Monthly Archives: February 2006

The “American Gulag”

Here’s what a US lawyer says about Guantanamo, in an article titled “Guantanamo: American Gulag.”

I am one of those lawyers. I represent six Kuwaiti prisoners, each of whom has now spent nearly four years at Guantanamo. It took me 2 1/2 years to gain access to my clients, but now I have visited the prison camp 11 times in the last 14 months. What I have witnessed is a cruel and eerie netherworld of concrete and barbed wire that has become a daily nightmare for the nearly 500 people swept up after 9/11 who have been imprisoned without charges or trial for more than four years. It is truly our American gulag …
The government continues to deny that there is any injustice at Guantanamo. But I know the truth.

The “Valley of Death”

Apocalyptic and anti-Zionist op-ed about the Middle East in Haaretz by Yossi Sarid.

First Iraq:

Those with eyes in their head reckoned from the start that this would be how it ended. And the end will be long because the war in Iraq is like the war in Iraq, and it is difficult to put an end to it. The Iraq losers are of course the Iraqi people and the American people, who bleed endlessly; but the world in its entirety is losing when messianic zealots win, whether the messiah is Mohammed, Jesus or Moses. The Iraqi experience plants hope in the heart of fundamentalists who send black blood through the veins and arteries of humanity: there is a chance to destroy the old world and build on its rubble their new and terrible world; their paradise with all its delights is our hell with all its horrors, and in Iraq, the gates of hell were opened.

Then the israeli-Arab conflict:

From the start, the Hamasniks were given some credit, an Israeli invention like the invention of Hezbollah. We invented it and strengthened it in the belief that there is no dialogue, no give and take with religious zealots, while with relative moderates we would have to agree on finalizing and ending the 1967 adventure. And who wants to be close to the Green Line and give up the occupation, the most profitable branch of the Zionist movement. We haven’t withdrawn, we haven’t set our borders and we continue in amok to “scrape the barrel of terror” as if it has a bottom. We cut off the “heads of the snake” and smashed them – that’s how we weakened the “collaborators” and strengthened the “shaheeds” and that is how Ismail Haniyeh and his gang won.

Israel won’t violate an agreement with traditional allies. So Dov Weissglas and his gang decided to put all the Palestinians on a diet. Instead of giving Hamas a chance to gradually and willingly change or to make the demanding reality force it to change or break its head trying, our government has decided to once again offer Hamas a helping hand. From now on it cannot fail, because Israel will foil it; and those who Israel and America try to trip up – in Iraq, the territories – immediately get back on their feet. Even Saddam Hussein stands up straight after the head of the Israeli Shin Bet dropped a rope of nostalgia into his spider hole.

Here’s how it ends:

It’s said about this world of ours nowadays that it is one big global village, and every village has its fool. This global village’s fools are running the world – the “ideologues” in Washington together with our excellent fools, who grew up in the Sycamore Ranch and are handed down by inheritance.

Have they never read the Old Testament, in English or in Hebrew, or the first chapter of Exodus? How a new king of Egypt arose and did not know Yosef and exploited the children of Israel and enslaved them and embittered their lives? And what was the result? “And when they are tormented, they will multiply and break out?” Evangelist Americans from the Bible belt are supposed to know a chapter of Bible and understand.

Is it reasonable to buy new counsel from those who sold the old, used and foolish counsel? Is that logical? Is it responsible? After all, the same people who marched the Americans into the Iraqi quagmire and those who encourage them on their march of folly – all the foolish advisors – are the same people who are marching us down the valley of the shadow of Israeli-Palestinian death.

A Good Point

In his Jerusalem Post review of David Horowitz’s “The End of Time” Nathan Burstein makes a good point about moral equivalence. Coming from the Left or Right, it is misguided and dangerous.

Members of the Right across Europe and the United States complain with legitimacy that their opponents are too quick to compare them to Nazis. They are right: regardless of his true intentions or the outcome of the Iraq war, George Bush is not Hitler.

But Horowitz commits an equally unacceptable sin of lazy, hateful moral equivalency when he puts American progressives and leftists in the same category as terrorists.

“The more beautiful the dream, the more necessary the crime,” he writes, as though it’s not possible to strive for a beautiful dream while compromising with differing visions along the way.

