If you’re not with us…

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Then according to the US, UK and Israel, the whole world is against them, as the Independent has shown, as only these three countries are against an immediate cease fire.

Does that tell us anything?

most of the world are demanding an immediate cease fire

It tells me that they’ve got their own agenda and couldn’t give a damn about world opinion, nor care about anyone but themselves. This is getting absolutely sickening. A whole country is on its knees, what else could they possibly want?

If the object is to drag Iran and Syria into it and precipitate World War III, then with the leaders that those two countries have been blessed with, they will jump at the chance which is the very scary prospect for the whole world, not just this area, as we will have a war of attrition where no bounds are respected and most certainly human life is as dispensable as the poor Lebanese so far, all to appease maliable and manipulated egos.

The wise thing to do is to stop, take stock, and realise that the only way forward open to all parties cannot be anything else but the negotiating table. How else can permanent and lasting peace be achieved?

But who’s listening?

Hat tip Rants and Rambles via And Far Away

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260 Comments
  • Hasan in Japan
    22 July 2006

    Scary, huh..?

  • Oren
    22 July 2006

    I think another country might be added to the list: Iran.

    A beaten and impoverished Lebanon is a far more fertile ground for Iran’s revolution exports than a Lebanon with a flourishing economy and a flow of tourists from the west bringing their “decadent” influence. And Iran is using Israel quite successfully to achieve this.

    This is entirely speculative, of course. But it does appear to match Iran’s interests in the region quite well, doesn’t it?

  • Terry
    22 July 2006

    Of course, one of the reasons why the U.S. has so far not initiated hostilities against Iran is a fear of reprisals against Israel. Hizbollah stands as Iran’s fist in the region, and is the group most likely to carry out such reprisals. With them out of the way as a viable threat, the U.S. military is one step closer to being able to, at the very least, apply diplomatic pressure to Iran. Especially given their strong military presence in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which sets them up for a strong pincer move into Tehran.

    If we continue at this pace, it seems that the fundamentalists on both sides – including those in the White House – will have their Holy War, and their Armageddon.

    Again, this is merely idle speculation from a guy who reads bicycle magazines more often than Newsweek … so take it with a grain of salt.

  • Rupert
    23 July 2006

    If cease fires actually worked, then the Middle East would be the most peaceful area on the planet. How many cease fires have been brokered and broken in the ME?

    Gimme a break. They don’t work. They simply bide time for more killing down the line.

    The only viable resolution to this immediate conflict is a serious degradation if not destruction of Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria.

    Yeah I know, all this does is ‘creates more terrorists’.

  • Ingrid
    23 July 2006

    yes rupert, it does
    Ingrid (great visual Mahmoud)

  • Anonymous
    23 July 2006

    Pleas stop this bullshit and if you do not understand politics, please for god sake stop talking about Iran. Iran provides Mahyaway, chello kabab….etc. What is wrong with you guys??? Iran and Iran… Iran and Iran.

  • Yohay Elam
    23 July 2006

    As long as the world doesn’t put pressure on both sides, nothing will change.
    As an Israeli, I should be happy to get support from the only superpower, the USA. We aare encouraged to coninue the war. I’m not sure that this support is my interest, because meanwhile more civilians are getting killed on both sides.

    On the other side, Lebanon gets support from it’s fellow Arab states. It doesn’t help them as well. Without restraining the Hizbollah and deploying the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon, I don’t see things changing.

    The blame can be put on the war mongering people on both fighting sides, or on Iran and the USA.
    One thing is certain: Without massive international pressure, no ceasefire or peace will come.

    Massive international pressure got the Syrian army out of Lebanon. Massive international pressure can stop the bloodshed.

  • Mactek
    23 July 2006

    The question is will Lebanon and Israel ever make the peace. No one is expecting that they will love each other, but when will they make the peace. This is a question that only Lebanon and Israel can answer.

    Egypt and Israel made the peace. Jordan and Israel made the peace.

    WHAT WILL IT TAKE? What do you need Lebanon and Israel?

  • Ethan
    23 July 2006

    An immediate ceasefire would solve nothing. Rockets rained down on Israel before the kidnap, and have not let up since.

    If your country is under existential attack, what should you do? Negotiate? Who on the Hizb’ullah side is a fair negotiator? Must I remind everyone that Hizb’s charter quotes the Hadith:

    “…The rocks and trees will cry out ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill them’…”

    How do you negotiate with people who wish for your genocide?

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    Sorry, but the Australian flag should be on the right hand side. As usual, we’re following the lead from the US on this one.

  • Pamela
    23 July 2006

    Ethan, you are right, and a cease fire is usually nothing but a hudna. the UN is useless, all they are good for is writing stern letters and passing resolutions they will never, nor intend to enforce. Just look at the member states that are in thier human rights council, Saudi Arabia, yea right! Trust the UN? I don’t at all. The UN sex scandals, Oil For Food scandals, on and on…

    Yes Ethan, all these protests about Israel, but none about how many rockets have rained down on Israel from Hizb’ullah.

    “How do you negotiate with people who wish for your genocide?”

    spot on!

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    No one said that Hizballah are a bed of roses. No one is blind to the fact that they too can do wrong. No one suggested that they are not affiliated in some way to Iran.

    What has all that got to do with the wholesale killing on BOTH sides of the divide?

    And Ethan, how can you ensure that every member of Hizballah is killed? Aren’t they a guerilla force, ie, not a regular army? Did you not see the level of support they command in Lebanon when more than a million people answer their call to demonstrate? What would you do then, short of dropping nuclear warheads on the whole of Lebanon to ensure that Hizballah is no more?

    This is a crazy and murderous notion. An inhumane notion.

    So what if their motto is “…The rocks and trees will cry out ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill them’…” To hell with that! That was over 1,400 years ago and I can bet you it was topical and is not applicable today. Are you going to take that as an excuse NOW to kill the millions of Lebanese and the vast number of Arab Hizballah sympathisers in order to satiate your thirst for blood?

    Israel, the US and the UK (as well as Australia according to Skribe) are being complete morons for even thinking that they can contain Hizballah. Hizballah is NOT just the south of Lebanon. Hizballah is NOT just Nasrallah. Hizballah, due to this very conflict, has risen in popularity the world over, even its traditional arch enemies are lauding its “just war”. And you think that by annihilating them everything is going to be nice and tidy for Israel?

    You’ve got a moron of a president and even a more moronic sec of state for believing in this rubbish.

    Wake up. You are precipitating a war that you can never go back from. You are initiating a world war that will burn everything in its path. You are signing the death warrant on hundreds of millions of people. Because you believed a lie: “We can cow and contain Hizballah” failing to realise that Hizballah is not a nice, round, defined entity that can be killed.

    Like someone else has already said ‘sarcastically’ all that you’re doing is creating another Hizballah, another Nasrallah and another “freedom fighter.”

    The ONLY way to win this war is negotiation.

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    Two points:

    Israel, the US and the UK (as well as Australia according to Skribe) are being complete morons for even thinking that they can contain Hizballah.

    Hezbolla can be contained. In fact it can be virtually eliminated if you do the job properly. By that I mean removing its supply. But that’s not what Israel is doing. Another week won’t make any difference other than more people killed and most of those will likely be civilians. If we were truly serious about supporting Israel against Hezbolla we would put our own troops on the ground and move in on Syria and Iran. But there really isn’t enough incentive for us to do that.

    The ONLY way to win this war is negotiation.

    Peace in our time, Mahmood? The best you can do through negotiation is to survive for a little longer. The only way to win the war against a foe like Hezbolla is to remove the kid gloves and unleash the full might of a 21st century superpower’s military (and its allies). I wouldn’t expect that to happen any time soon, however. The cost is too high for the benefit we would receive so you won’t see it until we are truly threatened. You have to remember it took Britain, its Commonwealth, France, etc. until the invasion of Poland to fully commit to WW2 (the Soviets and the US had to be attacked before they would commit). We tried negotiation before that and that just gave the Nazis more time to ready themselves. Same will happen here if we negotiate.

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    Pamela, do you have an alternative model in mind for the UN, or do you think we should abandon the idea altogether?

  • Ash
    23 July 2006

    Mahmood, terrible though the situation is, there is not “wholesale killing” going on. If there was, we’d be looking at tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of deaths and not just a few hundred. While the deaths of those few hundred killed are all tragic, it doesn’t help the situation at all to ratchet this up into some vast massacre. There are much more bloody conflicts raging in the world right now, claiming infinitely more lives, which don’t get even 1% of the world media attention that the Middle East does. Where is the world’s outrage and action over Darfur, where hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered and are still being? Where is it over the vicious war in D.R. Congo, in which some 3 million people have been killed in the last decade? It seems to me that much of the conflict in the Middle East is perpetuated and exacerbated precisely because commentators around the world pay so much attention to it. If “Israel-Palestine” hadn’t been transformed into a sort of political banner for outsiders eager to assert something about themselves through their support for one side or the other, a peaceful solution might have been achieved years ago. The world gives the protagonists such an enthusiastic audience; it’s hardly surprising that these days they seem to play up to that audience, be it the Western left or right or Muslims all over the world. It seems everyone chooses their favourite victim (Israel, Palestine, Lebanon …) and does everything they can to encourage their victimhood further, abandoning reason and attempted objectivity in favour of a gluey self-indulgent orgy of empathy that is rarely extended to the many other suffering peoples of the world.

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Here’s the Israeli perspective on things. A loose quote of Kofi Anan, and other leaders calling for a ciese fire sound similarily:
    “Israel should get its forces out of Lebanon and Lebanon should free all hostages and make sure no more missiles are shot at Israel”.

    This reminds me of similar comments made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
    “Israel should stop opressing the Palestinian population, and the Palestinians should stop applying terror as a means of negotiation”.

    Please allow me to paraphrase and unite the about pseudo citations:
    “The world should be a better place to live in”.

    All three sentences hold equal amount of practical relevance. I fully agree with all three sentences, and I find it hard to be smarter for hearing them regarding how the utopia they project shall come to pass.

    Don’t get me wrong. I have my own qualms about the tactical and strategic wisdom behind keeping the attack going. The problem is that:
    – I have not been able to locate a single statement from Nasralla saying what will cause him to stop firing on civilian population, other than the usual stuff (i.e. – Israel is an agressor. We will not stop fighting until it no longer exists).
    – The Lebanon government have, in the past, been unwilling to take on Hizballa’s country within a country, despite repeated requests from Israel and the U.N.
    – Now that they are proclaiming a will, they also immediately also say they don’t have the technical ability to carry out this will.

    To make the point clear, the rejection of Siniora’s offer of ciese fire was not due to its content, which is essentially identical to what Israel has been asking for since 2000, but due to the fact that the offerer has a self proclaimed inability to carry said offer out.

    Shachar

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Then prepare for a long and bloody war.

    We cannot draw parallels between Germany’s WWII and Hizballah. They are on completely different planes, one is a country, an army, while the other is a collection of guerilla fighters whose strength some put at 4,000 individuals, but judging by the sympathy they garner from all sects and sectors of society they will number millions.

    I am quite surprised actually at the restraint that Syria, Iran and Iraq have demonstrated for not going in and joining the fun so far, this demonstrates a huge effort by these governments to keep their citizens in check; but I can guarantee you that even they will not be able to hold sympathetic fighters looking for glory for much longer…

    That’s when you can unleash your dogs, but they won’t have much impact as more and more of these fighters would be more than willing to join the fight.

    The result? Chaos, that even a “21st century fighting army” cannot contain.

    Do we really want to reach that stage?

    You cannot contain Hizballah. Take it from me. Look at the Taliban and Afghanistan. Best to sit down and talk.

    What’s their grievances anyway? A strip of land some 14kms long by 2.5kms wide, and a few prisoners who have been illegally detained for a long time and without trials. Is it worth going into a protracted conflict because of this?

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Ash

    I would also add “and giving the side that has the temporary more supporters the notion that they are right, no matter what, while giving the other side the notion that the whole world is against it. This means that good advice isn’t being listened to, and the parties play a game of “who’s more popular”, rather than try and solve the conflict”.

    Very unfortunate, but I totally agree.

    Shachar
    P.s.
    Both the “so many people side with us, we must be right” and the “the whole world is against us” views have been heared from all sides of the conflict, sometimes simultaneously.

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Mahmood:

    One more thing. Have you considered the possibility that your source is biased? Maybe Australia is not the only country whose position on the matter is being misreported. This is certainly what I hear here, but cross-checking sources is always a good idea.

    Shachar

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Shachar, nothing should be taken as gospel. I’m also very open to correction if my position is found to be wrong. All I want to do here is make it understood that violence should not escalate more than it already is.

    If both sides cannot find it in themselves to give a little and sit across a table and negotiate, well then… it’s lost.

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Ash, comparing figures of dead bodies won’t do anyone any good. Yes there are conflicts in the world and unfortunately we will continue to have them, maybe even bloodier than we have experienced. However, discounting even a “few” deaths because somewhere else has multiples of that figure doesn’t do anyone any good and lets the various conflicts go unchecked.

    We have a problem right now in our own neighbourhood, and it is this that is taking prime time at the moment. I choose to concentrate on this one, as I am very sure that others are not being ignored by those close to them. I am not discounting them at all by saying that, and you know my position as far as violent confrontation and belligerency is concerned, I am just concentrating at this minute on this single conflict which threatens to destroy all countries around me.

  • Ethan
    23 July 2006

    I am quite surprised actually at the restraint that Syria, Iran and Iraq have demonstrated for not going in and joining the fun so far, this demonstrates a huge effort by these governments to keep their citizens in check

    From sources close to the fighting, there are reports of Iranian-made missiles as well as Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the ground in Lebanon right now.

    The war will be long. It will be hard. Millions will die. However, I maintain my statement – how do you negotiate with someone who wishes your genocide? At some point, we’ll realize that it’s not about Shebaa farms. Or the West Bank. Or Gaza. It’s about the fact that the whole of Israel exists on what was once Islamic land. The destruction of all of Israel is what these groups (as well as Iran and Syria) want.

    –As to respond to your ‘nonuniformed’ arguement: the West is being backed into a corner. If the enemy doesn’t wear uniforms and blends in to the Muslim population, then it just may be the entire population that suffers, justly or unjustly. When finally compelled to act, Westerners can be as barbaric as anyone else. I’m sad to see that day arrive in my lifetime, but I would rather endure it than have my sons or their children endure it.

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Mahmood

    I think Ash’s point was not that other conflicts are receiving too little attention (though I do believe that they do receive too little), but that the middle east is receiving too much.

    More to the point, the claim was that this attention, mainly by people who did not sit down to study the facts and motives properly, is doing actual harm to the parties’ willingness to compromise and move on.

    Shachar

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    But Shachar you cannot espouse a “hands off” attitude! Public pressure on both sides of the conflict is very important to its resolution.

    Yes, it is undoubtedly great if everyone sat down and studied all the facts and arrived at an individual decision and belief, but how is that to happen? People are emotional and depending on their idiosyncrasies and environment they will judge in terms of black and white. It is very rare that you would get such an individual who is willing to see shades of grey.

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Ethan, how can you condone millions’ death? I wonder if that would still be your position had your home been somewhere in the Middle East rather than half a world away in which you might think that you would be safe from the fallout of these millions who would die to arrive at your particular nirvana.

    Do you honestly believe that when you kill these millions that you, your children and their children would be safe?

    We have a saying in Arabic, “keep your own crazy person in sight so that you do not get someone crazier crop up!”

    It’s probably would be worth your while thinking about this with a little bit more humanity.

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    Then prepare for a long and bloody war.

    I believe only the most optomistic believe that this can be avoided in the long term.

    We cannot draw parallels between Germany’s WWII and Hizballah.

    I think there a reasonably strong parallels between the Nazi party and Hezbolla. The Nazi’s were after all essentially a terrorist group that managed to get control of a first world nation (albeit in economic and social collapse).

    I am quite surprised actually at the restraint that Syria, Iran and Iraq have demonstrated for not going in and joining the fun so far, this demonstrates a huge effort by these governments to keep their citizens in check

    I’m not. It would give the west the excuse needed to up the ante. It’s a political game at the moment. Syria and Iran know they’d lose it big time if they gave the west the excuse they need to invade. The hawks want to invade. Finish it once and for all. But there’s just not enough political capital in it after the Iraq debacle. If Syria and/or Iran moved that would change. There would be enough political capital amongst the western leaders to justify it. Or worse they could just listen to the far right nutjobs and ‘nuke em until the glow and shoot em in the dark’.

    Do I want it to happen? of course not. Do I think it will happen? Unlikely at best. But it could if the wrong people make the wrong decisions at the wrong time.

  • Bubz
    23 July 2006

    Ethan,

    “Finally compelled to act”?? It doesn’t take much compelling does it.

    🙂

    This is just absolutely sickening, the whole mess. And someone up there was right, this is quickly becoming another “Me against the world” scenario – and you can substitute “Me” with either “Israel / US” or “Hizbollah / Muslims” with endless bickering and hatemongering no doubt festering on both sides.

    The world needs to chillax, and listen to some Elvis.

  • Johnster
    23 July 2006

    It’s just the left hand arm of the Iraq pincer movement

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    Good day Mahmood,

    You write:

    The wise thing to do is to stop, take stock, and realise that the only way forward open to all parties cannot be anything else but the negotiating table. How else can permanent and lasting peace be achieved?

    In a call for fairness, I hope the day will come that if and when G-d forbid, our enemies wage attacks on us, that you will write a similar statement in support of the Israeli people.

    Batzi

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Batzi, of course! How can I espouse peace if it is not for both sides? Doing anything else would just be hypocritical.

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    Thanks Mahmood.
    I have only recently been introduced to your blog and as you are aware have been kept very busy writing on it, hence do not know what happened before.
    Let me just add that I have enjoyed reading your coloumns and congratulate you on a most exciting blog.
    Finally, I hope your back feels better.
    Take care
    Batzi

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Batzi,

    I don’t think the thing to worry about is what Mahmood will write in such a situation. I think he has proven his willngness to see, if not the other side’s point of view, then at least the fact that the other side also has a right to one. This is already more than you get from most.

    If anything, the problem is that Mahmood is in no position to actually affect anyone but his (small) set of readers.

    Mahmood,

    We have a proverb in Hebrew. It says “too many chefs spoil the dish”. I do believe that the over-eager international medeling in this conflict has helped to prolong it, rather than bring it torward a resolution. I say so because I know the palestinians to rely on support from other Arab nations as an excuse for acts that are, quite frankly, inexcusable, but I also say this because I do not trust my own leaders (and, no, I did not vote for them) to not have the fact that they do (despite what the “Independent” survey says) get international support now let things get out of control in Lebanon.

    Let’s take the Kofi Annan example. In saying that two other parties, neither of which is himself, should do something, he is actually not saying anything at all. Now, ask anyone not personally involved in the conflict whether that is a good idea. Of course everyone will say “yes”. Who would say “no” to utopia?

    Now ask someone who is involved in the conflict about that very same statement. Now this is not some theoretical question about beuty. It’s a concrete question about courses of action. When answering such a question, such considerations as “is the aim which we try and reach at all reachable”, and “what will be the cost”. All of a sudden, a resonating “yes” is no longer so obvious.

    So, no, I do not take the above survey particularily seriously.

    Shachar

  • Pamela
    23 July 2006

    skribe

    yes we should, just like The League Of Nations was abandoned. The UN started out as a good thing, but then got lost along the way, and I think it can not be fixed. the UN is so highly corrupt, to the point of no return.

    Bubz

    “The world needs to chillax, and listen to some Elvis.”

    That would be great, but in most Islamofascists, music is even forbidden. Even Soccer is forbidden in Taleban style gvts. Did you hear what happened in Somalia and The World Cup?

  • Pamela
    23 July 2006

    I don’t mean to disrupt the dialog here, but I would invite anyone to read this *all* the way through. It is interesting, and could apply in the current situation.

    http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz/2006/07/thanks_i_needed.html

  • Ash
    23 July 2006

    @Mahmood – sorry if I wasn’t clear about this but my comments refer not to the comments of people actually living in the Middle East, for whom this conflict is obviously hugely significant, but rather to the world media which elects to emphasise ME conflict disproportionately, focusing upon it much more than upon other much larger conflicts elsewhere in the world. It’s in fact precisely this overemphasis on just one part of this chaotic world that “lets other conflicts go unchecked”: no room for Darfur on the frontpages, but if someone gets shot in Gaza it makes the headlines, the opinion columns, the editorial, the letters page etc. And I absolutely think that this feeds the conflict rather than quelling it. It contributes to an exaggerated sense of grievance and victimhood among Muslims all over the place. It encourages political posturing on all sides. It facilitates the rise of no-marks intent only upon proving what “big men” they are. It has transformed Israel-Palestine-Lebanon into a conceptual arena in which “Islam” and “the West” seem to be battling it out – a deceptive and dangerous idea for those in the region because, in reality, the fates of neither “Islam” nor “the West” rest upon the outcome.

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    “and a few prisoners who have been illegally detained for a long time and without trials…”
    Hardly the case.
    I read that amongst the ones that they want set free are:

    Samir Kuntar, who landed on the beaches of Nahariyah, walked
    into an apartment house, took a father and his four year old
    daughter out. Then, as the father watched, they smashed the
    child’s head in with a rock before shooting him.
    They want to release the men who set off bombs in the
    cafeteria of Hebrew University, killing students and
    teachers. They want to release men who used the head of an
    infant for target practice.

    Would you consider their detention illegal?O proclaim their innocence?
    Batzi

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Not at all. These monsters should rot in prison for all I care. But these very animals you are talking about possibly have stood trial and got their justice. What about the others? Have they received a fair trial and have been incarcerated accordingly? If not, then release them, if yes, they should serve their sentence.

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Ash, put like that, I agree with you.

  • Anonymous
    23 July 2006

    This is so humiliating for Britain. F**k you Tony and f**k your financial underwriter and ‘Prime Ministerial Middle East envoy’ Lord Levy.

    Sorry for the language but I had to get that off my chest.

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    Pamela,

    The LoN was only abandoned AFTER the UN was formed. It was replaced by something that was considered better (namely the UN). Do you really mean for the world to return to the pre-league days? If not, what do you propose to replace te UN with?

    Even Soccer is forbidden in Taleban style gvts.

    But cricket is not =)

  • Shachar
    23 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Most (unfortunately, not all) prisoners did stand trial, and did get a chance to voice their side. I do believe that Israeli law does not allow “administrative arrest”, which is the term under which people are held without trial, for very prolonged periods, so none of the people who are held for decades are done so without trial.

    Even people under “administrative arrest” have the option of appeal to an Israeli instance called “High justice court”. It’s the same court that altered the seperation fence’s line in several cases, following Palestinain appeals. In those cases, the court claimed “unjustified and unbalanced harm to the local Palestinain residents”, when compared with the security advantages that the fence is meant to bring.

    Of course, some people consider those advantages as irrelevant, presumably because it is security brought to Israelies, and therefor not an objective. To those people, ANY harm is unjustified.

    The reason I bring it up is because, as far as I know, the prisoners dillema is, more or less, the same. And, no, I am not happy about having people held without trial either. I don’t, however, know enough about the considerations at hand to form an informed opinion about whether it is really a necessary or justified step.

    Shachar

  • Doubting Thomas
    23 July 2006

    How may Egyptian and Jordanian p.o.w.’s are there? None, because they have a peace treaty and recognize Israel. How many Egyptians and Jordanians have died recently under Israeli bombs? None, ditto. If Lebanon wants its ‘illegally detained’ p.o.w. back, then they should recognize Israel and sign a treaty. You don’t get your prisoners back until the war is over.

    Not everything can be solved by open-hearted discussion. Since Hezbollah and Hamas both have the complete destruction of Israel as part of their goals, what kind of negotiating point is that? What should the Israelis negotiate? The manner of their suicide?

    I don’t think Israel should be blasting the crap out of all Lebanon, they should confine it to Hezbollahstan. They should also announce that any attack on Israel by Hezbollah is de facto an attack by Syria and hit Damascus. Once Bashar understands that he’ll lose something every time Hezbollah attacks, he’ll have an inducement to restrain them.

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    I don’t mean to disrupt the dialog here, but I would invite anyone to read this *all* the way through. It is interesting, and could apply in the current situation.

    Yep. Totally applicable. So lets recap. If you’re in a bar and a marine sucker punches one of your mates use boxing. Got that? Great!

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    Either that, or as the allegory goes: don’t take prisoners. Or rather, beat the bejeezus out of your enemy until either he’s an unrecognisable pulp or dead. Whichever comes first.

    Any difference with the animal kingdom?

  • skribe
    23 July 2006

    It could also be:

    Never turn your back on a marine;
    Navy boys go down easy;
    Stallone fans just like to watch.

    =)

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    Here are some statistics about the other side of the conflict, statistics that not many mention in the media:

    Over a million Israeli children are spending their
    summer vacation listening to rockets falling, hearing
    horrifying sirens, watching their fathers put on their
    uniforms to go to the front, and experiencing the dispersion
    of their families, as fathers remain to care for farms and
    businesses while mothers and children go South. No one
    mentions this in all the ” growing “concern about the
    humanitarian crisis” that the war has created. Pretty
    one-sided coverage.

    And some more:

    Since the war broke out, 2,200 rockets have been fired at
    Northern Israel into populated urban areas.

    And lastly, it also affects people’s attitudes:

    A big demonstration of the left took place in Tel-Aviv.
    In a revealing column in Ynet, distinguished Israeli
    novelist Yoram Kaniuk, who has been identified with the
    Left, and who once said: “The more Israel orients itself
    according to Judaism and its fundamental variant, the more
    irrational is its policy, i.e., the more dangerous a threat
    it poses to its neighbors,” got an invitation to join. He
    declined. This is what he wrote in YNET: “About what are
    they demonstrating? That Israel doesn’t want to agree to her
    annihilation? That she doesn’t want have Kassams landing in
    Ashkelon and Sderot, Nahariya and Haifa? Is there any city
    in the world that would be willing to sit quietly while
    being bombed, looking for excuses to understand the enemy
    and support him? Some say I’ve become a right winger. It
    isn’t true. What’s wrong with them? Anyone who isn’t in
    favor of the destruction of the State of Israel is a
    right-winger? This is a holy war of Islam against the
    infidel West….

    Batzi

  • Don Cox
    23 July 2006

    “A whole country is on its knees, what else could they possibly want?”

    Israel wants to destroy the tunnels and bunkers that run under the border, which are prepared for an invasion of Israel.

    They want to destroy all the rocket launchers and rockets and prevent Hizbollah from getting any more. These rockets have warheads packed with ball bearings to do maximum damage to civilians, just like the car bombs in Iraq.

    Hezbollah is not going to simply let the Israeli army walk in and do those things. They are a formidable fighting force. It is a safe bet that the whole border area is mined and booby trapped. This is not a one-sided fight. Israel could very well lose a battle with Hizbollah.

