Regev Responds to Aggressive CNN Interrogation on House Eviction in East Jerusalem

Here’s Prime Minister’s spokesman Mark Regev responding to an aggressive CNN reporter’s questions (HT/Carl in Jerusalem):

Although overall I’d say this is a good set of responses, there are several aspects of the encounter that deserve further comment.

1) CNN is the one who has fallen into the trap of politicizing this, which, as Regev points out, is precisely why the family didn’t move out: to create street theater, and that’s just what CNN obliged them with. When Isha Sesay asks if these images of the eviction are conducive to peace, Regev could have said, “Don’t you think that CNN’s making a huge story out of a legal dispute between private citizens and turning it into a media circus is what’s not conducive to peace? Your images inflame anger and hatred in a situation that’s completely inappropriate. Don’t you care how you affect public opinion?”

2) When Sesay said, “Isn’t this a policy to kick out Arabs and move in Israelis?” Regev could have answered, “If this is what you believe, if you think that the Israeli Supreme court system is an extension of what you imagine is an evil Israeli government’s policies, whether legal or not, then no wonder you do the kind of stories you do.”

In both cases, such answers alert the viewers to the ways their perceptions are being manipulated by journalists with agendas. The logic behind Sesay’s aggressive questioning and CNN’s inflammatory coverage is: The way to peace is to force Israel to make concessions at any cost, including inciting hatred of her in both the Arab world — what are the Palestinians supposed to do when these images circulate internationally, say, “oh well, it was a court decision” — and in the West.

CNN is not alone in this kind of coverage. Indeed, the virulently anti-Israel slant and the incitement to hatred of Israel is virtually a consensus in the MSNM (BBC, Times of London: “Israeli settlers ‘are wrecking peace process’“) and diplomatic communities, as Melanie Phillips points out:

But once again it is the extreme malice of the British reaction which takes the breath away. The British consulate says it is ‘unacceptable’ that Israel should act in accordance with the law as laid down by its own Supreme Court. The British thus ignore law and justice, history and truth to support instead illegal Arab actions which deny the Jewish ownership of the land in question. And what in heaven’s name has this property dispute between Israel and the Arabs in Jerusalem got to do with the British anyway? As I remarked here the other day, they appear to think they are still administering the Palestine Mandate – where they exhibited similar partisanship in the interests of injustice, illegality and the Arab cause against Jewish rights.


As a mild example of the vituperation this story elicited, take Vlad Len’s comment in response to the Times of London piece:

I heard a long time ago about this case and couldn’t bring myself to believe that a supposedly democratic and free society would commit such an outright crime as this. My heart breaks to think of what the families in Sheikh Jarrah must be going through. 19 new homeless palestinian children – over 50 homeless palestinians…and the Israelis *wonder* why they don’t have peace – Israel sows the seeds of terrorism and nurtures them.

The only difference between this and the kind of vicious propaganda done by George Galloway is that at least here, Israel gets to defend itself.

Again Phillips comments:

Through the wilful blindness, historical amnesia, double standards, moral inversion and rank injustice of the reaction to these evictions, Sheikh Jarrah stands as an emblem of the British, American and European truth-denying attitude to the Arab war against Israel – the real cause of the whole Middle East impasse.

This kind of misguided advocacy journalism is not the way to peace; it’s not good or professional journalism. It’s folly.

For background on the disputes over Jerusalem see “The U.S.-Israeli Dispute over Building in Jerusalem

For background on this particular dispute, see “Three Arrested in Sheikh Jarrah Protest

168 Responses to Regev Responds to Aggressive CNN Interrogation on House Eviction in East Jerusalem

  1. Eliyahu says:

    From what I understand, the houses in question from which Arabs were evicted in Jerusalem are in the Nahalat Shimon quarter which is very close to the 1949 armistice line that went through the center of the city [the old armistice line through the city is now Route 1]. Nahalat Shimon, now just east of the 1949-67 armistice line, was an old Jewish neighborhood which came under attack from Arab irregular forces under the command of Abdel-Kader el-Husseini [hence under the leadership of Haj Amin el-Husseini of the Arab Higher Committee] in December 1947 and January 1948. According to published Hebrew-language sources, this neighborhood was attacked by Arab irregulars and successfully fought them off. Then British forces came in January and disarmed the Jews, although the Jews there kept some weapons hidden from the British. Then the British came back and told the Jews that they could not and would not protect them from the Arab forces [this, after the British had disarmed the Jews]. The British then demanded that the Jews there get on trucks provided by the British army with what belongings they could carry. The British then proceeded to “evacuate” [evict?] the Jews. This was on January 18, 1948, or about then, if I am not mistaken. I am taking the date from memory. You could check on this in the issues of the “Palestine Post” [predecessor of the Jerusalem Post] for December 1947 and January 1948.

    These Jews could not go home after the war since the Transjordanian Arab Legion [now Jordanian army] had occupied their neighborhood. Along with the Jews of the nearby Shimon haTsadiq quarter [who fled their homes on the night of December 29, 1947], the Jews in Nahalat Shimon were the first refugees in that war who could not go home after it was over. The Jewish refugees from south Tel Aviv could go home after the war was over since the Jewish forces had defeated the Arab forces in Jaffa. However, Arab forces, with British help, occupied what later came to be called “traditionally Arab East Jerusalem”, which the Arabs had conveniently cleansed of Jews starting in December 1947 in Shimon haTsadiq through the fall of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in May 1948.

    You can check this out in the “Palestine Post” for December 1947 and January 1948. Bear in mind that there are several spellings used in transliterating the names of these two neighborhoods: Nachalat Shimon, Shimon ha-Tzadik, and other possible variations.

  2. E.G. says:

    Well, the story sums the conflict: Jews kicked out of their home(land), Arabs settle in replacement, Jews claim their property – Arabs refuse to return the property to its rightful owner, choreographing the dance of the 7 wails on the scene. And the media act like some Greek chorus admonishing “not peace conductive! Pooooor Arabs!”
    Where were they when the Arabs displayed decapitated Israeli military heads on pikes during the battle of Jerusalem in 1948? Where were they when Jewish families were lucky enough to be evicted from Jerusalem (others were slaughtered)?

    Regev just applies the SOP of civilised speech. Any Arab “spokesperson” would have burst hysteric, in a well-prepared spontaneous outrage even before the questions had been asked. That intimidates. Is it better? Is it morally justified?

    Don’t you care how you affect public opinion?
    Of course they do. Their advertisers do.

  3. Eliyahu says:

    Regev did a fairly good job speaking for Israel. But it is very wrong that he did not know the history of the particular neighborhood. He should have known what I knew. Why aren’t people like Regev prepared with the necessary info when events like this come up??

  4. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    My impression is that Regev’s point was to downplay the significance of the event. He repeatedly says that it’s a private dispute, not a political one.

  5. Eliyahu says:

    EG, maybe that was his point. But even then he should have said that the court agreed that the real estate in question had belonged to Jewish owners back in the late 19th century. OR That the Supreme Court accepted the documents of Jewish ownership since 1888 or whenever. He also should know and state explicitly that there were Jewish quarters called Shim`on haTsadiq and Nahalat Shim`on adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah in the late 19th century.

    The whole approach of downplaying the significance of history is stupid. It is a symptom of Peresism or Peresitis [also named after Shim`on, but not Simon the Just]. So Regev is fairly competent at what he does but his approach [the old standard peresitic approach] is the wrong approach.

  6. E.G. says:

    Peresistik.
    But if that’s the line, I’d have expected him to compare the situation to that of the recent US subprime trouble: lots of people lost houses that were not theirs.

  7. oao says:

    eliyahu gives us an excellent example of the value of thorough knowledge of the real issues is. it is hard to apply taquiyya in the presence of knowledge.

    Regev did a fairly good job speaking for Israel. But it is very wrong that he did not know the history of the particular neighborhood.

    israelis are equally ignorant of history and tend to focus on the present — what can we do now — rather than responding to the arab taquiyah about the history.
    the failure to counter the refugee claims to claims of the jewish refugees from day one is one major strategic issue (among others) that israel made which may well finish her off.

    Regev just applies the SOP of civilised speech. Any Arab “spokesperson” would have burst hysteric, in a well-prepared spontaneous outrage even before the questions had been asked. That intimidates. Is it better? Is it morally justified?

    My impression is that Regev’s point was to downplay the significance of the event. He repeatedly says that it’s a private dispute, not a political one.

    when the other side makes something a central issue and you try to play it down it is interpreted as evasion or insincerity by an audience who has no clue of the facts and of the nature of the 2 sides — exactly like eliyahu points out. israel will always lose in such encounters.

    bingo. it is an important reason why israel loses public opinion in the west. it’s because otoh there is wishful ignorance in the west about the history and nature of the conflict and the ME culture, and on the other there is hysteria from arabs which evokes a western reaction of “if they feel and shout so strongly about it, if they are willing to kill others and themselves for it, surely they are the victims”.

  8. noah says:

    “A state has a duty of care to its citizens, so what happens now to the residents who are sleeping on the streets?”

    Looks like we have the beginnings for a new Obama program!

  9. 4infidels says:

    I agree with oao. Regev has been doing this for a while and he seems like a very nice fellow. But he came across as though he was downplaying an issue in which Arabs react with passion about. Regev is showing empathy for all sides while the media and Arabs are accusing Israel of major crimes. There seems to be this idea in Israel advocacy that you have to acknowledge both sides suffering to show you aren’t cruel or indifferent. Yet this appears to have the opposite effect…if Israelis are admitting that innocent civilians are being killed during the war in Gaza and keep apologizing for it…or express that losing a home in Jerusalem is a tragedy for the Arabs who were there illegally, Israel is then legitimizing Palestinian claims.

    It is time to stop expressing empathy for Arab victims of Arab policies. I would like to see Israel express outrage at the Arab leadership or even individual Arabs who put themselves in these positions.

    And yes, history matters as does a strong belief in the justness of your cause and an appeal that reaches on an emotional as well as intellectual level.

    Jews have produced some of the top writers, lawyers and communicators. Yet I find very few Jews in public life can make the case for Israel capably on television.

    It is the constant drip of negative stories and the accompanying video clips that are destroying Israel’s image. Perhaps Regev should have turned the issue around and asked the anchor if she would be fine with someone living uninvited or building a house on her property? And then be prepared to answer any of the possible responses. Regev has a tough job, but Israel has to find a way to do better.

    The Arabs have been fighting this type of media war on cable news stations since the start of the post-Oslo terror war. While Israel has shown some improvement in its handling of media, it really hasn’t progressed much in terms of learning how to better handle the Arab attacks and media ignorance an hostility. Whenever Israel has faced military or terror threats, the country has done an amazing job of inventing new strategies and devising creative solutions to protect its security. It has been resourceful in making scientific and medical advances. Why is it so hard for Israel to find a few English speakers who can a the proper sentences together when confronted with the typical Arab lies and distorted media accusations?

  10. 4infidels says:

    Let me just add to my comment above that the level of media hostility over this issue is out of all proportion to the situation. You mean to tell me that a few being evicted from property that is owned by someone else is a greater tragedy than two million Pakistanis who have become refugees during the fighting between the Pakistani military and the Taliban? I can guarantee you that no one on CNN will grill a Pakistani or Taliban representative with the type of haughty and accusatory arrogance regarding what they are doing to care for the needs of their citizens.

  11. oao says:

    It is time to stop expressing empathy for Arab victims of Arab policies. I would like to see Israel express outrage at the Arab leadership or even individual Arabs who put themselves in these positions.

    it won’t happen.

    israel’s critical problem has always been the world, not the arabs. israel could always handle the arabs if they were let (or at least not stopped) by the world. with the west’s collapse and the propaganda and jihad by arabs/muslims, the west has turned against israel and supported, funded and revived israel’s enemies and now it’s delegitimizing israel.

    against this israel has no defense. they do not respond with outrage and harshness because they know of no other way to regain the west and there isn’t one, NO MATTER WHAT ISRAEL DID. in these circumtances they should play the crazy state, but they don’t seem to have it in them anymore.

  12. oao says:

    as to #10: imo the american political and economic elite realizes that america is in free fall. hence its appeasement stance.

    that’s whay they belabor under the illusion that appeasement is the best they can do at this point.

    of course, this only whets rather than sate the appetite of the enemies, but america never understood foreign cultures whose goals are not materialistic.

  13. Eliyahu says:

    I thank oao for both understanding and elaborating on my point. Thanx to 4Infidels too.

    But Regev’s mistaken approach has an origin. It did not come out of nowhere. This is an old, old Labor/Mapai Party policy going back to before WW I, when the Jews were not only a minority in the country but at the mercy of the Ottoman Empire which was naturally allied with the local Arab Muslim notables. A rather supine, compliant approach may have been wise or politic or necessary at that time. But the situation now is wholly different. The Western powers, which in those days sometimes leaned on the Ottoman state to protect the Jews, are now hostile. On the other hand, Jews are a clear majority in the country and the demographic situation and outlook are relatively favorable. Israel is well armed too. So the situation is much different. Some changes have been for the worse, others for the better. In any case, the Labor Party gang and its retainers and hangers on have not changed their thinking despite new realities.

    Shim`on Peres of course took this old Mapai policy to its reductio ad absurdum. He went so far as to dismantle the foreign ministry Information Service or Information Office [ca 1986] on the insane claim that “a good policy” does not need hasbarah.

    by the way, I know a number of people who worked in the foreign ministry, and in particular were connected to the Information Office; and I have observed Israeli policy over the years. Many people ascribe the policy to Labor/Mapai. I trace the policy back to the pre-WW One Mapai party on account of a blurb for a new book which I saw several months ago. I lost or threw out the book sales catalogue unfortunately and would very much like to get the book’s name. The book is in Hebrew by an Israeli historian. The name of the book or author would be appreciated.

  14. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    The rationalization of Regev’s approach (hardly his own initiative) is that strength (military, economic, moral, etc.) is best conveyed by a calm, logic, factual, and empathic discourse.

    There’s a contents and a style aspect to it. Content-wise, is strength the thing to convey? The most important thing to convey? IMO, part of the answer is by figuring who the message “we’re strong and confident and morally right” is addressed to. Probably not the average Western viewer, who perceives such a discourse as cold, haughty, calculated etc. and finds it hard to adhere to.

    Style-wise, there seems to be a doctrine according to which Israeli spokespersons advocating Israel’s actions should do so in court of Justice manners – lawyer style. It’s definitely ineffective for a hearts-and-minds media battle. It does translate quite well Israeli stubbornness. Including the perception that justifying the right thing done, or even the legitimacy of existing is too trivial to devote resources to.

  15. oao says:

    i would like to reiterate: at this stage NOTHING israel would say or do would make a difference.

    the west as a power does not exist anymore, it’s gone. as such, it’s preoccupaied with its own survival and sees the joos as a pain in the neck. it deludes itself that its interest lies with the arabs and muslims for reasons the latter pushed for decades, which they now reinforced with jihad, hard and soft, exploting the west’s weakness and decline, economic, political and cultural. there is also a reorientation of the west/us towards the far east — china, india — who are becoming the real competitors of the US.

    a correct strategic vision would have required israel to (1) raise the jewish refugees immediately after 1948 as a tradeoff for the arab refugees — the main destruction weapon against israel (2) never accept the notion of a palestinian nationality and state (3)not ever come up with the oslo idea when the plo was dead (4) respond to the intifadas with utter harshness (4) completely destroy hamas and hezbollah early, regardless of the cost.

    except for 1, which israel never did, as long as israel operated along these lines, it was doing well. when it gave up it lost. the arabs, otoh, never gave up and they won.