Where are the Moderate Muslims?

Ilan Halimi’s revolting torture and murder at the hands of Muslims who called his family and read texts from the Quran as their child screamed in the background has revealed two further problems (beyond the sadistic anti-Semitism of some “extremist” Muslims).

  • The extreme reluctance of French officials, and more broadly the media to discuss the Muslim anti-Semitic dimension to this crime. Mark Steyn and Nidra Poller have, among other commentators, made the point. But the MSM continues to under-report the case. At most one can now hope that the media will report that Ilan was Jewish (hard to leave out after the massive demonstrations in Paris), but, as the BBC just did, one cannot expect them to mention that the perpetrators are Muslims. If this sounds like a form of Human Rights Complex — look to the perp, not the victim to know how much outrage to expect — then that’s because it probably is.
  • The utter silence of the Muslim community: Where are the cries of outrage? Where’s the eagerness of moderate, law-abiding Muslims to distance themselves from this horrific display of Islamic sadism? Where are the fatwas against this behavior from the imams of the Religion of Peace?
  • There is an interesting irony here. We’ve just seen Muslims the world over riot at the mere suggestion that Islam is a religion of violence, at the merest hint of criticism. And now, when Muslims have dishonered the name of peaceful Islam, not a peep. There are two possible readings to this, not mutually exclusive.

    First, this kind of behavior Muslims do not consider shameful or humiliating. It is an expression of that primal aggression and “will to dominance” that Jihad tries so hard to tap into. This means that, in true demopathic style, some Muslims object to their image sullied by criticism, but not to the sentiments that are criticized; they want us not to discriminate against them, while they feel free to do far worse to us. The shame is not in the deeds, the shame is in the loss of face that comes from being criticized for the deeds.

    Second, there are Muslims who are deeply troubled and shamed by this behavior, but they remain silent because they are intimidated by their fellow Muslims on the one hand, and because we infidels spare them any embarrassment by not highlighting the role of their religion in these awful deeds.

    The more we continue to spare Muslims the shame they deserve, and offer them the absolution they need in order to continue morally badgering us about “stereotyping them,” the worse it’s going to get. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes it clear: we are afraid to criticize Islam and we need to criticize Islam. Islamophobia is not irrational.

    “Holiday from Hell”

    New movie “The Road to Guantanamo” opens in Britain on Channel 4 in March. Here’s an excerpt of David Rose’s review for The Observer, under the title “Using terror to fight terror .” The movie tells the story of three nice, harmless “english teenagers” who got caught and sent to Guantanamo.

    Winterbottom’s [director] avowed objective of ‘humanising’ their story, of showing through their own words how three ‘ordinary British teenagers’ got caught up in tumultuous, global events, also succeeds triumphantly. ‘We were all told that the people in Guantanamo were the most dangerous terrorists in the world, and that’s why it was necessary for America to create this bizarre extra-legal prison,’ he says. ‘We wanted to show the gap between what you thought people in Guantanamo would be like and the reality of meeting them, and maybe relate to them in a different way.’ The film’s early scenes – notably the three men’s trip to Pakistan for Iqbal’s planned wedding – depict what Winterbottom aptly describes as a ‘holiday from hell’

    Everyone’s “worried” about the impact of the movie in the Muslim world:

    At the same time, as I watched this familiar story being given such shocking and authentic new life, I could only shudder at the thought of its effect in the Muslim world. Since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo has become a rallying point, cited time and again on Islamist websites and in the Arab press as a justification for creating more suicide ‘martyrs’. For two-and-a-half years, the Tipton Three’s families lived in a state of anguish, unaware what their boys were supposed to have done, or whether they would ever be free. Replicated across the Muslim world, such experiences have tapped new veins of anti-American rage … Tessa Ross, head of film and drama at Channel 4, which provided the entire £1.3 million budget, admits she is ‘concerned’ about the possible effect on some Muslim audiences. Then neither she nor the filmmakers created Guantanamo, and arguably, until this story has been fully and widely told, its injustices will never be redressed.

    “Fascists dont’ live here”

    Here’s a story that epitomizes the absurd (and suicidal) mindset of many so-called “progressives.” Catherine Seipp in The Los Angeles Times:

    A FRIEND OF MINE took his young daughter to visit the famous City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, explaining to her that the place is important because years ago it sold books no other store would — even, perhaps especially, books whose ideas many people found offensive.

