Finally! An Arab Voice for Resettling the Palestinian Refugees

I’m pretty sure that if you were to take a poll of Americans and ask them, “who put the Palestinian refugees in camps and kept them there to this day?” a large majority would respond, “The Israelis, duh. Why would the Arabs do that to their brethren?” For example, Michael Moore speaks about a visit to the refugee camps in 1988:

Although in my life I had already traveled through Central America, China, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the Middle East. I wasn’t ready for what I saw in the refugee camps in the Occupied Territories. I had never encountered such squalor, debasement, and utter misery. To force human beings to live in these conditions – and do so at the barrel of a gun, for more than forty years — just made no sense. Stupid White Men, p. 178.

Now Moore seems to presume that it’s the Israelis who have done this to the Palestinians. (His next paragraph goes into how badly the Jews have been treated in the past and how sad that they should turn around and do it to someone else — the favorite formula of those attracted to moral Schadenfreude.) He seems to have no awareness that for the first (and critical) half of the Palestinian experience of refugee confinement, it was Arab rulers and Arab guns who kept them in misery, and that once Israel took over they tried to move these unfortunate victims out into decent housing, and it was the Arabs who pushed UN Resolutions insisting that they be returned to the squalor of the camps.

How much more nonsensical is that — it’s the Arabs who want their misery, not the Israelis?

Unless one thinks in terms of Domineering Cognitive Egocentrism, and the Honor-Jihad Paradigm.

I have posted before on the inexcusably ruthless Palestinian and Arab policy of using the refugees from 1948 as hostages, really as sacrificial victims on the altar of Arab irredentist hatred of Israel. The single most constructive move that the world community can do to contribute to peace is test the real intentions of the “moderates” who assure us all that only a fraction of the Palestinian refugees will want to return to Israel once the peace deal has been brokered, by insisting that they start moving those who don’t/won’t want to move back into decent housing… not just in Palestinian territory, but all over the Arab world. And Jimmy Carter can lead the movement as head of Habitat Humanity.

Now, at last, an Arab intellectual, Daoud Al-Shiryan, has tackled this shameful (by modern humanitarian standards) situation. MEMRI provides an extensive translation of passages. H/T oao and Elder of Ziyon

August 11, 2009 No. 2483

Al-Arabiya TV Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Resettlement of Palestinian Refugees

Daoud Al-Shiryan, Al-Hayat columnist and deputy secretary-general of Al-Arabiya TV, recently published several articles criticizing how the Palestinian refugees have been treated by the Arab countries in which they live. He called on these countries to integrate the refugees into their societies and to resettle them before they are forced to do so by the international community.

Objecting to Refugee Resettlement Is Objecting to Peace

In the first of his articles, published July 15, 2009, Al-Shiryan wrote: “The issue of [refugee] resettlement has begun to preoccupy the Arab countries, which are keeping the Palestinians in depressing prison camps known as Palestinian refugee camps. Although so far no one in the Arab world has called for their resettlement, the refugee problem has now [gained prominence] in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, both on the political arena and in the media. It has [even] become an issue in forming the next Lebanese government. This means that, in its next stage, the peace process is expected to encounter obstacles [on the part of] the Arabs.

Objecting to [refugee] resettlement is no different than objecting to peace. It is nothing but an unrealistic slogan. The Arabs have agreed to peace, although they realize that there cannot be peace without [refugee] resettlement. But they disregard this fact, viewing the refugee issue as a point of controversy, when it is [actually] a central and key issue in the peace process. The fear [of being accused of renouncing the nationalist] slogans [calling for] struggle, resistance, and casting Israel into the sea – slogans which emerged at the outset of the peace process with Israel – and the link that has been established between the issue [of resettlement] and ethnic and political problems in some [Arab] countries – have [all] become an obstacle to a realistic and honest approach to the issue.

“Arabs who object to the [refugee] resettlement plan contend that they are motivated by their zealous devotion to the Right of Return. But they have not lifted a finger to keep this right alive in the consciousness of the Palestinian ‘detainees’ in the camps of abasement. As a result, this spurious devotion has evoked the opposite reaction: a Palestinian [refugee] now hopes to emigrate to America, Europe, Canada, or Australia in order to escape the hell of the Palestinian refugee camps, which have played a part in killing his will to live.

“It follows that [refugee] resettlement is [already] underway, despite [all the] slogans promoting the Right of Return that have become an [integral] part of the speeches of these countries’ politicians.

“There is no doubt that our next campaign [should be aimed at] defending the [refugee] resettlement program and demanding that it be implemented… [The host countries] must open up the refugee camps, which are not fit for human [habitation]. [They must] prohibit the trading in the lives of these people, whether this trading was in the name of security and or in the name of terrorism, and they must make it possible for Palestinians to work, to send their children to [public] schools, and to make a living without conditions or limitations. Without real change in the conduct of the countries ‘detaining’ the Palestinian [refugees], the number of those demanding resettlement will [only] increase. Opposition to [refugee] resettlement is specious; it is tantamount to the slow murder of the Palestinians…” [1]

Stop Treating the Palestinians Like A Plague

In another article, published July 20, 2009, Al-Shiryan wrote: “[Refugee] resettlement will undoubtedly happen; let us hope that it happens soon. We are not asking the countries with the refugee camps to grant the Palestinians citizenship out of their own goodwill. But [even] before the refugees are resettled, these countries must tear down the refugee camps’ fences, open their gates to let in light and fresh air, [allow] freedom of movement, protect the Palestinians from the humiliation of poverty, destitution and having to beg from UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency], and enable them to work.

“These countries must stop treating the Palestinians like a plague, using slogans which, as we all know, have become nothing but empty utterances in a loathsome struggle. We must break the isolation of the Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. A Palestinian should be made to feel like a welcome and dear guest – before some external intervention comes along and grants him the right to live in dignity, to everyone’s consternation

Note the role of outside pressure in generating this argument. This all would have happened decades ago — over half a century ago — if the world community had not appeased the oil-rich Arabs and quietly rejoiced in their proxy anti-Semitism.

“We must support the Palestinians like the West supported the Jews. We must reassess the whole idea of refugee camps, before they collapse on top of us. Be God-fearing [in handling the issue of] the refugee camp dwellers. Stop fighting at the expense of the Palestinian people’s dignity.” [2]

Where are all those good men and women, so concerned with the humiliation of the Palestinian people? Do they care? Or is pointing the finger at the Israelis much more important? Are you listening Christiane Amanpour?

The Arabs Have Turned the Palestinians Into a People Defeated Both Morally and Materially

In the third article on the subject of refugee resettlement, Al-Shiryan related the stories of two Lebanese women, one Palestinian and the other Jewish. He wrote: “The [Jewish] Lebanese woman, Hannah [Efraim], invited the Palestinian woman, Umm Bilal, to come spend the weekend at her house… [saying], ‘I want you to help me pack my things, since I have decided to emigrate to the U.S. As you can see, the political and social situation after the 1958 [Lebanese civil] war does not encourage one to stay [in Lebanon], and intensifies sectarianism here. I prefer my son to live far away from Lebanon.’ [Shortly thereafter,] Hannah left [Lebanon] and lost touch with Umm Bilal.

“Upon her arrival in New York, Hannah received assistance from Jewish organizations. A short time later, she received U.S. citizenship, enrolled her son in a private school, and started working in a bank, earning a good salary. [Her son] Avraham grew up, finished university, and advanced at his job, becoming director-general of a reputable bank. Ten years after completing his degree he married, had three children, and bought a fine house in a New Jersey suburb [for himself], and another for his mother.

“In 1995, Hannah decided to visit Lebanon and spend her summer vacation there. She arrived in Beirut and moved into a luxurious hotel. The next day, she asked her driver to take her to the refugee camp where Umm Bilal lived. She entered the camp and inquired after her. By nightfall, she managed to find her – [living] in a dilapidated hut with fabric-covered windows, her body ravaged by tuberculosis.

“Hannah asked Umm Bilal about [her husband], Abu Bilal; Umm Bilal replied that he had died in the civil war. ‘And what about [your son] Bilal?’ [Hannah asked]. [Umm Bilal] replied, ‘He is working at a bicycle repair shop down the street. His salary is barely enough to cover my basic needs and those of his three sisters.’ ‘Is Bilal married?’ Hannah asked. ‘In this hole, where would we get the money to feed another mouth?’ [answered Umm Bilal].

“‘Aisha [Umm Bilal] is just one example among the thousands of Palestinian mothers [like her], and Hannah is just one example among the Jewish mothers [like her]. The Arabs kept the Palestinians in refugee camps and made into a people defeated both morally and materially. In contrast, the West welcomed the Jews and made them a leading [force] in science, arts, literature, economics, and politics.

It’s not that they were Jews. The West took anyone who was willing to play by the rules of civil society (and then some). In my dialogue group there was a fine Palestinian man, who grew up in Sabra refugee camp. When he finally came to the USA, he became a chiropractor, married a Jewish woman, and raised a fine family in the suburbs of Boston.

