Monthly Archives: January 2007

Financial Times Compares Davos to Herzliya: Assume a Can-Opener

The Financial Times has a report from their chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman comparing Davos and Herzliya. The result is a fascinating piece of optimisitc (mis)reading by someone coming from and speaking to an audience of globalizing capitalists. Not surprising that Rachman spent 15 years at the Economist. This one has the same shakey grasp on reality that the Economist’s take on Eurabia displayed.


The clash of globalisations that spells trouble for Davos man

By Gideon Rachman
Published: January 30 2007 02:00 | Last updated: January 30 2007 02:00
I went to two international conferences last week. The Herzliya security conference took place on the Israeli coast and the World Economic Forum was held in the Swiss mountains. It felt as if they were taking place on different planets.

Herzliya gathered together Israel’s political and military leaders. The guest speakers included the number twos at the Pentagon and the State department, as well as a clutch of American presidential candidates. The mood was dark and dominated by the increasing likelihood of a military conflict between Iran and either Israel or the US. Other blood-curdling possibilities discussed at Herzliya were a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, renewed civil war in Lebanon and American defeat in Iraq, leading to a broader regional war.

Davos is a bigger and glitzier affair than Herzliya, with a much broader agenda. It too had sessions on the Middle East. But the dominant tone at the WEF was set by the exuberant optimism of international businessmen, enjoying the opportunities brought about by globalisation, new technologies and a world economy that is expanding at its fastest pace for decades.

By the end of the week I was left wondering whether these two worlds – Davos and Herzliya – can continue running in parallel. Are they fated to collide? If so, which will prove the more powerful – conflict or capitalism?

Widlanski on Mao, Abbas, and the Eilat Terror Attack

The following is a guest post by Dr. Michael Widlanski, a specialist in Arab politics and communication who teaches at the Rothberg School of Hebrew University. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times, The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post. He has also served as a special advisor to Israeli delegations to peace talks in 1991-1992 and as Strategic Affairs Advisor to the Ministry of Public Security, editing secret PLO Archives captured in Jerusalem.

Palestinians Unite Behind Terror Attack as Bomber Fulfills PLO Leader’s Wishes

By Michael Widlanski

Yesterday’s suicide terror attack that murdered three Israeli civilians was hailed rather than condemned by the Palestinian media controlled by PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas, and many Palestinians saw it as opportunity to unite against Israel while healing the wounds of the growing Palestinian civil war.

“Three Israelis were killed in an operation whose agent was heroically martyred [istash-hada] in the resort of Eilat,” reported the Fatah newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which is controlled by PLO leader Abbas and his aides.

Youths Pick Sharia: The Honor-Shame Foundations of Islamism

According to a recent study, 37% of British Muslim youth want to live under Islamic Sharia law rather than British. Do they know what they’re talking about? Almost certainly not. (Hat-tip JW)

Study: Britain failing in battle against Islamic extremism
Independent study finds 37 percent of 16-24-year-old British Muslims would prefer to live under Islamic sharia law than under British law
Reuters
Published: 01.29.07, 08:40

A study released Monday by an independent think-tank in Britain found 37 percent of 16-24-year-old British Muslims would prefer to live under Islamic sharia law than under British law, compared to just 17 percent of those aged over 55.

JUST 17%?

Comments at the BBC about LGF: On the Politics of Silence

Little Green Footballs has posted an extremely interesting remark from the BBC thread about Little Green Footballs which appeared after the BBC closed down a thread started by someone asking why the BBC didn’t allow links to LGF in their comments, especially since LGF placed among the top 25 blogs in a Forbes Magazine survey. In place of the original remark, which included a link to Forbes’ article, the BBC put:

This posting has been temporarily hidden, because a member of our Moderation Team has referred it to the Hosts for a decision as to whether it contravenes the House rules in some way. We will do everything we can to ensure that a decision is made as quickly as possible.

Comments #12, 14, and 18 were also so “suspended,” presumably because they violated the regulations as well.

This strikes me as akin to the kind of “gag-order” rulings that characterize the French courts in the matter of Charles Enderlin vs. the websites that criticize him.

Shortly before the thread closed, removing LGF from the title, someone posted a long entry that nicely delineates the coming clash of blogosphere and those relics of the MSM that cannot handle the challenge.

Intimidation and Information Systems: How We Know What We Know

An extremely interesting and courageous article from the Jerusalem Post on the troubles of Christians in the Muslim town of Bethlehem brings up a host of problems including how do we get the information we get, and how reliable is it.

Bethlehem Christians claim persecution
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
BETHLEHEM

A number of Christian families have finally decided to break their silence and talk openly about what they describe as Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in this city.

The move comes as a result of increased attacks on Christians by Muslims over the past few months. The families said they wrote letters to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the Vatican, Church leaders and European governments complaining about the attacks, but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

Note that this was what Christian Dhimmi did throughout the 19th century, imploring the Western authorities to intervene on their behalf with the Ottoman rulers. This was the main function of the consulates that Western powers insisted on opening after each war with the Ottomans. And it is the insistence that Islam treat its minorities as equal before the law that a) led to the success of the Jews and Christians in the Muslim world (the modernizers), and b) led to the massacres and violence against Dhimmi, including the slaughter of the Armenians. See Bernard Lews, What Went Wrong. especially chapter 4.

The Media and the Dysfunctions of the 21st Century: Address at the 7th Annual Herzliya Conference

We live in an unanticipated era.

Who in the heady, philo-Judaic years of the 1990s,
– when Oslo looked like a winning formula for peace in the Middle East, indeed a prelude to a prosperous and peaceful globe,
– and some predicted the disappearance of anti-Semitism in the West,
who in those years would have imagined the looming nightmare that takes shape in the anxious skies of January 2007?
– in which a paranoid, demonizing narrative, has moved to the center of the Muslim public sphere around the globe…
– where this explosion of hatred has activated apocalyptic millennial dreams of Jihadi world conquest and genocide…
– where suicide terrorism has struck at the heart of the American and European continents…
– where Europe has a Muslim “Street” where demonstrators promise a European holocaust, riot and vandalize, attack police in gangs, murder critics and their own daughters…
– where serious analysts wonder how many more generations – or even decades – democratic European civilization can last before overtaken by a demographic and theocratic Islamic revolution…
– where, starting in 2000, a global wave of anti-Zionism overnight spread to attacks on Jews and Jewish sites around the world.
– where Nobel Laureates compare the Israelis to the Nazis,
– where demonstrators cheer on suicide terrorists,
– where Jewish intellectuals call for the dismantling of the state of Israel based on the most facetious of post-colonial paradigmatic thinking…
– where mainline Christian churches vote for divestment from Israeli firms, and academics for a boycott of their Israeli colleagues…
And who, told of such an astounding developments, would have thought that the responsible leaders of the West — Gentile and Jewish — would respond to this madness with a reflex of placation, apology, concession… in short, appeasement?

