo, decline to recognize the Palestinian Authority and its commitments under the Oslo accords and the roadmap, and continue to use its rising political clout and its military strength to sabotage any effort to revive the moribund peace process.

What victory does to Hamas is to put the movement into an impossible position. As preliminary reports emerge, Hamas has already asked Fatah to form a coalition and got a negative response. Prime Minister Abu Ala has resigned with his cabinet, and president Abu Mazen will now appoint Hamas to form the next government. From the shadows of ambiguity, where Hamas could afford — thanks to the moral and intellectual hypocrisy of those in the Western world who dismissed its incendiary rhetoric as tactics — to have the cake and eat it too. Now, no more. Had they won 30-35 percent of the seats, they could have stayed out of power but put enormous limits on the Palestinian Authority’s room to maneuver. By winning, they have to govern, which means they have to tell the world, very soon, a number of things.

They will have to show their true face now: No more masks, no more veils, no more double-speak. If the cooptation theory — favored by the International Crisis Group and by the former British MI-6 turned talking head, Alistair Crooke — were true, this is the time for Hamas to show what hides behind its veil.

As the government of the Palestinian Authority, now they will have to say whether they accept the roadmap.

They will have to take control over security and decide whether they use it to uphold the roadmap or to wage war.

There will be no excuses or ambiguities when Hamas fires rockets on Israel and launches suicide attacks against civilian targets. Until Tuesday, the PA could hide behind the excuse that they were not directly responsible and they could not rein in the "militants." Now the "militants" are the militia of the ruling party. They are one and the same with the Palestinian Authority. If they bomb Israel from Gaza — not under occupation anymore, and is therefore, technically, part of the Palestinian state the PLO proclaimed in Algiers in 1988, but never bothered to take responsibility for — that is an act of war, which can be responded to in kind, under the full cover of the internationally recognized right of self-defense. No more excuses that the Palestinians live under occupation, that the PA is too weak to disarm Hamas, that violence is not the policy of the PA. Hamas and the PA will be the same: What Hamas does is what the PA will stand for.

Continuing to pursue a violent path will automatically switch off all international aid. Perhaps Hamas intends to offset the resulting loss of revenue by hosting Holocaust-denial conferences in Gaza and terrorist training camps in Rafah, but it will still have to explain to the Palestinian public why it’s better to renounce public aid to wage war.
Read the whole thing.

As Daled Amos points out, and I did too, it is too optimistic to think that Hamas will not follow the PLO footsteps and blame all new terror attacks on the "more radical" groups. Nevertheless, this will present Hamas with the problem of how to deliver on a better life for Palestinian people while not allowing itself to coordinate anything with Israel.

Unfortunately, there is a possible answer....(see next article)

Davos apology - interesting but flawed

YNET reports:
Organizers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are working on a new conference booklet after the initial draft containing an article blasting Israel caused uproar.

The head of the Forum publicly condemned the incident and apologized on behalf of organizers.
The apology is nice, but this is hardly the first time such things happened at this "prestigious" event:
Yasser Arafat himself, at the 2001 world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, shocked his distinguished audience by insisting in front of Israeli Foreign Minister, Peres, that Israel was using depleted uranium and nerve gas against Palestinian civilians.
And here is a lovely example of liberal tolerance from the 2003 conference:

I don't know what newspaper called this a "peace demonstration."

So it is nice and somewhat unexpected to see an apology, but it is not surprising that such pure bigotry can emerge at a conference which has tolerated it for so many years.

Backgrounders on Hamas

It is interesting to see how media outlets are writing their background, color articles on Hamas.

Somehow, suicide bombs and attacks against civilians are now relegated to minor side points. Here are links to articles that are backgrounders on Hamas and which paragraph they mention attacks against Israeli civilians:

Times of London: paragraph 7.
BBC - paragraph 5.
Xinhua - paragraph 11 (barely)
AP - paragraph 4

On the contrary, the Jerusalem Post printed parts of the Hamas charter, and Arutz Sheva listed major terror attacks by Hamas.

Hamas' spiritual forefathers

It is worth reposting a link to this article from the Palestine Post about the origins of fundamentalist Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Hamas and al-Qaeda were born.

