Monthly Archives: October 2007

BBC and Arab Media Promote anti-American Conspiracy Theory

Just in case you were starting to feel optimistic about the human race, the following post will quickly dispel those feelings. Conspiracy theorists have long produced their paranoid exposés about global domination by some nefarious organization, be it the oil industry or, of course, the Jews. The internet has provided them with a convenient forum, and conspiracy theorists develop a synergy with one another, feeding off other paranoid individuals.

This post deals with one such conspiracy theory. (hat tip: lgude) If it had stayed in the perverse little universe of anti-globalization and anti-Semitic blogs, I would not waste my or your time on the issue. However, the theory, though it is inconceivable to the point of being ridiculous, has made its way into two major media outlets. Their adoption of the theory is another example of their ideology leading them away from what can be considered even remotely respectable journalism. But that makes the theory dangerous.

The conspiracy theory in question answers, in its proponents minds, questions about the 2004 tsunami that killed over 200,000 people, primarily in Indonesia and India. The theory has its usual villains- George Bush, Dick Cheney, the CIA…and the Zionists. It goes along these lines — George Bush, primarily because he is evil, but also to aid his war effort in Iraq, ordered U.S. forces to detonate a nuclear device in the Sumatra trench in the Indian Ocean as a catalyst for the tsunami. Each theorist has his/her own variation. Let us take a journey to the twilight zone that is the paranoid left’s blogosphere:

On his blog, “24 Hours to Live“, Sarge writes-

Here’s an interesting scenario to nibble on: The Bush junta is tired of explaining itself to the media. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice are sick of the liberals in this country pointing out how many American lives are being lost in Iraq… so……Bush and his cronies devise a cunning and dastardly plan. In order to take people’s minds off of Iraq why not create a natural disaster? We’ve done underwater nuclear weapons tests before (see Bikini Atoll) and they have a significant seismic effect. Is it then possible that the Bush regime detonated a large nuclear device on the ocean floor off the coast of Indonesia? After all, a natural disaster of these proportions certainly takes your mind off Iraq…

With Bush and his cronies calling the shots anything is possible…

I see…Bush (whose powers rival God’s, apparently) created a natural disaster to distract us from Iraq. Since the tsunami took peoples’ minds off Iraq, then it is within the realm of possibility. I accidentally whacked my thumb with a hammer while banging a nail into a board last week, and for a few minutes of excruciating pain, I definitely was not thinking about Iraq. Were Bush and his cronies behind it? Anything is possible…

Joe Vialls introduces the anti-Semitic element that was so lacking on Sarge’s blog. Vialls theory blames ‘New York’, specifically Wall Street. They control John Howard, he says, which he presumes to be able to prove based on Howard’s actions.

Only Little Johnny knew, and of course his trusty crystal ball in New York. To hell with Sri Lanka, his bosses wanted a main base for the huge reconstruction contracts in Asia, designed to replace the failed oil theft and reconstruction in Iraq, and keep poor old Zion on its tottering New York legs for a few more weeks or months.

In the end, what the hell did it matter how many Goyim had to die? And, hey, on the credit side they’d already managed to kill more than 100,00 Muslims in Sumatra with a single tidal wave, which was partial payback for their own resounding defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq..For the Zionist Cabal, obtaining a thermonuclear weapon in America is no great trick, especially when we have the precedent of 100 small ‘decommissioned’ air-to-air atomic warheads being smuggled out the Pentagon’s (civilian) back door, to form the core of the Jewish State’s current nuclear arsenal. Once a weapon system is out date and out of service, loyal uniformed US military personnel can no longer track it.

India Daily
introduces the next prerequisite for a good conspiracy theory, UFOs-

Recent alien contacts have been reported with the South Asian Governments especially India. UFO sightings have been rampant over the region affected. Some in Nicobar Island say that it was an experiment conducted by the alien extra-terrestrial entities to correct the wobbly rotation of the earth. And some of the Indian scientists are actually seeing that wobbly rotation of the earth has been corrected since the massive underwater earthquake and tsunami.

The Pagan Prattle has compiled an archive of tsunami conspiracy links.

Ok, we’ve had our fun. Lonely bloggers typing up drivel in their mothers’ basements should cause us to shake our heads sadly, nothing more. We understand how ridiculous the theory is, but it should not surprise us that it exists.

What also might not surprise, but should definitely alarm, is the echoing of these theories in Arab media. This is no longer a joking matter. Are they really that out of touch with reality? Or will they use any chance to smear America, Israel, and the West in order to incite the Arab public against them? Cybercast News Service reports:

The Egyptian nationalist weekly Al-Usbu’ accused the U.S., Israel and India of carrying out nuclear testing that may have cased the tsunami. Those nations were testing “how to liquidate humanity,” the newspaper said.

“Was [the earthquake] caused by American, Israeli, and Indian nuclear testing on ‘the day of horror?’ Why did the ‘Ring of Fire’ explode?” Mahmoud Bakri asked in his “investigative” piece published in the weekly on January 1.

“According to researchers’ estimates, there are two possible [explanations] for what happened. The first is a natural, divine move, because the region is in the ‘Ring of Fire,’ a region subject to this destructive type of earthquakes,” Bakri wrote according to a translation of the article provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Friday.

“The second possibility is that it was some kind of human intervention that destabilized the tectonic plates, an intervention that is caused only in nuclear experiments and explosions,” he said… reports that many point the “finger of blame,” not at Mother nature, but at “government cover-ups, top secret military testing in the waters of the Indian Ocean and even aliens attempting to correct Earth’s ‘wobbly’ rotation.”

But the most popular theory, it says, is that the Indian and U.S. military are the “main cause of the disaster by testing eco-weapons, which use electromagnetic waves, thus triggering off earthquakes.”

That is the Arab media. They operate under different rules than the Western media, and they have reported on more fanciful theories. Major Western media networks would not treat such a theory seriously. Or would they?

The BBC treats the issue as worthy of serious debate:

Why did US base escape tsunami?

Following the tsunami, conspiracy rumours have been circulating on the internet of how the US base at Diego Garcia managed to avoid casualties while other islands suffered huge losses.

The US Navy’s official Diego Garcia website said the island wasn’t hit by the devastating tsunami because it is surrounded by deep waters and the grade of its shores does not allow for tsunamis to build before hitting land.

The site said the earthquake generated a tidal surge on the island estimated at six feet.

Is America a power for good or ill in the world? Was there a malign hand at work, or has America’s role in the crisis in fact been a model of humanitarian leadership.
Let us know what you think. Is this just anti-US sentiment on the web or something more worrying?

It is something more worrying. It is profoundly worrying that the BBC even asks the question. But, alas, it is not terribly surprising.

Britney Spears’ Custody Battles are the Least of her Troubles

The following article, from Worldnet Daily, gives us a picture of the world that Islamic fundamentalists envision. While some might not mourn the removal of Madonna and Britney Spears from the airwaves, Islamist zeal and eagerness to resort to violence to ‘protect’ Islam brings us into another world where, when in doubt about how to protect decency… try murder.

Interestingly, celebrity gossip site published an article on the same topic on September 11th. TMZ readers failed to catch the moral precision displayed by the website in providing an approachable example of the same ideology that brought about the attacks on 9/11. Many remarked that it was cheap and inappropriate to cover this on 9/11. And some readers thought that it was a joke, a sort of 9/11 prank by TMZ. Apparently folks who spend a lot of time reading gossip about the glitterati cannot comprehend that there are people in the world who believe in such violence. Unfortunately, such naïveté has some potentially disastrous, and definitely not comic, consequences.

Terrorists: We’ll cut off head of ‘prostitute’ Britney Spears
Madonna also targeted by jihad leaders who warn of ‘spreading satanic culture’

Muslim terrorist leaders threatened to forcibly convert Britney Spears and Madonna to Islam and warned if they resist, their heads would be cut off for “spreading Satanic culture,” according to a new book released today.

bs and madonna kiss
Britney Spears and Madonna in their famous 2003 kiss

The threats, recorded on audio, come as Madonna is due to arrive in Israel Wednesday to celebrate the Jewish new year with fellow Kabbalah practitioners.

“If I meet these whores I will have the honor – I repeat, I will have the honor – to be the first one to cut the heads off Madonna and Britney Spears if they will keep spreading their satanic culture against Islam,” said Muhammad Abdel-Al, spokesman and senior leader of the Popular Resistance Committees terror organization.

The Committees, largely based in the Gaza Strip, has carried out thousands of rocket attacks against Jewish population centers and scores of shootings and bombings. It is suspected of bombing a U.S. convoy in Gaza in 2003 and took credit for a rocket attack yesterday that hit an Israeli military base wounding 69 – the largest casualty number of any Palestinian rocket attack.

Abdel-Al and other terror leaders were quoted threatening Madonna and Spears in Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!, by author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

Audio of their threats was played today by’s new national entertainment television show and its website.

In “Schmoozing,” the jihadist leaders were petitioned to describe what life would be like if the terrorists took over the U.S. and imposed Islamic Sharia law.

They were asked what they thought of specific American cultural icons and personalities, but many state they never heard of scores of notorious U.S. celebrities they were asked about.

According to Klein, many terrorists interviewed were familiar with two U.S. celebrities – Madonna and Spears.

“Unfortunately, I heard the names of Madonna and Spears on [Arab] television when parents complain that their children neglect their studies and their values because they are influenced by your cheap American music that you call culture,” explained Sheikh Abu Saqer, a founder of the Sword of Islam terror group.

The Sword of Islam has taken responsibility in Gaza for bombings of Internet cafes, pool halls and secular music stores, and is suspected of attacking a United Nations–funded school in Gaza accused of allowing girls and boys to play sports together.

Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas’ so-called “military wing” is quoted in “Schmoozing” describing what his group would do with Madonna and Spears if jihad groups took over the U.S.: “At the beginning, we will try to convince Madonna and Britney Spears to follow Allah’s way.”

But I honestly don’t think they will follow. If they persist with their whoring music, we will prevent them by force. I don’t think that I can be in the same place with these singers. They might be killed if they do not respect our laws.”

The Committees’ Abdel-Al accused Madonna and Spears of “spreading this culture by the Americans as part of the war against Islam.”

“If these two prostitutes [Madonna and Spears] keep doing what they are doing, we of course will punish them. First we will call them to join Islam.

This is the Dawah, meaning ‘summons’ or ‘call’. In the Koran, Sura An-Nahl 16:125 states “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.” This must be done before using force against infidels. When Bin Laden calls on Americans to convert, he is using Dawah as a prerequisite to Jihadi violence.

But if they keep what they are doing … we can stone them or even we can kill them if they keep … tempting men in order to put them far from Islam. … A prostitute woman must be stoned or must be eighty times hit with a belt.”

Abdel-Al said even before Islam takes over America he would personally kill Madonna and Spears if he ran into them. He boasted he would “be the first one to cut the heads of Madonna and Britney Spears.”

I guess that’s what you call the iron fist in the velvet glove… the proverbial offer you can’t refuse. Hello out there, Paul Krugman, are you listening?

Palestinian Terrorists Weigh in on the American Elections

While this site does not support a particular presidential candidate, the following article from National Review Online is an interesting insight into the manner in which proponents of Jihadi totalitarianism relate to American democracy. They try to manipulate it to serve their own goals, often through our media. Here, it seems that they are under the impression that their comments will help their candidate of choice. The absurd reality that is created in the dysfunctional conjunction between the terrorist leaders and liberal democracy is elucidated when they speak of harming a presidential candidate whose views they do not share.

Terrorists Prefer Hillary
And they’d rather see Rudy dead than president.
By Deroy Murdock

Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is gaining fans, even on the West Bank.

“I hope Hillary is elected in order to have the occasion to carry out all the promises she is giving regarding Iraq,” said Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian terror group. “I hope also she will maintain her husband’s policies regarding Palestine and even develop that policy. President Clinton wanted to give the Palestinians 98 percent of the West Bank territories. I hope Hillary will move a step forward and will give the Palestinians all their rights. She has the chance to save the American nation and the Americans’ life.”

Senakreh and other top Islamo-fascists want Hillary in the Oval Office. These mass murders also have “gone negative.” They want GOP contender Rudy Giuliani dead.

“We see Hillary and other candidates are competing on who will withdraw from Iraq and who is guilty of supporting the Iraqi invasion,” said Abu Jihad, an Al Aqsa leader in Nablus. “This is a moment of glory for the revolutionary movements in the Arab world in general and for the Iraqi resistance movement specifically.”

Al Aqsa’s man in the northern West Bank, Nasser Abu Aziz, considered it “very good” that there are “voices like Hillary and others who are now attacking the Iraq invasion.”

Islamic Jihad’s Abu Ayman felt “emboldened” by Clinton’s demands that America retreat from Iraq. He said: “It is clear that it is the resistance operations of the mujahideen that have brought about these calls for withdrawal.”

