Friday, August 29, 2014

Netanyahu and the West Doom Israel to Perpetual War

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

voidWith the recent alleged conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with the western powers, has doomed the Jews of the Middle East to perpetual war.

Unless we see significant policy changes coming out of Jerusalem viz-a-viz the security of the south, Israel can write off that part of the country and just accept the idea that their children will never be even remotely safe.  Furthermore, of course, if Israel had any plans to economically or agriculturally develop that part of the country they can simply forget about, at least into the foreseeable future.

Hamas, as it turns out, is actually far more effective in the ethnic-cleansing of Jews from Jewish land than is even the EU, the UN, or the Obama administration.  Obama has been twisting Jewish arms for years trying to get us to move off of Jewish land without success, but Hamas knows how it is done.


You simply hit Jews in the head until we go away.

One would think that within living memory of the Holocaust the world community might oppose hitting Jews in the head until we go away, but this is clearly not the case.  Just as it is not the case in Guatemala, where a small Jewish group is currently threatened with lynching unless they scram, so it is not the case even in Israel, where half the world's Jews are under perpetual threat from their former Arab-Muslim masters.

The hatred toward the Jews of the Middle East takes the form of concentric rings of malice, with the rings closest to the physical body of those Jews representing the most fanatical and malicious faction.  That is, the Arabs who live within, and directly around, the Jewish State of Israel are the most religiously and authentically genocidal, to the extent that they literally dance in the street at the news of the kidnapping and murder of teenage yeshiva students.

Israel is therefore a fortress wherein the Jews of the Middle East protect themselves from their seething neighbors.  The Arabs within, and around, Israel are largely committed to the elimination of Jewish sovereignty and self-defense and have shown themselves willing to use any means necessary, not limited to chopping the heads off of three month old baby girls, as we saw in the 2011 Jihadi attack against the Fogel family in the town of Itamar.

Surrounding the Jews of the Middle East, and their local Arab antagonists, of course, is the larger Arab-Muslim world.  There are around 400 million Arabs in the Middle East and about 1.5 billion Muslims world-wide in generalized hostility to about 13 million Jews.  That is well over one hundred Muslims for every single Jew on the planet and somewhere between 60 and 70 Arabs for every single Jew in the Middle East.  For the most part those 1.5 billion Muslims are not particularly happy with the presence of a Jewish State on what was once a part of the Umma, the larger Arab-Muslim imperial realm.  Having conquered land all the way from Indonesia in the East to Andalusia in the West, the vast Arab-Muslim colonial nation remains uncomfortable with effective push-back from its traditional inferiors.

Thus the Arab and Muslim peoples put the weight of their collective influence behind the local Arab fighters who represent the front-lines of violent Islamist anti-Zionism.  Beyond the Middle East, of course, lies a slew of western organizations that are supportive of Arab efforts and who provide political, financial, military, and moral backing for anti-Zionism and / or Israel Hatred.  These include the United Nations, the European Union, the Obama administration, and the various NGOs and "humanitarian organizations" that perpetually lambaste Israel and drag its name through the mud, while ignoring human rights abuses elsewhere that dwarf anything that Israel ever did in both scale and depravity.

These also include the western media, both mainstream and alternative, that largely favors the Arab majority by ignoring its provocations and intransigence and by almost always interpreting Jewish self-defense as a form of irrational and racist aggression against a small, helpless minority population.  The Gaza conflict, like the others in recent years such as Cast Lead or Protective Shield, followed a familiar pattern:

1) The Arabs try to kill Jews via rocketry or kidnappings, or other forms of terrorist attack, but the western media ignores it almost entirely.

2)  Israel eventually is forced to fight back.

3)  Hamas hides behind women and children and when civilians are therefore killed they blame it on Jewish "aggression," knowing that their allies in the western-left will repeat and expand that accusation throughout the western world.

4)  Western-left allies of Hamas, of the sort found in places like Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian, tell one another that, with the exception of Jewish anti-Zionists, "Zonists" are monsters who are doing to the local Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews... which was Hamas's purpose for igniting the recent hostilities to begin with.

5)  Pressure on Israel increases from all the western sources, including the Obama administration, which obliged Hamas through holding back military supplies to Israel during a time of war, through the FAA decision to temporarily cease flights into Ben Gurion Airport, and through the constant demands for a ceasefire despite the fact that Israel had yet to complete its military objectives, limited as even those were.

6)  Violence against Jews increases from Arab sources around the world, including Europe and the Americas.

By refusing to allow Israel to finish the job Benjamin Netanyahu, in collusion with the western powers, has ensured that the Gaza front will remain open and bloody for many years to come.

Furthermore, the areas of Israel around Gaza will have a very difficult time coming back economically - or as any place to raise a family - because Israelis can have little faith in government pronouncements concerning their ongoing security.  In this way Hamas has essentially ruined maybe one quarter of the small landmass that is Israel and did so with the help of far larger forces.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gazans Celebrate "Genocide" in Gaza

Michael L.

Much to everyone's apparent astonishment the Gazans are celebrating the current massacre and genocide of their own people.

After what can only be described as one of the most vicious unwarranted massacres in human history, the brutalized Gazans have taken to the streets in wild celebration upon their great victory over the illegal Zionist entity.

Writing in Y-Net, Roi Kais tells us:
gazaAfter 50 days of hiding underground, former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh took to the stage at a rally in Gaza on Wednesday, declaring that the group's victory over Israel in the IDF's Operation Defensive Edge was unprecedented.

"It is impossible to make do with words and speeches to express this victory," he said. "The victory is beyond the boundaries of time and place. This battle is a war that had no precedent in the history of the conflict with the enemy."
Why does this remind me of the Twilight Zone?
You're traveling through another dimension -- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead: your next stop: the Twilight Zone!

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... the Twilight Zone.
The genocide that the Zionists committed against the indigenous Palestinian population is among the most cruel military campaigns in over the last one hundred years.  The Israelis indiscriminately pounded Gaza by air killing thousands of people, mainly women and children, particularly children and most particularly the tender and delicious ones.  Nonetheless:
The celebrations in Gaza began Tuesday night, shortly after the ceasefire took hold.  Bursts of gunfire were heard in Gaza City; men packed into vehicles, waving and flashing victory signs. Images showed Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum being hoisted onto the shoulders of jubilant Gazans.
Meanwhile, in Israel, the brutal Jews seem rather depressed over their defeat of the celebratory and victorious Gazans.  Even as Israel laid waste to the entire Gaza Strip, leaving virtually nothing standing, the heroic Gazan resistors danced in the streets and handed out candy to little Hamasniks in training who they are very much looking forward to pushing into the front lines in the years ahead.


In truth, what we are witnessing is the fact that Hamas met its objectives in this recent spasm while Israel did not.  The reason for this is that Hamas's objectives were largely in the realm of propaganda and politics and they set the bar for victory so low that merely survival counted as such.  Israel's failed objectives were largely military, required a high bar to achieve, and cannot be considered complete until Hamas is effectively terminated as a force in the strip.

Since Netanyahu decided against demanding unconditional surrender, Hamas lives to fight another day.  But that simply represents the status quo anti.  Hamas is still there and clearly still able to terrorize and wreck southern Israel.  Jews have moved away from the area and for reasons that are entirely obvious do not wish to move back.

Hamas, on the other hand, has gained legitimacy in the eyes of the western powers and can stand before the local Arab population with their heads held high because they outlasted their far more powerful enemy.  The reason for this is because the international community, with Barack Obama leading from behind, will never allow an honest Israeli victory over their Arab tormentors and thereby consign the Jews of the Middle East to a never-ending war of attrition, for which those very Jews will be endlessly blamed.

The big loser in this thing - aside from the dead and the families of the dead, and the Jewish people, more generally, however - is Benjamin Netanyahu whose approval numbers in Israel are in the toilet,  dropping a whopping 44 points in recent weeks, largely due to the fact that the Israelis wanted him to finish the job and he did not.

44 points.  This has to be the single fastest and hardest fall in polling numbers for any western-type politician that I have seen in my life with, perhaps, Richard Nixon as a possible exception.

Ultimately all Netanyahu did was kick the can down the road where we will see it again, in its next larger mutated form, sometime in the next few years.  In the mean time, sadly, southern Israel may very well become emptied of Jews who do not wish to raise their children under Hamas rocket fire.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Arabs have every right to ethnically-cleanse Jews from southern Israel because the Jews are allegedly mean to Arabs.  No one cares that S'derot and Ashkelon, and all the little kibbutzim and communities around there, endured something like 14 or 15 years of more or less continual harassment and rocket fire, making life impossible, even as western progressives scoffed and called them "bottle rockets."

