September 2002 Archives

A disgrace


Tom Paine over at Silent Running has really put the pedal to the metal on this one. I take some comfort in the fact that this kind of abyssmal behavoir by U.S. politicians can ignite such profoundly righteous indignation all the way on the other side of the globe. Bonior and McDermott's performance yesterday was a disgrace. Plain and simple. And Tom did some digging that puts it in perspective.

U.S. aid to Lebanon suspended?


According to the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon, it is.

U.S.-Lebanese relations have plunged to new lows with the reported suspension of financial aid to Beirut in retaliation for its defiance of Washington's policies toward Hizbullah and advice on issues related to South Lebanon. In a front-page article, As Safir [Lebanese Arab nationalist newspaper] reported that the State Department decided to suspend $35 million allotted to Lebanon for 2002 in a recent decision that remained unpublicized. Although the US fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2001, Lebanon still has not received any of its economic and educational allocation, endorsed by Congress. Congress last week suspended $3 million earmarked for Lebanon's accession to the World Trade Organization, citing dissatisfaction with Beirut's economic policies. Soon thereafter, the State Department decided to indefinitely suspend the entire package, As Safir said. It listed as the main reasons for the action as:

-- Beirut's failure to rein in Hizbullah
-- Refusal to deploy the regular army in the south following Israel's withdrawal
-- Lebanon's unilateral decision to tap the Wazzani River
-- Threats to prosecute exiled opposition leader, Gen. Michel Aoun, for meetings with congress behind the Syria Accountability Act.

While Washington has upheld Lebanon's right to exploit water running through its territories, it has been irked by Beirut's failure to notify in advance the United States, the United Nations and the Hasbani River's littoral states of its plans.

And on the same page (scroll down), there's more on the story that Meryl posted yesterday about the riots in Damascus. Government efforts to keep this quiet seem to be failing.

Poster boy


It's always a tragedy when a child is killed, no matter who pulled the trigger or pushed the detonator. But today we'll probably be hearing a whole lot about Mohammed Al-Dura, the 12-year-old palestinian boy who was killed in "crossfire" at the Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip two years ago today.

This report was issued last July. It's worth another look.

Muhammad Al-Dura, the poster child of the current Palestinian uprising, was not killed by IDF gunfire at Netzarim junction, according to an inquiry by the German ARD television network based on a study by Israeli physicist Nahum Shahaf. Shahaf analyzed all available unedited videotape from the area of the event, spoke with IDF soldiers and photographers who were present, and concluded: The Palestinians, in cooperation with foreign journalists and the UN, arranged a well-staged production.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson (LGF) linked to this adorable oil painting and poem about Mohommed Al-Dura over at the IAP (Islamic Association for Palestine) website. I don't know how long this will be their cover page but, as Charles points out, they're getting a lot of mileage out of this story, so it could be a while.

The inside front page of this site is informative as well. I especially like the photo of the man with a yarmulke teaching a young boy how to shoot a gun. There's an Israeli flag in the background. The caption reads:

An Israeli fanatic settler teaches his son how to use a semi-automatic weapon at a West Bank settlement. They are taught to hate and kill Palestinians from a very young age.
Talk about transference!

Tracking the Unicorn


The murder trial of Ira Einhorn is about to commence in Philadelphia. It's too bad they didn't manage to drag this slime-bucket back home a few years earlier, before I moved out here to the 'burbs, because I would have loved to have a chance to sit on that jury. What, you say? It doesn't sound like I possess the requisite lack of predisposition to qualify as a juror? Heh, heh, guess not. But I'm a good liar.

Actually, that's a lie. I'm a lousy liar. And I wouldn't bet on the chances that I could sit quietly in a room with that man for more than a few minutes without provoking an incident. He has a reputation, you see, for exuding smug. And one of my fondest dreams for quite some years now has been the chance to watch the smug wiped quite thoroughly and permanently off his diabolical little pixie face. I have every confidence that this trial will accomplish that.

No, I have no personal connection to this case. I didn't even live in Philadelphia when Holly Maddux was murdered and I don't know any of her family or friends. I did at one point have a passing acquaintance with one of his lawyers (to have known Ira is, apparently, to possess a bottomless reservoir of anecdotes, opinions and off-color jokes about him) and I've tried to follow this story more closely ever since it jumped back into the news five years ago. But although it saturates the news in these parts, this is a story that may not be universally front-page, so here’s some very basic background.

Einhorn was a countercult guru in Philadelphia in the 70s. He was reputed to be brilliant, irreverant, incredibly charismatic, irresistible to women, on the cutting edge of technological, philosophical, political, paranormal and psychedelic trends. And he was also, probably not coincidentally, on the paranoid side. Specifically, he was heavily into a CIA psychic mind-control conspiracy thing, and so when the police found the body of Holly Maddux mummified in a trunk in his closet, her skull fractured in several places, he claimed that he was the victim of a frame-up. A big government conspiracy frame-up. Never mind that the neighbors had been complaining about the stench coming from his apartment for weeks (which he apparently didn't notice), never mind that the victim was one of his many former lovers, never mind that she had been missing for 18 months and that all of her personal belongings were stuffed into the same closet (in which he claimed to be keeping important secret documents). He didn't do it. He was framed. And so it was that, on the eve of his trial, he proceeded to enhance the image of his innocence by skipping bail and fleeing to Europe. It would be 16 long years before he was finally tracked down, living the good life in Bordeaux, France, with his wife. But what followed is even more astounding.

My hate affair with the French began in 1997 when, to my utter amazement, Ira Einhorn walked out of a French jail, a free man after the morally superior French government refused to extradite him to the U.S. Why? Well, because after searching fruitlessly for him for 12 years, the Philadelphia District Attorney had, in 1993, decided to bring some closure to the Maddux family by trying him in absentia and (surprise!) he was found guilty. The French didn’t like that. The French don’t believe in trials in absentia. France couldn’t possibly turn a presumably innocent man over to a barbaric regime that would subject him to incarceration without a fair trial just because he voluntarily forfeited his right to one by going on the lam. And at the time, Pennsylvania law didn’t allow for him to get a new trial. So (wielding its proverbial “big stick”), our justice system decided to accommodate the French and, in very short order, the Pennsylvania legislature passed a law permitting Ira to receive a new trial with whatever evidence and testimony could still be dredged up 25 years after the murder. OK?

It didn’t end there, of course. He had to be re-arrested and then there were appeals and finally there was his dramatic "attempt" to slit his throat in front of reporters (what a mess), but now he’s here, getting ready for his finest moment, “The Ira Show” on Court TV. From what I can gather, his principal defense rests on the testimony of a few people who will say they saw the victim alive several months after the forensic experts have fixed the date of her murder. Should be interesting.

I’m not a big trial follower. I passed on OJ’s and I don’t even know if I get Court TV. The only thing I knew about my career ambitions when I started law school was that criminal law wasn’t one of them. And I should know better than to have made up my mind about a man’s guilt before he’s convicted. But here’s the thing. He was convicted. The fact that he wasn’t there doesn’t bother me a whole lot, because it was his choice. And then there’s the fact that he ran. This guy wasn’t exactly in a disadvantaged category vis a vis the justice system. He wasn’t poor and he wasn’t black and he wasn’t stupid. He had plenty of well paid legal talent at his disposal and they managed to get him bail, which was pretty amazing under the circumstances. I mean, it seems to me that a guy who claims he was framed in a huge international government conspiracy might be considered a bit of a flight risk. And finally, there’s that smug thing. I just have a real problem with people who play the system and love to flaunt the fact that they’re playing it, that everyone knows they’re playing it and that they know that everyone knows. Sounds like someone else we know.

Links to this story are almost superfluous. Plug “Ira Einhorn” into any search engine and you’ll come up with more hits than you need or want. Predictably, though, the Court TV website has lots of in-depth coverage of the history and the players. And you can always count on for some dirt. It also bears mentioning that there are a few celebrity footnotes to the story. The lawyer that won Einhorn his bail release was a fellow by the name of Arlen Spector. Today, that would be Senator Arlen Spector, of the U.S. Congress. And District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who decided to try Einhorn in absentia in 1993, who finally succeeded in extraditing him in 2001 and who will preside over the prosecution of his upcoming trial was the judge who in 1979 signed the warrant for the original search of his apartment. Finally, in the tradition of another popular Philadelphia criminal, it appears that Einhorn has the support of various rock stars, movie stars and the like. Or does he? So far, none of them seem to have started a website for him or anything.

“You found what you found,” said Ira to the policemen who discovered Holly's body in his closet. Shortly, I expect he’ll be mouthing off in similar fashion to a jury of his peers who will find him G-U-I-L-T-Y.

OK, so two full years of this crap...


...and counting.

What a difference a phrase makes


This past spring, the Independent Media News Agency (IMRA) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) conducted a poll of 501 Israelis (Jewish and Arab) with some interesting results. Three sets of responses highlight the enormous impact the wording of a poll question can have:

1. Do you support the proposal that Israel withdraw to the pre-Six Day War lines and agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state in return for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab states?

Total: For 46% Against 50% No reply 4%
Jews: For 40% Against 56% No reply 4%

2. Do you support the proposal that Israel withdraw to the pre-Six Day War lines - including from all of the Golan, Jordan Rift Valley, and the Old City of Jerusalem, and agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state in return for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab states?

Total: For 22% Against 73% No reply 5%
Jews: For 16% Against 80% No reply 4%

3. Do you support the proposal that Israel withdraw to the pre-Six Day War lines - including from all of the Golan, Jordan Rift Valley, and the Old City of Jerusalem and allow Palestinian refugees the right of return to Israel instead of receiving monetary compensation - in return for peace with the Palestinians and the Arab states?

Total: For 9% Against 87% No reply 4%
Jews: For 4% Against 93% No reply 3%

The first two questions are substantively identical. The added definitional statement is only a reminder that the areas named are unquestionably beyond the pre-Six Day War lines. But what a difference in the response!

The third question contains a new element not present in the first two questions – the “right of return.” But even this is less of a difference than might at first appear. The proposed “peace with the Palaestinians and the Arab states” does not, at least at the moment, appear attainable without such a “right of return.”

So given what amounts to the same question asked with increasing degrees of detail, the response among Israeli Jews rocketed from 56% against to 93% against. It’s a good thing to remember the next time you see a Zogby poll. It's a good thing to remember, period.

"Casualties of War"


This website is really quite instructive. The Jerusalem Post has put together an entire timeline of the attacks on Israelis in the course of the Al-Aqsa war (otherwise known as "Intifada II", using links to JPost articles from September, 2000 to today. The volume of the headlines for each month tells its own story, culminating in March, 2002, with 28 separate incidents.

As I was saying


When my computer decided to play dead yesterday, I was in the process of writing about rain, which had been falling in fair abundance for two days already. And I was in a mood to begin with because, as much as we need rain, desperately, and as much as I was truly happy for all of those thirsty little plants and reservoirs out there, I have a sort of allergic reaction to lack of sunshine. It gets me down. I believe it should only rain at night. I’ll live with it for as long as I have to because, as I said, we really need rain. But it was starting to get on my nerves. Today, on the other hand, was simply magnificent, with skies that were an amazing robin’s egg blue and little high white fluffy clouds.

The protagonist in this particular drama, of course, was Isadore, and I found this beautiful photo that I would have posted here if I had figured out yet how to do that (I had help last time). But take a look. Gorgeous, huh? Deadly, too.


| just crashed and ate my Shabbat post...not in a good mood and very late...catch y'all on the flip side...

Shabbat Shalom

Chag Sameach

Jihadi websites exposed as government plot


I just found this fascinating analysis via Amir Butler's blog. Wow!!

