Hamas 2.0

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

Hamas is trapped. They have an agenda, but they never dreamed to be in full power. Now, Fateh pushed them in the corner. Fateh is not going to join them in power. They don’t want to be part of any government ruled by Hamas agenda, and this is their right.

Haitham Sabbah, Sabbah’s Blog, Back to nowhere!

Hamas builds schools, clinics, and shelters. Hamas is intertwined in the people and amongst them. More importantly though, Hamas will not bend to others will; and that image is an opportunity. As only Sharon could have pulled off Gaza only Hamas can accept it.

Karim Elsahy, One Arab World, Hamas Won — Where From Here
After the election in Gaza

In the Azzah refugee camp after the announcement of the election results [pharoah.berger / Flickr]

So which is it? It’s always difficult for the opposition to accept power; it’s easier to push a hard line than actually carry it out. Now that Hamas is alone on top with its majority — and ultimately in charge of making sure it gets elected again — will it find itself forced to compromise? Blogger Karim Elsahy points out above that, like Nixon to China and Sharon to Gaza, perhaps only Hamas has the moral authority to make concessions; could the election results be, as Elsahy believes, an opportunity?

And what, exactly, does Palestinian democracy look like? This morning we caught Blogger Patrick Belton on tape in Ramallah; he described western political consultants, powerpoint presentations, and explicit instructions that, if Hamas candidates must wear beards, not to dye them red. Is Hamas, like the IRA, starting a twenty-year road to a purely political party? With its odd array of services — schools, clinics and terrorism — is it even anything close to what we understand under the word “party”?

Nothing but questions here. Fill in the blanks below.

Taghreed El-Khodary

Freelance print and television reporter from Gaza City, Palestine

2006 International Nieman Fellow

Laila El-Haddad

Blogger A Mother from Gaza

Reporter, Al-Jazzera

Resident, Gaza City

Samar Jarrah

Blogger Arab Voices Speak

Author, Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts

Patrick Belton

Blogger, Oxblog

Currently reporting from Ramallah

Extra-Credit Reading

buzzimp, Palestine, Israel’s secret desire for a Hamas victory

Haitham Sabbah, Sabbah’s Blog, Back to nowhere!

Karim Elsahy, One Arab World, Hamas Won — Where From Here

Marc Lynch, Abu Aardvark, Hamas: tests acoming

Bradley Burston, Haaretz, Hamas ‘R’ Us


Comments

64 thoughts on “Hamas 2.0

  1. This is an interesting development indeed. I think Hamas was as surprised as we all were. But it may be a good thing. Everyone I hear is hoping they will moderate.

    I think we will see the Hamas factions more than we have.

    I wonder what impact this will have on Israeli elections as well which it surely will have. Will Netanyahu, the opportunist par excellance, try to whip up fears and if so will the majority give in to them?

    If Hamas is a creation of Israeli intelligence, it’s power was small ( I believe they had 13% support in 2000) until Sharon took office. I am afraid that Sharon’s policies have only strenthened them. But that is only part of the story of their growth in popularity.

    Will check in on you later— we are going to Flamenco tonight! In advance thanks for the timely show!

  2. I’d like to think that Hamas will clean up the PA’s act and govern ethically, but like corruption inside the beltway, the PA system may be too crooked to redeem itself from within. It may not happen this week or next week, but I suspect there’s going to be a lot of logrolling. Fatah people have control of many of the PA’s resources, and some may offer their new Hamas compadres a cut of the action so that the Fatahs can stay in the game. Hamas seems to be pretty straight-and-narrow, but some inexperienced officials (perhaps appointees rather than legislators) may start to buy into the kickbacks and other corrupt practices going on. I wish Hamas well, and hope that IsraelUS will not create new crises in their meddlesome way, and let the goods, money and people needed to revitalize PAaestine flow across its borders.

  3. I’m listening to Laila El-Haddad attempt to explain away the results as evidence of a purely local frustration with corruption, and shaking my head. Palestinians received two ballots – one with a list of candidates for their district, and the other for the national election done on the basis of proportional representation. The early results show that a large number of Palestinians split their votes – throwing support behind Hamas candidates on the district level, and then marking off the Fatah list on the national ballot. That suggests that many were frustrated with local corruption, but nervous about handing control of the entire government over to Hamas. Leila is clearly unusual in this respect – she is evidently one of the few voters who did the opposite, albeit for the same reason.

    The problem is that almost 43% of voters didn’t split their votes – they supported Hamas on both the national and the district levels. That suggests an ideological support for Hamas, not simply disgust with Fatah. This is underlined by the fact that those Fatah candidates who prevailed are hardly free of corruption – Mohammad Dahlan is a perfect example. If this were an election based on reform, one would have expected reformists candidates to thrive on both lists, and independents to do better than expected as well. What we see is both reformist and non-reformist candidates doing well on the Hamas list, and even the most committed reform candidates failing with Fatah or as independents.

    So all the experts tell us that the Palestinians didn’t really mean it – that they still support a two-state solution and reject Islamic fundamentalism. Of course, all the same people were on the air yesterday announcing that Hamas would do well, but that Fatah would of course prevail. They are, to say the least, a little short on credibility at the moment. It takes a lot of arrogance to presume that when voters support a party, they didn’t actually mean to support its agenda. I think the presumption has to be tilted the opposite way – until I see evidence that the Palestinian people didn’t just reject the notion of diplomatic advances, that they didn’t just endorse rejectionist violence, I’m inclined to think that the election means precisely that – because that’s what Hamas has stood for all along.

  4. Listening to the show left me more pessimistic than ever that there could ever be an end to the Arab Israeli conflict.

    I was also astonished by the level of support for Hamas by so called impartial reporters.

    I wasn’t surprised, though, that they would blame Israel for all the ills in their own neighborhood. As long as they blame others for all their problems I don’t see how they can come up with solutions to solve them. No matter what the Arab reporter said Gaza is not an “occupied territory.� The only reason Israel keeps flying over that land area is because the locals keep lobbing rockets into Israel. If that kind of activity were to stop and once a peace agreement is reached there will be no reason for Israel to patrol the waters of Gaza.

    A little more realism would have helped the discussion enormously, Chris.

  5. shriber, Gaza alone is not the whole issue. The West Bank and part of Jerusalem must be included in the larger “neighborhood” that Palestine wants to call home without Israeli settlers moving in uninvited. Yes, Palestine has lots of “internal” issues to address, but these tie into the larger picture.

    To fcone, I would like to respond: when will Israel recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a state?

    All the statistics show which side has the real power and can decide how things play out. Look what happened when Sharon made a gesture with settlements in Gaza. Now if Israel would only do the same elsewhere a lasting peace would be possilbe. But is this really in the interest of the military bosses and industry who control things there?

  6. Shriber you say: “The only reason Israel keeps flying over that land area is because the locals keep lobbing rockets into Israel. If that kind of activity were to stop and once a peace agreement is reached there will be no reason for Israel to patrol the waters of Gaza.”

    This is the chicken and egg argument.

    The “if’s” tell the real story. This “only reason” is what we hear about the occupation from the Israeli side. The Palestinian “only reason” is the occupation.

    The occupation feeds the resistance, terrorism, and rocket attacks.

    sidewalker: The disengagement from Gaza was about removing settlements that were hard to maintain. This move was not planned to include removing the vigilant watch and clamp over land air and sea borders of Gaza. Quite the contrary. The move was not conceived as part of a peace agreement. Abbas could claim no credit.