  16. Cynic says:

    (3)not ever come up with the oslo idea when the plo was dead (

    The PLO was not dead but resurrected, after Lebanon, by the US “realists” in the 80s and coordination with Europe forced Arafat on Israel as the only “palestinian” they could negotiate with.

  17. oao says:

    cynic,

    resurrected IN TUNIS.

    afaik it was rabin and peres who initiated negotiations at that time separately from the US. the US may have desired and approved it, but that was not the reason israel went for it.

    my guess is that they thought that the plo had been “defeated” and therefore there would be amenable to compromise. but bringing it from tunis to the borders of israel it essentially ensured a strategic loss for israel.

  18. oao says:

    there were also beginnings of a local leadership in the territories which benefitted economically from the israeli policies. it was utterly destroyed by the plo.

    and they’re still doing it at the fatah convention today, except the locals are now more violent than then, because of the utter failure of the plo to either defeat israel or build a state.

  19. oao says:

    here’s the mapai policy today:

    Likud MK: Fatah Declared War on Israel; Barak: Ignore Rhetoric
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/132729

  20. E.G. says:

    oao,

    at this stage NOTHING israel would say or do would make a difference.

    Except from solving everybody’s problems and bombing Iranian nuclear sites.

    Otherwise we agree.

  21. oao says:

    Except from solving everybody’s problems and bombing Iranian nuclear sites.

    israel solved the problem of everybody with osirak and they nevertheless got shit. don’t expect any change in attitudes.

    personally i don’t believe israel will do it. tough call.

  22. Michelle Schatzman says:

    If I may make a historical observation on the very long term, the downplaying policy is rooted in the old behavior of court jews, when court jews existed. The fact that Mapai acted as the court jew is probably not ideological, but simply due to the fact that it held power over the yishuv and then the israeli society at its beginnings, and hence had to do what power requires, or used to require.

    Mapai also learnt how to be harsh to its enemies, more or less in the same time.

    I believe that there is a truly difficult situation to navigate. On one side, the creation of the state of Israel is clearly the result of a war of conquest. The fact that this war was foolishly started by the other side does not make it less a war of conquest. It justifies it at the level of international law, which is fine. On the other hand, the international understanding in western nations is that wars of conquest are a thing of the past, and that anyone who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword. Of course, this is new, quite new, and in an interesting way, splitting states is permitted (look up Balkans), but merging them is not permitted, unless consent by the populations is clear (an exception that I know : merge of the two yemenite states into one). By the way, the transformation of the eastern european states into communist states after 1945 is almost contemporary of the creation of the state of Israel. An dif this was not conquest by the USSR, what can be called conquest? Of course, this should not be recorded, because it goes against the general theory that only Israel conquerred after WWII.

    There is a strong rationale for banning wars of conquest : who wants to be conquerred? On the other hand, anyone observing events of the last 60 years can see that military conquest can be replaced by other types of conquest, in particular economic and/or cultural, and it works. It works even better in a situation where nationa states are split into very small units – hence splitting states is good for those who have conquest in mind.

    A last observation that one should keep in mind. Demography is the only precise and predictible social science. A group of people with a large strata of youth is much more willing to go to war, because replenishing the population will be easy, and even decreasing some of the population seems an opportunity. A group of people with a small strata of youth will not go to war, for the obvious opposite reasons.

    If on top of that the people are mostly poor, war is an opportunity : suppress your rivals among your peers, get their women and their wealth. You do not need a civil war to do that, you just need them to be shot by the enemy. On top of that, you can honor your rivals as heroes and martyrs, and protect the widow(s) and orphan(s). Sweet deal, isn’t it?

    We are primates and we are crowding our cage. So we will fight. In primate societies, there are often dominant males. The non dominant males submit to the dominant males in exchange of their life. Maybe bonobos are an exception. I’ll have to check that.

    Civil polities can succeed to overcome the standard primate behavior. Honor-shame is part of the primate legacy of our evolutionary past. By construction, the fight of civil polities against honor-shame societies is difficult, because in order to win, they need an honor-shame sector in the middle of a civil polity. This is the rôle of an army in modern societies. When we have no serious armies anymore, as is the case of most of Europe, either we forget about this basic difficulty, or we revive honor-shame behaviors in our midst, via the creation of subpopulations who function in the honor-shame mode. The Skip Gates incident is revealing from this point of view.

    If I get back to a standard jewish point of view, let me classify honor-shame behavior under the general heading of yetser hara, bad penchant. We cannot suppress the bad penchant, because it is our main emotional engine – call it libido if you do not like the jewish tradition. But we have to learn to ride it, and to harness its energy.

    Functional civil polities know some of this, though they may phrase it differently. The appeasement discourse pretends that humans could stop being aggressive, and that by being just nice to our enemies, they will become nice too. Turn the other cheek, in other words. The appeasement discourse signals that civil polities are losing their ability to function. In a functional civil polity, you organize due process of law and you put away criminals (pick your choice of method for putting away). You fight your enemies by all means, including diplomacy *and* force. Speaking softly works so much better if you have a big stick in your back! Thank you, Th. Roosevelt for phrasing it so well!

    Appeasement is the victory of ignorant christianity. I read recently that “turning the other cheek” could be a mistranslation of the gospels and that a better translation could be “fight your enemies with intelligence”. I like the double-entendre here.

  23. Eliyahu says:

    Here is a commenter on a JPost article about the house evictions.

    9. Most of international media omits the fact that these properties were originally Jewish. The tale as it is told is that Arabs are being evicted
    in order to house settlers. They don’t use the words Jews or Israeli Jews. They say settlers, as if they were some kind of subhuman designation. Israeli media need to tell the historical background every time this subject is being updated. At least some foreign media will bother to include the true facts.
    Howard K – NYC (08/04/2009 06:52)

    This commenter, like most or all of us here, realizes that the approach that Regev used –the traditional approach of the Israel foreign ministry, of Labor/Mapai– is the wrong approach. Now, he is wrong to stress the duty of the Israeli media to tell the facts [yes, they have a moral duty, but legally they can ignore the history as Regev does]. It is the legal, constitutional duty of the govt, in particular of the foreign ministry, to tell the real story, the history.

  24. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Had Mr. Regev been less prim, he’d have asked that interviewer “what’s all the fuss about? In Israel, like in any law and order country in the world, squatters get evicted on a daily basis”. It would likely have triggered “what do you mean, squatters”? and enabled him to answer with the (hi)story.

    But here’s Palestine Pravda’s take:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1105663.html

  25. E.G. says:

    Addendum to the article above.
    For those who are less familiar with the history and names of Arab neighbourhoods and settlements in Israel, see: Ibrahim Pasha.

    This Egyptian officer, heading some 40k troops, conquered Gaza, Ramla, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa and Akko in 1831. This occupation brought about a significant demographic change, as he imported mainly Egyptian peasants, workers, former military, and other loyal functionaries to establish his rule. These settlers settled, inter alia, around Jaffa, Wadi-Ara (Um el Fahm), Haifa…
    So Sheikh Ibrahim (Ajami), Abu-Kabir, El-Darwish, El-Mutzriya (Manshiyeh), are a few of the neighbourhoods around Jaffa and South Tel-Aviv that, in parts, still belong to Egyptian farmers (some families remained there).
    Sheih Munis is north to Tel Aviv, and only benefitted from Egyptian settlers joining the existing village.

  26. Ray in Seattle says:

    Michelle says: On one side, the creation of the state of Israel is clearly the result of a war of conquest. The fact that this war was foolishly started by the other side does not make it less a war of conquest. It justifies it at the level of international law, which is fine.

    I strongly disagree with this statement. How can it be that by accepting the Partition Plan of the UN and then defending itself from the combined Arab armies that had sworn to destroy the new state Israel, was Israel guilty of a “war of aggression”?

    If that were true, then the concept of just war, defensive war, means nothing. There is no reason why the world should condemn any attempt by a state to use its military to attack other peaceful peoples – when by the act of defense, the defending state can be accused of a “war of aggression”.

    I just read Morris’ “1948″ which I think is the most detailed and accurate history of that war I have read. It seems to me (and to those who wrote the international laws of war) that a defending party to a conflict has the right to fight until the attacker no longer has an ability to wage war against you – whatever that requires. This is not only in Article 51 of the UN Charter – it makes common sense. How could a peaceful world have any chance to exist otherwise? I have difficulty seeing how Israel in 1948 went any further – and in many cases stopped short of that.

    Your view seems consistent with Arab rejectionist propaganda used to justify their “resistance”. How do you justify this view? With all respect, when I hear a Jew say that it makes me wonder if I have been a dupe of some extremely effective Zionist propaganda all along. That seems impossible to me but please explain.

  27. oao says:

    On one side, the creation of the state of Israel is clearly the result of a war of conquest.

    as it was pointed out, this can’t be serious.

    It would likely have triggered “what do you mean, squatters”? and enabled him to answer with the (hi)story.

    are you sure the interviewer would have asked that? and even if it did, would anybody care?

    That seems impossible to me but please explain.

    i am glad to see that it’s possible to be rational in the face of emotions.

    Turn the other cheek, in other words.

    i am not aware that christianity has historically done more than preach this. what it practiced is quite another matter altogether.

  28. Eliyahu says:

    oao, re #15, there are several things that Israel should tell the world, besides denouncing all the big lies that we constantly hear, like “apartheid.”

    1– as you say, we ought to stress the 900,000 + Jewish refugees who fled and/or emigrated from Arab lands since 1948. The Point of No Return blog has a lot of info on these matters, on the history, before and after 1948, on the traditional oppression of Jews in Arab-Muslim lands, etc. This includes personal accounts.

    2– We need to stress the traditional Judeophobia of Islam going back to Muhammad and his massacres of Jews in Medina and Khaibar. This Judeophobia never fell out of fashion among Muslims. It is a big issue for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and is kept alive quite notably in the Hamas charter, in Article 7 and other articles. Art. 7 repeats a medieval hadith that says that at the end of days, Muslims will slaughter Jews who will hide behind rocks and trees. The rocks and trees will cry out. O Muslim, a Jew is hiding behind me. Come kill him. This sounds rather genocidal to me.

    Arab and other Muslim states have always oppressed, persecuted, harassed, humiliated and economically exploited Jews [and other non-Muslims]. Moreover, Jews were more despised and hated and oppressed by Arabs than the Christians in Israel, Syria, and Egypt.

    So the traditional hatred and oppression of Jews in Arab-Muslim society must be always kept in mind and brought up in discussion.

    3– The Arab nationalist movement, the palestinian Arab leaders in particular, collaborated with the Nazis and took part in the Holocaust. Haj Amin el-Husseini is only one of many. Jews were persecuted and massacred in Arabs lands during WW2 in sympathy with the Nazis. This history has been covered up not only by Arabs but by Communists and Western politicians, diplomats and media and the Western academic world.

    4– the charge of apartheid against Israel is a gross lie. Arabs here are not socially segregated by law as they were in south africa. Arabs love to shop in the downtown Jerusalem Meshulash and in the various Jewish-owned shopping malls in the city. They sit down in restaurants and ride buses with Jews [how else did the suicide bombers get on the buses??]. They go to the hospitals and try on clothes in the clothing stores and sometimes sit in the Jewish-owned cafes and join basketball teams with Jews [My son was on a youth team with Arab kids. However, at the height of the mass murder bombing campaign they stopped coming]. About 15% of the students at the Hebrew Univ are Arabs. Now, none of this was possible in south africa.

    Hence, the apartheid label is a gross lie and whoever uses it is a liar or a fool and is in fact uttering the equivalent of a Nazi big lie. It is a Nazi-like lie about Jews comparable to those of the 1930s. It is meant to dehumanize and criminalize Israel and Jews, and ultimately to justify genocide, which the Arab nationalists and Islamofanatics will be glad to supply. Uttering that apartheid lie means doing the Nazis’ work.

    At the same time, those who scream “apartheid” at Israel overlook or are ignorant of the apartheid-like treatment of foreigners and non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Jews are not allowed to come there as a rule, although exceptions are made for their willing allies as in hrw. We could go on and on about how non-Muslims are treated in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, etc etc. The genocide in Sudan has been generally overlooked, particularly by the “left”, since it began in 1956.

    So, oao, there are a lot of things to say. I’m sure that I have not covered everything. But those ailing with peresitis in the Israeli foreign ministry will not say these necessary things.

  29. Ray in Seattle says:

    I said, “That seems impossible to me but please explain”.

    oao said, “i am glad to see that it’s possible to be rational in the face of emotions.”

    How do you know Michelle is not the rational one and I am being swayed by strong emotions to disagree with her – to defend my emotional beliefs no matter what? Just because you agree with me on this? That’s not sufficient.

    That’s why I described in detail my understanding of her statement and what “seemed” wrong with it. To give her a chance to make her case. That’s why I asked her to explain and that’s why I did not call her views crap nor call her an idiot. Let’s see her response before we jump to the conclusions that make me (and you) feel so good about our “superior intelligence”.

  30. Rich Rostrom says:

    It seems to me that this is a very foolish action by Israel. Not because I am sorry for the “poor Palestinian victims”, but because this ruling declares that pre-1948 land claims are enforceable, even if effectively abandoned by wartime displacement.

    If Jews can reclaim property abandoned in Arab-conquered territory in 1948, then (in theory) Arabs can reclaim property abandoned in Jewish-conquered territory in 1948.

    That’s not a rule Israel wants to establish. The aggregate effects of 1948 (and the subsequent Jewish expulsions) are, very roughly, balanced. Forgetting them all would end the conflict. But the heart of Arab rejectionism is perpetuation of their grievances.

    This ruling selectively redresses one Jewish grievance from 1948, where Israel has the power to do so.

    It encourages Arabs to hold on to their grievances, and promotes the Palestinian delusion that by conquering Israel, they will get everything they want as a matter of justice.

    There is no possible counter-benefit for Israel. Nearly all Israeli property claims would be against other Arab countries that will never settle them.

  31. oao says:

    eliyahu,

    sure we need to stress all that.

    but to reiterate my point: all this should have done initially, after 1948 and persistently.

    but it’s too late. the naqba narrative has won and the west does not give a damn about the jews anymore. it’s in free fall and desperate to save itself by appeasement and the good wishes of its enemies. the joos are a sore wound, a pain in the butt.

    so the point is not whether there are things to say, but rather that nobody will listen.

  32. oao says:

    If Jews can reclaim property abandoned in Arab-conquered territory in 1948

    not exactly: the jews accepted the partition, the arabs did not and attacked. therefore, the jews are within their rights to claim property rights, the arabs are not.

    but if forgetting them all would bring peace, by all means. alas, that’s an illusion: arabs will NEVER make peace short of utter defeat without interference by the world and its resurrecting the defeated. since that is an impossibility, israel should behave like a winner vis-a-vis the loser who is the root of it all.

    It encourages Arabs to hold on to their grievances, and promotes the Palestinian delusion that by conquering Israel, they will get everything they want as a matter of justice.

    bullshit. the arabs will hold to those no matter what because the world has bought into it and turned against the joos; and because of their stupid honor/shame culture. they don’t need any encouragement from the joos, just the opposite: the more concessions they make, the more demanding the arabs.