I and many other Muslims have long been suspicious of some of these pro-jihad websites that seem to bend over backwards to be "more radical than thou," like (now apparently down),, and These websites are characterized by their unusually open support for Usama Bin Ladin, their extremely snazzy, appealing graphics, and their technological sophistication. Visiting them, with their appeals that you "register" to participate in the site, leaves one with the vague feeling that one has stumbled upon an intelligence gathering operation. I first noticed this phenomenon a few years ago, when an extremely well-done website surfaced with all kinds of rousing jihad rhetoric and graphics and links, and a form urging people to "join the jihad!" and sign up with their names and contact info. That tactic is nothing new--Al Muhajiroun has been performing the same function in Britain for several years.
Yeah. They've got graphics. A dead give-away. And that "conference" they held on 9/11 at the Finsbury Park mosque in London was part of the sting. He forgot to mention ClearGuidance. An obvious CIA front. Shhhhh. He's got evidence and stuff.
It turns out that indeed US intelligence is apparently supporting at least some of these websites, many of which (like have turned up on PA-based ISP BurstNET. As one FBI agent says: "Often it is more beneficial for us to keep such sites up and running." Apparently the sites have been enjoying Omar Bakri Muhammad-like protection from the domestic intelligence services.
That's right. Our government is forcing ISPs to keep these terrorist sites running because they expect the terrorists will reveal their plans on one of them. That's 'cause we know terrorists are stupid and don't know that the FBI is "supporting" these websites, even though Ismail Royer is on to them. But later on, he sort of switches direction. Maybe the government isn't trying to catch terrorists. It's just trying to corrupt and entrap Muslim youth.
Instead of actually authoring the sites, the feds may just be trying to ensure their continuity while naive, impressionable Muslims continue to express and read the unpopular views of other Muslims--an act which, in the post-9/11 world, is potentially criminal. However, there's no getting around the fact that there is something very, very...odd about, for example. It looks like it was put together by several people with computer science and journalism degrees and an unlimited bank account.
Well, that clinches it. None of them terrorist fellas got computer science or journalism degrees, and they certainly don't got no unlimited bank account, neither. It's funny. I've been getting a lot of referrals lately from JihadUnspun. I guess I'm part of that sneaky government conspiracy. Oh,....sorry. Shhhhh.

Yassin to Arafat: "Die Honorably"


Courtesy of IMRA:

At a mass rally in Gaza, Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin called upon Arafat,
under siege in Ramallah, not to surrender or extradite the [terrorist] operatives under siege with him in order not to betray Palestinian

Sheik Yassin is quoted on the Hamas website as telling Arafat the following:

"You must stand tall and not surrender to this enemy who wants to put an end to the [Palestinian] struggle and the Intifada. Be strong; do not bow your head; die honorably; do not die defeated and humiliated. An end to the struggle will mean defeat for the Palestinian people. Therefore, one must always endeavor to continue the struggle until the enemy is defeated."

Why I spell it with a small "p"


It's customary in English to print the name of a recognized national, ethnic or religious group with an initial capital letter. That usage connotes a recognition that there is some bond of race, belief, origin or allegiance that ties those people together. In that spirit, we even apply it to street gangs, social lodges and political parties. Categories and sub-categories that are merely descriptive and collective, however, don't get the capital letter. E.g., criminals, fanatics, smokers, farmers, philanthropists, cave-dwellers.

To date, nothing has convinced me that the group of criminals, terrorists and thugs and their unqualified supporters who refer to themselves as "palestinians" have yet achieved a status warranting a capital letter. They've never had a unique language, religion or culture and they've never been a sovereign entity of any sort. Yes, they have chosen a piece of land that they claim is "theirs," but in the entire history of the human race it has never been controlled or ruled by them or by any group of people in any way associated with them, and its boundaries, such as they are, have been set entirely by the very Western imperialist nations that they so distain. Finally, they have collectively behaved in a consistently reprehensible manner inconsistent with a sincere desire to join the community of peoples and nations.

And then there's also this. They put a lot of stock in names and titles, and use their own convolutions and distortions of same to denigrate their chosen "enemies," and my people, the Jews, in particular, and our sovereign nation, Israel, in most particular. This, for example, is a choice snippet from an item at the "Palestine Media Center" yesterday:

"We and President Arafat reject all Israeli conditions," Palestinian chief negotiator Sa'eb Erekat told AFP after briefing the Palestinian leader about his earlier meeting with officers from the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) at Israel's Beit Eil illegal settlement and military base just outside the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
See, we can do this, too. So here's my version:
"We and President Arafat reject all Israeli conditions," so-called "palestinian" chief propagandist and veteran liar Sa'eb Erekat told AFP after briefing the so-called "palestinian" terrorist leader about his earlier meeting with officers from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) at Israel's Beit El community and military base just outside the terrorist stronghold of Ramallah in Judea.
Two can play.

Finally, well yes, you can infer any other connotations of that small "p" to which your mind may wander.

More shame at the U.N.


But what did we expect, huh? More moral equivalence? More blaming the victim? More pressure on Israel to put a halt to its minimalist self-defense efforts? That about sums it up. And, as predicted, the U.S. wimped.

Kielsky for Justice


Michael Kielsky of Uncommon Sense (and my blogfather) is running for public office. No, it's not one of these. This is for real. He's announced his candidacy for Justice of the Peace in West Mesa, Arizona.

As a result of several hard drive crashes, Michael's blog has been disabled for a while but his campaign is in full gear. Drop by his pretty darn cool new website and take a look around.

Here's wishing you much success in your new endeavor, Michael (and hoping that it won't overly inhibit your continued contributions to the blogosphere).

Child sacrifice


IMRA posts this excerpt from an Al Jazeera interview with a palestinian mother, explaining why she encouraged her son to become a suicide bomber.

We bring you a statement by Um Nadil, mother of Muhammad Farat, a Hamas operative who on 3 March 2002 managed to infiltrate the Israeli settlement of Atzmona and shoot to death five Israeli civilians in one of the community's educational institutions.

"Our children are even more precious than we are. We believe that they are the most precious thing. Apart from Allah - who is the most sublime thing in this world as well as in the afterlife what value do our lives have if we do not dedicate them to Allah? - my son is more precious to me than myself. I give him the best but I also I sacrifice him. A good deed is found in this
sacrifice. I served him [the good deed] and he [my son] is precious to me, yet [I sacrificed him] for the worthiest of causes, for the most sublime purpose. Our land is occupied, there are enemies, the Western world is behaving aggressively, and heresy is attempting to cruelly take control over the Islam and destroy it.

I gave him [my son] as a gift and we sacrificed him to Allah and to His religion [Islam] - in order to maintain His religion and to make sure that His slogan [the slogan of Islam] - "There is no God besides Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah" - will be spread all over Palestine and all over the world.

If we shall not fight the battle of the Jihad, heresy will rule the world with cruelty If I were to be stingy with my son [that is, were I not to
sacrifice him by sending him on a suicide mission] or in another case [if some other woman] were to be stingy with her son, then who would protect Islam? When I said goodbye to him [my son] I knew about the mission. I knew everything. Nothing was unclear or left unsaid. This is the truth about life and about death. Our purpose is not to live. Our purpose is to seek Allah - this is our highest and most definite purpose from the day we are born and till the day we leave this lifetime. I bid farewell to my son and he is precious to me I weep and cry over him day and night, though thank God I do not regret what I did, I am not desperate nor will I lose any hope I wanted my son to have a better life this is the truth of our belief, which is calling us to do so and to sacrifice for Allah. This is the way it is for our lives and our happiness in this world and in the next. I swear by the name of Allah that our lives would not be happy without the Jihad - the Jihad is our lives. If our lives were not based on the values of the Jihad, we would not be alive. We would be dead.

I talked my son into sacrificing himself for Allah, and he was more than willing to do so. All the children of Palestine, the Palestinian youths and the teenagers are crying, consumed with passion and eager for Jihad, for Allah and for suicide terror attacks. It is not, at it has been said, out of desperation of [this] life, but out of an expectation for a better one"

The original transcript of the mother's statement can be found on the Al Jazeera television station's website for 29 June 2002 [in Arabic].

The next time you hear accusations of "racism" when someone asserts that the Judeo-Christian God is not the same God as the God of Islam, remember that in our Book, the God of Abraham unambiguously and conclusively ruled out this very sort of "child" sacrifice a few thousand years ago (see Genesis 22).

Talk like an Egyptian


The anti-American rhetoric in the Egyptian press seems to be heating up since the anniversary of 9/11. So much so that the U.S. ambassador in Cairo recently felt the need to suggest it was getting out of hand. For expressing these sentiments, he was soundly trounced by, well, the Egyptian press.

If you look at some of the coverage in Egypt's Al-Ahram weekly, lately, the degree to which these folks are maintaining their grip on reality seems to become ever more tenuous. Here are just a few excerpts from this week's issue:

From The tragic unraveling by columnist Hassan Nafaa in the no longer merited now that Washington sees the world almost entirely through Israeli eyes.

...If the most extreme forms of Jewish and Christian-Zionist fundamentalism are embodied, respectively, in the governments led by Sharon and Bush (or, better, Vice President Cheney), Islamic fundamentalism is embodied in an individual or an organisation that is still very marginal in the Arab and Islamic world. The only state espoused such radical fundamentalism was the Taliban regime in Afghanistan which almost no one recognised.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the "most extreme form of Jewish fundmentalism." And while certainly not the "most extreme form of Christian-Zionist fundamentalism," this comes a hell of lot closer than Bush or Cheney. At any rate, methinks the Islamic fundamentalism of Iran or Saudi Arabia (for starters) could outmatch any and all of the above, hands down. This guy needs to get out more.

And from Outlining a future by Amr Elchoubaki

...It is important to distinguish between two major trends in the Islamist movement. The first is the jihadist trend, "defeated" in its image, locally, in the Arab world, and globally, as the result of events in Afghanistan. The second is the non-violent trend, destined to grow and develop, and embodied by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world, Hamas in Palestine, the Islamic government in Iran and the democratic Islamic movement in Turkey.
Wait. Hamas is the embodiment of non-violent Islamism? Now, why didn't someone tell me? This changes everything.
...That the US has worked to suppress forms of peaceful protest in many parts of the Arab and Islamic world has served to escalate the move towards violence.

...The same logic applies to the Palestinian cause. Here, too, the US has worked to close off all avenues for peaceful opposition to a racist occupation and to stifle the Palestinian and Arab peoples' hopes in this central struggle for liberation and national independence. Indeed, the US administration has branded this legitimate struggle as terrorist.

...All indications prior to 11 September pointed to the decline of the jihadist trend of political Islam.

Above all, Washington's tendency to ignore the principles of democracy, justice and human rights should not drive Arabs and Muslims -- the weaker party -- to discard these values as mere western imports. On the contrary it should compel us to adhere to them more tenaciously and to condemn the US whenever it betrays the values and ethics for which, ostensibly, it stands.

I know, I know, it's all our fault and we need to take a lesson in democracy, justice and human rights from the "weaker party," which has upheld those values so magnificently in its sundry bastions of power weakness across the globe. Whew. Someone's in drastic need of a reality check. Any volunteers?

Worm Klez.E immunity SPAM


These nasty little trojan horses have suddenly started popping up in my mailbox like crazy. And not at the address I use here, either. I confess I'm not too savy about the diversionary tactics used by these e-vandals, but I notice that the internet headers have them all showing as having originated from a friend's address in Israel. My guess is I got fished at some website or other. Checking dates......Hmmm. Maybe it was this one.

Wheels of Love


Ronnie Schreiber, of Vegetative State, has an opportunity to participate in a very special bike-a-thon. The ride is from Jerusalem to Eilat, and it's for the benefit of a unique Israeli hospital that specializes in the rehabilitation of children with physical disabilities. To learn more about Alyn Hospital and how you can help Ronnie make the trek, visit his other website.

Not funny


Dr. Aaron Lerner at IMRA, who's been my major source of news on the Middle East for several years now, pulled a sort of joke a little while ago. It wasn’t funny, and it wasn’t intended to be, but it gave me quite a jolt.

2:00 AM Monday - exhausted Palestinians in Arafat's HQ were stunned as elite Israeli forces pulled Yasser Arafat from his office after an operation that kept them sleepless for over 48 years. After a quick check by an Israeli medical officer , Arafat was flown to Eilat were he was loaded on his infamous weapons ship, the Karine A and sent sailing. The last building in the Ramallah compound was demolished after crates of documents and contraband were carted off by the IDF. A team of translators is working feverishly around the clock on this intelligence bonanza and the international press was presented with a stunning display in Jerusalem of illegal weapons and other equipment found in Arafat's offices. In response to Palestinian claims that the equipment had not in fact been discovered in Ramallah the IDF Spokespersons office released a film showing the capture of some of the more controversial equipment (highlights are available on the IDF website). Some local Palestinian officials declared that while they remain loyal to Arafat that they were first and foremost loyal to the Palestinian people and would work to serve their interests.

Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

Yeah, but I never got to that last line (or the rest of this somewhat satirical political commentary) until after I’d spent several minutes racing around trying to scare up some news about this "development" on any media source I could find. Shades of H.G. Wells, ya know Aaron? Gee whiz! It's after midnight here on the East Coast of the USA, and some of us are a little less than perspicacious at this time of night.

The point of the “joke,” however, was even less funny. The Bush administration has dragged out the old “unhelpful” reprimand again and tomorrow (actually, later today) the UN Security Council will meet to consider a palestinian-sponsored resolution calling for Israel to end its siege of Arafat’s compound. The U.S. doesn’t want to ruffle feathers in advance of the vote on its proposed Iraq resolution, and so may be forced to forego a veto.