    People have therefore characterized Gaza as a giant prison and one could understand that regardless of the new found freedom within those borders. The fact was and is that the”Gaza first, Gaza last” slogan was not refuted by anything more that was happening politically beyond that move.

    So it is not hard to imagine that if you are a Palestinian you would not feel that your struggle was over especially with what is going on in the West Bank.

    And I am not saying that Israel should not be vigilant either.

    A peace/end of conflict agreement has never been reached or implemented with sincerity on both sides. There is no trust or hope, less so now than in recent memory. But maybe this situation is more real and hopeful in the sense that maximum positions are represented and out in the open and will have to moderate towards the will of the majority.

    Hamas is reaping the “rewards” of it’s struggle: a traumatized devastated emotional but apparently engaged population and a chaotic situaton. Who on the outside will be able to offer aid to a terrorist organization?

    It will be interesting to see how the Israeli’s react particularly during this their pre-election period. Already I heard Dore Gold talking about having to keep the Jordan Valley because with Hamas on the left and Al Qaeda advancing on the right ( thank you GWBush) Israel needs the land buffer more than ever. Iran’s nuclear designs ( thank you GWBush) and connections to Hezbollah make the Israeli’s very nervous as well.

    So will the Israeli public be in an expansive mood about peace now? I doubt it. Abbas says he can still negotiate(today’s NYTimes), but with Hamas in power now, is he fooling himself?

    Hamas will have to sort itself out too and assume

    responsibility for the people now. This may cause them to moderate, especially if they want to retain political power.

    Israel could remove west bank settlements only to a degree, but there has to be a negotiated settlement at the end of the day. Right now who can Israel negotiate with (regardless of why this is so)?

  7. “The only reason Israel keeps flying over that land area is because the locals keep lobbing rockets into Israel. If that kind of activity were to stop and once a peace agreement is reached there will be no reason for Israel to patrol the waters of Gaza.”

    I agree, shriber, that Gazs is no longer “under occupation” and that the people living there need to take responsibility for their own actions.

    “Gaza alone is not the whole issue. The West Bank and part of Jerusalem must be included in the larger “neighborhoodâ€? that Palestine wants to call home without Israeli settlers moving in uninvited. Yes, Palestine has lots of “internalâ€? issues to address, but these tie into the larger picture.”

    Sidewalker, Gaza is not the only picture but it was the picture that being looked at last night. That area is no longer under occupation.

    As for the West Bank there was an accord that forbade the resort to violence and asked parties to resolve all outstanding issues through negotiations. The PA was unable to keep their side of the bargain.

    “To fcone, I would like to respond: when will Israel recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a state?”

    sidewalker, Israel had recognized the Palestinian right to a state in the early 90′s. Even Sharon agreed to that.

    The PA response has been to tolerate attacks on Israelis by gorups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas. No country can tolerate attacks on its citizens.

    Now with Hamas, an organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish State, I doubt they will reign in attacks on civilians.

  8. Potter I am not surprised that we disagree:

    “This is the chicken and egg argument.”

    No it isn’t a chicken and egg argument. There was a negotiations process in place which the PA abandoned when they resorted to the use of violence. This is something the Oslo accords forbade.

    Had the PA reigned in terror attacks there would be no need for Israeli actions in Gaza.

    “The “if’s� tell the real story. This “only reason� is what we hear about the occupation from the Israeli side. The Palestinian “only reason� is the occupation.�

    I am sorry but “we� hear much more from your side than from the Israeli side. All you hear in the media is “Israeli occupation.� Again, though, I am not surprised that we disagree.

    “The occupation feeds the resistance, terrorism, and rocket attacks.�

    There is no occupation in Gaza. The so called resistance is the resistance to the existence of the Jewish State.

    Do you believe in a two state solution, Potter?

  9. digitalcommuter:

    “sidewalker, Israel had recognized the Palestinian right to a state in the early 90’s. Even Sharon agreed to that.”

    I believe that right after 1967 Israel was trying to return the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for a peace treaty but that the Arabs refused to negotiate with the Jewish State.

  10. “And I am not saying that Israel should not be vigilant either.”

    What does being vigilant mean? How can Israel be vigilant and not take action to stop attacks?

    “A peace/end of conflict agreement has never been reached or implemented with sincerity on both sides. There is no trust or hope, less so now than in recent memory. But maybe this situation is more real and hopeful in the sense that maximum positions are represented and out in the open and will have to moderate towards the will of the majority.”

    The Barak government did try to finalize an agreement, but Arafat walked away from negotiations and launched the intifada.

    Easier to blame both sides than to place the resoponsibility of the violence on the people who use it as a means to further their aims.

  11. Hey guys, I’m no expert, and so what follows is hardly likely to be anything more than my own interpretation of the stuff I cherry-pick from the media and WWW, but…

    It may be true that Gaza is no longer occupied, but this doesn’t automatically make it a viable entity or body part of the (prostrate) ‘Palestinian nation’. Its only ‘government’ for decades now has been either a foreign army or the crooks of Fateh; its only ‘economy’ has been the junk mainlined in from the Saudis – recycled petrodollars with radical (and in this case especially barbaric) theocratic strings attached. So all this chatter that ‘now that the Israelis have left the Gazans must behave like a civilized nation’ is naive at best, and Himmler-esque at worst.

    Gaza now is little more than Soweto was when De Klerk began the dismantling of apartheid. Its people can’t become Swiss overnight. To expect any such miracle, while raising to the ready the accusatory finger of: ‘Terrorists! See! We TOLD you they’re all terrorists!’ is nuthin’ but Nazism pointed at another color of state-hated people.

    Worst of all, this sick situation never had to go this bad for this long. Had Israel back in the early 90’s admitted and renounced its West Bank imperialism, allowing and AIDING a Palestinian state, we might already be living in world wherein adolescent Jews and Arabs of Israel / Palestine wonder why their parents hated each other so much. My age allows me the perspective to recall that in the 80’s and 90’s the Palestinians were considered the Arab world’s most ‘Western’ people. A nation that, had it been allowed to grow freely, could have set a very different example for 21st Century Muslim Arabs. But Israel’s militant quasi-apartheid quashed that, giving the hate-mongers from Iran and Saudi Arabia fertile ground to breed and culture their toxins.

    At least, that how it seems from this sad and weary onlooker’s POV.

    All the greater pity that radical Zionism’s terrorists bred the assassin who killed Yitzhak Rabin.

  12. Shriber you are blaming the Palestinians for undermining Oslo all the while passing over how Israel undermined Oslo as well. There are many who still speak this way ignoring the history. People get used to telling the story in only one way, from only one side.

    A glaring fact for it’s effect on things is that Israel allowed and encouraged settlements in what was to be a future Palestinian state. You selectively remember only Arafat’s deception and terrorist activity. You forget how Netanyahu worked to weaken an Oslo he inheritied but did not believe in. And you forget how many Israeli’s were against Oslo even before any violations.

    Palestinians saw no improvement in their lives from Oslo but rather what was to be their state being gradually eaten up. Further they were being punished collectively under the heavy foot of the IDF for the terrorism. In the meantime Hamas was quietly gaining support through it’s social work.