    The first thing to do, strategically, is to cut all of Hizbollah’s lines of communication. That means phones, roads, bridges. Then the headquarters have to be destroyed. These are apparently deep underground in the Shiite district of Beirut – where the photos showing destruction were taken.

    Why do Hizbollah have their military HQ in the middle of a residential area?

  • Johnster
    23 July 2006

    Invasion? get real

    More importantly – and please do not take this as an anti-Jewish statement – but why does the British government appoint a Jew to be its Middle East envoy — stupid or what?

  • Ash
    23 July 2006

    Johnster – you are suggesting that a British Jew is somehow incapable of being the British Middle East envoy and you think that’s not “an anti-Jewish statement”???? What is your problem? Do you think that a British Jew is somehow racially programmed to … do what, exactly? Please do enlighten us because, y’know, anyone reading your comment might just think you were a racist or something.

  • Ingrid
    23 July 2006

    Israel has created Hezbullah with their invasion of Lebanon in ’82 and now , as Mahmoud mentioned also, it will grow in numbers. In Israel, it seems to me that as a young country with all the armament given to them by the US tax payers (you’re welcome, don’t mention it), it has never learned to deal with other countries or entities like long existing ones have. The only way Israel has been in existence is by war, overt and covert, protected by the US at the UN security council vetoing the majority of the council. Protected by getting billions in dollars that allows Israel to buy weapons (as of this week too) from Lockheed Martin, Raytheon etc. Israel doesn’t know any better and hasn’t learned anything from other older countries who know better that guerilla warfare cannot be stamped out by sheer weaponry. Terrorism in general comes from a place of discontent (very much discontent at that) and whether you like it or not, that is what you need to address. There are the basques, the tamil tigers, Ira, guerilla warfare is not fought with guns. It’s outsmarted by wise decisions and truthful self evaluating ones at that. If one kid in the family acts out, it’s not just a problem with the kid. Parenting experts have figured out by now that the ‘problem kid’ is the most sensitive one that is acting out the imbalance of the whole family that the outside world doesn’t get to see. You want peace? I do not think so. Because what I see is just plain kneejerk reactions that is tapped from within where there’s violence itself. as for Hezbullah, and all other extreme Islamic factions.. killing will beget more killing. Their true source is their reason for being. Moderation in attitudes need to come from all sides, and as Mahmoud mentioned in a previous post, that also needs to come from Arab leaders, whether state or imams. Saudi Arabia for example could put the kabash on the US for providing the weapons (pls don’t tell me they’re not taking sides, they’re getting all these corporate commissions for their weapon sales, you ought to feel used, their gain is your loss of life)..they can do so by cutting of the oil supply.
    If you want peace, just think, what would Ghandi do? (I purposely did not say Jesus)

  • chantelle
    23 July 2006

    Middle East: Who backs full and immediate implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 – calling on all Lebanese militias (including Hezbollah) to disband?

    Show me the flags.

  • howard
    23 July 2006

    The problem with immediate ceasefire is that it returns to the status quo ante (the earlier situation) in which Hizballah continues to periodically rocket Israeli towns, murder civilians or kidnap soldiers, and Israel responds, while Lebanon does nothing to stop the situation and Syria and Iran send more and more weapons to Hizballah.

    What happened here was that a threshold was crossed. It was going to happen because the status quo ante was inherently unstable.

  • Barsawad
    23 July 2006

    Syria and Iran are only brought in as an excuse and deviation! While Lebanon bleeds and agonises! And all this destruction by Isarael, we are told is: to punish Hezbollah and for Israel to try to get back the two kidnapped soldiers! What a joke!

    Israel, which kidnaps, assasinates and commits all kinds of war crimes – would like us to believe; would like the word to believe, that – it’s war, is against ‘terrorists’! Just as America’s war is! Israel is only emulating its main supporter: America! And uses the same reason(s) for its destruction: going after terrorists!

    As for UN resolutions: Israel is the number country in ignoring and dismissing all the main resolutions by the UN on the conflict(s) in the Middle East!

  • mahmood
    23 July 2006

    And they made every Arab (regardless of religion) and Muslim a Hizballah supporter and the reputation of the USA and the UK is all but destroyed.

    This feels like a huge ricochet waiting to happen, and I don’t want to be close when that happens.

    God help us.

  • Hettie
    23 July 2006

    with respect the independent is a shit paper. sorry about that Mahmood. I’m just fed up with their awful covers, cartoons, articles everything (this being I don’t know the tenth or more criminal cover).

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    Ingrid,
    If as you say, “Israel has created Hezbullah with their invasion of Lebanon in ‘82,” then it is only fair that Israel destroys Hezbollah. So why are you peole complaining? Is it not for the good of the world?
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    23 July 2006

    I know that we are all saddened by the death of innocent civilians as a result of the hostilities.
    The enclosed link gives some explanation to what many in the world fail or refuse to realize.
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153291973626&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull
    You can reach your own conclusions.
    Batzi

  • Don Cox
    23 July 2006

    “Who backs full and immediate implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559 ”

    I do. It should have been implemented a year ago. If it had been, the current war would not be happening.

  • M
    23 July 2006

    “And they made every Arab (regardless of religion) and Muslim a Hizballah supporter and the reputation of the USA and the UK is all but destroyed.”

    None of this is going to come out the way I mean it; but Mahmood, that is just baloney. The USA’s reputation has always been nil because we are not Arabs…well some of us are, but not all….that is never going to change for hundreds of years and apparently that’s OK.

    No one “makes” anyone do anything in this day and age; apparently we simply choose sides based on who we are because we haven’t got enough brains to realize we are all one. Shame on “every Arab (regardless of religion) and Muslim a Hizballah supporter” for taking sides using those standards. I have been watching for so long trying to understand, and I give up. People cannot have it both ways about the status quo not changing and then support the people who keep them down under the guise of protectors when it is really about power and money.

    Ingrid,

    “Terrorism in general comes from a place of discontent (very much discontent at that)”

    Terrorism comes from a place of desire for power and wealth; nothing more.

  • A
    23 July 2006

    ye and i back the resolution 1666 that should remove israel from the middle east and throw them back to USA and UK israel shouldnt be in the middle est in the first place dam zionists !
    if it had been the current war would not be happening

  • milter
    23 July 2006

    Look at some citations from Sheik Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah , one of the founders of Hizbullah:

    Therefore, we must secure their departure from Lebanon as a precursor to Israel’s obliteration from existence, and as the first step towards liberating our people from the talons of Western imperialism. Only then may we begin to construct a political system favored by the people based upon the teachings of the holy Quran.

    …. or this one:

    “What martyrdom is greater than making yourself a human bomb detonating it among the enemy? What spiritualism is greater than this spiritualism in which a person loses all feeling of his body and life for the sake of his cause and mission?”

    The Middle East is full of more or less officially recognized groups with similar views and attitudes. How fruitful do you think negotiations with people like that will be?

    Hizbullah may have come to life as a result of Israel’s problems with it’s neighbours but even without the existence of “the zionist enemy” they would have found a platform for their hatred.

    The main goal of people like that is power.

    They may try to claim they want “peace”, “justice”, “liberation”, “human rights”, “equal rights for men and women”, etc. ,etc. , but, their interpretations of those words invariably always end with “as prescribed in the Quran”. And who do you think shall have the right to interpret?

    As long as people like that can find a forum for their destructive ideas and as long as leaders and intellectuals in The Middle East won’t reject them wholeheartedly, people will continue to kill each other over the right to define the “glorious way to heaven”.

  • Brian
    23 July 2006

    “israel shouldnt be in the middle est in the first place dam zionists !
    if it had been the current war would not be happening”

    So the Jews caused this war because they were in the middle east, just as they caused the Holocaust because they were in Europe.

    So the Jews should all exterminate themselves and there will be peace everywhere, because all other peoples – especially Muslims – are so peace-loving: After all we only have to look at A

  • Batzi
    24 July 2006

    Brian,
    It is a real sad phenomenon that I have encountered in some of these blogs: the deep ignorant and blind hatred that some Arabs, Muslims bear towards Jews and the State of Israel.
    Don’t you feel sorry for them? Having to wake up every morning only to realize that we are there to stay…. What a life.
    And for those of you who want to undestand some of the roots of that hatred and perhaps help bring it to an end please read the enclosed link:
    http://frontpagemag.com/articles/readarticle.asp?ID=21322 yesterday – written by the daughter of the founder of the Palestinian Fedayeen. It is only a short one.
    BTW A., I hope you are not using a cellphone, if you do just remember next time you use it that it is only one of many Israeli inventions!
    Batzi

  • MoClippa
    24 July 2006

    Anyone read Robert Fisk’s article – Paradise Lost?

    It’s not available in entirety on most sites, but someone blogged the whole thing

    http://ajnabeeyeh.blogspot.com/2006/07/fisk-on-israels-latest-slaughter-of.html

    It’s a great read, and a good take.

  • Joe
    24 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    I call BS on you. Man, you railed against steve the american for far less than the tone of your post, calling my president a moron. What? you get offended when someone disses islam, but it’s ok to insult my president? You’re usually thoughful and restrained. Selective application of rules does not become you.

  • Mike
    24 July 2006

    ed: racist comment deleted.

    originally entered by: 195.229.242.85 AE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES DUBAI DUBAI EMIRATES INTERNET

  • Barsawad
    24 July 2006

    If I may quote a friend of mine, whom I totally agree with:

    “Followers of the Middle East current affairs know for sure that this onslaught is not a result of self defense from Hezbollah katyusha rocket attacks and the capture of the two soldiers, but a well planned strategy to deface the new Arab identity from solidifying in Israeli’s vicinity. If that does not hold water, how then would we explain the savage and brutal attacks on civilians and Lebanon’s symbols of economical revival/development such as her infrastructure, power stations, business entities et al. or the continuing reference of Syria and Iran as sponsors of terror and the convenient relegation to oblivion the mention of the mammoth sponsorship Israeli terror receives from USA and her obedient allies. I say it again, terror is terror, there is no in between, no good terrorists and no bad terrorists especially when innocent civilians are dying in a hurry as collateral damage.”

    We also know that the capture of the two Israeli soldiers did not come as a surprise to the state of Israel since the Hezbollah leadership had been publically expressing their desire to capture Israeli troops as bargaining chips for Lebanese prisoners. Equally important, is the fact that Israeli has not only been violating Lebanon’s sovereignty but had continued to occupy some parts of southern Lebanon at will. With such ‘bwiino’ it is hard to ascertain who the aggressor is and who is justified to press the self defense mode button. The bottom line is that innocent people, women and children mostly, are dying as a result of this madness and just like in Rwanda, the world looks on in horror but doing nothing to stop the senseless carnage, which leaves the impression that some lives are worth more than others.

    The effects of this will be felt far and wide and I am not talking about forking a buck more for gas (which is innevitable) but something permanently shaking our understanding and viewing of the world; if any of you thought everything will go back to normal after Israel and Hezbollah achieve their goals then think again. For starters, one thing is for sure; the young democracy in Lebanon is under siege from the very people that funded it. Go figure!! I say TERROR ON BOTH SIDES MUST STOP, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! And to that I say, amen.”

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Joe get a grip. Islam is a religion from God, your president is a human. A moron I grant you, but a human nonetheless.

    Deal with it.

  • Chap
    24 July 2006

    There have been some very insightful comments on this post. Sir, you have managed to minimize the unpleasantness discussing a difficult topic and for that I commend you.

    I do believe that Canada, as I understand from their prime minister’s comments, is taking a similar position as Australia et al. So perhaps their flag should be on the right as well.

    I understand your unhappiness. Perhaps there is another reason for the decision those countries on the right have made: they think it’s the best one they can make at the moment.

    It’s very clear that an immediate cease fire right now would only benefit one belligerent and impede the other belligerent. A cease fire makes for an excellent tactic for Hezbollah, and international pressure to do so also benefits Hezbollah disproportionately because they’re losing despite the human shield tactics they’ve used.

    My understanding of the prisoners in Israel is that at least some of them mentioned in the Bahrain paper as being innocent were tried and convicted of killing others–including women who are described in the Middle East papers as innocent victims, but who were caught trying to kill people. I don’t say I know truth; I merely mention there are conflicting reports and compelling evidence that may be different from what you stated. I could be wrong but I haven’t seen what I see as correct reporting from the Bahrain Tribune this last few weeks.

    Negotiation was mentioned. I am not smart enough to see how this can successfully happen. Diplomacy didn’t stop rockets going into civilians for many years. A cease fire, indeed a lasting peace, would be wonderful–but who would be making that peace? How could Israel trust an agreement from an organization that believes the “behind every tree” logic, and dedicates themselves to pushing that country into the sea? This is a very hard problem and just asking both sides to stop it won’t work.

    The famous Englishman’s saying that “war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things” might be believed by many people in this conflict. In my country’s history we had a terrible civil war fueled partly because both sides believed that the only way to resolve the differences was to fight and see what God had allowed to happen. There may be something similar which will prevent peace in the short term.

    I don’t like the conclusion I make, but sometimes greater violence earlier prevents worse violence later. A negotiating table that only benefits one party will not get seats filled. A negotiating table full of liars will not make a good negotiation. I am very sad but don’t think the method you propose will be any more humane overall in the long run.

    I agree that worst case is Syria going overtly at war, then Iran going overtly at war and bringing the US in, then utter chaos.

    There is, however, a hope I have: that delicate negotiation inside the Arab League countries, led by the Saudis, compel Syria to give up on Hizb; Lebanon’s (or somebody who isn’t a complete thug) legitimate government has a block to governing removed and is able to actually govern Hezbollahstan; Iran loses face and slows its proxy warfare; and Bahrain remains a happy, rich and tolerant place.

  • Batzi
    24 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Thank you for deleting the comment by Mike.

    Batzi

  • A
    24 July 2006

    yes jews have to be removed from the middle east because they are islams #1 enemy and its also written in our holy quran
    also why did the jews invade palestine in the 40s? and they keep on kiling inocent palestinians everyday they are guilty 100% and deserve to be banished from this planet ! face the truth
    but i realy blame us arabs for selling oil to the US and israel

  • Fanusi Khiyal
    24 July 2006

    I tend to submit the following problem. Hezbollah and Hamas wish for one thing: the total destructon of Israel, the murder of every Jew in it, and _then_ to continue that process on the civilised nations of the West. They have repeatedly proven that they will use civilians – _their own people_ – as shields.

    Note, too, what Israel and Hezbollah get delivered from their relative patrons. Israel get’s smart bombs from the US, designed to be able to pick out targets with minimum damage to the surroundings. Hezbollah gets dirty bombs, designed to spread as much death as possible.

    You will not get a ceasefire, because neither Hamas nor Hezbollah will agree to such a thing. They will continue to fight until either they are destroyed or Israel and all the jews are.

    And when I say destroyed, I mean killed to the last man.

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Thank you for contributing to the constructive debate A, what would the Muslim Nation do without people like you…

    <banging head against brick wall>

  • Johnster
    24 July 2006

    Ash

    Thanks for your comment – and I can quite understand that you could construe my comment as rascist but it is really not – please allow me to explain. The Middle East is almost exclusively Arab (exceptions being Berber, Jews, Phoenicians etc) and very largely Muslim (again with minorities of Christians, Jews and other religions).

    Now, if the UK (my country incoidentally) is trying to send an envoy to persuade Arab leaders and peoples of a certain course of action, then the envoy needs to have credibility and, to some extent, to be able to give an impression of independence and reasonableness.

    Since that envoy will be british, he is already handicapped (bearing in mind the genrally poor record of british governmental action in the Middle East, with certain notable exceptions which are more often down to the individuals involved on the ground rather than the British government sitting in London). Also bearing in mind, the difficulties that Arabs may have dealing Jewish people (since they may perceive that a Jewsih person would have sympathies towards the state of Israel), then it is quite clear that sending a Jewish person (whether that person has actual or merely perceived prejudice) is unwise.

    But, the british government and especially Glynn Howells and Tony Blair have no real understanding of or sympathy for the Arab world.

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Fanusi, according to the news, both Israel and Hizballah have tentatively agreed a cease fire with NATO commanded troops on the border.

  • Ash
    24 July 2006

    @Johnster – right, so what you really mean is that Arabs hate Jews so much that they make no distinction between British Jews and Israelis, Zionists and non-Zionists etc. In your views, Arabs regard ALL Jews – of whatever nationality, background or political persuasion – as “the enemy” and we, the British, should pander to this prejudice by not inflicting some filthy Jew envoy upon them. Gotcha. Thanks for that then.

  • Anonymous
    24 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    according to the news, both Israel and Hizballah have tentatively agreed a cease fire with NATO commanded troops on the border.

    Where did you see that news?

  • Johnster
    24 July 2006

    Ash
    You are now opting out of rational discussion!! Each of you sentences tells me (“you”, “what you really mean”, “your views”) what I am supposed to be saying. Dear dear, sit down and have a nice cup of tea and actually read what I wrote rather than fantasising about your wishful projections. 😉

  • Ash
    24 July 2006

    @Johnster – it’s very simple. Which bit didn’t you understand? Your argument is absurd and dangerous. Essentially you are saying that Britain should pander to Arab racism by not appointing a British Jew as its Middle East envoy. You are, of course, very careful to stress that you yourself are not a racist; no, you’re just this reasonable guy making a racist argument … Tell me, what other prejudices do you think that Britain should pander to? Our current Secretary of State is a woman – Margaret Beckett. Perhaps we should sack her too, for fear of offending the Saudis.

  • Cindy
    24 July 2006

    “according to the news, both Israel and Hizballah have tentatively agreed a cease fire with NATO commanded troops on the border.”

    Will this one be as effective as the last one between Israel-Lebanon-and the UN? Or just long enough for Hizballah to re-supply, re-arm and re-position?

    Speaking of the UN, I wonder if that UN peacekeeper is OK. The one Hizballah shot in the back TWICE!

  • Ramy
    24 July 2006

    mahmood…

    why have my comments benn removed from this blog??

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Ramy which comments? Unless they are in the moderation queue I have not removed any comments except if they are duplicate.

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Where did you see that news?

    BBC World Service radio. Didn’t have a chance to dig it up from online sources, but I’m sure by now they must have been published.

  • mahmood
    24 July 2006

    Ramy I just checked the queue and only Salman Rahmah’s comment was in moderation due to more than 3 links which has now been released, but none from you.

  • VA Gamer
    24 July 2006

    Prior to the start of these hostilities, how many Lebanese people has Israel killed since it left Lebanon in 2000? How many missiles did it fire at Lebanon? How many tanks and soldiers have crossed the border from Israel into Lebanon? I think that Israel proved to the world that it wants to live peacefully with Lebanon by withdrawing its forces in 2000.

    On the other hand, how many missiles has Hizballah fired from (unoccupied) Lebanon into Israel since 2000? If Hizballah is merely a resistance force, then what are they resisting once Israel withdrew? Isn’t firing missiles into another country an act of war? How should Israel have responded?

    Nations should be very slow to choose war, but once war is started (or forced upon it), one MUST fight to win. Calling Israel’s actions “disproportionate” is just stupid. The most merciful way to prosecute a war is to finish it quickly. That means using the nation’s full might to fight and end the war.

    If Hizballah launches missiles from a mosque, then Israeli forces should quickly eliminate the truck and missiles, even if it means destroying the mosque. The fault for doing this lies FULLY with Hizballah for using the mosque as a battlefield. The death of women and children used as human shields also lies FULLY with those who so wantonly fight from behind them.

    As for calls for a cease fire, why should Israel trust this one when every other cease fire just leads to more incoming rocket attacks and suicide bombing? Israel should insist upon a FULL PEACE treaty. After all, how many people have died from warfare in Egypt and Jordan after making peace?

    I feel very bad for those suffering in Israel and Lebanon. War is a horrible thing. That is why it must be finished quickly and end permanently.

  • Ethan
    24 July 2006

    Sorry for the late reply, I had a busy weekend.

    Ethan, how can you condone millions’ death? I wonder if that would still be your position had your home been somewhere in the Middle East rather than half a world away in which you might think that you would be safe from the fallout of these millions who would die to arrive at your particular nirvana.

    I never condoned the death of millions. But there will be millions. And it will be terrible. I am not a half a world away from the fighting, Mahmood. I’m living in target #1. Noone is safe anymore from a fanatical asshole with a gun or a bomb and a mission from Allah.

    Many of those millions will be ‘civilians’ forced into martyrdom by the ununiformed jihadist movements. Hezbollah has been accused of forcing civilians who want to escape from southern Lebanon to stay at gunpoint. They are playing a cynical game of shame with the West. We who revere life hate to see civilians killed, and those who hate will do anything, even putting their own children in the line of fire to use that weakness against us.

    And they call them martyrs – as if posthumous accolades are some sort of ‘reward’ for being murdered by their own people.

    Do you honestly believe that when you kill these millions that you, your children and their children would be safe?

    I would prefer not to kill anyone except for those Islamist animals that masquerade as humans. However, their tactics will bring ruin upon the Middle East and much of Europe and the world at large.

    I do not wish for anyone innocent to die – but it cannot be prevented as long as the Islamists choose to force their own people to be their shields.

    Isn’t that a violation of Islamic law anyway? Not that they care – their interpretation and hate culture twists dishonor to honor, cold murder to martyrdom, and grants that fighting for Allah absolves all possible sins.

    It’s interesting. They have a win-win situation. As long as they die fighting, they can violate every single rule and norm of human behavior and Allah will grant them their virgins. Ghengis Khan was right: This is the religion of a Warrior.

  • Ninja-0
    24 July 2006

    mahmood
    Thank you for contributing to the constructive debate A, what would the Muslim Nation do without people like you…

    to be honest thats the problem with arabs these days they are all talk and no action.

  • Anonymous
    24 July 2006

    Just in case there is any doubt that Israel was founded on murder and terrorism (including incidentally the murder of hundreds of british soldiers by terrorists who are revered as freedom fighters today in Israel), check out this link to the BBC — you can listen to the program as well

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document.shtml

    So for Israel to complain about “terrorists” is the kettle calling the pot black.

    The issue is to stop calling names and acting hurt but to stop the violence now and totally. Jaw jaw is always better than war war

  • VA Gamer
    24 July 2006

    Yes, anonymous, jaw jaw is always better than war war. However, what do you do whan jaw jaw doesn’t work? Since Israel pulled completely out of the Gaza strip, the Palistinean terrorists launched almost daily rocket attacks into Israel. What are they trying to accomplish? Perhaps an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank? The current Israel government was elected to do just that. So why is HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, et al. fighting? Israel is about to give them what they want.

    Hmmm…..perhaps living peacefully in a state side-by-side Israel is not what they want. Perhaps they want the entire area to themselves. Perhaps their founding charter calls for nothing short of the comlete destruction of Israel.

    On one side you have a nation ready to withdraw from the occupied areas and on the other side you have people who openly call for the destruction of your state. So I ask you, how do you jaw jaw with a party that is devoted to your destruction?

  • Fanusi Khiyal
    25 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    I heard about that ceasefire offer. That one, if adopted, will be about as effective as any of the other ceasefires. It will just give Hezbollah another chance to rebuild and repeat this tragedy again.

    When I first heard of this, my thoughts were “Christ, why Lebanon? Why did it have to be one of the halfway decent countries in the Middle East?”

    If Israel doesn’t do this properly, and finish of Hezbollah, the results will be catastrophic. Partly for Israel, but mainly for Lebanon. It’s a fact of warfare, as articulated by Machiavelli, that leaving your opponent half-dead will ultimately make him twice as strong. If Hezbollah is not annihilated, this mess will repeat again and again. Only once it is gone, permanently, will you see Lebanon with a chance to rebuild and develop.

    If not, things are only going to get worse and worse. With the total mess that the IDF is making of Lebanon, you might even see another Islamic state – read, colony of Iran – develop. Great.

  • Joe
    25 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Just curious, who would you vote for, for U.S. President?

  • skribe
    25 July 2006

    I would have voted for Al Gore. I figure the guy that invented the internet has got to be loads smarter than the guy that almost choked to death on a preztel.

  • Wog Blogger
    25 July 2006

    Hey Mahmood, you have been doing some top blogging on Israel Hezbollah which is really great. And getting some terrific comment threads too.
    Sitting here in Sydney, watching the CNN and Rai International and the Fox and the BCC and SkyNews, I’ve been following the news real close.
    I note your plea, your preference for ceasefire and negotiation, about Skebaa farms (?) and the “prisoners”. I do not believe Hezbollah will lay down its weapons if they get the farms and the “prisoners”. I don’t believe they have any right to get prisoners returnedto start with. I listen to them and I hear Nasrallah say he wants Israel destroyed, and he and the Iranians and Hamas, they all say so and I believe they have to be taken at their word. And since they each started this conflict with the kidnap of the Israeli soldier in Gaza and the killing and kidnaps by Hezbollah into Israeli territory (of 6 dead and 2 kidnapped Israeli soldiers) I think they need to be pummelled until they surrender.
    I think ceasefire is too generous to Hamas and to Hezbollah and will leave the Lebanese govt – the bits without Hezbollah – very weak.
    I don’t believe 400 dead and 500k moved means that Lebanon is somehow destroyed. I think this is overstatement and sadly very typically Middle Eastern. The accurate way to describe the conflict is started by Hamas, escalated completely needlessly by Hezbollah and continued by Hezbollah daily with their constant rocket attacks into Israel and their stupid refusal to reeturn the 3 Israeli soldiers.
    Do that and the Israeli pounding will stop. And that’s a lot quicker than returning the farms and handing over pows.
    I say Hamas and Hezbollah are mafia. Jewhating poof hating womenoppressing mafia.
    Israel mightn’t be angelic but they have never, in their years of history come anywhere near as close to treating Muslim life as cheap as Muslims do.
    Sorry man. I don’t agree with your views about this.
    Or about Iran having a nuclear bomb – they’re just too crazy to be trusted.
    Sorry.

  • mahmood
    25 July 2006

    Thanks for your comments Wog Blogger, having differing opinions with respect certainly adds to the wealth of the discussion.

  • mahmood
    25 July 2006

    And just to add to the discussion, please have a look at this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKq38COoTG8

    Noam Chomsky shares little-known background information on this conflict.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Hi Mahmood,
    In the call for fairness, can I present a right wing point of view to counter the extremely left one as always presented by Chomsky (who just happens to be Jewish and thus may be accepted as more credible, perhaps?). Did you question the sources of Chomsky’s information, a point you seem to take up with other people on the blog? I’d like to do that without being accused by you or anyone else for presenting racist comments by those with opposing points of view? Just as you expect us to see both sides of an issue, I would hope you will welcome that of a right wing non-Jewish American woman.
    I take the liberty to present to you Ann Coulter’s Born ro Run.
    Batzi

    LIBERALS: BORN TO RUN
    by Ann Coulter
    July 19, 2006

    I knew the events in the Middle East were big when The New York Times devoted
    nearly as much space to them as it did to a New York court ruling last week
    rejecting gay marriage.