Dana Bar-on left kibbutz Nir Am, just west of S'derot, when the savages popped out of the ground for the purpose of dragging her, or her friends and family, into a terrorist tunnel.  She lived in that area almost all of her life and her grandmother was a founder of that agricultural kibbutz.

I wonder if she will ever return.

And who could blame her if she did not?

The western-left will not be happy until the land of the Jews is truncated into little more than Tel Aviv and environs.

The Arabs won't be happy until the Jews of the Middle East are returned to their previous condition of submission and dhimmitude.

And the Jews of the diaspora have their heads so firmly implanted into the ground that they have no idea which is way is up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is the Man in Black an Innocent Child?

Michael L.

The End1There comes a point where a daily blogger, such as myself, comes to believe that there is simply nothing left to say.

When I look at the image of a British-born Muslim Jihadi on the verge of head chopping an American journalist, James Foley, I am left speechless.

I have not written on this since it happened, because what can there possible be to say?  One could, as some leftists do... and as I used to do... blame Arab and Muslim barbarity on the history of western imperialism.

I no longer do so, however.  The reason for this is because I refuse to infantalize people of the Islamic faith.

I am sorry, but the standard progressive-left apologetics for savage Muslim violence - that it is primarily the fault of western imperialism - will no longer suffice and it is long past time that we acknowledge an exceedingly serious political movement emerging from the Middle East under the banner of what we once called the "Arab Spring," but what is more accurately known as the Jihad.

When we thought, in 2011, that the Arab Spring was about democracy we were fooling ourselves.  We lied to ourselves and we lied to one another.  In truth, it was, on our part, all about wishful thinking.  In the United States and Europe, well-meaning, but ignorant, westerners told one another that the sloughing off of secular dictators like Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi would mean the rise of a democratic Middle East.

So much for that silly notion.

The main reason that we deluded ourselves, however, was because we spent the previous three decades, since the Iranian revolution, ignoring the rise of political Islam throughout that part of the world.  We were afraid to speak out against al-Sharia because we did not know much about it and because the western political zeitgeist had moved ironically, since 9/11, in a pro-Arab, pro-Muslim direction.  Counter-Jihadis are thus considered "racist" and anyone who speaks in opposition to head-chopping or, say, the stoning of women to death for the crime of getting raped, are considered insensitive knuckle-draggers, if not worse.

No one wants to be spit at as a racist and, so, people watched Islamist barbarity, but kept their mouths shut.  They were not afraid of violent Jihadi retribution nearly so much as they were afraid (and are afraid) of social retribution by their fellow left-wing ideologues.

Until such a time that we treat the Arab and Muslim world with the normal respect that we have for other adults, we will always condescend to them and make excuses for their worst behavior.  When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton blamed Muslim violence and the murder of American diplomats and staff in Benghazi, Libya, on some ridiculous video, they showed true contempt not only for the intelligence of the American people, but for Arabs and Muslims throughout the world.

Barack Obama is not the most pro-Muslim president that the United States has ever had.

On the contrary, Barack Obama is probably the least pro-Muslim president in United States history because unlike all previous American presidents, he treats the great Arab-Muslim nation as little children in need of succor and a warm glass of milk before night-night.

Despite Obama's hostility toward the Jewish State of Israel, at least he usually treats Jews like adults.

A Must Read

Michael L.

The former "PaulinBerkeley" (from Daily Kos and MLW fame) tipped me to this article in Tablet Magazine written by Matti Friedman, formerly of the Associated Press.  This is just a brief snippet of what is a fairly lengthy, but highly significant piece of writing.

As a reporter on the ground for the AP for a number of years, he shares an insight into how the news media acts as a partisan political club against the well-being of the tiny Jewish minority in the Middle East.
friedmanFor centuries, stateless Jews played the role of a lightning rod for ill will among the majority population. They were a symbol of things that were wrong. Did you want to make the point that greed was bad? Jews were greedy. Cowardice? Jews were cowardly. Were you a Communist? Jews were capitalists. Were you a capitalist? In that case, Jews were Communists. Moral failure was the essential trait of the Jew. It was their role in Christian tradition—the only reason European society knew or cared about them in the first place.

Like many Jews who grew up late in the 20th century in friendly Western cities, I dismissed such ideas as the feverish memories of my grandparents. One thing I have learned—and I’m not alone this summer—is that I was foolish to have done so. Today, people in the West tend to believe the ills of the age are racism, colonialism, and militarism. The world’s only Jewish country has done less harm than most countries on earth, and more good—and yet when people went looking for a country that would symbolize the sins of our new post-colonial, post-militaristic, post-ethnic dream-world, the country they chose was this one.

When the people responsible for explaining the world to the world, journalists, cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, what they are saying to their readers—whether they intend to or not—is that Jews are the worst people on earth. The Jews are a symbol of the evils that civilized people are taught from an early age to abhor. International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A partially balanced evaluation of the conflict at Vox, but still 150° wrong (Part 2)

Sar Shalom

In my introductory post on Max Fisher's deconstruction of the "myths" about the Israeli-Arab conflict, I reviewed the one card that I agreed with and started presenting what is wrong in the others. In this post, I shall pick up, in order what is wrong with the remaining cards from Fisher's list of myths.

Card 2, The conflict is about religion

In and of itself, there is nothing wrong in stating that the conflict is something other than religion. Indeed, until the Islamists started turning on the the Christians, the Christians were united with the Moslems in opposing Jewish self-determination. Even today, many Christians-Palestinians are on the side of the Moslems, though there has been an awakening among some Palestinian-Christians, such as Christy Anastas and Gabriel Nadaf, that they are better off under Jewish-Israeli rule than under Moslem-Palestinian rule.

However, Fisher states that the conflict is "over secular issue of land and nationhood." In this statement, Fisher creates the impression that the Palestinians' objective is a positive one, as opposed to the negative goal of eliminating Jewish self-determination, whatever replaces it. For the most part, I discussed that in the last post, but in this card, Fisher added a few words about Jerusalem: "The long-divided city has, in its ancient center, Islam's third holiest site (the al-Aqsa mosque compound) located physically on top of the much older Temple Mount, the Western Wall of which is Judaism's holiest site." Contrary to Fisher's assertions in that paragraph, the Western Wall is not Judaism's holiest site, the Temple Mount is, and within the Temple Mount, the holiest site is the site where the Temple stood, though there is a degree of controversy of its exact location. One common feature at EoZ has been Moslem reactions to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. What is that animates them so much? The Jews visiting do nothing to interfere with Moslem religious activities there nor do they disrespect it such as by playing soccer. Could it be Jews visiting the Temple Mount undermines their right to lord Islam's supremacy of Judaism just as barring Jews from sitting at the Western Wall did during the British Mandate era?

More egregious is "[t]he European Jews who first encouraged and organized mass Jewish migration to what we now call Israel" which writes out the the Middle Eastern and North African Jews who migrated to the Yishuv. Unlike their European coreligionists, many of these Jews were religious. The role of Jews from the East will be brought up further in Cards 3 and 4.

Card3, They've been fighting for centuries

It is true that there has not been open conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the Levant for centuries in the same way that there was not open warfare between whites and negroes (the polite word of the era) between the end of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights era.

However, Fisher claims that the conflict began in 1948, yielding that it can be as much as 100 years old, ignoring the anti-Jewish hostilities from the Levant that were present in the early 19th century. Fisher characterizes the pre-Zionism relations in the region as " those two religious groups have been coexisting in the region, for the most part peacefully, since Islam was first born in the 7th century." It is a short stretch from that to saying that Zionism destroyed the amicable relations between the Moslem and Jewish faiths that have been created through 12 centuries of patient effort by the good people of both faiths. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.

More egregious is Fisher's insinuation that the conflict started after the arrival of European Jews. The reality is that the 19th century was a time that saw numerous blood libels and other massacres across the Levant. The most notable instance was in Damascus in 1840 (which incidentally was the true spark for Zionism, albeit a spark that laid dormant until Herzl discovered it decades later after the Dreyfus affair). However, there were many other locations across the Levant where the blood libel manifested itself, Aleppo (1810, 1850, 1875), Beirut (1862, 1874), Safed (1834), Jerusalem (1847), Alexandria (1870, 1882), and others. The situation of the Jews was such that British diplomats saw that there might be a need to protect the Jews of the Levant. While much of the violence against the Jews was a result of the Ottoman authorites lacking the capacity to prevent, as opposed to with their blessing, and indeed plenty of it was perpetrated by the Christians, it demonstrates that anti-Jewish sentiment was well entrenched in the Levant by the 19th century.