    So, although my friend is no fan of Ward Churchill, the faux Indian and discredited professor who notoriously called 9/11 victims “little Eichmanns,” he didn’t really mind seeing piles of Churchill’s books prominently displayed on a table as he walked in.

    However, it did occur to him that perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci’s new book, “The Force of Reason,” might finally be available, and that because Fallaci’s militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people, a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

    “No,” snapped the clerk. “We don’t carry books by fascists.”

    Now let’s just savor the absurd details of this for a minute. City Lights has a long and proud history of supporting banned authors — owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti was indicted (and acquitted) for obscenity in 1957 for selling Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and a photo at the bookstore showed Ferlinghetti proudly posing next to a sign reading “banned books.”

    Yet his store won’t carry, of all people, Fallaci, who is not only being sued in Italy for insulting religion because of her latest book but continues to fight the good fight against those who think that the appropriate response to offensive books and cartoons is violent riots. It’s particularly repugnant that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by a snotty San Francisco clerk.

    Can they see who they’re dealing with?

    Strangest of all is the scenario of such a person disliking an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam — when one of the first things those poor, persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls … Back to City Lights, which indeed has no plans to sell any books by the “fascist” free-speech defender Fallaci. The store’s website proudly declares that the place is “known for our commitment to freedom of expression,” in which case you might assume such commitment includes supporting those whose free expression puts them in real danger. But, although “The Force of Reason” is expected to reach the U.S. this spring, a City Lights clerk said when I called that the store has no plans to carry anything by Fallaci. “You’re welcome to buy her book elsewhere, though,” my friend was told helpfully when he visited. “Let’s just say we don’t have room for her here.” OK, let’s just say that. But let’s also say that one of the great paradoxes of our time is that two groups most endangered by political Islam, gays and women, somehow still find ways to defend it.

    Imagine the following …

    In Tajikistan , as reported by the Associated Press, the country’s only synagogue is being demolished. Tajikistan has a 85% Sunni Muslim population. Now, imagine it was a mosque in a Christian or Jewish majority country. What would have happened?

    DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Authorities in Tajikistan have started demolishing the country’s only synagogue in order to make way for a new presidential residence, an official said Friday.

    The century-old synagogue on government land in the ex-Soviet republic’s capital Dushanbe will be completely torn down by June “as part of the plans to build a new presidential palace,” said city administration spokesman Shavkat Saidov.

    Last month, city authorities demolished the synagogue’s ritual bathhouse, classroom and kosher butchery, the Norway-based international Forum 18 religious rights group said.

    British Islam

    Interview with Fareena Alam, 27-year-old editor of the British Muslim magazine Q-News. Since 2002, Alam has emerged as a leading voice for what the journalist calls ‘liberal British Islam.” Her answer to all the current problems is not less religion but more religion.

    The only way to counter extremism, she believes, is with more religion, not less: by promoting an Islam she characterises not as “moderate” but as “fundamentalist”. She argues: “Mercy and patience are the fundamental values of Islam. This is not a watered-down version of religion.” Her conviction worries more secular Muslims, who perceive the group around Q-News as “odd”, “crazy” or “Islamists by another name” – and so, perhaps, does her language. “I know people have trouble with the promotion of religion, and that’s a legitimate concern,” counters Alam. “But we cannot run away from the fact that religion is important to these young people. The 7/7 bombers didn’t come on the platform of secularism, they came on the platform of being bearded, praying-five-times-a-day Muslim guys. We have to talk to people on their own level.”

    She and her magazine have helped organise the Radical Middle Way, described as “a series of talks funded by the Foreign Office aimed at tackling extremism among young British Muslims.”

    In the scramble for influence, the best-funded (and loudest) voices are likely to prevail. “The petrodollar-funded literalists think that their version of Islam is the real Islam, and they’ve had the money to promote it around the world,” explains Alam. “I’m for an Islam that is very at home in Britain: I don’t want a foreign religion.” The Radical Middle Way project attempts to bolster moderate Islam in Britain by promoting traditional scholars, such as Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah of Mauritania and Habib Ali of Yemen, “whose learning and authority are undeniable”.