    There is no possible counter-benefit for Israel. Nearly all Israeli property claims would be against other Arab countries that will never settle them.

    there is: not to let arabs encroach onto jerusalem.
    yes, but if they’ll never settle them, why should israel do what the arabs won’t?

    rich, my friend, you are applying western cost-benefit analysis and the logic of compromise to the 7th century arab culture and islam. that’s delusion.

  33. 4infidels says:

    Another problem Israel has is that it wants to have civil relationships with Arab neighbors (an impossible dream) and present itself as the party that most wants peace (if the past 15 years didn’t convince people, nothing will). Thus Israeli representatives avoid criticizing Egypt, Jordan or the PA for not living up to their commitments and sanitizes their past crimes against the Jews. The problem with this approach is that it increases the belief in the West that Abdullah of Jordan is a voice of wisdom and Mubarek someone who helpful in bringing about peace in the region. Similarly, by entering into negotiations with the PLO, Israel legitimized the Palestinian narrative and the idea of “two peoples for one tiny piece of land.” Essentially, it allowed people to say both sides have an equally strong claim to the land, as though an ancient people–with a unique language, history and religion– that gave the world the so many of its most treasured values is the moral equivalent of a “people” who didn’t exist as a separate national group prior to 1967 and whose presence is most associated with terrorist attacks on defenseless civilians. Israel shilled for the PA, raised money and guns for these terrorists and continued to turn over land to them. Now they have to make the case that these folks aren’t “partners for peace” when they turned out to be the same terrorists so many of Israel’s friends warned them not to engage.

    I think that Israel should look at every issue the media gets excited about as a chance to educate people. IMHO, Regev should have addressed the issue briefly, pointed to the absurdity of the coverage and turned the issue around to put the anchor on the defensive. Then he should have used the rest of his appearance to educate viewers on historical facts that even most Jews don’t know.

    He should have said that CNN portrays Jerusalem as an Arab city that Jews are trying to usurp. I would have thrown around some of the following facts, but what do I know? In the 1840s, prior to the establishment of the modern Zionist movement, the indigenous Jewish population of Jerusalem was larger–at over 7000–than the Arab population of the City–at about 5000. Those numbers come from a census taken by the Muslim Ottoman Empire. He should have gone on to talk about the Jews being driven out of East Jerusalem during the 1948 war, Jewish property burned and looted, 58 synagogues destroyed, historic grave stones used as latrines, and a large number of Arabs from elsewhere settled in East Jerusalem, which was closed off to Jews. Today there are almost 300,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem, meaning that most Arabs are newcomers to the region. Israel allows its residents religious freedom and the right to buy property anywhere in the city.

    Mahmoud Abbas’s family goes all the way back to 1860 when they immigrated from Damascus yet he acts as though thousands of years of Jewish history and Jewish presence in the land mean nothing. Never mind that Safed, where the Abbas clan settled, was the site of the first printing press in the Middle East in the 1500s and had a thriving Jewish community for centuries prior to the arrival of Arabs from Damascus. Etc. Etc. Like oao, I’m not sure any of this matters at this point–to many opportunities have been lost over the years and the West no longer believes in itself. But Israeli reps have another audience: Jews and Christians who still support Israel. We need to see a little moxie, a passion in making the case. If Israeli spokesmen don’t stand up for the justice of their cause, how can they expect that from others?

  34. Eliyahu says:

    4infidels, the Jews are believed to have become the largest single religio-ethnic group in Jerusalem in 1839 with the arrival of Jewish refugees from the earthquake in the Galilee. These came mainly or wholly from Safed which had sizable Jewish population up to then. It is estimated that 2,000 Jews died in Safed in the earthquake.

    However, in 1839 the Jews were a plurality but not a majority in Jerusalem, with the presence of three religio-ethnic groups, inc. Christians and Muslims. The first published report of Jews as the absolute majority –that I know of– came in a book by Cesar Famin [L'Histoire de la rivalite et du protectorat des Eglises chretiennes en Orient, Paris 1853].

    Interestingly enough, Famin’s book was quoted and paraphrased by none other than Karl Marx in an article on the origins of the Crimean War published in the New York Tribune, Horace Greeley’s paper, 4-15-1854. Marx includes the affirmation of a Jewish majority in the city at that time. Famin was a French diplomat and historian arguing for the primacy of Roman Catholic rights to the Christian holy places in Israel over the rights of the Orthodox church. He also argued for France’s right and duty to defend the RC rights. Hence, Famin was a partisan for France but not especially for the Jews.

    The Jewish absolute majority in 1853, if not earlier, should be often repeated in print. Mark Regev should have known that and said that.

  35. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Israel was created thanks to a *legitimate* war of conquest. The November 1947 UNo resolution was accepted by the authorities of the yishuv and refused by the arab authorities. The army of the young state of Israel had the opportunity of seizing land that was not in the future jewish state defined by the resolution. They were absolutely right, precisely because the other side started the war just as independence was declared (not to speak of the numerous skirmishes between Nov 29th, 1947 and May 14, 1948).

    I am no lawyer, but what I understand from international law seems to say that if a two-sided international agreement is not accepted by both sides, then it becomes void, and if war starts between the sides, then this agreement does not apply anymore.

    It seems also to me that the May 1948 aggression by the arab states justifies the armed response and that as long as no armistice is declared, the laws of war apply and conquest is legitimate.

    The interesting point is that, though the arab side was beaten, they stood on irredentist positions since 1948, and they dug their heals in.

    The arab leaders had a very good reason for doing that: this position allowed them to have a scapegoat for all their failures, namely Israel.

    I certainly do not want to ignore palestinian suffering. It exists, maybe not to the extent that arab propaganda describes, but it exists. Only the palestinians can find a way to get out of that hole, because getting out demands a change in their social organization.

    I am sorry, Ray, if this explanation does not fit your views. There is no doubt in my mind that the arab states started a war of aggression, and as such, illegitimate, in May 1948, and that Israel replied with a legitimate war, which ended as a war of conquest, because they were successful in their defense and could advance more than defined by the UNO agreement.

    By the way, I agree with Rich Rostrom that declaring pre-1948 property claims as enforceable opens a biiiiig can of worms. I am not an israeli citizen, so I won’t state what the courts had to do, but I remember stating on this blog that if A seizes property from B, and B reclaims property from C as retaliation for the previous action, this behavior does not further the interests of the size to which A and C belong.

  36. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, the 11-29-1947 UN partition plan was merely a General Assembly recommendation [UN charter, articles 10-12]. The French international law professor, David Ruzie, believes that Israel is not an “occupying” power in Judea-Samaria [or formerly the Gaza Strip]. Ruzie believes that Israel rightly owns those areas. You might check his writings on this subject.

  37. Ray in Seattle says:

    Michelle, My views are mostly consistent with yours. When you use the term “War of Conquest” most readers will assume you are describing the motivation for the war, not the technically accurate fact that it ended with the acquisition of some territory.

    Also, since the aggressive party to that war (Palestinian Arabs supported by their military allies) have never signed an armistice, from their pov (and statements) that war has never ended. Whether or not it was a “War of Conquest” is therefore not yet (technically) determined.

    But those are technical and semantic distinctions. I think the danger is that the great majority of people in the West who see someone describe Israel’s War of Independence as a “War of Conquest” – will assume you are characterizing Israel’s motivation. They will believe you are saying that Israel’s participation in that war was illegitimate – i.e. it was not waged in defense but was an aggressive war to acquire territory from a peaceful neighbor – and that Israel’s existence which was the result of that war is therefore not legitimate.

    (Which is precisely the irredentist Palestinian / Arab view.)

    I guess my question is why would you want to use a term that is technically accurate as understood by a small number of international law scholars but has a very commonly accepted non-technical meaning that supports the enemies of Israel who deny the legitimacy of Israel’s existence?

  38. Ray in Seattle says:

    Michelle, Just a couple of more thoughts on this. The term “War of Conquest” and even “War of Aggression” are inherently ambiguous and their use invites misunderstanding.

    They both must be used with reference to one of the parties in the war. One party’s “War of Conquest” or “War of Aggression” is the other party’s “War of Territorial Loss” (as in “Nabqa”) or “War of Defense”, respectively.

    The fact that “War of Conquest” describes the end result for one party only and “War of Aggression” technically describes one party’s motivations to engage in war is certainly lost on most readers. They assume you are retrospectively describing the motivation of the winner of the war in both cases.

    But this is just semantics. You seem to be very fluent with English and so I am most interested in why you would choose to use (and defend your use) of a term that implies that Israel’s motives were not defensive when other, less ambiguous terms were available.

  39. Michelle Schatzman says:

    @Eliyahu,

    yes the 1947 UNO resolution was a general assembly resolution with a two thirds majority. So, if my memories of UNO law are correct, this kind of resolution is as binding as a security council resolution wih an absolute majority. But I may be quite wrong, and I will appreciate corrections based on a legal argumentation.

    I was making another point : since the arab side refused the application of this resolution, it lost its binding power. To my (law-wise) naïve eyes, it seems that if two people go before an arbitration court for resolution of their conflict, the solution can be enforced only if they agree initially to it. If initially side A says, I agree, and side B says I disagree, then the conflict must be handled by another court. In 1948, when the arab states started a war against newly born Israel, the armed response of Israel was absolutely legitimate. At that time, the 1947 resolution was already void, but the agreement with it on the jewish side proves good will. Or shrewd political sense. Or both. Thank you David B. G.!

    I know that some scholars in international law defend the point of view that the palestinian territories are legally in Israel’s hands. I even know how the argument goes. (1) Gaza and the west bank were illegally occupied respectively by Egypt and Jordan in 1948-1949. The proof is that almost no state recognized their sovereignty over these areas. (2) Israel conquered these territories in the midst of replying to a casus belli by Nasser, when he closed down the straights of Tiran. (3) By the laws of war, a nation, which conquers in a legitimate war territories illegitimately acquired by some other nation, the conquering nation is the rightful owner.

    I am no legal expert, and I have no idea of how this kind of argument stands from the legal point of view.

    It certainly does not stand, even a second, in the present climate. The point is that international law is not very well established, and eventually, it is decided in terms of relative international forces. There is no escaping this : we have international institutions, and even courts of law, but the world does not have a world law or a world court that would judge states.

    @ Ray. I made these rather provocative statements, because I believe that one should not lie to oneself. On one hand, I am pretty much convinced thst Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jews on religious grounds, but on the other hand, I am definitely a rationalist in material questions and I know that the Tora and three thousand years of jewish rites and jewish prayers are not a title of property.

    I just do not like the victimization point of view. and moreover I find it incredibly dangerous politically. The idea that Israel got created because of the Shoa is pure poison. It has an infinite number of consequences, such as permanent dependence on the nations and their good or bad will, and unfortunately it is also a very temporary argument. The eyewitnesses of the Shoa are dying, the people who were already conscious at that time are fewer and fewer. There is no shortage of people who state that, for peace to work, we should forget about the Shoa.

    So, let us go back to real and common human history : most states got created through war. War, per se, is not illegitimate. One has to examine the circumstances. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, Israel went to war absolutely legitimately. In the other cases, the legitimacy is not so obvious, and it deserves a discussion. I would already give a very good grade to the legitimacy of the 2008-2009 Gaza op.

    I am looking for strong arguments, arguments that would not jeopardize the future of the state of Israel. My (basic) instinct is against arguments presenting Israel as the toy of stronger forces, the consequence of the huge nazi crime, or any other analogous factor.

    I praised hypocrisy several times here. It is alright in diplomacy and daily life. It can be pretty bad when you try to elaborate new paradigms, because it muddies thought.

  40. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I’m not sure I understand.

    What’s the point you’re trying to make by using of the inappropriate term “War of Conquest”?

    Further, you state: In 1948, 1967 and 1973, Israel went to war absolutely legitimately.
    Are you sure that in 1948 and 1973 Israel went to war?

  41. oao says:

    I think that Israel should look at every issue the media gets excited about as a chance to educate people.

    you are correct in your analysis. but your suggestion, while it cannot hurt, it won’t help. the west has gone to the dogs and in such circumstances (a) it does not want or care about re-education (b) the jews are a scapegoat and a pain in the butt.

  42. oao says:

    When you use the term “War of Conquest” most readers will assume you are describing the motivation for the war, not the technically accurate fact that it ended with the acquisition of some territory.

    people do not ASSUME that, people INFER that, because that’s the proper use of the term. if it’s not then another language is required, say, a defensive war which resulted in acquisition of land.

  43. oao says:

    history is very often discussed here and rightfully so.
    but the west has a much more serious problems with history than just forgetting it. it never learns it, it does NOT CARE about it and it deems it useless and not worth knowing. the world starts which each person.

    this is part and parcel of the collapse of education and is one of the reasons the west is doomed.

    this is not just in politics, but in each and every field. in my own professional field practitioners know nothing of its history and keep reinventing the wheel (and squares wheels at that, which were already tried and discarded).

    those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it.

  44. oao says:

    the best example is the arab israeli conflict, whose history is that every concession and compromise to the arabs has failed abysmally and invited worse atrocities and agreement violations; every support the arabs got went into weapons and terrorism.

    yet both israel and the west continue down the same path with the regularity of a retarded whose brain does not record the sequence of these failures.

  45. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, re: #45,

    The reason the West continues down that path is not because we don’t care about history or because we lack a good education. It is because of human nature as applied to Western experience – which results in a certain set of beliefs, a world-view of which we are captives.

    Part of that world-view is that past history is of marginal consequence to our future. That may be wrong but it is who we are. Learning about history does not mean that we see it as relevant. That’s a value judgment that we in the young US (that has created more history than we have observed) choose to make against the value of history in choosing our directions.

  46. oao says:

    now, if you only had the education to make that judgment.

  47. oao says:

    just watch for the long treatise in response, folks.

  48. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, I enjoy our disagreement on this and I don’t take it personally. I take your jibes as good fun when they aren’t meant as insults – although #47 is borderline.

    Along those lines . .

    You attribute the demise of the West at the hands of Islamism to the “collapse of education” in the West and because of that our “failure to understand history” and our inability to “think critically”.

    To what do you attribute the corresponding success of the Islamists? Superior education, a clearer understanding of history and their more advanced critical thinking skills?

  49. E.G. says:

    Too Elementary, My Dear Watson.
    Lack of education, failure to understand history and inability to think critically increase gullibility to tales and propagandistic messages.

  50. oao says:

    ray,

    as usual you got me all wrong. i do not argue that the west is demised “at the hands of islamists”, but that it self-destructs. the islamists simply take advantage of it.

    there is no “success” in islam, never was. they always piggybacked violently on infidels to survive. take a look at all the ummah and tell me one success they had that is of their own making, short of violence and subjugation of infidels? were it not for oil, developed by the infidels, even saudia and the gulf would still eat nothing but sand.

  51. oao says:

    a must read piece by caroline glick about america’s turn against israel:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418544469&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    she repeats each one of israel’s strategic blunders by israel which have brought this on itself that i have argued here more than once.

  52. oao says:

    Lack of education, failure to understand history and inability to think critically increase gullibility to tales and propagandistic messages.

    there is lack of appreciation of knowledge/evidence which leads to ignorance, particularly foreign cultures and to tendency to project from oneself to them.

    in islam there is indoctrination about the flaws of the infidels, such that even though they lack education one thing islamists don’t do is believe the pathetic western propaganda intended for them.