“All Americans must vote Democrat,” insisted Jihad Jaara, an exiled Al Aqsa agent who commanded 2002’s siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

Since 1995, these terrorists’ organizations have killed an estimated 162 and wounded 368 others in Israel. Aaron Klein, an Orthodox Jew who is’s Jerusalem bureau chief, interviewed some three dozen leading Muslim fanatics, including those quoted here. His new book, Schmoozing with Terrorists, details these chilling encounters with violent Islamic extremists in Israel’s Palestinian territories.

Klein boldly goes where few journalists have gone before. For one typical interview, he traverses an Israeli border checkpoint, takes a local Palestinian taxi to central Jenin, then waits for a white Ford Escort without license plates to whisk him to an apartment complex at the end of an alley. He then meets Islamic Jihad’s Abu Ahmed. After several minutes, Klein asks: “So, if after today’s meeting, you saw me in a café in Jerusalem that you were sent to attack, you’d still try to blow it up?”

“I will not hesitate to blow you up,” Ahmed responds. “Meanwhile, and before I drive you to Hell in an operation, enjoy your tea and our hospitality.”

Why do these hardened butchers have a soft spot for Hillary Clinton? Perhaps because the New York Democrat is soft on terrorism.

These terrorists’ love for Hillary mirrors their hatred for her leading GOP rival, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“If I had the occasion to meet him I would hurt him,” said Ramadan Adassi, a West Bank Al Aqsa leader. “For the sake of the American people, Giuliani shouldn’t be elected. He is a disgusting guy, and I think Americans must think very hard about their future and their soldiers who will be killed when they come to elect their leaders.”

“Giuliani doesn’t deserve to live or even to be mentioned,” said Al Aqsa’s Ala Senakreh. “He hates Palestinians and we hate him.”

Al Aqsa’s Abu Hamed said Giuliani “can hate Arafat and the Palestinians, but he knows that nobody is hated in the world more than his leadership, his party, his president, and his Zionist friends.”

Why the hard feelings? Perhaps because Giuliani has snipped terrorists’ bomb wires for 31 years. “I don’t believe Americans should base their votes entirely on what the terrorists think,” Aaron Klein says from Jerusalem, “but it’s certainly telling that our enemies are rooting for the Democrats, particularly Hillary.” He adds: “The theme from all those interviewed in the book, about 35, and those I have talked with for my reporting the past few years, which adds many more, is the same: They favor the Democrats and believe the liberal ideology is their road to victory.”

As the War on Terror continues, Americans should study our foes’ political preferences — and then pull the lever the other way.

Closing comment by RL:

Well, I wouldn’t be so blunt. But it would be worthwhile if people who are voting democratic to get us out of Iraq would pause a few moments to think about why these folks are rooting for the Democrats. Is that, at heart, they’re true progressives and want a kind leader for America so they can finally respond in kind? Or is it because

    This is a moment of glory for the revolutionary movements in the Arab world in general and for the Iraqi resistance movement specifically.”

Which means, leave Iraq, and they’ll follow you home.

Sophia on Oxford Union Post

As requested by Anat, here is Sophia’s comment to my post on the Oxford Untion, turned into a post. Her comments in bold, mine in italics.

Why isn’t this just the same old Europe, with its apparently endless and irrational problem with Jews? It’s wearing a new face now, is all.

As the French say, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” Not only do we have a Europe reveling in Judeophobia, but one that seems determined to destroy its civilization. Apparently WWI and II (or, the “Thirty Years’ War”) were not enough to figure out that Europeans, for all their vaunted “maturity” can’t take care of themselves. Only this time, I doubt the US will come to their aid. At least the last two times they let war-mongering and fascism take over, they didn’t accompany their folly with furious anti-Americanism.

And, how many problems in the Middle East are directly related to antisemitic European propaganda that began filtering into the East in 1920 at the latest?

Don’t forget the 1840 Damascus blood libel. But don’t get carried away in this vein. The Middle East has been a deeply troubled region long before the Jews arrived: Hama rules were not invented recently.

Mein Kampf is still a best seller there and so are “The Protocols.” That they’ve found a willing audience there is tragic but they did originate in Europe; how much of the strife between Arabs and Jews has been incited by interested parties in the West, parties who realize a calm, united Middle East might actually become a rich and powerful international group and therefore a threat?

I actually don’t think the Europeans fear that. It wouldn’t occur to them. (I may be wrong.) I think the European mischief in the Middle East is largely the product of the appeal of Arabs as proxy anti-Semites in a post-Holocaust world where it’s not politically correct for Europeans to express those sentiments openly. Ironically, the Palestinians constantly complain that they’ve been forced to pay for the Europeans’ sins of the Holocaust, when they are primarily the victims of their (willing) seduction into the role of the carriers of the deadly virus of anti-Semitism. Like the Spanish in the 16th century, they kicked out their Jews, and the wealth they have has washed through their societies leaving the people impoverished and the elites immeasurably corrupt.

On the other hand, that may be too kind. As Andrew Boston argues cogently and with much material to support his case (contra Bernard Lewis), Islamic anti-Semitism has its own autonomous sources.

And how much of the conflict in the Middle East is driven by industrialist/nationalist desire to keep oil prices high? I’d bet a lot; Gary Kasparov, who is running against Putin in Russia, makes the same point in relation to Putin’s otherwise absurd defense of the indefensible – Ahmadijenad. Similarly the Soviets sought a Middle Eastern partner in Egypt, Libya, Syria and PLO and the people there got trapped in the middle. One of the biggest assets Russia has are its oil resources; combine that with a huge footprint in the Middle East and Central Asia and the global balance of power shifts dramatically; it’s the Great Game in Action, 2007 version, and Israel, with its futuristic, multicultural voice and independence, and its possibility of leading a modern Middle East, is obviously a challenge. Middle Eastern warfare and conflict, though, maintains the status quo.

It’s maddening, in the fact of looming environmental disaster, that this should be so. One of the few countries in the world that has shown what can be done in a difficult environment is Israel; it’s cutting edge – yet one British politician blamed Israel for deflecting attention from global warming due to “the occupation!”

What’s the link to this? What a great case of… I don’t think we have a word yet for this kind of idiocy. First you (the Brits, the French, the “left,” etc) become obsessed with “the occupation” to the point where you can’t even see the tragedies that are really happening, and then you blame Israel for distracting you.

And, have any of you read some of the English intellectuals from the 1930’s? Even brilliant artists like Lawrence Durrell were viciously antisemitic. It was usual; it was the voice of the British upper classes and her intelligentsia – when he and Henry Miller couldn’t find a publisher for their work, though, they turned to a Jew – whom they continued to denigrate for his identity even as he put them on the international map.

Sartre did the same thing with his Jewish admirers (and lovers) when the Nazis came. It’s similar to the way Europeans treat the US today.

The role of the British in the Middle East, the Palestine Mandate and during the 1947-1948 wars and the Wars of Attrition, up until the Suez Crisis, is abominable and little understood. We in America think of Britain in glowing, idealistic and almost patriotic terms but a closer reading of modern history, certainly vis a vis “The Great Game” in Central Asia, even WWI in Turkey and definitely in relation to the Jews both in the Yishuv and those trying to flee the Holocaust, and Europe in the wake of the Holocaust, will show a different face – the face of the Britain our national forefathers fought to escape.

So the English, like the French with their behavior in Algeria and Indochina, have much to repent for, indeed good reason to be highly self-critical of their own culture. And yet their way of handling that guilt is to a) welcome Muslims to prove they’re no longer the racist, imperialists they once were, and b) dump on Israel for reminding them of their colonial past. Will there be historians in the mid-twentieth century to wonder at this folly, or merely triumphant Islamists presiding over a ruined world?

Britain didn’t even recognize Eretz Israel for nine months, drew the disastrous borders of the modern M.E. including the catastrophically divided Iraq, gave “Jordan” to a Hashemite prince and, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, recognized and endorsed the annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan in the wake of the war with Israel. This of course included the complete and deliberate expulsion of the Jewish people from those regions as it extinguished the hopes of Palestinian nationalists – and also placed the holiest sites in Jewish history beyond even the reach even of worshippers.

It’s hard to be a Chosen People wannabe when the real Chosen People are still around.

The Brits Pig out on Anti-Zionism: How Europe Commits Suicide

I have argued repeatedly that Antizionism acts in the 21st century as a form of cultural auto-immune deficiency syndrome. By appealing to the moral Schadenfreude that anti-Zionism seems to offer (especially) to the Europeans, it makes it virtually impossible for the consumer of this discourse to identify and defend against their real enemy: global Jihad. It’s so much fun to see the Israelis as cruel colonizing oppressors of a plucky Palestinian national liberation movement (PCP2), that acknowledging the forces of global Jihad behind the secular (Marxist) facade, would just spoil the fun.

After all, if you admit that the Israelis are fighting a monstrous and implacable enemy that has genocidal intentions, how could you dump on them so vigorously for defending themselves? Definitely no fun.

So, like a fat man with a (bad) cholesterol count of over 300, Europeans, addicted to their anti-Zionist bacon cheeseburgers and their anti-American truffles, just keep wolfing down the poison cause it feels so good. In the meantime, they deligitimize the very discourse that could enable them to deal with the real threat they face.

Now, from Alan Dershowitz,we have evidence that, rather than “growing up” and learning to discipline themselves, the Oxford can’t stop. Indeed, (to paraphrase Richard Burton/Henry VIII’s line from Anne of a Thousand Days), “all the world is an anti-Zionist trough and we eat from one end to the other.” Alas poor Europe, I knew it well… or thought I did.

October 21 2007; 09:10AM
Double Standard Watch: Oxford Union is dead
Posted by Alan Dershowitz | Comments: 50

This is an obituary for the Oxford Union, which claims to be one of the most famous and distinguished debating societies in the world. The reality is that it is no longer a debating society at all; it has become a propaganda platform for extremist views, primarily of the hard-left. It has now stopped even pretending to present both sides of controversial issues. To be sure, it puts forward a façade of balance, by presenting speakers who purport to represent both sides of an issue. But the Oxford Union has become a Potemkin village where a façade of fairness serves as a cover for the reality of bias. Consider for example a debate that is scheduled to take place at the Oxford Union on October, 23 2007 at 8:30pm. The proposition before the house is as follows: “This house believes that One State is the Only Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict”

Every rational person knows that the so-called one-state solution is simply a way of achieving by demography what the Arab world has failed to achieve by military attacks: namely the destruction of Israel as a democratic, secular, Jewish state. A one-state solution would produce yet another Islamic fundamentalist state in place of the secular democracy that is now Israel. The resolution is simply another way of presenting an anti-Israel side (the one-state solution) and a pro-Israel side (the two-state solution). Not surprisingly, the three debaters on the anti-Israel side are three well-known anti-Israel extremists. No problem there, because the one state side is the anti-Israel side. As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of the new republic put it: “A bi-national state is not the alternative for Israel. It is an alternative to Israel.”

Now let’s turn to the pro-Israel side. One of three speakers on the pro-Israel side is Peter Tatchell who is a member of the gay rights group called Out Rage! and of the extreme left-wing of the green party. He too is virulently anti-Israel and favors boycotts of the “the oppressive Israel state.” Yet the Oxford Union picked him to represent the pro Israel side, probably because he once opposed boycotting a gay rights march in Israel. I couldn’t find any record of Tatchell proposing boycotts of “oppressive” Muslim states, even those that execute gays. And he’s the pro-Israel advocate!

Yet compared to the next debater for the pro Israel side, Tatchell sounds like David Ben Gurion. Readers of this article will probably not believe it when I tell them who else was picked to represent the pro-Israel side by the benighted Oxford Union (after I turned down an invitation because of the “when did you stop beating your wife” terms of the debate and my proposed teammates). The pro-Israel debater is none other than the notorious Norman Finkelstein, an anti-Semitic bigot who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying “[I] can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo.” This failed academic, who was fired from several universities for sub-standard scholarship, emotional instability and abusing students who disagreed with his extreme anti-Israel views, was recently denied tenure and fired by DePaul University. Finkelstein is beloved by Neo-Nazis such as Ernst Zundel, who credits Finkelstein for helping to promote Holocaust denial. Finkelstein is also an open supporter of Hizbullah, which advocates the destruction of Israel. He has called Israeli supporters, including me, “war criminals”

Yet by the standards of the Oxford Union, Norman Finkelstein is regarded as a pro-Israel “scholar” – at least in this debate. Just last May, the same Finkelstein was selected to debate the anti-Israel side of the proposition: “This House believes the pro-Israeli lobby has successfully stifled Western debate about Israel’s action.” Considering the locus of the debate – and its sponsor (the Arab nation of Qatar) – it is not surprising that the proposition won overwhelmingly, despite its demonstrable falsehood. Truth plays little role in Oxford Union debates.

Will Oxford’s next debate be on whether the Holocaust occurred? And will they select as their debater in favor of the occurrence of the Holocaust the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving? That would not be surprising since Norman Finkelstein and David Irving are cut from the same cloth and Finkelstein admires the Hitler-loving Irving. Wait! The Oxford Union just announced that David Irving has been invited to participate in a future debate. Recently Irving said that Jews were responsible for what happened to them during WWII (though he has denied that anything really bad happened to them) and that the “Jewish problem” was at the root of most of the wars of the last 100 years. That – plus his total dis-creditation as a scholar – would seem to qualify him, by Oxford standards, for defending the Holocaust. Perhaps his debate partner will be David Duke.