    Some have argued that Israel’s response is disproportionate, which is actually
    correct: It wasn’t nearly strong enough. I know this because there are parts
    of South Lebanon still standing.

    Most Americans have been glued to their TV sets, transfixed by Israel’s show
    of power, wondering, “Gee, why can’t we do that?”

    Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says that “what’s going on
    in the Middle East today” wouldn’t be happening if the Democrats were in
    power. Yes, if the Democrats were running things, our cities would be ash
    heaps and the state of Israel would have been wiped off the map by now.

    But according to Dean, the Democrats would have the “moral authority that Bill
    Clinton had” – no wait! keep reading – “when he brought together the Israelis
    and Palestinians.” Clinton really brokered a Peace in Our Time with that deal
    “our time” being a reference to that five-minute span during which he
    announced it. Yasser Arafat immediately backed out on all his promises and
    launched the second intifada.

    The fact that Israel is able to launch an attack on Hezbollah today without
    instantly inciting a multination conflagration in the Middle East is proof of
    what Bush has accomplished. He has begun to create a moderate block of Arab
    leaders who are apparently not interested in becoming the next Saddam
    Hussein.

    There’s been no stock market crash, showing that the markets have confidence
    that Israel will deal appropriately with the problem and that it won’t expand
    into World War III.

    But liberals can never abandon the idea that we must soothe savage beasts with
    appeasement — whether they’re dealing with murderers like Willie Horton
    or Islamic terrorists. Then the beast eats you.

    There are only two choices with savages: Fight or run. Democrats always want
    to run, but they dress it up in meaningless catchphrases like “diplomacy,”
    “detente,” “engagement,” “multilateral engagement,” “multilateral diplomacy,”
    “containment” and “going to the U.N.”

    I guess they figure, “Hey, appeasement worked pretty well with … uh …
    wait, I know this one … ummm … tip of my tongue …”

    Democrats like to talk tough, but you can never trap them into fighting.
    There is always an obscure objection to be raised in this particular instance
    but in some future war they would be intrepid! One simply can’t imagine what
    that war would be.

    Democrats have never found a fight they couldn’t run from.

    On “Meet the Press” last month, Sen. Joe Biden was asked whether he would
    support military action against Iran if the Iranians were to go
    “full-speed-ahead with their program to build a nuclear bomb.”

    No, of course not. There is, Biden said, “no imminent threat at this point.”

    According to the Democrats, we can’t attack Iran until we have signed
    affidavits establishing that it has nuclear weapons, but we also can’t attack
    North Korea because it may already have nuclear weapons. The pattern that
    seems to be emerging is: “Don’t ever attack anyone, ever, for any reason.
    Ever.”

    The Democrats are in a snit about North Korea having nukes, with Howard Dean
    saying Democrats are tougher on defense than the Republicans because since
    Bush has been president, North Korea has “quadrupled their nuclear weapons
    stash.”

    It wasn’t that difficult. Clinton gave the North Koreans $4 billion to
    construct nuclear reactors in return for the savages promising not to use the
    reactors to build bombs. But oddly, despite this masterful triumph of
    “diplomacy,” the savages did not respond with good behavior. Instead, they
    immediately set to work feverishly building nuclear weapons.

    But that’s another threat the Democrats do not think is yet ripe for action.

    On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Sen. Biden lightly dismissed the North
    Koreans, saying their “government’s like an eighth-grader with a small bomb
    looking for attention” and that we “don’t even have the intelligence community
    saying they’re certain they have a nuclear weapon.”

    Is that the test? We need to have absolute certainty that the North Koreans
    have a nuclear weapon capable of hitting California with Kim Jong Il making a
    solemn promise to bomb the U.S. (and really giving us his word this time, no
    funny business) before we – we what? If they have a nuclear weapon, what do we
    do then? Is a worldwide thermonuclear war the one war Democrats would finally
    be willing to fight?

    Democrats won’t acknowledge the existence of “an imminent threat” anyplace in
    the world until a nuclear missile is 12 minutes from New York. And then we’ll
    never have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so” because we’ll all be
    dead.

    COPYRIGHT 2006 ANN COULTER

  • mahmood
    25 July 2006

    Thanks for highlighting Ann Coulter’s point of view. I would suggest that she is nothing but a doom-sayer with an agenda; she hates the Democrats more than any other force in the world. Simply put, it is a rant rather than stating facts, pandering to fear and confusion.

    Ann Hart Coulter (born December 8, 1961) is an American author, columnist, and pundit. She frequently appears on television, radio, and as a speaker at public and private events.[1] Known for her controversial [2] polemical style and conservative views, she has been described as “the Republican Michael Moore,” and “Rush Limbaugh in a miniskirt.”[3]

    Coulter has described herself as a “polemicist” who likes to “stir up the pot” and makes no pretense at being “impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do.”[4] She is known for her expressed disdain for the Democratic Party and American liberalism.

    Sorry Batzi, someone who describes herself as makes no pretense at being “impartial or balanced, as broadcasters do.” should not be taken seriously, she’s looking just to make more money by shouting the right phrases whenever the cash drawer is about to open.

    Especially when compared with someone like Chomski.

  • Chap
    25 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Oh goodness. Chomsky?

    I know that certain folks love the guy–the anti-global rioters, the communists, the leftist anarchists, the far left, Europeans looking for an American to bash America–but Chomsky is tainted goods and I trust him not one bit. He supported the Khmer genocide and hates America with a passion, using just enough facts to make a better lie and using logic that hasn’t survived the truth of events many times over. He’s gotten terribly rich telling people how bad the rich people are!

    Coulter’s not really an effective counter–she’s merely an annoying gadfly who needs a sandwich, not evil as is Chomsky–but I must admit that someone listening to Chomsky as a source tends to lose credibility in my eyes.

    I can cite some sources if you like, but I’m just a random person on the net, and I know you’ve got opinions that have been built over time like me or any other person. Perhaps some time I may buy you a cup of coffee in Bahrain and we can have a good give-and-take discussion.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Thanks for the link on Noam Chomsky.
    I have always admired him as a scholar as I have taken a few courses on linguistics in my days.
    That does not make him a relaiable political analyst though.
    Not even once did Chomsky quote a source for his allegations about Israel’s misconduct!
    Yet you seem to take his word as Gospel.
    What happened to you objective stance?
    Did you not insist on another blog that Ramy be precise as far as what his sources were?
    Does Chomsky’s great scholarship give him the license to spread venom without having to adhere to a similar code?
    Yours
    Batzi

  • skribe
    25 July 2006

    Ah, good old Ann Coulter, the bubonic plagiarist.

  • mahmood
    25 July 2006

    Not at all Batzi, I am not the world’s authority on Israel, Palestine, Islam, or any of the myriad of subjects that we have touched upon. I have said repeatedly that I shall stand corrected whenever I am found mistaken, and shall use that experience to further my education. I admire what Israel has done and continues to do in the various fields of technology and for its tenacity for existence. I value life, and would like for everyone including my descendants to live in peace and harmony. That I hope will demonstrate my objectivity.

    I did not take Chomsky’s words as gospel, although I have given him much more credibility than Coulter due to his age and his academic achievements, which no doubt everyone will recognise. His stance in this particular instance against Israel thus has more weight than Coulter as he freely backed up his arguments with facts and dates, while Coulter simply deals in fear and the unknown.

    Let me further freely admit that I do not know much about Chomsky nor do I regard him as a champion for one cause or another. Hearing speak in this particular clip sounded like sense to me; after all, all he said was simply a chronological explanation of the events which he believes has contributed to the current scenario. Yes, I’ve got to read more about him. But like any legal contract one is likely to sign, a persistent clause is that if one paragraph is deemed to be unlawful, then only that particular paragraph is affected and does not affect the whole contract.

    Chap, I welcome the day and I’ll show you around these fair isles of ours!

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Thanks for taking the time to explain, mate (as they say in New Zealand and Australia :-)!

    I am confident that we will talk again soon
    Take care
    Batzi

  • Sunrunner
    25 July 2006

    Batzi….

    Re Ann Coulter: You really should read this.

    I must say that I am dissapointed to see that you have once again chosen quote from a purveyor of hate-speech to make your point. Which although you say is “peace” sounds more and more like an attempt to convinceArabs that they are “wrong” and Israelis’ are “right.”

    I have never heard or read one single venomous word (though I can well understand that the truth hurts — it often does) come from Chomsy’s pen or from his mouth. He has too good a command of the English language for that, as well as a respect for what words really mean.

    Israel does not need “support” — it needs to be held accountable for its crimes and/or stupidities, just as Hamas and Hizbollah need to be held accountable for theirs.

    For more on Ann C., this and this.

    And for a couple of conservative condemnations of Coulter, go here and here .

  • Chap
    25 July 2006

    Excellent points, of course. I should try to prove my assertion–or at least explain why I think that way!

    The ability to sound like he’s making sense is one thing that bothers me about Chomsky. I must go off to work but I did promise a link or three. Here are some articles that I used to help build my own opinion.

    This New Criterion article is probably the best link I have at short notice. It’s titled “The hypocrisy Of Noam Chomsky“.

    Additionally, some less authoritative background of my claim is likely in order. A
    few years back I read this short article about Chomsky and Afghanistan, which alerted me that I should do my due diligence.

    This article in a series ( http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=1018 ), a polemic by someone on the other side politically, discusses some of the methods Chomsky uses to get his point across–methods I strive to avoid (like saying “All right thinking persons agree that…” without explaining who those persons are or why disagreeing makes people wrong-thinking). I think I hit a two link limit so put the raw link code in there.

    I will indeed enjoy a visit to see my worthy Internet colleague. It will take a few years–I must go learn Arabic first, for my job requires I do so–but I look forward to it!

  • Sunrunner
    25 July 2006

    BTW — Ann Coulter was on FauxNews the other day being interviewd about the Israeli-Lebanese war, and said that if she were president, the 1st thing she would do (before addressing even the ME) would be to deport all Liberals from the US. She said it twice, actually. her defenders always claim that she is joking, but when she is asked if she iof she means what shes says, she always says that she means every single word of her won rhetoric.

    She also thinks the US should carpet-bomb Iran.

  • Sunrunner
    25 July 2006

    Mahmood – -moderation alert. I went a little nuts with links!

  • AGA
    25 July 2006

    While I personally do not enjoy reading Ann Coulter because she is a polemicist who likes to stir up the pot; at least she admits to it, while Noam Chomsky is a polemicist masquerading as something else. I believe that he should be read in the same way as one reads Ann Coulter. See this, this, and this. The are all from the same guy, I know, but I think he illustrates the problem quite well.

  • Joe
    25 July 2006

    This is so funny. People here are basing their geopolitical outlook on Noam Chomsky? An ideologue leftist professor?

    Love the way the left works: Unreported and unverified actions of the Joooooos caused the problem..,

    Assertions aren’t facts.

    I guess the rest of the world thinks all the crap on american TV is real too.

    Mahmood and the rest of you need to get a grip on the facts.

    List and defend any leftist, islamist position with facts, not opinion and assertion…you can’t.

  • M
    25 July 2006

    Batzi,

    Don’t let anyone kid you or put you down for quoting Coulter; Ann Coulter’s point of view is just as valid as anyone else on the planet including Chomsky. You’ve got a brain, so use it.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Sunrunner,
    One of the beautiful aspects of this and other sites like it is the fact that we can agree to disagree.
    The purpose of such a site, as I have come to recognize it, is to try and present different points of view and learn to accept them.
    The reason and the only reason that I presented the article by Ann Coulter is as I stated to show that if one could quote Noam Chomsky who is probably one of the most leftist thinkers I have read, then why not present a most right wing thinker? That does not mean I agree with Ann Coulter, that does not mean that I espouse her views. I prefaced my entry by saying that :” I’d like to do that without being accused by you or anyone else for presenting racist comments by those with opposing points of view? (simply because I was accused of exactly the same by some for quoting Brigitte Gabriel and for which I apologized, Mahmood, correct?).
    And what is the next thing I get? JUST THAT!!!
    And from you, Sunrunner?
    “I must say that I am dissapointed to see that you have once again chosen quote from a purveyor of hate-speech to make your point.”
    I would have never thought that of all people, you would be the person to accuse me of that. please re-read my points and see for yourself.
    Now about Noam Chomsky. I guess either one has to be on the receiving end of his statements in order to feel the venom,
    or we have been listening to two different people.
    Seems as though we were both wrong in the manner we perceived each other. It is only sad that people like Noam Chomsky or Ann Coulter made us realize that.
    All the best
    Batzi
    P.S. What is FauxNews?

  • Belgrave
    25 July 2006

    Joe

    Just checking – does left wing mean I am an Islamist?

    Yes…..

    No…..

    Please tick

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    M,
    Thanks for yor support.
    I greatly appreciate it!
    Batzi

  • Polemicist
    25 July 2006

    As usual, any discussion of Chomsky or Coulter is reduced down to a discussion of character, while the facts they have presented are completely ignored. Character is important, but it we also need to listen to what they are saying about the specific issues and judge that separately also.

    Briefly, on Chomsky and Coulter’s characters, we should first be clear that neither are trained scholars in Middle East history, culture or politics. There are for more knowledgeable experts that we could have and should have chosen to quote from: Juan Cole, Martin Kramer, Rashid Khalidi, Bernard Lewis, John Esposito , Stephen Walt, Olivier Roy, Fouad Ajami, Gregory Gause, Gilles Kepel, etc. But out of the two, only Chomsky is a real scholar, and not only a scholar but a rare genius who single-handedly revolutionized his field of linguistics. His work in the philosophy of language and related fields makes him one of the greatests philosophers alive today. Coulter’s greatest achievements are ummm ummmm writing a few books and columns calling Democrats the source of all evil in the US.

    On to the actual issues discussed by Coulter and Chomsky presented by Batzi and Mahmood respectively. The Coulter article has very little to do with what is actually taking place in the Middle East. It is, as usual, about bashing liberals and democrats in the US. That’s her prerogative, but it is absolutely meaningless in a discussion about what is actually taking place in Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Her article is filled with completely unfounded personal opinions and assumptions, so nothing she has presented is falsifiable. At the end of the day it has no value to us who want to discuss what is actually taking place on the ground.

    The Chomsky video, also contains some opinion, such as his use of the term “atrocity” to describe Israel’s actions, and his opinion on what led to the current conflict (the kidnapping of two Gaza civilians, constant repression by the Israelis, etc). However the difference between his video and Coulter’s article is that the former actually presents a number of new facts that are falsifiable. Specifically, the abduction of the Gaza civilians. If this is true then the “they started it” argument coming from the pro-Israel camp has to be dropped. We can also check his claim that the abduction of civilians and soldiers are regarded differently under international humantiarian law. We can also further investigate and, to an extent, test his hypothesis that the “atrocities” in Gaza and strangulation of the West Bank has something to do with this conflict.

    So even though neither Chomsky’s video or Coulter’s article are ideal sources to quote from, one of them has some limited use in this current debate, but Coulter’s article needs to be thrown out altogether.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    And Sunrunner,
    I am not finished with my response to you… had to take a short break.
    As an Israeli, I probably will never be completely objective about the middleastern conflict. Yes, I am willing to assume some responsibility for wrongdoings by my government, my people and even by myself if ever I acted in such a manner.
    But to say that the venom I feel through Chomsky’s words is because: “the truth hurts — it often does,” when all the man does is blame Israel only, is definitely one sided.
    What surprises me most though is that throughout the other communmications, you presented yourself as the epitome of objectivity, a luxury, I cannot indulge in for the reasons I listed above. You
    protected all the underdogs of history, the Indians,and other indigenous nations. Quite noble on your part.
    My people, the Jews, even my parents also, elicited some sympathy from you though only for a brief moment, when they were on the brinks of extinction during the Holocaust.
    Yet, the moment the Jews “dare” to stand up and defend themselves, saying ‘no’ to Hizbollah rockets, saying ‘no’ to Kasam rockets, protect themselves against threats of annahilation from Iran’s President (who just today threatens to turn the middle east into a “violent storm”), these are the moments where monsters like Chomsky speak “the truth.”
    What truth? His truth? Your truth?
    That only Israel is responsible to the current conflict?
    I still have not seen any substantiation to any of his statement or accusations that he raises in the video that Mahmood offered.
    Or, perhaps, such substantiation is not necessary because the man “has too good a command of the English language for that, as well as a respect for what words really mean?”
    Also, one of my friends suggested that Faux News is your form of rediculing Fox News.
    I reserve comments on that, until you confirm it (or deny it…).
    Kind regards
    Batzi

  • mahmood
    25 July 2006

    Well, one thing is for sure… I’ve got to read more of what Chomsky has written and make up my own mind about the man and his ideas.

    Coulter, unfortunately, I have already discounted as I find her simply histrionic rather than an objective and erudite commentator.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    I beg to differ with you, Polemicist

    Coulter’s article may not have much to do with Israel/ Lebanon, IDF/Hezbollah, but it has a lot to do with the American policy of the region which is currently very much dictated by president Bush and his Republican/Conservative platform. This platform calls for the eradication of terrorism and non – appeasement to terrorist states, such as Iran which if you have read lately, has been supplying Hezbollah with its weapons.

    Sometimes, not everything is spelled out for us.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Fair comment Mahmood!

    Happy researching!

  • Polemicist
    25 July 2006

    I accept the point Batzi. But the second that someone starts calling an entire group of people “savage beasts” (whether towards Palestinians, Israelis, Hezbollah, IDF, or anyone) we have to throw out the entire argument. I would happily debate articles by pro-Israel scholars like Kramer and Lewis. But let’s leave Ann Coulter’s stuff where it belongs on Fox News.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Thanks Polemicist.
    Just curious, what is wrong with Fox News? Will someone please tell me?

  • M
    25 July 2006

    Batzi,

    You are welcome.

    Your friend described the label the left uses to describe Fox News correctly. It is much better than the one used by my son’s teacher this year in U. S. history to describe them along with the recommendation to the girl that brought up something not believe a thing she heard on Fox and that CNN was more reliable. Funny stuff.

    If you spend some time watching the different outlets cover the same story, you will quickly discern which bias the news organization and/or the individual reporter has. It’s actually pretty interesting. In any case, there is truly very little “news” on any of the channels, next to none actual journalism, and mostly people pushing their opinions and agenda based on their worldview or what makes a buck. Sorry state of affairs, but that’s the price you pay for freedom of the press. Take it all in, read, listen and form your own opinions.

  • Batzi
    25 July 2006

    Thanks M.
    I have never really watched Fox News.
    I watch Sky New and must admit that I find them very objective. Again, I have to be careful as what might be objective to one,.. is another’s venom… 🙂
    Thanks again M.
    Have a good night

  • Ibn
    25 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    As I am beginning to realise, this world is governed more and more by who has the longest shlong, and not by what is considered morally right.

    Unfortunately, the only rights we effectively have, are the ones we can protect. This especially falls on the Arabs too.

    If the Arabs had the means by which to protect their territory and rights, British colonialism would have never been, and Israel would have never existed. A very heartwarming thought, but alas, we are stuck with the history of the former, and the existence of the latter.

    In short, Nations really only care, at the end of the day, about their interests. No one else’s. They form alliances because of common interests. Should the interests change, those alliances change too. For the most part, they are 90% territorial. The US is in the middle east because of its oil interests. So it will coax who it has to, and fight who it has to, to those ends. Israel is in the game just trying to keep its head above water. So it will bomb who it has to, ignore certain UN resolutions, and comply with other self-serving ones.

    Thats the name of the game Mahmood. Ever played that boardgame of “Risk”? Remember how as soon as you left a territory, it got swallowed up? Nature hates a vacuum on the board and in the real world too.

    The territories occupied by the Arabs today I feel, are very close to being in power vacuums. There is no methodology for continual governance, and very little avenues for self-improvement. Free minds cannot create free ideas, and free ideas is what makes the world go round, and what can protect our rights.

    It is for this reason that Arabs have become victims of other peoples’ whims. former-Soviets, Americans, Israelis, Iranians, and maybe even the Chinese down the line.

    We are stifled because of religion – probably the greatest evil ever known to man – because it closes his mind.

    We need a logic revolution. We need to sit down, with a pencil and paper, and thinking logically, and with rationality, on how to create self-sustaining governments, that respect human dignity, and not allow foreign peoples’ meddle in our affairs.

    Really, it is the religious Imam who is meddling in politics, that stop our ability to put forward a coherent secular government that can fight for justice – both foreign and domestic.

    It is quite a funny irony, that it is the religious Imam, who is actually indirectly aiding our ability to fight Israel and other hegemonies properly.

    Hail the Logic Revolution! 🙂

    -Ibn

  • Ibn
    26 July 2006

    Oops! CORRECTION!

    In my above comment, I said:
    It is quite a funny irony, that it is the religious Imam, who is actually indirectly aiding our ability to fight Israel and other hegemonies properly.

    It is actually meant to say:

    “It is quite a funny irony, that it is the religious Imam, who is actually indirectly HINDERING our ability to fight Israel and other hegemonies properly.”

    Thanks,

    -Ibn

  • Solas
    26 July 2006

    Excellent post Ibn!
    I hope there’s more Ibns in the Middle East than you.
    Religious dogma is always a danger and impediment to sovereignty. Dogma should not and cannot ever rule.

    Solas

  • Sunrunner
    26 July 2006

    Batzi,

    I have am in a strange postion. You see, there are both Jews and Arab-Muslims in my family. My husband’s parents — as I said earlier — narrowly escaped the holocaust. His grandmother died in Poland (shot by Poles) along with one of her sons. MANY other family members were murdered in the camps. On the other hand, I also have former in-laws from a family who escaped from Israel in ’48. These people STILL consider me family, as I do them.

    Now — on the Arab side of my family, I hear LOTs of angry talk about Israel. Hatred even. But not one of them has ever called for either the annihilation of Israel (in spite of what they lost there — as they are a pragmatic bunch and have made lives elsewhere). Not one of them has EVER justified suicide bombings or other blatant attacks on civilians. They do however support the Palestinian right to throw off the yoke of oppression under which they have been living since 1967. Key year btw. They would also support attacks against Jewish settlers on the West bank and Gaza (speaking of cowards hiding behind civilians…if you want to “defend” a territory, you build military outposts, not housing developments, schools and synagogues) a postion I do not agree with (as I think it is a futile pipe dream and as I have consistently stated, in this conflict ALL violence is useless, stupid and very very dangerous for future generations).

    On the Jewish side of my family, there are three kinds. Orthodox fundamentalists who feel justified in calling for the deportation of all Arabs from Judea and Samaria (one person is actually living on the West Bank now and has no intention of ever leaving), and (mostly) reasonable people who are torn between their love of Israel and fear of violence, and then those, who like Chomsky are ashamed of and outraged by Israeli policies. This last group were opposed to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon (which was to crush Palestinian radicals and ended playing midwife to the brith of Hizbollah — who all my Arab families cannot stand, btw), they were opposed to the building of settlements, which led directly to the rise of Hamas amidst what once was the most highly educated and secular group of Arabs in the Middle East.

    As for the accusation that I would think that “Jews” don’t have the “right” to defend themselves (sigh — why is this argument always dragged out?): If that was what I believed Israel were really doing, I would support it wholeheartedly. But I don’t. I see that Israel, like Hamas and Hizbollah has embraced the strategy of collective punishment.

    I don’t recalll that Hizbollah were the first to launch rocket attacks in this latest round. I do remember that Hizbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers (stupidly, criminally, and did deserve a response) Israel reacted by bombing the Beirut airport, bridges roads and etc. So then hizbollah is launching rockets into Israel. Tit for tat. Tat for tit.

    In the meantime, the right in this country is calling for an all out war, to flatten Damascus and Teheran. Meanwhile, 100 people are dying in Baghdad every day, due to a US strategy which is very much like the one Israel is pursuing in Lebanon. Literally millions of children — the only “real” innocents — are being traumatized, with the result that they become ‘high-risk’ for becoming terrorists. As perhaps happened to the Shia children who grew up under Israeli occupation in the 80s, the Palestinians who were children under the arpartheid-like occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in the 70s and 80s. (btw — I am not letting Arab govs off the hook in this respect either.)

    So, I am back to my original postion, which I have stated repeatedly. BOTH sides have committed crimes against humanity. By which I mean, the perpetration of various kinds of collective punishment. For which I see no justification for on moral grounds, and has just been plain old stupid and counterproductive. Crimes for which both sides must acknowegde and take responsibility for, and then logically figure out how to move forward from. None of us are innocent children anymore. We all [colletively] have blood-stained hands. Israel is “there” and beause it is, it should stay. Sans the land aquired after the 1967 war. In the meantime, the Arabs need to get very serious about disarming the militants and putting a stop to the politics of fear and hate in their own lands. My fear is that it will get much much worse before anyone begins to see the sense of this.

    As for Ann Coulter. If it thinks like a facist and speaks and writes like a facist, then it is a facist. (btw — did you take my little Hitler-Coulter quiz? How did you score?) You may not like Chomsky’s venomous truths, or even his poisonous version, but he has NEVER called for the wholesale annihation of a group of people as Coulter has. Consistently.

    As for Faux News. It is an extremely right-wing propagand machine. Think of the rhetoric of Goring & Goebbels et al, and you get the picture.

    Might does not make right. Both the Arabs and the Israelis need to get that through their thick skulls. As does the US Gov. Etc. Because none of this is just about Israel or Palestine or Lebanon or even bin Laden anymore. It is about a world getting sucked into a vortex of murder and mayhem. And it does not have to be, nor should it, be this way.

    Peace. Shalom. Salaam.

  • milter
    26 July 2006

    Ibn,

    You are on to a part of the way forward there. I hope you will continue along that line.

    But, (and I hope you won’t take this as a condescending remark) I can also tell from your comment that your views are coloured by the information you get from whatever media you have access to. As far as I can see you think the Arab world is in it’s miserable state at the moment because of the injustice that was “inflicted on it” by the rest of the world, especially the Brits, the Americans and the Israelis.

    Those sources will tell you that the Arab world can regain it’s former glory “if only you do this and that…….”

    The first step forward is to forget all about that. My own country (Denmark) went through that process about 150 years ago. To some it was a painful experience but slowly it was generally accepted and we learned to accept our position in the new world order.

    Many Arabs will not accept the fact that they don’t have the power and influence they once had several hundred years ago. Those days will not come back and the sooner you realise that, the sooner you will be on your way forward.

    Many mullahs and islamic scolars will tell you the way to regain the position the Arab world once had is to go back to “the roots of islam”. They talk about “the moral decay” of your leaders and the western world but all they want, is followers of their way to heaven. In the end, what they want is the power to control as many people as possible. We have been through that here in Denmark, too!