Fisher goes on to characterize the Arab view of the Zionist project as European "colonial theft." A better characterization is that the Arabs were used to Jews in their midst who were willing to accept their inferior place in society. What the European immigrants represented were Jews who insisted on living in Palestine as equals. Early on, many of the fellahin would have been content to let the Jews come in and build the economy. However, many of the effendi were loathe to give up their privilege under the earlier system. One of their members, Amin el Husseini, threatened riots in order to induce the British to appoint him as Mufti in 1921. If there was any event that cast the die for the subsequent conflict, that was it. While most Arabs were unwilling to participate in violence against the Jews when Husseini took office, his promulgating that Arab honor required that Jews learn their proper place induced most of them to participate in the riots of 1929, less than decade after he assumed office, and set the seed for their intransigence which persists to today.

A final misconception of Fisher's is the role of the UN's 1947 partition plan. Following Fisher's reasoning, if the UN had not passed the partition plan, the Jews would have had no right to any of the land and partition only allocated a fraction of the land west of the Jordan for the Jews. The reality is that the League of Nations at the San Remo Conference allocated all of the land west of the Jordan (actually, it allocated more for the Jews, but included a clause that allowed Britain to reduce that amount, which Britain did invoke) and placed it under the British Mandate. What partition did was provide for the winding up of the Mandate and recommended that the Jews should yield a significant portion of the land allocated for them at the San Remo Conference in order to achieve peace with the Arabs. The Jews accepted this recommendation while the Arabs did not and responded by trying to take everything. They succeeded in taking part of what the UN suggested that the Jews should give them, with the Jews holding the rest and forming the State of Israel on it.

There were multiple categories of Arabs who left during the war. One was Arabs who had little connection to the land, such as those who arrived only a few years beforehand looking for work, who thus had no reason to stay in a war zone. Another was those heeded the call of the advancing Arab armies to vacate the area temporarily to facilitate the liquidation of the Jews, after which they could return. This group was augmented by Arabs who were forced by the Arab forces to join this exodus. Finally, there were Arabs who lived in towns and villages that gave sanctuary to the advancing Arab armies. This category was the only one that was forcibly removed by Israel. While the members of the final group were the only ones forcibly removed by Israel, the reality about them cast a cloud over all the others who left either voluntarily or because of Arab coercion, leading Israel to bar their reentry. Unlike all other refugee crises, outsiders saw this one as a bloody shirt to wave about Israel rather than a problem to solve, hence talk about permanent settlement of the Palestinian refugees outside of Israel has been verboten at the UN.

SFSU and the Abdulhadi Embarrasment # 1

Michael L.

rabab1Rabab Abdulhadi is an associate professor of "race and resistance studies" at San Francisco State University.

The woman is significant to the extent that she helps whip up hatred toward the Jews of the Middle East on American college campuses and abroad.

She served as the first director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.  And she is a co-editor of, Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging, published by Syracuse University Press in 2012.

According to her page on the Jadaliyya website:
Her scholarship, pedagogy and public activism focuses on Palestine, Arab and Muslim communities and their diasporas, race and resistance studies, transnational feminisms, and gender and sexuality studies.
Her scholarship and activism, therefore, center on "Palestine" and the rest of the Arab world, but not Israel.

I must wonder then just who, in terms of real people, she is "resisting" against?   I understand that she is "resisting" imperialism and colonialism and racism and sexism and apartheid and materialism and misogyny and Zionism and, probably, ageism, as well, but I must wonder just who, specifically, as individuals and groups, Abdhulhadi and her like-minded colleagues consider to be the enemy, if not Israel and the Jews?

Now, it could be that Professor Abdulhadi is simply not interested in the allegedly miserable fate of Arabs within the Jewish State or it could be that she considers all of Israel to be "Palestine."

I just want to know which.

I am only beginning to look into this person, but I find myself optimistic that she will live up to expectations. This is, of course, not some oversight on the professor's part, you can be sure.  Her elimination of Israel from her "scholarship, pedagogy and public activism" is simply one small way for an anti-Jewish college professor of Arab descent to eliminate the Jewish State to her impressionable students who love an allegedly righteous cause.

Recently there was something of a kerfuffle surrounding SFSU professor Abdulhadi because she acted as the formal university adviser to the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) and GUPS held up signs calling for the murder of Jews as "colonizers" during an event honoring former Columbia Professor of Literary Studies, Edward Said.

Abdulhadi, as an anti-Semitic anti-Zionist activist, then took a university-funded trip to Israel for, among other purposes, meeting with hijacker and terrorist, Leila Khaled.  Abdulhadi, it must be noted, is not merely a scholar with a Yale pedigree, but also someone who combines her scholarship with political activism in opposition to the well-being of the Jewish people.  In Abdulhadi's case, political activism involves doing what little she can do to delegitimize Israel for the eventual purpose of eliminating Jewish sovereignty and self-defense on the land that Jewish people come from and promoting as much hatred toward the Jews of the Middle East as she possibly can.

Tammi Benjamin, of the AMCHA Institute, who seeks to place a spot-light on university promoted hatred toward the Jewish minority in the Middle East, recently admonished Abdulhadi for allegedly misrepresenting the nature of that trip to the SFSU administration, in order to make a case for deception and a misallocation of funds.

I honestly do not care.

My concern about Abdulhadi has nothing whatsoever to do with any charges of corruption or deception.

My only concern is that Abdulhadi - along with everyone else who supports BDS - is calling for the end of Jewish sovereignty within living memory of the Holocaust.

My concern is that my alma mater finances hatred toward Jews and thus helps to bring that hatred to public prominence in the United States and that Fred Astren, the current SFSU Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies, is weak in opposition.

San Francisco State University Funds Hatred Toward Jews

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon and cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

abdulhadiI am sorry, but that is the simplest, bluntest, and most honest way that I can put it.

San Francisco State University funds hatred toward Jews.

Between December 24 of last year and June 26 of this I published ten pieces concerning racism toward Jews at San Francisco State University, my alma mater.  These pieces concerned themselves with little facts such as:

1) SFSU funds student organizations, such as the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), that call for the murder of Jews, whom they call "colonizers."

2) In the last academic year, Muhammad Hammad, the former president of GUPS held up a blade, took a "selfie," and then published it on a social media site and talked about his desire to kill Jews.

fist3) The adviser to GUPS, professor Rabab Abdulhadi, a malicious anti-Israel anti-Jewish political activist who specializes in some semi-academic discipline called "race and resistance studies," took a university funded trip to the Middle East for the purpose of meeting with various terrorists and their supporters including plane hijacker, Leila Khaled, whom they exalt as a "freedom fighter."

Of course, anti-Jewish malice is nothing new at San Francisco State University up to, and including, mob violence.  When I was there at the end of the 1990s Jewish students often faced Arab student organizations, in coordination with the pan-African student group, that regularly demonized Jews on the SFSU campus for their support of Israel.

I will never forget walking past Malcolm X Plaza, in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, and seeing Arab students and Black students holding aloft an American flag with fifty little Stars of David in it.  I guarantee you that almost every member of the tiny Jewish minority on that campus, who walked by that display, understood very well in a visceral way what they were being told.  It was this:

You better watch your ass.

After I graduated things apparently got worse at SFSU.

Todd Gitlin, sociologist, political scientist, and former student radical, writing in Mother Jones Magazine on June 17, 2002, quotes former director of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, Laurie Zoloth:
"I cannot fully express what it feels like to have to walk across campus daily, past maps of the Middle East that do not include Israel, past posters of cans of soup with labels on them of drops of blood and dead babies, labeled 'canned Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license,' past poster after poster calling out Zionism=racism, and Jews=Nazis."
Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, Cinnamon Stillwell tells us this:
How did such a threatening environment become associated with a campus located in one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the nation? The truth is that SFSU has a reputation for intolerance that goes back at least 10 years. In this case, Republican students, clearly a minority at SFSU, were the targets. But in the past, such animosity was directed mostly at Jewish students or those seen as supporting Israel. Jews at SFSU have been spat on, called names and physically attacked, as well as censured by the administration for defending themselves, even as their attackers went unpunished.