The Oxford Union: may it rest in peace, alongside Pravda and other departed purveyors of “truths,” Stalin-style.

It’s hard to figure out which plays more, whether they can’t stand another point of view, or whether they’re so addicted to hearing nasty things about the Zionists, that they just can’t gobble down enough? It’s like having the New England Patriots have the ball the whole game — who’s that insecure?

In either case, such indulgence spells catastrophe for a group of self-congratulating “intellectuals” who think this is just brilliant — and moral!

So You Fooled a Dog

A friend sent me a funny list of dogs’ complaints, of which this struck me as particularly funny, I’m not sure why. (Hat tip YK)

The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw.
You fooled a dog! Whoooo Hoooooooo what
a proud moment for the top of the food chain.

dog complaint

The Kid-Gloves Approach to Iranian Honor/Shame

The following article, in today’s Independent, was written by Gabrielle Rifkind, a specialist in conflict resolution (i.e., in positive-sum, win-win, negotiations). While war should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, Rifkind’s solutions — hot lines, shuttle diplomacy, and regional summit — seem to be written from a stance of ‘avoid war at all cost’, instead of’ ‘keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons at all cost’. Once Iran understands that the West will not go to war against it, they are even more unlikely to give up their aspirations of regional dominance. Without the credible threat of military force, the U.S. would have to give Iran a free hand in Iraq in order to get them to surrender their nuclear ambitions. (Si pacem vis, para bellum.)

Rifkind also constantly draws parallels between ‘hardliners on both sides,’ which fails to understand the radical asymmetry of the role of the belligerents/peace makers on ‘both sides.’

She does make the very important point that we must understand Iran’s motivation, something we in the West have not done well. Much of what she describes as driving Iran is the manifestation of Iranian Honor/Shame. However, if the West ever fully comprehends Iran’s motivation, the result will not be the one Rifkind is advocating.

Gabrielle Rifkind, a specialist in conflict resolution, is a consultant to the Oxford Research Group

Further reading ‘Making Terrorism History, Scilla Elworthy and Gabrielle Rifkind (Random House, £3.99)

Prefatory remarks by Lazar, inter-textual remarks by rlandes.

Gabrielle Rifkind: This dialogue of the deaf is making war more likely
Only the hardliners in the US and Iran are helped by their mutual mistrust – but they are winning
28 October 2007

Sabre rattling and ratcheting up tensions is the dominant discourse between Iran and the US. The BBC was yesterday full of talk of whether war had become inevitable. A US attack could make problems in Iraq look like a sideshow. There are plenty of hardliners on both sides who would welcome such an attack, as it would strengthen their positions. It could lead to the declaration of an emergency government in the country that could keep the hardliners in power for a decade.

Of course, there are other outcomes as well. This sounds like an echo of “War is not the answer,” which only makes sense when both sides want positive-sum outcomes.

Diplomacy is currently framed around carrot and stick. There is some engagement, but there is also a process of demonisation on both sides. The US has designated the foreign wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organisation. The Iranian parliament for its part has voted that both the US military and the CIA are terrorist organisations. This is not the climate in which deep political differences are accommodated.

Here we see clearly the catastrophe of adopting the “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” approach, one that our media — BBC in the forefront — have taken as policy. The problem here is, is the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization? Do they support, help, and deploy people who target civilians as a matter of policy? If so, then it’s not demonization to call them terrorists. The other side does not cease from its demonization (on a much grander — cosmic — scale), and the author is working from a place in which maybe, if we stop “demonizing them” (i.e., identifying the centrality of their most radical elements), then maybe the people we have ceased to demonize will return the favor.

But on the battlefield of information warfare — something Rifkind seems unaware exists — our move merely disguises the radical nature of our foe, and fills us with a false hope that our concessions will produce counter-concessions rather than proof of our suicidal combination of stupidity and weakness. Think aliens in Mars Attacks laughing themselves silly over the President’s message of peace.

Edward Said and the Culture of Honor and Shame

The following is an article published in the latest issue of Israel Affairs, Volume 13: 4 (October 2007), pp. 844 – 858. I have not put the endnote numbers in the text (sorry for my lack of sophistication in these matters of formatting), but will try to in the near future. The final version of the article with numbered footnotes is available for more than a book should cost at the Routledge website. It is part of a collection of articles entitled, Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israel Conflict. Many worthwhile articles.

Edward Said and the Culture of Honor and Shame: Orientalism and our Misperceptions of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Richard Landes
Boston University

In his renown book, Orientalism, Edward Saïd has few and dismissive words to say about the issue of honor and shame in Arabic culture. He aims his clearest barbs at Harold Glidden.

The article itself purports to uncover “the inner workings of Arab behavior,” which from our point of view is “aberrant” but for Arabs “is normal.” After this auspicious start, we are told that Arabs stress conformity; that Arabs inhabit a shame culture whose “prestige system” involves the ability to attract followers and clients …; that Arabs can function only in conflict situations; that prestige is based solely on the ability to dominate others; that a shame culture – and therefore Islam itself – makes a virtue of revenge…; that if, from a Western point of view “the only rational thing for the Arabs to do is make peace… for the Arabs the situation is not governed by this kind of logic, for objectivity is not a native value in the Arab system.”

This, for those who have not savored it recently, is vintage Saïd. Sneering summaries of another man’s thoughts, presented to an audience of bien-pensants who know how much nonsense this all is. Anyone with the temerity to suggest that either Glidden’s observations, while perhaps expressed too categorically, may have some grains of truth… or even that Glidden’s work may express these observations with considerably more subtlety, sympathy, and empirical base than Saïd’s dismissive asides [which I have cut] might suggest, can only belong to the bigoted, the racist, the imperialistic Western voice whose discourse inscribes and controls subaltern culture with its authorial voice. Who would dare try and stand up to the hue and cry of the critical audience, whose progressive sensibilities had been offended by the mere suggestion that “they” are not like “us,” and worse still, that they are less evolved, less morally developed than we are.

But what if, Arabs do grow up in an honor-shame culture in which face is regained through the shedding of another’s blood… what if this logic of belligerence does characterize Arab culture, perhaps not for all time, but certainly and with some distinction, right now? What if the intractable nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict derives not from a calculus of rights and wrongs that can be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians of good will – land for peace – but rather from a calculus of honor and shame that must be resolved in victory over the humiliating enemy, and a mind-set of suspicion that views everything as zero-sum maneuvers (I win, you lose), and interprets all concessions as acts of weakness not generosity? What if these might not be “essential” traits of Arab culture, but nevertheless dominant traits?

There is a widespread belief that Saïd’s book criticizes Western Orientalists for their inability to understand their subjects, for their projection of their own problems onto this strange culture, which they therefore cannot understand… that Westerners are incapable of understanding so foreign a culture. Actually, the thrust of the argument is quite different. Saïd’s underlying point is that all cultures are essentially the same, and if anyone presents the Arabs (his major concern) as significantly different (even in a positive [e.g. Romantic] light), then that is a form of racism. Hence his particular disdain for discussions of honor and shame culture applied to the Arab world.

Such an analysis appeals specifically to a liberal/progressive approach that assumes what Saïd would have us accept as an unnamed axiom – that people are basically the same everywhere; that it is unacceptable to generalize about the “otherness” of anyone else. Any generalizations about the Orient are unacceptable. (Indeed, a close reading of Saïd finds that, despite the impression he gives with his own generalizations, Western specialists of Arab culture have a remarkably wide range of views, positive and negative about the “Orient.”) As Saïd himself puts it at the end of Orientalism, in a paeon of praise to human freedom and scholarly self-criticism in which the moral dimension of knowledge takes pride of place:

At all costs the, the goal of Orientalizing the Orient [what post-colonialists more generally call “othering” someone, RL] again and again is to be avoided, with consequences that cannot help but refine knowledge and reduce the scholar’s conceit. Without “the Orient” there would be scholars, critics, intellectuals, human beings, for whom the racial, ethnic, and national distinctions [NB: no mention of religion] were less important that the common enterprise in promoting human community. (p. 328)

These are noble sentiments, the very drivers of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. But is “promoting this enterprise” the scholar’s task?

Saïd does warn against excess: “Yet an openly polemical and right-minded ‘progressive’ scholarship can very easily degenerate into dogmatic slumber, a prospect that is not edifying either.” And that, under Saïd’s approving guardianship, is precisely what happened as a result of this remarkable book to the field of Middle Eastern Studies over the past 25 years. The more bizarre and strangely Arabs have behaved by Western “rational standards,” the more dramatically self-destructive and self-impoverishing their political and social behavior, the more astounding the levels of violence and hatred their culture has generated in word and deed, then the more determined our post-Orientalist scholars become to “read” this dramatically different culture as an expression of the same forces that shape ours. The key elements in their behavior, according to this kind of analysis, are not triumphalist, theocratic religion, frustrated imperialist ambitions, need for honor, horror at humiliation, clan loyalties, self-help justice, thirst for revenge… but the familiar Western categories of social and economic forces, nationalism, rationality.

Such efforts entail what psychologists call “cognitive egocentrism”, or the projection of one’s own mentality onto others. Bernard Lewis, in a simile that Saïd mocks, aptly compares the effort of “liberal opinion” to explain Islamic and Arabic culture in the acceptable “language of left-wing and right-wing, progressive and conservative, and the rest of the Western [political] terminology,” as “about as accurate and enlightening as an account of a cricket match by a baseball correspondent.” And if this were only a cricket match, the damage might not be that great. But if this is a clash of cultures – as certainly some on the “other” side seem to think with a ferocity we like to think we have, in our search of a common humanity, left behind – then misreading badly the motives of that “other” may be very costly.

One of the many resulting consequences of the victory of post-colonial studies is the stunting of the field of honor-shame studies. Despite the widespread acknowledgment of the importance of honor and shame, especially in Arab culture, that topic has largely been confined gender studies. Its use to understand political culture, despite the obvious connections, remains largely untouched by Middle East specialists, political scientists and International Relations scholars to this day. Quite the contrary, nothing but scorn accompanies the very mention of the current neo-conservatives’ attraction to so “essentialist” a book as Raphael Patai’s The Arab Mind. “Its best use is as a doorstop.”

Convert to Islam for Peace? A Daily Kos Diary

There’s a post at Daily Kos that LGF noted. I’m trying to figure out if the writer is just kidding, offering his version of Swift’s A Modest Proposal. I detect nothing to indicate that he is aware of how fatuous his suggestion is, nor can I imagine how so self-critical a satire would make it on to Daily Kos. Is this guy Daily Kos’ version of Colbert?

This does not compute, except as an extraordinary illustration of how “liberal cognitive egocentrism” is incapable of understanding what’s going on. (The comments at Daily Kos suggest that even when they disagree, commenters take this proposal seriously. What are these folks accustomed to taking seriously enough to argue about?)

I invite my readers — some of whom may be moved to do some research on this fellow, and to read the comments both at Daily Kos and at LGF — to weigh in.

A Simple Way to End the War on Terror
by Yacka Jah Yacka

Tue Oct 23, 2007 at 09:03:20 PM PDT

While it appears from more than one point of view that the War in Iraq and the War on Terror are situations from which we may never be able to extricate ourselves, from the mountains of Pakistan comes a very simple solution: convert to Islam.

Before we reject this out of hand, lets seriously consider it for a moment: Osama Bin Laden promised the wars would be over if Americans convert to Islam.

This may sound like a lot to ask from the most religious country in the industrialized world. But of all the Christians in America today who profess to be religious, how many of us are seriously devout?

How many of us are really just religious lightweights, happy to simply go to church every Sunday, attend church socials, knock back a drink or two every Christmas and not worry ourselves about the deeper implications of our faith?

Given the way most of us pay any real attention to the tenets of our faith, life really wouldn’t be that different if we were to exchange one faith for another. The prayers would be different, but we would recite them just as mindlessly as we do today. The sermons would in all likelihood be exactly the same, and we’d continue to snore through them.

Sure, there are a few people here and there who take religion seriously, but they are in such a small minority that their protests can be easily ignored.

All in all, converting to Islam would be a small price to pay for an end to the killing and maiming of our sons and daughters, not to mention the billions of dollars we could put to better use than fighting this perpetual war.

So let’s do away with our religious pretences, adopt Islam as our new faith, add a few extra holidays to our calendar, and get down to the real business at hand: pumping oil.

Will you convert to Islam in order to stop the terrorist threat?

Yes, I will convert to Islam
| 270 votes | Results

Note how there’s no option to vote no. Come on, this has to be self satire. It can’t be that ludicrous.

Western Media’s Attempts to Undercut the Struggle against Jihadi Aggression

The first in what I hoe will be many posts from Lazar Berman on articles in the media.

“America’s War without End”

Simon Tisdall, The Guardian. October 23, 2007

Planned US spending on the “global war on terror” is set to rise sharply in the coming year, despite claims from the president, George Bush, that al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq.