“Are we capable of reassessing the idea of the refugee camps, [thereby] saving the next generation of Palestinians from a fate [similar to that of] Bilal and his contemporaries? There is still an opportunity to do so. The Palestinians do not want to be resettled. All they want is to be treated the same way the West treated the Jews. Then they will win and recover their rights.” [3]

Clinging to the Right of Return Is Motivated by the Wish to Be Rid of the Palestinians

In his fourth article on the issue of the Palestinian refugees, Al-Shiryan addressed a claim advanced by Lebanese politician Wiam Wahhab on Lebanese television – that Shiryan’s articles on refugee resettlement were part of the Zionists’ proposals and the American plan. Al-Shiryan wrote: “[My] passion for [refugee] resettlement is not a rejection of the Right of Return, but rather of the inhuman treatment of the Palestinians in the ‘countries of the refugee camps.’ Foremost among these countries is Lebanon, which bars the Palestinians from 72 professions, so as to prevent them from living in dignity – despite the fact that you wouldn’t find such a long list of professions even on Mars …

You find them in apartheid societies… like Lebanon.

“Those who raise the banner of the Right of Return have doubtless given up on the diplomatic and military efforts to achieve this aim. Their insistence on refusing to resettle [the refugees] has become an [empty] slogan aimed at getting rid of the Palestinians altogether, regardless of the consequences. Moreover, [they] prevent Palestinian residents from exercising their human and social rights – as if encouraging them to cling to the right of return entails their continued detention and segregation in the camps of dejection and despair.

“The resettlement for which I call [means] that the ‘rope’ countries, [i.e. countries] that serve as a gallows for the Palestinians, will [allow them] to live as they live in Great Britain, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states – [where] they [have] dreams and jobs, and where they raise their children in a way that will allow them to deal with the conflict in its new context…

“Do those who fight [for the Right of Return] in Lebanon, Jordan, or Syria know that the head of the largest Kuwaiti bank is a Palestinian, and that the information attaché at the Kuwaiti Embassy in the U.S., who now heads an American university, is [also] a Palestinian? Do they know that Palestinians in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman run large companies and live like honored guests? Has the humane treatment they receive [in those countries] affected the continued vitality of the Right of Return?

“Stop [repeating] slogans and stop showing off to us and to the Palestinians.” [4]

[1] Al-Hayat (London), July 15, 2009.

[2] Al-Hayat (London), July 20, 2009.

[3] Al-Hayat (London), July 21, 2009.

[4] Al-Hayat (London), July 22, 2009.

141 Responses to Finally! An Arab Voice for Resettling the Palestinian Refugees

  1. […] here: Augean Stables » Finally! An Arab Voice for Resettling the … Share and […]

  2. E.G. says:

    Better late.
    Meanwhile, however, Jordan is stripping many of its Palestinian Arabs of their Jordanian citizenship.

    “It was not revealed how the new policy decision would effect Jordan’s Queen Rania al-Yassin, whose parents both come from Tulkarem, in Samaria. “

  3. oao says:

    Meanwhile, however, Jordan is stripping many of its Palestinian Arabs of their Jordanian citizenship.

    and EU and all the ngo’s are up in arms about it.

  4. E.G. says:

    A very balanced approach. Don’t you think?

  5. nelson says:

    Let’s, btw, not forget the basics. Besides all the very real political motives, the irredentism and so on, there are lots of people whose livelihood, wellbeing and power are directly connected to the existence of Palestinian refugees. What would have been of Arafat without them, what of all those “revolutionary” organizations? Where would they get money without a “cause” to promote? The same for UNWRA, innumerable NGOs etc. There’s a lot of money to be made and there are many good jobs to be kept in keeping the Palestinians in their camps. There are and have been thousands upon thousands of people for whom this is a very good business.

  6. Cynic says:

    This Al-Arabiya article seems to stress the fact that the Arabs want to get get rid of the Palestinians instead of displaying how the Arabs have used them as cannon fodder in their fight to remove the Israelis.
    The Palestinians are simply held hostage by the Arabs and the UN in using them as a weapon against the Jews.
    And the West seems to have gone along in acquiescing to this “clean hands” policy, for them, in ridding themselves of the Jews. Years and years of bankrolling this murderous behaviour where Palestinian lives have been as expendable as Jewish lives with all the subsequent hypocritical handwringing.

  7. oao says:

    The same for UNWRA, innumerable NGOs etc. There’s a lot of money to be made and there are many good jobs to be kept in keeping the Palestinians in their camps.

    One would argue that this is the main if not only reason the refugees and the conflict exist! Witout UNRWA (funded entirely by the west, mainly US) the camps would have disappeared a long time ago. Indeed, Israel tried to move them into decent housing and unrwa forced them to stop.

    Arafat and his thugs knew that if he got a state at least some of the money would have to go to building it. Why bother if they could have all of it in either their own account or in security troups who owed their income to them.

  8. oao says:

    The Palestinians are simply held hostage by the Arabs and the UN in using them as a weapon against the Jews.

    Oh, no, the UN is only a derivative of the arabs and leftists, and they contribute nothing to the UN or the pals.

    It’s the US and the west, who fund the UN, UNRWA and the pals directly. And I would not put it past them that they’re as stupid as to not realize it (although some probably do and intend it).

    There was an article a couple of days ago i emailed to RL on a proposed solution to the refugees: the US should say from now on funds only to resettle the refugees in the arab countries and not one more penny for the camps.

    And the West seems to have gone along in acquiescing to this “clean hands” policy, for them, in ridding themselves of the Jews.

    this intensified since oslo, when israel bought the arab narrative and started pounding its chest in guilt; it also stopped fighting to win. now they’re getting the rewards.

  9. oao says:

    not only that, but the west also blames the waste of resources that get sucked into terrorism, corruption, dependency and lazyness of the pals on — you guessed — israel:

    if they really believe this then they delude themselves that with isael gone the pals will be able to develop their economy and they won’t have to dump that much money on them, which explains their campaign of delegitimizing and eliminating israel.

    the more money they pump into the pals and the more they waste, the more they will blame israel. there is no way they will admit they were had to the hilt.

    this is a mechanism which guarantees israel has no future.

  10. oao says:

    and now here we go again:

    US might try to “lure Damascus by pushing painful concessions on Israel”

  11. oao says:

    And if the west does this, why not the pals?

    A Made-Up Quotation Shows The Craziness in Slandering Israel and Misunderstanding How Politics and Warfare Works
    By Barry Rubin

    Fatah Election: The Myths Unravel. Most moderate Fatah guy says election fraud is an Israeli conspiracy!
    By Barry Rubin

  12. Ray in Seattle says:

    oao, I’ve gotten in the habit of clicking on your “Rubin Reports” links. Always a pretty good read O find.

    In “A Made-Up Quotation Shows The Craziness in Slandering Israel and Misunderstanding How Politics and Warfare Works” he says:

    ” No matter how violence-prone, “racist,” disrespectful of the “other,” or triumphalist, these statements are, it doesn’t seem to matter.


    Part of the answer is contained in the Star article’s chilling quotation from Robert Thompson, an expert on media and popular culture at Syracuse University. While agreeing that newspapers should admit when they misquote someone, he concludes that even when they misrepresent the truth:

    “It doesn’t mean the argument collapses. The quote, for many people, was used to shore up something they feel very strongly about. It takes on a life of its own. It’s almost irrelevant whether it was ever said.”

    In other words–and I don’t think Thompson is advocating this, just correctly observing—it doesn’t matter if people lie about Israel because they believe they know it is guilty and evil. Evidence has nothing to do with it. That’s a lot scarier than what Yaalon was supposed to have said. ”

    Very perceptive, I’d say. It’s not only scary but it violates our own belief in the astuteness and intelligence of our own opinions on these things – or the opinions of those who agree with us. People can generally adapt to scary – but the way humans actually make behavior decisions – using their intelligence not to arrive at them but to justify them – is one step too far for most to even consider.

    But is all that even important? It is if you expect to ever change the direction of history for the better.

  13. austin says:

    you have a defective link to the General Assembly Resolution 31/15

    Nov 23, 1976

    here is the correct URL

  14. E.G. says:


    It amounts to an ethical dilemma for Israeli PR. Either remain fact-anchored and “dry” – but ethically irreproachable (on a self-criticism scale/standard), or switch to a more “vivid” style, closer to the propaganda psy/cog war manner. As things are, the minds are preferred to the hearts. Because in the Israeli the heart of hearts lies the (ancient, atavistic?) cornerstone of justice uniting mind and heart.

  15. oao says:

    “…but it violates our own belief in the astuteness and intelligence of our own opinions on these things – or the opinions of those who agree with us.”

    i don’t understand — what’s your point?

    i never said that people are astute and intelligent, on the contrary. i said that people are not, but they CAN be ONLY if they are properly trained to rely on evidence, to think critically and independently and to reason properly. this does not guarantee results, but those who go through such training are much more likely to be astute and intelligent than those who don’t.

    question: is thompson astute and intelligent? if he is, why is he?

    but the way humans actually make behavior decisions – using their intelligence not to arrive at them but to justify them – is one step too far for most to even consider.

    some do and some don’t. some do sometimes and not other times. some progress and some regress.