Why Hamas won

I have mentioned before that there are two very consistent patterns that explain the entire Arab/Israeli conflict for the past century:

1) Israelis want security.
2) Arab leaders want to destroy Israel.

Essentially every political and military move done by both sides since before 1948 can be remarkably explained by those two concepts. There are rare exceptions, perhaps Jordan is one of them, but on the whole it is a very good rule of thumb that can be used both to understand history and to understand current events.

There is a third consistent pattern as well:

3) Arab people just want to raise their families with dignity and pride.

The entire brief history of the Palestinian Arabs shows this to be true. The ones who lived in Palestine in the 1800s didn't care that they were under Ottoman rule, they didn't crave independence. After the Jews started coming in serious numbers and the economy boomed, many (I believe most) of the ancestors of today's Palestinian Arabs moved into Palestine from Syria and Jordan, because that was how they could best provide for their families. More moved in under British rule than under Ottoman rule, because economic concerns were far more important than political concerns.

If "independence" was the uppermost concern of Arabs, then why do over a million choose to stay in Israel rather than move to PA-administered areas? As the Clinton team famously observed, "it's the economy, stupid."

The people who have screwed the Palestinian Arabs the most have always been their "leaders." It was their leaders who decided to force them to boycott Jewish goods to their detriment, it was their leaders who kept them in "refugee" camps, it was their leaders who forced them to fight losing battles against the hated Zionists.

The "golden age" of Palestinian Arabs was during the "occupation" - this was when they had good paying jobs, when Israel built them an electrical and safe water infrastructure, when the Zionists used their devious Jewish expertise to dramatically increase the Palestinian Arab life expectancy and slash their infant mortality rates. During Oslo, tens of thousands of Jordanians moved illegally into the West Bank so they could raise their families in the comparative paradise that Israel built for the Palestinian Arabs.

The ordinary Palestinian doesn't care who his leader is or about Zionism or occupation or terror or democracy as long as his basic needs are met.

This is the background needed to understand the Hamas victory.

The Palestinian Arabs did not vote for terror or to destroy Israel. They just voted for the party that actually has a chance to improve their day-to-day lives. The party that actually has social programs and builds schools and hospitals. The party that is not headed by "leaders" who live in expensive villas.

The average Palestinian remembers quite well that only a few years ago, they had jobs and they had their pride. They know that Israel treated them better than any Arab leader ever has. Certainly they are subject to brainwashing from the constant incitement against Israel and Jews in their media, but fundamentally their main concern is how to provide for their families with pride, not Israel. It was clear that Fatah would not ever do anything for them. This was highlighted by the chaos in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal and the PA's incompetence at actually leading.

So, ironically, Israel helped elect Hamas. Also ironically, in what was perhaps the first free election the Palestinian Arabs ever had, they decided to kick out the leaders who screwed them over. And the final irony is that the US and EU backed the leaders who were screwing the Palestinians, which will not help world influence in the future.

The interesting part is that for all of its anti-Israel positions, Hamas will have no choice but to deal with Israel in some capacity, or else it will fail the people who elected it. If Hamas refuses to work with Israel at all, the Palestinians won't be able to cross the border at all, and vital services like water and electricity will end up disappearing. Nothing moderates like pragmatism. Terror will still continue and be supported indirectly by Hamas but if Hamas wants what is best for its people it will have to work with the enemy.

From Israel's perspective, it should emphasize the fact that it has no problem with Palestinian Arabs themselves and it will do anything possible to help them as long as it doesn't jeopardize Israel's own security. At this point Hamas needs Israel much more than Israel needs Hamas but since there is now a working democracy in Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas has to be much more careful as to how it acts, both in relations to the people and to Israel.

A major danger to worry about is that Hamas will demolish the democratic process and create yet another Islamist theocracy. If that is their aim, things are much less predictable.

As far as the peace process goes - there never was a peace process, just a process where Israel keeps giving concessions in exchange for nothing. Stopping such a "peace process" is a very desirable outcome from these elections, and detente is much better than a "peace process" punctuated by daily terror attacks.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Anti-semitism, courtesy of the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum happening now in Davos, Switzerland, included a booklet that included an anti-semitic and anti-Israel screed of the types normally only seen in fringe websites. Every delegate got one.

