Monthly Archives: February 2010

Redefining Apartheid

Apartheid SA VS Israel-THUMBIn an earlier post, I attempted to illustrate how ludicrous the idea is of applying the label “apartheid” to the conflicts involving  Arabs against Israel. The divisions and conflicts which existed a generation ago in South Africa simply are not what we’re dealing with in the Middle East.

But today I saw, in coverage of events planned soon for something called “apartheid week,” that there is a broader sense in which the term is being used, namely as a generic term for any situation where a government or regime is abusing the human rights of its own people.

Saudi_brutal_execution_web If that’s the case, it certainly makes identifying apartheid regimes much simpler. No doubt we can very well include under that label most if not all of Israel’s current enemies, perhaps starting with the number one leader of the Arab states, Saudi Arabia. And we don’t have to restrict ourselves to Arab states; Iran, though not Arab, has been very much in the news for its abuse of its own people right about now, and is hands down Israel’s most blatant opponent at this time.  Then there is, of course, Syria, the Hamas regime itself in Gaza, and… I’ll tell you what – you find me one of Israel’s Middle Eastern foes which isn’t an oppressive “apartheid” state, according this version of the term.

But still, that isn’t what the term ever meant, nor should we play so fast and loose with the language that we all become like Humpty Dumpty.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – – that’s all."

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PalRiots4-Reuters-WEB Another current situation I’ve commented on a few times now is the escalating violence fomented by the Palestinian Authority over Israel’s proposal to designate locations within the country as “National Heritage” sites. It has gotten so bad that I began to wonder if there maybe wasn’t actually some aspect of the plan that normal right-minded people had good reason to be disturbed over.

So I went back and looked, thinking I might have been missing something, but nope – it’s just a hiking trail they’re upset about. Nobody is suggesting encroaching on anyone else’s land, activities, or rights. It’s simply officially saying ‘these places are significant to our history.’  Of course, neither am I suggesting that Abu Mazen or any of the others behind the violence are the least bit sincere in their motives. It’s just another excuse for them to launch violent attacks; sanity is not a pre-requisite.

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That’s about it from me for tonight. I’ve been watching the news on the  8.8 magnitude Chile earthquake and resulting tsunami warnings. I try to keep my focus in this blog on other matters, so I won’t have much to say about it here, other than that we all should be watching, and praying, day by day.

Hold the line.

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A Ceremony the whole nation should see — every Friday

I receive a lot of email “pass-alongs,” and once in a while I get one well worth presenting to my readers. This one which I picked up today (by McClatchy  Newspapers’ Joseph L. Galloway) is already a few years old, but I sure didn’t know about it, so maybe you didn’t either. More people should be aware of what’s really in our soldiers’ hearts.

Over  the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines,  sailors and Air Force personnel have given their  lives in the terrible duty that is war.   Thousands more have come home on stretchers,  horribly wounded and facing months or years in  military  hospitals.

This  week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend  and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert  Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour  of duty in Iraq and is now back at the  Pentagon.

Here’s  Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known  ceremony that fills the halls of the Army  corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause  and many tears every Friday morning.  It  first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media  critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media  Matters for America Website.

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It is  110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of  the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is  newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway  is broad, and the lighting is bright.  At  this instant the entire length of the corridor  is packed with officers, a few sergeants and  some civilians, all crammed tightly three and  four deep against the walls. There are  thousands here.

This  hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’  hallway.  The G3 offices line one side, G2  the other, G8 is around the corner.  All  Army.  Moderate conversations flow in a low  buzz.  Friends who may not have seen each  other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each  other, cross the way and  renew.

Everyone  shifts to ensure an open path remains down the  center.  The air conditioning system was  not designed for this press of bodies in this  area.

The  temperature is rising already.  Nobody  cares.  10:36 hours: The clapping starts  at the E-Ring.  That is the outermost of  the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest  to the entrance to the building.  This  clapping is low, sustained, hearty.  It is  applause with a deep emotion behind it as it  moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

A  steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at  the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who  marks the forward edge with his presence.   He is the first. He is missing the greater part  of one leg, and some of his wounds are still  suppurating.  By his age I expect that he  is a private, or perhaps a private first  class.