    On the other hand during the Oslo years, between the two intifadas, Israel managed to reap the benefits of relative peace (and Palestinians saw this) with a booming economy ( including tourism) and housing projects to match until 2000 when the 2nd intifada broke out and suicide bombing increased. Israeli’s look back on the Oslo years as good years compared to what followed. But Palestinian resentment and anger grew. And many Israeli’s, still going about their daily lives, could say “of only they behaved….”.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “Oslo is Dead” from it’s inception. People on each side use it to this day. Now with Hamas having power, Oslo is “really” dead. Someone just said that. Yet Oslo comes up still.

    There were people on both sides who undermined Oslo right from the beginning , never wanted it, never believed in it but use it nevertheless even now to make their points.

    Shriber you say:

    “I am sorry but “weâ€? hear much more from your side than from the Israeli side. All you hear in the media is “Israeli occupation.â€? Again, though, I am not surprised that we disagree.”

    There are many Israeli’s who agree with me. Even Sharon called it an occupation. These are Israeli’s who understand that Palestinians will not be defeated militarily. Some feel, as I do, that when Palestinians have a state of their own there is more of a chance they will act with responsiblity. They want a normal life too. And there are still and maybe now more Israeli’s who are ready to end the occupation and compromise on issues like Jerusalem and the right of return.

    So we are waiting for Palestinians to learn manage themselves collectively while under occupation. In the meantime Israeli’s have to sort themselves out too.

    I am just responding to your post and I have not put you in any box Shriber. Do me that favor for the sake of discussion if we are to have one.

  13. digitalcommuter: Israel needs to be vigilent about possible attacks, bombs, rockets to protect it’s citizens. What you need to do for security is one thing, it’s quite another to have as a strategy the total defeat of an entire people, or the defeat of their legitimate aspirations. This includes taking away their land and undermining the viability of a future state, drawing borders unilaterally and punctuating them with new settlements. This includes turning a blind eye to anarchy, criminal activity and messianism within Israel ( the situation that has been allowed to grow in Hebron for instance).

    This is self-defeating if Israel wants peace.

    Digital commuter- I also suggest that you do deeper reading about what happened at during the negotiations between Barak and Arafat and Clinton. Barak was pretty stubborn and nervous. He came with far less than he wound up offering after much back and forth and threats to leave. Arafat was not too willing to be there but was dragged there because Clinton and Barak had their own imperatives. And all sorts of other factos entered into this story now told so simply. It’s true in the end Arafat walked away. But he knew and feared from the beginning that he would be blamed perhaps because he knew he was unable.

    Had an agreement been finalized I wonder whether the Israeli’s would have approved it in the referendum that was promised. There was and is a vocal minority very much against the compromises necessary.

    As far as using violence to further certain aims, if your aim is to justify a “greater land of Israel” you would be all for the violence as a means of justifying that. So it has been said that Hamas and the Likud worked hand in hand. They both believe in violence.

  14. “It may be true that Gaza is no longer occupied, but this doesn’t automatically make it a viable entity or body part of the (prostrate) ‘Palestinian nation’. Its only ‘government’ for decades now has been either a foreign army or the crooks of Fateh; its only ‘economy’ has been the junk mainlined in from the Saudis – recycled petrodollars with radical (and in this case especially barbaric) theocratic strings attached. So all this chatter that ‘now that the Israelis have left the Gazans must behave like a civilized nation’ is naive at best, and Himmler-esque at worst. Gaza now is little more than Soweto was when De Klerk began the dismantling of apartheid. Its people can’t become Swiss overnight. To expect any such miracle, while raising to the ready the accusatory finger of: ‘Terrorists! See! We TOLD you they’re all terrorists!’ is nuthin’ but Nazism pointed at another color of state-hated people.�

    Your allusions, Nikos, are distasteful.

    Israel did when it signed the oslo accords agree to the eventual establishment of an independence State.

    The problem was and is that Israel can only pull out of the territories it cannot build a State for the people who live there. Arafat and the PA did very little to create the conditions for civil society to take root. The people on the West Bank and Gaza were divided by clans that hated each other as much as they hated the Israelis.

    Most of the political and military like groups that sprang up there were nothing but clans disguised as resistance forces.

    Moreover, when Israel withdrew from Gaza it did so as a first step to eventual total separation from the Palestinian areas. No one expected them to become “Swiss,� but why did they have to become “Somalians� fighting each other as well as shooting rockets into Israel? The chaos is a result of internal clan infighting and the attacks on Israel are a way of diverting attention from their own problems.

    No, Gaza is not Soweto nor and the Israelis are neither Afrikaners, nor are they Himmlerirtes. This kind of language is at best foolish and at worst anti-Semitic.

    Blaming the Jews for the problems of the Palestinian Arabs doesn’t work anymore. Israel has committed itself to withdrawing from the West bank as it did from Gaza. It will take some time before this is accomplish but nothing will stop the inevitable, not the Hamas and their apologists in the West and not the right wing Israelis.

  15. “digitalcommuter: Israel needs to be vigilent about possible attacks, bombs, rockets to protect it’s citizens. What you need to do for security is one thing, it’s quite another to have as a strategy the total defeat of an entire people, or the defeat of their legitimate aspirations. This includes taking away their land and undermining the viability of a future state, drawing borders unilaterally and punctuating them with new settlements. This includes turning a blind eye to anarchy, criminal activity and messianism within Israel ( the situation that has been allowed to grow in Hebron for instance). This is self-defeating if Israel wants peace.�

    Potter, you are recycling old saws. Once Sharon made the decision to separate itself from the Palestinians if which the Gaza withdrawal and the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank was but the first step it decided not new settlements any more. The Hebron situation is being dealt with by the authorities.

    On the Palestinian side there has been no change at all. In fact, ever since the negotiations at Camp David the violence has increased rather than diminished. The PA which was supposed to suppress private armies and militias has done nothing of the kind but had helped plan the intifada while negotiations were going on between the parties.

    I have read comments by both sides of what went on at Camp David and I don’t accept the PA’s point of view that puts the blame on Barak for the negotiation breakdown. On the contrary it was Arafat who refused to even come back with a counter proposal and instead launched the intifada as a way of putting pressure on Israel to yield to their demands.

    I find the revisionist accounts not very credible and some of the claims they make border on the anti-Semitic. This includes the accounts published in the New York Review of Books.

  16. NY Times editorial

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/27/opinion/27fri1.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    January 27, 2006

    Editorial

    In the Mideast, a Giant Step Back

    For 20 years Ariel Sharon and other Israeli hard-liners have claimed that they had no negotiating partner interested in or capable of securing peace between Israelis and Palestinians. That always seemed a debatable point, until now.

    There are many reasons to explain why Palestinians voted to hand over their government to Hamas, an organization that revels in terrorism and is sworn to destroy Israel. The inability of President Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah, to run its affairs is first on the list, if pre-election polls of Palestinians were accurate. Fatah has been corrupt and inept, and it represented the status quo, not a happy position given the lawlessness in Gaza, the unemployment rate in Nablus and the despair among young people in Jericho. Mr. Abbas didn’t help matters much, proving weak and incapable of imposing control over the battered Palestinian Authority.

    Israeli hard-liners can blame themselves as well. Even though most reasonable people have recognized Mr. Abbas as a far more pragmatic negotiating partner than Yasir Arafat was, Prime Minister Sharon failed to give Mr. Abbas any concession that he could point to as an achievement. Instead, Israel has busied itself with carrying out Mr. Sharon’s doctrine of unilateral separation from the Palestinians, a doctrine that is sure to gain more favor now that the Palestinians have chosen Hamas.