The case of Tatiana Menaker, a Russian Jewish emigré and former SFSU student, is an example of the latter indignity. After committing the "crime" of responding verbally to another student's anti-Semitic epithets during a 2002 rally, she found herself persecuted by the administration.

Pulled into a kangaroo court, threatened with expulsion and ordered by the university to perform 40 hours of community service (but specifically not for a Jewish organization), Menaker was later exonerated after seeking legal assistance from the Students for Academic Freedom and the local Jewish Community Relations Council. But the damage was done.

During my time as a student at SFSU (Class of 1996), I was given a preview of things to come. In 1994, the Student Union Governing Board commissioned a mural to honor the late Black Muslim revolutionary Malcolm X. Designed by members of the Pan Afrikan Student Union and painted by artist Senay Dennis (known also as Refa-1), the finished product was problematic, to say the least. Along with an image of Malcolm X, the not-so-subtle symbols of Stars of David juxtaposed with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words "African blood," had been painted. Despite the obvious allusion to anti-Semitic blood libels of old, Pan Afrikan Student Union members claimed the symbols represented Malcolm X's alleged opposition to Israel, not to Jews, as if that was some comfort.
But even as far back as the early-middle 1960s certain anti-Jewish ideologues were already establishing hatred toward Jews as part of the university atmosphere.

I recently did a little digging into the SFSU special collections archives on, what is for me, a defunct project, but came across this interesting tid-bit:


The above is an article from the SFSC Daily Gator dated March 23, 1966.  The Gator reports that for three years running people painted Swastikas over an Israeli flag which San Francisco State College's chapter of the American-Israeli Cultural Organization displayed for various functions.

The writer and editors, needless to say, assume that the vandals were either random "vandalists" or Nazis.

San Francisco State College, between 1964 and 1966, did not have a whole lot of Nazis among the student population, nor was the campus conveniently accessible from the rest of the city.  There were heart-felt, politically-innocent folk singers there, to be sure.  There were proto-hippies beginning to experiment with psychedelics as a potential means toward an "expanded consciousness."  There were young, goateed political radicals gearing up for the fight against the Vietnam War and what Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex."  And there were young "negro" students such as future movie star, Danny Glover, beginning to rethink their relationship with the college and American society, as a whole.

But, Nazis?  Not so much.

The bottom line is that San Francisco State University has a long history of hostility toward the Jewish people that is expressed both in student body activity, which sometimes takes the form of a violent mob, and almost always takes the form of administrative dithering and indifference.

The only real question I have is whether or not the university intends to continue funding anti-Jewish hatred going forward?

But it is not really much of a question.

I know that they will.

Just ask professor Fred Astren, the current SFSU Chair of the Department of Jewish Studies.  He'll tell you, maybe.

And if he will not, I bet Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative and the University of California, Santa Cruz, might have something to say on the matter.

Friday, August 22, 2014


A partially balanced evaluation of the conflict at Vox, but still 150° wrong (Part 1)

Sar Shalom

Recently, Vox, a left-of-center news and analysis site, updated its explanation by Max Fisher of the Israeli-Arab conflict. While the collection of 11 cards correctly identifies several facts that would engender sympathy for Israel, overall, it feeds a narrative that circumscribes Jewish rights and sets Israel as the party to blame for not accepting that circumscription.

{Editor's note - Fisher's reference to "cards" is a pedagogical device he uses to denote each of his points of argument.}

I'll start with Card 7, the one card from the collection that I can endorse. It starts off
There is a common trope, especially on the left, that the Israel-Palestine conflict would end overnight if only the US were not so unflinching in its support of Israel, and instead used its influence to bring the conflict to an end.
The main points of this card are: the premises of that trope are the mistaken (the narrative of the card demonstrates that Fisher considers it mistaken) notion that Israel is fully responsible for the conflict, that American support is not (neither presently nor historically) as absolute as popular imagination would have it, and that pressure on Israel merely creates a sense of isolation which induces Israel to do the opposite. The author cites several facts supporting this position such as the lack of a close relation prior to 1973 and conflicts between Israel and the George H. W. Bush and Obama administrations. This card also did not include any reason to justify those administrations stoking conflict with Israel. Altogether, nothing objectionable.

The remaining cards all have issues in which they highlight issues that misdirect people or ignore others that would create needed context with the overall effect of facilitating unfavorable narratives regarding Israel. Some of the cards are problematic by their very premise, others are neutral or even Israel-supporting by their premise, but turn their premise in a direction that supports an Israel-detracting narrative. I'll address those cards in order over a series of posts.

Card 1 posits that the conflict is not as complex as it is made out to be. This is a premise which is on its surface neutral. Further, the three major supporting points are also neutral. Those points are that any point about the conflict requires knowledge of the relevant history in order to be properly understood, the two sides tend to shout their conflicting narratives, and that the two sides try to present the conflict as complex unless they are saying that their own side is right and the other wrong.

However, Fisher's main point in this card, "[a]t its most basic level, the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is over who gets what land and how that land is controlled," is at the root of why people think that all that's needed to solve the conflict is for Israel to give the Palestinians what is "rightfully" theirs. Proper evaluation of that assertion demonstrates Fisher's first supporting point, but contra Fisher in Card 3, the relevant history did not begin in 1947.

While Fisher might be accurate that Jewish objectives revolve around maximizing the amount of land under Jewish control, the Palestinian national movement is after the nihilistic goal of ending Jewish self-determination in any portion of the Middle East with who winds up in control being besides the point and promulgates that it is treason for any Palestinian to oppose that goal. Saying that one side has only nihilistic goals is anathema to most people who try to evaluate others fairly. However, just because a concept is anathema does not mean that it is false, although it does create reason to require justification before stating it that otherwise might not be required.

Needless to say, the Palestinian national movement would be at considerable advantage if westerners believe their objectives are positive, that is more land for the subjects' benefit, relative to westerners believing their objectives are negative. Thus we can not just go by what they tell western audiences. One alternative way to assess the Palestinian national movement's aims is to look at the history leading to its establishment. In the late Ottoman period, there were three categories of people: believers, equal infidels, and inferior infidels. The believers are those who like the Ottoman rulers accepted the faith of Islam. The equal infidels were those who while not accepting Islam, shared a faith with the rulers of others powers with whom the Ottoman rulers dealt on equal terms, that is to say the Christians. The inferior infidels were everyone else. Naturally, the Christians liked the distinction between equal infidels and inferior infidels because this gave them an opportunity to be accepted as equals. One result of this is that it was a Christian who founded the Baath Party and Christians were as much in the forefront of opposition to the UN Partition plan as were Muslims. As to why there would be such a distinction, this is speculative, but if every power on earth treats a particular group like clay in a potter's hand it is easier to claim that your ability to treat that group like clay in a potter's hand as due to divine will than for a group which is like the potter under other powers.

While such thinking could animate a political party, it would not naturally become a motivating factor for a larger public. However, this way of thinking did not have to take root naturally to become the dominant mode of thought for the masses. In 1921, the British appointed Haj Amin el Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem and inflated his title to Grand Mufti. Husseini was a believer in the notion that Jews are to be like clay in a potter's hand and used his office of Grand Mufti to promulgate the notion that grant any higher status to Jews constitutes treason. To those of a European guilt-culture background, suggesting that a mode of belief is treason, particularly a mode of belief that liberal multiculturalism holds to be central to maintaining a peaceful world, would be simply meaningless bluster. But, in the honor-shame culture of Islam (analagous to Christendom in this instance, not Christianity), being told that an authority figure considers something treason means that you have to stop doing what the authority figure considers treason. Hence, the Mufti used the Islamic shame-culture to bring the rest of the Arab public to believe as he did that Jew are to be a subjugated people and should not be allowed to bring any relief for themselves from their subjugation.

The Arabs' negative goal would explain why they rejected every partition plan that has been proposed in the past. They did not want Jewish self-determination on less land, they wanted there to be no Jewish self-determination. It also explains their steadfast adherence to the right of return. Simply put, achieving the right of return is enough on its own to achieve an end to Jewish self-determination since the demographic effects of it would result in an Arab government in the next election which would be in position to dismantle Jewish sovereignty from within.