A funding request sent to Congress this week seeks $196.4bn (£96bn) for counter-terrorism in 2007-8, $25bn up on this year. The Pentagon’s separate budget request amounts to an additional $481.4bn.

Justifying these whopping increases, Mr Bush repeats a favourite mantra, that “America is safer but not yet safe“, implying that absolute safety is attainable at some point in the future. In a speech this week, his vice-president, Dick Cheney, was franker: he said the US was engaged in an ideological struggle amounting to war without end.

So an ideological struggle is necessarily a war without end? World War II was an ideological struggle, and after much death and hardship, came to an end.

Details of the spending request reveal how the war, by lumping together numerous disparate challenges, is steadily expanding in terms of aims and geography. Iraq and Afghanistan apart, counter-terror funds are earmarked for US allies in Pakistan and Palestine, for de-nuclearising North Korea, and for fighting drug cartels in Mexico and Central America.

Further escalation came this year with the Pentagon’s creation of Africa Command, tasked with tracking down militant Islamists from Somalia to the Maghreb and the Sahel. Mr Cheney says the threat is ubiquitous and pressing. “The extremists in the Middle East … are trying to seize power by force, keep power by intimidation, and build an empire of fear.”

Critics say fear is also being used to keep US citizens and taxpayers in line. Unveiling the updated national strategy for homeland security this month, the White House claimed, without producing new evidence, that al-Qaida was actively trying to infiltrate the US.

“Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the US with ties to al-Qaida senior leadership, the group likely will intensify its efforts to place operatives here in the homeland,” the report said. It even warned that Lebanon’s Hizbullah might launch attacks on US territory.

The assessment appeared at odds with statements by US commanders and Pentagon planners that the al-Qaida network had been “significantly degraded” in Iraq and elsewhere. But fearfulness is catching. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, warned Britons this month that the number and scale of terrorist conspiracies and conspirators was increasing, even though fewer cases were actually under investigation.

To Tisdall, any report of increased risk of terror attacks stems from ‘fearfulness’.

Experts in international security law, such as Professor Philip Bobbitt of Columbia law school, deny suggestions the global threat is being exaggerated and conflated for political and geo-strategic ends.

Speaking in London, Prof Bobbitt said three overlapping, truly global wars on terror were being waged. One was the fight against “21st-century, networked terror”; the second was a war to prevent rogue regimes or terror groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction; the third was against genocide and ethnic cleansing, as in Darfur.

But other influential voices in the US and beyond are increasingly questioning both the purpose and the conduct of terrorism policy, suggesting it will not outlive the Bush era.

Syndicated columnist William Pfaff wrote recently that fear generated by the 9/11 attacks had been externalised, with official and rightwing media connivance, “into paranoid fantasy of foreign enemies”. Terrorism had become almost anything the Bush administration said it was.

And in an interview with Guardian America today, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, suggests Mr Bush’s for-us-or-agin-us approach was self-defeating.

“We’ve got to do a better job of clarifying what are the motivations of terrorists,” Ms Clinton said. “I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up against.”

Senator Clinton is correct here. We must clarify what the motivations of terrorists are. But when we do, much to Mr. Tisdall’s chagrin, we will be more aware of the danger, not more complacent.

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, of King’s College London, said Mr Bush had consistently failed to define what he meant by the “global war on terror”. There were many forms of terrorist, including jihadis, Hamas and the IRA, as well as state terrorism of the kind practised by Stalin or Burma’s generals, he said in a recent discussion.

US presidents were over-fond of declaring war on phenomena such as drugs or poverty, and now terror. “An enemy can surrender but phenomena cannot,” Prof Freedman said. Mr Bush should spend more time “thinking about who we’re fighting and why”.

Very apt. Terrorism is a tactic, Jihadism is the ideology.

In a new book published in the US, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror, David Cole and Jules Lobel deliver a less forgiving verdict. They argue that Mr Bush’s catch-all, bulldozer approach has increased worldwide hostility to the US and its citizens, dismayed minority communities at home, alienated America’s friends and emboldened its enemies.

While the military gained bumper budgets, the American nation forfeited moral legitimacy, Cole and Lobel say. “The resentment provoked by these measures is the greatest threat to our national security and the most likely source of the next attack.” For that reason, if no other, any Bush successor would have to change tack.


Two big points worth reflecting upon.

1) Moral legitimacy- According to Tisdall and his colleagues, the West only retains moral legitimacy if they are either involved in diplomatic solutions, or, if they must fight, the fighting takes several weeks at most, and is clean and sterile.

2) Cole and Lobel’s argument is a clever one. If the United States is attacked again, they reason, it is because of ‘resentment’ towards Bush’s broad definition of terror and his runaway military spending. This takes the blame off the Islamists and puts it firmly in the lap of the West. But a moment’s reflection on the argument reveals its flaws. In Cole and Lobel’s mind, a Jihadist terrorist will be prompted to attack and kill Americans because he resents how Bush defines terrorism. Or, because he thinks that Bush is over-spending on defense. They and Tisdall ignore, and will always choose to ignore, the overwhelming degree to which the motivation for Jihadi terror comes from the society out of which the terrorists emerge, and not from the actions of the West.

Eurofada: The Frantifada spreads northeast to Benelux

I haven’t been paying much attention lately, so it came as (only something) of a surprise to find out that there’s rioting in Amsterdam and Brussels which have not (another suroprise) been covered by the MSM. (Hat tip fp.) Try finding riots in the NYT over the last week and you’ll find articles on Hungary (right wing), Venezuela (students against Hugo Chavez), Iran (students against the government), Israel (Palestinian prison riot), Bolivia (regional against socialist government), but nothing on Europe. Apparently, not mentioning the riots in France in the fall of 2005 for over a week, while the blogosphere was all over it, has not made our MSM more willing to report these things more readily. And not surprisingly, the dextrasphere is all over it, led by the usual suspects, LGF who got it from Digital Journal, Jihadwatch et alia. This is not promising for the MSM’s “learning curve.”

Dispatch from the Eurabian Front: Riots in Amsterdam and Brussels

From the desk of Paul Belien on Tue, 2007-10-23 16:49

Europe’s no-go zones or SUAs (“sensitive urban areas”) are multiplying. These are areas where the police no longer dares to venture and where Islamists hold sway.

Amongst medievalists, we call this areas where “the king’s writ does not run.” If the Europeans were not so insanely anti-Zionist, they would looke at Gaza and Southern Lebanon, and realize that’s what in their future. As Peter Heather noted about the Roman Empire’s fall:

    Once inside the Empire, the barbarian immigrant groups continued to unify, producing still larger and yet more powerful entities that the Empire could not hope to dismantle. The result was a reversal of the strategic power advantage that had brought the Empire into being, so that these new, and more powerful, barbarian groups were able to carve out kingdoms for themselves from the Empire’s living body politic.

Every night since the beginning of last week, immigrant youths have been torching cars and clashing with police in Amsterdam’s Slotervaart district. The incidents started on Oct. 14 when a policewoman shot dead Bilal Bajaka, a 22-year old ethnic Moroccan, whilst he was stabbing her and a colleague with a knife. The officers were stabbed in the breast, face, neck and back. Surgeons could only narrowly save their lives.

Since the incident, Slotervaart has seen rioting almost every night. The Amsterdam Moroccans are “shocked” because one of them has been killed by an infidel woman. According to his family, Bilal Bajaka was mentally deranged and had a suicide obsession. Ahmed Marcouch, the Moroccan-born Socialist mayor of Slotervaart, criticized the Dutch authorities for failing to provide adequate health care for Bajaka’s mental problems.

Okay, so a Moroccan immigrant has come to Holland, run for mayor of his district, and he’s mastered the demopathic discourse of using Wester socialist values to blame everyone but his own community’s values. And why shouldn’t he? The Europeans — the Dutch more than most — have done nothing but pander to those who play this game. It’s part of the magnificent sense of superiority that the Europeans feel over the Americans because they have such a great social welfare net.

Bilal Bajaka was, however, a personal friend of Mohammed Bouyeri, the Jihadist who ritually slaughtered the Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004. Bilal’s attack on the two police officers came exactly two years after the arrest of his brother, Abdullah Bajaka, the leader of an alleged plot to blow up an El-Al Boeing at Amsterdam airport. Bilal’s family background is not at all deprived. One of his sisters is a medical doctor, another sister is a Dutch judge.

This is a familiar pattern. One of the striking things about immigrant populations to the West is that the women do better than the men, and — I’m willing to conjecture — the more intense the honor-shame culture, the more the disparity between men and women. The reasons are surely many, but one of them stems from the fact that the men find subordinating themselves to Western demands for real success (study, often “under” a female teacher, submission to rules, tests, correction and contradiction) unacceptable. Women, who are used to being subordinate, do not have to “save face,” often find submitting to these rules ironically liberating.

For ten days now, the situation in Amsterdam’s immigrant neighbourhoods has been tense. Senior police officers compare the current situation in Amsterdam to the 2005 Ramadan riots in Paris. Media outside the Netherlands, however, hardly mention the riots, which aim to drive the police from Slotervaart and turn the neighborhood into a new no-go area – yet another pocket of Eurabia on Europe’s soil.

I’m reading a book on Media, Terrorism, and Theory with a piece by Douglas Kellner in which he discusses various models of global dynamics in the post-Soviet age. On the topic of Samuel Huntington’s thesis in Clash of Civilizations, he writes (p. 162):

    While Huntington’s model seems to have some purchase in the currently emerging global encounter [i.e., the behavior of global Jihadis lends great credence to his predictions] and has become an influential conservative ideology, it tends to overly homogenize both Islam and the West, as well as the other civilizations he depicts [i.e., he doesn’t go for the argument that the Jihadi Islamists represent a tiny and marginal minority of Muslims]. Moreover his model lends itself to pernicious misuse and has been deployed to call for and legitimate military retribution against implacable adversarial civilizations by conservative intellectuals…

I think this remark — and a million others to the same effect — reveal what’s behind much of the attitude of the media. It doesn’t matter how accurate or relevant information is, if it puts wind in the sails of conservatives, alerts people to the necessity of fighting back, reverses policies of (ap)peace(ment), then don’t give them airtime. They’re dangerous.

Similar events are currently taking place in Brussels, the capital of neighbouring Belgium and of the EU. Last Sunday, demonstrating Turkish youths ransacked an Armenian restaurant in the Sint-Joost-ten-Node borough. According to the owner the police was present at the scene but did not interfere while his establishment was being demolished. The Armenian had to flee for his life.

In other words, the phenomenon has spread from France to other vulnerable European nations. And the response of the police, like the response of the French police, is to try and contain the phenomenon without confronting it. Ironically, the Europeans who so enjoyed the impact of Al Durah on provoking Palestinian violence against the Israelis, now live in fear of having an al Durah on their hands. In this case, the death of a Muslim who was trying to kill police can provoke violence… imagine what will happen when they get a picture of an innocent child killed by the ruthless infidel police.

Another man who had to run for his life was the Belgian journalist Mehmet Koksal, an ethnic Turk. He was attacked around 11 pm on Sunday evening by a group of some twenty Turkish youths in front of the American embassy in Brussels, a few yards from the Belgian parliament building. The Parliament and the US Embassy are less than one kilometer from Sint-Joost-ten-Node. Koksal fled to a nearby police car, but a female police officer refused to let him into the car, whereupon the youths savagely beat him up. Fearing that they were about to lynch him, the police officer changed her attitude and allowed the journalist to seek refuge in the police car.

This seems to be a policy with the police in Belgium. It’s based on the same attitude that had opinion makers yelling at the Pope for provoking the Muslims to violence by calling Islam a violent religion.

Koksal told the press today that he is not going to press charges against the police for failing to help him. “The police woman was more afraid than I was and ultimately the police came to my rescue,” he said.

I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’d say this is unforgivable behavior from a policewoman. It’s clear that Europeans, who don’t want to send their soldiers even next door to Kosovo to intervene in genocidal massacres (a fortiori, Darfur), who, even when they do send soldiers, send “little more than heavily armed traffic cops,” are going to have to start to train their police with a bit more courage, not to mention prepare them for urban warfare. Alas. When are they going to wake up?

Who Endangers Europe? Islamists or Islamophobes

When discussing the dangers that Europe faces with colleagues, it’s very difficult to get them to take it seriously. Partly this comes from an almost narcissistic sense that Western culture (whose freedoms we academics enjoy to the fullest) is immortal and invulnerable, something like James Dean tooling down the highway on his hog at 120mph without a helmet. Partly this comes from their inability to imagine the Europeans behaving self-destructively, even though many of our own “progressive” values contribute to that behavior. In the asymmetrical warfare between Global Jihad and the West, the role of “progressive” values, aggressively asserted by dupes of demopaths plays a key role. Not only do “progressives” consistently attempt to silence any effort to expose the hate-mongering world of Islamism with cries of Islamophobia, but they aggressively attack anyone who objects. In this, the police seem to play an astonishingly central role.

