Monday, September 22, 2014


Hat Tip to Soeren Kern at the Gatestone Institute.

Arab Racism and Insipid Western Apologies

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}

I have had it.

There comes a point where the level of disgust reaches such a crescendo that it makes me want to rip my left arm directly out of the socket so as to beat myself senseless with it.

{Now there is an image for you to carry through your day!}

Look, I have a question.  How is it that western-left venues always harp on alleged Jewish atrocities in the Middle East, such as the latest wholly justified Gaza incursion, while almost entirely ignoring the much more significant and perverse Muslim-on-Muslim, Sunni versus Shia violence throughout that part of the world featuring beheadings, no less?

It is profoundly unjust, which is part of the reason that Matti Friedman's work for Tablet magazine uncovering institutionalized anti-Israel / anti-Jewish media bias in "Operation Protective Edge" resonates so well.

A few years ago I wrote a brief piece entitled, Israel 1242 - Tibet 18 which garnered some attention and in which I noticed the following:
A basic tag search of the Daily Kos blog reveals that between Feb 21, 2009 and today there were a grand total of 18 essays on the topic of Tibet. That is a total of 18 essays over the period of about 13 months on a left political blog with over 200,000 registered users. During that exact same period of time, however, there were 1242 diaries on the subject of Israel...
In truth, these people do not really care about human rights at all for if they did they would care about the human rights of people who do not happen to live in Ramallah or Gaza City. If they honestly cared about human rights they would care about the Tibetans. They would care about Darfur. They would care about Congo and Chechnya.
They don't.
1242 to 18.
The blatant hypocrisy is astounding.
The point, of course, is that the grassroots / netroots of the Democratic party in the United States, and the western-progressive left, as a whole, excoriates Israel far-and-away out of all proportion to Israeli-Jewish sins.  Those who read these pages know this.  The problem is getting the rest of them to understand the nature of the ongoing misinformation campaign against the Jews of the Middle East.

Let us look at one small example from Peter Beinart that the Elder quoted last Thursday, September 18.

Beinart claims:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the story of a powerful state oppressing a stateless people. But it’s also the story of rival, equally legitimate, nationalisms.
This is simply, wholly, and entirely false.

These two brief lines show us very clearly that Beinart has swallowed the so-called "Palestinian narrative" whole.  He lapped up every ounce of poison cream and believes wholeheartedly in The Great Inversion of 1967 that Joshua Muravchik recently wrote about in Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel and that the Elder recently reviewed.  Beinart's first big mistake, therefore, is buying into the nonsense that the conflict is between a powerful state and a small, helpless, largely innocent native population.

This is not only false, it is precisely the Arab propaganda line that the PLO first started hawking, upon Soviet tutelage, in the mid 1960s.  It sounds good from a semi-academic, post-colonial, Edward Saidian perspective, but it also happens to be historical hogwash.

There is no "Israeli-Palestinian conflict."  What there is is an Arab conflict with everyone else in that part of the world, including the Jews.  We must make it very clear that this is an ongoing, millenia-long aggression by the majority Arab populations against all minorities in the Middle East.  The problem arises when we allow acidic and ignorant individuals such as Beinart to decontextualize the conflict by making it seem that Jews are the aggressors when, in fact, Jews are defending themselves from an exceedingly aggressive and hostile Arab majority, as are others, such as the Copts and the Kurds.

The question of Israel is a question of the civil liberties and human rights of the Jewish people.  The Arabs hold well over ninety-nine percent of the landmass of the Middle East and control twenty-one countries.  These are Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

And, yet, Peter Beinart thinks that the Jewish people, his own people - a people held under a system of submission to a foreign power for thirteen long centuries - needs to cut itself in half to give a state to its enemies on its own minuscule bit of land.  And he thinks so despite the fact that the Arabs have always and perpetually turned down the two-state offer.  They turned it down in '37 and '47 and '67 and 2000 and 2008... and every moment and every day in between.