So, asks IMRA, was there a plan? Why did the cabinet approve a plan that apparently lacks a final page? Good questions. Definitely not funny.

Electronic Intifada screams foul: You be the judge


(Clarification and Disclaimer: Due solely to my bass-ackwards summary of the sequence of events below, the impression apparently has been conveyed that Ha'aretz got this story from me. Not so. 'Twas quite the other way around. My abject apologies for the confusion. And now back to our irregularly scheduled blog...)

Several days ago, Moira Breen at Inappropriate Response posted this, linking to my post about a new twist to the "Jenin massacre" myth. This one was floated by the nice folks over at the "Electronic Intifada" (EI) website: the palestinians never claimed there was a massacre at Jenin. That was a story made up by the Israelis to make them look bad.

Knesset member Amnon Rubinstein broke this story in Ha'aretz, and it apparently got EI's kuffiyahs in a wad. So they posted a comment at Inappropriate Response (why not here, huh? oh, no comments, right) linking to this article, which Moira kindly forwarded to me. Fascinating. Now, why they want to bring attention to this pointless, disingenuous and totally unconvincing drivel is beyond me, but here's the central drift: Ha'aretz won't publish their equally pointless, disingenuous and unconvincing rebuttal to Rubinstein's story. Boo, hoo.

Below, you'll find: (1) the initial correspondence between EI and Ha'aretz and (2) direct and unedited copy from CNN's website in which Saeb Erekat, some time on or before April 12, 2002, refers not once or twice but several times to a "massacre" perpetrated at Jenin and other things that EI says he didn't really say. See what you think.

(1) The correspondence. You can find the full exchange between EI and the editor of Ha'aretz on EI's website. Here's the opening salvo:

September 12, 2002

To Ha'aretz:

Amnon Rubinstein completely distorts our August 24 letter in The Economist when he writes that we "claimed that no Palestinians had spread false rumors of a massacre in Jenin and that the "myth" of the Palestinians accusing the IDF of a massacre was part of an anti-Palestinian plot." ('The massacring of the truth,' September 11, 2002)

We hope that Ha'aretz, in the spirit of objectiveness for which it is known, will allow us to set the record straight in full.

As anyone who refers to our original letter will learn, our precise and specific statement is that contrary to the assertion in UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's report about Jenin, there is no public record of any Palestinian official accusing the Israeli army of killing 500 Palestinians in Jenin.

While this charge is widely attributed to the Palestinians, even in Annan's report, we have been wholly unable to locate any direct quote from any Palestinian official making it in any media. All of the claims are unattributed repetitions.

The confusion appears to have originated when Palestinian cabinet minister Saeb Erekat stated in a CNN Interview on April 10 that he was hearing unconfirmed reports that up to 500 people had been killed throughout the West Bank in Israel's "Operation Defensive Shield," not just in Jenin.

The following day, The Jerusalem Post reported "Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told CNN that Israel had "massacred" 500 people in the Jenin camp." ("Hundreds of gunmen surrender in Jenin," by Arieh O'Sullivan, April 11, 2002) In fact, looking at the CNN transcript from April 10, Erekat neither made this claim, nor used the word "massacre."

Erekat's fear that hundreds had died has been entirely vindicated even by the Secretary General's report, which put the final Palestinian death toll from Israel's reoccupation of the West Bank at 497.

We have never disputed that some Palestinians did use the term "massacre," as we acknowledged in our original article about this subject at our website at on August 1. (Please see

We did point out, however, that the first person to whom the word was publicly attributed is Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres. In an article in Ha'aretz on April 9 under the headline "Peres calls IDF operation in Jenin a 'massacre'," Peres is quoted saying "When the world sees the pictures of what we have done there, it will do us immense damage."

Our view is that the false debate over the use of the word "massacre" is simply a diversion from serious accusations of war crimes made by several international and Israeli human rights organizations.

Finally, we never referred to any "anti-Palestinian plot," and Mr. Rubinstein's other wild charges such as calling our work "hysterical anti-semitism" are simply a reflection of his own hysterical mindset. The best response is to invite your readers to visit our website and judge for themselves whether it is us or Mr. Rubinstein who is "massacring the truth."

Yours most sincerely,
Ali Abunimah, Amman
Nigel Parry, New York City
The Electronic Intifada

And here's David Landau's initial response:
13 September 2002

Dear Mr Abunimah,

I did receive your letter but I decided not to run it. Let me tell you my thinking.

You wrote in your letter to The Economist: "We have been unable to locate any direct quote from any Palestinian official..." and you then go on to parse Saeb Erekat's words to CNN and to assert that they were the source of the confusion. Professor Rubinstein, however, referred to stories IN HA'ARETZ at that time which cited Palestinians reporting and describing massacres. He was criticizing not to your parsing (and "vindication") of Erekat, but rather your inability to locate any other sources for the massacre canard.

David Landau
Editor, Ha'aretz English Edition

The rest of the exchange is enlightening, but too long to reprint here. It bears noting, though, that Mr. Abunimah subsequently makes the following claim:
Yet had The Economist printed our letter in full, there would obviously be no space at all for Mr. Rubinstein's distortion or at least unjustifiably wide interpretation.
You can find the original letter submitted to The Economist, juxtaposed with the published version, here. It's virtually identical to Abunimah's letter to Ha'aretz, and I can't see how either one of 'em in any way refutes Rubenstein's point.

(2) What they really said. I present for your consideration an excerpt from an article on CNN's website 4/12/02:

Palestinian sources told CNN it would be impossible for the Palestinians to discuss a cease-fire with Powell "when our people are being massacred."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said earlier this week that 500 Palestinians had been killed in Jenin and Nablus alone, but Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir dismissed Erakat's estimate as inflated. He said that between 100 and 150 Palestinians had been killed, and that 95 percent of them had been Palestinian gunmen.

Erakat said his estimate was based on reports from Palestinian officials in Jenin and from calls from a host of Palestinian families.

"A real massacre was committed in the Jenin refugee camp," Erakat said. "I appeal to the secretary of state to go there to see for himself so as to enable bereaved families to bury their children -- their daughters , sons, husbands and wives -- who were massacred."

In a statement, Brig. Gen. Eyal Shlein, the IDF commander at Jenin, said, "There was no massacre whatsoever. If we wanted to perform a massacre, we could have taken over the camp in one day. The IDF did not use artillery or aircraft."

Erakat told CNN more than 300 Palestinians were being buried in mass graves in Jenin refugee camps, from which journalists have been barred. He urged Powell to visit the camp "and discover the massacres."

To summarize. No palestinian official has ever claimed there was a massacre at Jenin and those who say that Saed Erekat did so on CNN on April 10th are lying. So while, yes, some palestinians, including Erekat, did a day or two later "use the term 'massacre,' " they were only quoting Shimon Peres, who said it first. As for the 500 civilians Erekat claimed (on April 12th) had been "killed in Jenin and Nablus alone," that was an "unconfirmed report" which was "entirely vindicated" by the U.N. Report, which I quote (Section III.E.37.(a) ): "[a] total of 497 Palestinians were killed in the course of the IDF reoccupation of Palestinian area A from 1 March to 7 May 2002 and in the immediate aftermath. That would be all of area A. And that would include, by the way, those killed in "work accidents" and in the process of shooting and bombing Israelis as well as those executed as collaborators.

Finally, much to Mr. Abunimah's chagrin, I'm sure, the myth is still going strong. And the verdict is ......

Respectfully submitted,

The P.A. Constitution


Murray Hill comments on this article in the Jerusalem Post. It's about the constitution that the palestinians are still in the process of hammering out with the able assistance of Dr. Ahmed Khaldi, a lawyer from Nablus. They want to get it just right, and they actually seem to be getting somewhere. As Murry points out, they were "recently forced" to amend the language so as to recognize that their state isn't going to cover all the territory from the river to the sea. (Progress, but I have a feeling they're not burning the previous draft just yet.)

But it was this quote that most attracted my attention:

The constitution guarantees the civil, political, social, cultural, and economic rights of all citizens living in the state, Khaldi said. According to Article 25, all Arabs living in Palestine before May 1948 are entitled to Palestinian citizenship.
I can't help but wonder what Jews and other non-Arabs who were living in "Palestine" before May 1948 are entitled to. Dhimmi status, perhaps?

Still catching up


I note with dismay what many of you have already discovered: the untimely demise of War Now, Bruce Hill's excellent blog from the land down under. But the torch has been picked by Bruce's brother, Murray, at his new blog, Silent Running. Check it out.

Another Jewish holiday?


Yep, it seems hard to believe there can be so many holidays bunched together. About this time, some of us start to suffer from a sort of holy day burn-out and just give up. But, fortunately, the really serious stuff is over now.

This evening is the start of the festival of Succot which, like a lot of Jewish holidays, has a combination of religious, historical and agricultural components. During this holiday we're supposed to eat and sleep in a temporary shelter (called a succah) in remembrance of the dwellings our ancestors used while they wandered in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. But it's also a harvest holiday during which we celebrate the abundance yielded by the land. A little something for everyone.

I've always found this holiday a bit confusing because, depending on how you look at it and where you look at it from, it lasts either seven, eight or nine days. So Succot itself lasts seven days, followed immediately by the separate but connected holy day of Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day Feast). The day after Shemini Atzeret is yet another holy day called Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah). In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated on the same day, so that the entire holiday period lasts eight days. Everywhere else, it lasts nine days. Is this fun, or what?

Anyway, Simchat Torah marks the end of this string of holidays, and there won't be any more for quite a while. So visit a succah, eat an apple, look at the stars and enjoy.

Shabbat Shalom.
Chag Sameach (Happy holiday).

More self-hate


Justin Weitz has fisked the cr@p out of a po-op-ed piece in the Boston Globe. I should have noticed this a few days ago, but I'm woefully behind in my reading.

The phony lull


There's an editorial in Ha'aretz today that begins by discussing the illusion of "calm" that's prevailed in Israel for the past six weeks.

For a month and a half, from August 5 until September 18, the horrible scenes of suicide bombings disappeared from the streets of Israel. Between the Meron junction bombing and the one that took place at Umm al-Fahm this week, the country was quiet. But it was only a partial quiet - during those weeks, seven Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed in the territories - and it was a phony quiet, because beneath the surface the terrorist organizations bubbled with planning for strikes at the Israeli home front.
(For a more pointed synopsis of the quieter but ongoing terrorist activities in Israel over the past few weeks, see Meryl Yourish's post here.)

Predictably, though, Ha'aretz's recommended course of action is to leave well enough alone.

Despite the dead and wounded yesterday on Tel Aviv's Allenby Street, in addition to the casualties from the day before, the government of Israel should not be drawn into taking exaggerated military steps. What should have been done and what should be done by the IDF and Shin Bet, is already being done. Two months ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adopted a proposal by the IDF Planning Directorate, which in essence said Israel should wait for local and regional positive developments, including the anticipated American action against Iraq and the decline of Yasser Arafat.

The Planning Directorate officers emphasized that the key to that proposal, which includes the political horizon proposed by President Bush on June 24, is a "tolerable" level of terror. No terror is tolerable to its victims, but in national terms, a steadily declining monthly average of attacks is an important consideration for establishing that horizon. Terror must not be allowed to drag Israel into an escalation it does not want. But the real key is in the creation of a new opportunity for political channels, without which the terror will not disappear.

Hope does spring eternal. And how far it leads us down this primrose path, it seems we have yet to discover. As the editors point out elsewhere in this piece, Israel has already stopped calling for the palestinians to honor most of their Oslo obligations, at least for the time being. When was the last time we heard anything about collecting illegal weapons, reducing the "police force" down to the agreed upon size or eliminating incitement to violence in the mosques and schools? And now Ha'aretz is actually defending the concept of a "tolerable level of terror?" Who said terrorism doesn't pay?

At any rate, it appears that the Israeli government may have its own ideas. Last night, Sharon called a meeting of his entire cabinet, not just the security cabinet as originally scheduled. Some commentators believe this may signal a fundamental policy change. And the cabinet has invoked national security secrecy as to the matters discussed at the meeting.

Nusseibeh's offices closed, again


Ha'aretz reports that the police have once again closed down Sari Nusseibeh's offices at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem. The offices were last closed in July, but were reopened after Nusseibeh signed a pledge that he wouldn't engage in PA activities on University property. (Such activities are arguably in violation of the Oslo accords.) Apparently, Public Security Minister Uzi Landau has evidence that Nusseibeh didn't keep his word.