  53. oao says:

    here’s an excellent piece on the idiot thomas friedman:

    http://soccerdad.baltiblogs.com/archives/2009/08/02/worth_every_penny_of_free.html

    it focuses on ideology — friedman’s is same as alibama’s — but if you consider what that ideology includes and what it ommits, it’s clear that it is rooted in ignorance and inability to reason. had the latter not been the case, there woouldn’t have been such an ideology.

    this does not mean that there are no emotional beliefs and even malice. but they are induced by and serve to perpetuate ignorance and intellectual limitations.

  54. oao says:

    The following is another consequence of ignorance and inability to reason — gullibility for the security of the state:

    The state despotic
    by Mark Steyn
    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-state-despotic-4096

  55. 4infidels says:

    In an effort to atone for Western sins of slavery and colonialism, the peoples of the US and Western Europe have lost their moral authority and belief in themselves. As our history has been disparaged, patriotism seen as a relic of a racist, imperialist past and the culture of the “other” only to be appreciated as equal and/or superior but never critically examined (because that could lead to a repeat of the sins of the past..and with all the awful things we’ve done, what right do we have to judge others?) what is left for the Westerner to fight and die or even defend in the contest of ideas? If all cultures are equal, patriotism a sin and diversity the highest good, what about the West is worth preserving, standing up for, even risking your life for–when all we are is racists, capitalistic exploiters whose successes have resulted in the degradation or impoverishment of people around the globe, including the less fortunate in our own countries, upon whose backs the good life has been built.

    No wonder a fraud, an empty suit, a deceiver like Obama could come out of nowhere, attract a worshipful following and take over the Presidency. Everything about him–who he is, what he believes, his friends, his policies, his post-modern language, his constant apologies for America, etc– is a metaphor for what the West has become.

    Only in the anonymity of the web can I make the following statements that everyone with half-a-brain knows to be true:

    1) Western civilization is superior to any of its adversaries.

    2) Christianity and Judaism are better religions, and more peaceful religions, than Islam.

    3) Islam is responsible for most of what ails the Arab and Muslim countries.

    4) The intellectual, artistic, scientific and medical accomplishments of the West could never occur in Islamic societies.

    By sacrificing truth and free speech on the altar of political correctness, and refusing to celebrate our accomplishments while focusing almost exclusively on our sins, we have lowered our defenses and our ability both to recognize, and resist, peoples and ideologies intent on drastically changing our way of life. Whatever may currently be wrong with the US, Israel and Western Europe is nothing compared to the atrocities that will take place if Islam ever replaces Western democracy: inequality under the law, enslavement of women, persecution of non-Muslims, massacres, rapes, child marriage, government theft of a level even Obama can’t imagine, severe limitations on free speech, the Koran as the only form of knowledge, a 7th century warlord and pedophile as the perfect man and ideal guide to human behavior, attacks on innovation, and the banning of music, art and literature. If you want to live in that kind of society, keep teaching your young people that all cultures are equal; that there is nothing special and distinctly good about what your country offers. Why resist that which is equal?

  56. oao says:

    btw, a good example of the value of knowing and understanding history and what happens in the absence thereof.

  57. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Ray, in 1948, 1967 and 1973, Israel went to war, but it did not initiate these wars. I include 1967, since the closing down of the Tiran straights by Nasser *was* a casus belli.

    Is this OK with you?

  58. 4infidels says:

    If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything!

  59. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I believe your #60 was a reply to my (not Ray’s) question.

    And no, it isn’t OK with me. Israel did not go to war. Israel fought these wars. Can you see the nuance?

    Isn’t there a difference in your mind between “going to war” (connoting initiating war) and fighting one, with the sole alternative being not fighting i.e., waiting to be conquered and – according to the stated objectives of the attackers – be slaughtered/driven into the sea (apparently there was divergence about the method of elimination)?

  60. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, on the issue of Israel’s rightful ownership of Judea-Samaria & Gaza, you need to do some basic study.

    First the UN charter and the powers of the General Assembly. This is fairly easy to ascertain. Just get hold of a copy of the UN charter and read Articles 10 through 12 which speak of the powers of the GA and related matters. You will see that the GA can only make recommendations on political issues. The GA cannot make binding decisions.

    Second, the status of the State of Israel in international law, not as currently interpreted by the many Judeophobes who now smell our blood but as originally understood. The Jewish National Home was juridically erected by the San Remo Conference of 1920 [I believe in April 1920]. To be sure, this decision was preceded by the Cambon Declaration in behalf of France [4 June 1917], the Balfour Declaration [November 1917], and an Italian Declaration [9 May 1918], as well as various moves, declarations, clauses of the treaty of Sevres, etc. taking place at the Versailles Peace Conference. The Jewish National Home principle was endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922, on the grounds of the historical connection between the Jewish people and “palestine.” At that time, nobody, neither Jews nor Arabs, believed in a “palestinian people.” The notion of a country called “palestine” was not part of traditional Arab/Muslim geography which believed instead in bilad ash-Sham, Syria or Greater Syria, which comprised the Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan of today. There is a lot of misrepresentation going on today of the int’l law status of the Land of Israel. That is, there are a lot of lies and liars out there on this specific issue.

    Third, the status of the Jewish National Home continued with the founding of the UN through Article 80 of the UN charter. You still have your copy of the charter available, don’t you?? You can read Article 80.

    French is/was an official language of both the SdN [the League] and the UN. So you ought to have no trouble in finding the texts of 1) the mandate for palestine of the SDN and 2) the UN charter.

    I would like to suggest some helpful reading on these issues:
    Books:
    Paul Giniewski, De Massada a Beyrouth [Paris 1983], chapitres 4 & 5
    Howard Grief, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law [Jerusalem: Mazo Pubs, 2009]
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Legal-Foundation-And-Borders-Of-Israel-Under-International-Law/Howard-Grief/e/9789657344521

    Articles:
    Elliott A Green, “International Law Regarding the Land of Israel and Jerusalem,” Midstream magazine (New York, February-March 1999). See on the Internet.

    http://www.think-israel.org/green.sanremo.html

    Also see:

    Howard Grief, Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel . . . in International Law (Sha`arey Tiqvah, Israel: Ariel Center for Policy Research, 2003). This is a booklet.

    A French expert on this issue is David Ruzie.

  61. E.G. says:

    4infidels

    Only in the anonymity of the web can I make the following statements that everyone with half-a-brain knows to be true

    Some call the repression of free speech via PC “Intellectual Terror”.

  62. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., not being a native english speaker, I am sure to miss some nuances of the english language. In french, I would say that in 1948, 1967 and 1973, “Israël est entré en guerre en réponse aux agressions de ses voisins”.

    “Entrer en guerre”, in french, means literally “entering into [a state of] war” and does not imply “starting a conflict”.

    What would be your translation?

  63. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Eliyahu,

    I will make sure to read the charter of the UNO. Regarding the other references you gave me, I’ll try to access them, but this may be difficult.

    Beside that, do me a favor: even if you think I am ignorant and stupid, would you be kind enough not to rub it in? Just for the sake of my learning curve…

  64. Michelle Schatzman says:

    4infidels,

    I believe that your 3) and 4) should be amended by a time reference, such as “now” or “the last hundred years”.

    Regarding 4), the moslem countries had considerable accomplishments during what was the middle age in Europe. One of the important historical question is to understand why this strong and creative civilization went into decadence.

  65. E.G. says:

    Chère Michelle,

    Même en français il existe des nuances, davantage d’ailleurs qu’en anglais. Quid de l’usage du passif?
    Attaqué, Israël s’est vu contraint de répondre comme il convient.
    Attacked, Israel was under constraint to retaliate appropriately.

    So no shortcuts, please. Israel did not go to war. Israel responded to war, and to acts of war, waged upon her.

    Is this clear or should I elaborate?

  66. 4infidels says:

    Michelle,

    I actually think that the modifier “now” is better related to items 1 and 2 than 3 and 4. Islam’s period of great civilization is not what it has been portrayed in the media, text books and by Muslim apologists. In its early years, Islam conquered more advanced peoples, mostly Christians and Jews. The accomplishments often credited to Islam came from either newly-conquered Christians and Jews living under Islam or converted-muslims who were still only a generation or two from Judaism and Christianity and still had access to the old ways of thinking and inquiry. In time, the Muslim opposition to innovation and forced conformity decreased the ability of Islamic societies to produce anything other than the stagnant civilization, authoritarian rule and tribal feuds that have existed throughout North Africa and the Middle East for the past many centuries.

    Muslims who conquered the great libraries of Spain should not get credit as if they were the ones who created the conditions under which that literature was created. The thief doesn’t get the acclaim for creating the art that he steals from a museum nor should a kidnapper get praised for a song composed by one of his hostages. Does that make sense?

    And it isn’t Islam’s encounter with Western Judeo-Christian peoples. In India, a great non-Western civilization was largely destroyed by an even more harsh Muslim rule. No people has a perfect record that is free of violence and atrocities committed toward others. The difference is that other folks learn from their past and try to move forward in a more constructive fashion. That they don’t always succeed doesn’t let Islam off the hook. In Islam, its conquest, massacres and elimination of conquered peoples, languages and customs are celebrated by a culture whose devout openly long for a recapture the days when infidels trembled at the thought of the Muslim sword.

  67. 4infidels says:

    re #70 the first sentence of the last paragraph should read, “And it isn’t only Islam’s encounter with Jewish and Christian peoples.”

  68. 4infidels says:

    continuing from #70…that is why terrorist acts are cheered throughout the Muslim world. The jihadist are fulfilling the Koranic command to “strike fear into the hearts of the Infidels.” And they are…hence the concessions that Western nations continue making in the hope of appeasing the jihadists. Unfortunately concessions only whet the appetite of Muslims, who take those concessions as signs of Western weakness and confirmation that their Islamic jihad is a winning path.

  69. oao says:

    If you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything!

    gee, and i thought it was the other way around!

  70. Eliyahu says:

    Ma Chere Michelle,
    Je vous estime beaucoup. Je suis desole de vous avoir blessee voire un peu.

    Nous tous savons que vous etes tres intelligente et engagee pour le bien et le vrai, bien que vos connaissances et expertise se trouvent plutot dans le domaine des mathemmthiques que dans le domaine des sciences sociales et l’histoire.

    Moins serieusement, ma femme croit que je suis parfait, mais j’eprouve de temps en temps la necessite de lui expliquer que ce n’est pas la situation reelle. Moi aussi, comme les autres mortels, je sens le besoin d’exprimir mes emotions. C’est vrai!

    En tout etat de choses, voici la version francaise des articles 10 et 11 de la charte, en partie:

    art. 10
    L’Assemblee Generale peut discuter toutes questions ou affaires rentrant dans le cadre de la presente Chartre ou se rapportant aux pouvoirs et fonctions . . . et, sous reserve des dispositions de l’Art. 12, formuler sur ces questions ou affairs des recommandations. . .

    art. 11
    L’Assemblee Generale peut etudier les principes generaux de cooperation pour le maintien de la paix… et faire, sur ces principes, des recommandations…

    L’article 12 limite encore les pouvoirs de l’Assemblee Generale.

    Here’s an article by Jerold Auerbach on the legality of Israeli settlements in Judea-Samaria & Gaza. I am not endorsing this article or any other particular article or book on this issue. I am just suggesting them for study and consideration. Here is Auerbach’s article:

    http://www.midstreamthf.com/current/feature.html

  71. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    The Legal Perspective: Understanding UN Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, on the Middle East – Dr. Meir Rosenne, former Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. and France
    (Pdf download here: http://www.defensibleborders.org/)

    And more info here http://www.jcpa.org/

    N.B.
    Evidemment, quand je vous écris ce n’est pas pour vous offenser, ni vous blesser – pardon si je l’ai fait par inadvertance. Je m’adresse à l’intelligence qui a écrit un commentaire que j’ai du mal à comprendre ou à trouver en accord avec mes idées/connaissances, pas à Croquemichelle! :-)

  72. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear Eliyahu,

    please excuse me for leading you to make such profuse apologies, which I completely accept of course.

    I am not perfect either, and every time the question of human perfection arises, I tell the following standard joke:

    Once upon a time, there was a man who sought the perfect woman. And he found her. But she was looking for the perfect man.

    I will read Auerbach, thank you very much for the link.

  73. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear E.G.

    you did not hurt me by any means.

    What I was trying to do in the post you did not understand was to put back into political discourse the unavoidability of war in certain situations. One has to respond to aggression, in order to avoid worse aggression if the lack of response is understood as weakness and an invitation to more aggression.

    I realize that I did not express myself accurately enough. I certainly appreciate the criticism I received. I am not writing here in order to receive praise, but in order to receive feed-back, good or bad, but honest feed-back, and I definitely appreciate all who took the pain to make me reformulate my thoughts.

    As long as one thinks that war must be avoided at all cost, there is no way to escape some predicaments. So, we need a moral scale, where a war is not the absolute evil, but there are worse things than war. There is a quotation by a famous general (can’t remember the name), who said “there is no more horrible vision than a battlefield where the battle has been won, except for a battlefield where the battle has been lost”.

    The thinking of the arab enemies of Israel is that they’d rather have war than live in peace with Israel, even if going to war implies enormous loss for them. In the cynical version, it is a bit more precise: the leaders send the lower classes to war and these are the ones who suffer the enormous losses, while the leaders get richer.

    In Europe, there is definitely a widely spread opinion that war is the worst possible thing, and that someone who does not do everything to avoid war is insane and a danger to humanity.

    My analysis of this phenomenon is that demography plays a considerable rôle here. Europe has few kids and lots of old people, so it wsants peace and cannot afford war, from the human point of view, and therefore from the financial and political point of view. The US have a better demography than Europe, and they also use soldiers from the lower classes of society, even some who are not (yet) citizens. Israel has an even better demography, but it is a small group of people who have been bearing the burden of a hostile neighborhood for the last 61 years. The neighboring arab countries have not yet gone through their demographic transition, they do not have democratic governments, and honor/shame is an important factor in incitement to war.

    I certainly do *not* like war. But if the alternative is “fight a war or be beaten without a fight”, the first branch seems better than the second, though there have been instances where not fighting is a decent strategy. Think of Yochanan ben Zakay escaping in a coffin from Jerusalem under siege.

    So, war is a mean to an end. If other, less costly means lead to the same end, then they must be used. It is a question of estimating the outcomes. What does “beaten” mean? There is no way to eliminate politics here… not being an israeli citizen, I make it a point not to give advice when I do not share the risks.

    Another point: there is no reason why the Palestinians would accept peace as of now. I know that the emergence of a Palestinian people is a recent event. But it is a fact, and denying facts is not terribly helpful. On the other hand, the Fatah congress in Bethlehem gives an awful image of the Palestinian leadership. I wish they had yearly congresses, so that all could see how their society works.

    How much is the Fatah leadership representative of Palestinian society in its depth? Are there Palestinians who want to change things? Can they gain enough power to move on to a better working society? Seen from outside, they are stuck in a potential well, and any effort they might make to improve their situation seems to lead to a dead end.

    If we are not able between the usual posters on this blog to talk quietly of war and why it may be needed in certain situations, how do we expect to be able to explain this to other people?

  74. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear 4infidels,

    evaluating the achievements of the muslim golden age is a very difficult endeavor, and I do not have the culture to take this task upon me.