    The scholars’ tour of Bradford, Oldham, Manchester, London and Leeds has attracted 15,000 young Muslims since December. Though the promotional material does not mention it, government funding is common knowledge. Birt sees this as a positive shift: “The debate is moving on from a knee-jerk cynicism against any government involvement. The basis of engagement is really changing.” Yet this dialogue throws up difficult questions. In supporting the tour, the government is funding highly conser-vative scholars who accept few of the tenets of secular western society. Alam believes the scholars’ piety and compassion make their cultural mores unimportant. “How is it that a man from Yemen understands so well the nature of our situation here?” she asks. “That’s traditional scholarship for you.” The strategy seems to be working, satisfying a real hunger for religious knowledge among young Muslims.

    A positive step? Or a dangerous path?
    You decide.

    The Failure of the Press

    William J. Bennett and Alan M. Dershowitz on the failure of the US Press regarding the cartoons controversy. First, the double-standard:

    Since the war on terrorism began, the mainstream press has had no problem printing stories and pictures that challenged the administration and, in the view of some, compromised our war and peace efforts. The manifold images of abuse at Abu Ghraib come to mind — images that struck at our effort to win support from Arab governments and peoples, and that pierced the heart of the Muslim world as well as the U.S. military.

    The press has had no problem with breaking a story using classified information on detention centers for captured terrorists and suspects — stories that could harm our allies. And it disclosed a surveillance program so highly classified that most members of Congress were unaware of it.

    In its zeal to publish stories critical of our nation’s efforts — and clearly upsetting to enemies and allies alike — the press has printed some articles that turned out to be inaccurate. The Guantanamo Bay flushing of the Koran comes to mind.

    But for the past month, the Islamist street has been on an intifada over cartoons depicting Muhammad that were first published months ago in a Danish newspaper. Protests in London — never mind Jordan, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Iran and other countries not noted for their commitment to democratic principles — included signs that read, “Behead those who insult Islam.” The mainstream U.S. media have covered this worldwide uprising; it is, after all, a glimpse into the sentiments of our enemy and its allies. And yet it has refused, with but a few exceptions, to show the cartoons that purportedly caused all the outrage.

    Secondly, the intimidation:

    What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists — their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

    Finally, the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

    So far as we can tell, a new, twin policy from the mainstream media has been promulgated: (a) If a group is strong enough in its reaction to a story or caricature, the press will refrain from printing that story or caricature, and (b) if the group is pandered to by the mainstream media, the media then will go through elaborate contortions and defenses to justify its abdication of duty. At bottom, this is an unacceptable form of not-so-benign bigotry, representing a higher expectation from Christians and Jews than from Muslims.

    They conclude:

    When we were attacked on Sept. 11, we knew the main reason for the attack was that Islamists hated our way of life, our virtues, our freedoms. What we never imagined was that the free press — an institution at the heart of those virtues and freedoms — would be among the first to surrender.

    Exit Strategy from Iraq: A Suggestion

    With the possibility of Iraq melting down into a vicious religious war between Sunnis and Shi’is, I’d like to suggest an exit strategy.

    I. Iraq never should have been, nor should it continue to be a country that includes three such radically diverse populations as the Sunnis the Shi’is and the Kurds. The Kurds have shown the greatest propensity towards democratic self-rule and the greatest ability to appreciate the US presence. Therefore, let the US and the Kurds declare an independent nation of Kurdistan, withdraw our troops to there, and let Sunnis and Shi’is tear themselves apart.

    II. The major obstacle to this move is the objections of Turkey, which has a long-standing — one might even say tribal — dispute with the Kurds going on. But Turkey wants entry in the EU, and the Europeans rightly have begun to show increasing reluctance to let Turkey in. So let Turkey show its political maturity by getting over its tribal feuds and make peace with the creation of a Kurdistan.

    III. Kurdistan has oil, Turkey has Mediterranean outlets. Let the Kurds and Turks cooperate on a pipeline that will bring Kurdish oil to the Mediterranean, thereby showing the world (and themselves) that Muslims do not have to be economic basket cases, but can engage in positive-sum behavior, leaving the onus for self-destructive zero-sum behavior on the most dysfunctional Muslims — the Arabs.