Here’s a post from the Brussels Journal on the behavior of the police and other “progressives” concerning a protest of Islamism and its growing influence in Belgium that illustrates many of the suicidal dynamics at work in Europe today.

Council of Europe Backs Belgian Authorities: “Europe Is Threatened by Bigots – Not by Islam”
From the desk of Paul Belien on Thu, 2007-09-13 09:35

Last Tuesday the police authorities in Brussels, the “capital of Europe,” brutally attacked peaceful demonstrators protesting the Islamization of Europe. Even the European Commission was shocked at the appalling behaviour of the Brussels police, but the officers seem to have their fans as well.

This is a press release (590/2007) issued on Tuesday by Terry Davis, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

    Europe is threatened by bigots – not by Islam

    Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, on the march “Against the Islamisation of Europe” today in Brussels

    Strasbourg, 11.09.2007 – European values are under threat, say the organisers of a protest march under the banner “Against the Islamisation of Europe” which was due to place today in Brussels in spite of the ban by the city Mayor. The fact is that Europe and its values are indeed under threat, but the danger is not coming from Islam. Our common European values are undermined by bigots and radicals, both islamists and islamophobes, who exploit fears and prejudice for their own political objectives.

    The self-proclaimed defenders of European values say that the Mayor has violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression are indeed essential preconditions for democracy, but they should not be regarded as a licence to offend. I will not enter into the discussion about whether the march should have been allowed or not, but I note that the protesters’ reading of the Convention is selective to say the least. It is very important to remember that the freedom of assembly and expression can be restricted to protect the rights and freedoms of others, including the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This applies to everyone in Europe including the millions of Europeans of Islamic faith, who were the main target of today’s shameful display of bigotry and intolerance.

Need it be added that Terry Davis is a Socialist?

And need it be added that when we are dealing with people for whom the slightest criticism is taken as offensive, then following these guidelines — without applying them to Muslims — is a recipe for censorship. The difference between politeness and civility is that when one is polite one avoids saying things lest there be violence while when one is civil one can say what needs to be said, and there won’t be violence. European Muslims need lessons in civility.

Meanwhile the RTBF, the Belgian (French language) public television, reports that the demonstrators had staged the police violence. Showing a picture of Frank Vanhecke, a member of the European Parliament, lying on the ground after the police maltreated him, the RTBF reported: “These images are deceptive because he went to lie down on the ground himself.” Perhaps, Mr Vanhecke also pinched himself in the balls?

pinching balls

Note that when they want to, progressives are perfectly capable of calling into question the meaning of photographs and claiming that they are misleading.

Pictures from VTM, a private television network, clearly show that Mr Vanhecke was thrown down by police officers and that another Belgian politician, Filip Dewinter, was hauled away by police officers while he was giving an interview to the VTM journalist several yards away from the demonstration. The Belgian authorities intend to charge both Vanhecke and Dewinter for assaulting police officers.

[The video on YouTube to which they link is “No longer available.”]

Oh yes, before I forget: The Council of Europe is an organization of 47 European countries which has as its aim to safeguard human rights in Europe.

These are pictures taken in jail by a Dutch woman who was arrested at the demonstration in Brussels. She was kept in the cell for 7 hours. The detainees (aka the bigots) received one bottle of water and a… Brussels waffle.

If I were a Belgian reporter, I’d ask these police folks what they think they’re doing — is it a combination of fear of confronting Islamism so you bully the people you’re afraid will provoke them? Do they think they’re doing the “right thing,” or are (at least some of them) unhappy with what they’re ordered to do? What’s the justification given by their superiors? Are we looking at a new form of kapo mentality in which some of the oppressed join with their oppressors and do their dirty work? If I were an Islamist planning on taking over Europe, I’d be laughing out loud.

al-Dura dossier: Update to November 19, 2007

The Karsenty Appeal Trial

“Al-Dura and the Public Secret of Middle East Journalism” (11/11/07)- Richard Landes’ article on Pajamas Media about truth and accuracy in the media’s coverage of the Middle East.

“Charles Enderlin Backtracks Again: The Al Dura Scandal Continues” (11/14/2007)- Coverage of the trial on CAMERA’s blog, Snapshots.

The al Dura Blood Libel“- (11/14/07)- Melanie Phillips’ Coverage from Paris.

Dura Discredited” (11/14/2007)- Coverage from HonestReporting’s blog, Backspin.

Al-Dura Affair: France 2 Cooks the Raw Footage” (11/15/2007)- Nidra Poller’s in-depth coverage and analysis from the trial in Paris.

“French Court Examines Al-Dura Footage” (11/15/2007)- Haaretz’s coverage of the trial.

“New Evidence Increases Suspicion of French TV Blood Libel” (11/15/2007)- Coverage from Arutz Sheva.

“French Court Sees Footage of al-Dura” (11/15/2007) – Coverage from The Jerusalem Post.

L’affaire al-Dura” (11/17/2007)- David Frum’s article in The National Post.

Controversy Over Iconic Images of Palestinian Deaths Ends Up in Court” (11/18/2007)- Coverage in UK’s The Sunday Herald.

“Karsenty Reporters Protest Dura Film” (11/19/2007)- Jerusalem Post’s coverage of the trial and the media’s reaction to it.

Raw Footage in al-Dura Case Shows Boy may not be Dead” (11/19/2007)- Article from the JTA.

Al-Dura Trial: Exclusive Reaction From the Paris Courtroom” – Youtube video of interviews in the halls of the French courthouse during the trial.

Al-Dura on pro-Palestinian sites

How the al-Dura case is used on pro-Palestinian sites-

12 yr old boy SHOT DEAD in front of your eyes” (10/3/00) – An example of how al-Dura is used, and how Palestinian supporters grossly misrepresent the facts.

Intifada Al-Aqsa” (9/1/01) – Site typical in its analysis of the causes of the intifada. The author, Edna Yaghi, speaks of the “Jewish invaders in 1948 or 1967,” and “the butcher Ariel Sharon.” The site is remarkable for its call for a “true Islamic Jihad”, and for its denunciation of Arab leaders – “Arabs blame everyone but themselves.” Contains one paragraph and photograph of al-Dura.

Rights Group: Impartial Investigation for 2000 Killing of Muhammad Al-Dura” (10/04/07) – Coverage of human rights group Al-Mezan’s press release calling for an impartial investigation into the al-Dura affair.

Blogs and articles on al-Dura in French

Archive of French articles on al-Dura.

Links to French articles on al-Dura.

Site featuring pictures of Israeli ballistics experts’ investigation.

Charles Enderlin’s blog.

Opinion and analysis on al-Dura in the Press

“Ellen Horowitz on al-Dura” (10/31/06) – Three-part essay by Ellen Horowitz examining Enderlin’s claim that, “For me, it corresponded to the situation on the West Bank and Gaza”, and the crucial difference between the mission of the artist and that of the journalist.

“France: The Al-Dura Defamation Case and the End of Free Speech” (11/3/06) – A critique of the French court’s original decision and its implications for free speech.

“And only Israel is Silent” (9/11/07) – Editorial by Ben-Dror Yemini detailing the damage done to Israel by the affair, calling it “a blood libel”. In Hebrew.

“A Possible Hoax” (9/19/07) – Editorial by Joel Mowbray detailing the court case, possibility of a hoax, and urging the release of the rushes for review by the blogosphere.

“Paying for the Sins of the Sons” (9/21/07) – Part of editorial by Tom Segev, in which he calls efforts to prove a hoax “pathetic”, as if it proves the justness of the occupation.

“How Do You Say Rathergate in French” (9/25/07) – Ed Lasky writes about Hillel Halkin’s analysis of the affair.

“ All of the Children are like Yours” (10/3/07) – Editorial by Arad Nir, along the lines of the Gideon Levy piece.

“Mohammed Al-Dura Lives On” (10/7/07) – Editorial by Gideon Levy stating that it does not matter if Israel killed al-Dura, because they kill thousands of other children, so let this be the symbol.

Blog Pieces on al-Dura

Piece from Melanie Philips’ blog, written before the appeal. Chronicles the hoax, and why ‘progressives’ cannot comprehend the possibility that it may be a hoax.

Account tracking the Agence France Presse’s coverage of the al-Dura affair as part of a larger essay on bias in the AFP’s coverage of the intifada.

Podcast of interview with Richard Landes discussing the case and media accountability.

Piece discussing how today’s media refuses to deals with facts that undermine preconceived notions.

A psychoanalyst’s analysis of why James Fallows and other journalists unable to see facts as they are.

Blog with analysis links to articles about al-Dura.

Thread discussing the possibility of a Palestinian staging.

An overview, with photographs and schematic drawings of the incident.

Coverage of Karsenty’s press conference in New York a month before the appeal trial. Video of the press conference.

Brief post on Marty Peretz’s blog on whole affair.

News Articles on the al-Dura affair

“ Sunday Morning” – (9/14/03) Transcript of brief interview with Charles Enderlin, dealing with the Middle East peace process.

“ French TV Stick by Story that Fueled Palestinian Intifada” – (02/12/05) Article about Jeambar and Leconte’s findings.

“ Israel Army Seeks Footage of Shooting” – (09/17/07) Brief history of the affair and case.

“Israel Reopens Probe of Palestinian Boy’s Death” – (09/17/07) Short article about Israel’s request to turn over the footage.

“Al-Dura Footage to Air” – (09/20/07) Article on judge ordering release of footage, contains interview with Prof. Landes.

“ French Judge Orders Release of Tapes that Could Prove Whether Al-Dura was Staged” (9/20/07) – Short article by Richard Landes about French judge ordering the release of tapes.

“Video of Boy’s Death Ordered Released” – (09/21/07) Article on French court order.

“French Court Takes a Fresh Look at Intifada’s most Violently Disputed Image – (09/26/07) Article in the Forward reviewing the incident and the controversy.

(09/28/07) Article providing a good overview of those who reviewed the evidence and concluded there is doubt as to whether Israeli troops could have killed al-Dura.

“ Israel Officially Denies Responsibility for Death of al-Dura” – (10/01/07) Article about Israel officially denying responsibility for the death of al-Dura.

“ GPO Head: September 2000 Death of Gaza Child Al-Dura was Staged” (10/1/07) – Short article about GPO Head Daniel Seaman declaring al-Dura affair staged.

“Al-Dura’s Father: Israel’s Claims Ridiculous” – (10/02/07) Article quoting Jamal al-Dura, Raanan Gissin, Daniel Seaman, Ron Kitrey. And in Hebrew.

“GPO Director Says Al-Dura Film is a ‘Blood Libel’” – (10/02/07) Article on GPO head Seaman calling al-Dura film a blood libel.

(10/04/07) Article in S.F. Chronicle, with quotes by Natan Sharansky and Nachum Shai.

“Hamas Detains Mohammed al-Dura’s Dad” (11/18/07)- Coverage of Jamal al-Dura’s arrest from The Jerusalem Post.

 Articles from the trial in France by Nidra Poller

“Al-Dura Trial Takes Huge Turn” (9/19/07) – Update from France detailing French court’s order to Enderlin to release tapes, with complete text of IDF request to Enderlin.

“Dams Burst at Al-Dura Trial’ (9/20/07) – In-depth eyewitness account of trial.

“The Al-Dura Hoax” (10/2/07) – Article in Commentary.

“ Israel Officially Declares Al-Dura Footage Staged” – (10/04/07) Opinion and analysis from France, exclusive conversation with Daniel Seaman.

“ French Court Orders France 2 to Turn Over Al-Dura Rushes” – (10/04/07) Short but in-depth update, with helpful links.

Al-Dura Posts at The Augean Stables

For a general introduction to the upcoming trials and the larger stakes involved, see The Al Durah Trials: Portrait of French Culture at the Beginning of the 21st Century. In French: Procès Al-Durah : état d’esprit de la France du début du XXIe siècleFor a discussion of the raw footage shot by Talal abu Rahmeh, the France2 cameraman who alone caught the “Al Durah footage,” see Al Durah Affair I: France2 Rushes by Talal Abu Rahmeh. It was viewing these rushes that inspired the term Pallywood.For a discussion of some of the evidence surrounding the most curious thing about footage depicting a child killed by a bullet to the stomach who bled for twenty minutes in front of the cameraman — the absence of blood — see Blood? We’ve Got Some.For a discussion of the remarkable resistance to even imagining, much less accepting the “staged” hypothesis, see Al Durah as Staged: The Resistance.For a discussion of the “five scenarios” and James Fallows current position on the matter, see Fallows on al Durah: What is your Position?For a long meditation (response to Zombietime) on what’s wrong with the media that such cheap fakes get by so consistently, see Meditations on Reutersgate: What’s Going on in the MSM?.

For a discussion of the impact of Al Durah in the Arab and Muslim world, see:
Al Durah in the Arab/Muslim World: Reception and Consequences Part I

For a discussion of the toxic effect of al Durah on French (and by extension, European) society in the early 21st century (including the advent of the Arab/Muslim “street” in Europe, see: On the hidden costs of Media Error: Muhamed al Durah and the French Intifada, and now en français au site d’Alain Jean-Mairet: Les coûts cachés des erreurs des médias: Mohammed al Dura et l’intifada française.