As I said, we live in an unanticipated era.

Let’s start with the bad news.

Al Durah II? The MSM Reports Again “According to Palestinian Sources

CAMERA has a post on the latest case of an accusation against Israel for killing a Palestinian child, Abir Aramin. Witnesses claim she was killed by rubber bullets. The autopsy formally contradicts such a claim. But not before the MSM got to work. Below the posting at CAMERA with comments:

Al Durah II?

aal durah ii?

The investigations that exonerated Israel for the killing seven years ago of 10-year-old Mohammed Al-Dura did little to soothe the raging Muslim world. Once again, Israel has been blamed for the killing of a 10-year-old Palestinian child, and the death is expected to fuel Arab hatred of Israel. As the AP reported on Friday:

    Meanwhile, the 10-year-old daughter of a Palestinian peace activist died Friday after being struck in the head days earlier by a rubber bullet fired by Israeli security forces in the West Bank. Abir Aramin’s death was expected to further fan Arab anger against Israel.

I especially love the use of the intransitive and the passive: “the death was expected to fuel further hatred…” Not: “We the talking heads in the MSM expect the Palestinian accusations of Israeli soldiers murdering a poor defenseless Palestinian girl, which we the MSM report uncritically, to further fan hatred… ” That would cut to close to the bone.

Beware of Multiculturalists Bearing Advice: Fania Oz-Salzberger on “Islamophobic’ Friends of Israel

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Fania Oz-Salzberger, director of the Posen Research Forum for Political Thought and senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law and School of History at the University of Haifa. It expresses concern about the suspicious Islamophobic “friends” Israel is suddenly finding in Europe. The piece has already been the object of several fairly scathing critiques, one the very day it appeared by Ruy Diaz of Western Resistance, another by Melanie Phillips, who is indirectly indicted, and yet another by Caroline Glick in her Jerusalem Post column.

I do a fisking here because I think that the sentiments expressed here encapsulate all the attitudes of the “bien-pensant” Israeli progressive from the romanticization of Islam to the demonization of those who fear Islam to the desire to remain morally immaculate. Fisking it then offers an opportunity to show just how profoundly misguided such an approach. I have never met the author, and I apologize if I am somewhat severe in my criticism. But when one presents oneself as a moral voice addressing one’s generation and one says ill-considered things, one should be prepared for criticism. After all, the ability to absorb criticism is part of the progressive credo. Please take my comments, therefore, in the spirit of this blog: “Opposition is True Friendship.” (Hat tip: Nidra Poller)

[Fania Oz-Salzberger in bold blockquote; me in regular; Glick in indent italics.]

With Friends Like These . . . Jews, beware of Islamophobes bearing gifts.

BY FANIA OZ-SALZBERGER
Sunday, January 7, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

An Israeli gal like me cannot afford to be too picky about her friends, certainly not in Europe. Recent European polls proclaimed Israel the single most dangerous country on earth, the guiltiest monger of global conflict, and, to crown it all, the least desirable place to live. Most Israelis, busy with their thriving economy under a warm Mediterranean sun, tend to forgive such pronouncements coming from dismal Düsseldorf and snowbound Stockholm. But a new challenge has now cropped up. We seem to have gained new European friends, and not quite for the right reasons.

Al Jazeera and the Boundaries between Journalism and Fiction

An Al Jazeera reporter has been detained in Egypt for possessing staged scenes of torture by the Egyptian police. The response of al Jazeera’s Egyptian bureau chief shows just how little this organization understands the difference between journalism and theater. (Hat-tip LGF)

Sat Jan 13, 9:14 PM ET
CAIRO, Egypt – Egyptian authorities on Saturday detained an Al-Jazeera journalist for fabricating scenes of torture staged inside mock Egyptian police stations, but the pan-Arab network said the footage was created with actors for a documentary film.

Producer Howaida Taha Matwali, an Egyptian, was banned earlier this past week from traveling to Qatar, the headquarters of the Al-Jazeera network, after airport police seized 50 videotapes she was carrying in her luggage, an Interior Ministry statement said.

Prosecutors ordered her detention Saturday for further questioning, a police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

An arts committee affiliated with the Interior Ministry viewed the tapes and said they showed “unedited scenes of fabricated torture incidents, and assaults by individuals wearing police uniforms on others playing roles of male and female suspects inside studios decorated to look like police stations,” the statement said. The tapes have not been made public.

This is a good description of one kind of Pallywood. Call it level 5, with level 1 being the primitive, fall-down-get-carried-in-front-of-cameras-make-it-into-the-news. Sets, directors, actors, possibly scripts.

The Al-Jazeera bureau chief in Egypt, Hussein Abdel-Ghani, said the footage was “reconstruction” which Matwali intended to use in a documentary film about torture in Egypt.

Reconstructing scenes with actors “is a well-known method in the production of documentaries, and Al-Jazeera is not the only network to talk about torture,” Abdel-Ghani said.

This is a well-known method in the Arab world, perhaps, but not acceptable in the West where standards are supposed to distinguish between documentaries (real footage), and fiction. The problem came out in the case of a series of “documentaries” by the Palestinian filmmaker Hany abu-Assad, in particular Ford Transit, which won prizes as a documentary despite having been done by actors. Abu-Assad’s response was to say the film is “100% fiction and 100% documentary”.

The “slippery slope” between realistic reconstruction and grotesque distortion is nowhere more visible than the remarks of the PATV official who explained why his organization had inserted a picture of an Israeli soldier into the footage of Muhammad al Durah to illustrate the libel of intentional murder of an innocent child:

    “These are forms of artistic expression, but all of this serves to convey the truth… We never forget our higher journalistic principles to which we are committed of relating the truth and nothing but the truth.”

The results can be seen in this billboard that appeared in Lebanon shortly after the footage was “fixed.”

lebanese al durah

The gap between Middle-Eastern standards of journalism and Western professional standards cannot be underestimated. Without understanding the difference, we cannot assess the accuracy of what comes to us from Middle Eastern sources, despite the extensive claims of “professional” media outfits like al Jazeera to the contrary.

He said the detained journalist had twice obtained permission from the Egyptian Interior Ministry to interview police officers about torture.

Al-Jazeera said on its Arabic Web site that Egyptian prosecutors accused Matwali of “filming footage that harms the national interest of the country; possessing and giving pictures contradicting the truth, and giving a wrong description of the situation in the country.”

Rights groups say torture, including sexual abuse, is routinely conducted in Egyptian police stations and in the interrogation of prisoners.

The government denies systematic torture, but has investigated several officers on allegations of torture. Some were convicted and sentenced to prison.