  16. nelson says:


    you said

    “One would argue that this is the main if not only reason the refugees and the conflict exist! Witout UNRWA (funded entirely by the west, mainly US) the camps would have disappeared a long time ago. Indeed, Israel tried to move them into decent housing and unrwa forced them to stop.”

    It’s scary how much, in despotic societies, depends on the whim, on the temperament of the despot or rulers.

    In a very crazy way, Stalin and Hitler were not only destroyers, but also builders. Hitler had detailed architetonic plans for his Thousand Year Reich, while Stalin wanted to build Russia up into a industrial (and, of course, military) power, with its own heavy industry and capable of manufacturing airplanes, cars etc. They were ambitious and wanted to put their countries (and themselves) on the top of the world food-chain.

    I’m not praising them in any way, just saying that their ambitions went beyond the mere accumulation of money and local gang power. They didn’t want an account in Switzerland, they wanted to own banks and Switzerland itself.

    But a newer generations of tyrants seemed comfortable just with very local power, personal wealth and destruction: Fidel Castro, for instance, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, Arafat and most Muslim/Arab dictators themselves. Actually, what’s intriguing is that Arafat didn’t even have the ambition of getting his own country and real army with heavy weapons and so on: he seemed happy to be less powerfull regionaly than, say, Saddam Hussein. And he had zero will or instinct for building anything.

    You know the Ceausescus much better than I do: were they somewhere in-between? After all, they are said to have destroyed most of the old neighbourhoods of Bucharest because they wanted to rebuild them, after their own mad image, in some stupid new way, didn’t they?

  17. oao says:

    But a newer generations of tyrants seemed comfortable just with very local power, personal wealth and destruction: Fidel Castro, for instance, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, Arafat and most Muslim/Arab dictators themselves.

    it’s the destruction that keeps them in power and wealth.
    if they start building they’ll pump up expectations and demands, redistribute power and wealth and undermine themselves.

    you also have to consider islam’s “inshallah, it’s his will” which can be exploited by the tyrants by not doing much.

    And he had zero will or instinct for building anything.

    because he fulfilled what pals wanted. he got more power and wealth from fighting israel than from building a country. and he knew that improving the wellbeing of his people will interfere with the main goal — they might become content. by keeping the conflict alive he and the other tyrants keep themselves in power. take that conflict away and they’re all in trouble.

    After all, they are said to have destroyed most of the old neighbourhoods of Bucharest because they wanted to rebuild them, after their own mad image, in some stupid new way, didn’t they?

    they utterly destroyed the whole country. romania exists only on paper. there is no state, only a band of robbers and oligarchs whose only raison d’etre is to rob the country blind. corruption and anarchy are not the right words to describe the situation.

  18. oao says:

    in fact arafat caused real material destruction: the only time when the pals progressed economically, socially, educationally was after 1967 when israel took over. when arafat came he reversed the process and killed all progress.

    the less content people are the more they’re focused on hating israel and the less on their governing.

  19. Eliyahu says:

    oao, of course you’re right that

    the only time when the pals progressed economically, socially, educationally was after 1967 when israel took over. when arafat came he reversed the process and killed all progress.

    Some Arabs around here might agree too. But the West doesn’t want to be convinced of that because of its own Judeophobic passions and prejudices [when I write “passions and prejudices” I am agreeing with Ray]. But of course there are Western officials and psywar experts who manipulate their own masses, especially the “Left.”

    The West is not collapsing as you seem to think. Rather it is being strangled and choked by its own powers that be.

  20. E.G. says:

    I think that tyranny (like other activities) has a hedonistic element in it. How hedonism is expressed differs between individuals, as well as the proportion this feature occupies in one’s being.

    So for Stalin, leaving some constructions for future generations might have had a hedonistic appeal. For Arafat, leaving destruction and desolation might have had that appeal.

  21. E.G. says:

    Further, it may be useful to consider Schadenfreude’s cousin: Gluckschmerz or the displeasure at another person’s good fortune (or absence of suffering).

  22. Cynic says:


    Your link gives me:
    ODS – Sédoc

    Official Documents System
    of the United Nations
    Système de diffusion électronique
    des documents de l’ONU

    There is an end-user problem. If you have reached this site from a web link,
    – Through your internet options, adjust your privacy settings to allow cookies or
    – Check your security settings and make sure this site has not been blocked or
    – You are probably using a very slow link that may not work well with this application.
    Otherwise you have reached this site through unauthorized means.
    Si vous êtes arrivé à cette page à partir d’un lien hypertexte,
    – Paramétrez Internet Explorer de façon à autoriser les cookies. Pour cela, cliquez sur Outils (Tools), puis sur Options Internet (Internet Options), puis sur l’onglet Confidentialité et choisissez le niveau de confidentialité requis;
    – Si cela ne suffit pas, vérifiez les paramètres d’Internet Explorer en matière de sécurité pour vous assurer que le site n’a pas été bloqué.
    Pour cela, cliquez sur Outils, puis sur Options Internet, puis sur l’onglet Sécurité, puis sur la liste des sites sensibles.
    Si ces réglages restent sans effet, c’est que votre connexion est trop lente pour vous permettre d’utiliser cette application.
    Dans les autres cas de figure, vous êtes parvenu à ce site par des moyens non autorisés.

  23. oao says:

    But the West doesn’t want to be convinced of that because of its own Judeophobic passions and prejudices [when I write “passions and prejudices” I am agreeing with Ray].

    there’s that. but there are also economic considerations — oil — and appeasement — fear of jihad, 5th column inside, demographic collapse — and those are not just emotions.

    The West is not collapsing as you seem to think. Rather it is being strangled and choked by its own powers that be.

    i consider the chocking and its consequences collapse.

  24. oao says:

    How hedonism is expressed differs between individuals, as well as the proportion this feature occupies in one’s being.

    and certainly by the culture in which it operates. russian culture is different than arab culture+islam.

    the displeasure at another person’s good fortune (or absence of suffering).

    fueled by honor/shame and islam in the case of arabs.
    the russians system induced inferiority, but that did not mean the russians were totally incapable. the arabs are.

  25. oao says:

    and he writes exactly what i have been arguing here many times: that the only chance the pals have is not to
    have a state, but to threaten violence and get jiziyah.

  26. oao says:

    and so does the just published fatah platform. check out point 2:

  27. oao says:

    says abbas:

    “We’re not setting conditions on anyone,” he explained. “This is the demand of the international community. If Israel fulfills its commitments in line with the Road Map plan, we will be prepared to resume the talks from the point where they ended under the previous government of Ehud Olmert.”

    the consequence of alibama’s policies — enabled the pals to assign responsibility on the US.

    note that he wants to start from where olmert left it.
    that’s the old trick for which israel keeps falling:
    making concessions conditional on pal response; they don’t respond yet accept the concessions as starting point and the int’l community pushes for that.

  28. E.G. says:

    note that he wants to start from where olmert left it.

    Really? All of the sudden the gaps are not wide?
    (Jackson Diehl WaPo interview)…..03614.html

  29. oao says:

    <iReally? All of the sudden the gaps are not wide?

    who said they are not wide? they are, but we gotta narrow them still.

  30. oao says:

    netanyahu behaves just like i said he would: all talk and no spine:

    whoever believes that will help the piece process ought to have his head examined. all it does is induce pals to ask for more, taking the freeze for granted.

  31. Eliyahu says:

    oao, you know better than to imagine that there is something going on that deserves to be called a “peace process.” The so-called “peace process” is an assault on Jews and that’s what it’s meant to be, not only by Arabs but by the UK foreign office, US State Dept, EU Commission, Quai d’Orsay, etc etc. Only a fool could imagine that the powers named above care about peace or democracy or human rights or any of the blah blah platitudes that they often put forth to justify their policies. By the way, does anybody in France note Kouchner’s mad cynicism? Don’t forget that Kouchner used to run Doctors without Borders [Medecins sans frontieres]. He also used to run Bosnia or Kossovo or some such place on behalf of the UN or NATO or whomever. He didn’t do much to help “human rights” in that capacity.

    Obominable gets close to admitting his amoral or immoral, cynical policy with his unabashed reliance on “Realist” foreign policy advisors like Zbig Brzezinski, etc. I don’t think that they really care about “American national interests” either. “National interest” is just another screen for more particular, more unspeakable and unwhisperable, more sinister interests and aims. Did you note how Robert Gates, US sec’y of defense, declared a few weeks ago that an Israeli attack on Iran to destroy its nuke capacity would be “against US national interests”?? Just what are US national interests in that case?? Is it the US interest –apparently it is– to encourage Iran to obtain The Bomb??

    “Realism” was always supposed to be something like hardboiled Realpolitik. But just what realism is there in Obama’s taking troops out of Iraq to send them to Afghanistan?? The latter would seem to be a much less crucial country to “rational” American interests than Iraq.