Pretrial Musings:
Mine: Paris Thoughts: Meditations on the Eve of the Trial
Nidra Poller’s: Al Durah the Trial: Part I

On the first trial, see:

My initial reactions at: Vive la France Republicaine: Elle Vit Toujours!

Nidra Poller’s two accounts at Pajamas Media: Part I (Pre-trial thoughts), Part II (initial post-trial reaction), and Part III (blow-by-blow).

Also one of the better MSM accounts with references to others:Cybercast News Service Weighs in on Al Durah Trial

Neo-con has a number of excellent meditations on the trials and the al Durah affair:
What’s behind France2’s stance in the al Durah case?: the press and honesty
Fake but accurate: what if it’s turtles all the way down?
and more.

For those who want to read farther, go to the Introductory Essays section at the Second Draft or the exhaustive linked bibliography at Menahem Macina’s

If anyone knows of other articles, or has written reflections on this issue that they’d like posted here, please feel free to send them to me. As anyone who has read me on the topic knows, I think this story has wide-ranging and profound implications for our entire dilemma today. I welcome the thoughts of other observers and analysts. I also particularly invite French comment.

UPDATE (as of September 17, 2007):

Al Durah in the Arab/Muslim World: Reception and Consequences Part I
The raw material for Icon of Hatred.

Camera Obscura: How French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah
Linked and expanded version of the New Republic article.

Kafka in Wonderland: L’Express weighs in
L’Express’ account of the Karsenty trial. Note how Denis Jeambar, the editor, was one of the ones to see the rushes and stated shortly thereafter in a radio interview that he wanted this matter pursued. He apparently had no involvement in the selection or the education of his journalist.

Al Durah Update from Ellen Horowitz

Links to articles covering the trials.

Hizbollywood back in 2000: Al Durah Libel Makes the Rounds
Notes on a billboard put up in Hizbullah-land in Lebanon within days of the Al Durah affair emphasizing the blood libelous claim that the Israelis targeted the boy by using a picture of an Israeli shooting at the boy that came from another time and place.

Between Art and News: Ellen Horowitz on the “Higher Truth”
Profound meditation on the nature of journalism as a higher calling by Ellen Horowitz (in three parts)

Between Art and News: Duped by a Scoop
Part II.

Between Art and News, Part III: Ellen Horowitz on Enderlin as False Journalist

Part III (final).

La France… Vit-elle? Reflections on the Latest Judgment

My reflections on the Judgment against Karsenty.

Les procès Al-Durah, acte II : Portrait d’une culture de l’honneur en crise
French version of my introductory essay on the 2006 trials.

John Rosenthal on the Al Durah Trials
John Rosenthal’s text with my comments on the trials.

Third Al Durah Trial

Al Durah Affair: Interviews from Herzilya Conference
Discussion and link to Infolive’s interview with Karsenty, Seaman and Gissin on the al Durah affair that occurred after Philippe’s talk.

Signez la Petition: France2, Publiez les enregistrements secrets d’al Dura!

Sign the Petition: France2: Release the Secret Tapes!

Background on the Rushes: Interview with Jeambar and Leconte

Translation of the radio interview with Jeambar and Leconte after they saw the rushes.

Text of the Israeli Army’s Request to France2 for the Rushes

Official French version and English translation.

My Statement to the French Court: Maybe Writing will work better
Having been written out of the Judge’s evaluation of the evidence, I submit a written version to the Court of Appeal on Philippe’s behalf. Contains Enderlin’s shockingly inaccurate (dishonest?) drawing of the lines of fire.

The France 2 Rushes

There are multiple testimonies to the contents of the heavily-contested France2 tapes (aka, the “rushes”) shot on September 30, 2000. Transcript of Radio Interview with Daniel Leconte and Denis Jeambar
These two journalists — neither Jewish nor Zionist — represent the most impartial viewers, and their testimony has played significantly in subsequent demands for the rushes. Viewing, October 22, 2004; interview, November 16, 2004.
The Al Durah Case: A dramatic conclusion
Stéphane Juffa’s account (November 3) of the meeting with France2 based on reports from Luc Rosenzweig — the third journalist to see the tapes on October 22. This premature account backfired and Jeambar and Leconte withdrew from revealing publicly what they had seen (see remarks in interview).
On seeing the France2 Tapes: Testimony by Richard Landes
One of three essays I wrote about the experience of seeing the tapes for the first time (October 31, 2003 in Jerusalem). This one focuses on the astonishing pervasiveness of staging among the players in the Palestinian street, the systematic filming of fakes by Talal, the cameraman, and the utter lack of concern on the part of the journalist, Charles Enderlin, to the presence of these fakes.
Conversations with Charles Enderlin
An account of several conversations with Charles Enderlin about the al Durah affair.
France2 Tapes: Al Durah material
Discussion of the material in the France2 tapes directly concerned with the al Durah incident.

I have heard that Elisabeth Schemla, the director of an internet news service, Proche Orient Infos saw the tapes and reported that they tell us nothing of any significance. I cannot find her comments online.


Enderlin vs. Karsenty Decision (English Translation) – English translation of the court’s decision in the first Karsenty Trial (November 2006)

Timeline of Al Dura Affair: A French Media Scandal – CAMERA’s timeline to November, 2007.

A PCP Anomaly Worth Considering: Arabs choose Israeli “Occupation”

It’s an axiom of PCP (especially the second variety, the Post-colonial paradigm) that occupation is inevitably and inherently evil and oppressive and humiliating, and that “resisting occupation” is the right of anyone under occupation. Indeed, occupation is so evil that any form of resistance — including suicide terrorism — is legitimate. That such an attitude is ludicrous when one considers the difference between say, the Allied occupation of Germany, and the Nazi occupation of Europe. It’s part of the moral miscalculations of the “progressive left” to identify the Israeli occupation with the Nazi one, rather than with the Allied one.

Part of what makes that identification so grotesque is that in the case of the Nazis, because they systematically used collective punishment — hundreds of civilians randomly rounded up and shot in retaliation for one Nazi soldier killed — resistance was not only difficult, but endangered the very civilians the resisters presumably sought to free. And even in those dire conditions, the resisters never engaged in attacking German civilians. In the case of the Israelis, where “collective punishment” consists of blowing up the houses of terrorists after removing the inhabitants, the “cost” of resistance is low, extremely low given the nature of the provocation.

The only way this fearful asymmetry gets “balanced” is by a chattering class of talking heads — media and academia — who constantly hammer away at the unbearable oppressiveness of the Israeli occupation. The following article offers some food for thought on the topic.

Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel
In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime
October 16, 2007 at 4:52 AM EDT

JERUSALEM — After 40 years of living under Israeli occupation, two stints in Israeli prisons and a military checkpoint on the same road as his odds-and-ends shop, one would think Nabil Gheit would be happy to hear an Israeli prime minister contemplate handing over parts of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control.

But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can’t think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.

“If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority,” Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. “We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA.”

There is something just a bit grotesque about using the term intifada here. At the same time as the first intifada broke out in Israel, it also broke out in Egypt. It didn’t last two days because the Egyptians — with no media coverage to worry about — machine-gunned the protesters. So all this talk of intifada is really just that, talk. Civilian protesters only stand a chance against Israel, because no matter how feckless, weak and ineffective the PA may be, they can still pick on the unarmed.

In comments that are likely to stir fierce debate on both sides, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested yesterday that Israel could relinquish several Arab areas on the periphery of East Jerusalem. The idea is likely to please very few, since many Israelis consider Jerusalem indivisible, while few Palestinians would accept a peace deal that didn’t include sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Those who live in the neighbourhoods Mr. Olmert spoke of handing over are nonetheless worried that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is seen as weak and desperate for an achievement after losing control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist Hamas movement, will accept the offer. They dislike the idea of their neighbourhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.

“But,” the progressives will complain, “man does not live by bread alone. What about pride and self-determination? Just because the Arabs under Israeli rule are more prosperous than Arabs under Arab rule is no excuse for occupation!”

Mr. Gheit, with two posters of “the martyr Saddam Hussein” hanging over his cash register, can hardly be called an admirer of the Jewish state. But he says that an already difficult life would get worse if those living in Ras Hamis and the adjoining Shuafat refugee camp were suddenly no longer able to work in Israel, or use its publicly funded health system.

Sure. Let him have a picture of Ariel Sharon over his cash register in a PA-run state.

The 53-year-old said he’d be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. “I don’t believe in these factions. I only believe in putting bread on the table for my children. I fight only for them. At least in Israel, there’s law.”

Eloquently put, although excuse me if I don’t really believe you, Mr. Gheit. You don’t have pictures of Saddam Hussein up because you just want bread on the table for your children. You also want to have pride, and Saddam, for reasons that have a great deal to do with the pathologies of Palestinian culture, is a source of pride for you. The real tragedy here is that it’s precisely strongmen like Saddam Hussein who embody exactly why not just the current PA, but any PA one can imagine in the near to middle future, will not offer you either the rule of law or any real prosperity. Like so many Arabs who tell our gullible journalists they want democracy, Mr. Gheit wants it without having a clue as to what it takes.

Mr. Gheit said that over the past five years, some 5,000 people have moved into Ras Hamis from other parts of the West Bank, concerned that they would lose their Israeli identification cards if they didn’t live within the city limits. There would be a mass exodus into other parts of the city, or other towns in Israel, if it looked likely that Ras Hamis and Shuafat, home to a combined 50,000 people, were about to be declared no longer part of Jerusalem, he said.

People who “vote with their feet” offer real hard data on their feelings, not the blather they serve up to gullible reporters. It really costs to vote with one’s feet, to leave a home, almost always at great financial loss, to sever community ties. And in the Palestinian world, where thugs are ready to execute collaborators, at great risk to one’s family’s safety. Black hearts and red spades, anyone?

The Demands of Freedom: Do Europeans have “the right stuff”?

In a famous remark that explained much about the failure of the revolutions of 1848, the Italian observer Massimo d’Azeglio used the metaphor of the stallion of liberty:

    The gift of liberty is like a horse, handsome, strong, and high-spirited. In some it arouses a wish to ride; in many others, on the contrary, it increases the desire to walk.

Europeans seem to be slowing to a crawl. Just what dhimmi should do. The following are reflections by Paul Belien at The Brussels Journal. It’s almost a year old. If anything, with the possible exception of Sarkozy’s election, things are worse.

The Rape of Europe

By Paul Belien

The German author Henryk M. Broder recently told the Dutch Newspaper DeVolkskrant that young Europeans, who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will not exist twenty years from now.

While sitting on a terrace in Berlin during the interview, Broder pointed to the other customers and the passers-by and said, “We are watching the world of yesterday.”

Europe is turning Muslim. As Broder is sixty years old he is not going to emigrate.

“I am too old,” he said. However, he urged young people to get out and “move to Australia or New Zealand. That is the only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn the old continent uninhabitable.”

Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, are not waiting for Broder’s advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic.

Just consider the demographics.

– The number of Muslims in Contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million.

– It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families.

– Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for newborn boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.

Note that generally demographic trends should not be extended linearly into the future: too many variables affect individual choices. But this looks more serious. If the Muslim immigration is joined by an emigration of the initiative-taking Europeans (largely a self-selecting elite), then the trends, once they really “take” will accelerate. We may be looking at emigré populations who will leave Europe, and then return in military efforts to conquer the continent back after the (certain) failure of the Muslim states in Europe. The only problem is — how much devastation will occur in the process. As a medievalist, I dread the damage to Europe’s medieval past, architecture, manuscripts, stained glass windows…

More on Carter’s Darfur Folly

Excellent piece on the moral idiocy of our worst ex-president who apparently cannot learn from history because he only has one move in his moral chess game: appease. (Hattip: Noa Landes) The author, Eric Reeves, is a professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College and has written extensively on Sudan.

Jimmy Carter’s Shamefully Ignorant Statement on Darfur
by Eric Reeves

Last week, Jimmy Carter toured Sudan as part of a group of international celebrities who are calling themselves “the Elders.” Founded by Nelson Mandela, the Elders aim — in the modest words of one member, British billionaire Richard Branson — to address “problems in the world that need a group of people who are maybe…beyond politics, beyond ego, and who have got great wisdom.”

Ouch. How devious the workings of spiritual pride.

Great wisdom? Let’s just say the group is off to a rocky start. That’s because Carter took the opportunity of his visit to Sudan to criticize the United States for labeling the killing and destruction in Darfur genocide. “There is a legal definition of genocide and Darfur does not meet that legal standard,” Carter lectured. “The atrocities were horrible but I don’t think it qualifies to be called genocide.” He also said, “If you read the law textbooks… you’ll see very clearly that it’s not genocide and to call it genocide falsely just to exaggerate a horrible situation — I don’t think it helps.”

Interview with Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk

Paltalk’s Gary Baumgarten interviews Boston University professor Richard Landes on News Talk Online about fabricated news reports about the deaths of Palestinians which have spurred attacks against Israel.