    There are nevertheless a few things I know :

    - in mathematics (my field), the achievements of the muslim golden age are well known. In particular, the zero was invented in that age, and considerable contributions to algebra were produced. One important name is that of Al-Khowarizmi, whose name gave the modern world “algorithm”. This word looks greek, but it is arabic. Algebra also comes from the arabic language. Of course, the Arabs did not start from scratch, and they transmitted much from India, where the main steps of position numbering had been elaborated. But they did it better and more clearly! To see how important that is, just try to multiply using roman numbers, say LIX by LXXVII, using only roman numbers. Have fun… remember also that in the 16th century, educated Europeans could not count. Michel de Montaigne admits it quite clearly. Arithmetic was a specialist’s job, and what little kids learn (or should learn) now in elementary school was a profession, where you had to learn quite a few tricks in order to be efficient.

    - Regarding translations of texts from antiquity into arabic: they were often performed by jews or by christians, who happened to know the original language of these texts. In any case, the local languages took much time before disappearing before arabic. I know that aramaic stopped being the dominant language in Eretz Yisrael only at the time of the Mongol invasion (Timur Leng, 1400), which caused enormous destruction and loss of life.

    How much time did it take in North Africa for romance languages to disappear? Knowing that Kabyl, a berber language is still spoken in Algeria, and a number of berber languages are also spoken in Morocco, I would guess that the knowledge of romance languages in the former roman empire might have persisted a long time after the muslim conquest. But I do not have facts to support this conjecture.

    I am unable to evaluate the importance of the important philosophers and authors during the muslim golden age, but they have made names for themselves, even in the christian middle age, so I guess, there must be something to their fame.

  75. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I’m glad you took my critique for what it is/was (feedback), and not as a personal assault.

    It’s not only demographic reasons that lead Europeans to avoid war (though some have sent troops to Iraq/Afghanistan, and maintain troops elsewhere too). Or WWII would have been avoided, given the tremendous losses of WWI and the Spanish flu.

    And it isn’t demographic reasons that make Israel engage in war. Or, cynically put, the only demographic factor that makes Israel fight wars is its population survival chances if it does/doesn’t. At any rate, war is by far the least preferred option for Israel and Israelis. They’d do (and did) much to avoid it. Being constrained to fight is hardly perceived as a positive thing or in positive terms by Israelis.
    Differently put, Israelis do not share the human sacrifice cult of their neighbours. They unwillingly engage in wars, and have no taste for territorial conquests – as proven by the majority (if not entirety) consent to draw back from war-gained ones (e.g., some Syrian grounds – see: Kuneitra; some African-Egyptian terrains after the 1973 war and long before leaving Sinai; Gaza).

    Are you familiar with Gunnar Heinsohn’s “youth bulge” thesis?

    Regarding your reply to 4infidels, I’m afraid there’s a war of ideas going on. Apparently, it is disputed that the Arabic denomination Algebra actually denotes any Arab (Moslem) copyright to the technique itself, as well as Algorithm.

    It also appears that quite a few translations were not exactly Moslems œuvres. And you’re certainly familiar with the socio-academic trouble encountered by one Sylvain Guggenheim who dared challenge the received doctrine.

  76. Eliyahu says:

    I don’t want to get too much into the debate over Arab contributions to math. Some claim that zero was invented by the Hindus, not by the Arabs who merely transmitted this Hindu discovery to the West.

    Other important discoveries came from China to the West, such as printing. You may know that the first printing press in the Ottoman Empire was a Hebrew press in Safed in Israel back in the 16th or 17th centuries. The Hebrew press is said to have been followed by presses using various alphabets used by Christians, ie, Greek or Armenian or Assyrian [estrangili], etc. But the Muslim religious establishment opposed introduction of an Arabic character printing press on the grounds of the general Muslim resistance to innovation, considered forbidden.

    Outside the sphere of math, about which I am uncertain, I would ask anyone to name a Muslim scholar/intellectual who pioneered in any way in any intellectual/scholarly field after the death of Ibn Khaldun in 1406. Ibn Khaldun was a pioneer sociologist and I consider his writings worthwhile. I even bought a Hebrew translation of his Muqaddimah a few years ago.

    But where is the Arab or Muslim Fibonacci, or Darwin or Hegel [whom I don't like for several reasons] or even an Arab or Muslim Edison??? And so forth and so on.

    For hundreds of years nothing good and worthwhile has come out of the Arab world. Can someone produce an example to the contrary?? Lately, they have bestowed mass murder suicide bombing on the world. And then coffee spread throughout the world from its being served to Muslim pilgrims on the Haj pilgrimage a few hundred years ago. But coffee actually came from Ethiopia, attested by its Arabic name, qahwa, a place name in Ethiopia. But the Arabs and other Muslims helped to spread the coffee-drinking habit. Which I thank them for. But some of the social innovations that they introduced into the world, like those suicide bombings, are really not very welcome, at least not to me and probably not to most of you.

  77. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    During my recent “travel” to the Guardian threads (have you seen my accounts on the “Freedom of the Press” thread?), I asked Guardianistas to point me to Turkish heritage in Europe. One reply was coffee – but as far as I know, coffee was introduced in Europe, indeed from Islamicised N.Africa, via Venice in the late 16thC. There was even a Pope who gave it a “Kosher” certificate.

    Speaking of Italians
    Fiamma Nirenstein to Israel: Stop with your apologies
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106136.html

  78. oao says:

    It’s not only demographic reasons that lead Europeans to avoid war

    indeed. there is cowardice and their having been under the US umbrella to the point that they don’t really know how to fight and have parade armies only.

    and then there’s their 5th column inside them.

  79. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear Eliyahu,

    There are no equivalents of western modern scientists or inventors in the muslim world, because at that time, the muslim world was sleeping on the memories of its former glory.

    If we allow for a bit of anachronism and realize that modern science did not start in the west without any foundation, it is fairly easy to quote important inventors and scientists from the muslim world, during its golden age :

    - Geber (Abu Musa Jābir ibn Hayyān al azd) invented many chemical processes : he perfected distillation, which was already known to the greeks, invented the chemical processes of pure distillation, filtration, sublimation, liquefaction, crystallisation, purification, oxidisation and evaporation. He also discovered sulfuric, nitric and hydrochloric acids. There is a debate about the identity of Geber and some claim that in fact this name refers to a group of people.

    - Avicenna (Ibn Sinna) observed contagion and showed that tuberculosis was contagious. He showed that earth and water could transmit disease, and proved the existence of sexually transmitted diseases. He described the parasitical diseases of Ascaris, Enterobius, tapeworms, and Guinea worms.

    He introduced quarantine to diminish contagion. He is the father of the grandfather of evidence-based medicine, including randomized controlled trials.

    - Al Khwarizmi (sorry, he was persian, my error in a previous post) introduced mathematical methods in algebra, such as moving terms from one side to another side of an equation, and developed a systematic approach to equation solving in an expository style. In his “Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”, he considers equations for their own sake, belonging to an infinite class of problems.

    The same Al Khwarizmi invented quadrants and alidade, improved sundials, produced tables of sines, listed latitudes and longitudes of more than two thousand cities.

    In philosophy, you have certainly heard of Averroes (Ibn Rushd). I am no philosopher, so am unable to evaluate his contribution.

    These people lived before the death of Ibn Khaldun.

    Muslim golden age fostered many inventions, some of these are so common that we do not recognize them any more as inventions, and some are no more in use. An example of the latter is the astrolabe, and an example of the former is the decimal point.

    Regarding positional numeration, as I wrote in a previous post, the mathematicians of the muslim golden age built on results coming from India.

    I do not know everything…

  80. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Typo about Avicenna : he is the father or the grandfather of evidence-based medicine.

  81. Eliyahu says:

    So, Michelle, we agree that nobody outstanding in intellectual achievement has appeared among the Muslims since the death of Ibn Khaldun [d. 1406]. You mention Averroes [Ibn Rushd]. He lived in the 13th century. He was also beheaded in the 13th century –by a Muslim king or sultan. I would argue that the Muslim world was even more intolerant of science than was pre-Renaissance or Renaissance Europe, taking into account how Galileo and Giordano Bruno, etc were treated. But did the counterparts of Kepler, Bruno, Galileo, Copernicus, and the like, even exist in the Muslim world in the first place, even appear, even grow up and make attempts at science and non-conventional thought before being silenced one way or another?? I am saying that religious and governmental intolerance were not the only obstacles to development of science and technology in the Arab and Muslim lands. Such people as Kepler, Bruno, etc did not even exist in the first place to be persecuted and silenced. Why was there nobody after Ibn Khaldun?? [I suppose that was Israel's fault]. Maybe the problem is inherent in Islamic culture.

    Now, to change the subject slightly, Hero of Alexandria and Archimedes thought up all sorts of nifty inventions. Much of what they and other ancients knew was lost with the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions. How much knowledge and science of the pre-Islamic civilizations in the Middle East was lost as a result of the Arab barbarian invasions??

  82. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Yes Eliyahu, we do agree that a terrible decadence happened in moslem countries after the death of Ibn Khaldun. The french thinker Abdelwahab Meddeb, who is tunisian born and a professor of compared literature in one of the Paris Universities, hypothesizes that the moslem decadence was due to the victory of the most rigid and least enlightened school of moslem law. But he does not explain how this victory in the realm of legal and religious thought percolated even to the quality of craftsmanship: the same Meddeb observes that this too went down incredibly and the quality that was achieved in the 14th century could not be even approached three of four centuries later. He has in mind lasting artefacts, such as sculpted wooden doors in Cairo.

    I believe that one has to understand the enemy in order to win – the best victory being a sensible agreement. We have to understand deeply the origin and the evolution of the moslem decadence. Decadence plays an important part in reinforcing honor/shame behavior. When you have nothing, no individual or collective accomplishments, riches acquired only through geological luck, does what remain? Your honor.

  83. E.G. says:

    Operation Cast Lead and the Ethics of Just War
    By Asa Kasher
    http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=502

    (Michelle – important distinctions made here about war and rules/laws)

  84. oao says:

    because at that time, the muslim world was sleeping on the memories of its former glory.

    not just that glory, but also the glory of allah. you know, inshalla, his will will be done, so why should we bother doing anything?

    So, Michelle, we agree that nobody outstanding in intellectual achievement has appeared among the Muslims since the death of Ibn Khaldun [d. 1406].

    human intellect is not valued and developed in muslim culture, often it is punished. studying the quran is the core of schooling.

    How much knowledge and science of the pre-Islamic civilizations in the Middle East was lost as a result of the Arab barbarian invasions??

    are you familiar with the archimedes palimpsest? apparently he invented calculus, which was lost due to religious reuse of the papyrus on which it was written. so it had to be reinvented hundreds of years later.

    Decadence plays an important part in reinforcing honor/shame behavior.

    yes, but we’d better understand our own decadence too, because it leads us to follow muslims into crappola.

  85. davod says:

    Maybe the downplaying of the history is based upon not wanting to give the Arabs another hook on which to hang the Arabs claims of right of return.

  86. oao says:

    ray,

    re your earlier reply to you about the west self-destructing, here’s a couple of examples:

    Brennan on Hizballah: They Can’t Be Terrorists! After All, Some of Them Are Lawyers!
    By Barry Rubin
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/brennan-on-hizballah-they-cant-be.html

    Hillary Says Iran Doesn’t Want to Negotiate. Will U.S. Iran Policy Turn Into Bambi Versus Godzilla Battle? Guess Who’s Godzilla
    By Barry Rubin
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/hillary-says-iran-doesnt-want-to.html

  87. oao says:

    more:

    Palestinian Politics: It’s Not The Economy, Stupid (At Least Not First and Foremost)
    By Barry Rubin
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/palestinian-politics-its-not-economy.html

    Truth, Logic, Rationality and The Israel-Palestinian Conflict: “Lying for Peace” to Protect Fatah
    By Barry Rubin
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/truth-logic-rationality-and-israel.html

  88. E.G. says:

    Re decadence.

    I find it hard to project myself to Medieval Europe or Asia. But I see some more recent parallels. Nazi Germany suffered from the exodus and physical extermination it imposed on much of Germany’s elite. Had the Reich gone beyond the moment it lasted, into the 1000 promised years, I think it would very likely have ended being in the same place Islamic societies are found: in intellectual poverty. Of the great Germanic cultural heritage very little (party approved) if any would have been kept.

  89. oao says:

    Maybe the downplaying of the history is based upon not wanting to give the Arabs another hook on which to hang the Arabs claims of right of return.

    not sure i follow — there is nothing in real history on which to hang the ror.

    the biggest strategic mistake israel did was precisely to downplay history from the start and accept the arab narrative as a substitute.

  90. oao says:

    it would very likely have ended being in the same place Islamic societies are found: in intellectual poverty.

    my guess is that’s general to advanced societies. they have to crumble back to the consequences of the primitive state to realize it. whether they can repeat the advance i dk, my guess is it’s a tossup.

  91. Eliyahu says:

    EG, that is a really great exhibit. But they don’t give you enough time to study the individual pieces. How can I get it to stop?

  92. Eliyahu says:

    Let’s go deeper into the problem of the decadence of Islamic civilization, such as it is.

    I would say that the cultural level of the Middle Eastern countries, Egypt in particular, had reached its nadir or low point by Napoleon’s invasion, ca. 1799. Then Egypt began to advance slowly with the rule of Muhammad Ali, closely allied with France. MA not only encouraged manufacturing, not too successfully, but improved the status of the dhimmis, the Jews and Christians [for the Jews, this went up to 1840 when he persecuted Jews in the Damascus Affair, partly to please France].

    In 1799, Egypt and the other ME lands were on a much lower cultural level than they had been in the year 1 [I realize that the Roman Empire's people didn't know that it was the year 1]. Those lands were on a higher level on the eve of the Arab conquest, ca.632, than in 1799. Take the cities of Beirut and Gaza, yes, Gaza. Beirut was the seat of a school of Roman law, so they probably knew Latin as well as Greek, which was the language of the Byzantine [Eastern Roman] Empire. Gaza was the seat of a school of rhetoric, Greek rhetoric. Of course, rhetoric is bs and a lot of bs still emanates from Gaza. But otherwise a lot has changed.

    Jews were living in Gaza before 632. No doubt there were frictions with the Christian population, that was also in friction with the Samaritans. But the special degradation of dhimmitude was not in place. Anyhow, the populations of Gaza, Beirut, and the other Levantine coastal cities up to northern Syria were expelled, or fled or were wiped out in the Arab conquest. Some places were resettled by Arabs. At least one city, Tripoli in Lebanon, was resettled by Jews whom the Arabs brought in from elsewhere, apparently in a forced population transfer. The reason was most likely the desire of the conquerors to have the coast populated by people who would not be friendly to a Byzantine reconquest. Jews were brought in to Tripoli because they were known not to sympathize with the Christian Byzantine Empire. However, Jews were expelled from their homes elsewhere, as in Tiberias, and their homes taken by the conquerors.
    [This is based on an article by Milka Levy Rubin in Cathedra. Her article is based in part on the medieval history by al-Baladhdhuri, The Conquests of the Cities]

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/09/arab-invaders-practiced-population.html

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/06/arab-conquest-massacre-enslavement.html

    So we can see that from the start the Arab-Muslim conquerors were wrecking the ancient, pre-Islamic civilizations in the ME. This is obscured because of the typical cover up for Islam in the Western academy over the last 90 years, which seems to have begun with Toynbee in Britain in the 1920s and culminated with Saint Edward Who Said, with much help from the Commies on the way. The ME on the whole has not recovered from those conquests. One of the problems is that now the West, as represented by the UK –first of all the UK– and the US and EU prefer the ME to remain in a barbarous state.