  • Wog Blogger
    26 July 2006

    Mahmood, you rock. That’s why you get great comment threads.
    Can’t bring myself to see any Chomsky – he is an apologist for the Khmer Rouge, man. The Khmer Rouge. Says they weren’t that bad. And with those utterly despicable words he loses me full time. I won’t hear him. I also am not at all challenged by anything the Independent has to say. That cover is missing the Oz and Canadian flags. Typical of the indie which is really anti-US and anti-Israel.
    I’ve gotten up this morning to see reports of Nasrallah saying he is going to go ‘further than Haifa’ into Israel.
    So much for ceasefire.
    And I’ve seen Rice and Siniora talking and Abbas too. Rice particularly said that there is a need for a new Middle East. Now, that’s bound to make the Nasrallah’s of the ME very nervous and very angry.
    Mahmood, I guess this is the critical question – Nasrallah doesn’t want a new ME, nor does Hamas or Al Qaeda.
    Do you? I figure you do, given all the stuff you post about local Bahraini politics.

  • Ethan
    26 July 2006

    We are stifled because of religion – probably the greatest evil ever known to man – because it closes his mind.

    We need a logic revolution. We need to sit down, with a pencil and paper, and thinking logically, and with rationality, on how to create self-sustaining governments, that respect human dignity, and not allow foreign peoples’ meddle in our affairs.

    Thank you Ibn.

    More than anything these days, major conflicts have been couched in terms of religion. “Jihad” For example, has entered the American college lexicon to mean “crazy people blowing themselves up to take out civilians”. Heck, in some online games like Battlefield II, you can carry a grenade in your hand and run up to an enemy tank and set it off, sacrificing yourself to respawn later, but killing some of the opposing team. That’s also called a “Jihad”.

    It’s done ironically – such is the gamer’s way – but the fact that religion and war are colluded is the fault of those Imams that hinder (not help :P).

    And maybe one day this logical revolution will happen. But to start it, you have to stop stop those who would use religion to kill people who question religion.

  • Joe
    26 July 2006

    Belgrave,

    Leftist refers to socialist/communists. You know, the political philosophy that says it’s okay to vote yourself the right to other people’s property; or if you can’t get the vote, you just take it through violent revolution. They also distort history and lie about the system’s record because they think, the collective can create wealth and distribute better than individuals with rule of law and private property rights.

    Islamists are like socialists in that they want to rule the world. They know what is better for you than you do. Poor decieved soul. They use most of the same methods developed by the communists. Or perhaps the communists borrowed much of their tactics from the prophet PBUH….

  • Ibn
    26 July 2006

    Hi milter, thanks for your post,

    As far as I can see you think the Arab world is in it’s miserable state at the moment because of the injustice that was “inflicted on it” by the rest of the world, especially the Brits, the Americans and the Israelis.

    Those sources will tell you that the Arab world can regain it’s former glory “if only you do this and that…….”

    Whoa Whoa whoa! 🙂 I beleive you have mis-attributed this to me, milter. 🙂

    First, my media sources are predominantly western. CNN, Fox (I stopped liking Fox though – it panders to the right-wing too much), a couple historic books, and my very own, experience from having lived in the Arab world myself.

    I do not think that the cause of repressiveness in the Arab world is the legacy of colonialism. My point is that being weak, has left us open to be manhandled by foreign nations, and foreign peoples’. Nations like England, and peoples’ like the Zionist-Jews. (With the Zionist-Jews being much more malicious and evil than England ever was). More recently, it is the USA with its own share of material interests in the region. And a 100 years from now, it might be someone else.

    The point to remember is this:

    It is not that foreign meddling and colonialism causes repression.

    Rather, it is foreign meddling and colonialism that diverts resources away from going through the natural process of removing repression, and instead funnels it to whomever will resist and fight foreign meddling. There is a big difference.

    To make an analogy, foreign meddling is like that in-law who nagged so much that she took your attention away, and you never did get a chance to fix that water leak, so now your kitchen is flooded. The nagging in-law didnt really cause the flood – but she took your attention away from it, instead of leaving it where it was supposed to be – fixing the leak.

    Many Arabs will not accept the fact that they don’t have the power and influence they once had several hundred years ago. Those days will not come back and the sooner you realise that, the sooner you will be on your way forward.

    I beg to differ. I am an optimist. True, I cannot tell the future. But I remain optimistic. Optimistic because I do see a way through. Its a hard process of evolving the culture, so that religion becomes more mature, and goes from politics, to personal belief. Or it can remain in politics, only to get faded away to reason and logic over time, sort of like royal families who remain, yet are powerless.

    It is religion really, that stops us from properly fighting occupying powers like Israel, among other problems that are domestic. Because religion attracts a handfull of nuts, and causes brain drain. Logic and reason, respect human rights, and allow you to muster the entire work force of a 250 million+ nation-state. Then you can can some real damage.

    Logic and Reason, are the light.

    -Ibn

  • mahmood
    26 July 2006

    Ibn: We are stifled because of religion – probably the greatest evil ever known to man – because it closes his mind.

    We need a logic revolution. We need to sit down, with a pencil and paper, and thinking logically, and with rationality, on how to create self-sustaining governments, that respect human dignity, and not allow foreign peoples’ meddle in our affairs.

    Where do I sign!

    This is very true, although religion does give comfort to people, I believe in its current extremist interpretation it doesn’t have a place in the modern world; it is being used simply as an excuse to violence and the propagation of ill-education. And of course, if you wish to live by logic, then it is going to be very difficult to reconcile your life with religion! Very sad, but in the current climate, very true.

    In short, Nations really only care, at the end of the day, about their interests. No one else’s. They form alliances because of common interests. Should the interests change, those alliances change too.

    Again I agree with you. However, I would further your statement with the fact that Arabs’ interests lie not in enabling good governance, but simply the continuation and jealously guarding tribal fiefdoms disregarding any other facet of the traits of modern states. The recent and blatant about-face Saudi has done by supporting Israel against Hizballah, not because it loves Israel, but because it hates Hizballah. Could that have been done due to its fear of its own Shi’a minority, or the perceived power of Iran and the sure rise of Iraq?

    Is this how Saudi sees itself as “the voice of the Arabs?” It might to their own hierarchy, but they have once again demonstrated that rule by passion alone does not a modern and fair state – in which it guards its citizens’ human rights – make!

    In short, Arab states are in a flux at the moment, and as I do not see their leadership changing the way they govern, and reduce their tribalism to just a historical anecdote, they will soon disappear from existence; the modern world cannot continue tolerating them and their idiosyncrasies any longer.

    And that, my friend, is just one result of your Logic Revolution!

    Again, where do I sign?!

  • Batzi
    26 July 2006

    Thanks for your lengthy response, Sunrunner.
    Too sad that it only took the crisis of Lebanon to bring to you (and perhaps others) to the awareness that Katyusha rockets had been tired into Israel, long before the kidnapping of the two soldiers. Did you also conveniently forget that Kassam rockets had been fired into Israel Gaza only days after it evacuated it?

    “I don’t recalll that Hizbollah were the first to launch rocket attacks in this latest round. I do remember that Hizbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers (stupidly, criminally, and did deserve a response) Israel reacted by bombing the Beirut airport, bridges roads and etc. So then hizbollah is launching rockets into Israel. Tit for tat. Tat for tit.”
    I suggest you read this:
    http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/Hamas_Returns_To_The_Warpath/22524/p1/
    And this:
    http://www.jr.co.il/terror/israel/
    How about this:
    On May 28, 2006, Hezbollah launched a barrage of large Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into an IDF base in northern Israel, igniting cross-border clashes and Israeli Air Force retaliation. According to Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, “Agents working for the axis of Tehran and Damascus arranged the rocket volley [against Israel] to create instability in Lebanon and bring conflict to our borders. … They are trying to prevent the Lebanese army from implementing authority in [areas controlled by Hezbollah.] Also Syria has an economic goal in that it wants to stop investments into Lebanon by making our country unstable.”

    http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/guideDesc.asp?catid=177&type=issue
    But I guess you would not get such news from Chomsky News Network website….. I tried to check his claim, the one he makes on the video provided by Mahmood, that Israel captured two Palestinians in Gaza prior to them capturing the Israeli soldier. Could not find any. As I said, we have been listening to two different people, Sunrunner. And please please do not accuse me of being a “racist” just because when in the call for fairness, I introduce a side that negates your beliefs and convictions!

    Ibn,

    I too like the idea and the call for the “Logical Revolution.”
    The only sad fact is that it is linked to your desire to annihilate Israel. Why does such a good idea have to be laced with hatred? Why can it not include Israel? Do you not think that such an inclusion would give the aforesaid “revolution” more credibility, legitimacy and wider support? After all, just like you, people, we are there to stay and just as we need you, you need us!

    Yours in logic and common sense
    Batzi

  • mahmood
    26 July 2006

    Sunrunner: Might does not make right. Both the Arabs and the Israelis need to get that through their thick skulls. As does the US Gov. Etc. Because none of this is just about Israel or Palestine or Lebanon or even bin Laden anymore. It is about a world getting sucked into a vortex of murder and mayhem. And it does not have to be, nor should it, be this way.

    Yes! This is the bigger picture!

    It is naive to think otherwise. One must also realise, just as Ibn alluded to, the ties that bind in this area of the world is religion and tribalism, which gave rise to the saying: “Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the foreigner” Therefore, Israel as well as the US thinking that Hizballah is a force of only a few thousand is fatally flawed. What they have done so far is elevated those ranks so much that every Muslim, let alone every Shi’a Muslim, is now a bona fide member of Hizballah. The story is much the same with Hamas.

    That’s why they need to look at the bigger picture to bring these various Middle East conflict to resolution. That resolution is most certainly not going to be resolved with their continuation of the use of force on one hand, and the support of the very foundations which gave rise to these forces, the majority of the Arab governments.

  • milter
    26 July 2006

    Ibn, you wrote

    My point is that being weak, has left us open to be manhandled by foreign nations, and foreign peoples’. Nations like England, and peoples’ like the Zionist-Jews. (With the Zionist-Jews being much more malicious and evil than England ever was).

    If you use logic and common sense it will tell you that Israel is there to stay for a very long time. You have probably been told right from childhood (correct me if I’m wrong) that Israel wants to conquer as much Arab land as possible and will never stop. A lot of Arab rhetoric goes on about how the “zionists” are the root of “all our problems”. That rhetoric insists that “the zionists” are interfering in the affairs of most countries all over the world.

    Now, if you used logic would it make any sense at all for a small country with roughly 6 million inhabitants to deliberately enrage 1.3 billion muslims, of which about 300 million live in the immediate vicinity? Wouldn’t that be close to trying to commit suicide?

    In my opinion the problems of the Arab world are not caused by any foreign interference, rather it’s caused by the refusal of your leaders (political and religious) to accept the existance of internal problems in your society.

    Have you read “Arab Human Development Report 2002”? It makes interesting reading. The link is here:

    http://www.meforum.org/article/513

  • Polemicist
    26 July 2006

    milter, regardless of where you stand on the Israel-Palestine issue, I think everyone would agree that if the Arabs were economically and militarily stronger during the 19th and 20th centuries, then modern-day Israel would never have come in to existence. Not in its current geographical location at least, but possible in Argentina, or some place else. As Ibn said in his analogy, the Zionist Jews were the nagging mother-in-law, but the actual pipe leak was the internal weakness of the Arabs themselves. To say that the Zionist Jews did not interfere in the lives of Palestinians is laughable.

    One big difference between Israelis and Arabs though is that there are plenty of brave Israelis who have spoken out against Israel’s moral injustices towards the Palestinians or Lebanese. This is an excellent article from Haaretz:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/742257.html

    There have been a number of protests (no matter how small) within Israel against the current attack on Lebanon, and at least one IDF soldier has refused to participate. There have been very few acts like this on the Arab side protesting against Arab injustice towards Israel. This difference in moral strength (and internal tolerance of anti-establishment points of view) is where Israel is much superior to the Arabs. This strength is much more important than the military and economic strength over the Arabs.

  • Joe
    26 July 2006

    Polemicist,

    Do you even know the history of the area? Trans-Jordan, Leb, Iraq they’re all made up countries. The pals are also a made up entity, built into a demographic nightmare for themselves and the world by the UN’s UNRWA. No other refuge group in the world has their status of refugee status given to descendants.

    Zionist were buying land in the area since the 1850s with locals gladly selling.

    If the Pals claims are the utlimate in morality, How ’bout lets apply the terms the pals want to the rest of the world?

    Your hypothetical about arab military/economic strength if anything shows us what we’re up against. The europeans had to defeat the Ottoman’s other wise we’d have minarets covering contenent instead of cathedrals. Islam is just as agressively expansionist as the communists.

    And as for tolerating descent, that is a strenght. It’s also a weakness that totaliatarians exploit, as one man, one vote, one time. See the pals voted for Hamas, they democratic…let’s see what happens in the next election…if there is one…Same for Leb and Hez.

  • Polemicist
    26 July 2006

    Joe,

    Yes, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, these are all made up countries. But so is Israel! All countries are made up entities, because the Earth was not created with a universal guidebook and map showing political boundaries and which people belong where.

  • Sunrunner
    26 July 2006

    Look Batzi, you are becoming quite polarizing here. Please don’t inform me what I do and don’t know or what I do or do not think or feel.

    I never called you or anyone else (other than white European Christians) a racist. Even though I thought you were alluding to the notion that I was when you insinuated that I believed that only Jews did not have the right to defend themselves.

    And spare me the recounting of history. (I apologize for geting sucked in, in the 1st place). Because it goes like this:

    I pick a beginning, then you pick an earlier one. And so it goes until we get back to the destruction of the Temple by the Romans.

    A couple weeks ago, you said you wanted peace. But that will never happen as long as the majority of people on either side continue to rationalize & justifiy war. Which is really just legalese for mass murder.

    I know Israelis are suffering in this war. Just as the Lebanse are. And for what? Dignity? The “right” to defend (at any cost?)? Security?

    Well, this is what I see. No one has any real dignity left, except perhaps in their own minds. There will be no winner. And everyone is much less secure, and will be.

    What I see is a mass temper tantrum. Tribal Gang warfare, if you will. Who have become so addicted to their own sense of victimhood and rightness that they are willing blow everyone and everthing up, rather than seriously figure out how to share the jungle gym.

    And Batzi, (and I really want to emphasize this) just because I have critisized Israel, it does not mean that I condone ANYTHING that Hizbollah has done. Or Hamas. The truth is that I have less in common with them than I do with the average Israeli citizen. (But it is also important to point out that not all Palestinians are affiliated with Hamas, just as not all Lebanese are affiliated with Hizbollah, just as not all Israelis are enthralled with settler politics). But, I will admit that I am more dissapointed in the Israelis, as a people who have not suffered under the yoke of dictatorship and cultural and religious oppression (in Israel, I mean) — and have enjoyed all the benefits of a liberal western-style democracy, you would think that they would have the capacity to think things through a little better.

    But that is silly (and unfair) on my part. Because look at my own country, which also does not have an excuse and is sinking rapidly into what Mahmood has aptly described as “Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the foreigner.” Add in a geographically descriptive religion tag, and what you have is an image of a world going to hell in a handbasket.

    The difference between an adult and a child is that an adult has the capacity (if he or she wishes it) to stand back and look at the bigger picture, and to refrain from acting on impulse. Because, as we all [should] learn as we grow and mature, all actions have consequences. And the less thought out the action, the more unpredictable the consequences. The other thing which differentiates a child from an adult, is that a child is not really equipped, mentally and emotionally, to think beyond its own needs and desires. Again, adults do have th capacity, hard as it can be sometimes, to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Sadly, I see very little of this. What I see, instead, is a bunch of idiots screaming “me, my, mine.”

    The sorry state of affairs the world finds itself in will only change when enough individual, regular, ordinairy people — whether they be American, Israeli, Palestinian, or whatever — learn to stop pointing their fingers at the junk on the neighbors front lawn and begin to clean their own basements and backyards. We all need to learn to hold our own leaders accountable for the havoc they have wreaked upon us in the name of ‘security and dignity.’ Without resorting to violence and hatred.

    Perhaps when we as ordinairy people begin to actually start thinking and behaving like adults, we will actually get some real grown-ups as leaders.

  • Batzi
    26 July 2006

    For those of you who are getting their news from CNN ( as opposed to FauxNews which is right wing-I am told) here is something that might give you an idea of the propaganda war that Hezbollah is currently waging:

    On CNN’s Reliable Sources on
    Sunday, CNN’s senior international correspondent Nic
    Robertson added all of the caveats and disclaimers that he
    should have included in his story last week
    that amounted to his
    giving an uncritical forum for the terrorist group Hezbollah
    to spout unverifiable anti-Israeli propaganda.

    Back on July 18, Hezbollah took Robertson and his crew on a
    tour of a heavily damaged south Beirut neighborhood. The
    Hezbollah “press officer” even instructed the CNN camera:
    “Just look. Shoot. Look at this building. Is it a military
    base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in
    this building?”

    In his original story, Robertson had no complaints about the
    journalistic limitations of a story put together under such
    tight controls, and Robertson himself at one point seemed to
    agree with the Hezbollah propaganda claim that Israeli jets
    had targeted a civilian area: “As we run past the rubble, we
    see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent
    of military equipment.”

    Challenged by Reliable Sources host (and Washington Post
    media writer) Howard Kurtz on Sunday, Robertson suggested
    Hezbollah has “very, very sophisticated and slick media
    operations,” that the terrorist group “had control of the
    situation. They designated the places that we went to, and
    we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift
    up the rubble to see what was underneath,” and he even
    contradicted Hezbollah’s self-serving spin: “There’s no
    doubt that the [Israeli] bombs there are hitting Hezbollah
    facilities.”

    But the closest Robertson came to making any of these points
    in the taped package that aired last week was admitting that
    “we [he and his CNN crew] didn’t go burrowing into all the
    houses,” after pointing out (for the second time) that “we
    didn’t see any military type of equipment” in the area
    Hezbollah chose to let them tour.

    Five days later, Robertson argued that “journalistic
    integrity” required skepticism: “When you hear their
    [Hezbollah’s] claims, they have to come with more than a
    grain of salt, that you have to put in some journalistic
    integrity. That you have to point out to the audience and
    let them know that this was a guided tour by Hezbollah press
    officials along with their security, that it was a very
    rushed affair.”

    While some viewers undoubtedly deduced out that it was “a
    guided tour” from the numerous sound bites from the
    Hezbollah press officer, it’s not as if Robertson ever
    complained about his limitations or explicitly warned
    viewers that there was no way he could confirm any of the
    claims.

    Nic Robertson, of course, isn’t the only correspondent going
    on these Hezbollah-arranged tours, as CNN’s Reliable Sources
    noted yesterday. In a set-up to his interview with
    Robertson, Kurtz played clips of NBC’s Richard Engel and
    CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer relating their trips into the damaged
    areas, with Palmer providing the sort of disclaimer that
    Robertson failed to include last week: “This morning,
    Hezbollah showed journalists around the ruins of its former
    stronghold, but Hezbollah is also determined that outsiders
    will only see what it wants them to see.”

    Now, more of Robertson’s live interview (10:15am EDT) on the
    July 23 Reliable Sources

    (transcript corrected against the actual broadcast):

    Howard Kurtz: “I want to go now to CNN’s Nic
    Robertson, who joins us live from Beirut. Nic Robertson, we
    were speaking a moment ago about the way journalists cover
    Hezbollah and some of these tours that Hezbollah officials
    have arranged of the bomb damage in the areas of Southern
    Lebanon. You, I believe, got one of those tours. Isn’t it
    difficult for you as a journalist to independently verify
    any claims made by Hezbollah, because you’re not able to go
    into the buildings and see whether or not there is any
    military activity or any weapons being hidden there?”

    Nic Robertson: “Well, Howard, there’s no
    doubt about it: Hezbollah has a very, very sophisticated and
    slick media operations. In fact, beyond that, it has very,
    very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut.
    They deny journalists access into those areas. They can turn
    on and off access to hospitals in those areas. They have a
    lot of power and influence. You don’t get in there without
    their permission. And when I went in, we were given about 10
    or 15 minutes, quite literally running through a number of
    neighborhoods that they directed and they took us to.”

    “What I would say at that time was, it was very
    clear to me that the Hezbollah press official who took us on
    that guided tour – and there were Hezbollah security
    officials around us at the time with walkie-talkie radios –
    that he felt a great deal of anxiety about the
    situation….But there’s no doubt about it. They had control
    of the situation. They designated the places that we went
    to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses
    or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath.”

    “So what we did see today in a similar excursion,
    and Hezbollah is now running a number of these every day,
    taking journalists into this area. They realize that this is
    a good way for them to get their message out, taking
    journalists on a regular basis. This particular press
    officer came across his press office today, what was left of
    it in the rubble. He pointed out business cards that he said
    were from his office that was a Hezbollah press office in
    that area.”

    “So there’s no doubt that the bombs there are
    hitting Hezbollah facilities. But from what we can see,
    there appear to be a lot of civilian damage, a lot of
    civilian properties. But again, as you say, we didn’t have
    enough time to go in, root through those houses, see if
    perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi
    driver by day, and a Hezbollah fighter by night….”

    Kurtz: “To what extent do you feel like you’re being
    used to put up the pictures that they want – obviously, it’s
    terrible that so many civilians have been killed – without
    any ability, as you just outlined, to verify, because – to
    verify Hezbollah’s role, because this is a fighting force
    that is known to blend in among the civilian population and
    keep some of its weapons there?”

    Robertson: “Absolutely. And I think as we try and do
    our job, which is go out and see what’s happened to the best
    of our ability, clearly, in that environment, in the
    southern suburbs of Beirut that Hezbollah controls, the only
    way we can get into those areas is with a Hezbollah escort.
    And absolutely, when you hear their claims they have to come
    with more than a grain of salt, that you have to put in some
    journalistic integrity. That you have to point out to the
    audience and let them know that this was a guided tour by
    Hezbollah press officials along with their security, that it
    was a very rushed affair, that there wasn’t time to go and
    look through those buildings.”

    “The audience has to know the conditions of that
    tour. But again, if we didn’t get all – or we could not get
    access to those areas without Hezbollah compliance, they
    control those areas.”

  • Sunrunner
    26 July 2006

    That is an interesting clip Batzi, and is an example of the kind of journalistic self-examination (on CNN’s part) you will never ever see on FauxNews.

  • Anonymous
    26 July 2006

    Zionist were buying land in the area since the 1850s with locals gladly selling.

    Unless my memory is failing a lot of the land that was sold was owned by absentee landloards in Turkey.

  • Joe
    26 July 2006

    Anon,

    So the objection is the religion/ethnicity of those who own it? I guess as long as the islamic holy city of jerusalem is controlled by a muslim state it’s all hunky dory…

    So to stop all the blood shed Jews and infidels just need to covert. I wonder if they can have something on the order of the 15-minute marriages to prostitutes for infidels to covert temporarily. Just when attention is called to the fact that infidels indeed own somthing in muslim lands.

    Anybody have an idea of the geographic boundaries of the ummah?

  • M
    26 July 2006

    Sunrunner,

    “That is an interesting clip Batzi, and is an example of the kind of journalistic self-examination (on CNN’s part) you will never ever see on FauxNews.”

    Yes, we all know you dislike Fox News, because you dish it every chance you get, but to paint CNN as the standard for journalistic self-examination, even though Saddam would agree with you, is just plain funny.

    Batzi,

    You are correct that Hezbollah intended to use CNN for their own PR purposes; it is quite clear all sides knew that going in. There is nothing wrong with that. It is also not a reason for not doing the interview. Any reporter or news outlet would jump at the chance and sort it all out later. Unfortunately for Danny Pearl, it didn’t turn out well. I would urge you again to watch all news sources including Fox and form your own opinions. I was struck with the coverage of bombings on both sides from Fox while CNN tended to lean more towards the damage done in Lebanon; it is interesting to watch how they present things.

    Contrary to what some would have you believe, there is nothing wrong with a conservative news outlet just as a liberal bias in others is to be expected. The only thing wrong is when one side is intolerance and disrespectful of the other. Regards.

  • Ethan
    26 July 2006

    I never called you or anyone else (other than white European Christians) a racist.

    As a person of white European Christian descent, I am offended. Every single person on the planet can be racist – it’s not just a ‘white’ thing. It’s arrogant and ignorant to classify only ‘white’ people as racist. Persians are racist against Arabs, Arabs are racist against Persians. Chinese folk are racist against south Asians (as well as Saudis being racist against that group too) and the Japanese hate the Koreans.

    Anybody have an idea of the geographic boundaries of the ummah?

    Depending on who you talk to, it could be any number of things:
    1) Any land once controlled (thus blessed as Muslim land) by the Caliphate (including Andalucia, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, etc.)
    2) The whole of the Earth belongs to Allah
    3) The whole Muslim community, and getting larger because of rampant demographic expansion
    4) Only temporary because the world will soon see the “Beauty of Islam” and convert (or die).

    On the other hand, the concept of the ‘ummah’ is amusing beyond reason. It makes a nice selling point that all Muslims are brothers and sisters, but in reality, there’s still a tribal mentality that hasn’t gone away since the 7th century.

  • Ibn
    26 July 2006

    Milter,

    You have probably been told right from childhood (correct me if I’m wrong) that Israel wants to conquer as much Arab land as possible and will never stop.

    Your true colors are shining through. It would seem that you are the one indoctrined with what you think Arab kids are learning, more so than what you think Arab kids are being indoctrined with.

    I wasnt “indoctrined” with anything in my childhood, thank you very much. My childhood was spent throwing water balloons off our high rise balcony onto unbeknowest pedestrians, and getting grounded for it. That along with throwing spitballs at fellow students and making “meow” sounds when the teachers werent looking. And getting grounded for it. But you wouldnt know that. Why of course! Everyone knows that Arab kids are indoctrined to hate the Jews!

    You’re pathetic.

    A lot of Arab rhetoric goes on about how the “zionists” are the root of “all our problems”.

    I…I am speechless. Did you not read my post above? Did you not read where I said that Zionists are a problem, and not the problem? Are you blind man? Or do you just get a hard-on trying to correlate anything I say to how Arab kids are indoctrined?

    Now, if you used logic would it make any sense at all for a small country with roughly 6 million inhabitants to deliberately enrage 1.3 billion muslims, of which about 300 million live in the immediate vicinity? Wouldn’t that be close to trying to commit suicide?

    The conflict is territorial, not religious.

    In my opinion the problems of the Arab world are not caused by any foreign interference, rather it’s caused by the refusal of your leaders (political and religious) to accept the existance of internal problems in your society.

    Yeah, its definately the hard-on.

    ——————————————–

    Polemicist, thanks for your input – you make sane and objective points. 🙂

    -Ibn

  • Ethan
    27 July 2006

    The conflict is territorial, not religious

    Some would say that the territorial problem is also religious in nature. With the intertwining of Religion with politics in the middle east since the 7th century, I cannot agree with a wholly ‘political’ reason for anything that happens. It may not -all- be religious, but there’s a religious element.