This is a good, substantial interview for those who want to hear what I have to say, rather than what I have to write.

Al Durah: FAQs (new and improved)

Below are a list of FAQs for the Al Durah case written at the time we launched the Second Draft. I will revise this list to include some newer FAQs shortly. Suggestions welcome.

FAQs for al Durah case

1. Who is Muhammad al Durah?

Muhamed al Durah grew up in El Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. On September 30, 2000, he was in Netzarim Junction where Palestinian youth had gathered to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli police station on the northeast corner of the intersection. He and his father crouched behind a concrete cylinder on the southwest corner (see map). Allegedly shot dead in a hail of bullets, captured on tape by a Palestinian photographer working for France2 television, Muhammad was buried that day without autopsy, as his picture went out around the world. He became the poster boy for the intifada, inspiring much of the violence, including the first rounds of suicide bombing (2001).

2. Who took the video or film footage of the events of the deaths of the al Durahs?

A Palestinian cameraman named Talal, shot the footage for the French television network, France2, which was then edited and presented as news by Charles Enderlin, the France2 Middle East Correspondent stationed in Jerusalem.

3. What actually happened?

There are five possible scenarios: 1) Israelis on purpose (broadcast version); 2) Israelis by accident (soft interpretation of broadcast version), 3) Palestinians by accident; 4) Palestinians on purpose; 5) staged. Subsequent study of the layout of the scene, the direction of bullets hitting the wall, the footage compared with the narrative all eliminate with an extremely high degree of probability that Israeli fire could have hit the two al Durahs once (much less 11 times). Most journalists who go that far, refuse to go further and speculate on what actually happened, preferring to go with 3, despite the numerous anomalies to such a scenario.

4. Why has it taken so long to publish the reconsiderations about this case?

Once the story came out the way it did – that the Israelis killed him on purpose Israelis – and spread around the world, the biggest adjustment that most journalists would accept was that perhaps it was not intentional. Any effort to exculpate the Israelis was immediately greeted with cries of “blaming the victims.” Enormous conceptual resistance surrounds this case – political, psychological, cognitive. The political atmosphere aside, however, the reluctance of the media to reconsider this case comes from a deep-seated aversion to self-examination and self-correction, starting with France2’s refusal to release the rest of the footage shot by Talal abu Rahmah that day.

5. Who is Talal abu Rahmah?

He is a Palestinian cameraman who works for both CNN and France2. He was the only cameraman (among at least a dozen cameramen) present at Netzarim Junction on September 30, who filmed the scenes of the al Durahs behind the barrel (which he claimed went on for over forty minutes). For the 59 seconds of the actual incident, he received numerous awards in Europe and the Arab world.

6. Who is Charles Enderlin?

He is the France2 Middle East correspondent stationed in Jerusalem. He has worked closely with Talal, and believed his account of what happened that day. Thus in his news report he had the boy and father “the target of fire coming from the Israeli position.” He has since refused to reconsider the possibility that he might have made a mistake, and dismisses any challenges as coming from “tiny far right-wing groups.”

7. Who is Nahum Shahaf?

He is an Israeli physicist and inventor who carried out the first investigation of the al Durah affair. His insistence that the scene was staged put him at odds with his associate Yossef Dorriel (who argued for Palestinians on purpose) and the army (which preferred to exculpate the Israelis and leave it at that). He continues to work on the case on his own.

8. Are you claiming that the footage of al Durah was staged, and neither the boy nor the father were shot?

That, in the opinion of many people who know the dossier well, is the most likely conclusion. It explains almost all of the evidence, including all the inconsistencies between Talal’s testimony and the evidence of the tapes. But it can’t be proven, and ultimately it is up to each person to come to his or her own decision, based on the available evidence. That is why we set up Second Draft: to permit the public to decide whether its media have served them well in this case.

9. Isn’t this a bit too conspiracist? Are you claiming a huge conspiracy to lie about the story of this boy?

No. Staging the story only required the cooperation of the crew at work that day and the silence of any observers. If it were a conspiracy, it would mean that Charles Enderlin, France2, Jacques Chirac and the PA were involved. One of the more interesting part of this story is the credulity of those on the outside who accepted Talal’s narrative along with his tapes. Accusations of conspiracy frequently greet the claim that the al Durah footage was faked; this is both a reflexive response – “you know, there are so many conspiracies in this part of the world, I don’t believe any…” – and a way of comparing those who argue for staging the scene with those who claim that the Mossad blew up the Twin Towers on 9-11-01. Understanding the difference between conspiracy theories, and the argument made here represents one of the most important distinctions one can make in trying to wade through the rhetorical minefield of Middle East information delivery.

10. Is the boy still alive?

He may be or may not be. Most believe he is dead. There are some who believe he is alive. Our position is agnostic. We only assert that the last time we see Muhamed on Talal’s tape that afternoon [link to scene 6 of 59 seconds], he is still alive. What happened to him afterwards is a question we do not feel we know enough to decide. A comparison of the picture of Muhamed al Durah from his home, and the face of the boy at the hospital who was later buried, do not match very closely. A good investigation – which should have occurred immediately after the claims were made – may well reveal the tale of his fate.

11. Even were it staged, is it not symbolic of all the Palestinian children killed by Israeli troops occupying the territories?

This represents the most fundamental issue in this case, one that Charles Enderlin invoked several years after the event when he defended his use of the footage by arguing that it “corresponded to the situation on the West Bank and Gaza,” Many people, confronted with even the possibility of the scene being staged, retort, “Whether genuine or not, there are hundreds of other Palestinian children killed by the Israelis.” But such a reading reverses the historical sequence – the symbol precedes the “reality” it supposedly describes. Before al Durah there were no cases of the Israelis shooting defenseless boys during the Oslo process. Within a month, Palestinian sources claimed over a hundred and the Mainstream media accepted their claims unquestioningly. How much did this symbol create the “reality” it symbolizes, either by making the press naïve about any Palestinian claims, or by so igniting hostilities that children got caught in the crossfire?

Furthermore, the key claim is not that Israelis kill children — everyone at war in urban zones ends up killing children — but that they do it deliberately, “in cold blood.” Once this story passed, journalists believed (and in the case of Chris Hedges, claimed) that the Israelis killed Palestinian children on purpose. And yet, like the al Durah story, the evidence for deliberation (which is a judgment call in any case), has never been substantiated. No case of an Israeli deliberately killing an innocent child has ever been documented. On the contrary, we can document numerous cases of Israelis foregoing military advantage and even endangering their own lives not to harm children and other civilians.

The scene is symbolic, no doubt. But symbolic of what? What “greater reality” does it reveal to us? Is this a symbol of the behavior of the Israeli army, whose code of arms and record, up to that point had stood high in any military comparison? Or does this footage symbolize the behavior of the Palestinian elite, who use propaganda to sell hatred and war to their honor-bound captive audience, and the problematic state of our mainstream media at the turn of the millennium, which could neither detect the flaws in this footage, nor find the will in the course of five long and violent years, to correct itself?

This has become a myth of great power for the Palestinians. Myths help orient people in the present, and this one has oriented them towards nothing but hatred and ruin since it first broke. Ironically the most liberal observers who realize the deception at work here, hold out no hope for any change in the way the Palestinian, Arab, or Muslim world views the narrative. We at Second Draft do not partake of the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” and believe that there are people in the Arab world eager to start building a real civil society based on self-criticism and a learning curve… and that our global future lies with them.

12. What do you think is the most decisive evidence?

There is no smoking gun, and people differ in what they find most decisive. Journalists, who know the value of such footage had the father and son really been shot, find the presence of two other cameramen there at the time [link to 3D animation], combined with such little footage of what, according to Talal was an hour-long ordeal, the clearest evidence of staging – no shots of the gunfire, no ambulance evacuation scene, no scenes of arrival at the hospital 40 minutes away. Others are impressed with the direction of the two bullets that we do see hit the wall around the al Durahs in Talal’s footage coming from the Palestinian side. All viewers can see the movements of the boy in the last scene where he is supposed to be dead, but lifts up his arm and seems to look out. (Enderlin cut this scene from his broadcast.) Others see the pervasive contradictions between Talal’s testimony and the visual evidence, and Talal’s propensity to lie. When all the anomalies in the evidence are considered, the odds that it was staged seem extremely high. By contrast, any explanation that real injuries were recorded bogs down in so many contradictions that one must resort repeatedly to elaborate and unlikely explanations (e.g., all three cameramen ran out of batteries at 3 pm in the afternoon of a day where, till that point, nothing had happened). The odds of such explanations are so low that only a true believer can, without hesitation, assert that things happened as they were reported.

13. What’s in the famous France2 Secret Tapes, and why hasn’t France2 released them?

The 20+ minutes of tape that France2 shows to the occasional pre-screened viewer represent (to all appearances) the footage Talal shot just before he took the famous sequence. They end with the three minutes Enderlin made available to journalists. Whether there is more footage that was taken earlier we cannot know yet. Certainly the Reuter’s cameraman took about two hours that day, and for Talal to claim his batteries were dying would imply that he had shot a good deal that day. In the meantime, the earlier footage gives us no specific information on the al Durahs (their presence behind the barrel well before any heavy shooting occurs is visible on the 3 minutes we already have, and on AP and Reuters’ footage (the Reuters’ cameraman is directly behind them not protected by the barrel, apparently not in danger of being shot).

What the tapes do show is that aside from boring scenes of rock-throwing and tire burning, Talal filmed one staged scene after another, similar to the work of the Reuters’ cameraman. Indeed, you can see Talal shooting staged footage in the Reuters’ cameraman’s filming of Molotov kid. When I saw the rushes I was stunned by both the pervasiveness of the staging, the participation of the cameramen, and the complacency of Enderlin. When I left, the term Pallywood occurred to me to describe the film industry I had just seen at work. All three of the French journalists who saw the film — the first independent group to publicly see the rushes — had the same reaction of shock at the staging, and the same response from the “higher-ups” in France2. “Oh, this kind of thing happens all the time.” For several discussions of viewing the footage from me, Leconte and Jeambar, see here.

What the tapes reveal is a modus operandi that is widespread in the PA (all the cameraman filmed by the Reuters and France2 cameras are doing the same thing), an exceptionally low standard of realism (the evacuations are so brutal they would kill genuinely injured people), and an exceptional incompetence or complicity on the part of Western journalists like Enderlin and Bob Simon (which explains why Pallywood never developed any realistic techniques — didn’t have to).

14. Why hasn’t France2 released the rushes?

One might imagine that France2 would seek to hide such damning evidence. But it’s not at all clear that they — or Enderlin, which is more astonishing — understand how damaging they are. (They would have destroyed them long ago had they realized. Leconte told me that Arlette Chabot, then the head of France2 turned as pale as the wall paper when she saw them.) Enderlin has said to everyone who asks, that he would happily give the Israelis a copy if they formally request them, but he claims they have never formally asked for them. (Shahaf says he did, but he can’t find the copy of his letter.) Enderlin shows them to select people, who come to him via friends and trusted colleagues (my case).

But now that the Israelis have requested them, Enderlin speaks about the problem of journalists revealing their sources. And in interviews (to me, to Esther Schapira on film) Enderlin has commented that he won’t give the film to the Israelis “so they can whitewash themselves.” Until now France2 has only shown them to pre-screened folks whom they expect to side with them, and several, including both Israeli journalists and French Jewish journalists have come away claiming that there’s nothing new in the footage about al Durah (true). The ability of people to see this footage and not be shocked just testifies to the degree that journalism’s Augean Stables have numbed the senses of people to the point where pervasive staging isn’t even worth a mention. In the meantime, Enderlin has welcomed the court order to show the rushes as an opportunity to “lance the boil” and “show the authenticity of these images.”

15. Why if it’s so obvious, haven’t the media covered this massive fraud?

There is no simple answer. Partly it’s the pack mentality. No one wants to break ranks, fearing ostracism by colleagues for contradicting the overwhelming consensus; and those who do break ranks, largely because they have re-examined the data, do get ostracized, even lose their access the public sphere (articles not published, exclusion from talk shows). Partly it’s related to the media’s intimidation by Palestinian and Arab political groups. Partly it’s the power of suggestion so that even when people read articles claiming that it’s staged, they still think in terms of the boy being shot. But at another level, as one of my students put it, “I’m afraid that if I admit that this is a fake, I’ll be taking sides with the Israelis…” a sentiment that can move both someone committed to “even-handed/level playing field” and a partisan for the other side. In the end, this case will remain one of the great mysteries – and hopefully one of the great shames — of modern journalism. That it took five years, and recourse to the web to finally bring it to the attention of the public, that public which is committed to civil societies around world and who have and continue to suffer from the story’s poison, represents one of the great failures of our time.