Captains,  majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet  his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to  soldier.  Three years ago when I described  one of these events, those lining the hallways  were somewhat different.  The applause a  little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not  having shared in the burden …  yet.

Now  almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the  man in the wheelchair, also a combat  veteran.  This steadies the applause, but I  think deepens the sentiment.  We have all  been there now.  The soldier’s chair is  pushed by, I believe, a full  colonel.

Behind  him, and stretching the length from Rings E to  A, come more of his peers, each private,  corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a  field grade officer.

11:00  hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause.   My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at  how stupid that sounds in my own head.  My  hands hurt…  Please!  Shut up and  clap.  For twenty-four minutes, soldier  after soldier has come down this hallway – 20,  25, 30….  Fifty-three legs come with them,  and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this  hall came 30 solid hearts.

They  pass down this corridor of officers and  applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at  which they are the guests of honor, hosted by  the generals. Some are wheeled along….   Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to  march as best they can with their chin held up,  down this hallway, through this most unique  audience.  Some are catching handshakes and  smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July  parade.  More than a couple of them seem  amazed and are smiling  shyly.

There  are families with them as well: the 18-year-old  war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s  wheelchair and not quite understanding why her  husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew  up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is  crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who  have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on  their son’s behalf.  No man in that  hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the  silent tears on more than a few cheeks.  An  Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better  see.  A couple of the officers in this  crowd have themselves been a part of this parade  in the past.

These  are our men, broken in body they may be, but  they are our brothers, and we welcome them  home.   This parade has gone  on, every single Friday, all year long, for more  than four years.

Did  you know that?

The  media haven’t yet told the  story.

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140s for 24 and 25 Feb 2010

I just discovered a neat trick: whenever I miss a day, cover up, uh, I mean, make up for it by merely including the missed dates in the current post title. Cool, huh?

0114-mehsud-drone-pakistan_resize Ok, so I’m not fooling anyone – but who in the world do we think we’re fooling when we cry bloody murder (more or less literally) if we even suspect that Israel has taken out a military enemy by what we term ‘extra legal’ means, but we can do something similar as many times and in as many places as we very well please? Such as in Afghanistan or Pakistan, for instance.  Mr. Gerald M. Steinberg has quite a bit more to say on the matter here.

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RachelsTomb_LG I said something earlier about Israel’s proposal to create a list of locations significant to the nation’s Jewish heritage. Judging by all the violent opposition, it must be a really good idea. Now the latest objection (as of this writing – who knows what will come next?) is that the list includes only Jewish places. Now let me get this straight, Mr. Abbas – you vehemently object to a list of Jewish heritage sites, but you are even further offended that it doesn’t include non-Jewish sites. Would you be happy, Mr. Abbas, if we changed the list to include locations having nothing to do with its purpose? You would? Whom do you think you’re fooling?

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It doesn’t look like I’m going to get very far way from this who-are-we-fooling thread today – regarding all the “hand-wringing over forged passports” (as Mr. Steinberg puts it), we might well note as that Mr. Mabhouh used the same technique as part of his stock in trade. Why am I not surprised? Thanks, Intellicept 3!

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Sadaam_NYY_Cap Ah, but allow me to end on an enlightening observation. It gives me a sort of wry pride as an American to note that the more people dump on Israel, the better we like the feisty little country. Maybe it’s that root-for-the-underdog thing. The latest Gallup poll as cited in Arutz-7 news shows popular American support for Israel is currently near its highest level in 20 years.  The last time it was this good was when Ol’ Saddam was shooting Scuds at her during the First Gulf War. And oh, by the way, Mossad T-shirt sales have skyrocketed. I don’t suppose Europe will ever quite get it, do you? How about them Yankees!