There's always a lot of griping when Israel comes down on this guy. That's because he's been promoted as a "moderate voice" by the media. I've commented on this issue, at considerable length, before.

A diversion


I can't seem to find words to write about the new rash of suicide bombings. If you follow the pattern, Israel's relaxation of restrictions on the "West Bank" is just about always followed by a renewed wave of terror. But that doesn't stop the steady stream of calls to ease the closures for "humanitarian" reasons. I guess someone will have to explain to me the "humanitarian" aspect of facilitating this. And this. And this.

In the meantime, there's a certain wry humor (unintentional, I suspect) in this article from Tuesday's Jordan Times.

France condemns MPs on surprise Iraq visit

BRUSSELS (R) — French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Monday disowned a visit by three pro-government parliamentarians to Iraq, saying their freelance trip ran counter to Paris' policy at a sensitive time.

The visit comes amid increasing speculation that the United States is preparing a military strike to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, whom it accuses of developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in defiance of UN resolutions.

The deputies from President Jacques Chirac's centre-right Union for a Presidential Majority (UMP) Party, visited Iraq's former main nuclear power plant on Sunday. The Iraqi News Agency quoted their leader, Thierry Mariani, as saying they found no evidence that Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction.

Gee. What a "surprise." But just in case you might imagine (especially given the title of the article) that the visit actually caught Sadam in an exonerating moment of truth, there's something in the nature of a 2x4 toward the end.
Raffarin said he did not know who had financed the trip, which was made at Iraq's invitation.
Ha! Great punch line. Actually, there is one "surprise" in this article, though. The French government "disowned" this farce visit. (Well, Raffarin did, anyway, but he was joined by at least one prominent member of Chirac's party.) How about that?

Epitaph: Colorado College 9/11 Symposium


Daniel Pipes was invited at the eleventh hour to cover the exposed posteriors of the organizers of Colorado College's symposium last Wednesday. Here, from his newsletter, is his take on the keynote speech by Hanan Ashwari and his "rebuttal" appearance:

Ashrawi's basic point was that 9/11 could serve as an "historic opportunity" to solve the Palestinian problem. Come again, you might say? Well, her logic - as best I could tell in her hundred minutes of disorganized, patronizing, self-indulgent, banal, and overly-theoretical presentation - goes as follows:

Bin Laden and his ilk represent violence and fanaticism. The United States must learn from its tragedy to avoid this course. Instead, it should follow the dictates of the United Nations, including, of course, those many that apply to Israel. QED.

This, by the way, is the standard leftist agenda for a world order (which I plan to devote a column to shortly) as applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The audience divided, as best I could tell, about half-half, with some clapping madly and others sitting firmly on their hands. The only protests were the waving of small "I disagree" signs and the very occasional boo (usually, when Ashrawi made a gratuitous swipe at Israel). For some reason, the college president, Richard Celeste, tolerated the applause that interrupted Ashrawi's talk but remonstrated against the booing - though they were parallel responses. I am still puzzling over that one.

After Ashrawi finished, Celeste announced the other events of the multi-day symposium and, in an almost slurred way, also announced my talk, to follow Ashrawi's. (He thus kept his part of the bargain, but just barely; my talk was an official college function but not part of the symposium.)

Those who fought for my giving a response to Ashrawi did a magnificent job, mobilizing and pressuring the college to include an alternative point of view; but they made a tactical mistake in placing me in a venue separate from Ashrawi's. I spoke in front of a large tent on the lawn just by the auditorium where Ashrawi had been. I had about half her audience and half her media coverage. Fortunately, though warm, there was no rain and the event went off quite well.

I had the privilege of being introduced by Ken Salazar, the attorney general of Colorado, a graduate of Colorado College, and a member of its board of trustees. I did three things in a few minutes (many fewer minutes than one hundred): review the Ashrawi controversy, rebut her talk (pointing out her biases, conceptual errors, factual mistakes, etc.), then outline "what she should have said" - namely my own views on the topic of the symposium. (A succinct version of these can be found at "Aim the War on Terror at Militant Islam," Los Angeles Times, 6 January 2002.)

I congratulated my enthusiastic crowd on their energy and resolve concerning Ashrawi at Colorado College, but I also emphasized that protesting her a single time would not amount to much. Systematic and organized efforts must be made to delegitimize voices such as hers, those that are on the enemy's side in our current war. They have a perfect right to speak but they should not be awarded prestigious and highly-paid fora in which to promote those views.

I wasn't one of those advocating for an "alternative view." I thought, and continue to think, that Ashwari's presence at this symposium was a perverse insult to the victims of 9/11 and to the American people as a whole. And I offered my opinion as such to the organizers of the symposium. "Balance" wasn't the issue here, and in the end, I think they knew it. That's why the lame invitation to Pipes at the last minute.

But somehow, this manipulative little distraction seems to have worked. The press pretty much left them alone, no harm no foul, and everyone's moved on. That's just the way it is.

For the sin


The fast of Yom Kippur is over and with freshly-scrubbed souls we venture out into the New Year. At least that's the way we're supposed to feel. Often, it doesn't last very long.

One of the central prayers of the Yom Kippur liturgy is the long list of possible sins against God for which we ask forgiveness, commonly known as the "al chet" (for the sin). The prayer is an old and venerable one. But in the spirit of similar abuses of the traditional liturgy by the likes of Tikkun, a group that calls itself "Rabbis for Human Rights" has come up with an astonishing degradation of the "al chet" (more like a sick parody). And they apparently had the chutzpah to distribute it to rabbis across this country and in Israel for use in their services yesterday.

Here are a few choice excerpts (the words in brackets are RHR's "contributions").

For the sin which we have sinned against You by hardening our hearts [to the grinding poverty and despair of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs]...

And for the sin which we have sinned against You knowingly or unknowingly [allowing the Israeli government to continue expropriating land, demolish homes, build roads, uproot trees and deny water in our name, even while publicly speaking words of peace]....

For the sin which we have sinned against You by desecrating Your Name [by abusing others and calling it Your Will....

And for the sin which we have sinned against You by narrow mindedness [feeling only our own pain, closing our minds to the agony of bereaved Arab mothers and fathers.

And so my freshly-scrubbed soul is feeling somewhat soiled already. So how about this one (not on RHR's list):
For the sin which we have sinned against You by hating ourselves so deeply and thoroughly that we are no longer capable of distinguishing right from wrong, good from evil, deliberate mass murder from regrettable but unintentional collateral casualties, aggression from self-defense or tolerance from capitulation....

Forgive us, pardon us and grant us atonement.

G'mar cHatimah Tovah (May you be sealed for a good year)


On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on the fast day of Yom Kippur it is sealed.

Imshin points to an article in the Jerusalem Post that explains how the entire State of Israel comes to a stop on Yom Kippur. It's kind of hard to imagine unless you've seen it for yourself. No radio, no television, no cars on the roads, no stores or restaurants open. Even traffic lights are turned off. The article also mentions a special new prayer for the Israeli victims of terror that's to be recited during the yizkor (memorial) service tomorrow. Unfortunately, I can't find the text anywhere, though I've been searching for quite a while now. You'd think it would at least be posted on the website of the Israel Emergency Solidarity Fund, which is supposedly responsible for publishing it. (What is posted there, among other things, are photos of most of the terror victims and, in some cases, their funerals.) Anyway, I believe I heard this prayer at Rosh Hashanah and it was very moving.

Imshin also mentions that, in the Jewish calendar, tomorrow is of course the 29th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Looking ahead to next year, I noticed that Yom Kippur will fall on October 6th, so the 30th anniversary will be the same in both calendars, though it won't fall on a Saturday, as it did then. That happened to be the year that I was studying in Jerusalem, and I was spending the holiday with relatives of one of my classmates in a very ultra-Orthodox community in which the road is barricaded on Shabbat and holy days. While many ultra-Orthodox Israelis elect to take advantage of an exemption from military service, there are also many who don't. One of the most poignant scenes I've ever witnessed was the groups of men running from the synagogue that day, removing their prayer shawls, trading them for uniforms and jumping into the army jeeps as the holiday barricades were pushed aside to let them through. A scene I hope will never need to be repeated.

In the book of life, blessing and peace and prosperity, may we all be remembered, inscribed and finally sealed for a good life and for peace.

A banner week at Al-Ahram


Egypt's government mouthpiece weekly, Al-Ahram, is on a roll. Here are some items from the new edition.

9/11 Poll: An admittedly non-scientific "straw poll" conducted by the paper this week of 150 Egyptians found the following:

-- 52% thought those killed at the WTC "deserved it," although 35% also said they had "sympathy for the victims.
-- 39% believe that Israeli intelligence was responsible for the attack. 19% believe it was "Al-Qa'eda or other Islamic militants."
-- 68% believe that America's so called war on terror is "a means of asserting the US's global dominance," while 15% find it to be "a justified response to the attacks."
-- As for the ultimate consequences of that war, 93% think it will result in "a descent into chaos and increasing violence," and 48% think it will result in "the end of democracy and human rights."
Then there's this on U.S. "aggression" in the Middle East:
The Middle East is the region most severely effected by the fallout from 11 September. No sooner had Washington fingered Al-Qa'eda and its Arab members as responsible for the attacks than it plotted its warpath accordingly. Of course, Israel helped mark it out, as it deftly turned 11 September towards its own ends. Playing on the anti-terrorist alarm, it ensured that Washington branded the Palestinian resistance as terrorist, secured Washington's support for its massive offensive to reoccupy PA territory and succeeded in driving a deeper wedge between Washington and the Arabs.

That the Arabs unanimously denounced the attacks against the US and condemned terrorism and the targeting of innocent civilians made no difference. Nor did appeals to the US to work within the UN framework, to wait until definitive proof of the identity of the perpetrators of the attacks became available and to convene an international conference to reach a universally acceptable definition of terrorism. On the contrary, such attempts to urge Washington to a more level-headed response and to avoid a repetition of a military operation without UN Security Council approval only provoked its ire.

Yes, and they caught those Arabs unanimously denouncing the attacks on the U.S. on film, so we can't argue that point. (Sigh.) Why can't Washington be more level-headed, anyway, damn it?

Finally, there's this on the McKinney and Hilliard races.

In the two United States Congressional primary campaigns that were decided by Middle East politics, the defeat of Representatives Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney was clearly a setback for Arab and Muslim Americans. But in the long run, the loser may turn out to be no one but the Democratic Party which chose to distance itself from both McKinney and Hilliard. ......

The defeat of two black members by non- black forces in black majority districts may convince angry African Americans to simply stay home on election day. In a close election a weak black turn-out could mean a Republican victory.

But above all else, the reluctance of the Democratic Party to support its two incumbents, its decision not to speak out when the Arab and Muslim American "minority" was roundly discredited in absolute terms, and even its deafening silence on Iraq is all based in a strategy aimed at not losing any votes in November. But for the Democratic Party to win the next election by compromising its values means that, for us, as well as for many Americans -- it may not matter much which party will win in November.

Would anyone reading this article have a clue that either of winning candidates were also black? Hint: it's not mentioned in the parts I didn't quote.

A recollection


When I was studying in the Overseas Program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Mt. Scopus campus was still in the early stages of construction. Reading Judy Lash Balint's article about the rally for the Temple Mount yesterday, I was reminded that the area overlooking the Old City was at that time little more than a pile of dirt, rocks and weeds. But I used to like to wander over there every Friday evening to watch and listen to Shabbat descend on Jerusalem.

Back then, the city was full of big old buses that grumbled and rumbled and coughed their way through town. The end of the university line was behind me, just over the hill from the overlook point, and as the sun was getting ready to set over Jordan, the last bus of the day would come wheezing up the steep road, grind to a stop, chug once or twice and then fall silent. As would similar buses all over town.

As the sounds of busy everyday life fell away below me, I would imagine that I felt a cloak of peace settling over the world. Jerusalem would literally glow golden, then fade to pink and finally to purple shadows everywhere, while lights would start to sparkle, laughter would waft up from somewhere impossibly far away, and it would be time to find my way back to the dorm before it got too dark to see.

The scene isn't quite as dramatic from my mother's mirpesset (balcony) in Katamon, and the buses are much quieter these days, but the experiece of Shabbat arriving in Jerusalem is still very special, something I very much look forward to when I visit and something I carry with me always.

Shabbat Shalom.

Rocky Mountain News drops the ball big time


The coverage by the Rocky Mountain News of Hanan Ashrawi's controvestial appearance at yesterday's 9-11 symposium at Colorado College is disappointing, to say the least. RMN actively participated in a nationwide campaign of outrage directed at the invitation of this Arafat stooge as keynote speaker for an event commemorating the atrocities her former boss celebrated. Today, RMN saves its criticism for those who showed up to protest while having nothing but praise for the "moderate" Ms. Ashrawi.