    And one can see that element in the charters of Hamas and Hezbollah, which repeat the ‘Oh Muslims, there’s a Jew behind me, come kill him” Hadith.

  • Sunrunner
    27 July 2006

    Ibn, try to tell that to the religious nuts — the conflict is territorial, caused and motivated by religious passions. And conflicts. From all sides.

    See the problem is that we have 3 religions, all of whom claim some sort of special god-given priviledge.

    The Chosen Ones.

    The Saved Ones.

    And the Ummah.

    Each with their own special passwords and initiation rituals.

    Big problem because, logically speaking, 3 can never equal 1.

  • milter
    27 July 2006

    Ibn,

    I can assure you that the quality of my sexlife has nothing to do with this discussion. But, thanks anyway for your concern and interest.

    My opinions are, among other things, based on 11 years of living and working in Bahrain. Before I went there I tried to read up as much as I could about the “dos and donts” to avoid embarrassing myself and to learn about the culture and background of Bahrain. From that reading I learned that Bahrain was probably the most liberal country in the region.

    And what happened? When my baggage arrived a lot of my records were confiscated (and I never saw them again). Thats when I learned about “the blacklist”, i.e. companies that had anything to do with Israel.

    Later I read newspaper articles that talked about “the enemy”, “the zionists”, “the zionist entety” or “the zionist aggressor”. I realized that when they couldn’t even get themselves to use the word “Israel” then the mere existence of the state of Israel must occupy a lot of their attention.

    Here in Denmark we have quite a big group of Arab refugees. I follow some of their blogs, I know a few of them (I was racing one of them on my way home from work tonight), but, I have heard very few of them saying: “Yes, we have to accept Israel and we have to find a way of coexisting with our Jewish brothers”. Their solution to the present problem is, in most cases, “The Jews must disappear!”

    And when I assume that your opinion is similar to theirs it’s based on your comments, like:

    With the Zionist-Jews being much more malicious and evil than England ever was)

    and

    and Israel would have never existed. A very heartwarming thought, but alas, we are stuck with the history)

    Other countries have been in a similar position and have been able to move forward, like my wife’s country, Ireland. Practically the only thing the Irish people could agree on for many years was that England was evil (while at the same time fighting among themselves). The moment they started accepting their own failures and forgot about England, that’s when they began to move forward.

  • milter
    27 July 2006

    Polemicist, you wrote

    regardless of where you stand on the Israel-Palestine issue, I think everyone would agree that if the Arabs were economically and militarily stronger during the 19th and 20th centuries, then modern-day Israel would never have come in to existence.

    You may be right, we’ll never know. But is that really important today?

    Do you think it’s more important for the leaders of a country to try to turn it into a powerfull one that is respected because of it’s military arsenal than one that is respected for what it has achieved in giving it’s people education and personal freedom under the given circumstances?

  • MoClippa
    27 July 2006

    Sorry if I’m totally not with you guys on the debate…

    but doesn’t this just scream out for UN reform…. i mean I understand why vetos exist, but some sort of Qualified Majority vote (say 70% or so) should essentially be allowed to override a veto. When you have a single veto power blocking any decision to stop or condem whats going on, based on its own foreign policy incentives, it totally misses the point of having an international forum.

    Then again, the bloody Sadam trial misses the point of having International courts that handle International crimes.

    Then again the whole Iraq war leadup in the security council was a total intelligence sham that up untill this point, nobody has really paid for internationally.

    Then again, several unarmed UN officials can get killed after repeatedly calling the Israeli army and telling them to stop bombing them, and Israel can shrug it off in a way that ALMOST totally justifies it… and I don’t doubt they’ll get away with it too

    Whats the point of an international community anymore, the whole UN structure is impotent…. every time Kofi comes on the tube I just switch the channel because it really doesn’t sound like anything he’s saying really matters anymore….. whatever, when/if Israel gets their fill, and is satisfied enough with the destruction (I’m avoiding thoughts of a regional war) to feel safe and head back home; maybe then Kofi’s words will pick up a bit more weight again…

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Sunrunner,
    Wholeheartedly agree with you on that one.

    “Ibn, try to tell that to the religious nuts — the conflict is territorial, caused and motivated by religious passions. And conflicts. From all sides. ”

    I feel my stomach churning every time I hear an Israeli/Jewish right wing religious leader using the religious argument that G-d gave the Land to Abraham and that G-d promised this land to His people quoting the Bible to justify occupying the West Bank.
    BTW, my husband informed me that in his reading of the Qoran, he read that Muhammad himself said that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. A colleague of mine from New Zealand who is a professor of Religious Studies specializing in Islam, confirmed that.
    That, of course, does not give basis to justify political / territorial disputes on religious grounds.
    Take care
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Milter,
    I think that Ibn’s only agenda is to get the Israelis to admit that the very basis of their existence is “a crime.” I refer you to his posts on “Smart Move Sherlock.”
    As you will see, he breaks it down to crimes no: 1, 2 and 3, all having to do with condoning Zionism, living in a Zionist state and serving it. Even though I, as an Israeli, was and am willing to take blame for some of the policies of my government and the attitude of some of its people (which is more than what Ibn was willing to admit to), he dismissed it as insignificant. According to Ibn,only after the Israelis denounce the very basis for their existence as a nation, is he ready to”support Israel 110%”. The only complaint he has against his own leaders is as you read here, that in the name of logic and reason his ” religious Imam, who is actually indirectly HINDERING” the Arabs’ “ability to fight Israel.” So even when Ibn finally shows some signs of enlightment which rekindle my optimism , he has to lace it with his everlasting desire to replay history and in that process erase some events, namely the establishment of the State of Israel, which he feels do not fit his “perfect world” design.
    Can you imagine the Irish, demanding that of the British?
    Batzi

  • milter
    27 July 2006

    Batzi,

    I actually did read that comment on “Smart Move Sherlock.”

    I have been following a lot of the discussions here for a couple of months from the sideline and I am happy to see that there are people in The Middle East, like Mahmood, that are open to the possibility that one of the ways towards a better life for people in the Arab world is a bit of critical self-examination.

    Mahmood has on a couple of occasions mentioned the clan mentality as a possible obstacle and I agree fully with him on that. The Irish had (and to some degree still have today) the same problem. One of the hall marks of that kind of society is a lot of skirmishes among the various clans and only when they feel threatened by an outsider can they join forces. In fact, one of those occasions was when they beat the sh.. out of some of my ancestors (the vikings) in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. After they had won they continued killing each other instead.

    Territorial disputes (whether they are supported by religious claims or not)do not have to be solved by wars. One example of that is the ongoing struggle between Bahrain and Quatar over the islands of Hawar at The Hague-based International Court of Justice.

  • Ethan
    27 July 2006

    BTW, my husband informed me that in his reading of the Qoran, he read that Muhammad himself said that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. A colleague of mine from New Zealand who is a professor of Religious Studies specializing in Islam, confirmed that.

    This is true; From the Koran:
    17:104 And We said unto the Children of Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass We shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.

    —–

    You know, I wonder… I just read chapter 17 in its entirety, and interestingly enough, parts of it read like something that would have been used as a Christian conversion pamphlet. I’ve noted this before in other readings

    Given that there is evidence that some of the obscure parts of the Koran were originally written in Syriac and translated poorly into Arabic, could the original inspiration been a ‘convert the Arabs’ missionary push by the Syriac church? Why else would the Koran be very pro-Jewish and yet anti-Jewish in the same chapter? The whole text is a confused mess. Thank you Caliph Othman!

    If so, that seems to explain the ‘Christian/Jewish Heresy’ nature of the Medinian verses. The later violent verses come, of course, from Mohammed’s political power struggle.

    Intriguing theory – there’s gotta be a book on this somewhere.

  • mahmood
    27 July 2006

    Given that there is evidence that some of the obscure parts of the Koran were originally written in Syriac and translated poorly into Arabic

    Where do you get this from Ethan? Any references?

  • Ibn
    27 July 2006

    Milter,

    …And when I assume that your opinion is similar to theirs it’s based on your comments, like:

    With the Zionist-Jews being much more malicious and evil than England ever was)

    and

    and Israel would have never existed. A very heartwarming thought, but alas, we are stuck with the history)

    Ahh..so you assumed that my opinion was just the same as those newspapers that continually bashed Israel, and who also blamed all their problems on it, even if my posts pointed to the contrary.

    Well its not. I do not know how much clearer to make it to you. I said, and i’ll say it one more time, that Israel, because of Zionism, is a problem. It is not the problem.

    Personally, I think that Arab nations are stiffled because a vareity of causes. Among them I would state:

    1) They are very young.
    2) Tribalism (especially in the gulf), instead of merit, is what they judge one another by.
    3) Socialistic tendencies – causing populace to be nannied.
    4) Arbitrary application of laws, based on tribe, or caste/position.
    5) Religious (Islamic) infiltration into the political arena – no one can argue against the Qur’an – if the Qur’an instructs it, it must be right.
    6) Self-criticism being seen as hate, instead of simply criticism.

    These are some of the big problems that stiffle Arab development. Ultimately, those cannot be solved my politics. Since those are polital-cultural traits, they must be solved by cultural growth, and maturity. The Arab world is in many ways like Europe was in the dark ages – arbitrary rule, corrupt laws, if any, etc. It took Europe 1000 years to get it right, until they matured. The Arab world however is still in its infancy in that regard. This baby is still trying to learn how to walk.

    Now Mr Milter, having said that, I will state, that Zionism is a problem.

    Everytime I raise an issue with Israel, and Zionism, you parrot: “But the Arabs this! And the Arabs that!”. Yes Mr Milter, I know. Look at what I said right above. However, that does NOT cut Israel ANY slack. And it shouldnt.

    My beef with Arab countries is plenty – as Mahmood himself can attest to on what I have said in previous postings on old threads long before you came here. And with that in mind, I also have major beef with Israel, Zionism, and the people who support it, and yes, I have made the arguments in the “smart move sherlock” which still go on to this day, on how they are in fact, evil incarnate, and malicious.

    So you reasoned in your head:

    “Oh, he is anti-Israeli – he probably blames all his problems on them.”

    Nope. Sorry to burst your bubble. We are our own worst enemy. And we have weakened ourselves in this regard. Just as a flu-virus will invade you when your immune system is down, so too did the Zionist-Jews and other foreign meddlers invade us when our immune system was down.

    ———————–

    Batzi,

    Even though I, as an Israeli, was and am willing to take blame for some of the policies of my government and the attitude of some of its people (which is more than what Ibn was willing to admit to), he dismissed it as insignificant.

    If Shachar can acknowledge Crime number 2 – and I have alot of respect for him – why cant you?

    The only complaint he has against his own leaders is as you read here, that in the name of logic and reason his ” religious Imam, who is actually indirectly HINDERING” the Arabs’ “ability to fight Israel.”

    My “only” complaint?…Listen Batzi, your mis-representation is getting really annoying. If you cant do anything but misquote me, then better for you to just shut up.

    -Ibn

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Ibn,

    “If Shachar can acknowledge Crime number 2 – and I have alot of respect for him – why cant you?”
    Because Shachar is Sachar and Batzi is Batzi and thank goodness for that. Can you imagine what a boring world this would be if we were all “Stepford wives?” Besides is that what one has to do to gain your respect, just be a “yes man?”

    Misquote you? then please correct me. If I take my time to try and establish a dialogue with you (when someone else would have long given up) then why can’t you reciprocate?

    “If you cant do anything but misquote me, then better for you to just shut up.”
    Boy am I relieved at your response! For a moment I was afraid you would make a sexual reference as you did for milter…

    I was brought up to treat people with respect.
    I am sorry that you do not appear to have the same advantage.
    Batzi

  • Sunrunner
    27 July 2006

    Batzi — your criticism of Ibn is rather like the pot calling the kettle black. Granted, telling someone to shut up isn’t nice, but neither is this bad habit you have of putting thoughts and words in other people’s mouth.

    Two wrongs do not equal a right, logically speaking (sort of like 2 does not equal 1).

    BTW — he has just acknowledged a comprehensive list of Arab crimes/shortcomings (depending on your perspective). Perhaps not all that you would like to see, but it is an excellent start, I must say.

    Which brings me back to my original point, no progress will ever be made until ALL involved are able to acknowledge their own mistakes/crimes/sins and begin to hold themselves and leaders accountable.

    Ready to step up to the plate with a [specific] list from an Israeli perspective? 😉

    Sunrunner

  • Ethan
    27 July 2006

    You ask, I provide:

    http://www.secularislam.org/books/luxenberg.htm
    And I know that Loki will scream about bad research, but Wikipedia does give a fairly good referenced treatment of the theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christoph_Luxenberg

    Luxemberg’s theory is that much of the Koran came from translations of a Syriac lectionary.

    Unfortunately I have not been able to get a translation of the text myself as it is in German. Ich nicht sprechen sie Deutch.

  • mahmood
    27 July 2006

    Guys, (Ibn, Batzi, Brian, milter) may I suggest that you all take a deep breath please? I note an edge starting to creep in your posts which suggests frustration. That’s fine, but if it is not controlled, then these excellent threads will descend into flame wars which we all don’t want nor need.

    Come on.. GROUP HUG and let’s get down to the very difficult business of finding common ground, or at least agree to disagree.

  • mahmood
    27 July 2006

    Thanks Ethan, those should be interesting reads. Do they also cover the “Yemeni versions” of the Quran which were purportedly discovered in a minaret there?

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Sunrunner,
    Ibn, I just saw, requested guidance (which you were kind to offer) in order to be able to link people to previous comments made by him regarding shortcomings of Arab regimes/governments.

    “My beef with Arab countries is plenty – as Mahmood himself can attest to on what I have said in previous postings on old threads long before you came here.”

    When such links are provided, I will be able to read them and see for myself what he claims he has been doing all along, as like milter, I am new to Mahmood’s website.
    So far, Ibn tried to coerce me into admitting to “crimes” which I have very carefully read and responded by providing evidence to the contrary. Please read my response to his pushing me to acknowledge those crimes.
    And sunrunner, what about you? Start with yourself. Do you claim to read carefully what anyone else writes?
    If so, then you will see that I have myself listed some shortcomings of my government and my people. And those points are recent. You won’t have to go very far into long ago postings.

    Kind regards
    Batzi

  • Sunrunner
    27 July 2006

    Batzi,

    Back to Faux News. You might find this very interesting. Bill O’Reilly going after “liberal, Jewish Americans” in two seperate broadcasts.

    Bit of context. In “some” rightwing circles (caveat: Not ALL), the word “liberal’ is a code word for Jew, just as it was for Hitler. Goes back to the days of Joe McCarthy in the early 50s.

    Here is another example from one of his shows last week:

    O’REILLY: You have a very big split in the Jewish-American community. You got a lot of Jewish liberals, a lot of Jewish far-left people, who basically feel that, you know, you don’t have a right to go after terrorists because it’s our fault, the United States’ fault. And some say it’s Israel’s fault because we’ve been mean to them, therefore they have a right to do whatever they want — behead people on camera, all this terrible stuff. OK? That’s a far-left position.

    I have never met an American, much less a Jewish-American who espouses the views O’Reilly describes…..!

    Bill O’Reilly is the highest rated show on Fox. And quite typica of the kind of idiocy which passes for news and commentary.

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Come on.. GROUP HUG and let’s get down to the very difficult business of finding common ground, or at least agree to disagree.

    Please refer to my last post (just posted) on “Smart Move Sherlock.
    You might find some progress in it… I hope..
    Take care and thanks for such a great moderator. You are great!
    Batzi

  • Sunrunner
    27 July 2006

    Batzi,

    I am not going to get drawn into a tit for tat here. Like I said, both sides need to do a lot more soul-searching. When we can all give up the need to be right about everything, then there will be hope. However, that is not what I am really seeing here — instead, I see more useless efforts to make the other side wrong. If someone can convince me that more violence can lead to peace, then I am all ears. But so far, that has not happened. What I see is that everyone involved (including the various Arab goves, the Iranians and the US) grasping for ways to justify and rationalize the use of violence. I am not interested in either excuses or fingerpointing or the politics of victimization. I am interested in human beings beginning to use their minds and their imaginations on a mass scale to figure out a new way forward.

    I admit that I don’t remember everything I read here (or even much of what I myself write, for that matter!). And if I missed a post in which you laid out a list of Israeli faults, then I would be grateful if you would point me to it. I mean this sincerely.

    I should say that I do understand that you are living in the midst of a war that was not of your (I mean this as an indvidual “you”) making, and it may be unreasonable to expect you to not be emotional in the midst of such stress. War is always horrible for all involved, but particularly for civilians who are caught in the cross-fire. I really hope that all of “yours” are safe.

    BTW — on another topic.

    Fox’s Bill O’Reilly has been on a rather despicable rampage against “liberal Jews.” For a bit of context, it may interest you to know that in some extreme right-wing (ie racist) circles, “liberal” is an old code-word for Jew. As it was for Hitler, as I am sure you know. Much of this history goes back to 50s and 60s when American Jews were ardent and vocal (and in many instances, very brave) supporters of the Civil Rights movement in the US. That is, it is at its core, a racist notion.

    This is a link to two broadcasts yesterday.

    And here is one from last week.

    O’REILLY: You have a very big split in the Jewish-American community. You got a lot of Jewish liberals, a lot of Jewish far-left people, who basically feel that, you know, you don’t have a right to go after terrorists because it’s our fault, the United States’ fault. And some say it’s Israel’s fault because we’ve been mean to them, therefore they have a right to do whatever they want — behead people on camera, all this terrible stuff. OK? That’s a far-left position.

    Notice that he did not say that this was simply a “Liberal” perspective (which would be outrageous on its own) but specifically said Liberal, Jewish perspective.

    I bring this up, because I want to point out that my criticism of Fox really has nothing to do with their coverage of Middle East topics. Rather, they are demagogues of the worst sort.

    Sunrunner

    PS I tried a similar post earlier, but it but it dissapeared (maybe I forgot to hit “submit comment”) — but if it turns up somewhere else, my apologies for the duplication.

  • Brian
    27 July 2006

    Mahmood

    Yes, you are quite right. I agree with you, and I do intend to take the deep breath.

    I read recently that we all need 8 hugs a day (though the downside is that they should be non-sexual). So HUG HUG

    All the best

    Brian

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    Thanks Sunrunner for your comments and references to the links you provide. If I get heated in the argument, it is because I am very passionate about the topic and want just as much as you and even Ibn to progress with it. It is definitely not because of disrespect for you and your views as much as we may disagree on some.
    With regards to my last exchange with Ibn, may I please refer you to “Smart Move Sherlock” where I attempted to clarify my position to Ibn, a position I feel strongly about.
    May I refer you to it (it was posted at 9:25 p.m.)
    I hope you will understand better where I am coming from.
    Thanks again for all of your comments.
    Batzi

  • Sunrunner
    27 July 2006

    Batzi,

    I completely understand your passion. And I admire your courage and tenacity for hanging in here. I think that we can all agree that things — as they are now — are not good, and that there has GOT to be a solution!

    Optomistically yours,
    Sunrunner

  • Ibn
    27 July 2006

    Sorry, I will not partake in a group-hug that has Batzi, a Zionist, in it.

    Lets remember, that this is an individual, who is an openly admitted Zionist – a person who has refused to acknowledge that Crime # 2 – (forced re-settlement and killing of Palestinian Arabs in 1948) was ever a crime. She doesnt see it as such. Instead she sees them as “the enemy”. And if one considers someone “the enemy” in this context, they probably mean them the greatest harm. And to that extent, she means those civilians the greatest harm, or at the very least, to forcibly remove them as was the case. This isnt just some random chick – shes a full blown Zionist, an apologist probably their most dispicable act back in 1948.

    Just the thought of hugging such people is…ugh….

    So sorry, count me out.

    -Ibn

  • Ethan
    27 July 2006

    Just the thought of hugging such people is…ugh….

    So sorry, count me out.

    The first step to is to consider your opponents also as humans. If you cannot, then you are bound to remain hateful and unable to debate rationally.

    Without reason there is no debate, there is naught but a contest of yelling.

    Such contests lead inorexiably to the victory of the side with the bigger guns, whether that side is right or wrong in the eyes of others.

  • Ibn
    27 July 2006

    Ethan,

    Would you hug a human being who is also a self-proclaimed Nazi?

    -Ibn

  • Hesham
    27 July 2006

    I guess I came a bit late to this debate but I found a few documentries that should be interesting to the topic posted here.

    Here is the link
    http://www.amiri.info/2006/07/24/manipulation/

    One is a documentry about media manipulation and the other is about ..err well a somewhat retarded comment from an official.

  • Brian
    27 July 2006

    Ibn

    I unfortunately have to repeat here my posts on the other thread, in the light of your posts here about not hugging:

    =========

    Ibn

    The Arab violence that you admit to as dating from the Balfour Declaration of 1916 or 1917, was orchestrated by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni.

    Here, unedited, is the introduction to the Wikipedia article on him:

    Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Mohammad Amin al-Husayni

    Mohammad Amin al-Husayni (ca. 1895 – July 4, 1974, أمين الحسيني, alternatively spelt al-Husseini), the Mufti of Jerusalem, was a Palestinian Pan-Arab nationalist and a Sunni Muslim religious leader. More commonly known for his anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, al-Husayni fought against the establishment of a Jewish state in the territory of the British Mandate of Palestine. To this end, Husayni collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II and helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS.

    =====
    He was the man who was the principal orator to, and motivator of, the Arab population.

    I will let the reader judge whether there was not racism on the Arab side as well.

    Given that al-Husayni was the main man forming the hearts and minds of the Arab population, isn’t Batzi reasonable in characterising them as the enemy? Was their allegiance to al-Husayni, or was it not? And if their allegiance is to a man who “helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS”, then isn’t it understandable if they were seen by the Jews as the enemy?

    July 27th, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    Brian

    Ibn

    Mahmood suggested, in the ‘If you’re not with us’ thread, that we engage in a group hug. You seem to have gone into an orgy of sadistic mirth (”I am trying really hard to contain my laughter, and my jubilation”) that discredits your own humanity. I am sorry about that

    Brian
    =========

    To address anyone on this forum as a Nazi is despicable. You only indicate to others exactly what makes YOU tick. I hope Mahmood takes note

  • Batzi
    27 July 2006

    That’s a new one, Ibn.
    I have been called many things in my life, but never a self proclaimed Nazi. Poor you. You are not only a rude person, you are consumed by hate and narrow mindedness.
    Sunrunner,,
    I hope you are satisfied now seeing that Ibn will stop short of nothing to coerce people into admitting what he wants them to admit-his truth. A word of caution to you. You might soon be out of Ibn’s “hug circle” for merely saying:
    “From my perspective, I think you make an interesting point.”
    Stay optimistic. I am. After all, Ibn is only representing himself!
    Batzi

  • Ibn
    28 July 2006

    Brian,

    To address anyone on this forum as a Nazi is despicable

    I didnt call Batzi a Nazi. I was making the point to Ethan, who said that we should recognize peoples’ humanity, and hug them. So I asked him, if he would hug a Nazi, since they are also humans.

    Would you hug a Nazi?
    Would you hug a burglar?
    Would you hug a murderer?
    Would you hug a murder-sympathizer?
    Would you hug a serial murderer?
    Would you hug a mugger on the street who kills?
    Would you hug the muggers friend who sympathizes with him?

    So how do you expect me to hug a self-proclaimed Zionist, who stands by forcefull evictions and murders? What? Because she is also a human being? So are half of Washington DC’s murderers. And so are their friends who sympathize with them. Should I hug them too?

    Brian and Batzi,

    You are all to eager to accuse me “saying” that “Batzi is a Nazi”, even though I made NO such reference. You are pathetic. Again, putting words in my mouth, because its probably the only ammunition you have left, since words cannot get through to you – oh I know, lets accuse Ibn of saying Batzi is a Nazi!

    Grow up.

    -Ibn

  • C. Arslanian
    28 July 2006

    The Israeli/US/UK governments have been chomping at the bit to invade Lebanon for some time, just as the Bush administration planned to invade Iraq long before 9/11. In taking Israeli soldiers hostage, Hezbollah played right into their hands, just as al-Qaida played into their hands when they attacked the World Trade Center. This will not be the end of it, not by a longshot, because the major players do not want negotiations. They want the dominos to keep falling, for the sake of controlling natural resources in the region.

    I’m acquainted with several US Reservists who had the misfortune of serving in the Iraqi occupation (they thought they’d signed up to do road construction). One of their duties was to guard the expansion of refugee camps. There were no refugees in those camps at the time. They were constructed to house people from neighboring countries the US is planning to, but has not yet, invaded.

    The soldiers I refer to cannot make their knowledge public. They’re still on active duty and what they saw is highly classified. I, on the other hand, don’t give a flying [email protected]*! any more. I went to bed one night and dreamed my country became a war-mongering fascist hell. I’m still waiting to wake up, but fear I never will.

    Interesting that today Condoleeza Rice was quoted as saying she couldn’t support a cease-fire until she was sure it would contribute to the formation of the “New Middle East” (and what exactly will be “new” about it, Condie? Tell us everything, girlfriend).

    Unfortunately, the world will not become a more peaceful place until US citizens finally realize just how corrupt our government/military industrial complex/corporate sponsored media/multinationals have become and BOYCOTT OR VOTE THE BASTARDS OUT! We have a lot to do at the grass-roots level.

    What kind of government proactively builds refugee camps? It’s bone-chilling.

  • Josephine
    28 July 2006

    Dear Batzi,
    I have been quietly following your comments on this website.
    As I told you before, I admire your tenacity, kindness and your most valuable contributions to these debates.
    I just now saw Ibn’s crude comments and very unruly comments towards you.
    And why?
    Simply because you tried to debate logically and explain why you refuse to be forced to acknowledge what he wants everyone to believe-that Zionism is racism?He must be very desperate and frustrated with your very valid points to resort to such accusations and name calling.
    Just rest assured that some of us are not going to fall for such tactics as employed by him. We can read through his facade. Like Brian says, I hope Mahmood takes note.
    Keep up the good work!
    With much appreciation
    Josephine

    Ibn,
    If you want to earn people’s respect, you will just have to act with dignity towards your fellow man/woman.
    Josephine

  • Josephine
    28 July 2006

    Ibn,

    You accuse Brian and Batzi of putting words in your mouth.

    Brian and Batzi,

    You are all to eager to accuse me “saying” that “Batzi is a Nazi”, even though I made NO such reference. You are pathetic. Again, putting words in my mouth, because its probably the only ammunition you have left, since words cannot get through to you – oh I know, lets accuse Ibn of saying Batzi is a Nazi!

    Grow up.

    Sorry to tell you but I, too, understood your comment as such i.e. calling Batzi a Nazi.
    If you don’t want people to “put words in your mouth'”, how about explaining yourself in a manner that a normal. simple human beings can clearly understand?
    And by the way, if anyone needs to grow up, it is probably you.
    Josephine

  • Batzi
    28 July 2006

    Josephine, thank you. Ibn’s comments have been very hurtful to me, and your words help a lot.