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140s for 23 Feb 2010

Cruella de Vil I think it was who said, “Imbeciles! I’m surrounded by imbeciles!” If she only knew! Prof. Barry Rubin recently had good reason to lodge a similar complaint with regard to some of the things which are currently being written about the Middle East by people who should otherwise know better. or, as he puts it,

Prof_Rubin_1I am reading material that simultaneously has no connection with the real world, is full of internal contradictions, and often seems deliberately tailored to misrepresent events in order to prove a false thesis. Fortunately, this stuff has not done actual damage in the real world–much of it has not been implemented in policy–yet but may in future…

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Speaking of Middle Eastern Insanity, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post has every reason to question whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is crazy like a fox, or just plain crazy. (Via World Jewish Daily.)

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Is Israeli Knesset run by Mossad? Was the assassination of al-Mabhouh a good deed?

3_a A heated debated arose in the Knesset House Committee on Tuesday, following a request to hold a plenum session on the "forged passports affair". Member of Knesset Talab El-Sana (United Arab List – Ta’al) asked if the Knesset was run by the Mossad, while MK Carmel Shama (Likud) called the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh a "mitzvah".

The Knesset House Committee session was held following a decision by the Knesset presidency not to authorize the matter for discussion on the Knesset plenum’s agenda. El-Sana filed an appeal to the committee, which was also rejected.

"Why isn’t the Israeli Knesset holding a discussion?" El-Sana asked the committee. "Anyone trying not to hold a discussion has a reason not to hold a discussion… Does (Mossad chief) Meir Dagan decide which matters are discussed in the Knesset?"

Thanks for the info, Ynet (and a tip o’ the hat to tweeter MlleJacqueline), but can anyone please explain all that?

Oh, and pay no attention to the news that another arrest has been made in the investigation, not of an Israeli or anyone connected with Mossad, but of one of al-Mabhouh’s own aides. Thanks, again, WJD for the tip.

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Palestinian-Flag5 For a long while now, the Palestinian leadership has been saying it wants peace, as long as Israel will submit to its demands. Although obviously they haven’t been saying it quite that way. But now that Israel wants to do something to honor the cultural heritage of the Jewish people in the land, both Fatah and Hamas somehow decide that’s a pretty good reason to start a new war.

Israel finds all that, well, a bit off. I agree.

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Or, getting back to the vivid imagination of Iran’s leaders, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that Britain’s M16 isn’t out to get you via the BBC.

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And – just my two cents here – you can’t very well see where you’re going if you’re always looking over your shoulder.  Shalom, y’all, and good night.

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140s for 22 Feb 2010

Happy Monday, y’all! Or it might not even be Monday any more by the time I get this out. There’s not all that much to say right now, but a few things I’ll point out, the first being that Bibi is right in telling the world that it’s time to, as it were, fish or cut bait when it comes to Iran. Actually it’s been that way for a while, but it needs to be said again, and at least the world hears Mr. Netanyahu, even it it doesn’t listen.

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Speaking of listening, a lot us on my side of the line of scrimmage have been trying to point out for a while that Israel did not create the Palestinian refugee problem – the Arab states did in 1948. Well, guess what? Now some prominent  Arabs are beginning to say something about it, too. Prominent, but not in control. But maybe, just maybe, someone will listen.

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Then there’s the ongoing brouhaha over who killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. I’m still not saying Mossad didn’t do it, but it’s more important to note that since we still don’t know who did, we should not be so eager to finger a possible culprit. Especially if we have a tendency to finger whoever it is we don’t like. Which is apparently starting to happen. While at the same time there are more reasons not to be so quick to judge, not fewer.

Then there is this aspect of the whole affair that we should keep in mind:

The issue here is not the use of forged passports, but the bringing to justice of a criminal terrorist responsible for murdering innocent civilians.

Ya think?

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The popular history of Palestine is myth.

Marcus_Henderson_Wilder You may, if you wish, consider this post as a substitute for my “140s” entry for today. Marcus Henderson Wilder is a writer whom I’ve followed on Twitter for quite a while now. More people should know of him. He has written a short but powerful book entitled ISRAEL & PALESTINE: Obvious Questions No One Asks. He appears to be more interested in getting the truth out than in making a buck, and he asks his readers to help in this task. Here is just one page of what he has to say. It’s okay to let it rock your world a little. Shalom, y’all.