    Hugo Chavez and anti-Semitism:

    Recently Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez made some remarks regarding Jews that the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles immediatelly denounced as anti-Semitic. Here they are in full:

    The world has an offer for everybody but it turned out that a few minorities–the descendants of those who crucified Christ, the descendants of those who expelled Bolivar from here and also those who in a certain way crucified him in Santa Marta, there in Colombia–they took possession of the riches of the world, a minority took possession of the planet’s gold, the silver, the minerals, the water, the good lands, the oil, and they have concentrated all the riches in the hands of a few; less than 10 percent of the world population owns more than half of the riches of the world.

    FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) immediatelly released a statement, “Editing Chavez to Manufacture a Slur“, saying that the words were taking out of context:

    The biggest problem with depicting Chavez’s speech as an anti-Semitic attack is that Chavez clearly suggested that “the descendants of those who crucified Christ” are the same people as “the descendants of those who expelled Bolivar from here.” As American Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who questioned the charge, told the Associated Press (1/5/06), “I know of no one who accuses the Jews of fighting against Bolivar.” Bolivar, in fact, fought against the government of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, who reinstituted the anti-Semitic Spanish Inquisition when he took power in 1813. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, a Jewish sympathizer in Curacao provided refuge to Bolivar and his family when he fled from Venezuela. Most of the accounts attacking Chavez (the Daily Standard was an exception) left the reference to Bolivar out entirely; the Wiesenthal Center deleted that clause from the speech without even offering an ellipses, which is tantamount to fabrication.

    FAIR provides then “the context”:

    In context, the Chavez speech seems to be an attempt by Chavez to link the attacks on his populist government to the attacks on his two oft-cited heroes, Jesus and Bolivar; the “minority” that would link the two would be the rich and powerful minority of society. The reference to “less than 10 percent of the world population” owning half the wealth also makes the idea that Chavez was talking about Jews far-fetched; 10 percent of 6 billion would be 600 million people. (According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, there are approximately 15 million Jewish people in the world.)

    This strikes me as a lame excuse. But we at the Augean Stables would like to hear your opinion.

    Muslim Students at UNC: Demopaths on the Warpath against “Hatred”

    Little Green Footballs posted this:

    Daily Tar Heel Now Targeted for Cartoon Jihad

    University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel is now embroiled in a Krazy Kartoon Kontroversy of their own, after publishing an original cartoon showing a politically correct, balanced and non-violent Mohammed denouncing both Denmark and Islamic protesters: Cartoon for February 9 – Opinion.

    Muhammad even handed

    The Muslim Students Association is seething.

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Muslim Students Association at the University of North Carolina on Friday asked the campus’ student newspaper to apologize for publishing an original cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

    “The intention of bigotry was clear,” the association wrote in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel. “One must question the DTH’s ethics in advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of their own. The MSA not only found this cartoon derogatory but is also shocked at the editor’s allowance of its publication — one that incites hate in the current political and social context.”

    Note the aggressive tone of injury: “intention of bigotry clear,” “advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of its own… derogatory… incites hate in the current political and social context.”

    So let me get this straight. Muslims throw a temper tantrum (“current political and social context”); accuse others of “inciting hate” when they themselves revel in it; and express shock that anyone be allowed to trample their sense of honor and dignity. This is a definitional example of demopathy, or the use of civic/liberal values to which you do not adhere to attack those who do adhere to them. Imagine if the newspaper were to produce a savage denunciation of the Israelis. Can one imagine the Muslim students shouting for its removal, or rather praising its courage?

    And the cartoon is really quite gentle. (Indeed it reflects the same sense that most Westerners who believe that Islam is a religion of peace feel about Muhammad: that he can’t possibly have been as immature, hyper-sensitive, and insecure as the Muslims who rampage at the slightest slight.

    cartoon #3

    UPDATE at 2/22/06 12:45:40 pm:

    Last year, the Muslim Students Association at UNC-CH succeeded in getting Daily Tar Heel columnist Jillian Bandes fired: lgf: Thoughtcrime at UNC-Chapel Hill.

    In other words, demopathy works. Intimidate people with your moral outrage, and you can continue to badger them with impunity.

    The sad thing is, these are battles that can be won without weapons, merely by pointing out — gently — the unacceptable hypocrisy of the outrage.