    Goodnight, and thank you again

    Batzi

  • Ibn
    28 July 2006

    Josephine,

    They jumped to a conclusion.

    I showed them how their conclusion is wrong.

    Then you tell me:

    Sorry to tell you but I, too, understood your comment as such i.e. calling Batzi a Nazi.

    Ok. Well what more do you want from me then? Damned if you do, and damned if you dont. Seems like you are all to eager to entertain the thought of “Ibn said Batzi is a Nazi”. Whats the matter? Cant counter in any other way? I need to grow up? Batzi has called me “rude”, “coercive”, “hate filled” (which incidentaly is what Nazis are), and “narrow minded”, alongside a myriad personal attacks from other posts, and I havent really protested. Where were you then? Now that a sentence is misunderstood and I give the explanation, then you crawl out from under your rock?

    Can you point out one instance, in which I have called Batzi any names whatsoever? She is the queen of name-calling, and when I say “I would not want to hug her”, I am called inhuman. When I say to my defence that no one would want to hug a Nazi, I am accused of calling “Batzi a Nazi”. When I explain what the statement meant, that no one would want to hug a Nazi, a murdered, a murder-sympathizer, or anything of that nature, I am still accused of calling “Batzi a Nazi”.

    Well in that case to hell with you.

    -Ibn

  • Sunrunner
    28 July 2006

    Ibn,

    You are being completely disingenous.

    Whether or not you want to hug someone or not is your business, but to make a point to say it as you did in a public forum is not only shameful, it is rude and it is disrespectful.

    I can only conclude only one of two things: a) you intended to hurt her or b) you didn’t care whether you hurt her. Now why would you not care whether or not you hurt her?

    Because you regard her as an enemy? Because you “hate” her?

    Exactly the “crimes” you have accused the Israeli people.

    I get the feeling, from my reading of your words over time, that you consider yourself to be a moral person. But, let me tell you something: if you want to be able to credibly gain the high moral ground, then you must take great care to never allow yourself to commit the very sins you accuse your opponent. Because when you do that, you don’t look tough, you look ridiculous.

    You have accused Batzi, simply because she is an Israeli, of racism. As you know, racism is a form of hatred, a form of hatred which says that because “you” or some “other” is somehow less then fully human (their thoughts, needs, feelings or lives do not matter as much as those of me and mine) you do not have to afford them the consideration and respect that ordinairy humans deserve. Sexism works in much the same way, btw.

    So, because Batzi is Israeli, and because you believe that all Israelis are racist, and racism is a crime of hatred, then you have a right to hate her.

    Now take my sentances and replace the words “Israeli” with “Arab” and the word “Batzi” with the word “Ibn” and see how it feels. (Because you know as well as anyone does that the Islamicist religious rhetoric regarding Jews is every bit as racist as the worst of what you hear coming from the mouths of settlers) .

    Like I keep saying. Two wrongs don’t make a right. So let me say that a different way. Any wrong (real or percieved) by another person does not make you “right” when you do the very same thing. sort of like what you used to say to Steve the Confederate.

    Talk about “logic.” (which is always an impossibility when you let passion drive your thoughts and words.)

    PS — I don’t recall a single instance in which Batzi has called you or anyone else a “name.”

  • Sunrunner
    28 July 2006

    Ibn, I just want to clarify that I am not likening you to an Islamicist. I am just saying that if you want to make the case that all JIsraelis are racist because of the beliefs of “some” Jews, then you wil also have to deal with the fact that that sort of logic can be turned back against you.

    I also want to say that you do make some excellent points (though I don’t agree with all your conclusions) and my main point is that you completely undermine yourself with your behavior. Though you are not, by any means alone, in that regard these days.

  • Ibn
    28 July 2006

    Ok, this is being taken waaay out of proportion.

    Batzi is throwing an oestrogen laden pity-fest because she THINKS I called her a Nazi.

    I never did. And never intended it to. I was making a point to Ethan, that just because someone is human, doesnt mean I should hug them. I used a Nazi as an example. It doesnt mean Batzi is Nazi. I didnt even use her name in the same sentence.

    But she is a Zionist. And I would prefer to keep Zionists clean off my hands.

    I would never hug a Zionist, or show them such affection.
    I would never hug a Nazi, or show them such affection.

    And if it means anything to you,

    I would never hug an Islamic Fundamentalist, or show them such affection.
    I would never hug a murderer, or show them any such affection.

    Ugh! How would you even consider it? Hugs, kisses, high fives – those are all social norms we use to show people different levels of affection to one another. How do you expect me to show a Zionist any level of affection, when she subscribes to an ideology that is responsible for the displacement of thousands, and the murder of villagers in 1948? How could you? On top of that, she sees nothing wrong with it! (They were all “enemies” – every woman, man and child.) So now you want me to hug her?? Are you mad?

    —————–

    Listen people, I dont care what you think of my opinions, or my character. I say what I believe, because I enjoy debate. Also in debate (rational debate), I get a chance to learn new things, and hear new arguments. Hopefully you also get to learn new facts, arguments, etc.

    So if you want to hate my arguments, or even hate me, fine! I dont care.

    But please, STOP this pity-party over Batzi. So you misunderstood, and Ive clarified. Get over it, and move on. Jesus freaking christ.

    -Ibn

  • Sunrunner
    28 July 2006

    “oestrogen laden pity-fest”

    is a sexist remark. And insulting to ALL women.

    “I would never hug a Zionist, or show them such affection.
    I would never hug a Nazi, or show them such affection.”

    is comparing Zionism to Nazism, so therefore to say that you did not “call” Batzi is disingenuous. Because you certainly did liken her to one.

    And Batzi did not say that what happened in 1948 is “right” — in fact if you read her words carefully, you will will see that she agrees that it should not have happened. She did take issue for the “reason” as to why it happened — from her perspective. At least that was my reading of it.

    But since I have lectured about putting words into people’s mouths, it would be better to let her clarify that point.

    BTW — I do not pity Batzi. I am sure she can take care of her own feelings perfectly well.

    Debate is great, but if you want to “win” you are going to have to do a lot better than this. Letting your emotions-run-amok is not a particularly rational strategy.

  • Ethan
    28 July 2006

    Debate is great, but if you want to “win” you are going to have to do a lot better than this. Letting your emotions-run-amok is not a particularly rational strategy.

    Which is what I said 🙂

  • Jared in NYC
    28 July 2006

    Ibn,

    I don’t believe your protestations of being misinterpreted. That kind of poison will eat away at you from the inside. I hope it doesn’t. I hope you can bring yourself to apologize.

    Jared

  • mahmood
    28 July 2006

    This is what I was afraid of. Every passionate debate can descend into personal flames, accusations and misquotes. Unfortunately I cannot be up 24 hours a day to monitor (nor do I really need to) every debate I start.

    This kind of thing is what actually deters me from commenting on topics such as these, they always have the possibility of someone misinterpreting something or other, like me being called a traitor, a kaffir, a drunk and various other choice adjectives.

    I asked you all to please stand back from the topic and take deep breaths, unfortunately that didn’t happen. Fine, passions and emotions got the better of you. I don’t need to adjudicate who is write or who is wrong here, it’s not my task to do that, and we are all adults in this forum and all have a good command of the English language in order for us to portray our thoughts and feelings in a way to make them understood by our audience.

    Name calling, as we have seen, does not serve the debate, nor does allusions. It is unfortunate also that the written word does not imbue the reader with enough cadence to see and hear the intentions behind the words, hence, the written word must be taken as is. Thus, the writer must be careful in explaining his intentions without a shadow of a doubt.

    This did not happen in Ibn’s response to Ethan. And Ibn, you were callous to have used the word Nazi in this context, considering the thread and the emotions that were running amok. Of course, taken literally and in isolation you are correct in that it was a legitimate and even some would consider an innocent comment, however, put into the context of the thread, it was not something I would have chosen as my reply, nor my analogy.

    Ibn, you have some excellent points, you obviously are not only passionate about the subject, but have taken the time to really research and think about your positions. You did yourself great service in communicating those positions and your arguments were brilliant; however, going down the threads you have become argumentative and badgering and overly sarcastic. It is when I sensed this that I asked for everyone to calm down and take a step back.

    It is unfortunate that you have taken my attempt to calm passions and bring back the debate to an objective plain to launch into this uncalled for insults.

    I have a great respect for you, I would love for you to continue to debate here, you enrich our community, so please, weigh your words before you type them, and chill out a bit.

    And please do the proper thing.

  • Ibn
    28 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    Thank you for your post. I respect you, and most posters here. I understand the jist of what you are saying. For the record Mahmood, let me please clarify that I didnt plan to “launch into uncalled insults”.
    I have not insulted anyone. This is your forum, and I can respect that.

    One question: There are calls for me to apologise. As much as I would like to see this incident done and over with, because it is meaningless, I want to ask you, what am I apologising for exactly?

    Thank you

    -Ibn

  • Polemicist
    28 July 2006

    Ibn,
    You are guilty of using the word “Nazi” in a discussion with Israelis. As you know, this is completely out of line, regardless of you intend to use the word. Therefore you must apologize. Only Israelis have the right to use the word.

    Remember, no matter what the character of any individual Israeli is, you are not ever allowed to compare him or her a Nazi. No one is allowed to criticize Israelis because THEY are the victims. Always have been, always will be. So if you ever dare to criticize an Israeli for anything, or if you just don’t want to hug one of them, it means that you are definitely an anti-Semite. Doesn’t matter if you happen to Semite yourself even.

    So Ibn, please apologize to all of us for even thinking you could get away with using the N-word in a discussion with an Israeli.

    (So much for rational debate)

  • mahmood
    28 July 2006

    Ibn, you’re an intelligent person, do what you feel should be done.

    Polemicist, Jews rightly are sensitive to being compared with the ideology that killed millions of them. Do they use it to present themselves as victims? Yes. Are they genuinely insulted when compared to them? Yes, I think so. Is it insensitive – barring all other factors – to use that definition to describe a Jew or allude to one being one? Of course it is.

    I would be insulted and quite offended if one compared me with Zionism, I would also be insulted and quite offended if I was compared to a fascist, as I would hazard you would too. Each community has its idiosyncrasies and its own skeletons, let’s just respect that and keep that from getting out of proportion.

    Was Ibn wrong in asking if it would be alright to hug a Nazi? In a literal sense, of course not. It is a legitimate question. In the context of this discussion; however, I would not have used that comparison as it would surely inflame feelings, considering the audience and the communication happening on this and other recent threads.

    So, no, I am absolutely not in a position to demand an apology from Ibn for the use of that word, as the question posed was legitimate and could be deciphered in a completely different sphere than the majority of comments being discussed here. Nor do I have to make excuses for him, he is intelligently vociferous enough to do that himself should he feel that is necessary to ameliorate hurt feelings by supposed insinuations.

    After some lapse of time, and in the interest of continuing an excellent debate, I suggest for people not to read too much into this comment and treat it as non-malicious. After all, Ibn himself declared his hatred of all things Nazi.

  • jasra jedi
    28 July 2006

    Ibn.

    For the record, I didn’t interpret your commnet that way at all. And I think you clarified your position very well when you said that you wouldn’t hug a Moslem Fundamentalist either. I didnt hear you insulting anyone. I heard you say that you wouldnt hug someone that you didnt respect. Fair enough.

    Interestingly enough, does anyone remember what the US media (and the Jewsish Lobby) did to Hillary Clinton when she kissed Suha Arafat? That kiss cost Hillary plenty. People got upset at her for reaching out to Suha Arafat with affection.

    Double standards anyone?

    I always though it was funny in the West how they immediately label anyone with any anti israeli sentiment as being Anti Semitic. As opposed to anti Zoinist. Arabs are Semites. Sometimes I feel like screaming that out loud at the top of my lungs.

    As for the ostrogen fueled comment, Batzi, I found it funny. And I am a woman myself. Unless of course your only understanding of discussion is one that should be testosterone like in nature; similar to the ‘discussions’ that the IDF is having with the Lebanese civilians in southern lebanon.

    On a parting note, Ibn, I also take issue with religion and Islam and how it has driven us crazy and rendered us weak. And yes, I think that our self appointed religious leadership, be it the ilk of Khomeini, or Sadr, or Usama bin Laden, would be right up there along with the Zionists. No hugs for any of them.

  • jasra jedi
    28 July 2006

    Mahmood,

    I didnt meant to disrespect your last post. I will drop the specific issue of the Nazi comment.

    I just had to vent some frustration as to who is allowed to be ‘outraged’ by sexist, racist, bigotist comments. Not all of us. Just the ones who control the game. The rest of us either become collateral damage. Or we are forced to sit on the sidelines to survive.

    It’s sad.

  • mahmood
    28 July 2006

    Not at all JJ. Think nohting of it. I in fact would welcome your criticism at any time as I hold you in high regard and know your sincerity. And no, you did not offend me nor disrespect my comment, for you understand that I wish to keep the peace and continue to find like avenues and common denominators.

  • Ibn
    28 July 2006

    Mahmood, Jasra Jedi, and Polemicist,

    Thanks to the three of you for understanding.

    Out of respect to for you Mahmood, since this is your territory, I drop this case. Anyway, as far as I can see, there is nothing more to be said about this unfortunate misunderstanding by the other party.

    Thanks again,

    -Ibn

  • Brian
    28 July 2006

    To jasra jedi, and to those readers who have open minds:

    When a person writes: “Would you hug a human being who is also a Nazi?” – the implication may be that they are making a general point.

    When he writes: “Would you hug a human being who is also a self-proclaimed Nazi?” – the inference a reader is very likely to draw from the inclusion of the adjective ‘self-proclaimed’ is that the writer is thinking of, and referring to, one person in particular. Because the adjective is totally irrelevant to the general point. Adjectives are used to change the general into the particular.

    Especially when the last thing the writer has written is: “This isnt just some random chick – shes a full blown Zionist, an apologist probably their most dispicable act back in 1948.
    Just the thought of hugging such people is…ugh….
    So sorry, count me out.”
    =====
    I also note that it was Sunrunner, not Batzi, who wrote that “oestrogen laden pity-fest” is a sexist remark. So, jasra jedi, as far as I know, Batzi may also have been amused by Sunrunner. Whether or not that’s the case, you should acknowledge Sunrunner for the amusement she has brought you, not Batzi.

    Finally, in case you, like Ramy, like to receive acknowledgements, I acknowledge that Arabs are semites.

    However, anti-semitism means hatred of Jews. Look up http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=anti-semitic
    or any dictionary of your choice. Let me know of any dictionary that defines anti-semitism as hatred of Jews and Arabs – or hatred of all semitic people.

    Or “scream it out loud at the top of your lungs” if you prefer.

  • Polemicist
    28 July 2006

    Brian, Ibn’s choice of words and timing were not the best, and he should have been able to guess the type of reaction it would receive if not clarified. But Ibn afterwards repeatedly said that he did not intend to call Batzi a Nazi, yet people still accused him of being disingenious.

    Having said this, I don’t see why likening any particular ideology with Nazism should be disallowed. Some regulars here repeatedly make statements likening Islam to fascism and call my prophet a murderer and paedophile, but no one asks them to apologize. I find these statements offensive, but I think the dicussion should be allowed so that each side can argue their point.

  • Batzi
    28 July 2006

    Polemicist,
    Following his repeated explanations, I am willing to accept the fact that Ibn did not intend to call me “a Nazi.”
    I am also of the opinion that if Ibn expressed the wish to “drop the case,” we should also respect that and move on.
    Now, Ibn raised another issue (though he addressed it to another person) on the “Smart Move Sherlock…” thread. I took the liberty to respond to it. I hope he will acknowledge my response.
    Yours sincerely
    Batzi
    P.S., I am sorry to hear that people have addressed your prophet disrespectfully. You can rest assured that if and when it happens again, I will join hands with you and support you on that one.

  • Ethan
    29 July 2006

    On a completely unrelated note: the Nazis had the best looking uniform design the world has ever seen. That, I think, is about the only thing that the Third Reich had going for it. 🙂

    —-

    Polemicist – though I understand your offense at such comments, they can be backed by historical record or religious sources. Logically, it is not disrespectful to make a statement backed up by citation.

    Example:

    Jews are like Nazis who round up and genocide the Palestinians and drink the blood of their children for their slaughter rites during Yom Kippur. Look at the size of their Jew-noses. You know why they’re big..? Air is free!

    Offensive.

    Early Zionists were no better than terrorists themselves. Israel, to maintain its Jewish identity, has sets of laws that are very Jewish friendly to the detriment of non-Jews. Israelis have, and continue to, kill Palestinian civilians in the course of seeking out members of extremist groups that blend into the population.

    Not offensive.

    The difference is the historicity of the two statements. One can back up the statements in the latter with historical facts, records and proof. The former is slander, lies and half-truths. Facts are not (or should not be) offensive.

  • Polemicist
    29 July 2006

    I agree with you entirely Ethan! I think it is possible to make comparisons between Zionism and Nazism as long as you are not just abusing and insulting them. The comparison might be incorrect and it probably will hurt some people, but it should be allowed nonetheless. Obviously the same goes for debates about Islam.

  • jasra jedi
    29 July 2006

    Brain ..

    Why the aggressive tone my sweet? Did I touch a nerve?

    I am not sure I understand your point re Anti Semitism. In fact, you are just re-inforcing it. Once upon a time, someone, somewhere, decided to ensure that any criticsim against Jews and Israel was labelled as ‘Anti Semitic’. Many days and months and years later, this person succeeded to the point where it is an established fact that Anti Semitism means Anti Jewish.

    Why would one do that, hear you ask?

    Because, it is much easier to justify an attack as being racist , than it is to answer to a legitimate call for a defense against the inherently aggressive and racist philosophy that we now know and love as Zionism.

    Back to my point. It is irrational and illogical and incorrect to label an Arab criticizing Israel as being anti Semitic. Because an Arab is a Semite.

    Now, why did I bring up this point to begin with?

    To make a point. The person who controls the game makes the rules. Its like the Happy Holiday cards that come up around Christmas in the States. There are more Moslems in the US than Jews. However, the Moslems are not as powerful as the Jews, and therefore we dont get Happy Eid cards during our holidays. Happy Holidays today in the US means Happy Hannukah. But, the origin of the world Holiday does not mean Hannukah. The fact that people succeeded this far shows the level of sophistication that the Jewish community have reached in controlling public perception in the US.

    Again, my previous point about Hillary Clinton kissing Suha Arafat. She was accused of being ‘Anti Semitic’. And she had to come out with some very strong public statements about Israel to undo the electoral damage that was done in the PR war that was levelled against her.

    Where did the link between a ‘group hug/kiss’ and anti Semitism come from? Go back and read my post about how someone, somewhere decided to shield Zionism from most rational demands for justification by dismissing the other side as being racist.

    I would like to see the world distingish between Anti Semtic and Anti Zionist.

    And Brian, my darling. Since you are the language guru. What label would you use to describe the level of disdain that the Ashkenazi Jews feel for the Sephardic Jews?

    Would anti Semitism work? Or would that smack too much of self hatred and therefore not acceptable in the Jewish world?

    Or would anti Arab a better label?

  • Brian
    29 July 2006

    Hi Jasra Jedi

    Thanks for addressing me as “Brain” – I appreciate the compliment. I am sorry if I appeared aggressive

    You write:

    “I am not sure I understand your point re Anti Semitism.”

    My point was: anti-semitism means anti-Jewish, whatever ‘semite’ means. For example, I have heard (not from here, but elsewhere) “Arabs can’t be anti-semites, because an Arab is a semite”. I was just making my point so that the reader would know that a statement like that is incorrect, because an an Arab can be anti-Jewish.

    You write:

    “Once upon a time, someone, somewhere, decided to ensure that any criticsim against Jews and Israel was labelled as ‘Anti Semitic’. Many days and months and years later, this person succeeded to the point where it is an established fact that Anti Semitism means Anti Jewish.”

    Jasra, I decided to do a quick look-up on the internet, because, with respect, “Once upon a time” is not normally the introduction to a totally reliable statement of fact. Here is what I found, at

    http://christianactionforisrael.org/antiholo/summanti.html

    Anti-Semitism: ….. What Is It?
    by Laureen Moe
    SUMMARY:
    The word “anti-Semitism” is inadequate. It is a misnomer. The word was coined in 1879 from the Greek words “anti”, meaning “against” and “Semite”, meaning a descendant of Shem. The word was first used by Wilhelm Marr a German agitator, who created it to explain the current anti-Jewish campaigns in Europe. Since the Arab peoples are also Semitic people it is not the best expression. Anti-Jewish, and Jew- hatred, are more descriptive. It is more than just prejudice. The word came into general use in the past hundred years and encompasses all forms of hostility manifested toward Jews throughout history.

    So, the term Anti-semitism was coined by a non-Jew in 1879, to mean, from the start, Anti-Jewish.

    Somewhat different in fact to your “Many days and months and years later, this person succeeded to the point where it is an established fact that Anti Semitism means Anti Jewish.”

    You write:
    “However, the Moslems are not as powerful as the Jews, and therefore we dont get Happy Eid cards during our holidays.”

    I would suggest that the reason you don’t receive Happy Eid cards is because either you don’t produce them, or people don’t send them. I can only suggest that here is an opportunity for you to exploit a gap in the market. But please don’t see it as a power issue. It is hard for me to see your point. Is it that the powerful Jews haven’t produced Eid cards, but should have? Or is it that you think that the powerful Jews have prevented others from producing Eid cards? Or what?

    You write:
    “Happy Holidays today in the US means Happy Hannukah. But, the origin of the world Holiday does not mean Hannukah. The fact that people succeeded this far shows the level of sophistication that the Jewish community have reached in controlling public perception in the US.”

    Jasra, Christmas and Chanukah have come to be grouped under the common banner of a Happy Holiday card because they both always occur at the same time of year. However, the Moslem calendar is a lunar calendar of 354 days as opposed to the 365 days of the solar calendar, and with no system of leap years that keeps it in step with the secular solar calendar. As a result, Eid, like other dates in the Moslem calendar, moves around in relation to the secular calendar and is as often in June as it is in December – especially when looked at from the perspective of the “many days and months and years” taken to achieve “the level of sophistication that the Jewish community have reached in controlling public perception in the US.

    You write:
    “I would like to see the world distingish between Anti Semtic and Anti Zionist.”

    I trust I have helped in this regard, in highlighting exactly what anti-semitism means, and what it always has meant.

    You write:
    “What label would you use to describe the level of disdain that the Ashkenazi Jews feel for the Sephardic Jews?”

    One is reminded of the proverbial question “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” – an example of a probably slanderous implication masquerading as a question. I believe a satisfactory response is to merely point out the real nature of the pseudo-question.

    I apologised at the start for having appeared aggressive. I must say you appear somewhat paranoic when

    (1)you don’t question your own community about why they don’t produce or don’t send Eid cards, but instead put it down to “the Moslems are not as powerful as the Jews”

    (2)the availability of “Happy Holiday” cards shows “the level of sophistication that the Jewish community have reached in controlling public perception in the US.”

    Brian

  • Batzi
    29 July 2006

    Dear jesra jed,
    I take it that your raising the issue of anti-Semitism was when you came in the defence of Ibn.
    You claim that as far as you are concerned, Arabs, like Jews are Semitic.
    Whether I agree with your or Brian’s definition to the term anti-semitic is irrelevant.
    What is relevant, however, is whether Ibn agrees with your definition of Semitic which is to include both Jews and Arabs. At least he has not protested to it so far.
    If he agrees with you then I would like to know if he still thinks that in 1948 the Arabs were kicked out of their homes because they were of “the wrong race.”
    If both Jews and Arabs are of the same “race” in your view and if Ibn agrees to that, then is it safe to assume that they might have been kicked out of their homes (a crime I acknowledged on another post) because of other reasons such as being perhaps generalized wrongly (I am willing to acknowledge that too, thanks to you, Sunrunner) as “the enemy?” a suggestion that resulted in blowing much hot steam.

    Ibn,
    If you have not completely severed any dialogue with me, could you please address this question? Or should we, as Brian suggested before, let the other readers form their own views on it?
    Kind regards
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    29 July 2006

    jasra jedi

    I apologize for mispelling your name… 🙂 Just noticed it.

    Batzi

  • jasra jedi
    29 July 2006

    Brian.

    Brain was a typo. I do apologize.

    As for my ‘paranoia’ as you so sweetly put it … now you are calling people names sweetheart.

    Let me try and explain my point in a different way because it doesnt seem like you got it the first time.

    I am not disagreeing with you that in today’s world being anti semitic is taken to mean anti Jewish. My point is simply that anti Israeli or anti Zionist sentiment is immediately labelled as being anti Semitic therefore anti Jewish. Being anti Semetic today is a dirty word in Politically Correct environments. As such, any real attempt to discuss the merits of Zionism as a fascist aggressive murderous philosophy is immediately killed. For fear of being labelled anti Semetic. Case and point is the attempt to air the BBC ocumentary on Sharon called ‘The Accused’ in the US. It was prevented because the other side convinced the authorities in the boradcasting US world that the documentary was anti Semitic. My point is that it was anti Zionist. Not anti Jewish. But, the anti Semtic card is a powerful one. Isn’t it.

    Control the word and you control the story.

    And that was my whole point of bringing up the Christmas/Hannukah/Eid analogy. I am not a beleiever that there are 5 people in a room somewhere on Penn Avenue in DC that govern the world through secret codes.

    But, I am a beleiver that the way a story is told to the masses is highly significant in influencing where they stand on as issue. (And darling, giving me a source from the Christains for Israel website about the origin of the word ‘antisemitic’ is akin to me going to the UsamabinLaden for Islam website for the origin of the word ‘open minded.’

    On a side note – I do respect the tenaciousness that most of my Jewish and Israeli friends have on the PR war. Thats why, as you so rightly put it, the Arabs are not powerful enough to form any sort of decent lobby in the US, either in the private sector or in government. (Which is the real gist of my example on the Happy Holiday analogy – however in the future, I shall spell out every step of my argument so that you can follow clearly).

    I admire the fact the Jews got the Swiss Banks to cough up the remaining cash left in the accounts of Holocaust victims. (I just sometimes wonder why the Palestinian Arabs were never able to claim compensation against confiscated land).

    I admire the fact that Hollywood churns out some great movies like Schindler’s List. And honors others like La Vita et Bella. (I just wonder why nobody makes blockbuster movies today about the Armenian genocide).

    I admire the fact that Israel today, in the name of self defence, is killing civilians in Southern Lebanon and they are able to mainpulate the PR war in the US to ensure that they have the US government standing by them 100%.

    The worrying this for me is that as time goes on, and I see Hizbollah taking on the Israelis on in South Lebanon, and see that they have managed to last more than the 6 day way in 1967 war where Arab governments were crushed … I am starting to have the same amount of admiration for Hizbollah. The tactis are the same. Nasrallah and Ben Gurion. Hizbollah and the Irgun? (Remember the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel?)