It is one thing to present evidence that the Palestinians' goal is positive rather than negative. The issue with mainstream thought is that it dismisses the possibility that their goal is in fact negative and refuses to entertain any evidence that it is so. If their goal is positive, then the peace process would be a viable way to reach an end of claims agreement. However, if their goal is in actuality negative, then a peaceful settlement leaving both sides standing would require either breaking the Palestinians of their negative goal or imposing a regime on them that does not hold by it since Israel surviving and holding so much as a postage stamp sized piece of land would constitute failure to achieve the negative goal. Wishing that the Palestinians' goal is positive, and thus amenable to some sort of peace process, does not make it so.

Future posts will respond to Cards 2 through 6 and 8 through 11.

The Happy, Dancing IDF

Michael L.

I love these types of videos, what with IDF soldiers singing and dancing!

It just slays me.

I mean, aren't those guys supposed to be vicious thugs?  Should not they be feeling guilty about this allegedly unwarranted "massacre" in Gaza?

I'm just not seeing the guilt with these guys.  In fact, one way to interpret what they are doing is sticking a big hairy middle finger right into the face of all these progressive-left Israel Haters and anti-Semitic anti-Zionists in Europe, Australia, and North America.

Good for those soldiers.  They do not feel the least bit guilty and they shouldn't, because they have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about.  They do not want to be fighting in Gaza and they wouldn't be were it not for fourteen continuous centuries of ongoing Arab-Muslim genocidal hatred toward Jews.

That's the root cause of the conflict, i.e., long-standing Arab-Muslim supremacism over all non-Muslims, particularly us happy, dancing, joyous prophet-killers.

A Bit Tip 'O the Kippa to the Elder and his faithful sidekick, Ian.

Imam Obama

Michael L.

Barack Obama is not merely a highly successful politician he is, apparently, now an imam, as well, and thereby qualified to decide just who is a Muslim and who is not a Muslim.

Speaking from Martha's Vineyard upon hearing of the beheading of journalist James Foley by the Islamic State (ISIS), Imam Obama had this to say:
So ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.
Well, I suppose that depends on the meaning of the word "innocent."  Can an infidel possibly be innocent?  And what of Muslims who practice the faith incorrectly or do not meet standards of piety?  Are they not infidels and, therefore, also not innocent?

Let's see what the Quran has to say:
Surah 2:216 
Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. 
Here Muhammad (praise be unto him) tells us that violence is a good thing!  There is no indication that this is about self-defense.  It is about violence as a virtue.
Surah 4:89

They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper. 
Seize them and kill them wherever you find them?  And just who are these others in need of seizing and killing?  They are disbelievers, i.e., non-Muslims.
Surah 8:12

[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, "I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip."
Every finger tip?  Now that sounds rather unpleasant, doesn't it?  It's rather difficult to imagine my buddy Jesus recommending not only head chopping, but finger tip chopping strictly for panache.  It adds that certain something to the Jihadi experience that you would not want to miss out on.
Surah 9:5

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Anyway, there is much, much more where this comes from.

The point is not to suggest that Islam must be a violent religion because its primary sources often recommend violence.  On the contrary, there are strains of Islam, and innumerable "quietist" imams, that honestly do promote peace.  Of course, there are also strains of Islam, and innumerable noisy imams, who cry to the heavens for the blood of the unbeliever, particularly those loathsome prophet-killers.

Of course, people will point out that when it comes to violence, no religious book on this earth is quite so bloody as the Bible.  The Bible is, hands down, far bloodier than is the Quran.  The difference is that the bloodshed is descriptive, not prescriptive.  Nowhere in the Bible are Jews told to hunt down and murder non-believers.

Judaism does not set itself up in opposition to other faiths, but Islam most definitely does.

In any case, I just do not like being lied to by the president of the United States because, indeed, there are faiths that call for violence against the innocent.  Islam does so directly in the Koran.  You can spin it any way that you want.  You can interpret the above passages to be about anything and everything, but what they actually say.  You can twist yourself into knots trying to explain how calls for violence are, in fact, not calls for violence but something else entirely.

You know, maybe the guy that supported the Muslim Brotherhood should just keep his trap shut when it comes to other people's religions.   If he cannot bring himself to speak truthfully, it would be far better if he said nothing at all.


Oh, and by the way, as an aside, how is that if Obama is so opposed to the Islamic State that he believes that Hamas should be part of a unity government?  So long as we are empowering Islamists, should not the Islamic State also be part of a unity government with Iraq?  No?  Why not?

The only real difference from what I can tell between Hamas and the Islamic State is that while Hamas kills Muslims and Christians and Jews, the Islamic State thus far has only been killing Muslims and Christians.  Perhaps if they get some Jews into that mix they can start courting the anti-Zionist left and thus be eligible for political support among westerners.

See, it points to the incoherence in Obama's foreign policy that I have been pointing out for years.

He favors the Muslim Brotherhood, but does not favor al-Qaeda.

He favors Hamas to the extent that he would like to see them empowered within a unity "Palestinian" government, but he wants to see the Islamic State opposed in Iraq and Syria.

It makes no sense.  One cannot favor the Brotherhood while opposing al-Qaeda, because al-Qaeda is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Either one opposes political Islam or one does not.  You cannot pick and choose which of these malicious Islamist organizations to curry favor with, because they all represent the same thing and they would all see you dead in a New York minute if given half the chance.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

God is Great Even During Gang Rapes

Michael L.

Our friends in the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq are so pious that they even pray to Allah during gang rapes.

The entire west should be outraged at what these guys are doing in Syria and Iraq and now they tell us that they are looking forward to attacking the United States and, although they just beheaded an American journalist, the western left still hates the Jews more.

It's quite remarkable, actually.

The Jews of the Middle East are, for the most part, bunkered down in Fortress Israel, doing their best to survive as the much larger malicious Arab population seeks to wear them down during an ongoing, and entirely unjust, war of attrition.

While the western-left ponders sanctions against Israel and considers hurting the Jews of the Middle East economically via an international boycott, the fun-loving guys in the Islamic State are busy raping and murdering and beheading their way throughout much of that part of the world.

But, hey, that is OK.

The important thing to remember is that they are not building housing for themselves in the wrong places.  Oh, wait, what are the restrictions on Muslims building houses for themselves, other than the normal bureaucratic whatever?

Ah, right, there are none.

Jews, on the other hand, are highly constricted in terms of where the international community and the Obama administration believe we should be allowed to live.  The Middle East is a vast land mass, but Jews can only live in a very, very small part of it.  Jews may live within the Israeli "green line," but that's pretty much it.  Actually, as far as the larger Arab world is concerned, even that is entirely unacceptable.

The Arabs, generally, do not believe that Jews have any right to live on their sacred, Allah-drenched land without demonstrating the proper submission.  Israel is, therefore, an affront, an insult to Arab honor, and for this reason Jews have been kicked out of every country from Egypt to Iraq to Syria.

Of course, Jews were not kicked out of Saudi Arabia because Jews have not been allowed to live in Saudi Arabia since that Muhammad guy killed a bunch of us there and laid down that decree.

There are, of course, a few Jews living in Iran and, by all accounts, they are the happiest people on the planet.  There are around ten thousand Jews in Iran and the great thing is that the Persians are so open-minded that they actually allow those Jews not only to live, but to live among them... so long as they know their place.

So, Muslims can pretty much live anywhere on the planet that they want to, so long as they can afford the price of admission.  This is emphatically not the case with Jews in the Middle East.

Jews are not allowed to live in peace, or even at all, in virtually any part of the area where Jews have lived for millennia.  While Eretz Israel is our patrimony, Jews have lived in the rest of the Middle East since long, long before Muhammad was even born.  But we are no longer allowed to peacefully live, or live at all, in Egypt or Lebanon or Syria or Yemen or Pakistan or Turkmenistan or any of the other Stans.

Therefore Jews live in Israel.  It is a tiny little country, but it is our country.  It is the country where the Jewish people come from and we are the closest thing to an indigenous population in that area.  Of course, Barack Obama is entirely opposed to Jews living in certain parts of Eretz Israel.  We may be allowed to live in Tel Aviv (and environs) and Haifa (and environs) and certain parts of Jerusalem, but that is pretty much it.

Both Barack Obama and his partner, Mahmoud Abbas, agree that Jews must not be allowed to live in Judea otherwise they are just begging for violence.

The problem with this picture is not that I have painted it, however crudely, but that the Arab-Muslim world, via the Pact of Omar, created a system of submission and contempt that has dominated the region since that Muhammad guy's armies marched out of the Saudi Peninsula.

The system is effective.  There was a time when almost the entire Middle East was Christian, but now the Christians have it worse than the Jews.  The Jews can at least protect their children.  The Christians, on the other hand, are subject to the tender mercies of their Islamic neighbors.