Furthermore, the "Palestinians" are not a stateless people quite simply because they are not a distinct and separate ethnicity.  The conquering Arabs represent something close to 400 million people throughout that part of the world and they have, over the centuries since Muhammad, claimed all of that territory for themselves while driving out and persecuting both Christians and Jews and all non-Muslims.

Finally, to call "Palestinian" nationalism equivalent to Jewish nationalism is to show a deep and profound disrespect not only for history, but for one's own people.  The Jewish people have lived on that land for something over 3,500 years.  We are, in fact, the closest thing to an indigenous people that that land has... unless there is some misplaced tribe of Jebusites wandering around somewhere who have eluded notice.

"Palestinian" nationalism, on the other hand, was born a quarter past last Tuesday and represents an entirely aggressive response to Jewish national reconstitution.  These are hardly "equivalent" nationalisms and I do not see where the Jewish people are under any obligation (moral, legal, or otherwise) to recognize a people who only recently constituted themselves as a people for the sole purpose of opposing the creation and maintenance of our small home.

Mecca HiltonIn the mean time, I cannot even book a room at the Mecca Hilton.

That is quite some beautiful building, wouldn't you say?

The Elder recommended that I give it a shot and I thought, "why not?"  So I called the Hilton Corporation and, indeed, I failed in this modest endeavor.  I tried twice, in fact, and both times I ultimately found myself listening to muzak.

I also called the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles a couple of times, but they were even less helpful than the Hilton staff.

At one point one of the clerks from Hilton said, "We don't want to exclude anyone,"  yet, another, perhaps more honest clerk, told me straight-up, "Non-Muslims cannot enter the Holy City of Mecca."

Ya don't say?

And, yet, the left constantly excoriates the Jews Israel on issues of universal human rights.

It is entirely unjust.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Narratives and Tactics

Sar Shalom

A common refrain in the pro-Israel community is that the media are biased against Israel. Coverage of the recent fighting in Gaza has been such that even Gary Rosenblatt of The (NY) Jewish Week, who previously has been a staunch defender of the media against charges of bias, felt forced to admit that there was something untoward in the media's coverage of the conflict. In addressing the media's bias, it would help to look at how the narrative frames developed that lead to today's skewed coverage in order to develop our own strategy to counteract it.

Recently, Columbia Journalism Review recarried an article about The New York Times' coverage of Israel. Early in to that article was a vignette about how narratives at the Times changed from Israel as a scrappy upstart fending off those who would exterminate her to Israel as cruel overlord:
During the winter of 1974, Seymour Topping, the assistant managing editor of The New York Times, and his wife, Audrey, visited Jordan as part of a tour of the Middle East.

On their stops in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, Topping often had to confront criticism that the Times’ coverage was too favorable to Israel. It was a familiar enough situation for him; to be the editor of the Times in charge of international coverage meant you were a magnet for complaints. They were usually about the paper, but sometimes about US policy, which foreigners often believed was refracted through the Times’ coverage.

In Jordan, King Hussein took a different approach: He arranged for the Toppings to visit a nearby Palestinian refugee camp. The visit affected Topping markedly—he saw both the squalor of the camp and the festering hatred of Israel—and he recounted afterwards that he realized he had not understood the role of the Palestinians in the region’s future until then.
What this episode demonstrates is that King Hussein caught on to a strategy that I have seen mentioned during my days following the DLC: if you want to convince the public to support you against your opponent, tell them something that they don't know about your opponent but would not like if they did. Before the West saw how the Palestinian refugees were living, the narrative was that the victims of the worst genocide from Europe were attempting to restart their lives in the face of nihilist opposition. The new information that Jordan presented to Topping showed that instead of the opposition to Zionism being nihilistic, there was an actual victim of Israel's birth. This led to a new narrative that the victims of Europe's worst genocide sought to rebuild their lives at the expense of innocent, as most westerners came to see them, others. Unfortunately, when this new narrative began to gel, our only response has been to reiterate the facts underlying our old narrative more loudly.