  93. Eliyahu says:

    The Louvre’s dept of Oriental Antiquities recognizes, implicitly, that the Arab conquests finished off the ancient Oriental civilizations.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/04/more-on-arab-conquest-as-act-of-love.html

    Now, of course, France has set up a new museum cum “learning institution” to promote a rosy view of Muslim, particularly Arab, culture. That is the Institut du Monde Arabe which sits on acres and acres of highly expensive real estate in the heart of Paris. It cost hundreds of millions, if not more than a billion, to set up. There is a Jewish museum in Paris too, also state funded. But it is very small by comparison and focusses almost entirely, it seemed to me when there, on Jews in France or in Europe and only starting with the Middle Ages.

  94. E.G. says:

    my guess is that’s general to advanced societies.

    Mine is that this is the consequence of any totalitarian regime.

  95. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Size is proportionate to the population, not to the contribution. And I think the “Institut” was/is funded by (some) Arab countries. I’m not sure its status is “state museum”.

    I DK what problem you had with the Florentine exhibits. Just wanted to make a point since Astronomy was discussed.
    If you get near that exhibition – or if it gets near you – I recommend it: è una meraviglia.

  96. E.G. says:

    Pierre-André Taguieff discusses (in French) the notion of Islamophobia, its criminalization, and Christianophobia.
    http://www.surlering.fr/article.php/id/5292

  97. 4infidels says:

    We have to understand deeply the origin and the evolution of the moslem decadence. Decadence plays an important part in reinforcing honor/shame behavior. When you have nothing, no individual or collective accomplishments, riches acquired only through geological luck, does what remain? Your honor.

    Michelle,

    I think to a large degree, you are missing the essential point I have been attempting to make: that Islam itself is responsible for the failures of Arab-Muslim societies. Islam and tribal Arab culture are mutually reinforcing.

    I believe the point that I raised earlier is still valid…about contributions from conquered peoples and recent converts who were from more advanced societies. Once Islam took hold of those societies, non-Muslims were marginalized and the grandchildren of converts lost touch with their pre-Islamic heritage. With successive generations raised in an Islamic milieu, the oppressive nature of life under Islam made innovation and critical thinking largely disappear. Islam is a total way of life, the most dominant force influencing all aspects of life in countries where it rules.

    You can change the Palestinian leadership and you can attempt to improve the economy, but as long as Islam remains Islam, reinforced by, and reinforcing, traditional Arab culture, you will never have a leadership or population capable of making–and, more importantly, honoring–any peace agreements with Israel. Sure there are middle class folks who would rather have calm that would lead to increased business opportunities. But, as Barry Rubin recently pointed out, how do they stand up to the guys with the guns? And being a collectivist society, and one where failing to publicly support the jihad is considered apostasy, even those who would prefer to live-and-let-live with the Jews won’t publicly express those feelings. Regardless of individual preference, Arab honor-shame culture requires the pointing of blame outward, not the admitting of mistakes. Islamic theology and local custom leads Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the larger Arab world, to fall in line with the war against Israel, regardless of how they personally feel about the Jewish State or what benefits positive relations with Israel could bring to them economically. So, how does a group of constructive (from a Western point of view) leaders gain power in the West Bank, how do they stay in power if they go against the norms of a religion and culture in which doing so can lead to charges of apostasy and collaboration, resulting in death? Either the new leadership would end up governing much like the old out of fear, obligation or because they believe in the general goals of jihad against Israel…or they would have to rule their territory with an iron fist, committing all types of human rights abuses in order to stay safely in power. And once that autocratic and totalitarian form of rule is in place, how likely is it that the next ruler won’t use those levers of state to impose a more stringent Islamic society or incite future jihad against Israel?

    Michelle, you may be right on certain points regarding Muslim intellectual and mathematic contributions. But my essential point remains the same, the “golden age of Islam” is largely a myth and its accomplishments were mostly in the realm of conquering, subjecting and ultimately retarding the development of the more advanced peoples with whom the Arabs came into contact.

  98. 4infidels says:

    We have to understand deeply the origin and the evolution of the moslem decadence. Decadence plays an important part in reinforcing honor/shame behavior. When you have nothing, no individual or collective accomplishments, riches acquired only through geological luck, does what remain? Your honor.

    Michelle,

    I think to a large degree, you are missing the essential point I have been attempting to make: that Islam itself is responsible for the failures of Arab-Muslim societies. Islam and tribal Arab culture are mutually reinforcing.

    I believe the point that I raised earlier is still valid…about contributions from conquered peoples and recent converts who were from more advanced societies. Once Islam took hold of those societies, non-Muslims were marginalized and the grandchildren of converts lost touch with their pre-Islamic heritage. With successive generations raised in an Islamic milieu, the oppressive nature of life under Islam made innovation and critical thinking largely disappear. Islam is a total way of life, the most dominant force influencing all aspects of life in countries where it rules.

    You can change the Palestinian leadership and you can attempt to improve the economy, but as long as Islam remains Islam, reinforced by, and reinforcing, traditional Arab culture, you will never have a leadership or population capable of making–and, more importantly, honoring–any peace agreements with Israel. Sure there are middle class folks who would rather have calm that would lead to increased business opportunities. But, as Barry Rubin recently pointed out, how do they stand up to the guys with the guns? And being a collectivist society, and one where failing to publicly support the jihad is considered apostasy, even those who would prefer to live-and-let-live with the Jews won’t publicly express those feelings. Regardless of individual preference, Arab honor-shame culture requires the pointing of blame outward, not the admitting of mistakes. Islamic theology and local custom leads Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the larger Arab world, to fall in line with the war against Israel, regardless of how they personally feel about the Jewish State or what benefits positive relations with Israel could bring to them economically. So, how does a group of constructive (from a Western point of view) leaders gain power in the West Bank, how do they stay in power if they go against the norms of a religion and culture in which doing so can lead to charges of apostasy and collaboration, resulting in death? Either the new leadership would end up governing much like the old out of fear, obligation or because they believe in the general goals of jihad against Israel…or they would have to rule their territory with an iron fist, committing all types of human rights abuses in order to stay safely in power. And once that autocratic and totalitarian form of rule is in place, how likely is it that the next ruler won’t use those levers of state to impose a more stringent Islamic society or incite future jihad against Israel?

    Michelle, you may be right on certain points regarding Muslim intellectual and mathematic contributions. But my essential point remains the same, the “golden age of Islam” is largely a myth and its accomplishments were mostly in the realm of conquering, subjecting and ultimately retarding the development of the more advanced peoples with whom the Arabs came into contact.

  99. Eliyahu says:

    EG, that Firenze website is really great. Molte grazie.
    My problem was in getting the individual exhibits to stand still so I could look more closely.

    As to the Institut du Monde Arabe, as far as I know, it was founded as a joint French-Arab enterprise with funds from the French state, Arab states and Arab individuals, like Rafic Hariri. Of the six presidents of the institute, five have been French politicians. One was an Arab. The chief now is Dominique Baudis.

    La construction de ce bâtiment [de l'Institut], bien qu’étant inscrit dans la politique de grands travaux voulus par François Mitterrand, a été décidée sous le septennat de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing en 1973, en vue d’améliorer les relations diplomatiques entre la France et les pays arabes. [from wiki]

    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institut_du_monde_arabe

    Lately, Pres Baudis reported that 77 pieces of the museum’s collection were missing. There have also been financial irregularities reported over the years.

    Hariri mentioned above seems to have been a believer in the theory of Israeli execution of the 9-11 attack. He also collaborated with Prince Chas of Wales and others to produce an attractive, pro-Muslim coffee table book called “Ottoman Jerusalem.” It is in 2 volumes and has embossed gold letters on the cover, as I recall. The big money behind this book wanted to promote Britannico-Arab friendship.

  100. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    There’s an ex-Pres. still living in his murdered friend’s apartment on Quai de Conti (or is it Malaquais?).

    The website is very poor compared to the mostra. Apparently technically too…

  101. Eliyahu says:

    EG, so Chirac lives in one of Hariri’s old apts. Chirac’s arabophilia is written up in the book Chirac d’Arabie. If Hariri had not been so generous with Chirac, then old Jacques might not have cared about his murder. Surely the State Dept would not have cared about it. I think that Chirac forced the State Dept’s/USA’s hand on this matter because of his loyalty to Rafic. Otherwise, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon might never have ended.

    I’m sure that that quay, whatever its name may be, is mal or at least mauvais.

    About the website, I finally figured out that I could pause the movement of the display. La mostra e` davvero bellissima.

  102. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    I’m surprised you were not familiar with that modest (merely several bedrooms) pied-à-terre loan (has rent been paid?).

    Not sure this one will get to the Louvre or to the Met.
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/the_museum/museum_in_london/shah_abbas.aspx
    (also see the press release)

  103. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear 4infidels,

    I am not missing your point: I am disagreeing with it! From what I know, the golden age of islam is not a myth, and an evolution occurred, which led to the present state of dereliction.

    I am sure that you have proper references that support your point of view. If you care to give them, I will read them.

    On the other hand, I completely agree with you re. the present situation. Honor/shame civilization and islam reinforce each other into making the Israel-Palestinians conflict intractable. Anyone reading reports of the Bethlehem convention of the Fatah will be convinced that the Palestinian side is utterly uncontrollable even to its proclaimed chiefs.

  104. Ray in Seattle says:

    I am back from a trip and catching up on the fine comments in this thread. Michelle, 4infidels may have his own recommendations but a book that covers his view, de-mythifying the Golden Age of Islam, very well, is Ibn Warraq’s “Defending the West”. Warraq gives great credit to Edward Said in promoting the myth and thoroughly deconstructs Said’s campaign. Chapter 7 alone, almost 30 pages, is entitled “Edward Said and His Methodology”.

  105. Ray in Seattle says:

    My own view, similar to 4infidels I think, is that it should be called “The Golden Age of Islamic Conquest”. During this period it seems that Arabs (Islamists of the day) militarily conquered most of the Middle East and territories surrounding it. The practice of building their military from conscripts among the conquered tribes (Janissaries) describes what I believe was how the Arabs saw the world.

    They were military conquerors and what they conquered belonged to them – including the minds and scientific product of the defeated. They saw their own superior role as ruling through might – and scholarly pursuits and science were services properly rendered to the rulers by the inferior people (who could not wage war as well) who fell to their scimitars.

    I believe they felt that ruling those who produced math and scientific discoveries, usurping their wealth and converting that to their own prestige and wealth was the correct way for proper rulers to rule. It was only centuries later when Islam was in deep decline, and when the great value of initial discovery and invention was recognized as instrumental in Western success and progress, that some Arabists tried to claim that some (many) of the significant discoveries co-opted by the Arabs were actually produced by them.

    Military societies are conservative by nature. Invention, except for weaponry such as Damascus steel blades, threatens the stability of the military order. Why produce and invent and threaten that order when they can take from those weaker peoples who did produce and invent. It’s a cultural view of the world and their place in it vis a vis those they defeat.

    I don’t think such life-mission efforts, such as those by Said to glorify the historic East by present day Western standards, would have been necessary if there were conclusive evidence supporting his views. But, I’m no historian and I could be wrong. But, that’s my sense of it.

  106. oao says:

    Now, of course, France has set up a new museum cum “learning institution” to promote a rosy view of Muslim, particularly Arab, culture.

    it would be fascinating to see the “youths” with unknown religion torch it, wouldn’t it? it would perfectly represent the culture it is trying to promote.

    Mine is that this is the consequence of any totalitarian regime.

    my point is that democratic societies decay into various degree of totalitarianism and corruption.

    When you have nothing, no individual or collective accomplishments, riches acquired only through geological luck, does what remain? Your honor.

    how do you then explain the jews? they should have been THE candidates for shame and violent revenge? or the various other TRULY oppressed, robbed and exterminated societies who did not behave like the arabs?

    With successive generations raised in an Islamic milieu, the oppressive nature of life under Islam made innovation and critical thinking largely disappear.

    not just made difficult, but punished and prohibited.
    intellect and critical thinking are anti-islamic — they are human and everything comes from allah, not humans.

    You can change the Palestinian leadership and you can attempt to improve the economy, but as long as Islam remains Islam, reinforced by, and reinforcing, traditional Arab culture, you will never have a leadership or population capable of making–and, more importantly, honoring–any peace agreements with Israel.

    bingo. because there is a fundamental reason why the pals could produce the leadership it did (which is hardly different than that of EVERY arab state, all of which are artificial states created by the colonial powers.

    décidée sous le septennat de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing

    ah, yes, that ass who contributes that much to the absurdity that is EU.

    Hariri mentioned above seems to have been a believer in the theory of Israeli execution of the 9-11 attack.

    that’s OK, then, syria took care of him.

    Chirac’s arabophilia is written up in the book Chirac d’Arabie.

    he is actually responsible from blowing up a sgned agreement between arafat and barak in paris arranged by madeline albright. they were sitting down to sign it when chirac interfered and dissuaded arafat from signing. hitchens had a good piece on him “The mouse that roared”. even the french got ultimately sick of him.

    Honor/shame civilization and islam reinforce each other into making the Israel-Palestinians conflict intractable.

    not to mention that there is no such thing as a palestinian nation and that other than “security and govt” stasmall businesses and merchants they seem incapable of anything else. if such a state were established israel would always be their envy and would require huge levels of jiziya to survive. and they probably realize it.

  107. oao says:

    couldn’t help not posting this by theodore dalrymple — something we often discussed here:

    …if you were to ask a believer in multiculturalism for the tangible cultural or other benefits brought to Europe by hundreds of thousands of Somalis, not as individuals but as bearers of Somali culture, he would almost certainly be reduced to silence; for the truth is that believers in multiculturalism are not really very interested in other cultures (for such interest is very hard work): They are, rather, moral exhibitionists, out to prove the largeness of their minds and the breadth of their sympathies to others of like disposition.

  108. oao says:

    here’s the op-eds of nyt on the fatah convention.
    you can’t be more explicit than this about israel.
    they actually regurgitate achtungmein jihad:

    NY Times: Fatah Good, Pay No Attention to Critics; Op-Ed: How to Solve a Problem, No More Israel, No More Arab-Israeli Conflict
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/08/ny-times-fatah-good-pay-no-attention-to.html

  109. oao says:

    incidentally, i’ve been predicting that the US will not only dump israel, but will actually turn against it since 15-20 years ago. then as now i’ve been called a pessimist, a cynic, etc.

    but anybody who relied on the US in the long run, let alone depended on it, has paid the price and yet nobody learns.

    yeah, yeah, i know, “the people” are with israel. bs. just watch.

  110. E.G. says:

    he is actually responsible from blowing up a sgned agreement between arafat and barak in paris arranged by madeline albright.

    We should all be grateful to him for this deus ex machina intervention. It’s hard to imagine the Israelis would have accepted Barak’s concessions and the bloody Intifada was already scheduled anyway.

  111. E.G. says:

    how do you then explain the jews? they should have been THE candidates for shame and violent revenge? or the various other TRULY oppressed, robbed and exterminated societies who did not behave like the arabs?

    The Juice do have some accomplishments to their record.
    The truly oppressed etc. do sometimes behave in a beastly manner.

  112. oao says:

    It’s hard to imagine the Israelis would have accepted Barak’s concessions and the bloody Intifada was already scheduled anyway.

    that’s beside the point, which is that he undermined a set agreement.

    The Juice do have some accomplishments to their record. The truly oppressed etc. do sometimes behave in a beastly manner.

    honor/shame is honor/shame. many times during their history the jews were humiliated and oppressed, and yet the reaction has not been like the arabs’ (and the jews are hardly alone in this).

    it’s the other way around: it’s honor/shame that contributes to their not accomplishing anything.