    Oh what glorious times we have ahead of us in the Middle East.

    Incidentally, you never answered my question. How you would label the disdain that an Ashkenazi Jew would heap on a Sephardic Jew. Is it anti Semitic? Or anti Arab?

  • Batzi
    29 July 2006

    Dear jasra jedi,
    Let me point out that one of the few people who brought to the world’s attention the plight and the genocide of the Armenians was
    the Prague-born Jewish author, Franz Werfel, with his masterpiece The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. The idea for writing the book was born in March 1929, when Werfel visited Damascus on his way to Palestine. He wrote: “The pitiful scene of the starved and mutilated children of the Armenian refugees gave me the last push to redeem the cruel fate of the Armenian people from the abyss of oblivion.”

    The book that appeared in German in 1933 shocked millions of people. Adolf Hitler was then in power. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh was thrown into the flames along with other forbidden books.
    Do you expect the Jews to also produce a movie on the subject?

    Batzi

    P.S. I hope you are still planing on responding to my answer to you or at least acknowledging it….I believe I have answered it!

  • Brian
    29 July 2006

    Jasra

    You write:
    “Let me try and explain my point in a different way because it doesnt seem like you got it the first time.”

    I understood everything you wrote first time. Don’t tell me I misunderstood you

    You write:
    As for my ‘paranoia’ as you so sweetly put it … now you are calling people names sweetheart.

    I have not called you any name except Jasra. I haven’t called you sweetheart, I haven’t called you darling, and I haven’t called you paranoia (look up ‘name’ in the dictionary)

    You write:
    “As such, any real attempt to discuss the merits of Zionism as a fascist aggressive murderous philosophy is immediately killed. For fear of being labelled anti Semetic.”

    Go ahead – discuss “the merits of Zionism as a fascist aggressive murderous philosophy” with pleasure – and try and persuade the world that your language is reasonable.

    You write:
    “Case and point is the attempt to air the BBC ocumentary on Sharon called ‘The Accused’ in the US. It was prevented because the other side convinced the authorities in the boradcasting US world that the documentary was anti Semitic. My point is that it was anti Zionist. Not anti Jewish. But, the anti Semtic card is a powerful one. Isn’t it.
    Control the word and you control the story.”

    I seem to remember that the Muslim lobby tried to ensure that certain cartoons would not be republished. In a very seemly manner, do you think? Was there much of a Muslim lobby out on the streets, burning flags, rioting? Did any deaths result?
    Tell me, what have the Jews done to prevent Anti-semitic cartoons – or any other media – being published in Muslim countries?

    You write:
    “And darling, giving me a source from the Christains for Israel website about the origin of the word ‘antisemitic’ is akin to me going to the UsamabinLaden for Islam website for the origin of the word ‘open minded.’”

    OK, Jasra, here is the entry from
    The Online Etymology Dictionary
    anti-Semitism
    1881, from Ger. Antisemitismus, first used by Wilhelm Marr in 1880, from anti- + Semite (q.v.). Not etymologically restricted to anti-Jewish theories, actions or policies, but almost always used in this sense. Those who object to the inaccuracy of the term might try H. Adler’s Judaeophobia (1882).

    So much for your “UsamabinLaden for Islam” reference, and your willingness to actually do your own research before rubbishing the research of others.

    You write:
    “Thats why, as you so rightly put it, the Arabs are not powerful enough to form any sort of decent lobby in the US, either in the private sector or in government.”

    I never said anything of the sort.

    ” (Which is the real gist of my example on the Happy Holiday analogy – however in the future, I shall spell out every step of my argument so that you can follow clearly).”

    I followed everything you say fully.

    “Incidentally, you never answered my question. How you would label the disdain that an Ashkenazi Jew would heap on a Sephardic Jew. Is it anti Semitic? Or anti Arab?”

    Whatever the hypothetical disdain that your one hypothetical person is showing towards your other hypothetical person, it is a lesser disdain than you have shown to me, having said that ” it doesnt seem like you got it the first time,” having written “I shall spell out every step of my argument so that you can follow clearly”; having totally falsely said that I “so rightly said ‘Arabs are not powerful enough to form any sort of decent lobby in the US, either in the private sector or in government’ ”

    I’m afraid that my wife is alarmed at another woman addressing me as ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’. So goodnight Jasra and goodbye.

  • mahmood
    29 July 2006

    Brian, may I suggest that you tone it down a bit. I’m sure, knowing JJ for the number of years she has been on this site, and more than welcome she is, she does not harbour you or anyone else malice. I suspect that she is engaging you in conversation as are others in order to learn from each other and bridge the gap between our points of view. Your tone does not permit that to happen. So please calm down and don’t get frustrated, we genuinely want peace, and the only way we can reach that shore is by talking cooperatively with each other.

    These are extremely sensitive issues we are discussing, I don’t think that anyone here would like to start a war here too!

  • jasra jedi
    30 July 2006

    Thanks Mahmood. I appreciate you vouching for my character. I think you and everyone else who has ever followed my posts know that as ruthless as I may be with others, I am much less forgiving with my own kind. Whether that means being a woman, Bahraini or Moslem.

    Brian. Good night to you too. And sadly, I bid you farewell. We were just getting to the heart of things too. Pity. Please do tell your wife that I did not mean to encroach on her terrirory by calling you sweetheart or darling. In arabic, we use the word habibi or habibti all the time when addressing each other. I was extending to you the same courtesy. Habibi means my loved one.

    Sweet dreams.

  • jasra jedi
    30 July 2006

    *scratches head*

    I never got an answer to my question, did I …

    Pity.

  • Brian
    30 July 2006

    Mahmood

    Yes I was disturbed by JJ’s posting, and I think I clearly expressed why.

    But I totally accept what you write and agree with its sentiments.

    To peace!

    Brian

  • jasra jedi
    30 July 2006

    Batzi.

    I got your answer. You state that you would allow the majority in Israel in the year 2020 to allow the right of return of the Palestinians to Israel if they so wish.

    Whilst I find your point sweet. I would like to know how you feel about the fact that the day that Arab Israelis outnumber the Jewish Israelis, Israel will become an Apartheid State by default.

    Why? Because the laws are inherently discriminatory:

    1. Immigration is contingent on being Jewish. (Moslem Arab Israelis will have a harder time naturalizing their cousins abroad than their fellow Jewsih citizens)

    2. Right of return is valid only for the Jewish Israelis. (In other words, Russians who convert to Judaism in order to make their way to the US can obtain Israeli citizenship easily whilst Arab families who lived in Palestine proper pre 1948 are legally discriminated from making a claim.

    If I were an Israeli Jew and my parents were in the Holocaust, and I had Elie Weisel as a role model, I would be hating life right now. Because my whole moral basis of humanity and survival would be called into question. I would be very very uncomfortable with the soul of Israel today. Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    But, I am not Israeli.

    I am Bahraini.

    Watching the US redraw the map of the New Middle East as Iraq falls into shambles and as yet another attempt is made to redfine the power brokers in the region. And I look at Hizbollah and Hamas and Al Qaeda and the IDF and Lebanon and Iraq, and I shake my head in disbelief. And I think about Iran & Syria and the new world order and I just wonder to myself if the US and Israel are so blinded by hubris that they really think that they can change the course of events in the region.

    And then I realize that they can do what they want. Might is Right.

    May Yahweh protect us all.

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    Brian,

    Be grateful, lucky you!.
    At least JJ (I guess it is ok to call her that) has responded to your post promptly.
    She seems to be ignoring mine, at least so far 🙂

    Good night
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    Sorry, JJ
    Just saw this.
    My apologies. I will read it and respond. I promise
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    Dear jasra jedi,
    Thanks for your reply.
    First of all, if I had not told you that before, I will now. You are a very powerful writer and for that I commend you.
    You raise some interesting points in your response. As you realize, it is rather late now and as I do feel that your answer deserves some thought, I will need to defer answering it until tomorrow.
    Thanks for your reply and for your patience.
    Good night
    Batzi

    P.S. I can relate well to Habibi or Habibti as we, Israelis, like you Arabs, use these terms of endearment more openly than other cultures.

  • Josephine
    30 July 2006

    Batzi,
    I am still waiting to see if Ibn will respond to your post of July 29th, 2006 at 5:05 pm.
    Frankly, I don’t believe he will (and not because he sent me “to hell” in his last message to me).
    I don’t believe he will because answering the question as you worded it is in a way a catch 22 for him.
    If he accepts jasra jedi’s (who came to his rescue earlier) definition of a Semite to include Jews and Arabs (which he does not seem to deny), then your argument that some Arabs were kicked out of their homes not because they were the “wrong race” but simply because they were perceived as the enemy is valid. As pointed out by someone, (I believe it was Sunrunner) in a state of war people sometimes lose their humanity and resort to ugly deeds. In no way am I justifying or condoning what happened during the 1948 war or any other war.
    Again, I am most impressed with the gracious manner in which you acknowledge your opponents and are willing to take on board some of their points.

    jasra jedi, polemicist, Batzi

    I honestly feel that in your last few threads we are beginning to see, as miniscule as it might be, some hope for a dialogue where all parties show respect and good will to move forward (is it perhaps because all three of you are women???)
    Looking forward to some intersting and enlightening debates.
    Josephine

  • milter
    30 July 2006

    Ibn,

    Are you still here?

    I’ve been away for a couple of days so I haven’t been able to follow this thread.

    I’d like to apologize to you for some of my previous comments. If you’re still here just let me know and, hopefully, we can continue

  • billT
    30 July 2006

    Mahmood back when you had a forum on your site there was a discussion going on about recipes. I’m hungry for something new can you start a discussion on food please.

  • mahmood
    30 July 2006

    Not sure how that would fit in, but I’ll give it a thought Bill.

  • Ibn
    30 July 2006

    Milter, Batzi, and all,

    Yes I am still here, but I will be partyin’ hard up until Monday or Tuesday, so I cant respond till then – see you on in a couple days! 🙂

    -Ibn

  • jasra jedi
    30 July 2006

    1. Josephine – You know what frustrates me the most about having a discussion with Arabs is that they sometimes get emotional. And when they hear a point they dont like, they get very personal and find a way to hit back. It is amusing to me to hear you reducing my point about the effective Israeli use of the Anti Semitic PR shield to one of ‘me coming to Ibn’s defence.’ I support his argument because I beleive in his argument, not because I want to come to his defence. He is extremely eloquent and does not need me or anyone to defend him. I don’t wish to personalize this debate, and I hope that you do not take this down to an ‘us’ vs ‘them’, be it Arab v Israeli or Female vs Male. I hope that you will respect the amount of blood that has been shed to date by focussing on the issues being discussed and not the person discussing them.

    2. I think our friend Brian just explained in detail why most Jews today beleive that anti Semitic means anti Jew, irrespective of the true etymological (sp?) meaning of the word. As such, Ibn is right when he says that the Israelis consider Arabs the wrong race. This is why I keep asking for an accetable term to label how Israeli Ashkenazis feel about Israeli Sephardics. The feeling is bigoted in nature because European Jews feel more superior than Arab Jews. What is the nature of this superiority? Is this racism? And if we are all the same race, then what do we call this feeling? Anti Arabism? However, I will leave Ibn to address the point in the manner he sees fit.

    3. I think Batzi, Josephine, Milter need to really come to terms with one specific issue, which is why every discussion on Israel today always goes back to 1948. As long as there are people who are fighting tooth and nail to restore what they feel is their own dignity back to them (Hamas, Hizbollah) – then any attempt by Israel for long lasting peace in the region needs to involve these people. Integrally. They will fight till kingdom come. Israel needs to understand this and also accept that superior military power will not be enough. The Palestinians today are as committed as the Zionists were pre 1948. The Zionists went head to head against the British army (when they curbed immigration in the 30’s). And out of the Haganah came the Irgun and other para military groups. They didn’t stop until Israel was born. And, Hamas/Hizbollah prototypes will not stop until there is some form of lasting peace in the region that deals with the fundamental issues of a Palestinian homeland. And if the Israelis think that they can bypass this issue by involving the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egpyt – they would be advised to remember that the internal opposition to these governments by the fundamentalist Islamic groups is not insubstantial. And at some point, they too might end up as a paramilitary group. So, there are no short cuts. Israel is just buying time by addressing the symptoms. Not the problem.

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    Jasra jedi,

    In order to intelligently continue any discussion on the possibilities of Israel ever becomng an “Apartheid State by default,” I believe it is wise to commence any such discussion by defining the term “Apartheid.” (And BTW, I am not using the Christians Friends of Israel definition here… I thought your comment to Brian was hillarious!). I hope the Webster On Line definition is mutually agreeable.
    “Apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning “separation” or literally “apartness”. In English, it has come to mean any legally sanctioned system of racial segregation, such as existed in The Republic of South Africa between 1948 and 1990. The first recorded use of the word is in 1917, during a speech by Jan Smuts, then Prime Minister of South Africa.”
    Before we jump to 2020, can we both agree that such a system, a “legally sanctioned system” is not presently in place in Israel or that it is not institutionalized?

    I will admit though that there are cases of individuals or factions in the Israeli society treating Arabs in what might be described as a racist manner, but I have already expressed my contempt and disdain towards them.
    I will admit that when I grew up in Israel, I remember that my first passport (and that was a long time ago…) stated that my nationality was :Jewish. I know that is not the case anymore and has not been for a long time. So at least some things are changing. I would hope and it seems inevitable that they would change as time goes by. I do believe many Israelis are coming to the realization that one day, 2020, 2050,or 2080 there will be an Arab majority.
    The scenario you are describing, JJ (is it ok to call you that?) is as if the Arabs and Israelis are going to wake up one morning in either one of these years and suddenly realize that the Arabs are indeed a majority.
    Those demographic changes do not happen overnight. They will happen and as the Arab majority in Israel grows, their number in the Israeli knesset will likewise grow as they have equal voting rights to Jews (hence no Apartheid as the term has become to be known).
    With their numbers growing in the Israeli Knesset, I strongly believe that they will have to be counted in any government coalition and their voice heard. As such their demands will have to be taken into account and I do believe that establishing a “Law of Retuen for Paledstinians Diaspora” is going to be discussed more earnestly way before 2020, 2050 or 2080.
    So, your scenario of one day in one of these years where somebody wakes and realizies that there is a State of Apartheid in this respect, is going to be addressed well in advance. Just makes sense.
    Sorry for what I consider a rushed response. I am actually getting ready to go away on vacation (a well earned one) so I need to prepare.
    I shall be looking forward to continuing our debates and Welcome back Ibn!
    Take car all
    Batzi

  • Brian
    30 July 2006

    Josephine

    I note that JJ wrote to you “I think our friend Brian just explained in detail why most Jews today beleive that anti Semitic means anti Jew, irrespective of the true etymological (sp?) meaning of the word.”

    Actually, I presented the complete text of the entry on ‘anti-semitism’ in “The Online Etymological Dictionary”.

    So I warn you, it seems that if you ever want to know the etymology of a word, don’t look up the Online Etymological Dictionary – because apparently you would as such be totally ignoring the word’s true etymology.

    Just ask JJ instead!

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    jasra jedi,

    You write:
    I think Batzi, Josephine, Milter need to really come to terms with one specific issue, which is why every discussion on Israel today always goes back to 1948.

    What is it about 1948 that tics you people so much?

    Is it perhaps Israel’s governing body adhering to U.N. resolution 181 of Nov. 29, 1947 and declaring the establishment of a state?

    Or is it the fact that they stood up to defend themselves against the armies of seven Arab nations?

    Is it perhaps what Ibn keeps referring to as “Crime number 2” where Israel kicked people out of their homes because they were of “the wrong race?”

    Could you please spell it out for me?

    And by the way, according to Ibn (and please correct me if I am wrong) as he stated to Brian in one of his posts (which I don’t have the time to look up), the conflict goes back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which Ibn describes as “a declaration of war.”

    Take care
    Batzi

  • Batzi
    30 July 2006

    Just read this and thought I should share it with you.
    Now I know that some are going to say: “now, now, Batzi. You are quoting the Jerusalem Post, another Zionist publication.”
    Those of you with some gray matter will soon realize that the Jerusalem Post is only reporting what retired Canadian Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie told Canada’s CBC
    radio.
    And BTW, neither MacKenzie, nor Paeta
    Hess-von Kruedener, are Jewish names!
    So please read and judge for yourself!

    Batzi

    Jul. 30, 2006 2:32 | Updated Jul. 30, 2006 12:30
    Jerusalem Post

    ‘UN post not deliberately targeted’
    By NATHANIEL ROSEN

    Retired Canadian Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie told Canada’s CBC
    radio last week that the Canadian officer Maj. Paeta
    Hess-von Kruedener, killed by IDF fire at a UN post in
    Lebanon last Tuesday, had complained in e-mails that
    Hizbullah fighters were all over his position. “They use the
    UN as shields knowing that they can’t be punished for it,”
    said MacKenzie

    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan slammed Israel for the
    attack, which killed three other UNTSO observers, claiming
    that it had been intentional. Israel apologized asserting
    that UN post had been targeted accidentally.

    Hess-von Kruedener observed, in e-mails to MacKenzie, his
    former commander in the Canadian army: “We have on a daily
    basis had numerous occasions where our position has come
    under direct or indirect fire from both artillery and aerial
    bombing. The closest artillery has landed within two metres
    of our position and the closest 1,000 [pound] aerial bomb
    has landed 100 metres from our patrol base.

    “This has not been deliberate targeting,” Kruedener said,
    “but has rather been due to tactical necessity.”

    That last line has been read to imply that Hizbullah
    fighters used the UN posts as cover from which to launch
    their rocket attacks and Israel had tried to target them.

    Mackenzie noted that the IAF’s strikes have resulted in an
    extremely low number of casualties given the amount of
    ammunition fired.

    “Please don’t think I’m being cavalier about life here, I’m
    not, by any stretch of the imagination, but with the amount
    of firepower that’s gone into Lebanon over the last couple
    of weeks, the death toll is unbelievably low in accordance
    with the delivery of that firepower, which means that
    targets are being selected pretty darn closely,” said
    Mackenzie in his radio interview.

    “Beirut is not being flattened, Beirut’s not being
    bombarded, I heard one CNN reporter say this area is being
    bombarded, we’ve had six bombs in 20 minutes. Bombardment is
    six bombs a second, I mean that’s what bombardment is, it’s
    using all the resources you have.”

    When asked about the future of the war and the region,
    Mackenzie told Canadian radio: “Heaven forbid that the UN
    would go in, I have no problem at all with a UN resolution.

    “It has to be an international force, a robust force, and
    that means mechanized troops, at least 25,000 going in under
    competent leadership. It could be Turkey, it could be a
    number of other possible leadership contenders, NATO for
    example. But, it has to be non-UN with a UN resolution
    authorizing it, and that’s going to take a month plus,” said
    the retired general.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=11532
    92028882&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  • Batzi
    31 July 2006

    Ibn,

    I am between flights now and just happened to check the most exciting site on http://www... 🙂

    This is what I found much to my surprise.
    In a response to one of Brian’s posts on “The Tide Turns”, Scharchar had this to say:
    “I did not “admit” to Ibn’s stated motives. I don’t think they are true. Still, one cannot deny that during 48, regrettable things did happen. ”
    Sorry Ibn, your argument that Shachar admitted to Crime number 2 as you defined it (and as a result of which you have a lot of respect for him and are thus ready to jump on a plane to Tel Aviv) is hereby refuted. I guess you should take it up with Schachar.
    I don’t believe you will find many Israelis who will admit to what you are so desperate to hear them admit.
    They will though acknowledge as did Shachar and myself the fact that many wrongdoings were carried out. You might have to just learn to accept it as we are ready to learn to accept some issues that you may not be ready to admit and simply move on.
    I surely hope we can.
    All the best to you, Ibn
    Batzi

  • Ibn
    31 July 2006

    Batzi,

    Yes, Arabs are semites, as are Jews. The ancient ones of course. Today’s Arabs however, can range anywhere from Negro to Caucasian, as can the Jews, and so their semetic roots are vastly, vastly, diluted, except perhaps for a majority of Gulf Arabs.

    The phrase “anti-semetic” was coined to refer to Jews initially, even though “semetic” is such a big super-set, the initial author damned all other semites in the process. Its like holding a grudge against all Australians and then saying that you are anti-human. Yes, all Australians are humans, but not all humans are Australians. In the same vein, all Jews are semites, but not all semites are Jews.

    Either-way, language has a way of evolving over time, and centuries. The real issue here is racial-religious discrimination done by Israel, as that was the original topic. And as such, yes, Israel does discriminate on racial-religious grounds against Arabs, even though they might have shared common racial roots a couple thousand years ago. (Dont we all?)

    And as such, the argument that Israel practices racial discrimination still stands. Allow me to elaborate, via an example:

    Suppose that there was an island, full of nothing but Caucasians of every varirety. Blondes, brunettes, black haired, etc. One day the council on this Island decides to begin repression of all red-heads. They say that red-heads are no longer welcome here, and begin to deport them en masse, kill them wherever they find them, etc.

    Now the red-heads, begin to protest, and say:
    “You are killing us on racial grounds!”

    However the non-red-heads, then say to their defence:
    “No we arent! We are all Caucasians! How could we be racist in not allowing you in if we are all Caucasians?”

    But they are wrong. The non-red-heads really are discriminating on a racial element – in this case,whether you have red hair or not. This is racism. It does not matter if they belong to a bigger, more common subgroup. The discrimination is done on some quality of a person that plays no part in their individual rights. In this case, the color of their hair. This is racism. Racism against the red-heads.

    ——————————————————-

    Therefore, the argument put forward that “we arent discriminating against you because we are really all Semites” is flawed. Because even within the semetic super-group, you have found some other distinguishing characteristic by which to discriminate other sub-sets of semites. And that discrimination, is whether or not you are Jewish. This is what Israel practices. And this ties in perfectly to my post on “Smart move Sherlock” as to the Jewish Nationalist ideology Zionism, and how it is inherently also racist.

    -Ibn

  • jasra jedi
    31 July 2006

    Thank God you cleared that up for everyone! It was driving me nuts. Make a statement, and then instead of discussing the statement, you get hit with a bl**dy definitional and labeling issue which embroils everyone into details of dictionary ‘A’ vs dictionary ‘B’ – and in the interim, everyone loses sight of the original statement.

    Enough to drive one to become a red headed caucasian.

  • Aliandra
    31 July 2006

    Ibn;

    Too many people fling around the racist accusation when the discrimination in question has nothing to do with race. It really does a disservice to those truly discriminated in that manner when anyone with a grievance plays the racism card to get attention. Stick to the standard definition and don’t encourage more demogogues. The world has enough of them.

  • Ibn
    1 August 2006

    Aliandra,

    Too many people fling around the racist accusation when the discrimination in question has nothing to do with race.

    I have shown sufficient arguments and discourse to show how it is “real” racism, and not a “fake” one, as you are stating. Kindly show otherwise.

    -Ibn

  • Sunrunner
    1 August 2006

    “Enough to drive one to become a red headed caucasian.”

    Hey! As a flaming red headed caucasion, I can tell you that we aren’t all that bad! 🙂

    That said, anyone who thinks that anti-Semitic refers to anyone other than Jews (and Batzi, as a student of European history, you should know better!) is living in some kind of parallel universe. There are plenty of pergorative terms bandied around for Arabs, but I have never heard of someone who calles an Arab a “towel-head” (for instance) being reprimanded for their anti-Semitism. Particularly, especially, when the source of said insult is Jewish!

  • Sunrunner
    1 August 2006

    Anyway . . . if we are going to get nit-picky about this, scientifically speaking, the idea of race is a “social phenomenon” which has little to do with “genes.”

    Richard Dawkins has written about this ….

    “Race” is not a clearly defined word. “Species” is different. There really is an agreed way to decide whether two animals belong in the same species: can they interbreed? The interbreeding criterion gives the species a unique status in the hierarchy of taxonomic levels. Above the species level, a genus is just a group of species whose members are pretty similar to each other. No objective criterion exists to determine how similar they have to be, and the same is true of all the higher levels: family, order, class, phylum and the various “sub-” or “super-” names that intervene between them. Below the species level, “race” and “sub-species” are used interchangeably and, again, no objective criterion exists that would enable us to decide whether two people should be considered part of the same race or not, nor to decide how many races there are. And of course there is the added complication, absent above the species level, that races interbreed, so there are lots of people of mixed race.

    The interbreeding criterion works pretty well, and it delivers an unequivocal verdict on humans and their supposed races. All living human races interbreed with one another. We are all members of the same species, and no reputable….

    Notice that he does not dispute the existence of “racism” as a social phenomenon, so it is disengenuos to claim that discrimination based on one’s ancestry is not “racist” in nature.

  • Ibn
    1 August 2006

    Hey! As a flaming red headed caucasion, I can tell you that we aren’t all that bad!

    Hehehe… have you seen that South Park episode when Cartman gets convinced that he’s a red-headed freckle face, and decides to form a “superiority group” based on that? LOL It was hilarious!

    “Sure we have red-heads who are famous and great! Like Ron Howard!..and….and….Ron Howard….and …like….Ron…Howard…..”

    ahahahaha! And then the hotel manager would periodically check in on them to ask if they had enough drinks, the frenzy of the rally would die down and everyone just goes “oh no…we’re…we’re ok…”

    hahahahha! Had me ROLLING on the floor! 🙂

    -Ibn

  • jasra jedi
    1 August 2006

    Batzi,

    You ask earlier what it is about 1948 that upsets people. And then you ask whether it was the Balfour declaration that was the origin of the problem.

    In my humble wannabe red headed opinion, I think the problem first started with our friend Hertzl and his role in shaping the philosophy of Zionism that we know and love.

    The Balfour declaration (homeland for the Jews), which should be read against the Sykes Pico agreement (dividing up ‘Arabia’ between the French and the English) and the letter to Ibn Saud (promising an Arab homeland) merely shows that the West were promising different things to different people at the time.

    1948 showed us the support Israel had from the West. Originally the British (in the early 1920’s), and then by the US.

    Since then, we have seen Israel expand its borders after each war. The benchmark we disucss today are 1967 borders. Not 1948. We have also seen other factions rise in struggle against Israel. First it was governments. After the resounding defeat in 1967 (thanks to US intelligence), they backed off.

    The struggle was then picked up by the indigeneous peoples (intifada, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, etc). In the interim, Israel has decided to get neighbouring countries involved in the conflict in order to force them to guarantee peace for herself. (Jordan, Lebano, Syria to name a few ..). She then adopted a strategy of targetted assasinations which she uses to this day. The belief being that if you kill off the leadership you will kill the will of the people. Its interesting to me that Israel thinks so lowly of human nature that she thinks she will succeed. She should look at the histroy of the Jews and Zionism and be one of the first peoples to know that if you humiliate people long enough, at some point, they will fight back. The leadership is only there to get from A to B. The people develop a histroy/identity of their own that will shape the kind of leadship they will need.