Israel & Palestine Ch. 1

Naked Data©

The 1844 census of Jerusalem found 7120 Jews…5760 Muslims…3390 Christians.

In 1869, Mark Twain wrote of the emptiness of the land, of traveling all day without seeing a human being on the roads or in the countryside.

Mark Twain wrote of Arab sloth and filth and flies.

In the 1880s, Americans forced Indians from their land to resettle Indian land with whites. Many Indians had to be killed.

In the 1880s, Australians forced Aborigines from their land to resettle Aborigine land with whites. Many Aborigines had to be killed.

In the 1880s, white New Zealanders forced Maoris from their land to resettle Maori land with whites. Many Maoris had to be killed.

In the 1880s, European Jews bought idle land in what is now Israel, joining Mizrahi Jews continuously there since Abraham.

Beginning in 1882, forty Jewish families settled at Rishon L’Tzion. Four hundred Arab families settled around them. Some of the Arab families were Bedouin. Some came from Egypt.

A British official reported Arabs sought employment, clean drinking water, better health care, and lower infant mortality. The official reported this pattern was repeated across areas where Jews settled.

In the 1890s, Belgians cut off the hands of Africans who did not gather enough rubber.

In the 1890s, Arabs flocked to Jewish areas of Palestine for jobs created by Jewish investment and enterprise.

After WWI, Britain tried to set up a Palestinian governing body of twelve…eight Arabs…two Christians…two Jews. Arabs said two Jews were too many. A cynic might say Arabs knew then two Jews outnumbered eight Arabs.

In 1917, the British Balfour Agreement promised a national home for Jews in Palestine. The British did not mean it.

Arabs turned down two-state solutions in 1917, 1937, 1948, and 2000.

After a Nazi supported Arab revolt in 1936-1939, British-backed Arab religious leader Husseini fled to Germany. Husseini is revered throughout Islam today.

In 1939, A British White Paper severely restricted Jewish immigration into Palestine.

After WWII, European Jews sought refuge in what is now Israel. The Arabist British did all they could to keep Jews out of Palestine. Under United Nations mandate, Jews established the State of Israel despite Arab objections and British perfidy.

In the United Nations document authorizing the formation of the state of Israel, an Arab/British/African clause weighted population numbers in favor of Arabs. In 1948, the Arab population was still largely transient. This clause identified any Arab who had been in Palestine for two years as a permanent resident.

Do we give casual Mexican labor citizenship after two years in the United States?

In 1948, Arab countries attacked the infant Jewish nation. Jewish citizen soldiers decisively defeated combined professional armies of five Arab nations.
In 1948, 850,000 Arab residents of Israel fled and/or were expelled. There is evidence Arabs residents were encouraged by Arab invaders to flee to give Arab invaders a freer hand.

Only Jordan offered refugees citizenship. In all other Muslim countries, Palestinian refugees remain in camps sixty years later…anti-Israeli propaganda pawns.

In the months following the 1948 war, 850,000 Sephardic/Mizrahi Jews fled or were expelled to Israel from the Arab countries who lost the war. We do not know how many Jews fled to other nations. We do not know how many Jews were killed. Arab nations claim no knowledge of this flight/expulsion.

Sephardic Jews had been in the Middle East since 1492, Mizrahi Jews since Abraham.

If Palestinians wanted their own country, Palestinians would call a constitutional convention…write a governing document… declare a nation. There is precedent.

Since the 1967 War, these Arabs have been called Palestinians. Palestinians are Arab-speakers… not Arabs. Palestinians are probably Turkish Hittites who reached Palestine via Crete and Cyprus. Palestinian origins are muddy.

Palestinians are the Philistines of the Bible… the Sea People. What is now Gaza was Philistia. Gaza is theirs… unless Gaza belongs to Canaanite peoples
Philistines displaced… peoples who had been there since time before memory.

Romans called the province Palestine to insult rebellious Jews. Ottomans kept the name.