Headline: "Ashrawi: I just ask you to listen"

Sub-headline: Former Arafat aide says, 'I do not believe that God takes sides'

Excerpts: COLORADO SPRINGS - Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi on Thursday drew cheers and jeers as she told protesters they were being hoodwinked by those who seek to pervert peace in the Middle East.

"Don't you find that demeaning?" she asked the handful of sign-waving protesters who were given seats inside the packed Armstrong Hall on the campus of Colorado College.

* * *

A crowd of several hundred others, including Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and Denver City Councilwoman Joyce Foster, protested Ashrawi's appearance.

Salazar said Ashrawi's appearance at the symposium was inappropriate, given the Sept. 11 anniversary timing.

Rabbi Bruce Dollin, president of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council of Denver, was more direct as he protested outside.

"If it were not for Ashrawi and her terrorist boss, the Palestinians would now be citizens of a newly formed Palestinian state," he said.

Ashrawi urged those attending to think for themselves and to defend the free exchange of ideas.

* * *

Afterward, students who heard Ashrawi's remarks and the protests and counterprotests outside Armstrong Hall were irate that protesters appeared to be grinding their political axes at their campus event.

"She's all about having freedom of speech and not being intimidated," said Ryan Segal, 19, a student from Salt Lake City. "I ran into a lot of people today who came here with closed minds. There are people that are here to just totally push their own ideas."

Other students said they didn't know enough about the Middle East conflicts to take sides. But they didn't like the protest signs they saw, and they didn't like the name-calling they heard.

"I was just dumbfounded when one of the protesters said it's typical of colleges to bring in a speaker that would promote terrorism," said Candy Rodriguez, 19, of Houston.

"He's turning her entire presentation into something negative," said Brian Edstrom, 21, from Wisconsin, as he listened to counterspeaker Daniel Pipes, author of several books on militant Islam. Pipes was recounting for protesters who had not heard Ashrawi's address what she said. "It's not very professional," Edstrom said. "He's twisting her words."

A companion piece entitled "Palestinian's appearance brings out demonstrators" expresses similar sentiments. But this quote from one of the students stood out:
"Suicide bombing is an act of desperation. We're not giving them any other options," said Ryan Segal, a sophomore from Salt Lake City. "Yes, they've caused us damage and harm, but if you don't have any family left and you don't have any place to live, you don't know what to do except strike back at the people who put you there."
Right. They don't have any family left and they don't have any place to live. That's why we see their parents and brothers and sisters celebrating and handing out candy after their "martyrdom operations." That's why we see their mothers posing with them for photos as they leave to blow innocent people into itty bitty pieces. That's why we get treated to interviews with proud moms and photos of the homes from which these murderers set out to do their evil deeds. Because they have no family and no home. Once upon a time you needed to have at least 2 functioning brain cells to get into college. I guess that's no longer an acceptable entrance requirement.

Shame on Colorado College, and shame on the Rocky Mountain News.

Classic taqija*


You know how we keep hearing that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism? That Zionists are racists but that Jews are okay as long as they don't have the affrontery to advocate their right to live in peace under their own sovereignty in their ancestral homeland?

Well, there's a website wholly dedicated to this absurd proposition: There, you can learn that the Holocaust really did happen, and how it was exploited by the Zionists for their own evil ends. You can learn to master the subtle art of distinguishing between Zionism and Judaism and you can learn how "Muslims criticize Zionism, but defend the right of Jews to live in peace and security." As long as it's under someone else's dominion, of course. Finally, you can learn how Zionists "misinterpreted the Torah."

And, for an encore, you can visit the sister site, where you can learn that "Islam is not the source of terrorism, but its solution" (this is not a joke).

The face of moderate Islam. Please spare us. At least the krazy kidz over at ClearGuidance are being honest.

*For one perspective on taqija, go here.

Who cares?


Judy Lash Balint attended a rally last week to protest the on-going ban on access by non-Muslims to Judaism's holiest place. In this article for Israel Insider, she shares some of her impressions.

Who cares about Har Habayit?

Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem - It's been almost three years since the last demonstration on behalf of Jewish rights to Har Habayit (The Temple Mount). In December 1999 some 5,000 people came to a well-organized protest against Moslem destruction of the holy site. Truckloads of fragments from the First and Second Temple were then being unceremoniously dumped in the Kidron Valley as Arab construction of a mosque in the Solomon's Stables area at the southeast corner of the mount proceeded sans archaeological oversight or Israeli supervision.

Last week, a much smaller band of 1,000 souls congregated at the same spot on Mt. Scopus, overlooking the Temple Mount, to call on Prime Minister Sharon to order the holy site reopened to all non-Muslims. Under the banner "A Return to the Mount: A Return to the Heart," the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza marked two years according to the Jewish calendar since Arik Sharon's visit to the site.

On my way to the rally on the hilltop just below Hebrew University, I realize that it's the first time I've been on the campus since the terror bomb attack there just over one month ago. Looking up toward the faculty club I notice workers setting up a white huppah (wedding canopy) on the balcony - overlooking the very place every Jewish bridegroom commemorates as he breaks the glass to remember the destruction of the Temple.

* * *

I pass through Meah Shearim on my way home. It's 10 p.m. and the streets are packed with ultra-Orthodox Jews scurrying about to complete pre-Rosh Hashanah preparations. The presence of a few thousand of them at the rally for their most revered holy place would have been appreciated. But since the event was planned by the YESHA Council, there was no chance that would happen. With all the demonstrating that goes on in the Haredi world against various kinds of immodesty, it's disconcerting to see the seeming lack of interest in bringing their numbers out to cry out against Arab desecration of Har Habayit.

I'm not a fan of the Temple Mount Faithful. I have no desire to see a Third Temple built, not only because the very attempt would result in unimaginable carnage but also because I believe that Judaism has evolved in a different direction over the past 2,000 years. But to me the true test of the intentions of the Muslims of the Middle East is their ability to respect the value of our holy sites. Until they're ready to permit, no, welcome, the peaceful prayers of Jews on the Temple Mount alongside their peaceful prayers at the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, we can't take seriously any expressions of willingness on their part to co-exist with us. And until they're ready to respect and preserve the archeological evidence of our connection to that place, their custodianship of it should be revoked.

More massacre


Yesterday's Ha'aretz had an op-ed piece by Knesset member (Meretz party) Amnon Rubinstein entitled "The Massacring of the Truth." It's getting to be an old tune already, I know, but this story has a new twist. Ready? The palestinians never claimed there was a massacre at Jenin. That was a story made up by the Israelis to make them look bad. OK?

Rubinstein mentions a letter that was printed in The Economist last month (the original letter is here, but a paid subscription is required. I found a copy of it on this blog). The letter is from Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry of the Electronic Intifada (a 501(c)(3) charity, folks, check it out):

Jenin's massacre myth

SIR – You say that “Palestinians accused Israel of massacring up to 500 civilians” in Jenin (“Naught for your comfort”, August 10th). While this charge is widely attributed to Palestinians—even in Kofi Annan's UN report—we have been wholly unable to locate any direct quote from any Palestinian official making it in any media. The confusion appears to have originated when a Palestinian cabinet minister, Saeb Erekat, told CNN on April 10th of unconfirmed reports that up to 500 people had been killed throughout the West Bank in Israel's “Operation Defensive Shield”.

The next day, the Jerusalem Post wrote “Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told CNN that Israel had massacred 500 people in the Jenin camp.” In fact, looking at the CNN transcript from April 10th, Mr Erekat neither made this claim, nor used the word “massacre”. As a publication that sets a higher standard, we urge you to set the record straight, lest one more myth take root among the countless others that fuel the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

So, as Rubinstein points out, since no one any longer believes a massacre actually took place at Jenin, the new spin is that the Israelis invented the story to make the palestinians out as liars. Imagine that!

Fortunately, it doesn't look like this one has legs. Maybe this was a trial balloon that fizzled? I haven't seen or heard mention of it anywhere else.

Oh, my!


A belated welcome to those all of you visiting via yesterday's Insta-link (gotta check that meter more often). Thanks, Glenn!! Hey, y'all come back now, hear?

Civilian casualties


In light of the moral indignation expressed by various factions over the inadvertent killing of civilians by the Israel Defense Forces in the process of ridding the world of the disease formerly known as Salah Shehade, I note the following excerpt from a fatwah by Sheikh al-Allaamah, ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Jibreen on "aiding the Talibaan."


They say that: "among the victims were some, innocent and sinless"

Response to this is from several points of view:

1. Sa'ab bin Jathamah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported from that the Prophet was asked about the people in the homes of Mushrikun (Polytheist) when they are attacked at night and their women and children are affected, he said: "they are part of them".

So, this Hadith shows that women, children and all those the killing of whom is forbidden, when they are separate, it is permissible to kill them when they are mixed up with the fighters and it is not possible to separate. This is because they had asked the Prophet about the case which is "attacking at night", in which case it is not possible to differentiate, and he permitted them because "things may be allowed when they occur along the way but be forbidden when separate".

2. Also, Muslim commanders have always used Catapult when fighting the Kuffar (a kind of weapon that was used in the past when trying to break into an enemy camp which is fully fortressed - it destroys whatever it meets by its weight, i.e. something like a catapult - translator), and it is obvious that a Catapult when applied in a war does not differentiate between a fighter and others, hence it may afflict some those so-called 'innocent souls', but that not withstanding this is an established practice among Muslims in their wars.

Ibn Qudamah may Allah have mercy on him, said: "And it is permissible to use Catapult because the Prophet may the Salaat and Salaam be with him used Catapult on the people of Ta'if; and Amr bin al-As did the same to the people of Alexandria (Al-Mughniy, vol. 10, p503).

And Ibn al-Qasim said "it is permissible to use Catapult against Kuffar even if children, women and old men and monks are killed inadvertently, because 'Nikayah' (doing what will weaken the enemy) is allowed according to the consensus of Ulama. Ibn Rushd said: "'Nikayah' is permissible according to Ijama' and on any type of polytheists" (Al-Hashiyah ala' Ar-Raudh, vol. 4, p 271)

Well, how 'bout that! Oh, but it's only permissible if you're a Muslim killing mushrikin (polytheists). Sorry. Doesn't apply to Jews executing Muslim terrorists. Silly me.

By the way, some have interpreted this fatwah as a justification for the terrorist attacks of last 9/11. Only God knows....



I thought the anniversary of 9/11 would put me back into the place I was a year ago. Mentally, emotionally. It didn't do that. Not even close. Here's how I know. A more or less objective measure.

A clear memory from that day. Going to sleep, exhausted, bleary-eyed, drained, praying (and I don't pray this way) that when I woke up, it would be Tuesday morning again. The sky would be clear, the stories on the news would be of fires and traffic jams and everything would be normal. I woke up before the alarm on September 12, and just lay there, waiting. And when the radio came on, it was Wednesday. And nothing was normal. And I started to cry. Again. It was like that every day, for weeks. And then, finally, I got used to it. I still am. I can't imagine this world any more without 9/11 in its past.

So I'm not back there. And I never will be again.



I've spent the last several hours intermittently watching television (a numbing experience, for the most part) and reading memorials and remembrances on various weblogs and other websites. There are so many beautiful tributes out there and touching personal accounts, and today the web is a much warmer place to be than sitting in front of the TV.

I got an email this morning asking me where the rage was. And why the announcers were all talking as if the events of 9/11 "happened" sort of by accident or natural catastrophe.

This is a "solemn" occasion so people can remember our "loss." "There were people working in the Pentagon, people like you and me, and ....." (get this) "all of a sudden an airplane flew in and smashed them...." Isn't it amazing what airplanes can do, all on their own??? They're all talking about the "enormity" of this event. What event?? Where's the rage here?? Is there an enemy? Where? Who? Why are we needing to play the wimp role here? Only because of oil? Or something else?
N.Z. Bear summed up similar sentiments thusly:
As you watch today's ceremonies, ask yourself: if you did not know the truth, could the speech you are watching; the ceremony you are witnessing, be equally appropriate if those two towers had collapsed in an earthquake?

If the answer is "yes", then my fears have been borne out.

Perhaps I will be proven wrong, but the track record up until this point is not good. We seem to be embracing the role of victim; not just commemorating it, but celebrating it. We are in danger of remembering what occurred a year ago today as a tragedy that just "happened".

But what is being overwhelmed in the cult of victimhood is that forty men and women refused to accept their role as passive victims. They saw the face of the enemy; they learned the evil it had done already and the work it still had left to be done on that day.