  32. E.G. says:

    Report: Obama, Mubarak to discuss compensation for refugees,7340,L-3763447,00.html

  33. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Kouchner showed to the world what he really is: just one more (somewhat) handsome face, but nothing behind the façade. He used to run the MINUK (Mission des Nations Unies au Kossovo), and I have no idea of what he really there. I mean, I never read an independent evaluation of his work during this tenure.

    The fun part is that, during the recent short-lived Uighur rebellion, he made a declaration about whatever (can’t remember the contents), but he kept mispronouncing “uighur” into “yaourt” (the french for yoghurt, which is quite close to “uighur”), and this was hi-la-rious!

  34. E.G. says:

    Speaking of hedonism!

  35. Michelle Schatzman says:

    You can find here

    the video of Kouchner confusing Uighurs and yogurts.

    He says twice “yougourt”, instead of “ouigours”. I suspect that in fact, he got confused by “yourte”, which is the traditional mongol tent, and he thought that geographically Xinjiang is not terribly far from Mongolia. In fact, there is an autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in China, south of the independent state of Mongolia, and an autonomous region of Xinjiang, south-west of Mongolia.

    The conclusion also is hilarious “Il faut que cela cesse et que cela s’apaise. C’est un grand pays, la Chine, et quand ce genre de choses se passe, cela fait beaucoup de blessés et de morts”. (Things must stop and peace must return. China is a large country, and when this type of thing happens, there are large numbers of wounded and deads.) Just before that, he explains the rebellion of the Uighurs as “intercommunity fights”.

    I am definitely more annoyed by his “La Chine est un grand pays” explanation than by his slip of tongue.

  36. E.G. says:

    Well, the elephant in the China shop.

  37. oao says:

    oao, you know better than to imagine that there is something going on that deserves to be called a “peace process.”

    aw, c’mon, i was describing the west’s delusion, not mine.

    I don’t think that they really care about “American national interests” either.

    they do. they realize america is collapsing — something to which they themselves contributed — and they delude themselves that appeasement is a way to avoid the consequences.

  38. oao says:

    Kouchner showed to the world what he really is: just one more (somewhat) handsome face, but nothing behind the façade.

    just another lefty. the arabs/muslims play them like a violin. they’re really dumbed down by their ideology.
    and arkozy is not different, even though on the “right”.
    that’s why they work well together.

    kept mispronouncing “uighur” into “yaourt” (the french for yoghurt

    some as in romanian. maybe a greek or turkish source.

  39. oao says:

    the reality with all these lefties is that they deem themselves internationalists, but they have no clue about other cultures and they arrogantly project from themselves to them and see them as just victims without responsibility because that’s how they see themselves too.

  40. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, oao, EG et al.

    I had a dream, just like Dr Martin Luther King. In my dream, Obama, his wife [not to be confused with our Michelle], and Kouchner would be trapped in a Mongol yurt by a blizzard for a whole winter. It would be something like Sartre’s Huis Clos [No Exit]. Would Madame Obama be attracted to the Gallic Lothario? Or would. . . ??
    And finally, would Christine Ockrent, Madame Kouchner, ride in to the rescue at the end of the winter? Would Obama be. . . ? Qui sait? but let’s not think of it anymore.

    Yet, there might be a silver lining. Just think!! Obama and Kouchner would be out of action, hors de combat, separated from the levers of power for months!! It would be an act of Providence for the sake of world peace!! Halleluyah!! הללויה השגחה עליונה הללויה

  41. E.G. says:


    If that’s a dream, I don’t know what a cauchemar is.
    In the first place, they’ll eat each other. That’s their sect’ survival mechanism. Then, they’ll talk themselves to death. Count on Dr. B.
    And by the time Christine shows up (lights-camera-action!) the tanned (more or less naturally) men will announce the new world peace plan they elaborated under those life-threatening conditions.

    They’ll both thank Michelle – not our Savta – for the inspirational moments they were so fortunate to benefit from. She’ll change her hairstyle.

  42. E.G. says:

    Apart from the difference between UNRWA and UNHCR, Elder also cites the just released Fatah platform:

    The [Fatah] Movement believes in the need to preserve the camp[s], [which are] a key symbol to the political refugees who have been deprived from returning to their homes until a solution to their cause, and the need to adhere to the administration of an international relief agency [UNRWA] and a recognition of the cause of refugees until they return to their homes and their country.

  43. Cynic says:

    kept mispronouncing “uighur” into “yaourt” (the french for yoghurt

    Here Yoplait are calling it “Goody Goody” and the TV propaganda is straight out of Bollywood – close enough I suppose :-)

  44. Michelle Schatzman says:

    “here” is where, Cynic?

  45. E.G. says:

    Not where this spot is aired, I’d say.

  46. Cynic says:



  47. Cynic says:


    The dancing Indian girls will no doubt have all those sexually perturbed extremists in a whirl.
    Goody, Goody

  48. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Cynic, my daughter does not have a TV, so I missed this immortal piece of art… by the way, what is the best yogurt in Israel (unflavored, unsweetened, just plain yogurt)?

  49. E.G. says:



  50. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., I cooked lasagna with zucchini and pecorino tonight, and I was immensely flattered by my grandson’s bilingual appreciation “c’est bon” and “taeem”. He’ll be 22 mos. old tomorrow…

    Since I do not own a TV either, I would have missed the Zakia halal ad. I’d like to know whether it is aired by one of the main TV broadcasters, namely TF1, France 2, France 3, M6. The web page does not give any details. Do you know anything about it?

  51. Michelle Schatzman says:

    A couple of answers to my own question.

    The spanish government is one of the main shareholders of the company owning Zakia halal products:

    The ad is run on M6 and TF1 during one month, which is the smallest of the big TV brodacasters in France. The ad is run now, together with wishes for a goo ramadan.

    There is a blog dedicated to halal food and its trade:

    which is a completely apolitical purpose, just graced by a black ribbon on each page, with Gaza (in roman and arabic alphabets) in red crossing the ribbon.

  52. E.G. says:


    Joyeux Yom-Huledet!
    Your daughter is clever not to have a TV.

    I didn’t see the ad on TV (because I didn’t watch) it’s been aired on TF1. I’ll take a look sometime.

    So the argument can be made that these channels are private and, as such, can air whatever they wish.

  53. E.G. says:

    Halal- Haval.

  54. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Halal shmalal?

  55. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Hey, I botched my sentence starting by “The ad” in #62. It should read :

    The ad is run on TF1 and M6, respectively the largest and the smallest of the big national TV broadcasters in france. The ad is run now, with wishes for a good ramadan.

    Is ramadan gooey (like stuffing yourself on sweets dripping with honey throughout the night)?

  56. Cynic says:


    I don’t eat milk products in general so cannot give a personal opinion on yogurt.
    Very occasionally I permit myself some goat’s milk cheese (instead of sweets when savouring schadenfreude – for E.G.’s sense of humour).

    Asking people’s opinion on yogurt is enough to start a flame war. The big producers Tnuva and Strauss market Yoplait and Danone brands respectively with a complete range from 0? fat content to 9% and from natural unsweetened to those with fruit, but there are several smaller producers also, especially from goat’s milk.

  57. E.G. says:

    Meeeeeh too!

    Goat cheese with Za’atar and a drop of Olive oil is deeeeelicious. Especially on a Cynic-style baby-leaves Imperial salad.

  58. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Thanks, Cynic. So I’ll use the experimental method. It’s known to work in physics, chemistry, life sciences… and I won’t have to come up with a mathematical theory of yogurt, though I have heard of quite a few interesting mathematical problems in the food industry, such as: how do you stir properly and efficiently the lactic ferments in the large vat used for preparing yogurt?


    There was much less noise about the Uighur rebellion in China than about the Iranian rebellion after the “election” of Mr Ahmadinejad. The Chinese government forbids entry in territories which are stirred and undergo a process of fermentation. I found a rather interesting article on China, its minorities, and the diverse identities among the Han :

    It is written by an Indian named Brahma Chellaney.

    Speaking of large vats…

  59. E.G. says:

    a. The UNRWA has been committing Crimes against Humanity by registering indifferentially and hereditarily hundreds and thousands of people as refugees, and forcing these people to lead irresponsible lives. The PA (and the Fatah before) are also guilty, since they would not let people leave the camps to make a decent living.

    b. Israel cannot accept a “right of return” not only because there is no such right in Intl. law (despite what Leftware feeds media with), but also because she doesn’t want to become an Apartheid state. After all, should any UNRWA refugee be allowed into Israel, this does not mean s/he’d be entitled to Israeli citizenship (meaning equal rights, work permit, healthcare, voting etc.).

  60. oao says:

    aw, c’mon. ror means elimination of israel period. the rest is conversation.

  61. Michelle Schatzman says:

    E.G., your a is a good concept, I like it. Not only UNRWA, but all the bodies that finance it are complicit (chuckle, chuckle…).

  62. E.G. says:


    I’m glad you share my opinion.
    You can share – or differ – on more on the “Freedom of the Press” thread.