    But all of this is peripheral to two central facts. Hamas grew out of a terrorist organization that has undermined every small step toward peace with mass murder. And on Wednesday, Palestinians voted almost two to one to put Hamas in charge of running their government. For there to be any hope of getting out of the impasse in the Middle East, one of those two things must change.

    It would be nice to believe that Hamas, now that it is assuming the reins of power and the burden of actually having to govern, will renounce its call for the destruction of a sovereign state, disarm its private army, get into the business of making life better for Palestinians and try to negotiate the creation of a real Palestinian state. While we’re not hopeful, we are reminded that the Palestine Liberation Organization of the late Mr. Arafat, of which Mr. Abbas was once second in command, was born in terrorism. For many years Mr. Arafat and his gunmen were hunted by Israel, much as Hamas has been in recent years.

    President Bush was absolutely right when he urged Mr. Abbas to remain in office as a sign of stability and set Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice the task of seeing whether the shards of the peace process could be reassembled. But he was also absolutely right when he said, “A political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of its platform is a party with which we will not deal.”

    Hamas has a choice between governing and terror. Is the party more interested in making sure that the electricity and water stay on, that Palestinian boys and girls make it to school, and that these battered people finally get a state of their own? Or is it more interested in continuing its campaign to destroy Israel? If Hamas chooses the latter, it’s more than likely that it will not be around for long, and rightly so.

  17. Potter I agree with you on a couple of points:

    “You forget how Netanyahu worked to weaken an Oslo he inheritied but did not believe in.�

    Netanyahu was the worst PM Israel ever had and I have very little good to say about him.

    The other thing I agree with is that

    “A glaring fact for it’s effect on things is that Israel allowed and encouraged settlements in what was to be a future Palestinian state�

    However, none of this justifies the use of violence at a time when the Labor party was willing to enter into negotiations.

    I particularly disagree with your comment that

    “On the other hand during the Oslo years, between the two intifadas, Israel managed to reap the benefits of relative peace (and Palestinians saw this) with a booming economy ( including tourism) and housing projects to match until 2000 when the 2nd intifada broke out and suicide bombing increased. Israeli’s look back on the Oslo years as good years compared to what followed. But Palestinian resentment and anger grew. And many Israeli’s, still going about their daily lives, could say “of only they behaved….�.

    The Israeli economy has managed to progress through worse periods of violence than the intifada and the Oslo accords had very little to do with it.

    In fact Israeli economy has shown greater growth during the second intifada than have many European economies.

    If the Palestinians think that the peace process is responsible for robust economic growth that would explain their turn towards violence it also shows the malignant resentments of Jews that is present in their society.

    Had the Palestinian Arabs concentrated on building up their own economy and civil society they would have been in a better position to create a vibrant economy once they achieve independence. This is what Jewish society did under the British mandate while they were fighting for their own independence.

    Not all of their problems is the fault of the Jews or of the so called occupation.

  18. digitalcommuter:

    Please, if you would, judge the intensity of my anti-Semitism. And, while doing so, please consider that the following tale is hardly unique but likely true for hundreds of thousands of Americans who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.

    I’m the son of a man who taught his children that the Jews were an uncommonly virtuous people, who, only a dozen years before my birth, had suffered the world’s greatest atrocity. In 1967, when I was a mere ten-year-old, I sickened at the specter of the mobilizing Arab armies—and then thrilled to the news of the subsequent Six-Day-Rout. In the summer of ’73, I read a couple of riveting novels by Chaim Potok, wherein I met the likes of Asher Lev, Reuven Malter, and Danny Saunders—who reminded me of my own brilliant best friend. Such reading not only expanded my horizons, but deepened my lionization of Jews and, ancillarily, of Israel.

    So imagine my horror only a couple of months later when the Yom Kippur War threatened not only the destruction of my lionized hero-state, but promised the specter of another atrocious pogrom in the war’s immediate aftermath.

    And then imagine my glee when the IDF not only halted the UAR’s advance, but in a maneuver best appreciated by starry-eyed boys of the post WWII era, cut through the Egyptian forces and bridged the Suez Canal, forcing not only an armistice but a renewed Israeli hegemony in the region.

    David had slain Goliath—not once, but twice in my short lifetime!

    Ariel Sharon was practically a god to the likes of me and my friends.

    I fully believed the propaganda that the Arabs were nothing but violent barbarians. It was a time of hijackings and airport shootouts. It was the era of the Munich Olympics. Arafat seemed to symbolize everything evil in the world.

    Israel was to me a beacon of enlightenment in the midst of a barbarous world, a place I could happily call home if my search for employment ever took me there.

    I knew NOTHING of the Jewish terrorism that had helped to found my hero-state.

    But my ignorance, though it toddled on blithely for another decade and a half, could not last forever. In the early 90’s I had the luck to have a girlfriend who challenged my blind Zionist-sympathizing. She pointed me toward the likes of Edward Said, and, though it wasn’t smooth or welcome, I began to learn things I’d have been much happier to continue to ignore. I learned that Israel’s founding was a bloody, racist affair. Nevertheless, I thought, the Jews had won, and had built a fabulous country that I daydreamed of visiting. But then I learned that Israelis were bulldozing the homes of Palestinians on seized lands. And that the IDF assassinated Arab leaders by firing missiles into Gaza tenement blocks, killing dozens of innocents along with the men targeted.

    This wasn’t the David-hero-state I’d lionized for decades: this was Goliath.

    This was another version of the very sorts of ethno-racism that had fueled the pogroms and the Holocaust. The victims had become victimizers.

    I still dream of someday visiting Israel, to walk along the easternmost shores of the Mediterranean at sunset, to patronize the Tel Aviv nightclubs that offered gems like Ofra Haza their original audiences. I still feel an unaccountable affinity for the Israelis—but not for the radical Zionists. And yet, and sadly (even if I could afford it now, which I can’t) I can’t make myself go there before Israel admits to its own reverse racism and recognizes the Palestinians as fully-fledged fellow human beings—warts and all (and, as an unapologetic Islam-critic, I DO see PLENTY of warts!).

    So, if I equate Israeli racism with Nazism, I do so quite deliberately, and will not apologize for calling it as I see it. The last people in the world I’d have expected this vile sort of state-supported intolerance from are the Israeli Jews I lionized for most of my life.

    (I know, I know, it only shows my nativity.)

    And I will not tolerate your smear of me as an anti-Semite.

  19. digitalcommuter, quote:

    “Potter, you are recycling old saws. Once Sharon made the decision to separate itself from the Palestinians if which the Gaza withdrawal and the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank was but the first step it decided not new settlements any more. The Hebron situation is being dealt with by the authorities.”

    No such further decision was made at the time. In other words this withdrawal was not labeled a “first step”.

    Finally maybe yes now the Hebron outlaws are being dealt with. Maybe. This situation has been festering for years. These people should not be there at all. I am not saying no Jews should be there. It’s THESE particular people who are so offensive who should not be there.

    (quote)

    “On the Palestinian side there has been no change at all. In fact, ever since the negotiations at Camp David the violence has increased rather than diminished. The PA which was supposed to suppress private armies and militias has done nothing of the kind but had helped plan the intifada while negotiations were going on between the parties.”