Excerpts:
Boycott Israel

Mazin Qumsiyeh

Global civil society ought to boycott Israel until it ends its apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians, says Mazin Qumsiyeh

Millions of activists have come to see an organic link between the occupation and colonization of Palestine and diverse and pressing global issues ranging from the war on Iraq to global poverty.

Those who advocate political Zionism cannot defend it on its own merits, so they focus instead on diverting attention and distorting reality. The best example of this is ignoring the cause of the disease and focusing attention on one of its many symptoms – violence of the natives against the colonial settlers, but not the vastly more deadly violence of the colonizers on native people. The idea is that if we vilify the natives and make them look subhuman, we will not be criticized for killing them and taking their lands.

This is an old strategy to justify the pillaging. It was used by the French in Algeria, by European colonizers in the Americas, by apartheid South Africa, by the Americans in Vietnam and in hundreds of other places where western economic and colonial interests came into conflict with the rights of indigenous people.

Israeli apartheid

Zionism not only supposes that Jewish people, including converts, enjoy ethnic, national or historical rights to Palestine, but also that these rights are superior to the rights of the native population. Unlike in South Africa, where black labour was needed, Zionism wanted the natives out. Simply put, the goal of Zionism was to create a state by, for and of “the Jewish people everywhere” to the exclusion of most of the native people and then to ensure that the minority that remained at all odds is not treated equally.

Zionism represented a colonial British venture later taken up as one of many possible responses to discrimination in Europe. Other responses to discrimination such as socialism and humanism were available and had at least equal strength.
Zionism can be seen as the 19th century-style chauvinistic, ethnocentric – mostly Ashkenazi (central European Jewish) – nationalistic response to prevalent European chauvinistic ethnocentric nationalisms. It is in that sense an attempt at assimilation by some Jews following a now outdated European colonial model.

It is not, therefore, surprising that the Zionist lobby has been pushing America into a neo-colonial perpetuation of these outmoded forms of human relations. In a society that values equality and separation of church and state, a concerted media campaign justifies “pre-emptive” invasion of other countries, religious apartheid, sectarianism, ethnic cleansing and putting walls around ghettoized “undesired” people. Zionist apologists support equality in America and Europe, but tolerate discrimination and exclusion of Palestinian refugees in Palestine/Israel for being not Jewish. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by groups ranging from the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to “think-tanks” in our nation’s capital to promote such bankrupt ideas.

The relentless efforts of many to defend apartheid and separation can only be described as symptoms of cognitive dissonance at best and racism at worst. In their Orwellian world, occupation becomes “security”, a relentless war of colonization and occupation becomes “advancing democracy”, an apartheid wall becomes a “security fence”, being anti- or post-Zionist is morphed into being anti-Jewish, and “moderation” becomes a code word for shredding international law and basic human rights.

Our demands

In July 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a historic document. It articulated Israel’s persistent violations of international and humanitarian laws and conventions and called upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era”.

The call stated that “these non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194” (which the Arabs never accepted - EoZ)

We propose that global civil society take this call seriously and build a coalition open to all people for a global Movement Against Zionism or a global Movement Against Israeli Apartheid. This would bring peace with justice to all people regardless of their religion or ethnicity. It would also contribute to exposing American government-led programmes of domination and hegemony in the Middle East, most aptly revealed by its support of Zionism.

CV Mazin Qumsiyeh

Mazin Qumsiyeh has served on the faculties of Duke and Yale universities. His latest book is Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle. He is involved in many campaigns supporting Palestinian rights.


I didn't notice anything in this article about the discrimination of non-Muslims in Arab countries, about denouncing Palestinian terror, about the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, about the overwhelming desire on the part of the Arab world desire to ethnically cleanse the Middle East of Jews.

Must have been an oversight, because, after all, the writer cares so much about human rights. I'm sure he's written other articles about Saudi apartheid or how the Lebanese treat Palestinian Arabs, and calling for economic boycotts against Yemen for expelling its Jews.

UPDATE: SoccerDad found that he was indeed an instructor at Duke - of genetics.

The root cause

A senior Iranian official threatened that Tehran may forcibly prevent oil export via the Straits of Hormuz if the UN imposed economic sanctions due to Iran's nuclear program, an Iranian news Web site said on Monday.