    So Batzi … one wonders what strategy Israel is really following. And if she merely wants to protect her own citizens, one wonders why she is screwing up so badly. Every step she has taken has INCREASED the enimity of her Arab neighbours that are not indigenous Palestinians. The recent stupidity in Lebanon has gotten yet even more Arabs upset at her. Both Sunni, and Shia and Chrisitan Arabs. And Europeans. And the rest of the world. Except for the US and the UK. And given Iraq’s report card, I am not sure that either the US or the Uk hold ANY moral, foriegn power high ground any more.

    Which means more terrorism. More instability. More money spent on security and arms.

    Is there no-one thinking in the Knesset and the IDF? Or are they getting exactly what they want?

  • mahmood
    1 August 2006

    JJ:

    one wonders what strategy Israel is really following.

    <conspiracy alert> Could it be that the US via Israel wants to settle the scores in the region? How about using Israel to attack Hizballah -> draws Syria back into Lebanon -> Israel attacks Syria and kills Assad & Co -> that draws in Iran -> US gets its excuse to attack Iran, level their nuclear facility, extract revenge on its humiliation re the embassy etc.?</conspiracy alert>

  • MoClippa
    1 August 2006

    ^^ Revenge… settling scores, those are hard hitting words!

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of old administrators who’ve been around long enough to appreciate a good bout of revenge fighting… but surely this is more complex then that. Lets look at a couple more possible reasons:

    Securing Oil

    Cleaning out pesty regimes and securing nice docile puppet heads of state, and consequently Setting up a huge span of control over the Middle East

    Radicalizing the Middle East enough to have a strong enough violent opposition (the bad guys) to US policy , which would allow neocons to further their domestic agendas in being the Vanguard (The good guys[see Leo Strauss])

    Taking out Iran’s nuclear ambitions

    War = money = big business profits (the sort of money that goes to all the wrong people)

    Bush is an idiot

    ——————————

    Surely every time the US has directly meddled in our affairs we’ve been worse off. Remember the overthrow of Mossadeq and the return of the Shah. The recent war in Iraq. These were illegitimate tactics, that have both contributed directly to extreamly radicalizing the Middle East. The Shah was overthrown by Khomeini (which would not have happened to Mossadeq) and Iraq turned into a big magnet for secretarian violence. The U.S. has done a lot of good for us, but they also have a tendency to cause a tremendous amount of chaos.

    Whats terrible now is that their shutting up when they should actually be talking, and from recent (covering most of the century) US involvment in the middle east, you know for a fact when they shutup at a time like this, there is a lot more to it then basic idiot politics.

  • MoClippa
    1 August 2006

    Oh whoops, forgot to put my conspiracy alert on as well…. *beep*

  • Aliandra
    1 August 2006

    MoClippa;

    War = money = big business profits

    Wrong. War is EXTREMELY expensive. The billions being spent in Iraq are mind blowing and it’s draining cash from domestic projects. Reagan put the US into debt fighting the Cold War. Companies make much bigger profits trading with people instead of fighting them.

    Try again, Mo.

    As for the rest of your theories, put that tin foil cap back on.

    These were illegitimate tactics, that have both contributed directly to extreamly radicalizing the Middle East. The Shah was overthrown by Khomeini (which would not have happened to Mossadeq

    I’d say the Islamic Revival of the 1970s had more to do with radicalizing your region than any outside interference. As for Khomeini, he had the backing of most of the Iranian population, who wanted a pure theocratic state. This does not excuse US support of the Shah, but it makes US responsibility for Khomeini’s ascendancy rather tenuous.

  • MoClippa
    1 August 2006

    Aliandra, people do profit from war… the majority of people lose out on it, but small groups of individuals always manage to pull a hefty profit. These include all your big players… the Arms Industry, the Oil Industry and the Pharmacutical and Drug industries. Also coincidently, that list makes up your largest lobbies in the US, and as we well know, Bush likes the lobbies.

    As for your second statment, while it is true that the Islamic Revival of the 1970s did play a major part in radicalizing the region, you have to stop asking [what, how and when] and instead focus on Why.

    Most of the groups that came about during the 1970s Islamic revival found their roots through a long process of colonialism by the “west” , and subsequently the Nationalist regimes that came about in their wake. Many of these groups formed and developed their ideas in torture chambers of (if we take the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as an example) prisons. The men who took part in these incredibly horrific acts were usually trained by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. As a fact, one torture video, displaying a women held down while a man put out cigarettes on her nipples, was distributed to other CIA proxy agencies. Islamic Revivalism was very much reactionary, to occupation and torture. It was an ideology against a percived corruption that had allegedly spread from the West into Elites and now Citizens.

    I am in no way trying to take the blame away from any Arab. We are just as responsible, for the barbarisim we inflict on ourselves and each other.

    People like Mossadeq, who were popularly elected, were dubbed as radicals and terrorists…. loonies in American papers. Yes he was often accused of being crazy. Why? Because he tried to nationalize the Oil industry in Iran and take it out of British hands. By removing him and placing the Shah in power it was just yet another betrayl on a long list. Khomeini wouldn’t have managed a power base as large as he recived had the people not felt that Islam was the only way to truely protect the society from further Western neo-colonial actions.

  • Sunrunner
    1 August 2006

    War = money = big business profits

    One person’s waste is another person’s profit. When something is as mind-blowingly expensive as the war in Iraq, then it follows logic that someone, somewhere, is raking in huge profits (not to mention the graft, pilfering and stealing).

    Eisenhower called it what it is: The military industrial complex. Nowadays, we use code words, like Halliburton.

    As for tin-foil theories, Mahmood’s scenario is advocated (as a “good” idea) almost daily on FauzNews by their stable of neocon pundits, such as Bill Kristol.

  • Aliandra
    1 August 2006

    Mo;

    Yes, some people make a profit during war but they aren’t the most influential ones. The most powerful lobby in the US is the retired persons lobby. They’ve managed to get the biggest chunk of the budget – almost 40% – directed to their causes. Defense spending actually makes up a much smaller percentage, about 20%.

    http://www.publicagenda.org/issues/factfiles_detail.cfm?issue_type=federal_budget&list=8

    The Pharma industry makes most of its profit treating geriatric illnesses, not off of war. All presidents “love” lobbies. Loving a lobby can get you elected or can make you lose, as Gore found out in 2000. Choose your sweethearts carefully!

    I think a lot of the radicalization came about because of secular government systems that didn’t work in the region. Islam Is The Answer and so on. The Iranian revolution was less a response to colonial meddling, than a response to the secularism the Shah was forcefully trying to impose on a very religious people. That’s why the heavy religious flavor to his replacement, which, unfortunately, turned out to be worse.

  • Sunrunner
    1 August 2006

    Aliandra,

    I was in Iran in the mid-late 70s. I lived there for a time and spent a lot of time travelling back and forth. So I can speak about what was happening there with some personal experience and knowlegde.

    Iran under the Shah was a totalitarian state. Everyone, even the many Americans who lived there were careful of what they said due to the ubiquitous presence of SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. It was a country in which (in spite of its oil wealth) vast numbers of people lived in abject poverty (I will never forget the shanty towns in Southern Teheran — which were evocative of Rio). Almost without exception (those exceptions being the very small, very wealthy, very privledged minority) people HATED the Shah, whom they regarded as a puppet of the US (read up on the Mossadeg “incident” ) which wasn’t such ancient history in the 70s. During that time, vast numbers of Iranian young people were going abraod to study in western universtities (many US universities had large contingents of Iranian students in the 70s. Libyans as well, interestingly) — and when they returned to Iran they brought a lot of ideas about western democracy. However, they also tended to be leftists (that is almost entirely secular) — due to the incredible unequal distribution of wealth in Iran. Many, many who had tried peaceful means of expression and protest ended up in Iranian prisons — tortured by SAVAK. Which is where many of them met and made common cause with the Islamicists, who were also being persecuted. Bad mistake on their part, as history has now shown. But also a bad mistake on the US’s part, who could’ve leaned on the Shah to institute democratic reforms and didn’t. Why not? Fears of another Mossadeg, whose “crime” was to nationalize the oil industry.

    This is not intended to be a comprehensive “overview” of the Iranian Revolution, rather to illustrate that it wasn’t ALL about Islam. It was much, much more complicated.

    As an interesting little side-note. About 10 years ago, I got to know a very interesting man who was a Peace Corps “volunteer” in Iran in the 60s. He was the son of Kermit Roosevelt. Yes, that Roosevelt. His Peace Corps mission was a cover (unofficial) for his real job, which was the CIA. Part of his job was to identify Iranian Leftists (not Islamicists), who were driving the resistance to the autocratic rule of the Shah. He is now very critical of the US policy towards Iran in those times, which he speaks about very openly now. At any rate, according to hem and many others who were on the ground so to speak during that time, the Shah wasn’t the brightest lightbulb in the neighborhood and really was a CIA pawn.

  • MoClippa
    1 August 2006

    Well said Sunrunner!

    Aliandra, sunrunner just summed up my Iran side of the argument nicely. As for the money argument, Defence spending is one thing, huge contracts to regional states is another. Saudi buys millions, if not billions of dollars worth of weapons, Bahrain as well spends millions on constantly updating Aircraft. This of course does not take into account the huge populations of Egypt and Jordan which are also frequent purchasers of US weaponry.

    Pharmacutical industries benifit through a number of ways aside from monetery profits in terms of resources derived from the sale of medicines. They are often also accused of deriving research benifits through the testing of experimental drugs/medicines.

    As for the lobbies…
    “Loving a lobby can get you elected or can make you lose, as Gore found out in 2000. Choose your sweethearts carefully!”

    Its sad isn’t it? When who has the guy with the most money behind him, gets a huge chance at winning the election. I’m not an American, and I won’t tell you how to run your system when we’re having a bad enough time running ours here… but in terms of your mentality to it, do you recognize that situation as being wrong? or to you, is it just the way it is?

  • jasra jedi
    3 August 2006

    MoClippa ..

    Another interesting thing about the US system; adopt an anti Israeli stance in any way, shape or form (like Bush senior with the housing guarantees) – and you only become a one time President.

  • Aliandra
    3 August 2006

    Sunrunner;

    Thank you for your perspective on Iran. Much appreciated.

    ——————————–

    MoClippa;

    Pharmacutical industries benifit through a number of ways aside from monetery profits in terms of resources derived from the sale of medicines. They are often also accused of deriving research benifits through the testing of experimental drugs/medicines.

    There’s nothing wrong with companies making a profit. Like any other entity engaged in scientific research, they spend a lot of money developing new products and are entitled to a return on their investment.

    do you recognize that situation as being wrong? or to you, is it just the way it is?

    Lobbies have existed in the US since the beginning of the country. They’ve just changed colors over the generations. Some are funded by corporations and some are funded by donations from regular people.

    Is the situation wrong? Yes and no. If they didn’t contribute money to political campaigns, I would be fine with them. It’s good for an organization to present its viewpoint to the government. But because of the funding factor, our politicians are kind of forced to consider their interests. Now some politicians are more swayed than others, so I don’t want to give you the impression that the country is all run by lobbies. In fact, lobbies do compete, with many having opposing views to each other.

    The solution is to make all election campaigns 100% publically financed. Politicians can make decisions without having to consider a lobby’s interest over the interest of the country.

    ———————————-

    Jasra;

    Bush was a one-time president because he ditched too much of the conservative platform, like raising taxes. The other major factor was Ross Perot, a third party candidate who was promising to bring the debt in line, an act that grass root conservatives saw as essential. Perot pulled a big chunk of Republican votes away from Bush 1. Israel was completely irrelevant and our elections don’t turn on it.

  • jasra jedi
    4 August 2006

    Aliandra ..

    “Bush was a one-time president because he ditched too much of the conservative platform, like raising taxes.”

    With all due respect, I disagree.

    Bush Jr is also ditching enough of the moderate conservative platform, by vetoing stemcell research. Hell, even Nancy Reagan spokeup agsains that one. But it aint getting him half as much negative publicity as Bush Sr’s position on Israel.

  • Aliandra
    4 August 2006

    Jasra;

    While it might be fun and/or comforting to think it’s all about Israel, it’s just not true. Here’s a helpful link on the Bush 1 presidency. Note that there’s not a single mention of Israel, not even in the section about policies, not even in the section on why he lost the election.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert_Bush

    Bush Jr didn’t veto stem cell research, only taxpayer funding of it. Scientists are free to proceed with private funding, and many already are. Bush 2 is catching a lot of flak from his fellow Republicans for the same thing his father did, ditching the traditional republican platform of small government and limited spending.

  • Sunrunner
    4 August 2006

    Jasra Jedi. You are absolutely right. With one caveat. A DEMOCRAT who even mildly criticises Israel could never win an election. If he or she did they would be hit with a firestorm of accusations of anti-semitism. As has happened in Senate and Congressional leaders. In fact, he or she has to be certain to fall all over themselves to “prove” that they support Israel. Many “rank and file” Dems (including many progressive secular Jews) are extremely critical of Israel in this country. For that reason, the Democratic Party is wide open to attack from the Apocolypse-hungry, Chrisitan fundamentalist wing of the Republican Party.

    By which I mean, George Sr did not not to mention Israel. Nor did his son, as their backing of Israel’s most extreme and over the top policies was implicitly understood. Notice, however, that it is always a Democratic President (who has already campaigned publically r “I support Israel’s right to free and secure borders, blah, blah, blah”) who engages in heavyduty Peace-making efforts. Unfortunately, the patterns seems to be that both Israel and the US swing to the right (in Israel’s case a little more understandable–since radical elements on the Palestinan side do seem to heat up when peace is looming) and the settlements and the bulldozings proceed with nary a peep from Washington. Which is never the case with a Dem in teh WH.

    I think that so many Americans are so disgusted by what is happening in the ME on all fronts that it is possible that this dynamic could begin to change by 2008.

  • Aliandra
    4 August 2006

    Sunrunner;

    Au contraire, the US government does not shy away from criticising Israel.

    Here’s some informative links:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.diplomacy11jun11,0,2472333.story?coll=bal-nationworld-utility

    Or this one from a “Zionist” organization.

    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=19151
    Quote: “ZOA STRONGLY PROTESTS STATEMENT BY BUSH OFFICIAL CLAIMING ISRAEL HAS “DONE TOO LITTLE FOR PEACE”

    and

    http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/04/17/us.mideast.02/index.html
    Title: “Israeli withdrawal follows harsh U.S. criticism”

    http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/headlines03/1120-04.htm
    Title: “Israel Defiant Over Barrier After Bush Criticism”

    There had been constant criticism over Israel’s expansion of settlements. Money was even deducted from Israel’s aid package. Here’s a link.

    http://www.jewishaz.com/jewishnews/961227/analysis.html
    Quote: “Settlements are “absolutely” an obstacle to peace, Clinton added”

    And Clinton won the election twice! So Sunrunner , I guess that kills your theory about Democrats.

    And yes, Americans are getting disgusted with the ME. More of a “pox on all your houses” sentiment going around right now.

  • billT
    4 August 2006

    I think that so many Americans are so disgusted by what is happening in the ME on all fronts that it is possible that this dynamic could begin to change by 2008.

    Right now Hizbollah seems to have the upper hand in public oppinion but as usual when the conflict in Lebanon is over both Hizbollah and Hammas will miss their golden opportunity and continue the violence approach rather than the nonviolent approach.

    Its not just a opportunity for peace its an opportunity for the countrys in the region to put their money where their mouths are and rebuild Lebanon. I dont expect that to happen either.

    Its also an opportunity for Israel to help in the formation of a Palestinian state and return land to Syria in exchange for peace. I dont expect that to happen either.

    All of the above would be expected by the average disgusted American.

    billT

  • jasra jedi
    4 August 2006

    BillT:

    You state “Its not just a opportunity for peace its an opportunity for the countrys in the region to put their money where their mouths are and rebuild Lebanon. I dont expect that to happen either.”

    Who do you think is pumping money into the banking system in lebanon to support the Lebanese pound and prevent it from collapsing?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5214354.stm

    http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093121555

  • billT
    4 August 2006

    Its a start. Time will prove me either right or wrong 🙂

    billT

  • MoClippa
    5 August 2006

    Aliandra,

    “There’s nothing wrong with companies making a profit. Like any other entity engaged in scientific research, they spend a lot of money developing new products and are entitled to a return on their investment.”

    Good, so you acknowledge the fact that the pharmacutical industry can very well make profit in times of war. And, since you did not broach on the Arms or Oil industry either, I am assuming you agree that those can very well do the same.

    Now undeniably there is nothing wrong with these companies pulling in a profit. And as you have said, “some politicians are swayed more [by the lobbies] then others.” Bush on the other hand has been very adament about his support for lobby and business intrests, and demonstrated time and time again, both domestically and internationally, that he will bend over for them.

    American’s are soon going to have to start facing up to the fact that the Iraq war was not waged out of some personal need to spread freedom around the world and give people a better life, it was to secure oil reserves, and maintain a government that would be willing to give the US preferential access to these. If Iraqs primary export had been asparagus do you really think Bush would have gone down there to liberate them?? If you do, then please pay close attention to other countries around the world who have much more brutal dictatorships in power, or weapons that actually do put the US in danger, before crafting your reply.

    Oh, and if you’re one of those people that uses the “we won’t be held hostage by oil anymore” line, I’ll agree with you, you shouldnt be. Then again, everyone in our region has been held hostage by oil and oil interests as well, its been a blessing/curse at the same time, that has consistently damaged our region and the rest of the world. It has been an invitation card to occupiers/”influencers”, and a delay mechanisim for the demise of regional regimes that have been able to maintain good economies without having spent much of the profit on infastructures and education. Oil, which has helped so much in our development, is also the facilitator for a lot of the hate and mismanagment in parts of the region. But its not just the oil thats the problem, Oil lobbies and companies have been blocking legislation on alternative energies/quotas for gas mileage (etc) for years. They’ve bought up patents on more fuel efficent (and non-petrol) vehicals/products for years, and halted significant research. Oil wouldn’t have held us hostage had it not been for the lobbies that have aided in allowing it to maintain a premium price on purchase.

  • MoClippa
    5 August 2006

    billT,

    “Its not just a opportunity for peace its an opportunity for the countrys in the region to put their money where their mouths are and rebuild Lebanon. I dont expect that to happen either”

    Regional governments have been pumping money into the Lebanese economy since the start of the war, they all have business intrests there and do not want to see their investments plummate.

    On the other hand, Israel, who unnesisarily levelled the Lebanese infastructure, should be made to pay for damages it wrought in Lebanon. The UN should by all means, setup an inquiry that deals with looking at things that were targetted with no substantial reason, and call on the Israeli government to reimburse the Lebanese. If they [the Israelis] want a stable Lebanese government that is able to excersise full control over its territory, they should “put their money where their mouth is” and give the government, that they have practically burried, a huge helping start to get back up again.

  • MoClippa
    5 August 2006

    Sorry about the double post Mahmood!!

  • Aliandra
    7 August 2006

    Hello MoClippa;

    Good, so you acknowledge the fact that the pharmacutical industry can very well make profit in times of war.

    No, I don’t. Pharmaceutical companies don’t make a bigger profit in war than they do in peace. If you’ve got a link to the contrary, I would sure be happy to read it.

    Bush on the other hand has been very adament about his support for lobby and business intrests, and demonstrated time and time again, both domestically and internationally, that he will bend over for them

    Bush is no different from any other president. There are lobbies that support presidents, there are lobbies that don’t. There are lobbies presidents will listen to, and there are lobbies presidents will ignore. Clinton and all previous presidents happily bent over for plenty of lobbies themselves.

    American’s are soon going to have to start facing up to the fact that the Iraq war was not waged out of some personal need to spread freedom around the world and give people a better life, it was to secure oil reserves,

    The war was not about securing freedom for Iraqis, that’s true. But it wasn’t about oil either. If Americans were after the oil, we would have just made a deal with Saddam, who was desperate to remain in power. Or we could have taken the oil in 1991. Or taken Kuwait’s oil. Or invaded a more tractable country, like Venezuela, which isn’t full of religious fanatics. All the above would have been easier and cheaper than going into Iraq. The 1991 war never ended. The US and the UK have been maintaining the no fly zones and having shooting incidents with Iraq for 12 years. The US didn’t have this situation with those “more brutal dictatorships” elsewhere in the world. Al Qauda staged 9-11 because they wanted the US troops out of Saudi Arabia and the US was there because of Saddam. The US wanted Saddam out of power to secure its own safety.

    Oil lobbies and companies have been blocking legislation on alternative energies/quotas for gas mileage (etc) for years.

    While CAR companies have resisted mileage quotas, no company has ever blocked legislation on alternative energies (excepting for environmentalists who don’t like anything nuclear). We’ve had alternative fuels for a very long time. Solar heating panels have been around for decades, as has hydropower, coal, windmills, nuclear energy and fuel cells. We’ve got some big wind farms on the Great Plains and we’re looking into putting them on the shorelines. Believe you me , EVERYONE wants an alternative, and something that’s clean.

    The issue is that alternatives are more expensive than oil, not that there’s legislation against using them. In one sense, the rising price of oil has a good effect. It makes these alternatives cheaper by comparison.

    They’ve bought up patents on more fuel efficent (and non-petrol) vehicals/products for years, and halted significant research.

    Mo, I’m afraid you’ve been had by a very old and long discredited conspiracy fiction. Pick up any American science magazine and you’ll read plenty of articles on research into alternatives (ethanol in particular is getting a lot of attention). Hybrid vehicles are the hottest vehicles on the market. Research has been going on for years – I even took classes on alternative energies as part of my engineering curriculum.

    again, everyone in our region has been held hostage by oil and oil interests as well, its

    Some economist (and I don’t recall which one) said that countries that gained their wealth through sale of natural resources would end up with very bad governments. It was because their people didn’t pay taxes and therefore couldn’t make demands of them. I think that’s very true.

    Later

  • docspencer
    19 November 2006

    Mahmoud, and all of you participating, I enjoyed reading this blog. I am 66, and found many comments very good.

    I visited Bahrain and Dubai from the USA in March 2006. Enjoyed it so much that I did a Web site on it, bahraindubai.info, if you are interested. I would love to get some comments, especially on the area entitled Islam.

    I think Mahmoud was right at the start of this blog. We who oppose each other must talk to each other face-to-face. Otherwise you end up propagating a never ending cycle of violence that just breeds more hate and violence. And all people suffer.

    I very good question countered this point (my point as well, not just Mahmoud’s). How can we negotiate with someone who swears to kill us? One on one impossible. You have to kill the other or you die. BUT group to group it is possible because not all people want to do such things at any price. Why, because it seems to this old guy that such an attitude brings only hate, more destruction, economic ruin and poverty, where the only hope left is promises about what great things you will get in heaven. An awful, unacceptable situation for any human being. Most of us would like a descent life here on earth. To that end, I think we do have a need to talk to many people “on the other side” AND LISTEN. I travelled both to Israel and a number of Islamic countries many times for decades. The great majority of the people want the same things in life in my experience and are quite reasonable. And for some of you out there, by meeting them and geting to know them, I would hug those that I got to know. Although we did not agree about everything, we did agree about most things. And I had the fortune to meet really great people in that category who are wellcome in my house in Knoxville, Tennessee at any time.

    So don’t label people before you had a chance to look them in the eye and get to know them. For example the majority of us Americans or Christians are not bad. Same for Arabs, Jews, Iranians – any group it seems. Even Hamas, Hezballah, or even Nazis perhaps. I met a lot of people and found the great majority really good people, but perhaps uninformed, and they could not help that.

    It is incredibly difficult to forgive another person – plenty of examples in this blog. If we cannot do it here, how can we expect entire groups and nations to do it? There are enormous egos that stand in the way at that level. We CAN, but only by each of us doing it and convincing others to do the same. I am not good at this forgiveness business, but I am trying a lot harder now that I am older. Assuming a lot about others based on third hand info with others’ biases injected had something to do with me not being forgiving enough in the past. Religion (extremist types) can inject incredibly powerful biases creating enormous conflict.

    So I see what Ibn and a few others said about one thing that some found offensive. I made lots of mistakes like that over the years. But today I see that such things are a minor issue in the scheme of things. More often he said what I thought were some very smart things. We do not need to agree 100% with people about everything to be friends and to find together good solutions to some huge problems that you all brought up.

    If you want to solve prolems, do not pick too many of them to solve all at once. And do not get side tracked like on this blog. For example, why don’t we focus on the Palestinian/Israeli problem. If you are an Arab, talk about what you have NOT been doing that you should. Like I am an American. I think that we must fix our Congressional ethics problems and the level of influence from lobbyists (e.g., oil industry, Jewish groups, any group), and I am doing something about it very actively, but I could do more. If we improve this area, we will make Congressional decisions with less influence from special interests, that will better serve people everywhere in this world, and that includes the problems you are discussing. Or I did my bahraindubai.info Web site to better inform people in the US and elsewhere about the Middle east and Muslims, because we are getting a lot of misinformation, and I am sorry to say but you Muslims are not promoting real Islam well enough in view of unislamic terrorist activities. Plus I really enjoyed my trip and the people I met as you can see from the pictures.

    The question always is: we talk about these challenges (hopefully FACT BASED), but what have we actually done about them?

    Action, action, action. We need more action.

  • mahmood
    19 November 2006

    Thank you docspencer and welcome to the blog. I hope you will find your time spent here informative and that we can all build a good relationship together.

  • docspencer
    13 December 2006

    Peace be with you.

    Mahmoud, thank you. You are creating a world with better understanding – the best road to mutual respect and peace I believe. I enjoy your blogs, the different opinions, some very smart ideas, and will be happy to participate.

    If anyone has any comments on my Web site bahraindubai.info to improve it, especially the Conclusions part of the Islam page, I would appreciate ANY brutally honest comment.

    Best wishes for the holidays for all of you,
    Vic
    [email protected]

  • Clark Neal
    3 April 2008

    💡
    I listen.
    With each passing generation, there are only a few fortunate ones who are capable of seeing through falsehoods and propaganda. One must rise above the negativity expressed by those around them. I thankfully received this knowledge through independent research. But who can teach if none will listen? Many were raised onto our world with ears and hearts sealed in with defacto hatred. I have a mind for peace, yet in the heart of the United States suburbia, I don’t know how I can help. Most children in my highschool regard me as weird because I fill my day with the readings of the Qur’an, Buddhism, European literature, and philosophy. I refuse to participate in their selfish ideology.

    “We can say the theory of interdependance is an understanding of our reality.”

    His Holiness,
    the Dalai Lama

    I discovered this quote while reading “The Wisdom of Forgiveness – Intimate Conversations and Journeys” written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Victor Chan.
    Located in the beginning of second paragraph, page 118.

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