    Arafat may have thought he could put the squeeze on the negotiations with some violence but that soon got out of control because there was real despair and anger amongst the Palestinians. When Sharon came into office he swept off everything that was on the table and put an end to negotiations. From then on Sharon used military actions exclusively to teach the Palestinians, all of them, a lesson. This only made people more desperate and angry and supportive of terrorists. In fact many Israeli’s admit in their moments of honesty that the terrorism, after 4 years, ultimatley had a lot to do with the withdrawal from Gaza. Sharon understood finally the limits of his course of action. And so the Hamas claim of victory was not untrue. The last five years were about war not a peace agreement. The militias are the Palestinians means of fighting legitimate or not, like it or not. Why and how would Arafat who was confined to his compound with rubble all around and the IDF guarding, want to or be able to control the various groups?

    How can you hold the PA to a past agreement that the Israeli’s themselves no longer were respecting either?

    “I have read comments by both sides of what went on at Camp David and I don’t accept the PA’s point of view that puts the blame on Barak for the negotiation breakdown. On the contrary it was Arafat who refused to even come back with a counter proposal and instead launched the intifada as a way of putting pressure on Israel to yield to their demands.

    I find the revisionist accounts not very credible and some of the claims they make border on the anti-Semitic. This includes the accounts published in the New York Review of Books.”

    I agree that Barak was the least one at fault. If you are going to be fair however you have to take into account not only the Israeli account. You have to read the Palestinian account, an honest one, and take it seriously. And, more importantly you have to read the account of those who were trying to broker the agreement, those more neutral. I did read Charles Enderlin’s book. “Shattered Dreams” which gives the feeling of being there at the negotiations. This was the first book out on that subject. I did also read prior to that the numerous articles by the principle negotiators in the NYRB and elsewhere. These accounts attempted to correct the biased accounts and propaganda from both sides. Therefore I would not characterize the NYRB articles as “revisionist” unless anything other than what one wishes to believe is “revisionist”. All views are valid and should be taken into account to the extent that they are not outright lies. Particularly valid are the views of someone who is respected who was there. I have not read Dennis Ross’s book, though it is highly recommended, but have heard him and read his articles and reviews of his book which seem to be in line with what else I have read on the whole. One criticism of Ross’s book is that it does not mention that Clinton and Barak gave Arafat an ultimatum in the 11th hour that Arafat could not accept for it’s vagueness. And then, contrary to previous assurances, Arafat was blamed for rejecting the offer.

    Words like “revisionist” and “anti-Semitic” are tiresome ways of obscuring or stopping discourse unless you back this up with examples and make a case.

  20. Nikos, Jews are not a “uniquely virtuous people.� We are just people. Israel has its faults but it is not a “racist state.�

    This kind of talk is pretty odious. It’s also false. So is the following comment you scribbled, Nikos.

    “This was another version of the very sorts of ethno-racism that had fueled the pogroms and the Holocaust. The victims had become victimizers.�

    Your disclaimers notwithstanding, this is just anti-Semitic bunk.

  21. “No such further decision was made at the time. In other words this withdrawal was not labeled a “first step�.�

    Labeled? What do you think the splitting of the Likud was all about? Olmert, the

    acting PM, has even gone so far as to call hint that even Jerusalem might have to be divided. You need to pay closer attention to daily political debates in Israel if you are going to comment on what goes on there.

    “Finally maybe yes now the Hebron outlaws are being dealt with. Maybe. This situation has been festering for years. These people should not be there at all. I am not saying no Jews should be there. It’s THESE particular people who are so offensive who should not be there.�

    Well, in and ideal world Jews should be allowed to live in Hebron in the same way Arabs are allowed to live in Israel. I doubt, though, that Jews will be allowed to live there anytime soon. Jews had been expelled from most Arab countries, while some countries such as Saudi Arabia Jews have never been allowed to live there. If this isn’t anti-Semitism, then I don’t know what is.

    As for the history of the Barak-Arafat negotiations, it’s a moot point. Both parties need to face some pretty stark new realities.

  22. digitalcommuter, I said an ‘uncommonly’ virtuous people, which, had you been alive then in the post-Holocaust-shock era, you’d likely understand. And had you read my post carefully (as I’d hoped), you’d have known that my FATHER taught that to his children.

    I’ve since learned all too well that Jews are just as unvirtuously human as the Germans and Arabs and Greeks like me. And yet neither this ‘disillusionment’ nor my previous ‘idolization’ qualifies me now as an anti-Semite.

    Look, we’d BOTH be better off if you understood CONTEXT – not merely my admittedly narrow personal 1960’s context, but the context of Israel as seen NOW by the rest of the world. The contexts I mean include understanding that the post WWII era featured a powerful sense of non-Jewish (and non-German too) guilt for the Holocaust, which led directly to my father’s adoration of Jews, his son’s adoption of it, and—most importantly—the world’s blind-eye toward Israel’s ethnocentric imperialism. Reflexively labeling as ‘anti-Semites’ those of us now peeling away the blinders from our eyes is (to take my cue from Potter) ‘self-defeating’.

    More importantly, reflexively defending the indefensible only de-legitimates the Israeli cause – which (if you’d read carefully you’d recognize) even ‘anti-Semites’ like me support. I WANT Israel to persist – and to FLOURISH as an honored neighbor in that part of the world – but the Israel I’d prefer is one governed by the Israeli left, not the would-be racist state promised by Likkud.

    In sum, I DON’T support state-sponsored terrorism and repression against those Israel vanquished – just like I wouldn’t support contemporary (or past, ftm) US aggression toward the Native Americans, as happened at Wounded Knee in what? – 1971?

    And such lack of support doesn’t make me ‘anti-Semitic’.

    Must I have had a Jewish mother to offer my take on this tragic trauma? Can’t I make a commentary critical of Israeli racism without being an anti-Semite? Puh-leeze!

    (I’ve plenty negative to say about the Greeks too, but since my father’s ethnicity isn’t currently dominating the world’s biggest powder-keg, nobody would care!)

    Now then, does this riposte make a difference? Or will we over the weekend engage in an ego-slur-fest that will interest no one but us and illuminate even fewer than that?

  23. Potter, I did not mean to imply that I thought Gaza was now independent. The image of a prison you mention is quite accurate, even if the prisoners can move around freely inside.

    What I meant when I asked “when will Israel recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a state?” was not in official terms but in practical terms. Hamas at this point may not recognize the state of Israel, but in practical terms they can carry out aggressive acts but not threaten the existance of that state. On the other hand, Israel may recognize Paletine’s right to a state, but it can and does block the formation of such a state, it can define the borders, it can enter and occupy at any time, etc…

    In the recent election, the majority of Palestinian people who voted democratically elected a party that they felt would improve their daily lives. Why do we not all celebrat this, even if we do not all support the party elected. Many people in and outside of the US view the present Bush administration as one that practices torture and terrorism, but we still celebrate the people’s right to choose good and bad leaders. Hamas may turn out to be far less corupt than Fateh, and as a ruling party may reign in their militant members.

  24. digitalcommuter:

    It occurs to me on reflection that I owe you (and, coincidentally, my father) this deeper explanation.

    One of the more laudable features of the post-Holocaust shock-era was its fierce disputation of the unconscionable stereotypes that had once given rise to garbage like ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. In short, it revised the stereotypical Jew from ‘greedy conspirator’ to ‘innocent victim of racism’. And few but the demented would, after reading, say, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ find any plausible reason to dispute this eminently plausible revision.

    Now, like or not (and deserved or not) ‘innocence’ is commonly deemed a ‘virtue’ – and one the finest of virtues at that. Thus the Jews murdered in the Holocaust were (deserved or not) deemed (uncommonly) ‘virtuous’ – or at least so by my progressive-thinking father, as taught to me and my sister.