This is the first time an Iranian official makes military threats in a public statement on Tehran's recent disagreements with the West.
I hope it happens.

It has now been over four years since 9/11. Analysts and politicians have been falling over themselves looking for the "root causes" of terror. The real, practical root cause is obvious but uncomfortable so people naturally veer away from admitting it.

The root cause is a combination of the fact that Islamism is a political ideology that wants nothing less than world domination, together with the fact that oil revenue gives the Islamists the power to actually influence world events.

The fact that Islamism is a political movement makes people uncomfortable because it clothes itself as a religious movement, and no one wants to restrict religion. The fact that petrodollars fund terror makes people uncomfortable because any disruption of the flow of oil from the Gulf would cause worldwide economic chaos.

What we needed, immediately after 9/11, was an energy-independence Manhattan project. I hope it is not too late to start it.

The money to fund it should come from the massive defense budget. Putting only a few high-tech weapons projects on hold for a few years would pay for it without much effort, and eliminating our dependence on Arab oil is solidly a self-defense initiative.

If there were no oil revenues there would have been no Saddam, no Saudi madrassas, no al-Qaeda, no Iranian threat, no Hamas, no Hezbollah. Islam would just be a relatively harmless religion.

Since such a Manhattan project is not going to happen anytime soon without a major external event, I think that the world would be better off if Iran indeed stops the oil supply (or, as is feared, they end up contaminating the entire Gulf with radiation from an accident.) This would wake up the US quickly. More importantly, the free market would kick in, because alternate fuels would fast become economical.

It would hurt, no doubt. But in a few years we would be seeing clean and safe fuel sources emerge, reducing pollution, helping the environment and incidentally saving the world from Islamic terror - if it is not too late.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reviews! I feel so important!

At least three blogs have reviewed the blogs nominated for Best Design in the JIB awards, and while there is a snowball's chance in hell that this blog would win anything it is still nice to be reviewed. Luckily, most reviews aren't vicious.

Ezzie started off during the first round with this:
ElderofZiyon's header is okay, though I don't like the fade all the way to white. I also am not a fan of pure white backgrounds, though it actually looks decent on his blog. Fonts and font colors are good, links are well organized. The message board is a nice addition, though appearance-wise it's kind of ugly.
In response, I realized that my tagboard colors were indeed ugly and changed them to match the blog colors.

After I miraculously made it to the finals, I got an extensive review from Chaim of Life of Rubin:
This is a site I do check out from time to time. It’s a good site, and I’m a fan. As far as design goes, this is another “simplistic” look. The white content color is always a good choice. This enables people to read the actual posts without any squinting or eyes glare afterwards. I’m sorry, but if you have a blog with a black color content background, I don’t usally read your blog at your site. If it’s a blog that I like, I read it through blogines. The white on black just kills my eyes.

I like the header, good choice of image, but I can’t tell if you left some of those blogger html DIV headers there because you wanted to or because your not sure how to delete them. If it’s the latter contact me, I’ll help you, since my own blog is a reworked version of that blogger template.

I like the sidebar, it has a very good source of information and all the links are divided up into through categories. I’m not a fan of the embedded chat. It slows down loading time, and honestly who really uses them that often. The other thing I don’t like is the block quote box/form used. For a blog that quotes often from other articles etc, it should have a less noticeable background. It sticks out at you too much, it’s the first thing you notice when you load the page. Overall, I like the design, it pulls off simple but neat at the same time.
I appreciate the thoroughness of the review!

To address the points made:
  • I like the dividing lines even though they are the default Blogger ones. I think I even used them in places beyond the default, if I recall correctly.
  • I always hope that people would use the tagboard more. I worked hard to find one that looks decent and doesn't cause pop-up ads. (I used to have a much busier sidebar, along with scrolling news, but the pop-ups and CPU utilization became crazy. But I want to keep the tagboard. Its main problem is that it cannot handle apostrophes.)
  • I actually like the background color for the quote boxes. It matches the template well. I've noticed on some browsers/monitors it is more noticeable than on others.
  • I agree that white on black is hard to read, but I am pretty sure it is how teenagers ensure that their parents aren't reading their blogs.
But thanks again for the kind words!