  63. E.G. says:


    Is schadenfreude dairy, Parveh, or meaty?

  64. Cynic says:


    Is schadenfreude dairy, Parveh, or meaty?

    It depends how it makes it presence felt:

    If it oozes out in a creamy froth of delight then obviously milchik – dairy;
    If it just appears to please with no salient extremity then parveh;
    If it bursts forth in a raging emotion then meaty in the extreme!

  65. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Freedom of press? Whadzat?

    But where is the thread? Where, where, where?

    By the way, schadenfreude is (a) taref, because it contains all the tastes mentioned by Cynic (b) permitted, because (b1) even a dog would not eat it (did you ever see a dog displaying Schadenfreude?) (b2) you don’t eat schadenfreude, do you? you just enjoy it.


  66. E.G. says:


    I seriously doubt the Parevish nature of Schadenfreude (tastes fishy, sort of). And have further refinements to request about the Fleischig variant. Your description seems to fit best those beasts who do not possess all 3 necessary and sufficient features…

    Wouldn’t you like to contribute to Lorenz Gude’s Updated Devil’s Dictionary (see: Whitson thread)? I think Bierce’s “Right” needs an update (esp. with the “Human” associated to it).

  67. E.G. says:


    See RL’s July 31 post.

    And your b1 is flawed – ingesting and displaying are distinct.
    Besides, it’s not about eating but savouring. Even food for thought (or the soul) is still food.

  68. Michelle Schatzman says:

    EG, I eat kosher, I think taref ;-).

  69. oao says:

    I told you so about both alibama and bibi:

    Netanyahu”s perilous statecraft

  70. Cynic says:


    With regard to schadenfreude beware; it is not just a smirk in the dark!

  71. E.G. says:


    Indeed I’m not very familiar with Schadenfreude. Certainly not as a WMD (Weapon of Mass Distraction).

  72. Cynic says:


    Indeed I’m not very familiar with Schadenfreude.

    Come, come old chap, really? (sounds of Seagoon giggling in the background as visions of anutha Monty python sketch crawl out)

    Did you not partake of that TV ad by a certain British mineral water manufacturer where two lads were schwept away at the misfortune of a pure young lass unable to gain access to a shop?

  73. Cynic says:


    You mean one goes in and changes anything in, or adds to, Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary?
    With nary a being to keep check?

  74. E.G. says:

    Cynic #83

    Not seen it. Sorry.
    (Yet very well imagine the smile wryly expanding while a Heh! – or two -makes its way under the nose).

    #84 My calls for your participation in that grand crime are on the record, as are your missing answers.
    Some updating is needed. The man lived before the age of affirmative action.

  75. Eliyahu says:

    EG, some readers might be interested in our recent exchange at the end of an earlier thread about George Antonius and how his book, the Arab Awakening, reveals that the term “Nakba” was used as early as 1920 by palestinian Arabs who thought it a catastrophe that they were not allowed to be Syrians, which is what they considered themselves at the time.
    At link below at end:

  76. Cynic says:

    Seeing that the link to the Devil’s Dict., is copyrighted I don’t think we will be making changes.
    Does LG have his own list of politically incorrect terms and definitions that one can add to?

    At the moment because of an insalubrious link to the Huffingtonpost the only thing that comes to an annoyed mind in a rather scatalogical manner is a definition of Twitter:
    which I don’t think appropriate for this blog; but basically: The exegesis of a person defined by a noun that rhymes with twitter.

  77. Eliyahu says:

    off topic/

    here is a site that monitors the Guardian’s Comment Is Free.

  78. Eliyahu says:


    Martin Peretz presents an important discussion by Jeffrey Herf of Islamic jihadism today and the kind of barbarous modernism [that is, technologically up to date; socially medieval] that it represents.

  79. Eliyahu says:

    Here’s a discussion by Matthias Kuntzel of the ties between the Nazis and Muslim extremists such as the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem [Haj Amin el-Husseini] and the Muslim Brotherhood.

  80. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu (or anyone) – would you agree that Ashkenazim descended Jews exert the majority influence on Israel’s politics and national direction (and pre-Israel’s aspirations) – and that that has been the case at least since the late 30’s if not the late 1800’s? I believe that to be the case but I thought I’d ask someone who knows more than me on this. Thanks

  81. oao says:

    when i left israel in 1978 that was the case, but i dk if today it is still so. demographics alone would dictate otherwise. except that the wave of russian immigration may have contributed something — russians were probably more organized and active than the sephardim.

    however, i do see quite sephardic names in the elite.

  82. oao says:

    two important must read regarding the collapse of western education and the destruction of the mind in academia:

    now tell me that education has not collapsed and with it western civilization?

    btw, it’s yale that censored the book about the danish cartoons and appointed a islamist aid to saudi talal prince and supporter of the Brotherhood as some sort of fellow as prostitution for his money.

  83. Eliyahu says:

    Ray, I agree basically with oao who did not go into detail. The first cabinet of the state included both Sefardim and Ashkenazim, although Ashkenazim were a preponderant majority. Now there is much more Sefardi participation in the govt and in other elites such as the press, media, big business, academia, army, etc.

  84. Rfaelmoshe says:

    The self-beneficial, and thus expected reaction to the Arab loss to Israel in 1948 would have been a combination of migration, re-settlement, and re-absorption of the ancestors of today’s self-identified Palestinians,much like the huge numbers of other peoples previously displaced in WWII. This would have been essentially what the self-interest, sort of personal “free market”, would have caused to ordinarily occur, but for massive interference. After 1948 the oil funded Arab extortive lobbying practices resulted in a number of mechanisms designed to maintain the “Palestinian refugees” as an easy source of militants and an on going issue purely to use against Israel. The first device was the creation of one UN aid agency UNRWA ONLY for Palestinians, and with a directive to enforce the unique Palestinian definition of “Palestinian refugee” as an eternally, patrilineal heriditary status of “refugee” with ALL “entitlements.” Not only are Palestinians the ONLY people in the world that asserts this uniquely expansive definition, they also assert that it ONLY applies to Palestinians, and NO other peoples! Quite arrogant! UNRWA supplies enough welfare, which in combination with mafia style extortive nationalism, prevents natural patterns of emigration to safer, more beneficial new lands of opportunity. Then the Arab states (except for Jordan)agreed that having had an ancestor that had once lived in pre-state Israel is a BAR to citizenship and employment, thus creating third generation “residents” of Arab states that can NEVER be citizens, and are eternal foreigners, as “Palestinians. Essentially, the combination of these designs artificially pepetuate the Palestinians situation in order to pro-long the conflict with Israel, with no regard for the well being of individual Palestinian lives or rights, and certainly none for any “peace process.”

  85. oao says:

    it’s worse than that: there is documentation of the period which describes the acute need for manpower
    in the arab states (iraq, syria) and yet the refused to accept the pals. that’s because the known but ignored fact that for arabs the destruction of israel is more important than their own well-being.

    that also explains the uniqueness of the pals, well within the fram of uniqueness of muslims.

  86. Eliyahu says:

    Yes, oao and Rafael,
    but the main problem is not the Arabs. It is the West. The West is more dangerous for Israel than all the Arabs put together. If the Arabs really wanted peace, the West would likely try to prevent it. This is because the grievances/suffering –real and/or imagined or exaggerated– of the Arabs, the palestinian Arabs in particular, are a justification for continued Judeophobia after the Holocaust [perhaps a post-facto vindication or justification of the Holocaust], while the Arabs themselves are a tool in the hands of the West [or part of the West] for finishing Hitler’s work. Is that too cruel, too cynical, too “anti-Western”, too unfair towards the West, such as the EU which only acts to enhance human rights and environmental quality in the Middle East, to hear the EU spokesmen tell it?? But would you buy a used car from Javier Solana –la puta grande de la politica espanola y la europea– the reincarnation of Pierre Laval?? In the year 2009, does any intelligent person still believe in the beneficence of British policy or the veracity of the bbc? Of course, the problem is the policy of several major Western govts. Bear in mind that the whole notion of a “palestinian people” was a brilliant invention of British psychological warfare experts.

    Since you brought up the UNRWA, bear in mind that it is financed by Western govts, first of all the USA. In other words, what UNRWA does that you don’t like is the policy of the US, UK, EU, etc etc.

    Israel’s main problem is not the Arabs but the hypocritical West. In this situation, most of what is called “the Left” serves Western anti-Israel, anti-Jewish policy. That is, after the Holocaust, Western powers were embarassed to act directly against the Jews, although that embarassment is wearing off, as the ugly actions of the Swedish and Norwegian demonstrate.

    In this context, it is stupid and being unaware of reality to come up with plans about transferring Arabs, etc. This is because –again– the West is the main threat. The West seems to want to uproot and transfer the Jews –at best. At worst, it seems that the West is helping the Arabs finish Hitler’s work, with the brain-dead manipulated “Left” as its tool for indoctrinating and mobilizing Western masses against the Jews.