  113. oao says:

    camille paglia at salon:

    Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?

    bingo. EXACTLY like rome. i’ve been saying ths for a long time too.

  114. oao says:

    in fact, i recommend reading paglia in hole:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/08/12/town_halls/

    whoever expects anything from the us from now on is seriously deluding itself. it’s over folks.

  115. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Dear Ray,

    I strongly disagree with a few things you said in your post.

    The practice of building their military from conscripts among the conquered tribes (Janissaries) describes what I believe was how the Arabs saw the world.

    Sorry : janissaries were an ottoman invention. Did you think of mamluks, who were a previous arab invention? Already slaves, kidnapped as children, but educated nd converted to islam, and possessing a higher status than the ordinary muslim fellow in Egypt.

    They were military conquerors

    so, at least, they succeeded in the military art, so they must have had some ideas in their heads

    and what they conquered belonged to them – including the minds and scientific product of the defeated.

    how do you conquer minds, if you do not have some degree of ability in human relations? If you threatened my life in order to make me produce big theorems, I doubt the result would have any merit. We use to remark that the fact that the Arabs let themselves be colonized in the 19th and 20th centuries by western nations and previously by the ottoman empire proves that they had some kind of civilizational deficiency. The same argument holds for people who let themselve be conquered and colonized by the Arab conquerors. The conquered lack something, otherwise they would not be conquered, especially if conquest is expansive, because I have to allow for good and bad luck in human afairs.

    Military societies are conservative by nature. Invention, except for weaponry such as Damascus steel blades, threatens the stability of the military order. Why produce and invent and threaten that order when they can take from those weaker peoples who did produce and invent.

    Failing military societies loath invention, successful military societies love it. A good and sad example is the difference between the french and german armies in 1939. The french generals refused to think or plan tanks corps, which Col. de Gaulle had advocated. The german and later nazi generals studied de Gaulle’s 1932 book “Le fil de l’épée” (the edge of the sword) and other military theoretical publications with utmost interest.

    I don’t think such life-mission efforts, such as those by Said to glorify the historic East by present day Western standards,

    I learnt about the golden age of islam in 6th or 7th grade, that is between 1959 and 1961, and probably had heard about it at home. Edward Said’s first book appeared in 1966, and its title was «Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography». So he is not guilty for filling my young mind with a constructed muslim golden age. My school teachers were, and the french ministry of education, because the golden age of islam was part of the official curriculum.

    Of course, it may have been communist propaganda : my father was a member of the french communist party from 1943 to 1956, and quite a few of my history and geography teachers were of the same persuasion. But the french ministry of education was not a communist stronghold at that time, and the curriculum was made up at a central level. So, if it was propaganda, it must have come from elsewhere.

    Could you be confusing the muslim conquest with the mongol invasion. From what I know, the mongols were mainly interested in destruction and they did destroy and kill with elan. The muslim conquest certainly killed and destroyed. But not to the extent the mongols did, and far from it.

    Did the arab conquest achieve the destruction of the civilization of antiquity? I looked up the site of the Louvre museum, and did not find the document announced by Eliyahu in his #101 reference. So I am waiting for more information.

  116. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, I posted a link to the wrong post on my blog in #101. I meant to post the link below. The article at the post below quotes signs on the wall of the Louvre’s gallery of Oriental Antiquites. These signs are, as I recall, in three languages (French, English, Spanish) and implicitly acknowledge that the Arab conquests –or “the arrival of Islam” as the Louvre puts it– finished off the ancient civilizations of the East.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/05/arab-conquests-finished-off-ancient.html

    The “arrival of Islam” is a rather delicate way of describing bloody, destructive conquests. Apparently, the directors of the Dept of Oriental Antiquities at the Louvre wanted to be truthful without being too blatant or frank or candid. So the word “arrival” took the place of “conquests.”

    I do regret my mistake in posting the wrong link in #101. But that link too leads to an article on the cruelty and brutality of the Arab conquest. It is my view that a growing political desire since the early 1920s to portray the Arabs, Islam, and the Arab conquest as relatively benign, even beneficial to humanity, have come to prevail in the Western academic world, especially the English-speaking countries. A major individual pushing this falsification agenda was Arnold Toynbee of the royal inst. of int’l affairs. It seems that France followed the Anglophones. In the USA, I would mention Philip Ireland and William R Polk, inter alia, as pushing this edulcorated vision of the Arabs and Islam way back. Ireland in the 1930s and Polk starting in the 50s.

    The Communists/Stalinists/Trotskyists/ too pushed a pro-Muslim program starting at least by late 1917, after the Bolshevik putsch in Russia, if not years earlier.

  117. E.G. says:

    oao,

    that’s beside the point, which is that he undermined a set agreement.

    I’ve already argued elsewhere that historians judge events in hindsight (and knowledge of the consequences). I’m not a historian and have no access to any evidence showing he did (or did not) have an extraordinary foresight and/or intelligence of how things would turn out with/without the agreement signed. So why not attribute him the merit?

  118. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    I too received the “golden age” doctrine at school (later than you, though). Eliyahu’s (#125) explanation/argument seems plausible – especially as I have no means (time, knowledge) to refute it. All the more, given the present battles going on in many countries regarding state-schools’ history programmes.

    If these were such nice people, why did Charles Martel fight them? And, wouldn’t historians argue that, by keeping them away from France, the French lost some great intellectual opportunities, instead of praising Charlemagne’s school?

    N.B. I always wondered whether the guy was not influenced by some “concepts” – his bathing and schooling obsessions are truly “conceptual” ;-)

  119. E.G. says:

    Back to history in the making.

    Fatah women fume over election results
    ‘Primitive men betrayed us; our society is backward,’ activists say after no women elected to Fatah’s Central Committee
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3760685,00.html

  120. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Hey E.G. you are tracking my efforts in french on another forum! My last effort was toward a character who is probably a sectator of dear Israel Shamir, and I lost time over that. I had not done my homework, so I’ll know better next time ;-).

    Beyond that, and this is also a response to Eliyahu : France had its pro-arab and pro-muslim scholars, for instance Jacques Berque, or Louis Massignon, who are very famous in France (but I do not know about their fame in other countries). Massignon lived in 1883-1962, and Berque in 1910-1995, and both were professors in the Collège de France.

    I had the great fun today of finding in one of the preferred sites of my Israel Shamir lover a piece, which tried to explain that Massignon was a spy. In fact, I am pretty sure that he was trying to get information, and the opportunity was too beautiful to miss for the french Services, or rather their ancestor.

    But the question is : to which side did he give information ? My guess is both, because he believed in coexistence between islam and christianity.

  121. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    After the Guardian voyage I toured Libération (even-handedness, you know) and happened to see your exchange at the bottom of Badiou’s logorrhoea.

    Your reply to the guy who argued that the Juice are merely a concept made me chuckle.
    Bon Voyage!

  122. Michelle Schatzman says:

    EG,

    I am happy to have given you a laugh. The guy did better : he argued that the juice are an ill-defined concept and even one that does not exist. But since he is also a sectator of dear Israel Shamir, he had trouble taking the joke.

    I’ll tell more some time about funny encounters on this Libération forum. I thought I had seen everything, but that *is* wrong :-).

    Conceptually for ever!

  123. Ray in Seattle says:

    Michelle, For when you get back to this thread:

    My views on Arabs are grounded in a cultural perspective. When I discuss Janissaries I am talking about the cultural mentality that saw the tribute value of children as normal and expected. Ottoman cultural values were also Arab cultural values during this period.

    Throughout this region (Turkey, Arabia, N. Africa, etc.) life was seen as a struggle for control through violent conquest of others. The actual ownership and control of territory and resources and people shifted continuously as one conqueror became complacent in his wealth and power and those he displaced revived their hunger to revenge their past humiliation at his hands.

    Production and invention seldom blossom in societies without stable structure and incentives. From the Muslim perspective (including the Ottoman and Arab perspective) there were always other more peaceful societies (infidel societies) within easy reach to take them from.

    It is similar to the way animal species evolve ways of surviving according to their environment.

    Minds are very easily conquered. You offer someone to spare their life and the life of their children for their allegiance. Most, facing that decision, will come to see that living under your rule, producing material goods or inventing new tools of war and becoming a Muslim is not such a bad idea after all. They will see that it is better than the alternative. Of course, some will refuse, but then their genes will not be as well represented in future generations, will they?

    Children simply accept whatever adult world they are placed in and will survive in it.

    Of course, at first being conquered is difficult but as time goes by the mind accommodates and finds peace with whatever opportunities it has, much like a prisoner serving a life sentence who finds friends among his jailers. We make do. Conquered peoples have been following that prescription from the dawn of time. We even have a name for it: The Stockholm Syndrome.

  124. E.G. says:

    Michelle,

    Take a look at Lorenz Gude’s comment on the “Whitson…” thread – great definitions of war and peace!

  125. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, I know about both berque and Massignon. I think I even read some of Massignon’s writings years ago. Then we have Pierre Rondot, maxime rodinson, and right now, one Henry Laurens who dishonors the College de France more than berque and Massignon.

    Laurens wrote a heavy two-tome work called “La Question de Palestine.” It is useful and informative up to a point despite its obvious pro-Arab bias. It has a lot of info from French archives, whereas most of the books in English on the history of Israel over the last 200 years, and the history of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel depend on British and/or American sources. So Laurens’ book is useful for that reason. Further, he has pages and pages of footnotes. These might be useful for a future researcher.

    As I said, he shows his bias and omits facts that don’t fit his propaganda, although not all of them. It is noteworthy, however, that one display of his bias is that he charges the early Jewish settlers who left Jerusalem to live from agriculture [when this became possible in the 2nd half of the 19th century], as well as early Jewish settlers in the country –the First Aliyah– who wanted to settle on the land [of course, buying land from Arab owners] of beating Arab employees on their farms. This is supposed to have happened circa 1880. Yet, in a book with pages and pages of reference notes –endnotes– there is no reference whatsoever for this claim. It is something like the claim oft made today that Israel is the country most dangerous for world peace and Israel’s atrocities are the worst in history, etc etc ad nauseam. But these claims are habitually made without any reference, simply as assertions.

    Another problem with Laurens’ claim about beating is that Jews were severely persecuted and humiliated in the Muslim-dominated society of the Land of Israel into the late 19th century. The Christians too –dhimmis themselves– harassed, humiliated and persecuted Jews, despite their being themselves victims of Muslim oppression. karl Marx reported this in the New York Tribune of 4-15-1854, in a paraphrase from the 1853 book of Cesar Famin. So Jews, who were clearly at the bottom of the social ladder in the Levant generally into the 1860s, if not later, regularly humiliated and so forth by both Muslims and Christians, were beating Arab farmworker employees in the 1880s and 1890s. For quotes from Cesar Famin see my blog.

    Now Laurens spreads this unlikely fantasy without any supporting documentation or references in a book that has pages and pages of footnotes. And Laurens teaches at the College de France. איך נפלו גיבורים
    How the mighty have fallen!! I refer to the reputation of the College de France. Moreover, as I recall, Laurens does not quote any of the accounts by French authors of the 19th century attesting to the regular humiliation of Jews in the country.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/06/karl-marx-on-treatment-of-jewish_16.html

    Laurens is very Orwellian. Maybe he should teach at Columbia as well as at the College de France.

  126. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu-

    Not איך נפלו גיבורים but sic transit gloria mundi.

  127. oao says:

    I’m not a historian and have no access to any evidence showing he did (or did not) have an extraordinary foresight and/or intelligence of how things would turn out with/without the agreement signed. So why not attribute him the merit?

    you gotta be joking. it’s chirac we’re talking about. and he’s french too. what merit?

  128. oao says:

    Fatah women fume over election results
    ‘Primitive men betrayed us; our society is backward,’ activists say after no women elected to Fatah’s Central Committee

    poor dearies — not given their opportunity to participate in murdering joos, were they?

  129. oao says:

    I’ll tell more some time about funny encounters on this Libération forum.

    what else in a forum by such name? but probably hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

    I thought I had seen everything, but that *is* wrong :-).

    oh, boy: you did not know there is no bottom?

  130. oao says:

    But these claims are habitually made without any reference, simply as assertions.

    what is a man to do if there aren’t any? give up his “thesis”?

    Another problem with Laurens’ claim about beating is that Jews were severely persecuted and humiliated in the Muslim-dominated society of the Land of Israel into the late 19th century.

    that was a problem only for the jews, not for laurens.

    Howw the mighty have fallen!!

    These days their might increases.

    I refer to the reputation of the College de France.

    only the french believe in their own reputation.

    Laurens is very Orwellian. Maybe he should teach at Columbia as well as at the College de France.

    hey, if massad, nadia and even ramadan can, why not laurens? selective endnotes, but at least he has some.

  131. Eliyahu says:

    EG, read about the Rumanian Jews settling in Zikhron [probably Zikhron, but when was nearby Benyamina founded?].

    Anyhow, since we hear so much about the Jews being “colonists,” “colonialists,” and the like, it must be said that in 1882, when Oliphant wrote his account at the link above, the Rumanian Jews had been divested of their Ottoman subjecthood just three or four years before, when the Congress of Berlin [1878 or 1879] made Rumania independent.
    So these Rumanian Jews had lived as subjects of a Muslim state –as Ottoman subjects– for almost all of their lives. Coming to the Land of Israel, specifically to what at that time was the vilayet of Sidon [or of Beirut; I forget which], they were merely displaying touching affection for their Turkish and Arab overlords whom the Congress of Berlin had removed. It was indeed touching that these Jews wanted to stay under the beneficent rule of those Muslims. How cruel it was for the Cong of Berlin to stop Muslim rule in Wallachia and Moldavia!!

    For the record, many Ottoman high officials were Arabs, including palestinian Arabs.

  132. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Charles Netter’s initiative to establish an agricultural school (Mikveh Israel) is better understood.
    http://judaisme.sdv.fr/perso/netter.htm

    Interesting stuff here too:
    http://www.antebiel.com/universite/tolede.html
    (see who her PhD thesis jury members are)

  133. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Romanian jews coming to Eretz Yisrael in the first alya include my grandfather, Benjamin Schatzman, who arrived at the age of 5 in Zikhron Yaakov, coming from Tulcea (Romania). He was born at the beginning of 1877, or maybe the end of 1876, nobody really knows. The independence of Romania took place in 1878, and a most interesting fact was that Jews living in Romania did not become romanian citizens : in order to be one, one had to be a christian. Romanian Jews became citizens only with the 1923 constitution.

    Carol Iancu, who teaches in Montpellier if I am correct, is a specialist of the history of Jews in Romania, and he even knows the name of the ship on which my grandfather arrived in Eretz Yisrael. But I do not have the source, and I should ask my mother who gave me the information.

    In any case, my grandfather went to study in Miqveh Yisrael, and he studied agriculture some time in France in Grignon (in fact Thiverval-Grignon now, in the Paris area). The Institut National Agronomique, which is supposed to be the foremost school of agriculture in France absorbed the former school of agriculture in Grignon. In any case, Benjamin returned to Eretz Yisrael, and shortly after, as it was a time of crisis, he got a free one way ticket to the end of the world, namely New-Zealand. The philanthropists supporting the early yishuv were fed up with supporting idle jews, so they gave this kind of bounty. Benjamin had planned to set up a farm in New-Zealand. On his arrival, he found out that he would have to work night and day for ten years, and he changed his mind. He stayed three years, had a job in the botanical garden or the zoo of Wellington, saved for a ticket and sailed to France, where he learned dentistry, married, became a french citizen (I have seen his identity papers in ottoman turkish, apparently established in Eretz Yisrael), had child 1, was drafted as a dentist in WWI (and there was lots of work for dentists, due to the large number of horrible of face wounds), had child 2, was taken as hostage in Dec. 1941 together with about 800 rench jewish professional, in retaliation for the murder of some nazi officer. He remained in the french camps until Sep. 1942, when he was deported to Auschwitz and was assassinated.

