Thursday, November 27, 2003

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Israel's fence of peace

This article attacks head on the criticism over the security fence in Israel. The whole thing is worth a read.
ajc.com | Opinion | U.S. must embrace Mideast to help it heal

An excellent article on how peace in the Middle East is the responsibility of the world. The writer particularly sums up both sides in the following:

When they kill us, they are continuing the experience of the Holocaust in our eyes. We cannot free ourselves from this. In the deepest consciousness of many Israelis, Yasser Arafat is an unshaven Hitler, the suicide bombers are Nazis and their supporters are savages.

And when we respond by killing them we are reviving the humiliation of colonialism, the wrong inflicted by the First World, the Christian West in its arrogant encounter with the Third World. White skin vs. dark, rich vs. poor, technology vs. primalism.

And in this dialogue of blood, this dance of sabers that pairs the fact of the Holocaust and the fact of colonialism, it is difficult to create stable understandings, to build a bridge of compassion and forgiveness. It is nearly impossible to speak of a win-win reality after so many years of losses.

Anti-semitism in Europe...Sadly enough its origins are known but not admitted. The E.U. is burying a report on the subject, burying not debating.

The growing debate over antisemitism in Europe took a new twist this week after the authors of a study on antisemitism commissioned by the European Union accused the E.U. of burying their work for political reasons.

A professor at Berlin Technical University and one of the report's authors, Werner Bergman, said that the E.U.-sponsored European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia had deliberately shelved the 112-page report since February because it concluded that Muslims and pro-Palestinian groups were behind much of the recent antisemitic violence in Europe.

"They are fearing that the report will discriminate against Muslim minorities and that this would show that the E.U. was siding with Israel," Bergman said. "They put the blame on us because they can't admit they buried the report for political reasons."

In this country anti-semitism comes from the left mostly. It is dressed up as anti-Zionism, usually thinly veiled. This is an interesting article on the subject from a liberal source.

And then my first questioner blew it all to Hell. All it took was The Question and it only required one Questioner. I could not see who was speaking. A disembodied voice demanded to know where I stood on the question of the women of Palestine. Her tone was forceful, hostile, relentless, and prepared. I could have said: "The organizers have specifically asked me not to address such questions." I did not say that. I could also have said: "I am concerned with the women of Palestine but I am also concerned with the women of Rwanda, Bosnia, Guatemala, who have all been gang-raped by soldiers who used rape as a weapon of war; I am concerned with the poverty and homelessness of women right here in America; I am concerned with the women of Israel who are being blown up in buses, at cafes, in their own bedrooms." I did not say this.

Instead, I took a deep breath and said that I did not respect people who hijacked airplanes or hijacked conferences or who, at this very moment, were trying to hijack this lecture. I pointed out that the subject of my talk was not Israel or Palestine. I did not want us to lose our focus. She grew even more hostile and demanding. "Tell this audience what you said on WBAI. I heard you on that program." Clearly, she wanted to "unmask" me before this audience as a Jew-lover and an Israel-defender.

I took the question head-on. "If you're really asking about apartheid, let me talk about it. Contrary to myth and propaganda, Israel is not an apartheid state. The largest practioner of apartheid in the world is Islam which practices both gender and religious apartheid. In terms of gender apartheid, Palestinian women -- and all women who live under Islam -- are oppressed by "honor" killings, in which girls and women who are raped are then killed by family members for the sake of restoring the family "honor;" forced veiling, segregation, stonings to death for alleged adultery, seclusion/sequestration, female genital mutilation, polygamy, outright slavery, sexual slavery. Women have few civil, legal, or human rights under Islam."

I continued; "Islam also specializes in religious apartheid as well. All non-Muslims (Christians, including Maronites and Melkites, Greek Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants, Jews, Assyrians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, animists) have historically been viewed and treated as subhumans who must either convert to Islam or be mercilessly taxed, beaten, jailed, murdered, or exiled. The latest al-Queda attack in Saudi Arabia was primarily directed against Lebanese Christians and Americans."

I continued. "Today, the entire Middle East is judenrein, there are no Jews left in 22 Arab countries. And, the Arab leadership has backed the PLO strategy in which the 23rd state remains under constant and perilous siege. Historically in general, but specifically since 1948-1956, Arab Jews were forced to flee Arab Islamic lands. Most are living in Israel, the only Middle Eastern state in which Jews are allowed to live. Jews cannot become citizens of Jordan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, for example and yet no one accuses those nations of apartheid.

I said that Israel was not an apartheid state. I talked about real gender and religious Apartheid, as practiced by Muslims. I told the truth. Clearly, they had not heard it before. The audience collectively gasped. Then, people went a little crazy.

Quite simply incredible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A picture guide to mass graves in Iraq.
Recently an Op-Ed piece appeared in the Wall Street Journal by Jalal Talabani regarding the state of Iraq. Talabani is the president of the Iraq Governing Council and secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

As a Kurd, I am sure he is happy to have Saddma out of power since Saddam gassed his people in the late 80's. Saddam used those WMD's that supposedly never existed. In his Op-Ed piece he chooses to look forward and looks at the changes in his country.

Most interesting:

The enemies of Iraqi freedom are not "resistance," a word that evokes the heroism of Poles in the Second World War, nobly battling their occupiers. Nor can those who murder our American liberators, Red Cross workers, U.N. officials and Italian policemen be termed "guerrillas." Rather, they are terrorists. They are the thugs and torturers who repressed their fellow Iraqis during the last 35 years, the perpetrators of genocide, men who butchered hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Marsh Arabs and Shiite Arabs. The creation of an anti-democratic fascist counter-revolution of Baathists and foreign Islamic volunteers, some of whom are al Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam, is a classic unholy Middle Eastern alliance. These people have more support among the Arab media and in the studios of al-Jazeera than they do in Iraq.

The significance of this wave of terrorism is not military, but political. On the battlefield the terrorists are losing. But the terrorists have grasped something that too few in the U.S. will admit: that Iraq is now the central front both in the war against terrorism and the struggle for a better Middle East. The terrorists will not stop fighting if the U.S. troops are withdrawn, rather they will become emboldened to believe that they can win this conflict.

Only the U.S. was capable of toppling Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, a brilliantly executed campaign in which the Kurdish guerrillas, the peshmerga, were the only Iraqis to take casualties fighting with the Coalition. The defeat of the terrorists, however, must be largely an Iraqi endeavour. By taking up arms and routing the terrorists, Iraqis will own their new democracy -- nobody will be able to say that it has been handed to them.

This is a person that sees around corners.

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