Jewlicious, which is an extremely well-designed blog itself, also weighed in:
The Elder has clearly done as much as can be done with a blogspot blog. The side links are good an chock full o’ links. The color scheme seems to be meant to reflect the color of the Kotel in the header while still maintaining that whole “this blog contains many serious and important ideas” look. Love the name too but how far can one really push a blogspot template?
Good question! I never thought of this blog as pushing the limits of Blogspot, and perhaps this review is an overanalysis, but it sure makes me feel "serious and important" to have people spend so much effort reviewing this.

SoccerDad weighs in:
It's a shame that Elder of Ziyon didn't get more support in other categories. He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history. Much of what is happening now, has happened before. Still I've always loved the design of his blog.
Which makes me feel guiltyfor not having done any Palestine Post-ings for a while.

I appreciate all the kind words!

Notable articles

An interview of a German Holocaust historian in Der Spiegel.
It's impossible to combat obsessive historical revisionism using arguments and even the most basic logic. It is quite simply absurd to, on the one hand thank Hitler's Germany for the Holocaust -- which unfortunately does happen -- and then in the next breath say that the murder of six million Jews never took place. It's hard to understand how a state, which accepts aspects of modern life, is able to make obvious lunacy official national policy.
An interesting analysis of Iran's goals, mostly in line with mine and with some points I disagree with.
Iran's Israel policy is a sub-set of its US policy, not the other way around. Given the current war of words between Iran and Israel, this is an important distinction seemingly missed by many of the media and pro-Israel lawmakers in Washington...

Who will cave in first?

Hamas?
Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas leader, struck back in the campaign's final days, playing to Hamas's political base in the destitute Gaza neighborhoods and refugee camps that have supplied many Hamas suicide attackers and that revere them as martyrs. Before crowds of thousands, he and other candidates went out of their way to deny they would ever give up their insistence on the destruction of Israel and the right to armed struggle.

Zahar hammered home a fiery stump speech at several campaign stops, including one extravaganza that featured masked and camouflaged Hamas performers leaping through flaming hoops and rappelling down buildings into an enraptured crowd.

Hamas's armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, will never be dismantled, as Israel and the US-backed road map peace plan demand, he said.

''They will remain, they will grow, they will be armed more and more until the complete liberation of all Palestine," he said, stressing that Palestine includes not just the West Bank and Gaza Strip that Israel occupied in 1967, but all of Israel as well.

He vowed to send the brigades to take up positions along Gaza's borders -- a step Israeli officials would surely view as a provocation -- to prevent Israel from sending its army back into the strip it vacated last summer, as Israeli officials have threatened to do if they deem it necessary for security.

Or the West?
A senior State Department official said the United States would not deal directly with members of Hamas in a new government.

"Our position is simple, in order to be an effective partner for peace, the Palestinians have to accept the idea of the state of Israel and renounce violence. That is currently the position of the Palestinian government."

"We will not accept terror on any basis," he added.

Asked directly whether the U.S. would recognize a new Palestinian government that contained large numbers of Hamas members, he said: "Let's see what happens first."
"It is very difficult for us to be in the position of negotiating or talking to Hamas unless there’s a very clear renunciation of terrorism," said Mr Blair at his monthly press conference today.
The answer is that, as always, wishful thinking will replace real facts. Hamas will use the PLO playbook and start floating possible less-terroristic scenarios to the West while continuing to support full Jihad against all Jews in the Middle East in Arabic. The West (including Israel) will want to believe that Hamas has turned over a new leaf so much that it will all ignore the inconvenient calls for genocide and jump on every word or omitted words that could be construed as being more moderate.

Get ready to see the words "moderate" and "Hamas" go together more often to justify the inevitable thaw, and get ready to see Palestinian Islamic Jihad used as the corresponding "extremists."

The irony, of course, is that Hamas is no less moderate than Fatah is, but Fatah had better PR and better liars. But in the end, both groups explicitly demand the destruction of Israel, both groups explicitly cheer suicide bombings and call the dead terrorists "martyrs", and both groups' supporters celebrate dead Jews - and dead Americans.

Made it to the finals!

Amazingly, this blog made it to the finals in the JIB awards for Best Designed Blog!