    My parents transcribed papers he wrote while in gaol : he wrote letters, and a diary. This has been published as a book :

    http://www.amazon.fr/Journal-dun-intern%C3%A9-Compi%C3%A8gne-Pithiviers/dp/2213629390/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250163779&sr=8-2

    The reading of this document is utterly painful.

  134. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Henry Laurens reads arabic, but he does not read hebrew. In his book on Palestine, there is not a single reference in hebrew. I do not know whether there are references translated from hebrew. Would be interesting to check that.

    This is equivalent to treating WWI while reading only german and no french, or conversely.

    Regarding honor, which is a biiiiiiiig subject here : as any institution, the Collège de France made some rather heterogeneous hirings, to say it in academic terms. It is not the only institution in that case, I suppose.

  135. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Ray, in medieval Europe, life was exactly as you describe it in your “throughout this region…” paragraph. Our gracious host is even publishing on this subject. If one must compare, one has to compare reasonably. If the muslim rule was so much worse than the christian rule in the 7th to 14th centuries, how come one of the largest cities of the world, if not the largest city was Bagdad under the Abbassid califate?

    Yes people do convert, and pressure can be used to obtain this result. I do not know how fast they converted in various regions of the muslim empire. But they may just admire the new power and want to join it. There is another example : when the Romans conquerred Gaul, the Gauls could not wait to be romanized, though they had quite a few technical inventions worthy of note, such as soap, good bread and good beer.

    I am pleading here for a historical and contextual appreciation of the arab or muslim societies. What they are now gives us a poor image of what they were in the past. From what I know they are heterogeneous in space and time.

    Saying that there has been a muslim golden age does not mean anything more than recognizing a heterogeneity in time, and the possibility for the people living in mainly muslim areas to go back to more genteel and civil mores and less honor/shame, blood feuds and obscurantist religion.

    I know that oao does not like it when I even mention the possibility of hope, but he’s oao and I’m Michelle and nobody here would want one of us to align on the other.

  136. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle,
    even in the heyday of Baghdad, Muslim society was legally/religiously committed to humiliating non-Muslims, that is, the tolerated non-Muslims, the dhimmis [see Quran 9:29, verse numbers vary in some editions]. Indeed, it has been said that the Abassid dynasty that ruled Baghdad was more intolerant than the preceding `Umayyad dynasty. Interested readers might look up the excerpts from a record by a Norman proselyte to Judaism [Obadiah?] who lived in Baghdad in the Abassid times. Excerpts are in one of Bat Yeor’s books.

    Now the good news. I saw Mark Regev stand up rather well to the bbc this morning. He even brought up the fund-raising trip to Saudi Arabia by HRW. One of the BBC operatives/journalists was so bothered by this that he said that it was an “alleged” hrw fund-raising trip to Saudi Arabia. Regev corrected him on this.

  137. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, re your #144. I think you’re right. I remember reading through pages and pages of the endnotes in Laurens’ book, although not all of them. His citations were mainly in French, English and Arabic, as I recall. I don’t remember any being in Hebrew.

    You’re right of course that a balanced account has to look at sources in the languages of all sides. I think that he probably made up the claim of Jewish settlers beating Arabs. Otherwise, why not a source reference? And this in a book [2 vols] with pages and pages of endnotes!

    But the story of beating fits into today’s widespread prejudices. So I’m sure many readers accept the claim without questioning it. It is likely very plausible for them. It fits right into what they think they already know.

    On the other hand, one might ask if employers, particularly farm-owners, landowners, regularly beat recalcitrant workmen at that time in the Middle East. If this were a general practice, and Jewish landowners did it too, then it could not reasonably be held against Jewish settlers/landowners. Yet, even if it were general, would Jewish employers have dared to beat Muslim employees in the Ottoman Empire, especially in the Land of Israel –then divided among the vilayet of Sham, the vilayet of Sidon [or Beirut?] and the sanjaq of Jerusalem?? This was a country where Jews were traditionally humiliated routinely by not only Muslims but by Christians, themselves dhimmis. This was a place where the Jews were at the bottom of the social barrel!

    Would any non-Muslim employer have dared to beat a Muslim employee at that time and place?

  138. Cynic says:

    Michelle,

    There is another example : when the Romans conquerred Gaul, the Gauls could not wait to be romanized, …

    Wither Goscinny and Uderzo. Ouch :-)

    Something not discussed when considering life in Southern Africa was the abundance of creams and lotions for whitening the skin.
    The material benefits apparently connected to an identity can be a strong persuader.

  139. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Nice to see you popping!

    For you – and other non-French readers – here’s an English version of Elisabeth Antebi’s paper I posted in #143.
    Henry Laurens was member of the jury of her PhD thesis on the same subject.

  140. E.G. says:

    Cynic, n.
    A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic’s eyes to improve his vision.

    Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
    (with thanks to Lorenz Gude)

  141. Eliyahu says:

    The most notable of the Rumanian Jews who came during the First Aliyah was Aharon Aharonson [OR Aaron Aaronsohn]. He was born about the same time in the future Rumania as Michelle’s grandfather. He too was born as an Ottoman subject. In light of what Michelle wrote about her grandfather, what was the status of the Jews in the young Rumanian state, if they were not citizens? Were they still Ottoman subjects? Anyhow, they were born as Ottoman subjects in an empire which both Turkish and Arab writers have described as a “Turkish-Arab state.” That is, members of the Arab upper crust were high officials of the Empire, including palestinian Arabs of the Husseini, Khalidi, and Abdul-Hadi families. Prez Obama’s friend Rashid is part of the Khalidi family.

    So this brings us back to the accusation of “colonialism” made against Jews and Zionists who settled in Israel. The Universal Decl of Human Rights asserts the right to move around in one’s own country/state [Art 13]. So if the Ottoman Empire was the state of the Rumanian Jews, then they were exercizing a right recognized by the Univ Decl of HR. OK, so they moved to Israel in 1882, not before 1878. So what? Had they lost their Ottoman subjecthood, especially since they were not Rumanian citizens? If the Jews in Wallachia & Moldavia had lost their Ottoman subjecthood, then aren’t the HR advocates who also charge Israel with “colonialism” being unfair to these Jews by hanging them on the “colonialism” charge for only three or four years of statelessness after having been born and lived most of their lives as Ottoman subjects????

    Anyhow, what was the colonial or imperial power that they represented?? Were they colonists in behalf of Rumania? Or the Ottoman Empire? They had not been sent to Israel by the USA, or UK or the French or German or Austro-Hungarian empires. To be sure, Baron Edmond de Rothchild supported them financially but he did that as a private person, not as an agent of French policy even if he encouraged the French language among the “olim”. Which power was the imperial or colonial Mother country of these colonists/colonialists??

  142. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    The Baron sponsored Eliezer Ben Yehuda. According to E. Antebi (in the English version linked above there are many endnotes, including Hebrew refs), he encouraged the use of Hebrew in Palestine.

    Re- colonialism. The pejorative connotation is recent. At the time people established colonies, just as naturally as ants do till this very age. Or as French sending their progeny to… colonies (de vacances).

  143. Eliyahu says:

    to continue with the issue of colonization and colonialism [two separate things].

    The Ottoman Empire itself settled or colonized in Israel subjects of the Empire coming from areas given up by the Ottoman state in accord with the Congress of Berlin, 1878. These colonists sponsored by the Ottoman Empire were Europeans, albeit Muslims. Thousands of Bosnian Muslims, Europeans by race, Slavic or –some say– Wallachian [Vlakhs] by origin, were settled in Israel and what is now Syria and Jordan. So were many Circassians from the northern Caucasus settled in Israel and neighboring countries. The Circassians too are unquestionably white folk. Neither the Bosnian Muslims nor the Circassian Muslims had or claimed to have any ancestral connection to the land of Israel. Yet the Empire settled them there and elsewhere and they were welcomed by the local Arabs, as far as I know, because they were Muslims.

    Why didn’t the Ottoman Empire work to bring the Wallachian-Moldavian Jews to Israel and other lands remaining within the Empire after 1878?? Was there a discrimination in favor of Muslims in the Empire?? Did the Jews’ loyal Ottoman subjecthood count for naught with the powers that be in Constantinople??

    Why did the Aaronsons and Shatzmans have to work and struggle to bring themselves to Israel instead of the Empire, their state, clearing the hurdles for them, financing their settling down in Zikhron or Benyamina?

    Why didn’t the Khalidis, Husseinis and Abdul-Hadis speak up in the councils of Ottoman power for bringing the Jews, whose ancestral homeland was Israel, back home?? Especially in view of the Quranic foretelling of the Jews’ return to their Land??

    Oliphant, whose account of Jews in Zikhron EG linked to above, also wrote about the Muslim settlers from Europe. I quote a long passage from Oliphant in the post linked to below:

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/07/palestinian-arabs-are-also-bosnians.html

    The colonialist thesis about Zionism is a smear charge, hypocritical and ignorant at best. It is also internally incoherent.

  144. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    Why didn’t the Ottoman Empire work to bring the Wallachian-Moldavian Jews to Israel and other lands remaining within the Empire after 1878??

    Out of what interest? Human Rights? Fairness doctrine?
    Only business interests made them settle Jews in the Balkans, in previous centuries. Clearly, there were no such interests regarding the province of Palestine, and the Empire was not at its best.
    It took people like Charles Netter to show the guys in Constantinople the benefits they could (and did) gain from being tolerant towards Jews (not only from former Ottoman territories) settling in Palestine. IOW, tolerance and land were bought, as was the custom.

    Binyamina (after Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild) was founded in 1922.

  145. E.G. says:

    Eliyahu,

    To your (rhetoric) question about the Ottoman Empire caring for its Jews, here’s the story of a Kurd who cares for former Kurdish Jews. Or does he?

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3761268,00.html

  146. oao says:

    ah, yes, the kurds. those who were so praised for democracy and freedom and being so much more civilized than the arabs.

    it turned out that they don’t lack honor killings. and then came the last election.

    give me a break.

  147. oao says:

    and a most interesting fact was that Jews living in Romania did not become romanian citizens : in order to be one, one had to be a christian.

    there has always been and is significant anti-semitism in the balkans, romania in particular. romania, bulgaria and yugoslavia were axis partners and exterminated jews in ww2. communism did not create that, it just incorporated that.

    Henry Laurens reads arabic, but he does not read hebrew.

    if you were an arabist isn’t that what you would do?

    I know that oao does not like it when I even mention the possibility of hope, but he’s oao and I’m Michelle and nobody here would want one of us to align on the other.

    it’s not that “i don’t like it”. if evidence is provided as basis for hope, that’s fine. my problem is with lack of justification for hope, particularly if evidence is overwhelming against hope. then it’s wishful thinking and that can have consequences.

    Now the good news. I saw Mark Regev stand up rather well to the bbc this morning.

    ah, but will it make any difference? israelis are invited on tv these days only to be bashed and dismissed.

    So this brings us back to the accusation of “colonialism” made against Jews and Zionists who settled in Israel. The Universal Decl of Human Rights asserts the right to move around in one’s own country/state [Art 13].

    another startegic aspect israel should have promoted from the start but failed to. for all these mistakes it is now paying the price, which may up being the ultimate price.

    Only business interests made them settle Jews in the Balkans, in previous centuries.

    those who want to understand how islam had a golden age and why it produces nothing but jihad today — there’s a hint for you in that.

  148. Eliyahu says:

    EG, there was no “province of palestine” under the Ottoman or Mamluk empires. What we call the Land of Israel –in the meaning used in the Talmud for Land of Israel– was an indistinct, undifferentiated part of what the Arabs/Muslims traditionally call bilad ash-Sham, that is, most of Syria, the western part of Transjordan, Israel, and Lebanon. This geographic notion, bilad ash-Sham, is sometimes called in English Syria or Greater Syria.

  149. Cynic says:

    Yet the Empire settled them there and elsewhere and they were welcomed by the local Arabs, as far as I know, because they were Muslims.

    Why didn’t the Ottoman Empire work to bring the Wallachian-Moldavian Jews to Israel and other lands remaining within the Empire after 1878?? Was there a discrimination in favor of Muslims in the Empire??

    Do you forget the dictates of the Qur’an and Hadith as regards those descendants of apes and pigs?
    Things are a lot more complicated when trying to understand the Ottoman Empire and its acceptance of the dhimmis in what is Turkey and its gross discrimination of them in what is Arabia.
    It seems that, and I am not claiming it as fact, Turkey was more Liberal than Arabia.
    The Turks appear to have been far more advanced in their acceptance of Western concepts than their Muslim brothers who remained in the stone age in the Arabian peninsula, and most probably were pragmatic in not outraging their cousins and wastefully expending resources on controlling them.

    Did the Turks even have the capacity to imagine the capacity of the Jews to turn the sand and stones into a bountiful garden of Eden? To create from virtually nothing a completely developed state?
    They most probably only saw the stereotypes of Europe.

  150. Ray in Seattle says:

    It seems from my reading that throughout the Middle Ages Constantinople sat on the only practical land route between Europe and the ME. Muslim pirates often made sea trade hazardous. At times it was overwhelmed by European travelers – such as Crusaders – who sometimes were welcomed, but sometimes besieged the city and sometimes stayed there for many years on their way to reclaim the Holy Land. So, for geographic and other reasons Turkey became a cultural cross-roads and more cosmopolitan (modern) in outlook. I assume this liberalism became ingrained in the culture and perhaps paved the way for Kamal Ataturk many centuries later, to attempt to modernize Turkey in the European model and reduce the power of Islam in the government and military.

    Today, Turkey sways one way then the other, in response to pressures from the region, but seems generally more liberal than Arab Muslim regions to the south and east. I have an American friend who taught there as an for several years as an exchange teacher and she was enamored of the place. Most Americans can think only think of Midnight Express.

  151. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    They most probably only saw the stereotypes of Europe.

    There was a prosperous Jewish community, especially in Constantinople. Some members were advisers to Sultanic eminences, apart from donators etc. So it wasn’t difficult to perceive the resourcefulness and organisational skills.

    As for the capacity to imagine anyone doing anything in that lost piece of land – many lacked it.

  152. oao says:

    It seems that, and I am not claiming it as fact, Turkey was more Liberal than Arabia.

    it seems to me anybody does better than the arabs, it’s not hard. not just more liberal but probably less primitive and more civilized too.

    The Turks appear to have been far more advanced in their acceptance of Western concepts than their Muslim brothers who remained in the stone age in the Arabian peninsula, and most probably were pragmatic in not outraging their cousins and wastefully expending resources on controlling them.

    that’s why ataturk was able to get rid of islam and modernise turkey in the 1st place for an extended time.
    it took a while for islam to start regressing it back.

    They most probably only saw the stereotypes of Europe.

    and islam told them muslims are so much superiors to infidels. that’s not inducing imagination.

  153. E.G. says:

    They were quite imaginative in many ways, including ways to exploit their Jewish Human Resources (which they have not always considered in very Human terms).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>