So we move from staged “documentary” footage to “fake but accurate,” as the NYT article headlined the discussion of Dan Rather’s “memo” on George Bush.

I do not doubt that Egyptian officials use torture, just as I do not doubt that al Jazeera and other Arab filmmakers don’t understand the difference between fiction and documentary. The real issue is, what do we, as outsiders looking in, make of these phenomena. In both cases — torture and staging — we do not know the extent of the problem. The purpose of journalism is to give us a realistic sense of both. So far, we live in an echo chamber created by our own unwillingness to apply the standards that made Western journalism one of the pillars of civil society, to cultures that have a long way to go before they can start playing by those rules.

We cannot afford such indulgence because it blinds us, even as it gives full license to our imaginations to believe whatever pleases us. Reality testing is a painful, often distasteful, if necessary activity. We cannot do it under conditions where “fake but accurate” is an easy response to this kind of behavior.

Saddam Hussein and Arab Honor: NYT Tackles Arab Mentalities

A remarkable piece in the NYT on how Saddam has become a martyr in much of the Arab and Sunni Muslim world illustrates many of the mechanisms of honor-shame culture, from the power of the gesture, to the lack of concern for past guilt, to the slippery slope towards conspiracy theory.

Images of Hanging Make Hussein a Martyr to Many

By HASSAN M. FATTAH
Published: January 6, 2007
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 5 — In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe.

On the streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Mr. Hussein has emerged as a Sunni Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners tormented and abused him.

“No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed,” President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt remarked in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot published Friday and distributed by the official Egyptian news agency. “They turned him into a martyr.”

In Libya, which canceled celebrations of the feast of Id al-Adha after the execution, a government statement said a statue depicting Mr. Hussein in the gallows would be erected, along with a monument to Omar al-Mukhtar, who resisted the Italian invasion of Libya and was hanged by the Italians in 1931.

In Morocco and the Palestinian territories, demonstrators held aloft photographs of Mr. Hussein and condemned the United States.

Here in Beirut, hundreds of members of the Lebanese Baath Party and Palestinian activists marched Friday in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood behind a symbolic coffin representing that of Mr. Hussein and later offered a funeral prayer. Photographs of Mr. Hussein standing up in court, against a backdrop of the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem, were pasted on city walls near Palestinian refugee camps, praising “Saddam the martyr.”

“God damn America and its spies,” a banner across one major Beirut thoroughfare read. “Our condolences to the nation for the assassination of Saddam, and victory to the Iraqi resistance.”

By standing up to the United States and its client government in Baghdad and dying with seeming dignity, Mr. Hussein appears to have been virtually cleansed of his past.

“Suddenly we forgot that he was a dictator and that he killed thousands of people,” said Roula Haddad, 33, a Lebanese Christian. “All our hatred for him suddenly turned into sympathy, sympathy with someone who was treated unjustly by an occupation force and its collaborators.”

Just a month ago Mr. Hussein was widely dismissed as a criminal who deserved the death penalty, even if his trial was seen as flawed. Much of the Middle East reacted with a collective shrug when he was found guilty of crimes against humanity in November.

But shortly after his execution last Saturday, a video emerged that showed Shiite guards taunting Mr. Hussein, who responded calmly but firmly to them. From then on, many across the region began looking at him as a martyr.

“The Arab world has been devoid of pride for a long time,”
said Ahmad Mazin al-Shugairi, who hosts a television show at the Middle East Broadcasting Center that promotes a moderate version of Islam in Saudi Arabia. “The way Saddam acted in court and just before he was executed, with dignity and no fear, struck a chord with Arabs who are desperate for their own leaders to have pride too.”

This is an extremely important theme. Unfortunately, for the world in which Saddam’s crimes are dismissed in a moment because he shows such dignity, the notion of what it means to “have pride” comes down primarily to defiance. Guilt for crimes against ones own people, for example, carries no weight when put in the balance with defiance of outsiders who “humiliate” Arabs.

Ayman Safadi, editor in chief of the independent Jordanian daily Al Ghad, said, “The last image for many was of Saddam taken out of a hole. That has all changed now.”

At the heart of the sudden reversal of opinion was the symbolism of the hasty execution, now framed as an act of sectarian vengeance shrouded in political theater and overseen by the American occupation.

In much of the predominantly Sunni Arab world, the timing of the execution in the early hours of Id al-Adha, which is among the holiest days of the Muslim year, when violence is forbidden and when even Mr. Hussein himself sometimes released prisoners, was seen as a direct insult to the Sunni world.

The contrast between the official video aired without sound on Iraqi television of Mr. Hussein being taken to the gallows and fitted with a noose around his neck and the unauthorized grainy, chaotic recording of the same scene with sound, depicting Shiite militiamen taunting Mr. Hussein with his hands tied, damning him to hell and praising the militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, touched a sectarian nerve.

“He stood as strong as a mountain while he was being hanged,” said Ahmed el-Ghamrawi, a former Egyptian ambassador to Iraq. “He died a strong president and lived as a strong president. This is the image people are left with.”

Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian media critic and director of the online radio station Ammannet.net, said: “If Saddam had media planners, he could not have planned it better than this. Nobody could ever have imagined that Saddam would have gone down with such dignity.”

Writers and commentators have stopped short of eulogizing the dictator but have looked right past his bloody history as they compare Iraq’s present circumstances with Iraq under Mr. Hussein.

In Jordan, long a bastion of support for Mr. Hussein, many are lionizing him, decrying the timing of the execution and the taunts as part of a Sunni-Shiite conflict.

Was it a coincidence that Israel, Iran and the United States all welcomed Saddam’s execution?” wrote Hamadeh Faraneh, a columnist for the daily Al Rai. “Was it also a coincidence when Saddam said bravely in front of his tormentors, ‘Long live the nation,’ and that Palestine is Arab, then uttered the declaration of faith? His last words expressed his depth and what he died for.”

Here’s an interesting read of Hussein’s religious orientation. At least as far as this writer is concerned, the religious dimension represents his true and deep self.

Another Jordanian journalist, Muhammad Abu Rumman, wrote in Al Ghad on Thursday: “For the vast majority Saddam is a martyr, even if he made mistakes in his first years of rule. He cleansed himself later by confronting the Americans and by rejecting to negotiate with them.

Here we have a nice package of “honor-shame” themes that is as eloquent for what it doesn’t mention as it is for what it does: Saddam made “a few mistakes” at the beginning. Does that include killing large numbers of innocent civilians? Isn’t that what the Arab world is so furious about the Israelis doing? But by confronting America and refusing to negotiate, all his earlier sins are “cleansed.” This is the same kind of logic that made Yassir Arafat a hero in the Arab world, in particular his refusal to make a deal at Camp David. With a public like this, how on earth can the Arabs ever move on?