I would like to once again emphasize that the header logo and color scheme of the blog came from the always beautiful and talented Daughter of Ziyon, who is really starting to irritate me with her now having gotten better than me at guitar, keyboards, Photoshop and general design including web design.

Check out the competition and vote!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Interesting article on Iranian worldview

This is a very long article where the author claims to interview some Iranian politicians and military men. The author is clearly sympathetic towards his subjects and it is hard to know how much of what they say is true and how much is bluster. Also, it is not clear that the average Iranian agrees with them - the level of patriotism in Iran is almost certainly not as described. Even so, their analyses are interesting. One excerpt:
When I asked them what Iran would do if the U.S. was serious in attacking Iranian nuclear sites, Hussein said, "Then they open hell's gates towards themselves," and smiled. When I asked him to elaborate more, he continued, "In the papers there is always talk about air attacks on Iranian installations by Israel or the U.S. This type of psychological warfare is used to divert our attention. We know for a fact that no two Western wars are similar and we are sure that the Israelis would not risk an air attack. We know there are at least three possible scenarios of attacking these sites, including using their submarines in the Persian Gulf, commandos from the sea, or Mojahedin Khalgh trained in Israel and Azerbaijan to destroy the Bushehr nuclear power plant from the inside, but these are only plans. We have even more plans for how to confront them as well. This is a game of chess and we have practiced many different scenarios." Ali, another revolutionary guard, smiled and responded, "We have indicated directly and indirectly that with the first bullet shot at Iran, the map of the Middle East will be changed forever. Many American puppet regimes and dictators will fall and there will never be a government like what is now in Israel. The Apartheid system in Israel will be dismantled and a democratic government which embraces Jews, Christians, and Moslems equally will come to power. Millions of Palestinians will return home and millions of European and American migrants will return back from Palestine to their countries."

When I mentioned the immense firepower of the U.S. and the chemical, biological, and nuclear arsenal of Israel Hussein smiled and said, "We are ready, bring them on." Then after chuckling he said, "We have our sensors in place in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and most Arab countries. We know ahead of the time when they are coming, and since Mr. Bush has given American democracy along with the preemptive strike as the right of everybody in the world, we are going to use it and use it effectively. We are present in most of the military briefings of the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. As soon as we see that it is imminent we hit them and hit them hard. If U.S. commanders used a sledgehammer to break a walnut in Iraq, we will use two sledgehammers for a hazelnut everywhere in the Middle East! Whether the U.S. or Israel attacks us, we will consider it as Israeli attack since we know how much power they have over the U.S. political and decision-making system." When I asked why they would hold Israel responsible if the U.S. attacked unilaterally, he responded that the American policy in Middle East is designed and dictated by Jewish organizations such as the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) which in turn gets its agenda and policy from Israel. "Don't you remember the role of three Jewish Musketeer's in Iraq invasion?" He meant Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Michael Ledeen. Ali added, "The U.S. political system is under heavy pressure from Zionist organizations. Look at the articles published in U.S. papers about Iran. Most of the authors are Zionists strongly affiliated with AIPAC. Most of these guys dream of an Israel which extends from the Nile to the Euphrates. This is dangerous ideology. We must stop this at some stage and this is the best time. Many Western immigrants in Israel are thinking and working toward it. Look at the Mayflower ship which brought a handful of Europeans to America, the American natives lost their identity and culture, and the rest is the history. We do not want this to happen to the Middle Eastern countries."

Jamshid said, "Since her inception by the Europeans, Israel has had four wars with her neighbors and in three of those wars she obtained more land. That is until 1979, the year the Islamic Republic was born in Iran, and since then she has not started any wars, since she knew she cannot, because Iran would definitely intervene. They want more land for all these Russian and other immigrants and that is why they put pressure on the U.S. to attack Iran."

I asked Jamshid what the possible response could be, he said very calmly, "If our peaceful nuclear installations are attacked, no doubt we will take out that chocolate factory in Dimona, and not only that one, but all other shops which sell that kind of chocolate in Israel!" He was referring to Israeli nuclear sites, and then continued, "We will make a big mess in Israel and leave it to the Europeans and the Americans to clean this mess up. Both the U.S. and Israel know that, and for that matter, if they are serious about their intention, they have to bomb not only the nuclear research centers, but all the Shahab-3 silos and to be safe many other military sites as well- and that means an all out war. We are ready for that. That is a hard job for them since finding and destroying these sites quickly is very hard," and laughed.