At 9:45 this morning, I had a response:
I think that the posture they're taking today is right. There are a lot of people grieving and this is the first yahrtzeit [anniversary of a loved one's death] for them. A day to be quiet and thoughtful and gather strength. Tomorrow, though, is a different story. An entirely different story. Or maybe even later today. I'd like to see a transition, sometime after all the names are read and the flowers placed, while our attention is still focused. Probably won't happen, so I'll get mad then. Right now, for these few hours, I'm just sad.
My patience with the fuzzy news ran out earlier than I expected.

So I've decided to post something a little different here. I'm taking a look at the references to the terrorist attack on our country that aren't so sympathic. I'm taking a look, to the extent possible in English, at what our enemies (and some of our so-called "friends") are saying today. As a reminder. It wasn't an earthquake or a hurricane or a jet flying by itself. It was a very large group of people who did this thing. And we still have a very large job to do in response.

Palestinian Media Watch has collected a few of today's cartoons from the PA official daily paper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. This bulletin isn't up on their site yet, so I'll describe them.

A fearful Uncle Sam running away in terror, being chased by the date "September 11";

Two towers, forming the number "11" stand on a pile of dead bodies. On the wall behind them is written "September." One tower is an arrow pointing up and bears the text: "American Hegemony." The other tower is an arrow pointing down and bears the text: "Rights of Nations."

Al-Muhajiroun, the organization sponsoring the conference today at at Finsbury Mosque in London felt the need to issue an "official media response" denying that they're celebrating.
Following intense media interest in the Islamic Conference due to be held this Wednesday the 11th of September 2002 at Finsbury Park Mosque, the organisers, Al-Muhajiroun, would like to make it clear that:

1. The participants, which include leaders from the Muslim community (but no one from Hizb ut-Tahrir) will not be celebrating the events of the 11th of September, but rather will be analysing and highlighting the lessons which can be derived from the incident and what has subsequently followed regarding the nature of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims around the world and the new format of the relationship between countries in the international arena.

2. The event will discuss the positive outcomes from the 11th September not least of which is the clear crystallisation of the two camps of Islam and Kufr (non-Islam), of believers and hypocrites and of those who follow the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and his companions (the salafis) and those deviant from this path....

Well, that's something, right? The Arab News has a number of interesting headlines today.
Arab News 9/11 Special - "No to terrorism"
(By Khaled Al-Maeena, Editor in Chief) The evil acts which produced those horrifying images are also now a part of history. Those acts must not be forgotten. They must be seen as a tragic signal to a world forced into confronting what it had previously managed to avoid. The signal tells us several things; the first is that the world, like it or not, must unite against terrorism. With one voice, the world must say “No to terrorism” and it must do what is necessary to guarantee there is no repetition of those hideous images.
That's good.
Kingdom denies role in 9/11
(By a staff writer) JEDDAH/WASHINGTON, 11 September — Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, said yesterday that the Kingdom accepts no responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. The blame must be borne by individuals and not the state for the "dramatic day" when thousands of "innocents were killed", he said.

"If some Saudi nationals abandoned the teachings of Islam and their nationalism then they must bear the blame and not" the country, Prince Sultan said on the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks.

Not so good. All in all, though, the Arab News is making nice today. They have this banner at the top of the website
Today, the world is one. Our heartfelt prayers are with the families of those who died on Sept. 11, and the loved ones of terror victims all over the world.- Arab News Staff.
Like I said, ...nice. Personally, I think they know we're watching. Here's one from ArabicNews.Com
74 percent of Kuwaitis view Bin Laden as a Hero
(Kuwait, Politics, 9/11/2002) An opinion poll held by the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam and its results issued on Tuesday said that 74.34% of residents in Kuwait consider Osama Bin Laden as a "hero."

The opinion poll which was held by the newspaper in coordination with the "Kuwait's Mobile Phone company" on the occasion of the first anniversary of September 11 attacks, asked the Kuwaitis and other residents in the country to answer through sending short messages via the mobile on whether they view Bin Laden as a "hero" or a " criminal" or they are not they are not "interested " about him. This was after these questions were issued last week in the paper.

The Jordan Times (opinion):
Amazingly, these root issues are largely ignored in the public discourse in both American and Arab-Asian societies, in favour of easy, simplistic ideas. Consequently, today planes are diverted around New York City, and we sit on our porch in Amman and look up at the sky with some concern, wondering whether American, Iraqi or Israeli bombs will fall on our dinner. I pray for the souls of those who died last Sept. 11. I also hope that better quality political leadership in the US and the Arab-Asian world might soon come to grips with political and military terror and its causes, rather than repeatedly commemorate its grievous personal and political damage.
Taliban News:
In light of the anniversary of the attacks against the heads of kufr (disbelief), and the official start of the war against Islam, we present these words of Shaykh 'Abdullah Azzam. Words which deserve to be written in gold, words which were spoken decades ago, but its reality stares every single muslim in the face...

"They want a religion that is flexible, in agreement with the whims of the Americans. They want a people who are open to all the American whims, and the whims of the Shayateen of man and Jinn. They want 'moderate' people. Those, who do not differ with the West in any opinion. And they lower their heads, to every order that comes to them. It is only fear that Islaam returns again, and now the plot has become large, and the entire world has gathered [against us]."

Reuters has this from Baghdad:
Iraq Pours Scorn on U.S. a Year After 9/11 Attacks
(by Hassan Hafidh) BAGHDAD, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq poured scorn on the United States on Sept. 11, saying it was using last year's attacks -- hailed as the "punishment of God" by one Baghdad magazine -- as a pretext to try to crush its old foe in the Middle East.

The government newspaper al-Jumhouriya said President Bush's "arrogant and imperialist" administration wanted to rule the world by force.

"A year after the September 11 events, the American administration has failed to review its policy of aggression and blackmail," it said in a front-page editorial.

Oh. But Tariq Aziz also sent a letter of condolence today -- to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark (rolling eyes back into head).

Yemen Times (opinion):

A year after September 11: Has the USA learnt a lesson?
...Has the USA changed since the attacks last year? Unfortunately not! Today, the USA administration seems to be insistent and determined to cause and afflict more pain to the Iraqi people and to Arabs all over the world. Why isn't the US studying the reasons for hatred by most of the world? A look at the angry and frustrated faces of those who attended the last Earth Summit in Johannesburg have clearly signaled that opposition to the USA is increasing despite the September 11 attacks. Some people have now started thinking that what has happened to the USA is only a result of its own actions.

A year after the event Americans are trying to find the answer to the same question "Why do they hate us?" And until they find the true answer to this question, their lesson will still be considered unlearnt.

Indeed? Well, I've had enough of this. You can click on just about any one of the links to the right and find some original and inspiring words to mark the day. And they'll take you to many more. That's where I'm headed. I'll be back tomorrow.



There's a veritable spontaneous mini-blogburst on the riot by a pro-palestinian mob yesterday at Concordia University in Montreal. They were "protesting" a planned speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For various in-depth perspectives, check out Damian Penny (more here), Kesher Talk, and (for a first hand account) Middle East Realities.

The rector of the University has reportedly stated that tapes of the event will be studied and action, including possible explusion, will be taken against students found to have participated in the violence. Anyone want to guess how many token Jewish students will be included in the round-up this time to maintain the appearance of impartiality?

Palestinians commemorate 9/11


(via IMRA)

Lighters commemorating 9/11 attack seized en route to Gaza
(Communicated by the ISA (Shabak) )
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

In the context of the monitoring process carried out by security forces in order to uncover the smuggling of arms and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority, cigarette lighters depicting the attack on the World Trade Center next to an image of Osama Bin Laden, were found. The lighters were to be sold in Palestinian Authority areas.

In June 2002, the security forces carried out an inspection of crates that had arrived in the port of Ashdod. The crates were destined for the Palestinian Authority. In the course of the inspection of the containers - that were supposed to have contained toys - weapons, including pistols, were seized.

Also found were lighters depicting the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center of September 11, along with an image of Osama Bin Laden. The lighters were intended for a Palestinian dealer in Khan Yunis, in the Gaza Strip.

The planned distribution of these lighters in the Palestinian Authority was designed to be yet another expression of support for the terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda organization, such as occurred in the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. Last year's expression of support included the distribution of sweets in the streets of the Palestinian Authority after the attacks, as well as mass celebrations in which shots were fired in the air as a mark of joy. Adults and children were seen waving pictures of bin Laden in Palestinian streets. In addition, leaflets were distributed in the Palestinian Authority emphasizing the importance of Jihad and calling on Muslims to stand up and take pride in their victory over the United States.


You can find a picture of one of the commemorative lighters here. Sick.

British Islamists remember 9/11


On Sunday, Charles at LGF linked to a BBC story and also to this Islamist website regarding a planned conference in celebration (yes, celebration) of 9/11 to be held tomorrow at Finsbury Mosque in London. Among other things, the conference is intended to launch the Islamic Council of Britain, which will work toward the implementation of Muslim Sharia law throughout the British Isles.

Fleshing out this picture, here are a couple of interviews, published last month by MEMRI, with conference organizer Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, imam of the Finsbury Park Mosque and head of the Ansar Al-Shari'ah organization, and with Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, who established and heads the Islamic Religious Court in London and also heads the Al-Muhajiroun Islamist organization. Here's a snippet of the Bakri interview:

....Q: "I listened to your lesson on the foundations of belief, and it seems that you are not interested in bringing students into British society - that is, you are not helping them to be British Muslims."

Bakri: "In my method of education, I am opposed to the idea of integration. We do not believe that it is permitted to integrate into the societies in which we live. I am not a supporter of seclusion from society, and I am not a supporter of integration into it. I am a supporter of interaction with society, by means of my religion and my belief, in order to change the environment, not to be changed by it..."

Q: "And where will this life of estrangement lead?"

Bakri: "The life of estrangement will lead... to [a] change in the situation of the country in which we live, as the Muslims changed the situation in Abyssinia and Indonesia. Allah willing, we will transform the West into Dar Al-Islam [that is, a region under Islamic rule] by means of invasion from without. If an Islamic state arises and invades [the West] we will be its army and its soldiers from within. If not, [we will change the West] through ideological invasion from here, without war and killing."

"Either we will preach to them and they will accept [Islam], or we will live among them and they will be influenced by our lives and will accept Islam as a political solution to their problems, not as an ideological solution. Islam can be a spiritual faith and it can be a political faith... Islam defended the religion of the Christians, the Jews, and others, and stated that 'there is no coercion in religion.' [But] the coercion is in the laws. Laws can be Islamic-religious and they can be man-made. They [the West] have imposed man-made law on us, and the [future] Islamic regime will impose Islamic religious rulings on them. The Muslim will act according to this law out of obedience [that is, willingly], and anyone who is not a Muslim will do so by force of law. I do not obey the man-made law. Even if I don't break it, I do not obey it. Allah said: 'Do not obey the infidels and the hypocrites.' "

MEMRI has more on these two fun-loving guys here.

Quality blog


Since I started this blog at the end of July, I've been making quiet adjustments to the page, adding people and publications to my blogroll, tweaking little stylistic things here and there, fixing the place up, as it were, and I haven't wanted to call attention to the process. I tend to browse blogs from my favorites menu (which is organized by my own personal categories) rather than from my blogroll (which isn't really organized). So until now I didn't notice that Bill Allison's Ideofact, which was among my earliest blog favorites, wasn't on my 'roll. And, embarrassingly enough, it took a link from him to tip me off to this oversight (now fixed).

Anyway, for various reasons, one of which is that Bill seems to read more in one week than most people do in a year, his blog is one of the more educational and enlightening ones out there. Definitely different, definitely worth a trip.

A phony war?


The Fall 2002 Middle East Quarterly (an excellent publication which has been way ahead of the curve for a long time and with which I have no connection other than as a subscriber) has a commentary piece by Angelo M. Codevilla called "Postmortem on a Phony War." It's not published on line, but it's worth seeking out a copy of the journal to read the whole thing. With the anniversary of 9/11 just a little over a day away, I found this article particularly apt and more than a little disturbing. A lot of it makes sense. Some of it doesn't. Some excerpts:

By spring 2002, the Bush administration's pretense that it was making war had worn thin. The Bush team had declared that September 11 had "changed everything," that "those who are not with us are against us," and that its "war on terrorism" would dispense with latter-day American reticence about foreign engagements and warfare. Nevertheless, the Bush team fought a classic phony war, because its chief priority was to change as little as possible the visions, objectives, assumptions, and modus operandi of late-twentieth-century American elites. This calls for something of a postmortem on the "war" that never was.