In the absence of facts supporting the Palestinians' claims, the facts underlying our narrative would carry the day. However, if the Very Serious People of the world think that the facts underlying the Palestinian narrative are more significant, no amount of telling our old narrative will change their perception. This applies equally to Holocaust and Hamas' rockets. What we need to do is to tell the Very Serious People something about the Israeli-Palestinian that they don't know, but would make them not like the Palestinian national movement if they did. Since the Very Serious People's love affair with Fatah is based on the belief that Fatah is the last-best hope for peace, the facts we reveal would have to undermine that notion. Further, the Very Serious People are loathe to admit that there is no hope for peace, so undermining the notion that Fatah is the last-best hope for peace will require showing that there is an alternate partner to get to peace.

Accordingly, the next time dignitaries (political candidates, media editors) visit Israel, instead of showing them what Israelis are living through under Hamas terror, show them genuine voices for peace on the Palestinian side. The first example should be a gathering of Sheikh Jabari with what the Very Serious People call "settlers." This information would serve two purposes. It would show that if Fatah is dethroned, that hope is not lost for attaining peace. Further, it would show that the "settlers," are an excuse for Fatah to refrain from making peace rather than a real obstacle, as proved by the willingness of Palestinians like Jabari to meet with them. Preferably, the dignitaries would witness one of these meetings in Jabari's home in Hebron, but if they are unwilling to go where Israel "has no right to be," the meeting should be moved to where the dignitaries would be willing to go to witness it. This could be followed by more similarly minded Palestinians, such as the followers of Mohammed Daoudi Dajani's Wasatia movement. However, more important would be to see how the Palestinian national movement reacts to the Palestinians who genuinely seek peace as is evident in the anti-normalization crusade.

Ultimately, the goal is to supercede the current narrative the way the Arabs got the current narrative to supercede the one that existed until 1967. The new narrative should be one which acknowledges that there is Palestinian suffering, but which attributes that suffering to the national movement using the people as pawns and that the people who actually are trying to help the Palestinian people do not measure their progress by how far they roll back Jewish aspirations.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Are Jews Allowed to Even Visit Mecca?

Michael L.

mecca1I am a Jew.

Can I go to Mecca?

Let's find out.

I called the Saudi Arabian Consulates General office in Los Angeles (310-479-6000) and tried to ask them if I could come to Mecca as a Jewish tourist.

And when I say tried to ask them I mean that I am not at all certain that I was entirely successful in this minor endeavor.

The first nice lady who I spoke with recommended that I speak with the Visa Office.

That office recommended that I speak with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I asked people for their names, but they said that they were not allowed to give out that information, and I certainly cannot blame them for that.

But, I want to see Mecca.

I do.

And I want to know more about official Muslim-Saudi restrictions on Jews in the Holy City and the country as a whole.

Is that wrong?

And am I racist for wondering how it is that a Jew cannot even visit land where Jews lived for millenia prior to the rise of Islam?

Let's find out, shall we?


By the way, I do not often read Maureen Dowd of the New York Times but in her article concerning Mecca in 2010 she writes this terrific line:
Couldn’t Mecca, I asked the royals, be opened to non-Muslims during the off-season? 

Actually, now that I think on it, that could easily have been a line coming from the ample mouth of the late, great Joan Rivers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Latest Post for the Elder

Title:  Weakness, Stupidity, and Head-Chopping

Here is a tid-bit:
I may be rambling a bit - and G-d only knows that I need a stalwart editor - but this popular head chopping fad that we have been reading about is ghastly... horrific... mind-bogglingly revolting... there are no words and it leads one to wonder the extent to which this kind of thing has been going on all along....that is, if I may wonder aloud without insulting anyone's religious faith, for chrissake.

Although I do respect people's religious traditions, this particular practice, for some strange reason, crosses a line for me, particularly when it is practiced on children as we saw with the Fogel family attack.  Your mileage may vary, but I find myself in the nay-saying camp when it comes to chopping off people's heads in the name of the deity.
So, is this head-chopping thing a fad or has it been going on all along in basically the same measure?

Certainly it is recommended in the Koran.

Sura 47 reads, in part:
When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely...
Therefore, this head-chopping habit is embedded in Islam's holiest book and I am pretty sure that Sura 47 is not the only place.