    Know Your Enemy

    A New Report, Harmony and Disharmony, was just released by West Point. It is dedicated to an understanding of today’s al-Qa’ida. It is a great reading with a lot of insights into that organization strenghts and vulnerabilities. This report is based on Jihadists documents and writings which many times are published on the internet.

    In prosaic detail, the documents identify the al-Qa’ida recruitment criteria, the training program for “new hires,” and the tactics of information, political, and military warfare needed to defeat the Jews and Crusaders and restore the Muslim lands to the rule of the caliphate. Beginning with the Islamist battle to overthrow the secular government of Syria in the 1970s and 1980s, and following jihadists through campaigns in Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Gulf States, and Afghanistan, these papers also reveal a high level of arrogance and intense ambition.

    The al-Qa’ida vision, as reflected in the included documents, demands ruthless adherence to its leadership and teaching, and uncompromising hostility toward Jews, Crusaders, Buddhists, Hindus, and apostate Muslims. Apostasy is defined, of course, to include all those who disagree with al-Qa’ida’s interpretation of Islam. While the theology may seem reactionary, the organization insists on using modern management principles as well. Instruction is provided on applying information technology, manipulating the media, and researching the use of nuclear weapons for the cause of jihad.

    Given the broad swath of time, place and organizational level from which they come, these Harmony documents reveal sides of the organization not widely seen before. The documents reflect meticulous operational calculations being made by the leadership over intended results and available opportunities for exploitation. The strategic discussions reflect a patient, organized, and determined foe that has known defeats, but one with the ability to learn from its mistakes. Readers will see how some operations they know all too well had been in conceptualization or even planning stages long before much of the West had heard the term “al-Qa’ida.”

    Like other revolutionary ideologies that have emerged throughout history, the idea of al-Qa’ida—an organization which touts itself as representing the will of a broader constituency—has considerable appeal for those alienated by the penetration of global capitalism or those who feel victimized by corrupt, indifferent rulers. As the accompanying analysis seeks to demonstrate, the importance of al-Qa’ida’s myth-making machinery cannot be underestimated. A careful reading of the documents here dispels the fiction that some have come to accept about al-Qa’ida: that it is a coherent, unified organization informed by Islamic principles. There is perhaps no better and more objective way to understand the fractured and duplicitous nature of al-Qa’ida than by simply listening to what its own leaders have said.

    For those with a Sense of Humor

    There’s a great site that sells T-Shirts of all kinds. They have three dedicated to the latest cartoon controversy. Very witty, very careful not to transgress the prohibitions of Sharia.

    Muhammad blows

    Fisking Joan Scott

    Recently Joan Scott published an article in The Link, a publication of Scholars for Middle East Understanding, in which she makes the case that a well organized pro-Israel, pro-occupation lobby, has Middle East Studies “under siege.” The article really does rival Robert Fisk in its misleading and tendentious presentation, which is particularly sad, because rather than being a hack writer for Arab causes living in Syria, Joan Scott is a well-respected professor of History at the Princeton Center for Advanced Study, America’s most prestigious academic institutions, home of Albert Einstein and dozens of other Nobel Prize winners. Here is a detailed analysis to which I welcome further comments and additions.

    [Because of the length of this article, it will appear in sections over the next week or so. This is installment I.]

    Middle East Studies Under Siege
    by: Joan W. Scott
    January – March 2006
    The Link – Volume 39, Issue 1
    Page 1

    Shortly after the terrorist attacks on the trade towers in September 2001, the American Association of University Professors (A.A.U.P.) set up a special committee to report on Academic Freedom in a Time of National Emergency. (For the text of this report see I was a member of that committee and, at the time, chair of A.A.U.P.’s committee on academic freedom and tenure.

    A year later, on October 4, 2002, The New York Times carried a story about the special committee’s work and I was quoted in it as stating “There are many more examples of attacks on critics of Israel than on students who are pro-Israel.” My comment was based on reported incidences in newspapers and magazines, and on conversations we had had with faculty and students on a large number of campuses.

    Given how tendentious this formulation — “many more” — and the overwhelming sense of surprise and fear that overcame the Jewish students on campus in the wake, not of 2001, but of October 2000 and the beginning of the “Second Intifada”, this kind of remark was bound to raise cries of foul… and it did.