The Bush team's chief objective, "stability," was the least possible of things. The vision of an orderly, multicultural, "international community" was as powerful in Bush's Washington as it had been in Woodrow Wilson's -- and as far removed from reality. The right of Third World regimes to sovereign existence under housebroken tyrants, America's right and capacity to make peace in places it does not rule, America's unworthiness to stigmatize foreign cultures (much less to kill foreign regimes), the U.S. government's need to heed "the allies," especially "the Europeans," and to restrain the "unsophisticated," "unilateralist" American public -- these and a host of other unserious assumptions continued to reign. Moreover, the Bush team employed the same kind of people and modus operandi as its predecessors. They spoke loudly and wasted America's stick on the least significant enemies.

* * *

To derail the Bush team from America's war to their own, the Arab terror regimes had to manufacture a war. The spring of 2002 saw a dramatic increase in the attacks by various Palestinian forces against Israel. This made Palestinians immeasurably worse off materially and subjected them to constant danger of execution as collaborators. Saddam's regime and the Saudi royal family as well supplied the money for the family endowments that effectively purchased the war's principal weapon, suicide bombers. Having helped organize the carnage, the Saudis demanded that Bush stop it by making concessions to them.

Codevilla also asserts, among other things, that the "Bush team," with the help of the inept CIA, has been deliberately focusing on the wrong targets in its "war," most specifically trying at all costs to divert attention that should be aimed at Iraq to the shadowy figure of UBL. And then Codevilla pulls out the really heavy artillery.

The facts of the war on terrorism are as outlined above: in practice, the Bush team is fighting a war to salvage the visions, assumptions, and ways of current elites, not to mention their reputations. Abroad, the "war on terrorism" is of a piece with the Gulf war, the Vietnam war, and the Korean war. America kills lots of people whose deaths do not bring victory. This makes us hated. And America leaves enemy regimes standing. This makes us contemptible. At home, the "war" consists of a fateful combination of bellicose rhetoric and impotent, silly security measures. Thus even more than previous wars, the "war on terrorism" wastes the good will of the American people -- the most precious thing of all. The ends of war cannot be achieved by the means of phony war.

* * *

America became fully contemptible when the Bush team recoiled from the Arab world's brandishing of the ultimate terror weapon, suicide bombing. Count on it: the next stage of the war will feature suicide bombings on American streets.

I don't know. When I read this article a few days ago, I was really impressed with the revelations and reasoning I found. But in picking it apart to excerpt here, I'm finding a lot of it pretty sensational and, well, those four little words "this makes us hated," coming in connection with any discussion of 9/11, always send my defenses roaring into gear. Codevilla seems to be picking on a number of straw men here, but perhaps it just appears that way because it's emotionally hard to accept his conclusions. He's painting a picture of a government that at heart is indifferent to the suffering this nation has endured in the past year. If diversionary tactics are being used, isn't it at least worth considering that the intent is to divert our enemies? Does anyone doubt that such a diversion would necessitate being less than forthcoming with the general public while the battle is being waged?

Or am I just being naive? Could the "war on terror" really be just a hollow facade to placate the rage of the American people in the wake of last year's atrocities while the government pursues business as usual and dedicates its real energies to preserving the status quo? I'd hate to think so. Because if that did turn out to be the case, I think (or hope) that our rage in response to last 9/11 would pale to a feeble flutter in comparison with our reaction to that kind of betrayal by our elected leaders.

Israel on-line memorial for 9/11


(Via IMRA) The Israel News Agency and J-Town Productions have created an interactive Israel Memorial and Condolence Internet site for all those who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The names and jobs of all of those lost are listed, as is their status (missing or confimed dead). And there's a board to post a condolence message.

Just one of many sites where you might want to pause for a moment during the next few days.

The head of the year


Tonight marks not only the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath, Shabbat, but also the beginning of the two High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, the "head" of the year. Rosh Hashanah is a joyful holiday. Not like the turning of the secular year, where most of us party away the night (and sometimes much of the next day as well), but in the sense of feeling gratitude for having lived to see yet another year begin.

But it's also a very reflective holiday. Rosh Hashanah begins the ten-day penitential period that leads up to the holiest, most solemn day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

On Rosh Hashanah our merits are considered and our fate is decided, but until Yom Kippur we may succeessfully appeal the verdict through repentance, prayer and charity. Last year, due to the fluctuations of the Jewish lunar calendar, Rosh Hashanah fell a week after September 11th. This year, it falls a few days before. For me, anyway, it was a real blessing to have those two days of holy convocation at a time when so many of us were just catching our breath, just beginning to dare to try to breathe normally again, trying to make sense of it all, looking for an excuse, almost any excuse, to be with other people, to celebrate the joy of being alive and to mourn those who were lost.

This year, we'll be looking forward to the anniversary, trying to figure out the best way to commemorate the event. And we'll also be reflecting on the many other horrors and tragedies as well as the victories and triumphs that the past year has brought. We in America will be thinking about how we've grown as a nation and about how our brothers and sisters in Israel have as well. And we'll be praying that the coming year will be a year of health and happiness, peace and prosperity for the people of all nations.

Shabbat Shalom

Shanah Tovah

The more things change...


The following article is part of a blogburst - a simultaneous and cross-linked posting of many blogs on the same theme. This blogburst commemorates the Munich Olympics Massacre which began in the dawn hour of September 5th, 1972. Go to The Index of the Munich Massacre Blogburst to find links to all the other articles.


At 5:00 AM, September 5th, 1972, a seminal event in the development of modern terrorism took place.

Eight Palestinian terrorists invaded the site of the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. They killed and took hostage eleven Israeli athletes competing in the Games, demanding the release of over 200 imprisoned Arabs and 2 German terrorists. Over the next few tension-filled days, all the hostages and some of the terrorists were killed, and the remaining terrorists escaped, mostly due to incompetence and perfidy of the German government. The Olympic Committee made a controversial decision to continue the Games, and has never participated in any memorial for the slain athletes. Eventually almost all of the remaining terrorists were hunted down and killed by Israeli agents, directed by then Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The Libyan Connection. Colonel Muammar Qaddafi had more than a hand in the plot. Boaz Ganor of ICT reports that "Qaddafi awarded Arafat $5 million in recognition of the massacre of Israel athletes carried out by Arafat’s men at the Munich Olympics. And Daniel Pipes has noted that Qaddafi supplied the both means and the ends, so to speak.

Qadhdhafi provides terrorists with money, weapons, training, and false documents. The diplomatic pouches and secure cables of Libyan embassies afford an invaluable network for supplies and information. The Palestinians who killed eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics received their weapons through the Libyan diplomatic pouch (and those killed by the West German police received state funerals in Libya).
The French Connection. In the Summer 1999 issue of Foreign Policy, there was an article by Bruce Hoffman called Is Europe Soft on Terrorism? In it, he discusses the complicity of the French government in the initial escape of Abu Daoud.
Terrorism has long been a source of friction between the United States and Europe. During the 1970s and 1980s, for example, it was not unusual for European governments to cut secret deals with terrorists. In exchange for the terrorists' agreement not to strike within these countries' borders or target their citizens, European authorities often turned a blind eye to activities that would otherwise have invited arrest and imprisonment. Consequently, extradition requests were frequently ignored. Captured terrorists often managed to escape from custody. Routine border-control procedures were conveniently ignored to allow terrorists to travel freely across international frontiers. Perhaps the best-known instance of this behavior occurred in 1977 when French counterespionage agents arrested Muhammad Daoud Audeh—alias Abu Daoud—the reputed mastermind behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes were seized and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Both Israel and West Germany immediately requested Audeh's extradition. France, however, stonewalled, prevaricated, and then set him free, not wishing to incur the wrath of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and invite possible terrorist reprisal.
Euroweenies, indeed.

* * *

Remember them.

Ronnie Schreiber has posted the names of the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered, along with a link to their photos. This site has a short bio on each of them.
Moshe Weinberg - wrestling referee
Died at the age of 33. He was an outstanding wrestler with Hapoel Haifa and the Israeli national team. He was the youth and adult Greek-Roman style champion for 8 years. He also served as the coach of Hapoel Tel Aviv and the Israeli national team.

Eliezer Halffin - wrestler
Died at the age of 24. He was born in the Soviet Union where he spent 11 years specializing in free-style, light weight wrestling. He achieved fourth place in the Soviet national youth championships. Following immigration to Israel, he was a leading wrestler with Hapoel Tel Aviv and the Israeli national team. He finished 12th in the world free-style championships.

Mark Slavin – wrestler
Died at the age of 18. He was born in the Soviet Union where he recorded a number of notable achievements. In February 1972, he won the Soviet Roman-Greek style wrestling championships. In May of that year, he immigrated to Israel and joined Hapoel Tel Aviv and the Israeli Olympic team.

Ze'ev Friedman - weight lifter
Died at the age of 28. He immigrated to Israel in 1960. He began his sporting career as a gymnast but was drawn to weightlifting. He was a member of Hapoel Kiryat Haim and was the Israeli rooster-weight weightlifting champion for 7 years. In 1969, he achieved 7th place in the world championships in Warsaw and third place in the Manila Games in 1971. He finished 12th at the Munich Olympic Games, breaking 3 Israeli records in the process.

Joseph Romano -weight lifter
Died at the age of 32. He was born in Libya, and he was a member of the Israeli national team and champion of Israel for 10 years. In the last years of his life, he acted as coach and manager of the weightlifting department of Hapoel Tel Aviv where he was a member for 14 years.

Kahat Shor - shooting coach
Died at the age of 53. He was born in Romania and was a member of Hapoel Tel Aviv. He chalked up many impressive achievements in the field of shooting and became coach at Hapoel Tel Aviv. He was appointed shooting coach of the Israeli national team for the Asian Games in Bangkok and prepared the national Olympic team for the 20th Olympiad in Munich.

David Berger - weight lifter
Died at the age of 28. He was born in the United States where he was national youth middleweight weightlifting champion. After immigrating to Israel, he joined Maccabi Tel Aviv and won the Israeli national middle heavyweight championships. He won a silver medal at the Asian Games in Manilla.

Joseph Gottfreund - wrestling referee
Died at the age of 40. He was born in Romania, where he recorded several notable achievements as a wrestler. After immigrating to Israel, he joined Hapoel Jerusalem and was responsible for the heavy athletics department at the club. He completed an international referee's course and recorded a number of impressive achievements as a wrestling referee, refereeing at the 1968 Tokyo Olympics and the world championships in India and Bulgaria before being invited by the Olympic Committee to be a referee at the Munich Games.

Andrei Schpitzer - fencing referee
Died at the age of 27. He was born in Romania, where he began his fencing career. Following immigration to Israel, he joined the fencing section at Maccabi Ramat Gan where he had an outstanding career. He ran the fencing course at the Wingate Institute coaches' school and was appointed Israeli national fencing team coach.

Amitsur Shapira - athletics coach

Died at the age of 40. He was born in Israel, and was one of the top short distance runners in Israel in the 1950s. He qualified as a physical education teacher and became an athletics coach. He devoted much of his time to training young athletes, his most notable achievement being the discovery of Esther Roth-Sachmorov. He coached Roth-Sachmorov during the last six years of his life and helped her to many achievements and to world fame.

Yaakov Springer - weightlifting referee
Died at the age of 50. He was born in Poland, where he was leading wrestler and weight lifter, representing his country in many competitions. When he immigrated to Israel in 1956 he devoted himself to teaching physical education in Jaffa and Bat-Yam. He was appointed Israeli national weightlifting coach and trained referees. He achieved an international reputation as a referee. The Munich Games were the fifth Olympiad he attended as referee.

Zichronam l'vracha (may their memory be a blessing).

September 5, 1972


Thirty years ago today. The Index of the Munich Olympic Massacre Blogburst is here.

But so far, Judith hasn't linked her own contributions, which are here and here. And here. Or you can just scroll up from the Index.

That Temple Mount wall will come tumbling down


So says Daniel Pipes in today's New York Post. He also says it's time to stop pussy-footing around.

At issue is not some squabble over who gets to sweep which church step or who gets which hours in a sanctuary; this is a disaster in the making.

As the Jerusalem Post correctly editorializes, that the government of Israel has abdicated its responsibilities is "nothing less than scandalous," and it must now "finally assert its full sovereignty over the area."

Governments around the world, Jewish organizations and others with influence over the Israeli prime minister should get him to attend to the wall before it and much else crashes.

And Diane E. was right. There is a serious danger that thousands of Muslim worshipers could be killed.
It "will collapse," warns Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist at Hebrew University. "The central issue at present is whether it will collapse on the heads of thousands of people who are praying there, or whether it will be done in a controlled manner."