Here is a rather academic article by Timothy Furnish of the Middle East Quarterly on the subject from 2005.

I cannot help but think that Jesus would not approve.

In any case, I certainly do not and there is but no question that Obama was wrong when he said, the other day, something to the effect that no religion calls for harming the innocent.

That is a lie.

Obama is either ignorant or lying.  My suspicion is the latter.  How is it possible that I know more about Islam than the guy who went to Islamic school as a child?

Christianity is a religion of peace and compassion in the words of the founder.

Judaism is a religion of law.  One keeps Kosher - if one does so - not because of any contemporary notions concerning health, but because it is the written law, Torah.

Islam is a religion of submission and is the only religion in the world that advocates taking a sharp blade, stabbing it into a person's neck, and sawing their head off.

Does noticing this and mentioning it aloud make me a "racist"?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alan Dershowitz On The Dead Baby Strategy And Other Crimes Against Nature


Some readers of geoffff's joint may know that the blog has shamelessly claimed for itself credit for coining the phrase "dead baby strategy" to describe the standing plan of the ruling Gaza authorities of the day, whoever and wherever they may be on the day and that is by no means necessarily in Gaza, to put civilians and especially children in the way of wars so as to harvest the propaganda value of the resulting lost lives for the war effort. 

Ah huh. Dead baby strategy. We had seen it before so many times it could be predicted with certainty with Operation Pillar of Cloud in November 2012 when it reached a new low of this depraved theatre of the grotesque.  Recall the Egyptian PM on a flash visit of solidarity just in time to carry for the cameras a freshly killed infant, son of a distraught BBC man no less. Turned out the child had been killed by a Hamas misfire.

Other images used have been of casualties of the Syrian conflict where there is an availability of dead kid stock several orders of magnitude over what is available in Gaza and is guaranteed to be always fresh in store.   

All you have to do is lie that the Jews did the killing and that of course is no sweat at all. Been doing that for centuries. 

 It was time it was given a name. Snuff movie is morally in the same field but doesn't quite cover it.  Death porn is closer.  

Anywhere in the world , building vast war tunnels with the blood and resources of a brutally and unlawfully ruled people and placing war facilities, including operations, war tunnel entrances and enormous munitions stocks among whatever facilities the people have been left after the plundering, would be seen as an enormous crime. To then instruct the civilian population to stay put and ignore warnings to evacuate that they know will come as the criminals have already attacked the civilian population of the hated enemy would hardly be seen as a point in mitigation anywhere.

Except in Gaza.

Over 300 kids were killed digging those tunnels. Hamas and the PA are the sources for that. Apparently the kids were prized as diggers because of their size and agility.  Likely they would have died horribly of course. 

What do you call this. A war crime? It doesn't even begin to describe it. Of course it is a war crime, not just one, but it is something else besides. Can you call it genocide not only as a policy for the Jews but also as policy for the Gazans, even when it is part of a single coherent strategy that includes rapidly expanding the population of the ruled people for the purposes that include the waging of jihad?

A policy that enslaves women, entrenches poverty, grinds out never ending grievance and that has resulted in Gaza having among the highest birth rates and population projections anywhere going all the way back to 1967 when living standards in Gaza and other places nearby dramatically began to improve in key sectors.

But I digress.

That was way before Hamas was calling the shots and the policy settings, such as they were, were flung in reverse with all seven gears grinding like a Norwegian submarine right back all the way to the seventh century. 

Not just Gaza by the way. The policy extends beyond Gaza. But how is a population explosion possibly in the same street as genocide?

Not the right word just now. But who knows what these maniacs are capable of and as the antizionist bigots in the West are fond of accusing Israel of genocide that involves the same population explosion it must be said that Hamas and its ugly sisters are guilty of a crime against their own people that is in the same dimension even now.

Not to mention the policy regarding the Jews.

Whatever else you could call this thing, you can say for sure it is uglier than a hatful of massacres and something else even uglier besides. You don't have to be a moral philosopher to note this.  