Even the pro-Saudi news media, normally critical of Mr. Hussein, chimed in with a more sentimental tone.

In the London-based pan-Arab daily Al Hayat, Bilal Khubbaiz, commenting on Iranian and Israeli praise of the execution, wrote, “Saddam, as Iraq’s ruler, was an iron curtain that prevented the Iranian influence from reaching into the Arab world,” as well as “a formidable party in the Arab-Israeli conflict.”

Zuhayr Qusaybati, also writing in Al Hayat, said the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, “gave Saddam what he most wanted: he turned him into a martyr in the eyes of many Iraqis, who can now demand revenge.”

“The height of idiocy,” Mr. Qusaybati said, “is for the man who rules Baghdad under American protection not to realize the purpose of rushing the execution, and that the guillotine carries the signature of a Shiite figure as the flames of sectarian division do not spare Shiites or Sunnis in a country grieving for its butchered citizens.”

In Saudi Arabia, poems eulogizing Mr. Hussein have been passed around on cellphones and in e-mail messages.

“Prepare the gun that will avenge Saddam,” a poem published in a Saudi newspaper warned. “The criminal who signed the execution order without valid reason cheated us on our celebration day. How beautiful it will be when the bullet goes through the heart of him who betrayed Arabism.”

Mr. Safadi, the Jordanian editor, said: “In the public’s perception Saddam was terrible, but those people were worse. That final act has really jeopardized the future of Iraq immensely. And we all know this is a blow to the moderate camp in the Arab world.”

Reporting was contributed by Mona el-Naggar from Cairo, Nada Bakri from Beirut, Rasheed Abou al-Samh from Jidda, Saudi Arabia, and Suha Maayeh from Amman.

I find it interesting and telling that the multiple contributors to this article could not find one voice of dissent among all of this honor-shame group think. My guess is that a) they didn’t look, b) no one particularly wants to go public in dissent on this right now, and c) the authors, for all their commitments to “modern journalism”, share the sentiments they report. But that’s pure speculation.

What is less speculative is the evidence that “Arabism,” as the Saudi poem has it, is still alive, and well, and poisoning the lives of Arabs with as much gusto as ever. Churchill once famously remarked that “Arabs don’t mind being oppressed as long as it’s by their own.” This reaction not only illustrates the dictum, but explains the mechanism behind so self-destructive an attitude.

In any case, it seems to me that any “human rights” activist with honor and dignity should remember this response well, so that the next time some Arab waxes eloquent on the death of nine civilians due to an Israeli shell, he or she can respond: “I don’t understand. Why are these lives so precious that you cannot forgive the Israelis and insist that they are genocidal murderers, but you can forgive Hussein in an instant, despite the fact that he has killed over a million Muslims?” Or is that asking too much of human rights folks? Are they more drawn the Carter model — confront the democracies, comfort the dictators?

Rami S to Manfred G: A Palestinian Wants to Know

The letter presented below comes about as the result of a rather round-about process. Liza of somethingsomething posted a long and critical post about the conference, Stop being Verbal Vegetarians, taken from the title Manfred Gerstenfeld’s talk — a title which apparently upset some vegetarians. The passage that caught Ramzi eye went like this:

Dr. Gerstenfeld kept referring to the Palestinians as “the enemy”, and made statements such as “incitement to murder is an integral part of Palestinian society” and “…fighting a society permeated with genocidal intentions”. He suggested that we must “turn the accusers into the accused”, and that we should “stop being verbal vegetarians”.

It was a truly horrifying experience, and between the waves of nausea I was feeling, all I kept thinking was that thank god Charles was not in the room to hear this racist rant. I was angry enough, and would have been morbidly embarrassed had this utterly charming Lebanese-American blogger and conference participant heard what this man was saying.

Now this post led to two major threads of comment (one at Good Neighbors, and a longer one at somethingsomething), in which I participated.

But it also prompted Ramzi S., a Palestinians student in political sociology in France to write Manfred an email with a series of challenges. I have both Ramzi and Manfred’s permission to post the note with my comments. Ramzi, in his email to me wrote:

i will be ready to discuss the subject as much as it needs to get discussed, i prefer to STAY OPEN rather than close the door on every possible human contact…

I hope I do not disappoint him, and that we can begin a fruitful discussion. Blockquote bold = Ramzi.

Mr. Gerstenfeld,

After hearing about your intervention at the “The Media as a Theater of War, the Blogosphere, and the Global Battle for Civil Society” conference, I decided to contact you and ask for some clarifications about some remarks you made during that conference.

I didn’t present myself, my name is Ramzi , a Palestinian blogger and a Political Sociology student in France.

I heard that you kept referring to the Palestinians as “the Enemy.” I heard that you didn’t stop claiming the victimhood of the State of Israel. I heard too that you stated that “incitement to murder is an integral part of Palestinian society” you then stated that israel is ” fighting a society permeated with genocidal intentions” and you suggested to “turn the accusers into the accused.”

Now let me tell you what i think about this, then allow me to comment.

With all due respect, allow me to say in one word that your speech is a pure act of Demagogy.

I wonder how many times you visited the Palestinian Authority. I wonder how many times you had the chance to talk to Palestnians, I wonder if you ever saw a Palestinian in your life. It’s true, some mainstream media sources tend to represent Palestinians as such. But No Mr. Gerstenfeld, The Media never tells the truth, whether to defend or to attack , you shouldn’t allow the media to put down your very own social standing.

Response to Pallywood from a Visitor to Second Draft

I received the following comment at The Second Draft, apparently in response to the movie Pallywood.

First let me say I am British citizen and take no sides in the middle east conflict. That said, I’m pretty shocked by your stance that the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories is somehow a media fabrication. Have you or any of your correspondents actually been there? I have and I will never forget what i saw there with my own eyes. The Israeli brutality, the oppression, the abuses- IT IS ALL REAL. Of course Palestinians of all factions are press savvy and try to get the best angle for them from the international media- they would be stupid not to. The Iraelis engage in the same game and the media are not always careful enough about the accuracy of their sources but to claim as you seem to that the humanitarian catastophy in the region is a Palestinian set-up is appaling. Support Israel if you want, but don’t pretend they are somehow misunderstood heroes crypto-victims of some fantasy Palestinian media conspiracy. People feel sorry for the Palestinians because Israel deliberatley makes their lives, homes and futures a misery. Sorry, but thats a fact.

I post it here with interlinear comments. Mark in bold.

First let me say I am British citizen and take no sides in the Middle East conflict.

Given your subsequent remarks, I find this hard to believe. But I guess it’s a pro forma remark that people feel they have to make in order to get people to take them seriously. I think making it as a preliminary to your subsequent remarks undermines your credibility… but I’ll take you seriously.