The moment of truth might come in November. That's the Ramadan holiday, when thousands of Muslim worshipers will aggregate in the mosque at Solomon's Stables. Their weight and movement could cause the southern wall to give way, causing yard-long rocks to come cascading down on them, possibly killing many.

Expect to hear more on this issue in the coming weeks.

A balancing act


Israel's High Court of Justice has unanimously upheld the forced relocation of two relatives of a suicide bomber to the Gaza Strip. The relocation was implemented today. It should be noted that the Court approved the "assigned residence" of the brother and sister of Ahmed Ali Ajuri after finding that sufficient evidence had been presented of their direct involvement in aiding and abetting his terrorist attacks. The Court rejected the relocation of a third individual because he was not found to have actively participated in terrorist activities.

In concluding its opinion, the High Court has this to say (paragraph 41):

The State of Israel is undergoing a difficult period. Terror is hurting its residents. Human life is trampled upon. Hundred have been killed. Thousands have been injured. The Arab population in Judaea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip is also suffering unbearably. All of this is because of acts or murder, killing and destruction perpetrated by terrorists. The State is doing all that it can in order to protect its citizens and ensure the security of the region. These measures are limited. The restrictions are, first and foremost, military-operational ones. It is difficult to fight against persons who are prepared to turn themselves into living bombs. These restrictions are also normative. The State of Israel is a freedom-seeking democracy. It is a defensive democracy acting within the framework of its right to self-defence - a right recognized by the charter of the United Nations. not every effective measure is also a lawful measure. Indeed, the position of the State of Israel is a difficult one. Also our role as judges is not easy. We are doing all we can to balance properly between human rights and the security of the area. In this balance, human rights cannot receive complete protection, as if there were no terror, and State security cannot receive complete protection, as if there were no human rights. A delicate and sensitive balance is required. This is the price of democracy. It is expensive, but worthwhile. It strengthens the State. It provides a reason for its struggle.

Extending the Boycott


M. Shahid Alam, a professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston, has this essay in Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly. He's taken a personal interest in the international academic boycott of Israel. But his zeal for the cause, motivated by "the massacres [sic] in Jenin and the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure in West Bank cities by invading Israeli forces," didn't sit well with some of the colleagues he tried to enlist.

...[M]ost of the friends on my mailing list ignored the call. Only two responded, and both were more than a little troubled that I should support such a thing. One described this campaign as "destructive", another objected that this was an "attack" on academic freedom. And once my name was on the list of signatories, I promptly received two pieces of hate mail, one of them from India.

A few days later I came across a counter petition initiated by Leonid Ryzhik, a mathematics lecturer at the University of Chicago. In an interview published in the British newspaper The Guardian on 27 May he said that the boycott campaign was "immoral, dangerous and misguided, and indirectly encourages the terrorist murderers in their deadly deeds". And in the New York weekly The Nation for 5-12 August, Martha Nussbaum, an eminent American philosopher, wrote that she felt "relaxed" to be in Israel, where she had gone to receive an honorary degree from the University of Haifa, "determined to affirm the worth of scholarly cooperation in the face of the ugly campaign".

Will wonders never cease? This guy actually found some academics who opposed the boycott. And in clear, concise, unambiguous terms, at that. Not that any of that made an impression upon Prof. Alam.
Having declared my support for the academic boycott of Israel, I believe I must now explain why I can not view this campaign as "destructive", "ugly" or supportive of "terrorist murderers". On the contrary, I see it as a moral gesture, part of a growing campaign by international civil society to use its influence to awaken Israelis to the ugly and destructive reality of the occupation, which has now lasted for more than 35 years and shows no sign of ending any time soon. At last, the cumulative weight of Palestinian suffering has begun to break through the crust of Israeli protestations of innocence. Although tardily, the world's conscience is now preparing to engage Israeli intransigence.
A "moral gesture." This, from a man whose problem with the "unprovoked" (in scare quotes) attacks on 9/11 was that they robbed him of his "invisibility." As for the "world's conscience," well, Mr. Alam has been on sabbatical for the past academic year. Perhaps he's been vacationing in mystical mythical EUland.
Increasingly, the world outside the United States understands that Israel is not a 'normal' country. The Zionist movement sought to establish an exclusively Jewish state in Palestine, a land inhabited almost entirely by Palestinian Arabs in 1900. Since no people has yet been known to commit collective suicide, this could only be accomplished by conquest and ethnic cleansing. This is how Israel emerged in 1948 -- through the conquest and ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinians.
Whoa, ok. So EUland was maybe just the first stop on a much more reality-deprived itinerary.
Yet this was not enough. Although Israel now sat on 78 per cent of historic Palestine, this fell short of Zionist goals. In 1967 this shortfall was corrected when Israel, after defeating Egypt, Syria and Jordan, occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Another, smaller campaign of ethnic cleansing was introduced into this second round of conquests.
Got that? You know, it can never be pointed out too often that the only "country" that has ever sat (and continues to sit) on anything like 78 per cent of historic "Palestine" is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Anyway, this exercise in quasi-historical fiction and self-justification starts to become really tiresome, so we'll fast-forward a bit.
... resistance... misery... forced to flee their homes... Bantustans [that's always a good one]... Apartheid... narrative of Palestinian dispossession... ['click']

Once this narrative is affirmed, once it becomes clear that the destruction of Palestinians was necessary -- and was always known to be necessary and accepted as necessary -- for Israel to emerge as an exclusive Jewish state, once it is admitted that the dispossession of Palestinians has involved wars, ethnic cleansing, massacres, villages destroyed, cities besieged, homes demolished, children maimed and killed, prisoners tortured, ambulances bombed, journalists targeted, municipal records destroyed, and trees uprooted, once all this destructiveness -- already accomplished, and more of it unfolding everyday -- is recognised then protestations about the "destructiveness" or "ugliness" of an academic boycott of Israel become insupportable, indeed unconscionable.

I would have to agree with this wholeheartedly. Once the narrative of complete and utter fabrication, of baseless lies and completely distorted versions of half-truths has been unremittingly, thoroughly and irrevocably beaten into the defenseless minds of those ready to accept these falsehoods without question, no other conclusion is possible. Next?
...Of necessity, dispossession is implemented by force, and it follows that resistance to the coloniser must also be violent.

The question, therefore, is not why do the Palestinians resist, nor why do they resist by violent means. There is a different question before the world's conscience: why have we for 50 years abandoned the Palestinians to fight their battles alone, beleaguered by a coloniser whom they cannot fight alone? Why have we allowed the Palestinians to be battered, exiled from their lands, herded into camps -- in villages and towns that have been turned into concentration camps -- exposed to the mercy of a coloniser who freely draws upon the finances, political support and military arsenal of the world's greatest power? In despair, marginalised, pauperised, facing extinction as a people, if the Palestinians now use the only defence they have -- to die in defence of their rights -- who is to blame?

Is there any doubt? By the way, ever wonder why the Jews were able to survive without their historical homeland for a few thousand years, but depriving palestianians of a homeland they never had in the first place would result in their immediate extinction? Nah.
If the world's conscience now shows the first signs of acting on behalf of the Palestinians, it is to be hoped that this will mitigate the Palestinians' deep despair. When young Palestinians learn that academics the world over and young people on campuses in Britain, France, Canada, and United States are stirring on their behalf, this will convince them that they are not alone, and, once they are so convinced, they may be persuaded to renounce their acts of desperation. The academic boycott of Israel uses non-violent means -- it leverages moral suasion -- to reduce the violence of the coloniser as well as that of the colonised.
There it is. In a nutshell. The road to peace between Israel and the palestinian Arabs that has been evading the great minds applied to this dilemma for so long is simple: extend the academic boycott of Israel. When young suicide bombers learn that academics all over the world have responded to their martyrdom actions by ostracizing geology professors from Ben-Gurion University, they will renouce violence, elect a democratic leadership and live happily ever after with their neighbors. But there's more.
There are people who are shouting "foul" at the academic boycott, saying that this curtails the academic freedom of Israelis. I will readily admit that it does: the boycott is expected to work by shrinking the international avenues available to Israeli scientists for pursuing their work. Still, it must be emphasised that this curtailment is temporary and that it will end the moment Israel ends its occupation. It is also limited in scope. It only seeks to limit some of the advantages Israeli scientists derive from their interactions with the global scientific community. It does not threaten any fundamental academic freedoms.
Someone, quick, tell Mona Baker. The boycott is only supposed to affect "Israeli scientists." Last time I looked, professors of literature weren't classified as scientists.
This infringement of academic freedom -- temporary and limited as it is -- must also be seen in a broader framework. I readily concede that academic freedom is an important value, and it is a value that all humane societies should cherish. But there are also other values that we should cherish, other values that may even be more important, more fundamental, than the right to academic freedom. I believe it is reasonable and moral to impose temporary and partial limits on the academic freedom of a few Israelis if this can help to restore the fundamental rights of millions of Palestinians -- their right to life, to their property, to their lands, to freedom of movement within their own country, to sovereign control over their destiny, and to equal treatment under the law. This can only be denied if we confess a disproportion in the value we accord to Israeli and Palestinian rights.
Forget Mona Baker. I think we'd better alert Sami al-Arian. He's not going to be too pleased with this argument. It's a slippery slope, after all, from this to "it's reasonable and moral to impose temporary and partial limits on the academic freedom of a few terrorist supporters and fundraisers if this can help to avoid the deaths of thousands of Israeli civilians and perhaps millions of Americans as well." What about the "sanctity of academia," you say? Glad you asked.
I refuse to be cowed by invocations of the 'sanctity' of academia. More than ever, universities now help to reproduce the power structures of their societies; they are a potent source of ideologies of imperialism, as well as of race and class exploitation. Israeli universities are no exception. Through their links with the military, the political parties, the media and the economy, they have helped to construct, sustain, and justify the Apartheid system. I might have hesitated in adding my name to the boycott if I knew that Israeli academics had taken the lead in organising rallies, in organising sit-ins, and passing resolutions protesting the occupation, or that they had refused to work on projects that serve it. However, on the contrary, Israeli academia on the whole has shown that it is a party to the occupation.
Whaddya mean he never left? He's where? Which sensory deprivation tank? Over there? Ok, thanks. Hey, Professor! Sabbatical's up. Time to come out now.
...Abandoned, isolated, beleaguered and unarmed, a few Palestinian men and women have responded to this massive force by weaponising their own deaths through suicide bombings, provoking still greater violence against themselves. But, paradoxically, this has also pushed world conscience into taking notice of the affront to humanity that is the Israeli occupation. The academic boycott is one small step the detribalised world is now taking to stop this affront, a step that all men and women who have risen above tribalism should welcome.
A few? Unarmed? And there's that "world conscience" thing again (nice symmetry, dude). But before the "world conscience" can be "pushed," you see, it has to materialize. So far, no evidence of that. Hey, I know. Let's get some of those "detribalized" Anglos, Saxons, Normans and Franks, not to mention the totally tribeless Hashemites, Alawis and Saudis or, better yet, some of Professor Alam's fellow tribe-averse Pakistanis. Maybe they can teach those backward Israelites how it's done.

General Ya'alon gets it


When IMRA recently posted this interview with IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, they prefaced it with this comment:

If one only has time to read one item this week - or perhaps month - this is the one.
I see what they mean.
[Q] Do you have a definition of victory? Is it clear to you what Israel's goal in this war is?

[A] "I defined it from the beginning of the confrontation: the very deep internalization by the Palestinians that terrorism and violence will not defeat us, will not make us fold. If that deep internalization does not exist at the end of the confrontation, we will have a strategic problem with an existential threat to Israel. If that [lesson] is not burned into the Palestinian and Arab consciousness, there will be no end to their demands of us. Despite our military might, the region will perceive us as being even weaker. That will have an impact not only on those who are engaged in the violent struggle, but also on those who have signed agreements with us and on extremists among the Arabs in Israel. That's why this confrontation is so important. There has not been a more important confrontation since the War of Independence."

That's only one question and one answer, but it's a pivotal point of the interview. And while history has taught this lesson too many times, few seem able to accept it. It's not a pretty picture, but it is a realistic one. Israel won't get to peace by befriending or coddling or appeasing her enemies. She'll get there only by convincing them that their efforts to destroy her cannot succeed.

What she said


Re: the, er, IM thing, I meant it. I'm done. Out of juice, finito, gamarnu. But it seems Judith is just finding her stride....(?)

No, actually, she found it a long time ago. Now, she's put the hammer down.

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