Where else in the world and in history would there be any doubt about the nature of a crime like this? There may  excellent reasons to not intervene including the most excellent reason of them all; that there is nothing that can be reasonably done. But whether it was genocide in Darfur, the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia or the crushing of the Tibetans there would be no lack of moral clarity about what we were seeing. 

Except in Gaza. 

Why is that? Isn't that being a little racist?  Because it sure looks like it to me. A kind of double racism. The racism that relieves the rulers of Arab peoples and especially "Palestinians" from all responsibility for their terrible crimes even against their own people and the racism that places the burden of responsibility for these crimes squarely onto the Jews.  

I've got to say this so please hear me through. We know it was determined Third Reich policy from the start to breed, as they saw and put it, as many Germans as possible so that they could be burned for a purpose that transcended the value of their lives.  This was a core theme of the ruling ideology.  Everyone knew this. It was taught in the schools. Beyond the individual is the state and beyond the state is the ruling ideology that must and will triumph even as the individual as an animal must die and whose duty therefore is to submit to the service of the state with his life.

In the light of events I guess one of the crimes you could accuse Hitler is the genocide of the German people. It is certainly true that Germans were his first victims and not just the Jewish Germans. 

Which brings me back to Gaza.  

As Hamas and its ugly sisters are being rewarded for their crimes and have people to burn as a result of a political culture that has a pathological attitude toward women and girls and a death cult attitude to the value of human life they will of  course keep on doing this.

But here's the thing. The rewards for Hamas are mainly in the West. They can see for themselves the strategy is working in spades and at a cost to them that is negligible. Other people's kids that have been brought into the world for this purpose as policy. 

The people of Gaza are oppressed and no one can seriously believe that there are not many among them who know what Hamas is up to and who just want a good and quiet life. But such thoughts are crimes in Gaza let alone words and how in any event supporting Hamas from the West can in any way be seen as in the best interests of the people of Gaza has to be dangerously close to racism in its own right.

Here is Alan Dershowitz nailing it at the Gatestone Institute. 

Hamas quickly produces photographs of dead babies to be shown around the world, while at the same time preventing the media from showing its rocket launchers in densely populated areas.
Unless Hamas's "dead baby strategy" is denounced and stopped -- by the international community, the media, the academy and all good people -- it will be coming soon "to a theater near you".
If Hamas's dead baby strategy works, why not repeat it every few years? And why shouldn't other terrorist groups, like ISIS and Boko Haram, adapt this strategy as Hezbollah has already done?
On June 13, 2014, the commander of the Gaza Division of the Israel Defense Forces took me into a Hamas tunnel that had recently been discovered by a Bedouin tracker who serves in the IDF. The tunnel was a concrete bunker that extended several miles from its entrance in the Gaza Strip to its exit near an Israeli kibbutz kindergarten.
The tunnel had one purpose: to allow Hamas death squads to kill and kidnap Israelis. The commander told me that Israeli intelligence had identified more than two dozen additional tunnel entrances in the Gaza Strip. They had been identified by the large amounts of earth being removed to dig them. Although Israeli intelligence knew where these entrances were, they could not order an attack from the air, because they were built into civilian structures such as mosques, schools, hospitals, and private homes. Nor could Israel identify their underground routes from Gaza into Israel, or their intended exit points in Israel. Israeli scientists and military experts had spent millions of dollars in aneffort to develop technologies that could find the underground routes and intended exits for tunnels that were as deep as a hundred feet beneath the earth, but they had not succeeded in finding a complete solution to this problem. The planned exits from these tunnels in Israel were also a Hamas secret, hidden deep in the ground and incapable of being discovered by Israel until the Hamas fighters emerged. At that point it would be too late to prevent the death squads from doing their damage.
Sure to get this 
I was taken into the tunnel and saw the technological innovations: tracks on which small trains could transport kidnapped Israelis back to Gaza; telephone and electrical lines; crevices beneath schools and other civilian targets that could hold explosives; and smaller offshoot tunnels leading from the main tube to numerous exit points from which fighters could simultaneously emerge from different places.