I wish them nothing but luck.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Eliminate Hamas

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under.}

Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy write in Y-Net:
hamasA heavy barrage of rockets was fired at Israel on Tuesday night, around 10:40pm. Loud explosions were heard in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, while Code Red sirens blared throughout southern and central Israel.

Hamas said it fired 40 rockets at Israel. Among them, two hit open areas in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, four more in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council, and five hit open areas in the Be'er Sheva area.
Hamas apparently believes if enough people such as this idiot call upon Obama to pressure Israel to give in to their demands then maybe Netanyahu will fold.  And Netanyahu may very well fold.  In fact, as far as I am concerned, he already has.

By not finishing the job - which is to say, by not eliminating Hamas - he is damning Israel to never-ending war in the Gaza strip.

Furthermore, if he gives in to Arab demands to significantly lift the blockade, he signals to Hamas and Hezbollah and the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Palestinian Authority and Islamic Jihad, and all the enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish State, that if they hit us hard enough and long enough, we will give them whatever they want.

This is a huge mistake.

Every time Hamas breaks another cease fire by shooting rockets at Tel Aviv - Tel Aviv, for chissake! -  it opens an opportunity to hit them hard enough to wreck their ability to operate as a significant organization.

Israel should do what is necessary to finish this, once and for all.

I know that it is hard and I know such a thing would be bloody and awful, but I also know that so long as Israel negotiates with this group of theocratic fascists they legitimize an organization that calls specifically for the murder of the Jews wherever we might be found.

So long as Israel caves to Obama's demand that it not defend its people, the more it will have to in the years and decades ahead.

This is simply not acceptable.

Israel should seek, as it always does, to minimize civilian casualties, but it should not allow either the prospect of collateral damage, nor the PR storm that will inevitably result, to prevent it from completing its operational objectives.

The western-left, it should be understood, has lost any ethical standing with which to criticize Israel.  For years southern Israel withstood the rocket fire and they said not a word.  Thus anything that they say now should be entirely dismissed on moral grounds.


By the way, my non-peace process predictions turned out to be largely correct:
1) The US and the EU demand negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

2) The parties agree to talk and then the PA, the US, and the EU demand various concessions from Israel for the great privilege of sitting down with the PA's foremost undertaker.

3) Israel fails to meet all the concessions, thus causing the PA to flee negotiations, which they never had any intention of concluding to begin with.

4)  The PA and the EU and the Obama administration place the blame for failure at Jewish feet.

5)  The EU and various European countries announce additional sanctions, thereby essentially joining the anti-Semitic anti-Zionist BDS movement.

6)  Arabs seek to murder Jews.

Let's hope that I am wrong.
Well, as it turns out, I was not.

Here is a question:

How is it that the same people who spout the same worthless ideas, over and over again since 1992 - ideas that never work and that never change no matter how circumstances evolve - are still considered respectable for their analyses?

{For example, should not Thomas Friedman be out someplace selling pencils out of a tin cup on a street corner, by now?}

These also tend to be the same people who claimed that the misnamed "Arab Spring" was the great up-welling of Arab democracy.

These are the same people who supported Obama even when he supported the Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of Qaeda.

These are the same people who never breathe a word about the absolutely mind-boggling degree of Muslim-on-Muslim violence that reaches easily into the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced, yet will bang their fists on the floor and demand that the Jews stop defending themselves in Israel.

The western liberal-left has been consistently wrong about almost everything when it comes to foreign policy under the Obama administration, particularly the Arab-Israel conflict, yet they never admit a mistake and excoriate those who point them out.

We need a new paradigm to discuss the long Arab war against the Jews, because relying upon the terms of Oslo is to rely upon the enemy's terms.   It is not merely that we yield the home field advantage, but that we concede the debate before it begins.

What I suggest, as a preliminary to even thinking about the question, is to remember to expand the context historically.  It is exceedingly important to include thirteen hundred years of dhimmitude in the conversation if Jews wish to have any hope of appealing to rational liberals... which, in itself, does not seem very likely.

It is also exceedingly important, and for the same reason, to get them to understand the conflict is not some Jewish "Goliath" against a thumb-sucking and helpless Arab "David."  Arabs outnumber Jews 60 or 70 to 1 in that part of the world and are more than willing to use their cousins in Gaza, and in Judea and Samaria, as a club against the hated Jewish prophet-killers.

We can never win the argument so long as we fight on progressive-left anti-Israel rhetorical turf and, yet, with few exceptions, we almost never seem to fight anywhere else.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?

Michael L.

(Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon and cross-posted at Jews Down Under.)

gershon1 David Harris-Gershon's, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife? is a fascinating read.

Harris-Gershon is a progressive-left American Jew who supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement and spends much of his time bashing Israel before a non-Jewish left-leaning audience.

I, as a matter of public disclosure, have been highly critical of his writings in the past.

Nonetheless, I would say that the first one hundred pages of Harris-Gershon's book are terrific.  There is no question but that the man can write and that this is a quirky and sad and heart-felt page-turner.

In 2002 Harris-Gershon's wife, Jaime, sat in the cafeteria of Hebrew University atop Mount Scopus in northeastern Jerusalem, speaking with fellow students, when Mohammad Odeh ignited a bomb killing nine people and injuring Jaime, among numerous others.

This, needless to say, was a cause for celebration in Gaza City, where they presumably handed out cakes and candies to children in joy upon this great victory over the "Zionist entity."

Harris-Gershon's book was written, therefore, as part of a healing process.  It is deeply personal and demonstrates a braveness of character.  It is not everyone, after all, who has the strength to bare oneself to the world in the way that Harris-Gershon does, as he tries to understand the motivation of the killer and what that means not only to himself and his wife, but to the State of Israel, if not the Jewish people, as a whole.

As someone familiar with Harris-Gershon's writings on Israel I expected an anti-Israel narrative in his book and, through the first third, was pleasantly surprised to find none of the usual malicious insinuations, self-righteousness chest-beating, acidic implications of Jewish-Israeli racism, or the kind of general contempt one usually finds within a Harris-Gershon Daily Kos "diary."

Slowly, however, mid-way through the book, the narrative becomes increasingly negative not toward the people responsible for nurturing a culture of hatred toward their Jewish neighbors over the course of fourteen centuries, but toward the Jews, themselves.  For reasons that he never makes entirely clear, at least not to my satisfaction, Harris-Gershon comes to relate to the Palestinian narrative of pristine victim-hood while blaming his fellow Jews, or at least those in the Israeli government, for the bombing at Hebrew University and the conflict with Arabs, more generally.

Harris-Gershon's turn against Israel, a country that he claimed to love, begins with an apology.

Apparently after his capture Mohammad Odeh apologized for the lives he destroyed and that apology loomed large for Harris-Gershon.

He writes:
“But those words – he was sorry – backlit everything, threw shadows upon the walls which the darkness had concealed.  I saw myself.  I saw Mohammad.  I saw the destruction.  And for the first time, I felt an intense need to speak with Mohammad, to understand him.”
For some reason it does not occur to Harris-Gershon that perhaps Odeh apologized in order to help ease his situation as much as possible.  While it is true that good Jihadi ideologues are not likely to apologize for anything, it is also true that good Jihadi ideologues are human beings many of whom, under duress, will say almost anything to keep their interrogators at bay.

Due to this apology, genuine or not, Harris-Gershon contacts the Israeli government out of a desire to meet with the murderer.  In my estimation, there is nothing particularly unusual about Harris-Gershon wanting to meet the man who injured his life and almost killed his wife.  Had I been in his situation I might have wanted to meet Odeh as well... although, perhaps not to have a heart-to-heart conversation.

Harris-Gershon writes:
“I had no interest in reconciliation, had no interest in some granola-caked forgiveness trek toward Mohammad.  I just wanted to square the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘sorry’ so that I might be able to, once again, sleep through the night.”
That seems more than fair, although I have to wonder why throughout the book he refers to the Jihadi murderer by the familiar first name?  This may sound like a rather strange criticism, I suppose, but imagine that Charles Manson almost killed your husband or wife.  In reference to the guy would you likely call him "Charles" or "Manson"?  I am pretty sure that most people would not use the familiar and friendly term "Charles" under such circumstances, yet throughout the book Harris-Gershon refers to Odeh as "Mohammad."

It was just one of those little things that raised an eyebrow for me as I read.  It is clear that Harris-Gershon sought to humanize the murderer in order to understand his motivation and that is, I suppose, an admirable inclination.