  87. E.G. says:

    Dr. Mamoun Fandy: The Palestinians Are Their Own Worst Enemy

  88. E.G. says:


    I’d modulate Eliyahu’s and oao’s replies.
    Several ancient pre-Israel families were/are Sepharadi, and their members, as well as others (with the exception of N. African originating) fully participated in directing the Yishuv and the country. The past 30-40 years saw a more representative leadership.

    Why do you ask?

  89. Eliyahu says:

    EG, the Elmaleh family who came in the 19th century were from Morocco and held status positions before and after the state. Then there the Amzallag and other North African & Gibraltarian families. Yits’haq Navon was Ben Gurion’s political secretary for years. His family was prominent in the 19th century, building the railroad to Jerusalem for example.
    Read Ruth Kark.

  90. E.G. says:


    Thanks for the correction. Yes, Navon was on my mind, as well as Gaon etc.
    I meant the N. African Aliya to the state of Israel (in a very generalising manner).

  91. oao says:

    yes, elyahu, of course the west is the key and your analysis is correct.

    however, had the arabs accepted the refugees and integrated them, they would have robbed the west of the hook on which to hang its judeophobia. but they did not because they are as judeophobic or more.

    of course transfers would not work today. it’s too late for that. both the west and the arabs smell victory and with alibama and america in free fall…

  92. oao says:

    yes, there were sephardim but it is nevertheless accurate to say that the ashkenazim held the power.

  93. Ray in Seattle says:

    Thanks for the replies from several of you re: Ashkenazim and Sephardim. I’ve been traveling and away from my computer a lot lately. As a student of Evolutionary Psychology I have long been intrigued by the IQ difference between these groups. Such as in:

    A number of studies have found that Ashkenazi Jews in the United States have a high average IQ. It has been proposed by Cochran, Hardy and Harpending (2006) that this can be explained by the occupational constraints imposed on the Ashkenazi for many centuries in Europe, when they were largely confined to money-lending. They propose that this selected for the high verbal and mathematical intelligence that has several times been found in American Ashkenazim. The current study investigates how far this theory holds for European and Oriental Jews in Israel. A review of studies shows that Oriental Jews in Israel have an average IQ 14 points lower than that of European (largely Ashkenazi) Jews. It is proposed that this difference can be explained in terms of the Cochran, Hardy and Harpending theory because Oriental Jews were permitted to engage in a much wider range of occupations and hence did not come under the selection pressure to develop the high verbal and mathematical intelligence that was present for Ashkenazim.

    For me this shows the evolutionary malleability of human brains to environmental / cultural factors. I suspect it is also related to the intractability of the Arab / Israeli conflict by way of (inherited) predispositions of those who rule (have ruled) Israel as well as those who have ruled the ME Arab states over the centuries.

    I have until recently rejected the notion that an Arab child raised in a Western society could possibly have different behavioral predispositions from Western children of European heritage. I am re-evaluating that position.

  94. Ray in Seattle says:

    Apropos of my previous comment on this, Norman Podheretz has a new book and this article today:

    “Why Are Jews Liberals? ”

    Excerpt: The upshot is that in virtually every instance of a clash between Jewish law and contemporary liberalism, it is the liberal creed that prevails for most American Jews. Which is to say that for them, liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right. And to the dogmas and commandments of this religion they give the kind of steadfast devotion their forefathers gave to the religion of the Hebrew Bible. For many, moving to the right is invested with much the same horror their forefathers felt about conversion to Christianity.

    Is it possible that Judaism, once released from the diaspora, in a few decades has evolved politically, away from the behavioral predispositions that protected it for centuries – and that now American liberalism fits those predispositions better than reform or orthodox Judaism – or even better than the notion of an independent Jewish state?

  95. E.G. says:

    Ray #104

    This Ashk-Seph IQ difference explanation may be a bit far fetched.
    It’s been generations since European Jews have been emancipated and held a wide range of occupations (tailoring and shoe-repairing is not exactly “intellectual”).

    Others – please correct me if I’m wrong, but the rate of illiteracy among Oriental Jews who made their Aliya to Israel was higher than that of the European ones. It does not exactly reflect the real rates in the countries/regions of origins (e.g., “educated” Oriental Jews emigrated elsewhere…). So the selection factor is slightly different.
    OTOH, Israeli born are quite quickly closing the gaps. And, despite efforts, IQ tests are not totally “culture-free” (e.g., highly skilled Ahwale players still don’t do very well on logico-mathematic tests).

    I don’t understand your question in #105.

  96. Ray in Seattle says:

    My reference to the IQ diff was only to show that brains can modify themselves toward certain general tendencies, such as toward verbal and math skills, or such as with Arab violence toward outsiders and enemies – or likewise as with Jewish accommodation with and tolerance for enemies. I did not bring it up for any other reason. Whether it still exists is therefore beside the point. It’s existence in the past anyway has been pretty thoroughly substantiated scientifically and I believe that shows that human brains can modify themselves in general ways by way of ethnic / cultural circumstance.

    Based on that I attempted to pose the question:

    Is the deep-seated American Jewish tendency toward the Democratic party an outcome of predispositions (brain wiring) acquired during the diaspora, which led to learned dispositions toward liberal politics generally? And, is that why American (and many Israeli) Jews exhibit behavior that is not very supportive of the Jewish state and is often antagonistic toward it?

    Also, I wonder if that accounts in part for the historic attraction of Stalin-Leninism to so many Jews in Soviet Russia. I am wondering if possibly the diaspora created an Ashkenazi Jewish brain predisposed toward leftists political emotions – while it also created a brain adept at verbal/math skills.

    It seems plausible.

  97. E.G. says:


    Here’s a bit from a satirical 1964 Israeli film about an Oriental immigrant (starring Topol):
    I strongly recommend the whole film, called “Salah Shabati”.

    At 4:50 you’ll see the Ashkenazi version:

  98. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG: Thanks, I’ll watch it.

  99. E.G. says:


    Heh! My previous comment was almost a hit. The answer to your reformulated question is “Tradition! Tradition!”

    Justice and social justice are Judaism’s foundation*. On the face of it, Socialism is a system that promotes equality and “just” or “right” distribution of wealth and opportunity. So it’s highly compatible with traditional Jewish values (no difference between Ashk and Seph). In addition, its conception coincided with the adoption of the declaration of Human Rights and the subsequent emancipation of Jews – so of course it was adopted enthusiastically by the latter.

    Rather than some wired-in evolutionary process, I’d see the left-leaning Jewish attitude as a matching, adaptability-driven one. In many ways the thought patterns just match, it’s a happy marriage.

    Yet Judaism being not only a religion/faith with its traditions but also a nation, the compatibility is only partial. The nation/country thing goes against the notion of “free citizens of the world”. Add to the recipe the secularist, non-belligerent/pacifist Liberal stands, and the discrepancy grows.

    The Communist experience has proven disastrous – not only as a country governing system, but even in its small-scale application: the Kibbutz. Its wired-in dysfunctions ended up being more pernicious than its functions were beneficial. It does not correspond to Human needs and desires. But US/W.European citizens (Jewish or not) never experienced it. They can fantasise about it – c’est tout.

    *Hence the importance placed on accuracy and exactness, both in numbers and in words.

  100. E.G. says:

    Ah! Once again my reply’s been swallowed.
    Sorry, Ray – you’ll have to be patient till the filters regurgitate.

  101. oao says:

    jews tend to be liberals, period. probably a result of having been oppressed.

    the ashkenazi founders of israel were lefties and came from russia and poland. for a long period the socialist labor and left parties defined israel. and not even the “right” in israel is as right as in the west. the term is associated more with the conflict dimension than with the left-right continuum.

    i actually wrote a paper many years ago together with a colleague on the subject. the far right on this issue are religious parties, which do have sephardim.

  102. oao says:

    ah, yes, it swallowed mine too.

    and it usually does not regurgitate.

  103. E.G. says:


    The °#@”!§ filters are not the Red sea. They do end-up rendering.
    That’s Jumbalaya Mashiah HaZaken’s wisdom. ;-)

    + Ray,
    The Oriental music in the 1st video is by a very Ashkenazi composer (Yochanan Zarai). And it isn’t the first nor the last example of a composer (mainly Jewish, most Ashkenaz) to “make” a theme that sounds authentically from another culture (e.g., Gershwin’s Ol’ Man River).

  104. Ray in Seattle says:

    I placed “Salah Shabati” at the top of my Netflix cueue. Then I went back and watched the first clip again. I can hear a little “Old Man River” in there but it seems to be in one of those eastern modes. It’s still on a 12 note chromatic scale I think but the scale starts on a note that places the two half tone scale intervals in a strange place – strange to Western ears like mine anyway. Maybe someone following this with some music theory knowledge, especially re: traditional Jewish music could enlighten us.

    Also, reading the translation as they were singing it seemed several times they referred to God as Allah. Is Allah the Hebrew word for God – same as Arab?

    Jumbalaya Mashiah HaZaken? Who is that?

    “Jambalaya Messiah” pops into my head – I like that. Might make a good title for a song.