    Is this sort of idolization unfair? Maybe. You can judge that however you wish. All I want you to understand is the context in which non-Jewish Zionist-sympathy originated.

    Only then can you accept or reject whether those of us now reconsidering our sympathies are ‘anti-Semitic’.

    Peace? (please.)

  25. digitalcommuter- The disengagement was not carried out as part of a comprehensive program that was made known at the time. Sharon would tell noone about his further plans if he had any. I believe the splitting of Likud had to do at least in part with disengagement from Gaza without concessions from the Palestinians. There are those in Likud as well with much more extremist views that Sharon was finding hard to deal with. Sharon had already said that he was in favor of a two state solution. He had admitted there was an occupation. And he was beginning to see what his policies and tactics had produced and thinking more practically.

    At the time of the disengagement there was no talk of this being the first step of more.

    You can’t say that Likud split because of what Olmert is saying and only hinting now, running for PM as head of Kadima.

    Regarding Hebron, Arabs in Israel would not be allowed to get away with the kind of behavior that the lawless terrorist fanatics in Hebron have gotten away with if you are talking about a double standard.. Many Israeli’s are ashamed of what goes on in Hebron ( and elsewhere). I do keep up with daily debates by the way. You should get a wider sampling perhaps. I note you now shift and avoid the discussion of this disgusting behavior of the Hebron Jews to Jews in general not being allowed to live in Arab countries where you have a case to make. But that is not what we were talking about.

    Also you were the one who brought up the Arafat-Barak negotiations which you now call moot. Moot or not it is still being brought up all the time and each side is telling their own hardened version. This is a topic which I have interest in discussing only in a more nuanced fashion to get at the truth of what went on and what went wrong. It’s clear that Arafat was dragged into this. Barak and Clinton had political imperatives. Barak offered 60% at the outset. Nobody talks about that. Arafat in the end felt he could not accept a much better deal that Arafat’s refusals and the back and forth negotiations had squeezed out of Barak. It has been said that at the end of the day neither side was thinking of the needs of the other. This is instructive if there is ever to be progress.

  26. Shriber, you say:

    “The Israeli economy has managed to progress through worse periods of violence than the intifada and the Oslo accords had very little to do with it.”

    I suppose we can differ on this but what worse period than the recent intifada? During these last few years which an economy that was cooking before 2000 ( the Olso period) suffered greatly. It ruined tourism ( hotels were empty) and because Palestinians were prevented from working in Israel caused a labor shortage on the one hand while many Israeli’s were without better jobs. Just now yes things have recovered somewhat. This is due to Israel’s strong technology sector from what I understand which has been chugging along.

    Palestinians saw a prosperous Israel and were resentful. You are right when you say “Had the Palestinian Arabs concentrated on building up their own economy and civil society they would have been in a better position to create a vibrant economy once they achieve independence” but while it is true that not all problems are the fault of occupation ( why do you call it “so-called occupation”?- it’s an occupation!) many problems are the result of occupation. Merely moving around is a terrible hardship, trade with Israel is minimal, jobs disappeared, farms destroyed, land confiscated, olive trees cut down. Most of all I think of the despair, particularly despair at their own corruption and also despair at seeing their land taken up by settlements and for Jews-only roads. I suppose you can fault people for their despair and their turn to violence.

  27. An appropriate piece in Haaretz about the Israeli economy:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=675788

    Fischer: Hamas’ election will not destabilize Israeli economy

    By Reuters

    “DAVOS, Switzerland – Political developments, including the Hamas victory in this week’s Palestinian elections, will not destabilize the Israeli economy, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said in an interview on Saturday.

    Fischer told the International Herald Tribune that Israel could maintain robust economic growth of 5.2 percent even with the disintegration of the peace process, if the country’s security was stable.

    “There is no question that Israel will take action to maintain that,” Fischer was quoted as saying.

    “The economy could grow more rapidly if the peace process is underway. But it is not a grim economic situation if the peace process stalls for a while,” he added.

    Hamas’s triumph, winning 76 seats in the 132-member Palestinian parliament, is being seen as a political earthquake in the Middle East, triggered by voter disenchantment with corruption.

    Fischer said it would be impossible for Israel “to do business” with the group as long as its charter called for Israel’s destruction.

    But he held out some hope that talks could be revived if the political reality of governing forced Hamas to change and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    Hamas has carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings in Israel since the start of a

    Palestinian uprising in 2000.”

  28. If you walk away, I’ll walk away. Will the occupiers leave? Will those resisting the occupation put down their weapons? Will that taken be given back? Will that lost be compensated? Will mutual trust ever be built and coexistence without walls accepted? So many questions. So many threats. So much pain and suffereing. So many wasted lives. So many historical wrongs. So much forgetting and re-telling. So many truths and so many lies. If I walk away, will you walk away?

  29. Sidewalker: Individuals can let go but for the the collective it is much much harder. That is why leadership is so important. The trick is to gather a forceful majority on both sides who are willing to get behind the right leaders. So much that has happened and has not happened is about timing and the appearance or lack of leaders. I am afraid also a lot has to do with both sides experiencing enough suffering to bend. Jews arrived in Israel carrying few bags but a lot of baggage. And now Palestinians also have emotional baggage.

    Looked at from this perspective, I think things are improving. I think Palestinians are getting hold of themselves and expressing what they want. Don’t underestimate the draw ( the power of the idea) of living a normal life. Israel’s have been fighting hard to maintain it, and Palestinians desperately want it.

  30. If the USA stops reaching into everyone’s paycheck every week to refill the I.V. bag keeping Patient Israel ambulatory ever’body’d pretty much have to lay their swords down and beat them into plowshares. Now wouldn’t THAT be all holy land ‘n’ everything! Mm, hmm!

  31. After a weekend of soul-searching, I must offer a small apology to digitalcommuter and to anyone else offended by my overstated equation of radical Zionism with Nazism.

    They’re not equivalent.

    They’re closer than ought to be countenanced, however. After all, Nazis expropriated Jewish-owned property, just as happens now to Palestinian homes in the occupied territories; and Nazis killed innocent civilians, just as do those IDF missiles aimed as overly blunt assassin’s bullets. (You can argue that there’s a massive difference between genocide and ‘collateral damage’ and you’d have a point, but killing innocents is killing innocents is killing innocents.) Additionally, some argue that the ‘fence’ (or wall) in the West Bank effectively renders the Palestinians therein little more than concentration camp inmates – but not even I can fully agree with that. Yes, it’s a blunt and dehumanizing method of confinement, but there’s more nuance to it than a direct correlation with monstrosities like Auschwitz. (Like a lack of crematoria.)

    So, my apology is tendered, and tendered sincerely. Mea culpa.

  32. Response to “digitalcommuter”, January 27th, 2006 at 11:43 pm entry: I am Jewish, for the record, and I say Israel is a murderously racist, colonizing, occupying, imperialist rogue nation. It is not identical with Nazi Germany, but it shares a great deal in common, especially its hard core of Zionism, including American evangelical Christian Zionists, who support Israel unconditionally as the center of their end-of-time fantasies, which I fear they and like-minded hyperreligious Jews will force to come true. In addition to real, i.e., not neocon-controlled, prowar cheerleader/laptop-bombardier, current news, have you ever read, or even heard of, Lenni Brenner’s book, “51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis”? Zionism and Judaism are not only not equal or equivalent, but antithetical. I agree that no group holds a monopoly on either virtue or vice in human history.