    In response I got several, quite similar e-mails challenging my comment and demanding concrete proof for it. One e-mailer, who identified himself as a writer from the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri, asked to see my “data” for his ongoing research on “the polarization of campuses.” I replied that we were in the process of assembling data, that my comment was based on a “rough impression,” and that I would be back in touch with him when I had more information.

    Well, Professor Scott, where is that concrete evidence? Or is this article, filled with more deeply tendentious anecdotes, your response?

    Shortly after that, a friend forwarded me an e-mail from a right wing pro-Israeli list serve. In it the same man who had asked to see my data boasted that he had trapped me into admitting that I spoke on the basis of a “rough impression” and that he could now publicly denounce me as a bad social scientist since I had no hard data on which to make my claim. But he hesitated to do so—here was the ethical dilemma he was sharing with his allies—because his impersonation of a scholar would then have to be revealed. “I told her I was a researcher,” he said, “but I’m not; I’m an activist devoted to ridding our campuses of the pro-Palestinian presence.”

    Given how partisan Scott’s work on this subject, I would love to know what she considers “right wing”, and I would like to see what the actual email said, since it seems more than likely that even the most right-wing of pro-Israeli activists would be living in fantasy land if he thought he could “rid” our campuses of pro-Palestinian presence. The intellectual ethnic cleansing on our campuses comes far more actively from the pro-Palestinian side.

    Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany: A 21st Century Disease

    PZ posted on Paul Oestreicher’s “deep thoughts” on Zionism here. Melanie Phillips has a particularly stinging rebuttal.

    Today, a churchman has replied to Sir Jonathan in terms which suggest that the Chief Rabbi’s remarks understated the unfathomable depths of the venom towards Israel within parts of the church. In the Guardian Paul Oestreicher, a former member of the General Synod, former director of the Centre for International Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral and now a chaplain at the University of Sussex, has written a riposte which turns the stomach through its combination of manipulation, misrepresentation and sheer unadulterated hatred – which is even more disgusting because it has the gall to present itself as love. Yes, says Oestreicher, Sir Jonathan is right that hatred of Judaism continues to stalk the world. But then, having carefully wrapped himself in the mantle of both Judaism and the Holocaust through his Jewish-born father, and having even more carefully identified himself with ‘Jewish fears’ over Iran’s threat to obliterate Israel, he says this hatred of the Jews is their own fault. They have brought it on themselves through Israel’s behaviour. And he supports this odious claim with a series of gross misrepresentations. Thus:

    I cannot listen calmly when an Iranian president talks of wiping out Israel. Jewish fears go deep. They are not irrational. But I cannot listen calmly either when a great many citizens of Israel think and speak of Palestinians in the way a great many Germans thought and spoke about Jews when I was one of them and had to flee.

    Now let’s get this right. He’s comparing Israeli Jews to German supporters of the Nazi party. German Nazis believed the Jews were a global virus which had to be exterminated. Israelis have been under existential attack by Palestinian Arabs for fifty years. Israelis don’t want to wipe out Palestinians; Palestinians want to wipe out Israelis. The comparison beggars belief – and Oestreicher wraps himself in the mantle of the Holocaust to make it.

    Read the rest. Part of what makes Oestreicher’s discussion particularly disturbing is how deeply it is pervaded by this comparison of Israelis with Nazis when the appropriate comparison is with the Arab desire to destroy Israel and its addiction to both genocidal hatemongering and violence.

    This equation of Zionism and Nazism used to be relegated to the margins of the extreme fringe of the anti-Zionist left. Since the outbreak of the Intifada 2000, however, it has become an increasingly common theme of people who claim to inhabit the mainstream. This is one of the lasting legacies of the MSM’s coverage of the “Second Intifada”, in which the disastrous error of reporting the Israeli killing of Muhammad al Durah played a critical role both in the Arab world and in the West. After the catastrophic reporting of both the outset of the violence and again the “massacre” of Jenin, the floodgates opened. International forums given over to demonizing Israel, like the Durban conference that concluded days before 9-11, gave international legitimacy to Arab rage. Apparently the gates remain wide open despite how much the world has since learned about the way Jihadis play the game.

    What will it take for Europe to awaken from its suicidal slumber?