There were, however, two other little eyebrow raisers toward the middle of the book.

The first is concerned with a discussion of apartheid South Africa seemingly out of nowhere.  What Harris-Gershon claims is that in his Google investigations into the experiences of others who have faced "perpetrators" the term "reconciliation" kept coming up.  This, allegedly, led him to the example of apartheid South Africa which he therefore felt a need to discuss in the middle of the book.

There is no reason to include a discussion of apartheid South African in this book unless one wishes to plant into the mind of the reader a highly unjust, malicious, and dangerous comparison.

Yet another eyebrow raiser was Harris-Gershon's assumption that because Israel turned down his request to visit with Odeh in prison, on the grounds that Odeh did not want to see him, that the Israelis were obviously up to no good.
“I began to suspect that the Israeli government might not have given my request any consideration, that Ruti Koren, Bureau Manager, Ministry of Public Secrurity, might have used Mohammad’s refusal as easy cover.”
Easy cover for what is entirely unclear.

At this point Harris-Gershon turns to left-wing anti-Israel activists who are willing to help him meet with Odeh and it is among them that he discovers his true soul-mates.
“As I sought the assistance of these peace activists, I began to sympathize with their mission: working for the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.  Things were not black and white, as I had been led to believe.  It was not good versus evil.”
Just who it was that deceived Harris-Gershon is entirely unclear.  Was it his parents?  His teachers?  The Israeli government?  His rabbis?  Random Jews on the street?  Someone apparently led him to believe that Arabs are "evil" and Jews are "good" and he was rather shocked to discover, as a full-grown adult, that others disagree.  This led to a great opening of the soul to such an extent that he wrote the following to the family of the murderer.
“If you can find it in your heart, I ask that you speak with Mohammad and let him know why I would like to speak with him.  And if you find my motivations pure, I humbly ask that you encourage him to agree to speak with me.”
I have to say, it is not everyone who is quite so pious as to grovel before the family of the man who hospitalized and almost murdered his wife.

{As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am not nearly so holy... you can be sure.}

The final third of the book is essentially a repetition of Arab complaints concerning Jewish malfeasance in that part of the world and Harris-Gershon's success in bringing presents to the children of the murderer.

It took professor Mordechai Kedar from Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv to make that happen through his sympathy with Harris-Gershon's desire to meet with the killer.  It should also be noted that Dr. Kedar has recently been defamed by people on Harris-Gershon's own Daily Kos blog who shamelessly and falsely claim that he favors rape as a tactic in war.

One would think that since this allegation is absolutely outrageous nonsense meant to undermine the integrity and reputation of the Jewish Israeli scholar that helped Harris-Gershon, he might come to his patron's defense in the defamatory "diaires" published at his home blog.

He did not, however, neither here nor here nor here..

At the end of the day, I feel bad for Harris-Gershon.  There is no doubt that he and his wife, Jaime, went through a traumatic experience that altered their lives and his book is a well-written testament to that fact.  I find nothing the least bit dishonest in Harris-Gershon's memoir.  On the contrary, I have little doubt that he means every word that he says.

Where he fails to convince, however, is in his explanation for his transition from pro-Israel ideologue to anti-Israel ideologue.  There is little in his story that accounts for this beyond the fact that the Israeli government refused to give the man permission to visit a murderer in prison.

Certainly, his brief dipping of the toes into Israeli history for a few pages toward the end of the book is little more than a repetition of the so-called "Palestinian narrative," which is actually a negation of Jewish history in the sense that it refuses to acknowledge thirteen hundred years of Jewish subjugation under Arab-Muslim imperial rule within the system of dhimmitude.

That Harris-Gershon is an anti-Israel ideologue is beyond doubt.  Even pro-Israel people who despise my own contribution to the discussion, and who are familiar with the man's blogging, would agree that Harris-Gershon is a toxic individual when it comes to Israel.

gershonHe even casts a gimlet eye upon the Balfour Declaration which he considers unjust toward the local Arabs.

There is no doubt that he and his wife went through something horrific and life-altering.

In my opinion, however, he would have done better to spend that money on a gift for his own kid, rather than the kid of the guy who tried to murder his wife.

I know where my loyalties lie, but not all of us can be - or should be - quite so saintly as David Harris-Gershon.

Are the Yazidis "White"?

Michael L. 

Writing in Arutz Sheva, Ari Soffer tells us:
Yazidi1In yet another harrowing chapter in the tragic plight of Iraq's Kurdish Yazidi population, eyewitnesses have described how girls raped by Muslim fighters from the "Islamic State" (formerly ISIS) committed suicide en-masse after returning to their families, as evidence of systematic rape by Islamists against non-Muslims continue to surface. 
Among the tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped in the Shingal mountains while fleeing IS's deadly advance through Iraq, several survivors told Kurdish Rudaw TV how a group of three girls were returned after being abducted and raped - only to hurl themselves off a cliff after being traumatized by their ordeal.
Meanwhile throughout Europe and Canada and Australia and the United States ethically-bankrupt leftists are screaming about the fact that Jews build housing for ourselves in Judea and finally dared to fight back when the entire southern part of Israel was being harassed by rocket fire, thus ruining the economy and wrecking lives over years.

Of course, the left was entirely silent when it was Jewish lives in Israel being ruined.  They did not care that Jewish kids are being raised with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or that residents of S'derot had 15 seconds to run for their lives when the Arabs shot their rockets.

As far as I am concerned the progressive-left, as a movement, has lost all ethical standing to complain about anything that Israel does.  So long as they continue ignore real atrocities around the world, such as the 5.5 million dead in Congo, the hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced in Sudan and Syria, then they should be confronted.  So long as they honestly do not care that the Islamic State is committing a genocide of heinous proportions characterized by rape and the outright assassination of children - with the barrel of a pistol directly to the head - then they should be castigated as the malicious hypocrites that they are.
"The Kurds and Yazidis are originally Aryans. But because the Yazidis are such a closed community they have retained a fairer complexion, blonder hair and bluer eyes. They don't marry non-Yazidis," Adnan Kochar, chairman of the Kurdish Cultural Centre in London, explained to the Daily Mail.

"ISIS have taken around 300 women from Sinjar to give to jihadists to marry and make pregnant to have a Muslim child. If they can't kill all Yazidis, they will try to smash the blond bloodline," he said.

The Yazidis have blonde hair and blue eyes and refuse to marry outside the race?

The Yazidis are white people, so no wonder leftists do not care about them.  It all makes sense now.  The Islamic State is engaged in resistance against the colonialist, imperialist white oppressors of which the Yazidi act as a front.

Someone needs to tell the Yazidis that they need to check their privilege.

You cannot expect progressive-left anti-imperial anti-racists to step up for white people in a conflict with persecuted people of color, like those in the Islamic State.

Seriously, though, the Yazidis haven't much of a chance. Since this is not a matter of Jewish self-defense there is nothing for leftists to care about in it.  The Obama administration - since it is the Obama administration - will do as little as possible, but just enough to placate the left-liberal Democratic Party base, which, you can be sure, will not take much.

From the comments:
Russ Bubb

No... Not, "Where is the US?" Where is Obama? After he clandestinely created these crises that have resulted in the Islamists obtaining dominance, he now goes dark and insists on a dovish, hands-off policy.
There are many, many people who ascribe anti-American anti-Israel anti-Western malice to Obama's behavior via foreign policy.  Russ thinks that Obama "clandestinely created these crises."  Clandestine would suggest intentionally and in secret.

I disagree

Obama was very open in his favoritism toward political Islam beginning with the famous Cairo speech shortly after taking office.  What drives this favoritism is a heavy dose of neo-colonial theory, as derived from Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi, that pits white western imperialists against their victims of color.  From Obama's perspective an organization like the Brotherhood represents a not unreasonable response to that white western imperialism.
Rohima Begum ·  Top Commenter · London, United Kingdom

Don't blame Islam for this, I am a Muslim and I strongly condemn these violences, the punishment in Islam for innocent murder is death. To kill an innocent life in Islam is as though you have killed humanity. I cannot stand these people, they have no place within Islam - they use religion to justify their crimes but NO religion ever allows the killing of innocent people.
We desperately need more Muslims like Rohima to stand up against political Islam.