That said, I’m pretty shocked by your stance that the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories is somehow a media fabrication.

I don’t know where you get that. I never said anything of the sort. The point of Pallywood is that the Palestinians invent/stage footage of Israeli violence in order to provoke a) hatred among their own people and b) moral indignation among people in the West. That Israelis do damage to Palestinians no one denies. That it is as pervasive, as wanton, as unprovoked as Pallywood footage would have us believe is another thing. So the point of my argument in Pallywood is not to claim that all footage, or even all claims of Israeli violence are false, but rather to alert the viewer to be skeptical of such claims in the knowledge that if he is fooled by them, his moral indignation actually fuels the very violence he thinks he is denouncing.

Have you or any of your correspondents actually been there? I have and I will never forget what i saw there with my own eyes. The Israeli brutality, the oppression, the abuses- IT IS ALL REAL.

At the risk of inviting you to give a litany of complaints, can you give us an idea of a) with whom you were traveling, b) when, c) what you saw, and d) did you visit Israel and some of the victims of suicide bombings. My guess is that, as bad as it struck you, it is nothing compared to the violence of suicide terrorism, which has a great deal to do with the oppressiveness of the “occupation.” But rather than anticipate, please give me an idea of just what is so REAL.

Of course Palestinians of all factions are press savvy and try to get the best angle for them from the international media- they would be stupid not to.

I think it goes well beyond being “press savvy.” They intimidate and control foreign media to an extent that, I would presume, you would be in strong opposition to, if you were aware of it.

The Israelis engage in the same game

This is what i call “moral equivalence” or “leveling the playing field.” I challenge you to come up with even one example of Israeli staging of events that compares with the quotidian behavior of the Palestinian “street” and their cameramen and journalists. There’s nothing like it that I know of. On the contrary, my experience of Israeli journalists is that they are exceptionally scrupulous about stuff to do with the Palestinians. The only case of something remotely resembling Pallywood that I’ve heard of from Israeli journalists was staged to indict “right-wing” settlers. Did you visit Israel on your trip to Palestine?

and the media are not always careful enough about the accuracy of their sources but to claim as you seem to that the humanitarian catastrophe in the region is a Palestinian set-up is appalling.

I fully acknowledge that the regional catastrophe is real. I just don’t think that the main source of it is Israeli brutality, oppression and abuses, as you imply. My “root cause” is a Palestinian and Arab leadership who inflict suffering on their own people and then convince gullible well-intentioned people like you to blame the Israelis for that suffering. Far from denying Palestinian suffering I think that it is particularly cruel because it is inflicted by their own leaders, and although I don’t agree, I understand Palestinians having great difficulty acknowledging that betrayal. I expect more from impartial outsiders such as yourself, however.

Support Israel if you want, but don’t pretend they are somehow misunderstood heroes crypto-victims of some fantasy Palestinian media conspiracy. People feel sorry for the Palestinians because Israel deliberately makes their lives, homes and futures a misery. Sorry, but that’s a fact.

That’s not a fact, it’s a perception. Deliberately is a pretty heavy term to use. It’s attribution of motive which I challenge you to support with hard evidence. People feel sorry for the Palestinians because their leadership, who deliberately inflict suffering on them — the “refugee camps” from which they cannot escape, the 3 No’s of Khartoum which left them in captivity — manage to convince gullible outsiders like yourself to blame Israel, thereby ratifying their strategy of making their people suffer, and prolonging the suffering of the very people you think you support.

Neither your position nor mine are facts. They’re interpretations. And what I ask of you is that you have the modesty to imagine, if only as a mental exercise, the possibility that you’re wrong. What’s more important to you — blaming the Israelis or putting an end to Palestinian suffering? It may be a choice you have to make.

I welcome your responses.

Germany Awakens: Opposition to East German Mosque

Here’s an article by the Boston Globe on opposition to a planned mosque in East Berlin.

east berlin mosque protest
Residents of Berlin’s Heinersdorf neighborhood protested the foundation laying ceremony last week. Residents have also filed legal complaints to block construction of the mosque. (Johannes Eisele/ Deutsche Press Agency)

As a mosque rises, a dispute flares in Berlin
By Colin Nickerson, Globe Staff | January 9, 2007
BERLIN — A squabble over construction of the first mosque in formerly communist East Berlin is becoming the latest flash point between Muslims intent on asserting a strong identity in Europe and Europeans increasingly fearful that their secular societies are threatened by Islamic fundamentalism.

Last week, in a foundation laying ceremony that faced protests, members of the small, conservative Ahmadiyya Muslim group watched with pride as a patch of concrete was poured on the site of a razed sauerkraut factory in Heinersdorf, a neighborhood of modest businesses and tidy houses where no one is Islamic. The Ahmadiyyas picked the 5,200-square-foot lot because it was cheap. Members will commute to worship services from elsewhere in Berlin.

I don’t know the details here, but the idea that they picked it because it was cheap and they’ll commute to services — five times a day?!?! — strikes me as implausible to say the least.

Men wore turbans and flat top pakul hats to the ceremony. Women, wearing traditional scarves or covered head-to-toe by burkhas, were relegated to their own tent separate from the Muslim males and local government dignitaries, a segregation that did not endear them to their prospective neighbors. Even communism celebrated the equality of sexes.

“No mosque!” opponents chanted from the street.

Members of the Muslim congregation hope the soaring minaret of the planned mosque will become a local landmark. “People should not fear us,” Iman Abdul Basit Tariq, the Pakistan-born leader of a flock of 200, said in an interview. “They should open their hearts to the beauty of Islam.

Instead, the neighborhood has fought the mosque with marches, candlelight vigils, and petitions. Residents have also filed legal complaints that could block construction.

The protests have been resolutely peaceful. But bureaucrats responsible for promoting integration have chided objectors for failing to embrace “cultural diversity,” while self-described “anti-racist” activists have staged noisy countermarches through Heinersdorf. Mosque opponents — who include teachers and tradesmen, pensioners and young professionals — are angered by the charges of bigotry.

“Ideas of suppressing women and hatred for democratic values will soon be disseminated in the heart of our community,” said Roland Henning, a musician who lives half a block from the planned mosque. “And those of us who ask, ‘Why?’ are the ones being called intolerant and xenophobic. Europe isn’t just surrendering its culture. It’s surrendering any sense of logic.

Words many of us have been waiting a long time to hear.

The controversy over the mosque is in some ways purely local, involving arcane zoning issues.

But the fight also highlights a new willingness to confront Muslims emerging not only in Germany but across the continent. Spain and Italy have been the scene of similar attempts to block mosques. Mistrust of Islam, once the provenance of cranks, is becoming mainstream.