I asked them how they saw the war scenario. Ali said, "The possible war would be outside of Iranian borders. We have many theaters of operations including Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and some Arab countries where U.S has troops there. We can increase the U.S. fatalities to a few dozen a day easily. In the case of Israel we are going to cause the immigration of 2-3 million European and Americans." When I asked for further explanation, he said, "Well if Iran is attacked we know who is responsible and that is when we decide that they should not live in our neighborhood." When I mentioned the Arrow anti-missiles Israelis have, he smiled. "Arrow anti-missiles are not accurate, and we know that for fact. They are working hard to improve it, but have not been successful so far. It is mainly a propaganda tool for the USraelis," stressing the last word with smile, before adding, "The Shahab-3 can easily take care of them. Their accuracy has been improved greatly. We have enough of them to spend more per target to increase the chance of hitting a target accurately, also do not forget we have satellite which looks at our target there and gives us real time information."

Javid, an Iran-Iraq war veteran calmly said, "There are many obstacles to the invasion of Iran. Iran is four times bigger than Iraq, so the number of soldiers has to be more accordingly. The U.S. does not have that many troops, even it were to bring in NATO and can double or triple the size of troops of what is has now in Iraq, there are still a lot of shortfalls. Iranian people have a very distinct culture and history which make them stand out as a solid nation. Two main elements which play important role in the defense of the country are nationalism and Shi'ism. These two are our real nuclear weapon. Both played an important role in the Iraq-Iran war. During the chaos of the revolution where there was no formal army to stand in front of hundreds of Iraqi tanks, ordinary people took up arms and stood in front of the Iraqis heavy army and stopped them for months. Young citizens took up grenades and threw themselves under the tanks and stopped Iraqi tanks. Saddam thought the war would take a few weeks, and although he was backed by Russia, Europe, U.S. and the Arab world, it took eight years and at the end he did not gain a meter of Iranian soil."

When I mentioned the superiority of U.S. military hardware, software, as well as their tactics he said, "Even if they could bring few thousand more soldiers and the best hardware they can not get to Tehran- conquering Iran is wishful thinking a corn-grower from Kansas might believe. First of all, in Iran people always fought against invaders and the army helped them. The U.S. can defeat the Iranian army, but not the Iranian people. There has never been any army in the world that could defeat a nation. Vietnam is the recent history lesson. On the basis of a military evaluation done by some western analysts and institutions, in any invasion of Iran 200,000 to 500,000 troops will be lost. Which country or countries are going to handle that amount of loss just for a problem which there is a diplomatic solution?" When I raised my eyebrow at his figures he got agitated and said, "Well, look, Saddam Hussein penetrated into Iran about 20-60 kilometers and lost about half a million men. Since the Americans have a better army and equipments, then they will have fewer casualties than Saddam. However, anybody who wants to get to Tehran which is a long way from the Iraqi border must pay more". Then he laughed and said, "Otherwise if they want to pay a friendly visit to us, then they are welcome!" He continued on, "Most Iranian cities are near a mountain or in a valley, and it is very easy for a few fighters to go to those mountains that overlook the cities and make hell for the invaders. That is why as a nation we had only two major defeats in the last 2,500 years: one by Greeks and one by Arab Moslem armies. Suppose that an imaginary army comes to Iran; to be successful that army has to get control of at least 10-12 major cities which have more than a million in population, since if any of these cities are ignored, then their mission is not accomplished and that city would quickly become the main point of resistance. Iraq had two cities and quickly was overcome by the invaders. Basra was mainly Shiite and Baghdad was partly Shiite and you know that the Shiite hate Saddam. The reason was that Saddam was a dictator, who did not have popular support, and many disliked him. Iraq had gone through two terrible wars and exhausted its resources physically and mentally. The government of Iran is not like Saddam's, it still has many supporters and even the opposition groups want to correct its shortcomings and not topple the regime. In case of such an invasion, it will inevitably back up the government. Iran came out of the war with Iraq quickly and now it produces his own armaments including airplanes, rockets, missiles, tanks, and heavy armor."