{I am not holding my breath.}

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Using comparisons to other issues to convey the media's Mid-east bias

Sar Shalom

Previously, I raised the issue of drawing a comparison between Mid-east coverage and media coverage of other issues in order to convey how the media are biased in covering the Middle East. Instead of developing the how-to of drawing such comparisons, I would like to explain why such comparison might convince some people who otherwise could not be convinced.

Imagine that the media have been running a series of articles castigating some entity that you consider to be the devil incarnate. Now you come across someone who defends that entity. You wonder how that person could possibly defend the devil incarnate and in trying to convince this person of that, you cite the media reports castigating that entity. Your interlocutor responds, "the media are biased," what would you think of that retort.

Probably you would think that your interlocutor does not like the message that the media are conveying, and instead of substantively rebutting that message, this interlocutor is attacking the messenger. Often this line of reasoning would be correct, which is why burden of proof of bias falls on the party making the allegation.

Now let's add to your interlocutor's response that she cites someone you consider an upright individual whom you consider to have been savaged by the media. Your interlocutor proceeds to bring parallel after parallel of how ignore relevant facts and accept other facts too readily when they can be easily disproved in order to castigate both the person you consider upright and the entity your interlocutor defends. Would this not induce you question the media coverage that "confirms" your belief that the entity you had in mind is the devil incarnate?

In the case of convincing the left, which, at least in the US, constitutes the vast majority of those unfavorably disposed towards Israel, the issue to draw parallels would have to be one in which the media give outsized deference to right-wing memes. One example is the media's past deference to the notion that excess debt threatens to put the US into the position that Greece is in. Another issue the media's assignment of equal blame to the Democrats and Republicans for the "cycle-of-intransigence" no matter what concessions the Democrats offer only to be spurned by the Republicans. A further example is the media's reduction of Campaign 2000 to "Pinocchio vs. Dumbo" and, as the left would surely describe it, the media's distortion of Al Gore's statements to portray him as a serial exaggerater or liar. My previous post described some of the parallels on those issues, though the point here is to show why we should present those parallels rather than to describe how.

An issue that would cater more to elites, particularly media elites, more than the left in general is that of medical malpractice. It is generally known that in certain American counties, when juries see images of injured people they shut down all thinking and look to find ways to compensate the victims, even if the facts clearly show that all they are victims of is maloccurrence. Such is the case with the images of dead children coming out of Gaza. Anyone know any medical malpractice defense attorneys who could write on this?

One potential difficulty in raising parallels between Middle East coverage and coverage of other issues is that unlike exposing Middle East biases in a vacuum, drawing parallels requires knowing things about issues beyond the Middle East. Potentially, forming alliances with those who are expert on the issues with which we wish to draw parallels and who are sympathetic to Israel, even if they are not expert on the Middle East, could address this challenge.

Lessons from Iraq

Sar Shalom

Among many on the left, the only "lesson" from the Iraq War is that we should stay out of such adventures. However, a closer look at the war, particularly what worked and what did not work, would reveal more significant lessons. As is well known, the conventional phase of the war succeeded brilliantly, toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein in less than a month. The problems in the regime-replacement phase of regime change, Phase IV in military language. Even in Phase IV, there was a mixture of results, with some areas of operations (AOs) showing greater receptiveness to American efforts than others.

A summary of what distinguished the more receptive AOs from the less receptive ones would be that the commanders focusing on kinetic operations (kill-capture and other direct actions) found their AOs to be less receptive while commanders embracing a full spectrum approach found greater receptiveness. A figure in an earlier version of Army Field Manual 3-24 illustrated this by showing parallel campaigns starting with a small share of the population supporting the counterinsurgency, a small share supporting the insurgents, and the vast majority on the fence. In the campaign in which the counterinsurgency efforts focus exclusively on kinetic operations and training indigenous forces, the population shifts to majority support or the insurgents with most of the remainder on the fence. In contrast, in the campaign that adds lines of operation for economic development and critical infrastructure to the traditional military lines of operation, the population shifts to majority support for the counterinsurgents.

The important lesson is not the tactics of selecting lines of operation, rather it is the strategic objective of winning support from the population. When the insurgents have the support of the population, whether by offering a more compelling vision of the future or through intimidation, it would become difficult of control them other than through a "Carthago delenda est" approach. It is also not that force should be avoided. Indeed a major component in turning the tide in Iraq was nightly raids conducted by JSOC in order to eliminate targets identified through intelligence, often from intel gained from the raids of the previous night. Rather it is that force has to be targeted and restrained as much as possible to those who are identified as irreconcilable.

Before discussing what lessons Iraq offers for Israel, it would help to examine what distinguishes unconventional conflicts like Iraq and the Palestinian national movement's war against Israel from conventional ones like World War II and Korea. The main point I would highlight would be to ask if Hitler would have had a single tank more to dispatch to the Battle of the Bulge if the population of Germany had been ready to form a human chain in the way of the Allied advance than he would have if the population had been ready to impale him. The answer is of course no, popular support does not affect the availability of heavy armaments for a war effort, and convention conflicts are characterized by dependence on heavy armaments. In contrast, unconventional combatants can pack more of a punch from light armaments and thus can more readily put popular support to use in their efforts. Further, the unconventional combatant typically aims to hide among the people as much as possible in order to minimize the opponent's ability to strike back without hitting noncombatants, a task which depends on having support from the local population.

It is in the role of popular support of allowing the combatants to hide among the people that there is a parallel between Iraq and Israel. As in Iraq, the Palestinian population is divided between those who support Palestinian national movement's aim of complete liquidation of Israel, those who support accommodation, and those who are non-committed. Also like in Iraq, the hard-line rejectionists use overwhelming force to compel their compatriots to at least acquiesce to their cause rather than seek accommodation. Some actions against this threat will transfer directly. For instance, the principle of "first with the truth" will apply in Israel the same as it did from MNF-Iraq and ISAF, a notion which should resonate with anyone who has watched Hamas' lies get half way around the world before the truth could get its shoes on. However, there are differences, most notably the ratios, with a vastly higher share of Palestinians supporting liquidationism than Iraqis who supported AQI. Further, the Palestinian national movement (PNM) has far greater control over information operations than the Americans did in Iraq. However, these are tactical issues that affect how one would convince more Palestinians to support accommodationism, not strategic issues of what the impact of being able to do so would be.

There are two messages that I would present based on this approach to advancing national interests. One message is directed to the peace camp, which would include the Obama administration. It is that actions undertaken in the name of advancing peace should be evaluated based on the effect they have on the public esteem of groups like Wasatiya which seek genuine accommodation with Israel. This is in contrast to the current approach of imposing on Israel to yield to any "reasonable" demand, as determined by the peace camp, of PNM whether the peace camp does so as a strategiless tactic or if they see some strategic significance to Israel making such concessions.

A separate message is directed to those seeking the noble objective of putting an end to Hamas and the more radical organizations. One fact that people must recognize is that as long as the Islamists have a constituency, they will exist. There are two ways of undermining their constituencies. One would be the Carthaginian approach, that is to kill everyone who could possibly come to support one of the Islamist movements, which would be fairly called genocide. The other approach would be to convince their constituents to abandon them for some other more accommodating movement. The former approach cannot be done with more targeted killings because that approach induces those who might otherwise not support one of the Islamists to do so. This is not to deny that targeted killings can disrupt an enemy group's operations or that such killings could be a part of undermining its constituency. However, on its own, killings can not undermine its constituency.

In order to undermine support for the Islamist movements, and any secular movements opposing Jewish self-determination, it is thus necessary to build support among the Palestinians for some party that supports Jewish rights to self-determination. Doing so does not mean polyanishly labeling any group that recognizes the strategic value of being perceived in the west as supporting Jewish rights to self-determination, most notably Fatah, as genuinely supporting Jewish self-determination no matter what they do that the west does not factor in to their assessment. Indeed, doing so merely tells the Palestinian people that they don't have to support Jewish self-determination to gain anything, only con the west into believing they do, while setting back the cause of building support parties that genuinely support Jewish self-determination.

I am well aware that the Palestinian parties, such as Wasatia and Sheikh Jabari, currently have little to no influence in Palestinian society. However, as GEN David Petraeus said when he assumed command of MNF-Iraq, "hard is not hopeless." What their present lack of influence indicates is that we should not make concrete concessions based on the hope that Wasatia or Jabari will take control, or that someone adopting their ideology will. On the other hand, outlining what concessions can come if such an event will occur would provide some reason for the populace to support them. In the meantime, a start would be lend these groups international prestige as the real force, as opposed to Fatah, for advancing peace.