Note that this article appears in the Boston Globe, which as a newspaper whose coverage of the controversial Boston Mosque has mostly sided with the building of a large mosque and community center in Roxbury. Nary a mention here of the issue at home.

Even such strongholds of tolerance as the Netherlands and Sweden are seeking to ban some contentious Muslim garb, such as veils and scarves, in public schools and government buildings.

For decades, Europe largely ignored its fast-growing Islamic population. No one knows the precise numbers of Muslims of Middle Eastern, African, and Asian descent living in Western Europe, but some estimates put the figure at 20 million, including at least 3.2 million in Germany and about 6 million in France.

Aside from a few right-wing groups railing against the influx, however, Europeans have for decades proudly hoisted the banner of multiculturalism, even as fundamentalism spread in Muslim communities and Islamic zealots preached against core democratic values.

“Europeans have used tolerance as the excuse for not confronting intolerance,” said Bassam Tibi, a German political scientist who is a Muslim of Syrian heritage. “Europeans have stopped defending the values of their own civilization.”

But a series of events is causing a shift in sentiment among many Europeans.

Europeans were stunned by the Sept. 11 , 2001, attacks in the United States and the deadly bombings of public transit systems in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005 , respectively .

In some ways, however, they seemed more rattled by the bloody protests that exploded last year after a Danish newspaper published political cartoons that mocked the Prophet Mohammed. The cartoons, while offensive, fell within the bounds of commentary protected by free speech in the West. For Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is considered blasphemous.

European politicians and ordinary citizens in recent months have seemed willing to forgo political correctness in favor of a more hard-knuckled stance toward some Muslim practices and attitudes. “The time of cozy tea-drinking” with Muslim groups has passed, Rita Verdonk , the conservative Netherlands immigration minister, said in October.

Jack Straw, a prominent leader of the British Parliament, garnered international headlines last fall when he said he did not believe Muslim women should wear full-faced veils, calling such coverings “a visible statement of separation and difference.”

When Pope Benedict XVI made an address in September that criticized Islamic concepts of holy war as “evil and inhuman,” he was denounced across the Muslim world. But Europeans, generally, applauded the pontiff’s forceful words — or at least defended his right to utter them. Last month, Germany’s prestigious Tuebingen University honored his remarks with its “Speech of the Year” award.

At least eight of Germany’s 16 states, meanwhile, have forbidden female teachers from wearing headscarves in public schools, arguing that the attire imparts ideas of submission to girls.

In some ways, the dispute over the mosque in East Berlin is a similar sign of the new confrontational mood in Europe.
Opposition to the mosque comes not just from ultra-rightists, but from apolitical residents who see no reason why they should welcome a Muslim sect that preaches subservience of women and the supremacy of religious law.

Of the 6,500 registered voters in the Heinersdorf neighborhood, 6,000 have signed a petition opposing construction of the mosque, according to German media reports. That’s a surprising percentage even in Eastern Germany, where mistrust of outsiders is more pronounced than in the west, reflecting old communist paranoia.

Residents seem genuinely disturbed by the notion of embracing a religious congregation whose leaders vociferously oppose, for example, such ordinary aspects of German life as allowing girls to participate in school sports or field trips. They also dislike Muslim preaching against infidels.

“Why should we be giving welcome to a group that hates German values and considers Christianity to be its enemy?” asked Joachim Swietlik, spokesman for the group opposed to the mosque. “Our concern isn’t based on their skin color or their countries [of origin]. It’s based on their contempt for the ideals of our liberal-democratic society.”

The Ahmadiyya sect, although deeply conservative in social customs and theology, rejects holy war and other violence espoused by radical Islamists. Born in South Asia, it claims 30,000 members across Germany.

We come in peace and hopes of acceptance,” said Tariq, the iman who will live at the mosque and hold prayer services five times each day. “I don’t think this conflict is really about our mosque. It’s about fear of Muslims.

“Germans, like so many Europeans, associate Islam with terrorism,” he said. “It will be decades, even generations, before we overcome such attitudes.”

I’m not sure why the Globe gave the last word to imam Tariq. Either he is a pure demopath — as if Europeans have no reason to fear Islam, and as if decades, even generations of Islam’s spread won’t contribute still further to the fear of Islam — or he is a naif of fairly astounding proportions. In either case, this comment begs for rebuttal from someone defending what the Globe itself thinks of itself as defending — progressive values. But I guess we can’t expect everything all at once. In any case, this is good news. Signs of awakening, and not too late.

Question: If Europeans begin to fight back, as these Germans have, with the weapons of civil society — peaceful protest, petitions, legal maneuvers — how will European Muslims, who until now had an unimpeded road of expansion before them, respond?

Al Durah Affair: Interviews from Herzilya Conference

One of the issues that came up at the Herzilya Conference was the Al Durah Affair. Philippe Karsenty of Media-Ratings spoke, and both Danny Seaman, the controversial Director of the Government Press Office, and Raanan Gissin, the outspoken former spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon spoke out against the Israeli government’s silence. Olivier Rafovitch was there with Infolive, a 24-hour news station based in Jerusalem available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. He interviewed both Seaman and Gissin, and this was the result. Turning point? Not yet. These men were the only two government officials to openly express their opinion that Al Durah was staged back in 2003 when I first started on this topic, and they remain the only two that I know of. Stay tuned.

Thomas Jefferson, the Quran, and Jihad: Reflections on Ellison’s Swearing In

When I saw the footage of Keith Ellison’s swearing in on Jefferson’s copy of the Quran, I immediately thought, “Hmmmm. I wonder what Jefferson learned from his reading of that highly problematic text. Having read Andrew Bostom on the topic of Jefferson and Muslim pirates, I doubted he came away thinking, ‘Islam is a religion of Peace.’” Here’s a piece on that very topic. (HT: Judith Jacobson of SPME)

What Thomas Jefferson learned
from the Muslim book of jihad

By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
January 2007
Democrat Keith Ellison is now officially the first Muslim United States congressman. True to his pledge, he placed his hand on the Quran, the Muslim book of jihad and pledged his allegiance to the United States during his ceremonial swearing-in.

Capitol Hill staff said Ellison’s swearing-in photo opportunity drew more media than they had ever seen in the history of the U.S. House. Ellison represents the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota.

The Quran Ellison used was no ordinary book. It once belonged to Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and one of America’s founding fathers. Ellison borrowed it from the Rare Book Section of the Library of Congress. It was one of the 6,500 Jefferson books archived in the library.

Ellison, who was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in college, said he chose to use Jefferson’s Quran because it showed that “a visionary like Jefferson” believed that wisdom could be gleaned from many sources.