  105. Eliyahu says:

    oao, re #102,

    who funded the upkeep of the 1948 Arab refugees in the refugee settlements still called “refugee camps”?? It was the major Western powers, n’est-ce pas??

    Maybe the Arab govts hosting the refugees would have resettled them long ago if not for UNRWA. Maybe the Arab host govts were told that the UK, USA, & France wanted to maintain the 1948 refugees in camps as a political tool against Israel. If so, then it wasn’t the Arabs but the West who were most effective in keeping the conflict going on.

  106. Eliyahu says:

    Re the discussion on Oriental Jews.

    I know a lady who is a Yemenite Jewess. She is also an inspector [inspectrix??] of mathematics education for the Israeli Ministry of Education. She did not get her job through “affirmative action” preferences. I also know her son who is a whiz in the high tek field.

    Now, EG sees environmental factors as influential. This lady’s family came from Yemen to Israel a few generations before independence in 1948. So they may have had the advantage of modern education for a few generations. But some of this intelligence has to be inborn too.

  107. E.G. says:


    It’s “From Jumbalaya (that) old Messiah…” in translation of a line Salah/Topol sings. The music (like the character) is a mixture of N. African/Mediterranean and Yemenite tunes.
    And yes, they do refer to Allah. Not as the Jewish God, just as a(n imported) manner of speech. There are quite a few Arabic terms in Israeli slang.

    Back to the music – now here’s a right-hemispheric, non verbal, non analytic activity!
    (Old Man River was just an example of inventing an authentic-sounding music; Copland’s Appalachian Spring is another; Same for some E. European well-known popular songs: they draw from some atavistic melodic combinations but are both innovative and catchy to any ear. And there are quite a few Hebrew melodies that became Israeli folk songs that sound very Canaanite/Middle-Eastern that are the œuvre of Israeli Ashkenazi composers.)

  108. E.G. says:


    Of course environmental factors are influential. But they won’t have much influence unless the “material” has some potential.
    My Hebrew orthographe (and perhaps, by extension, others?) is correct only due to my Yemenite-origin first grades teacher (well named Bracha) who pronounced each letter comme il faut, and pedagogically insisted that we pay attention and match the sound to the letter. I recall her daughter playing the violin. They were much more refined than Shkolnik (and his Missus) who held the Kiosk next to school.

  109. oao says:

    The °#@”!§ filters are not the Red sea. They do end-up rendering. That’s Jumbalaya Mashiah HaZaken’s wisdom. ;-)

    not in my experience. whenever it happened to me RL had to intervene. my guess is now he doesn’t.

  110. oao says:

    who funded the upkeep of the 1948 Arab refugees in the refugee settlements still called “refugee camps”?? It was the major Western powers, n’est-ce pas??

    sure, but would they have had the opportunity to if the arabs accepted the refugees? that was my point: the west had a hook on the arab refusal.

    Maybe the Arab govts hosting the refugees would have resettled them long ago if not for UNRWA.

    i think the sequence was:

    1. arabs: NOOOOOOO!!!
    2. west: alright, let us fund them in place
    3. arabs: really? alright, then NOOOOOOOOOOO squared.

    Maybe the Arab host govts were told that the UK, USA, & France wanted to maintain the 1948 refugees in camps as a political tool against Israel.

    maybe but there is no mutual exclusivity, but symbiosis here. both sides understood each other. also, probably as a first step there was the instinct to help them temporarily. but then politics kicked in.

    If so, then it wasn’t the Arabs but the West who were most effective in keeping the conflict going on.

    either side was a necessary but insufficient condition. together it worked. but over the long-term the west became the core perp.

  111. E.G. says:


    Deus ex Machina!
    Texti ex Filteriiiiiii!

  112. Eliyahu says:

    oao, do you agree that 60 years ago, the Arab states were much more dependent politically on the West than now? If so, maybe the West [at least UK, USA, maybe France and the Vatican, etc. told the Arab states that they wanted the refugees of 1948 to stay in the camps.

    Anyhow, if we look at the Arab states in more detail, we see that Lebanon did not want to integrate the refugees since that would cause an upset to the demographic balance there, by adding more Sunni Muslims to the body of citizens. Jordan did much toward integrating the refugees, giving them citizenship, appointing some of them to high positions in the state, as ministers etc. Egypt kept them bottled up in the Gaza Strip, forbidden to leave the Strip without special permits. Now regarding Egypt, Nasser worked very closely with American representatives in the 50s and 60s. So his policy on Gaza was likely approved by Washington. This fact supports what I said about Western responsibility.

  113. Eliyahu says:

    EG, I agree with you on nature-nurture issue. What made you think that I didn’t?

  114. E.G. says:


    Glad we arrived to the “valley of the equal” ;-)

    A propos geo-politics:

  115. oao says:

    If so, maybe the West [at least UK, USA, maybe France and the Vatican, etc. told the Arab states that they wanted the refugees of 1948 to stay in the camps.

    possible, but i don’t think they needed much prompting from the west.

    your description validates this point.

  116. E.G. says:


    Re: Liberals

    […] Podhoretz […] suggest[s] that liberalism has become for many Jews not simply a substitute for religion, but a religion itself, with roots in the history he describes and a set of doctrines and dogmas adhered to with the force of faith. For many modern Jews, conversion from liberalism to conservatism is roughly equivalent to what conversion to Christianity was to their ancestors in Eastern Europe.

    I have no idea where American Saphardi Jews are (politically), but I strongly suspect they have the same attitude towards conversion.

  117. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, Thanks for the link. As I’ve mentioned, I find both liberal and conservative views on these things to be valuable and relevant. Norman Podhoretz is a conservative who’s views I consistently find to be in that category. I’m pleased to see him working on a topic that currently intrigues me.

    My usual caveat is that he searches for cognitive explanations – or as Richman describes it, an historical and cultural analysis. Podhoretz, like virtually all analysts tries to make sense of human behavior by sleuthing for the logically driven, hitherto hidden, cause and effect. To me, that’s more likely to result in justification for the author’s ideology than useful explanation. As you know I believe that the etiology of human behavior lies in emotion as the proximate cause, whether driven by instinct, belief, reason or other circuits.

    But it seems Podhoretz’ ideas on this (at least as I understand them through Richman’s review) are well thought out and his political perspective open enough that I should find some valuable clues to answers to my questions. I just one-clicked it from Amazon – hardcover for $15.79, a real bargain I think.

  118. E.G. says:


    Glad to have been of help.
    Podhoretz provides an account to logic bent by emotions.(He did come to the right conclusion, didn’t he? pun intended). And, a multi-millenary attachment to tradition, despite and beyond the difficulties to practice it, is not what Mr. Spock would advise…

    Re: music- Here’s a bit of really authentic traditional Yemenite-Jewish
    (Now that the Jews have been ethnically cleansed from Yemen, will this heritage be preserved?)

  119. E.G. says:


    Have you read Stefanie Zweig’s “Nowhere in Africa”?
    It’s full of insights.

  120. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG, no I haven’t read it. But I will check it out. I am currently in my second reading of “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword” by Ruth Benedict. It seems the only books I like require several readings to wring out the juice. You’d think it would be tedious but I find them more fascinating each time and always pick up things I missed before. I can’t remember my last novel but I used to read them avidly.

    This is an anthropological study of Japanese culture that was undertaken in 1945 and ’46 in the aftermath of the war at the behest of the war department so we could know what we were facing in dealing with the Japanese people as their conqueror. Benedict was researching and writing this book while my father was there as a master sergeant in Army Corps of Engineers working as part of the reconstruction effort. It has been reprinted several times but I found one of the originals printed in 1946 in hardcover on the internet for $7.50. I’m sure most libraries have it if anyone’s interested. I am curious about parallels and differences between Muslims / Arabs and Japanese culture – which have outward similarities esp. such as strong views on honor / shame.

    I suspect that cultural differences between these two honor / shame societies have much to do with why Japan is a modern successful democratic state today and one of the world’s financial leaders – while the Palestinians and the Arab (and Persian) states in the ME are still backward hell holes in terms of personal freedoms and all other measures of success.

  121. Eliyahu says:

    so Ruth B was working for the War Dept.

    don’t forget what Eddy Said said about anthropologists who served empires. They were evil. Even if they told the truth.

  122. E.G. says:


    Yes, Japanese Honour/shame seems quite different from Arab-Islamic one. Does Benedict’s classic mention their racism? In the ’80’s I did a little bit of research into that culture, and didn’t find many refs to their supremacist beliefs. So in the late 80’s, I was shocked to find it out with my own eyes/senses.

    Stefanie Zweig’s account is very teachable.

  123. Ray in Seattle says:

    Eliyahu, EG:

    The whole first chapter (Assignment:Japan) explains her mandate and the difficulties she would encounter to help the US understand the Japanese enemy. It came in June 1944 when we had landed on Saipan and were looking at entering the most crucial part of the war with Japan – close quarter fighting on their historic lands and interacting with Japanese civilians and their civil government as well as their army and military rule. When it became clear that we would eventually win then it also became a need to imagine what postwar Japan would look like and how we could manage the best outcome.