  33. “Nikos”: You only seem ignorant when championing socialism or otherwise discussing economics–and when you make sexist statements about men. Are you a girl wearing a swarthy typing affect? Or just a masochist? BTW, some of what we, the forced US supporters of Israel, have done to the Palestinians, and now the Iraqis, is purty gosh-darned incendiary, crematoria or none.

  34. ALYB: If I’m a masochist, it’s entirely by accident.

    Am I a girl? Are you kidding? I’m not acquainted with any women who would so readily and consistently demonstrate to a global virtual audience that one’s cranium is filled with packing peanuts instead of brains—as do I all too frequently. This particular sort of ostentation seems to me to be ‘a guy thing’.

    There now, I did it again! (Are you smiling yet?)

    Your point that Zionism and Nazism are antithetical strikes me as inarguable; but let me ask this: are Nazism and Stalinism antithetical too? (I’m asking your opinion sincerely, not rhetorically. I don’t agree with everything you write here [of course, as you know already], but your opinions have more often than not enlightened me plenty—as I’m sure your answer to this query will too.)

    This weekend’s On The Media featured a Brooke Gladstone-story on the media coverage of the Hamas electoral victory. I recommend it: http://www.onthemedia.org/

    It reminded me (although sometimes only by accident) that despite Hamas’s pretensions to being a party of ‘resistance-fighters’, it’s a movement founded on terrorism. Resistance fighters target the occupying military forces; terrorists target civilians. And Hamas, despite their fatuous claims, CELEBRATE the slaughter of innocents.

    I also recalled that although, as the story stated, the EU will now stop financing the P.A., that won’t bother Hamas, who get their funds from the vile Wahabi radicals of Saudi Arabia—who get their money from us whenever we fill our gas tanks. Moreover, although I’m ever loathe to agree with anything Netanyahu says, he’s right that Hamas will essentially convert the P.A. into a client of Tehran.

    This, of course, is the ultimate fate of Iraq, too.

    Which leads us and (much more tragically) those of the Middle East inexorably back toward more and more benighted bloodshed.

    Despite the foolish exaggerations of my Friday night typing-while-intoxicated posts, I stand by my (admittedly useless) view that all this could have been avoided in the early and mid 90’s.

    Sigh.

    Finally, thanks for mentioning the idiocies of the fundamentalist Christians who pray every day for the end-of-the-World-as-we-know-it and its attendant hoax called the Rapture. Their essentially narcotic influence on American foreign policy is a wholly under-reported part of this larger tragedy.

    PS, I stand fully by my support for Scandinavian-style democratic socialism (but we’ve had this donnybrook elsewhere, so I’ll save the details of my defense for the next socialism-related ROS thread).

    See ya, pal.

  35. Oops!

    ALYB: I misread your word-brick–as you’ve by now detected.

    Nevertheless, and nothwithstanding that the question’s foundations have dramatically changed, I still wonder on your opinion of the antithetical-ness (or lack thereof) between Stalinism and Nazism. (As one who once studied Europe in the early and mid-20th Century it’s a historical question I’ve often pondered without a satisfying result. Hmmm, maybe we should forget it: this seems more a topic for a ‘tangent-thread’.)

  36. Two days ago, a CBC reporter was asking a local Palistinian community leader and a rabbi in Toronto their opinion on the Hamas victory and the rabbi compared Hamas to the Nazis. Of course the community leader took exception and the rabbi backed off. Now I see here Israel refered to as Nazis (though Nikos likewise backed off)

    Why do people always have to choose such a trite example. How often have we heard the flavour-of-the-week boogeyman refered to as the next Hitler. Joseph Sobran called it a Hitler-of-the-month club. http://www.sobran.com/columns/2003/030227.shtml

    Can’t we do better? Why not call the Israel government and military a foot fungus: it invades, spreads, stings and is really hard to get rid of. It seems that the urea from pee, if concentrated, has some positive effects. Hmmm…could be a new anti-occupation strategy.

  37. “sidewalker”: Israel needs Hamas to exist, just as Team Bush needs bin Laden, or his ghost, to continue.

  38. Sober up Mr. Lydon

    What a wonderful world, it looks like Hitler won the war, that it, if anyone bother to read the Hamas Charter. article 22, 28 and 32 are a guaranteed entertainment.

    http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/documents/charter.html

    …and this is their own site, their own words, their constitution. Obviously they all could use a drink to calm themselves down a bit, but what is the excuse of others how are wondering what is Hamas agenda?

  39. Sharon said that things look different when you are in power. So will things will look different for Hamas. This is a good article. Hamas will not be threatened either with the loss of funds from the US and the EU. They will economize and get help from elsewhere. All we seem to know how to do is threaten ( Sect’y Rice’s latest scolding). This is diplomacy? We are clueless about matters of pride and humiliation which is why to a large extent we fail in the Middle East and why Israel fails as well in my opinion.

    Hamas Proving It’s Politically Shrewd

  40. A little yellow bird Says:

    “Response to “digitalcommuterâ€?, January 27th, 2006 at 11:43 pm entry: I am Jewish, for the record, and I say Israel is a murderously racist, colonizing, occupying, imperialist rogue nation.”

    Who cares what you call yourself, yellowbird? From your posts, you seem not to be playing with a full deck.

    This is the last time I’ll bother to respond to anything you say.

  41. On more serious matters. Looks like Hamas has more than the Israel in its sights:

    Hamas demands return of Seville in internet children’s magazine

    Spain Herald

    http://www.spainherald.com/2414.html

    “The children’s website Al Fateh, property of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, demands in its most recent issue the return of the Spanish city of Seville to the “lost paradise” of Al Andalus, as the Muslim part of Spain was called during its existence between 711 and 1492. The web magazine, whose name means “conqueror,” says it is for “the young builders of the future.”

    The web magazine, whose name means “conqueror,” includes an article in which the city of Seville itself is the narrator, saying, “I beg you, my loved ones, to call me to return along with the other cities of the lost paradise to Muslim hands so that happiness may reign in my lands. Dress me, for I am the bride of the land of Al Andalus.”

    This demand is also one of the demands Bin Laden has been making.

  42. “digitalcommuter”: Also, an ad hominem attack is not a technique of argument–it’s an evasion of the issue at hand. BTW, I don’t care what you call yourself, either: you’re not a Jew if you champion the subjugation and murder of a people against the commandment not to kill, and violate the commandment not to have another god before the true one, in the form of a state.

  43. “shriber”: Et tu? Well, at least you, “commuter”, and “LeeJudt” can all commiserate with each other in your paranoid victim status. Seriously, is one of you LeeJudt with adjusted meds? And you’ve got no sense of humor. My sympathy–sucks to be you-all.

  44. ““Nikosâ€?: You only seem ignorant when championing socialism or otherwise discussing economics–and when you make sexist statements about men. Are you a girl wearing a swarthy typing affect? Or just a masochist? BTW, some of what we, the forced US supporters of Israel, have done to the Palestinians, and now the Iraqis, is purty gosh-darned incendiary, crematoria or none.”

    A little yellow bird Says: January 29th, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    Calling people names is yellow bird’s game.