There is no doubt Ellison was right about Jefferson believing wisdom could be “gleaned” from the Muslim Quran. At the time Jefferson owned the book, he needed to know everything possible about Muslims because he was about to advocate war against the Islamic “Barbary” states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli.

Ellison’s use of Jefferson’s Quran as a prop illuminates a subject once well-known in the history of the United States, but, which today, is mostly forgotten – the Muslim pirate slavers who over many centuries enslaved millions of Africans and tens of thousands of Christian Europeans and Americans in the Islamic “Barbary” states.

Over the course of 10 centuries, Muslim pirates cruised the African and Mediterranean coastline, pillaging villages and seizing slaves.

The taking of slaves in pre-dawn raids on unsuspecting coastal villages had a high casualty rate. It was typical of Muslim raiders to kill off as many of the “non-Muslim” older men and women as possible so the preferred “booty” of only young women and children could be collected.

Young non-Muslim women were targeted because of their value as concubines in Islamic markets. Islamic law provides for the sexual interests of Muslim men by allowing them to take as many as four wives at one time and to have as many concubines as their fortunes allow.

Boys, as young as 9 or 10 years old, were often mutilated to create eunuchs who would bring higher prices in the slave markets of the Middle East. Muslim slave traders created “eunuch stations” along major African slave routes so the necessary surgery could be performed. It was estimated that only a small number of the boys subjected to the mutilation survived after the surgery.

When American colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776, American merchant ships lost Royal Navy protection. With no American Navy for protection, American ships were attacked and their Christian crews enslaved by Muslim pirates operating under the control of the “Dey of Algiers”–an Islamist warlord ruling Algeria.

Because American commerce in the Mediterranean was being destroyed by the pirates, the Continental Congress agreed in 1784 to negotiate treaties with the four Barbary States. Congress appointed a special commission consisting of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, to oversee the negotiations.

Lacking the ability to protect its merchant ships in the Mediterranean, the new America government tried to appease the Muslim slavers by agreeing to pay tribute and ransoms in order to retrieve seized American ships and buy the freedom of enslaved sailors.
Adams argued in favor of paying tribute as the cheapest way to get American commerce in the Mediterranean moving again. Jefferson was opposed. He believed there would be no end to the demands for tribute and wanted matters settled “through the medium of war.” He proposed a league of trading nations to force an end to Muslim piracy.

In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the “Dey of Algiers” ambassador to Britain.

The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty based on Congress’ vote to appease. During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey’s ambassador why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts. In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered that Islam “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Quran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

For the following 15 years, the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to 20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800.

Not long after Jefferson’s inauguration as president in 1801, he dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the Mediterranean, and informed Congress. Declaring that America was going to spend “millions for defense but not one cent for tribute,” Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying American Marines and many of America’s best warships to the Muslim Barbary Coast.

The USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Philadelphia, USS Chesapeake, USS Argus, USS Syren and USS Intrepid all saw action.

In 1805, American Marines marched across the dessert from Egypt into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all American slaves. During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary States, crumbling as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore raids by Marines, finally officially agreed to abandon slavery and piracy.

Jefferson’s victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles on the land as on the sea.”

It wasn’t until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates.

Jefferson had been right. The “medium of war” was the only way to put and end to the Muslim problem. Mr. Ellison was right about Jefferson. He was a “visionary” wise enough to read and learn about the enemy from their own Muslim book of jihad.

Now what does this say about a) Mr. Ellison, who presumably read the Quran before converting; b) the Americans who were moved by his symbolic gesture of using Jefferson’s Quran assuming that Jefferson had it for the reasons Ellison presented — that Jefferson was an ecumenical “wisdom seeker,” and c) those of us who realize the real meaning of this gesture?

Silence of the Left: Human Rights Complex Take 357,892

Amnon Rubinstein, a former cabinet minister and Knesset member, is president of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. A widely respected member of the Israeli left expresses his profound disappointment in what Charles Jacobs calls the Human Rights Complex, in response to the appalling demands of Israeli Arabs for a bi-national state. (HT: Yoram Getzler)

The silence of the Left

Amnon Rubinstein, THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 8, 2007

A report entitled “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” published by the National Committee of the Heads of Arab Local Councils and endorsed by the Supreme Follow-up Committee of the Arabs in Israel with the cooperation of Arab leaders and intellectuals, is sharp and clear.

The Arab-Palestinian minority in Israel no longer advocates the two-state solution. Alongside the future Palestinian-Arab Muslim state they favor a binational state, Jewish and Palestinian, which will give the Palestinian minority special political rights.

Israel would thus lose its specific nature as a Jewish homeland. A new flag, national anthem and essence would characterize both nations, Jewish and Palestinian.

This vision will not further the cause of equality between Arabs and Jews. On the contrary, it will increase the antagonism between the two communities and enrage Jews like me who have worked for cooperation and equality between the two peoples.

WHAT IS most interesting about the vision are the things it omits. For example, the nature of Palestinian society in the proposed binational state that is to replace Israel. Will it follow radical Muslim traditions? What will be the status of women in this society? Will they have equal rights? Will they be freed from arbitrary unilateral divorce?

And what about gay Palestinians? Will they be punished for their sexual orientation by being flogged to death, as in Saudi Arabia, or by hanging, as in Iran? The vision is silent regarding all this and does not, moreover, include any reference to freedom of expression, rule of law, sanctity of life and other values without which there is no civilized society.

ALL THESE missing values are rightly espoused by the Israeli Left. And yet there has been no comment on this Arab vision, which has plenty of hate-words for Israel and none on equality, justice and civil society.

The silence on the Left is significant, and part of a phenomenon not confined to Israel in which values which are supposed to be universal are applied, sometimes with great fanaticism, to advanced Western societies but not to third world ones.

The European Left, for instance, can raise a storm of protest over Israel’s misdeeds – real or imagined – but has little or nothing to say about Darfur or Iran’s Nazi-like president.

Furthermore, Europe’s Left, as well as Israel’s, has fallen in love with an extreme interpretation of the concept of multiculturalism, according to which it is alleged that all cultures, like all human beings, are equal and therefore the liberal concepts developed in the West have no priority over traditional cultures.

But what about cultures that suppress the individual and expose women to forced marriage, polygamy, honor-killing and arbitrary unilateral divorce? Should they be treated with respect just because they represent a traditional culture?

The Left in Israel and elsewhere have never answered this question clearly, and have, ignominiously, failed to even condemn repressive regimes emanating from traditional non-European cultures.

THE FAILURE of Israel’s Left to react to the “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel,” is part of a bigger picture. Its silence means, in effect, that Israeli Muslims – future subjects of the Palestinian regime within the binational state – are treated differently than Israeli Jews. But doesn’t this double standard smack of racism?