16. Why do you think this is like the emperor’s new clothes?

Of all the comparisons with parables and allegories, perhaps the best image for understanding the dynamics of this tale comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. In this case, the tailor is Talal, who spun both the cloth and its description. Enderlin corresponds to the chamberlain, the first to inspect the robe, and although seeing nothing, came out with a glowing report of the magical clothing. The courtiers who agree with the tailor and the chamberlain, are the media – reporters like the New York Times’ William Orme, the Guardian’s Suzanne Goldberg, Le Monde’s Gilles Paris — who hastened to confirm and amplify the story in circulation. The emperor in this tale is the main stream media, parading naked before the public, orchestrating a great public event with elaborate narrative, inspired by the power of the fabricated image. And the crowd watching corresponds to all “consumers” of media coverage, unable, unwilling, uninterested (?) in challenging mainstream media which, for better or for worse, constitutes our eyes and ears on the world beyond our living rooms. The “child” in the tale corresponds to those people who refused to deny what they saw for what they were told to see, starting with Shahaf. The biggest difference between the two tales concerns the reaction to the public to the comments of the dissenters. Where a bystander said, “listen to the child…” in Andersen’s fairy tale, we have, so far, heard mostly an echo of what the child’s embarrassed father said: “hush child,” how dare you question the authority of the Chamberlain. Of course Andersen’s tale is a comedy we tell to our children to encourage “speaking truth to power.” So far the al Durah affair is a tragic myth. How will the tale end? That depends on how our crowd responds.

17. Why is it important to know the facts of the case, what really went on in the al Durah affair?

If this tale tells us more about Palestinian propaganda and media incompetence rather than Israeli war crimes, then understanding how it came to be and how it has played out, sheds a bright and harsh light on some major components of our present painful and violent situation. In a sense, this event has set the tone for the new century, not only in its role in inspiring Jihadi hatreds, but also in shaping how we have interpreted almost all violence emanating from the Muslim world. It tells us volumes about the role of propaganda in contributing to the “cycle of violence” as well as the lapses and blind-spots that mark our current thinking and reporting on the conflict. If the problems with the mainstream media are as serious as this affair suggests, then it will take a generation of change to flush them out of the system, and this story is as good a place to start the process as any. If you understand the details of this case, you can unravel some of the forces that contribute to the disturbing direction of global culture since 2000.

Walt-Mearsheimer on Osama, Israel and the USA: MSM is the Key to Inverting the Story

A close reading of Walt-Mearsheimer reveals that the MSM play a critical role in their “realist” perceptions. One might even argue that Walt-Measheimer’s thesis represents the best single illustration of the impact of Pallywood on our ability to perceive the world around us and make decisions based on those perceptions. Here they argue that Bin Laden is deeply moved in his hatred of the USA by our support for Israel, despite how cruel the Israelis treat the Palestinians. As those who have seen Icon of Hatred know, the footage of Muhammad al Durah played a key role in Bin Laden’s recruiting video.

As an introduction to Walt-Mearsheimer’s comments on Bin Laden, Israel and the USA, let me offer the reader some material on Osama and Al Durah from my upcoming book on millennialism:

    When Osama bin Laden produced a recruiting video in the months after the Intifada, he gave particular attention to the footage of Muhammad’s death. He exploited the footage of a defenseless child “cut down by the Jews” to delegitimize all the Arab regimes who, in their cowardice, do nothing to take vengeance. Against a backdrop of images of the Jamal and Muhammad al Durah, someone reads a well-known poem:

    Die in vain, my little one, Muhammad,
    In vain your little age melted away
    Let every leader be the ransom for your eyes
    His share in the war is condemnation and accusation
    Let every coward be the ransom for your eyes
    From a distance of thousand miles he warns
    O, boy, died by the hands of the Jews,
    Don’t call upon us since we are the same as the Jews.
    (A poem written by Dr. Ghazi al-Qusaybi, the Saudi ambassador to Britain and later the Saudi Minister of Education. (!) Note: The Arabic text is quoted many times on the internet, with variations (exact text of the recording).

    Perhaps inspired by Bin Laden’s call to vengeance of the “Jews,” Pakistani militants gave Al Durah’s image a central role in the first cyberspace Jihadi execution. The Daniel Pearl “execution video” announced the international Jihad of radical Islam against both Jews and journalists, and gave birth to a new genre that marks the 21st century.

    Within the montage, shots of Mohammed and Jamal are given a sort of starring role: After Pearl makes his final statement in the confession portion – ‘my father is a Jew; my mother is a Jew; I am a Jew” – there is a cut to Mohammed and father huddling together. Seconds before Pearl is laid on the ground and hands begin to saw at his throat with long knives, a still shot of Jamal al-Dura clasping his dying son flashes on the screen. After Pearl’s detached head is exhibited, hanging from something that allows it to twist slowly in the air, there is a long crawl over a black screen informing the viewer that “scenes like this will be repeated” unless the United States stops supporting Israel and its “massacres of children. (Gutmann, The Other War, p. 42.)

    These videos also recruit. By targeting Pearl as a Jew, the perpetrators at once fulfilled the apocalyptic hadith of killing Jews, and gave the signal for others to follow suit. Under the aegis of al Durah, the message went out that at last, the time had come.

    Osama bin Laden, invoking al Durah, claimed: “It is as if Israel – and those backing it in America – have killed all the children in the world.” (Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden ed. Bruce Lawrence (London, Verso, 2005), p. 147-8.)

    And after 9-11, Osama made the point in a specifically American context: “In the epitome of his arrogance and the peak of his media campaign in which he boasts of ‘enduring freedom,’ Bush must not forget the image of Mohammed al-Dura and his fellow Muslims in Palestine and Iraq. If he has forgotten, then we will not forget, God willing.”

Now let’s turn to how Walt-Mearsheimer handle the issue.

Oct 10, 2007 21:55 | Updated Oct 11, 2007 9:35
‘US support for Israel spurred 9/11’

US support for Israel was a “major cause” of the 9-11 attacks, according to University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard Professor Stephen Walt, who appeared at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week to promote their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

“A critically important issue when talking about America’s terrorism problem is the matter of how US support for Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians relates to what happened on September 11,” said Mearsheimer, who played the role of attack dog, while Walt set the stage.

Notice the “brutal.” That’s Pallywood’s message.

Mearsheimer suggested that the notion of payback for injustices suffered by the Palestinians is perhaps the “most powerfully recurrent in [Osama] Bin Laden’s speeches,” who, he said, had been deeply concerned about the plight of the Palestinians since he was a young man. He said that Bin Laden’s concern had been reflected in his public statements throughout the 1990’s – “well before 9-11.” Citing the 9-11 Commission report, Mearsheimer and Walt argued that Bin Laden wanted to make sure the attackers struck Congress because it is “the most important source of support for Israel in the United States,” adding that Bin Laden twice tried to move up the dates of the attacks because of events involving Israel. Mearsheimer and Walt went on to argue that 9-11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences in the United States as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with US foreign policy favoring Israel. “Its hard to imagine more compelling evidence of the role US support for Israel played in the 9-11 attacks,” said Mearsheimer.

“In short, the present relationship between Washington and Jerusalem is helping to fuel America’s terrorism problem,” he went on to say.

This is a nice summary of the kind of thinking that gives us Eurabia in Europe: if Muslims get violent over disagreement with our foreign policy, let’s change our foreign policy so that we have a rapprochement with closer to European foreign Policy. If our allies offend people who hate us, maybe they’ll love us if we dump our allies. In fact, any serious analysis of the dynamics of honor-shame culture (which seems to escape W-M entirely) predicts that following their advice would precisely backfire.

They said that US support for Israel motivates some individuals to attack the United States and “…serves as an important recruitment tool for terrorist organizations,” according to Mearsheimer. He said that US support for Israel generates huge support for terrorists in the Arab and Islamic world.

Here’s an allusion to the recruiting tape mentioned above in which the Al Durah footage — and other Pallywood scenes — play a prominent role. Let’s try restating that with an awareness — which W-M apparently lack — of how our own foolish and incompetent MSM contribute to the hatreds of the Muslim world:

Imagine the MSM giving that thesis as much coverage as they give to the W-M thesis.

Beckerman advises France2: Just how little do MSM journalists understand?

In an article for the Columbia Journalism Review, Gal Beckerman offers France2 some friendly advice. In the process, he shows just how inadequate both the MSM’s clichés about “coming clean” are in dealing with this affair, and how inadequate the imagination of seasoned reporters in even beginning to imagine the role of Pallywood in news production. It illustrates the difference between American journalists who can’t even imagine that al Durah might be staged and European reporters who blandly assert:

    “Karsenty is so shocked that fake images were used and edited in Gaza, but this happens all the time everywhere on television and no TV journalist in the field or a film editor would be shocked.”

The Unpeaceful Rest of Mohammed Al-Dura
How French 2 could have quelled the controversy

By Gal Beckerman
Wed 3 Oct 2007 02:34 PM

No single event was responsible for igniting the Second Intifada, which began seven years ago and effectively killed off the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians. Or, rather, there are specific causes for why violence erupted in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the cafes and markets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but the reasons depend more on who you’re talking to than on what actually happened—either it was Ariel Sharon’s inflammatory visit to the Temple Mount or Yasser Arafat’s scheming that provided the first push.

Regardless, once the killing began there was one media event that, indisputably and instantaneously, fanned the flames and primed the Palestinian people and the wider Arab world for confrontation: the televised death of twelve-year-old Mohammed al-Dura.

The fifty-nine seconds of edited footage, aired on France 2, was repeated thousands of times on September 30, 2000 and in the days and weeks that followed. A young boy and his father at the Netzarim crossing in the Gaza strip are caught in the crossfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian police and gunmen. The child cowers behind his father who tries to protect him with his arm — a still image that has been reproduced over and over again on posters and postage stamps – and then in the last series of frames he is slumped over, dead. Al-Dura became the Palestinian martyr, a symbol of Israel’s ruthlessness, its disregard for innocent life, the life of a defenseless boy.

The Israeli Army initially took responsibility for the death. But in the years since, a cottage industry of both conspiracy theorists and honest researchers have questioned whether al-Dura really was killed by an Israeli bullet or even – and this, until recently, was mostly the provenance of conspiracy theorists – the whole event was staged as Palestinian propaganda (or “Pallywood,” as one obsessive has described it).

That’s with a link to Second Draft — not the dossier on al Durah, but the Pallywood section. I’m trying to figure out whether the author looked into what I have up there for evidence. I’ve left a comment asking why a visit to the Pallywood section of Second Draft leads to the term “obsessive.” But why didn’t he link to the al Durah section, since that’s what’s up for discussion. In any case, had he linked to my discussion of the argument for staging, he would have better served his readership.

James Fallows, the respected correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, had the most thorough examination of all sides in a June 2003 article.

Not to take away from Fallows, who did a fine piece, but the material available at the Second Draft, where our author has been to visit, is considerably more thorough than what Fallows did. But I suspect that what’s going on here is that Gal Beckerman, reporter for the CJR, heavily favors the MSM in this case (though not necessarily in other cases). Hence “the respected correspondent” James Fallows is definitely preferable to the “obsessives.”

The conclusion he came to, as he reiterated on his blog yesterday, was this:

    I ended up arguing in my article that the ‘official’ version of the event could not be true. Based on the known locations of the boy, his father, the Israeli Defense Force troops in the area, and various barriers, walls, and other impediments, the IDF soldiers simply could not have shot the child in the way most news accounts said they had done…. I became fully convinced by the negative case (IDF was innocent). But I did not think there was enough evidence for the even more damning positive indictment (person or persons unknown staged a fake death — or perhaps even a real death, for ‘blood libel’ purposes).

Fallows felt the need to remind readers of his conclusion because there has lately been a flurry of news surrounding the al-Dura case.

Beckerman’s clear, if unsupported, preference for Fallows is interesting here, since Fallows’ determined refusal to go further in this case has been analyzed by two bloggers in some detail and they come to a rather different conclusion about his position on this, one that puts Beckerman and Fallows in a different context — like the good folks in the emperor’s court assuring the public that the emperor’s new clothes are just dandy.

Shrinkwrapped noted that Fallows is an example of someone

    who is committed to the truth but cannot yet work his way out of the conflict between what he thinks he knows of the world and the truth that contradicts his world view. This is neither a trivial nor a singular phenomena; it is universal and emerges from the deepest, pre-rational strata of the mind…

    Our Media are our eyes on the world. It is problematic but unavoidable that the unconscious biases of the reporters will effect how their stories are presented, and more importantly, what stories are not presented. The recognition that the al-Dura blood libel was a conscious deception of Western dupes, masquerading as men of integrity, is a potential paradigm shattering event.

    The MSM have seen their credibility slowly erode for many years now. The mix of distortions, occasional overt lies, and neglect that have been increasingly exposed by the new media, all have served to hollow out the support for the MSM as people who do not have an emotional investment in the MSM are unable to avoid recognizing just how slanted the “news” has become.

And Helen, at Umbrellablog notes that:

    What he [Fallows, and apparently here Beckerman – rl] would not and could not even countenance was the obvious second point, which is that this was a record that was carefully staged in order to discredit Israel and justify the continuing intifada with all its horrors (mostly for the Palestinians). I don’t know Mr Fallows and cannot, therefore, comment but he sounds to me no different from the people who almost literally stopped their ears against the truth about Communist regimes because they did not want to know or admit.