If Palestinians had lived in peace beside Jews in democratic Israel, Palestinians would own Israel. With the differential in birth rates, Palestinians could have taken democratic Israel with the vote.

The story of modern Israel & Palestine is not what you have been told.

Palestinian leader Musa Alami said in 1948, "The people are in great need of a myth to fill their consciousness and imagination."

The King of Jordan also denied the displacement of Arabs by Jewish settlements.  The king said, "The Arabs are as prodigal in selling their land as they are in… weeping [about it].

The popular history of Palestine is myth.

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©2009 Marcus Henderson Wilder
All Publication Rights Retained by the Author
Forwarding Between Friends Encouraged

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Yes, we had no 140s…

…yesterday, that is. And just a few today. All three items that I have for you this evening come by way of Unity Coalition for Israel, an excellent source for news having to do with Israel and the Middle East from a perspective I unabashedly share.

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Some information I have not seen elsewhere concerns Washington, D.C. based Saudi reformer and director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ali Alyami. He is quoted as saying

ali-Aliyami "Democratizing Saudi Arabia is the key to democratizing all Arabs and Muslims. The best, easiest, cheapest and quickest way to achieve this formidable undertaking is to empower Saudi women who are already in the forefront in challenging their ferocious political, religious, economic, social and educational environment. Due to Saudi Arabia’s centrality to Islam and its possession of the largest known oil reserves, Saudi Arabia plays a major religious and economic role in the lives of both Muslims and non-Muslims. Empowering Saudi women will resonate throughout Arab and Muslim societies."

Kind of radical, isn’t it? But not in the usual way we think of when we put “Muslim” and “radical” in the same sentence. We need to remind ourselves now and then that, while Islamism in the radical sense is indeed an enemy of civilization, that does not mean that we ought to pre-judge all – or even the majority of – Muslims. Turn here for the rest of the commentary by Phyllis Chesler of PajamasMedia.

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By the same token, we need not swing the opposite direction and say, ‘Oh, poor misjudged Muslims.’ We must, if only for the sake of our own survival, be observant and ready to speak when we see a danger that others may not see. One dangerous situation I had not known of involves the takeover of the British underworld by Muslim gangs since 9-11, at least according to this article from The Sun via UCI. The key phrase that jumped out at me here was the quote, "The reality is that Asian gangs don’t give much of toss about religion, but with Islam comes fear, and with fear comes power.”

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One more thing, which I touched on earlier, is with regard to the national enemies of Israel (Muslim or otherwise) having a problem with Israel defending itself without waiting for an invasion from the outside. (In particular with reference to the assassination in Dubai last month of self-confessed murderer Mahmoud Mabhouh, which we are still not saying was done by Mossad – but we don’t know that it wasn’t.)  UCI passes along this comment from Guy Bechor of Ynet:

“We are currently facing an odd situation the likes of which we have not seen for many years: Israel’s enemies are in panic, or is it paranoia, for fear that Israel will be attacking them.” Hezbollah is convinced that it will suffer a blow at any moment, Hamas is still licking its wounds, Syria is concerned, and Iran’s foreign minister already declared that Israel is a "nation of crazy people" with "mad leaders" who may launch a strike.

Meanwhile, the frightened Lebanese turned to the UN, to UNIFIL, and to French President Sarkozy and asked for France’s protection against the "terrible" Israel. However, the French announced that as long as Hezbollah is armed, they will only ask Israel to refrain from destroying Lebanon’s civilian infrastructures and no more than that. All this was published by the Arab media.

On the other hand, our borders are quieter than they have been in many years.

So how do we explain this bizarre Middle Eastern paranoia? The IDF is training today as it has not done in dozens of years. Every day, from morning till night: Tanks, airplanes, helicopters, live-fire drills and soldiers running around. The Lebanese watch this from across the border, as do the Syrians, and they are becoming anxious: What are the Israelis plotting over there? Is there something we don’t know?

The Israeli restlessness prompts anxiety among our enemies, and this is good, of course. It’s called deterrence

You don’t say?

See y’all in a day or few.

lineman

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