    Edward Said IMO was bitter because he was educated in the Western style (had seen the light of liberalism) but his mind was locked into an Arab mindset from which he knew he could never escape. He lived that way in his own prison and his writings were the kind that prisoners write on their cell walls.

    Racism: My sense (so far) is that the Japanese at this time had developed an extreme cultural sensitivity to “station in life”. This applied to all human relations; members of families, the government, the castes in Japan as well as to arrangements between nations and people of the world, their different cultures and beliefs.

    The Japanese explained the war itself as a necessary establishment of this hierarchy of nations and peoples so that peace and harmony could finally prevail – with the Japanese people and state at the top of the hierarchy of course – and every other nation assuming its proper “station”. To achieve this stability it was necessary to militarily defeat the lesser peoples who resisted – to humiliate and subjugate them as necessary until they also saw the wisdom is assuming their proper station. It was for the “greater good”.

    Within Japanese society this had been the strict rule between the castes and rulers that had provided 250 years of internal peace during the reign of the Tokugawa Shoguns.

    So, my sense is that this was not a Western style racism such as a simple despising, depriving and infantilising of racially different people – as much as an attempt to order existence according to this heavenly ordained hierarchy.

    It’s complex and you can see why I must read it carefully. I am constantly trying to compare what I am reading with Salzman’s accounts of ME tribal culture.

  124. E.G. says:

    So, my sense is that this was not a Western style racism such as a simple despising, depriving and infantilising of racially different people – as much as an attempt to order existence according to this heavenly ordained hierarchy.

    a. Was Benedict speaking directly to the people (i.e., in Japanese)?
    b. The time/context is crucial: they were (being) defeated.
    c. The style is different but the essence not much.
    c.1 Infantilizing??? Where have you “seen” it in the West (except from journalistic accounts)?

    This said, the sole Japanese who really earned my sympathy and respect was an elderly man, who’d been a junior naval officer during WWII, and had benefitted from both a pre- and post-war Western-oriented education (English language included). Didn’t make him less Jap, just a more open-minded, well mannered, Gentleman. A knowledgeable and Intelligent man, who knew how to convey warmth without even stretching too far the behavioural constraints of his culture (at times, these features reminded me of either Soviet or Arab ones: e.g., collectivist compliance norms and women’s inferior status).

  125. Ray in Seattle says:


    a) She had access to many recently arrived Japanese immigrants and prisoners of war who were very cooperative.

    b) True – although most immigrants and prisoners of war felt no need to be deceptive. They uniformly exhibited a high level of cooperation. Especially prisoners which was puzzling and even shocking to military interrogators as well as to Benedict at first. Benedict does the research and later explains this reaction in cultural terms.

    c) I’m not sure yet if that’s true.

    d) I grew up in Texas. Adult black males there were usually referred to as “boy” by most white males of any age.

    There are many Arab and Japanese cultural norms that seem similar on the surface but are quite different when analyzed. Kinship loyalty is one.

    In Arab society my sense is that kinship was/is the only institution where one could find reliable protection from other families and clans. There were/are no social rules in Arab society administered by some civil system to provide that protection – except perhaps by bribing (or blackmailing) some powerful person or official to protect your interests.

    In Japan kinship ties did not serve as a means of protection from attack. In Japan these were grounded in the strong desire to protect and increase the honor of the family name – according to very strict social rules that were voluntarily observed by all families and maintained by that civil polity.

    Short version: For Arabs honor revolved around who had the power to physically dominate you and who you could dominate without retribution or consequence. In Japan it was about possessing honor according to rigid social rules and not dishonoring your family by your failure to observe them.

    The Japanese could feel extreme personal guilt if they violated such rules (potentially dishonoring their family) even if no-one else knew. I think personal guilt like that would not be comprehended in Arab society. My sense is that Arab honor is completely dependent solely on what others think about you.

    I’m still studying this so this is just my current impression. I may modify my opinion on this as I read more.

  126. E.G. says:

    Adult black males there were usually referred to as “boy” by most white males of any age.

    I’m not sure this is infantilisation. It’s indicative of a depreciating attitude, but a “boy” was not dismissed for an act deemed wrong, it wasn’t argued that he can’t be held responsible for such an act, etc.

    I agree (but you’d probably know a lot more than me) about the personal responsibility and guilt factor. But even if “what others think about you” is very strong in both cultures (and not only them*), it’s centrality and combination with other features may vary and, in fine, make the difference. Collectivism may be one such differentiating factor.

    As for the sample studied/context – my point is not about the people being willingly deceptive, but about the mood at the time that may have (unconsciously) tainted the very honest replies.
    Besides, Japanese body language is so different that many cues may have gone unnoticed or needed a reinterpretation (once they were better known/understood).

    *For instance, not embarrassing one in public is a common principle in Jewish and Japanese traditions. BTW, “Fiddler on the Roof” had an enormous success in Japan. The show (translated) ran a very long time.

  127. Ray in Seattle says:

    EG: As I said, I am trying to study and understand these things. I am not trying to advocate for the accuracy of Benedict’s conclusions. But you asked me about my understanding of Benedict’s view of racism and I offered my qualified opinion.

    While I read something like this I tend to mentally defer to the author’s views at least until I have read the piece more than once and have had time to fully digest it and have tried to integrate it with other information and beliefs that I hold. If it doesn’t fit then there’s always time to depreciate her conclusions.

    She was trained in cultural anthropology and had enough credibility for the war dept. to seek her out. I am only a student. So far I find her to be a pretty careful observer of Japanese culture at the time.


    In June I finally sprung for one of those HD TV’s (a modest 42 incher on sale at Costco) to replace my 25 yo analog clunker. And this week I finally had the service people change out the defective main circuit board so I could watch programming that I download or stream over the internet via the HDMI port on my laptop. Last nite I searched around the Netflix “Instant Watch” catalog and found a Clint Eastwood produced/directed WWII movie that I had never seen: “Letters From Iwo Jima”.

    It was based on non-fiction accounts by two Japanese commanders who were defending the Japanese island from the American forces. I was impressed that Benedict’s observations meshed so well with the actual portrayal of Japanese soldiers in battle at this time. Eastwood’s Japanese characters also exhibit traits that are easily understood in Western terms. I now wonder if those were part of the original stories or were added by American screenwriters. But I’d recommend this for anyone interested in differing cultural views of war.

    Do you or does anyone know of any similar film(s) produced from an Arab pov following the lives of Jihadim at war with Israel? My sense is that if it was an honest portrayal their motivations and actions would not appear very heroic to Westerners but I could be wrong. How does a suicider who blows up a bus full of innocent civilians in Haifa become heroic in the same way a Kamikaze pilot dies while attacking a heavily defended American aircraft carrier? It would be interesting to compare.

  128. Ray in Seattle says:

    For anyone so interested, further searching about on this topic (the Eastwood film Letters from Iwo Jima) I found a very interesting article written by Japanese professor Ikui Eikoh titled, “Letters from Iwo Jima: Japanese Perspectives” that appeared in Japan Focus.



    To well understand is, in another sense, to share the same values. Opponents sharing the same values—standards of right and wrong, good and evil—is an aesthetic that has been praised from long ago in chansons de geste, and today it is one of the moral planes that is hardest to achieve. In fact, what was forced upon American society during the Cold War was not only a face-off against an enemy that could not be trusted, but also an experience in which one’s own anxieties and fears were themselves labeled the “invisible enemy.” During the Vietnam War, soldiers at the front were tormented by a war that was variously termed “unconventional,” “irregular,” and even “dishonorable,” while society at home was overwhelmed by the loss of a clear distinction between good and evil. Entering the 1990s, the America that supposedly won the Cold War engaged in a number of military actions for ambiguous and even problematic political reasons. From olden days, those who had lost faith in a disloyal ally have tried to rediscover themselves by seeking out a great and honorable enemy. This may help explain why Letters depicts the enemy officers so favorably, why it treats them as individuals with so many admirable human characteristics. We could say simply that fighting against an honorable enemy with whom one can share values and understanding is a clear and present desire on the part of American society.

  129. E.G. says:


    I wasn’t criticising your reading/understanding.
    Just raising a few points about Benedict’s account, FYI (critical re-reading). I readily confess that I was totally unprepared about Japanese racism, and was shocked by it. At higher intellectual levels (Academics) it was “merely” a supremacist-exclusionist view.

    Haven’t you seen Shaheed pre-Boom videos (Youtube?) And his/her relatives post-Boom pride expression ones? Pierre Rehov has a documentary DVD on the subject.

  130. E.G. says:

    There’s also Aaron Klein’s book Schmoozing with Terrorists (or something similar).
    Equating Kamikazes with Mohammed Atta and similar mass murderers is intellectually and factually perverse. Many Kamikazes were not willing to go on their missions but were coerced to do it. And these regular army pilots’ missions were solely targeting military objectives.
    Not that I justify Kamikaze operations.

Leave a Reply

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