  45. “shriber”: Nikos is a blog-buddy and we’ve teased and poked each other a bit before. If you see his response, instead of being selectively blind, you’d realize that. Besides, he’s a big boy, and that’s not what you claim to be upset about. You and the other one say I personally am defective. You are actually questionable in your judgement of others. And, since you agree with “commuter”, and ‘nuf said, as you said, why are you talking to me still? BTW, I haven’t called anybody else names. I’ve just disagreed with them. Now that I’ve answered you, I will cease communication with you, since that is what you claimed, in your agreement with “commuter”, to want.

  46. A few loose ends:

    1. sidewalker: Right.

    Guilty as implicated. Thanks for the Sobran link. It got me to thinking that in centuries past (and unfortunately in the present in many cultures and subcultures), icons of ‘evil’ weren’t secularized but demonized and singular: ‘Satan’. So it seems that ‘Hitler’ has, to us secularists, become the iconic name of anything evil—and I must confess my unhappiness that I fell into that tawdry and all-too-common trap. It’s a result of lazy and sloppy thinking—which I’d sworn off for New Year’s. Ha! But I’m grateful you so gently pointed it out. It didn’t help any that when I wrote my sequence of idiocies I was intoxicated by the endorphic-aftermath of a great six-mile run through the local forest, plus about three subsequent ounces of Friday-night vodka. Or four. Or more. Had the hangover the next day to prove it, too.

    So, once again to the many I must have offended: I’m sorry! I was clueless and hopelessly benighted.

    2. ALYB: yeah, I misread your post. It was late and my eyes were swimming—but that night it wasn’t from vodka, but from simple weariness. Really. I was sober.

    Quit laughing!

    3. digitalcommuter: I’d like to point out that Greece, even under the Ottomans, was never Islamic, and so probably doesn’t fall into the same category as Seville in ‘Al-Andalus’. But such a semi-jest would in truth be willfully ignorant and blindly foolish, because, according to their prophet, the House of Islam must struggle with the House of War (everybody not in Submission to Allah) until they have been brought, kicking and screaming, into the House of Islam. Ugh.

    Me? I’d honestly rather die than Submit.

    I’m rather fond of my secularism. And of my freedom of speech. And of my freedom to dress how I like, to dance, to listen to music, to drink alcohol (maybe not in excess, however!), and to draw cartoons attacking cultural and religious sacred cows, if I so choose.

    And I prefer that the women with whom I associate to have the freedom to choose their own morality instead of having the so-called ‘morality’ of misogynist men from millennia past forced on them at knifepoint.

    By the way, I wanted but failed to slip into my Friday-night drunken-while-typing idiocies that one of my family members calls me ‘the Jew-lover’. This, sadly, tells you more about him than it does about me, however. (Luckily, he’s only a distant relation.) My point in bothering to launder in public such soiled family rags is only to suggest that one needn’t have had a Jewish mother to care about the prospects and fate of the Jewish state. Israel has plenty to fear from Islamists who murder innocents in the name of their god. One might therefore hope not that Israel’s leaders cower in readiness to accede to whatever demands the killers make, but that they instead actively and boldly erase the quasi-apartheid conditions that give the Islamists the ammunition to seem a ‘legitimate option’ to the impressionable youngsters they brainwash into suicide-murderers.

    Unfortunately, my stupid ‘nazi’ comparison wholly occluded this point. I’m making this admission and statement of regret particularly in light of the past few posts to this thread. As one of my sage co-workers liked to point out: ‘You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.’

    And your arguments can persuade many more readers if they’re offered with respect rather than with scorn.

    Sorry, all. (It’s time for another New Year’s resolution, methinks.)

  47. “”Unfortunately, my stupid ‘nazi’ comparison wholly occluded this point.

    Yes, Nikos, your comparison was unfortunate, but so is your comparison to the Apartheid State of South Africa.

    A recent poll showed that over forty percent of Arab citizens of Israel said they were proud to be considered Israeli.

    But to the point, there are Arab members of the Israeli parliament. There are also Arab judges on every level of the judiciary including the Supreme Court. Arabs are represented in all levels of Israeli society except the armed forces. This is because the country didn’t want to force its Arab citizens to fight against other Arabs. (Members of the Druze community do serve in the army as do, if I am not mistaken, Bedouins.

    Now, while there is still, unfortunately discrimination in Israel, which is recognized by the government, the level and type of discrimination in no way rises to the level of an Apartheid system.

    As far as relations to the Palestinian Arabs are concerned there too the term Apartheid doesn’t apply since both communities see themselves as belonging to distinct societies. The problem isn’t apartheid but “occupation.�

    In disengaging itself from the Palestinians the Israelis have decided to stop acting as occupiers. This will take some time but in the long run a two state solution is the right formula for achieving peaceful coexistence in the Mid East. Once the two states are set up and in existence then the two economies I am sure will begin to merge. Of course, the next step will depend on Palestine existing as a secular state.

    As far as Greece is concerned, Nikos, don’t underestimate the Islamicists determination to get back all the territory it once conquered and then some. I agree with your sentiment of “Me? I’d honestly rather die than Submit.�

  48. digitalcommuter: thanks for your reply. Although I have to confess to already having known pretty much everything you explained, it’s nice to see it outlined here for the edification of all.

    As for apartheid, I placed the prefix ‘quasi-’ quite deliberately, but failed to include a note that I’d do the same for the good ol’ US of A, and not merely for ‘minority’ issues. We discriminate more against our majority — women — than we do most everyone else. No, none of this includes awful junk like segregated drinking fountains (but it does cost a whole lot more to build segregated rest rooms!)

    But yes, you’re right that the issue in the occupied Palestinian territories is just that: occupation. I worry though that after so many years, simple disengagement is potentially just as damaging as continued occupation. It will leave a vaccuum to be filled by the Islamists of Hamas, and perhaps worse.

    I wonder if instead Israel couldn’t make friends out of enemies by helping rebuild the territories, channeling international money to Palestinian contractors, as they’ve done for construction of the ‘fence’.

    I’d be happy to see your opinion of this notion.

  49. Oh, digitalcommuter, it also occurs to me that my idealized notion that Israel could not only withdraw but help to rebuild the Palestinian areas is already outdated.

    Hamas, it seems, has, just the other day, filled the vaccuum — to the benefit, I suspect, of no one but the higher echelons of their leadership.

    Those who in desperation voted for them will not likely benefit.

    Nor the Mossad who, it seems, originally channeled money to them to counter-balance the PLO (see this thread’s curious first post), nor the many peace-seeking Israelis, nor the peace-be-damned Zionist settlers who crave a ’160′ of their own in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Nope. Just the Hamas leaders.

    And their string-pullers in Tehran and Saudi.

    Crap.

    Why do the hawks always seem to find a way to slay all those beautiful doves?

  50. And oh, btw, ALYB, I welcome and value your potential responses to any of my posts, despite the (arguably) understandable unwillingness of several others to continue their correspondences with you. They can skip over posts beneath your ROS tag should they care to, just as you can theirs.

    I, for one, find you not only ‘entertaining’ but stimulating — even if occasionally nuts and offensive.
    ;-)

    (As I know you do me! And thanks for it, too.)

  51. Nikos Says:

    “February 1st, 2006 at 3:20 am”

    Nikos, do you ever sleep?

    “And oh, btw, ALYB, I welcome and value your potential responses to any of my posts, despite the (arguably) understandable unwillingness of several others to continue their correspondences with you.”

    btw: if you are going to be “everyone’s” friend no matter how crazy and offensive their behavior don’t expect me to answer your posts anymore.

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