Universal values should be universal in scope and application. Any society, regardless of its ethnic origin, that fails to observe these values is guilty of repression. The Arab “vision” is, therefore, not only anti-Israeli, it is also anti-everything the Left stands for.

The Left’s failure to react to it is thus reprehensible as well as regrettable.

I’m not sure why Rubinstein thinks the left has not responded. The notoriously “leftist” paper Ha-aretz published a highly critical piece by Avraham Tal titled “This Means War.” But a quick review of the comments illustrates what concerns Rubinstein.

The text of “Future Vision” illustrates all of the main themes of PCP2. It is a monument to demopathy, and it’s not clear whether the Arabs who composed it are even aware that their proposals are profoundly subversive of all the “human rights” principles they invoke. Point out that these Israeli Arabs have far more rights than their brethren in Arab lands (not to mention minorities in Arab lands), and they will scoff at the escapist mentality that tries to change the subject. But maybe it’s not a change in subject. These people (mostly men) don’t identify with the commoners or minorities in Arab nations, they identify with the elites, and they want the privileges of those elites. That they want to carve them out of the living body of the Israeli state doesn’t seem to bother them at all. After all, it’s what their brethren are doing in Europe.

Kreeping Dhimmitude in England

A commentator at Dhimmiwatch posted the following about Muslim behavior in England. The implications of these remarks are immense and frightening. The police is now urging dhimmi behavior of its own citizens.

I could not agree more with your last post if I tried. Yes, of course, moslems are an alien body in our midst. Every day in London – on the tube, in shops, in parks, whilst shopping, whilst going about the 101 tasks that make up an average life – this is borne in on me.

In London today moslems dress differently, are rude to locals, jump queues, shout at us, wave their fists at us, call us ‘worthless infidel’ in public and in loud voices. I have, just four days ago, been elbowed aside by a moslem couple, with sidekicks, whilst trying to top up my Oyster card at a tube station at the automatic machine. Apparently, I had taken longer than the ten seconds that they were prepared to wait and so three burly males forced me aside and, when I objected, pushed me to the floor and – quite literally – and took over the machine which I was attempting to use.

Not, in a crowded and impatient city like London that this was a surprise, but that in this instance that I was insulted by these people was a surprise. The eldest male in the group, dressed in the usual and ridiculous garb of mohammedans everywhere, looked directly at me amd said, in quite clear English, (and I quote verbatim) “Get out of our way infidel slave”.

You may imagine how I felt at that moment. To be so insulted in my own capital city was stunning. It took all my self-control not to do something rash at that moment.

Knowing that CCTV cameras would have captured this incident I complained, some three hours later (after having completed my journey and return), to the British Transport Police on the Broadway. I need not have bothered. Not only would no-one there take my complaint of ‘technical assault and insult’ seriously but no-one to whom I spoke was even prepared to initiate any paperwork whatsoever nor were they remotely prepared to find and look at the video recordings. Indeed, one Officer even said to me that I ‘should swallow my pride’ and live with it because – and, once again, I quote verbatim ‘you are just being racist and you have to remember that it’s cultural with them’.

Obviously, at this point, I indicated that I felt that I had been physically assaulted and that I would really like to have my complaint investigated. Well, this is really where everything about that evening begins to stick in my craw. When I said that, the Officer of the BTP who was listening to me actually cautioned me and warned me that if I persisted with making a nuisance of myself I would be charged under the The Race Relations Act 1976 and the RRAA (Race Relations (Amendment) Act) 2000.

I gave up at this point. Cowardice is sometimes the better part of valour. But, damn it, they won, didn’t they? I have been intimidated into a dhimmi position by them and the very powers which should have protected me in my own country.

“Happy New Year everyone”, I say in a bitter tone of voice.

Dominic.

I find this story a) plausible, and b) terrifying.

The reaction of the police is catastrophic. They expect Brits to maintain their stiff upper lip, suck up the insults, and keep quiet; even as they encourage this religious mafia to establish its public dominion. This calls into question the tendency of people to argue that the Muslims are too small a minority to take over. At 5%, they are already showing an aggression that any self-respecting culture would find unthinkable to tolerate from so small a minority. Whether Muslims “take over” Europe or not, town by town, country by country, is not a question of a majority. It only takes an aggressive minority and a passive majority to allow a mafia to take over.

Talk about misreading an honor-shame culture at work, and therefore allowing it to dominate…

Secular Saddam Hussein’s Final Address

One of the more frequent comments one hears from people who want to insist that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden is the contrast between Saddam, the secularist from the Ba’ath party and bin Laden, the religious zealot. Nothing, these members of the “reality based community” insist, could be more opposite.

I have tried to point out that the secular-religious split is a peculiarly Western development (it goes hand in hand with democracy and the freedom of religion, a good thing for both the seculars and the religious). To project the very difficult accomplishment of separating secular and religious spheres onto Saddam Hussein, and thereby to assume that someone like Saddam would have nothing to do with someone like Bin Laden is cognitive egocentrism.

Here is Saddam’s final speech. You be the judge of what kinds of things he had on his mind and he thought his audience had on his mind.

saddam in glory

Saddam Hussein, President of the Republic of Iraq and the Chief Commander of the Combatant Armed Forces

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate:

‘Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us: He is our protector: and in Allah let the Believers put their trust’

Oh, great people of Iraq. Oh, courageous men of our unrelenting armed forces. Oh, glorious Iraqi women. Oh, sons of our glorious nation, the courageous believers in the brave resistance.

In the past, I was, as you all know, in the battlefield of jihad and struggle. God, exalted be He, wished that I face the same again in the same manner and the same spirit in which we were before the revolution but with a problem that is greater and harsher.

Oh beloved, this harsh situation, which we and our great Iraq are facing, is a new lesson and a new trial for the people by which to be judged, each depending on their intention, so that it becomes an identifier before God and the people in the present and after our current situation becomes a glorious history. It is, above all, the foundation upon which the success of the fu! ture phases of history can be built. In this situation and in no other, the veritable are the honest and faithful and the opposing are the false. When the insignificant people use the power given to them by the foreigners to oppress their own people, they are but worthless and lowly. In our country only good must result from what we are experiencing:

‘The scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth’

God is all knowing.

Oh great nation. Oh people of our nation and of mankind. Many of you have known the owner of this letter for his truthfulness, his honesty, his purity, and his genuine concern over his people, for his wisdom, his vision, his justice, and for his firmness in dealing with issues and for his watchfulness over the properties of the people and of the country, and for living according to his conscience and his mind. His heart aches for the poor and he does not rest until he helps in improving their condition and attends to their needs. His heart contains all his people and his nation, and he craves to be honest and faithful without differentiating between his people except on the basis of their efforts, efficiency, and patriotism.