    Update. A very interesting post on Oestreicher at Oliver Kamm’s blog from May 2004, for those of us who just discovered the man’s twisted moral universe. (Hat tip: David Adler)

    Israel feeds anti-Semitism (For UK chaplain)

    To Paul Oestreicher, a chaplain at the University of Sussex, many Israelis think of Palestinians as once Nazis thought of the Jews.

    But I cannot listen calmly either when a great many citizens of Israel think and speak of Palestinians in the way a great many Germans thought and spoke about Jews when I was one of them and had to flee. If the Christian in me has good reason to be ashamed, so now does the Jew in me. I passionately believe that Israel has the right, and its people have the right, to live in peace and in secure borders. But I know too that modern Israel was born in terror and made possible in its present Zionist form by killing and a measure of ethnic cleansing. That is history. Tell me of a nation with an innocent history. But the Zionism at the heart of Israeli politics is about the present and the future. It makes me fear for the soul of Israel today and the survival of its children tomorrow.

    Israeli conscientious objectors are the “new prophets” of Israel:

    I say all this despairing of the Israel I love. Its people are my people. The Palestinians are my neighbours. I wish they had stronger and better leaders. I wish their despairing young people had not been driven to violence. Just as I understand Jewish fears, I understand their despair. Only an Israel that understands that too can change it. And there are Jews in Israel and in the diaspora who know it. Most of them, out of a fear of being thought disloyal, are afraid to say what they know to be true. The state of Israel has become a cruel occupying power. Occupations, when they are resisted, are never benevolent. They morally corrupt the occupier. The brave body of Israeli conscientious objectors are the true inheritors of the prophets of Israel. They are the true patriots. What nation has ever loved its prophets?

    Finally a “new holocaust” can happen because of Israel’s policies:

    But the main objective of my writing today, is to nail the lie that to reject Zionism as it practised today is in effect to be anti-semitic, to be an inheritor of Hitler’s racism. That argument, with the Holocaust in the background, is nothing other than moral blackmail. It is highly effective. It condemns many to silence who fear to be thought anti-semitic. They are often the very opposite. They are often people whose heart bleeds at Israel’s betrayal of its true heritage.

    I began with the recognition that the cancer of anti-semitism has not been cured. Tragically, Israel’s policies feed it – and when world Jewry defends Israeli policies right or wrong, then anger turns not only against Israel, but against all Jews. I wish it were mere rhetoric to say that Israeli politics today make a holocaust the day after tomorrow credible. If the whole Muslim world hates Israel, that is no idle speculation. To count on Arab disunity and Muslim sectarian conflict and a permanent American shield is no recipe for long-term security.

    The Muslim Brotherhood’s Project

    PZ posted recently on “The Project.” I think it worthwhile to add that this text deserves careful study. The single best link is at Scott Burgess’ Daily Ablution. The text is now out in translation in French. Comments at Powerline. The connection with Eurabia deserves attention.

    It’s difficult to assess things like this. On one level, given the devastating impact that the forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion has had on the Jews, it is extremely dangerous to suggest that members of a religion are bent on world conquest. On another, each case needs to be weighed on the evidence, and the evidence for Islam’s imperialist propensities are farily strong. (I will post later on the elements that make some forms of monotheism imperialist.)

    If indeed there is a plan to carry out the Islamicization of Europe (and eventually the world), pretending it does not exist can only assist. And acknowledging the plan does not mean that we need demonize and ostracize every Muslim as part of the plot. Not only are many Muslims the target of Islamists, but there may be some who seek a form of Islam that can live in a multi-religious universe without seeking to dominate. It does mean, though, that we need to be informed and to ask hard questions.

    So weigh the evidence, and do so carefully.

    Where’s the sense of Balance when you need it?

    The folks at Cox and Forkum have hit the nail on the head once again.


    I’m not sure I get the logic of the MSM: what inflames Muslims against the West is okay, as long as the target isn’t the MSM?

    Discussion of the double standard here at Gateway Pundit. Discussion of the Boston Globe’s handling of the issue at Solomonia.

    “Terrorist” …

    From The Guardian:

    Israel froze contacts with what it called the “terrorist” Palestinian Authority yesterday, and put a block on the transfer of funds, the day after the swearing in of a Hamas-dominated parliament.