Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saeed Rahnema: For Progressive Solidarity, Against The "Reactionary Left."

For a properly rigorous assessment of the pathetically reactionary currents that have caused such stupefaction across the western liberal-left spectrum in recent years, with particular reference to solidarity with the Iranian uprising, here's Saeed Rahnema.

The upshot: "The left has historically been rooted in solidarity with progressive movements, women's rights and rights for unions and its voice has been first and foremost a call for freedom. The voices that we hear today from part of the Left are tragically reactionary. Siding with religious fundamentalists with the wrong assumptions that they are anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists, is aligning with the most reactionary forces of history. This is a reactionary left, different from the progressive left which has always been on the side of the forces of progress."

It's like I've been saying. Here, and here, and here.

Rahnema is of a tragically rare species. He's an unapologetically left-wing sort of intellectual who conducts his work in the rigorous academic tradition that demands evidence of analysis and eschews fashionably transgressive revisionism. Even when he wades into unfamiliar territory and gets his history skewed, as he does in this debate with former NATO ambassador Gordon Smith, Rahnema's conclusions are dead right:

"One policy which is lurking around these days is the search for ‘good’ Islamist fundamentalists. The policy of rapprochement with ‘good’ Taliban, which points to the miserable failures of the American, Canadian and other NATO allies in Afghanistan, is misguided. It involves major concessions and compromises to these backward elements, and has serious implications for human rights – among them the rights of women. In terms of zealotry and ruthlessness, there are few differences between Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and indeed among the Taliban themselves."

The upshot: "Empowering secular, progressive forces is the only solution to this ordeal."

On the ongoing agony in Israel and Palestine: "The only solution to this conflict is a negotiated settlement. But history has so far shown that peace is not possible as long as hawkish Israeli governments come into power and have the unconditional support of the United States and the Israeli lobby. Likewise, no peace is possible as long as radical Palestinians - in particular, religious zealots and their supporters inside and outside the Palestinian territories - are not ready to recognize the reality of the existence of the state of Israel within the pre-1967 borders."

That is rather better than demonizing Israel, pandering to the delicate, bourgeois sensibilities of the liberal-left elites and laying the blame for the world's ills solely at the feet of shadowy Zionists, no?

86 Comments:

Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"..hawkish Israeli governments come into power and have the unconditional support of the United States and the Israeli lobby."

Not much better. Good Saeed Rahnema still relies heavily on the tandem myths that Israeli Hawkish governments do not make peace and that there is such a thing as "The Israeli Lobby".

About hawkish Israeli governments and such:

"I met Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. He recounts, not without amusement, the choreography of harried mediators in a rush. He related Mubarak’s double game; the international community will have to eventually force him to seal Egypt’s Gaza borders to Bedouin smugglers. This is when his tone changes. And, lowering his voice as though speaking confidentially, he tries to tell me about Abu Mazen’s last visit, just three weeks ago, where he was in this office, sitting in the very chair I was occupying.

" I made him an offer. 94,5% of the West Bank. Another 4,5% made up from territoriy within Israel proper. A tunnel, under Palestinian control, connecting the West Bank and Gaza, making up for the remaining 1% . As for Jerusalem, a logical and simple solution: Arab quarter will go to him; Jewish quarter will go to us. The Holy Sites will be placed under a joint administration comprised of Saudi, Jordanian, Israeli, Palestinian, and American representatives. Abu Mazen asked for a map, on which I would draw out the perimeters of my proposal. I did not, because I know him, and I know how it would be: the next time we meet, the proposal I’d drawn out would be taken as a starting point for further negotiations. Well, then… the offer is there… I am waiting ". Too good to be true? Is it possible that we have managed to sidestep, so recently, another opportunity to make peace?"

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2009/02/so-close-yet-so-unachievable.html

We have seen the long reach of mythic power of the "Israeli Lobby" in Obama's recent Cairo speech and the fact that while he can speak nicely even to the butchers of Iran, he is incapable of addressing the subject of settlement freeze with even a show of respect for Israel. So much for the "Israeli Lobby" then.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I would hardly peg Olmert as "hawkish."

12:56 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Speaking of the delicate sensibilities of the liberal elites and fashionably transgressive revisionism, look what's in today's papers:

http://tinyurl.com/n43yms

In Mike Byers' world, the U.S.-backed mujahedeen "morphed into the Taliban," and at the same time, the Taliban "began as an armed resistance to a corrupt government before evolving into a service agency for drug smugglers and international crime syndicates."

1:09 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:39 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Sorry about the deleted post. I needed to edit.

_____________

Terry: You like Rahmena's position about the Taliban. I do, too. I don't like what he says about Israel; it is barely better than most so-called leftists are saying. It is more restrained, with the infamous "fetishization of balance". I'm not impressed.

Ehud Olmert used to be at least as hawkish as Sharon.

To read Rahmena, you would have to come away with the impression that Israeli hawkish governments do not make peace or do not aspire for peace. Why would you want to agree with this warped historical record? Didn't Begin make peace with Egypt? Didn't Netanyahu sign the Wye accords with Arafat?

And don't forget that under Olmert's management, Israel went into two wars, not all that successful.

It's not Israel's governments that are the obstacle to peace. It's the absence of partner for peace on the other side that is the only insurmountable obstacle. All the components of the disputes could be solved, if there was a political will from the Palestinians to do so. Creating this false equivalence of "we are all equally to blame" is not going to encourage the Palestinians to give up their dreams:

"In a June 11 New York Review of Books article, written by Hussein Agha and Robert Malley, they two prominent experts argue the following: “Unlike Zionism, for whom statehood was the central objective, the Palestinian fight was primarily about other matters…Today, the idea of Palestinian statehood is alive, but mainly outside of Palestine…A small fraction of Palestinians, mainly members of the Palestinian Authority's elite, saw the point of building state institutions, had an interest in doing so, and went to work. For the majority, this kind of project could not have strayed further from their original political concerns…”

www.ynetnews.com/.../0,7340,L-3743297,00.html

2:43 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"It's the absence of partner for peace on the other side that is the only insurmountable obstacle."

Not professing any particular expertise in this field, I don't think I'd object to that, but I would point out that there are insurmountable obstacles, and there are also persistent, recurring, confounding obstacles.

Neither do I go in much for equivalency on the question, but I don't read Rahnema that way. Disagree with him as you or I might, there is no balance-fetish at work when he writes that "peace is not possible as long as hawkish Israeli governments come into power." He's pointing out difference there, not equivalence, and he may well be wrong to overstate the hand of Israeli hawks in ongoing Israeli-Palestinian tensions, but I don't think he's underplaying the significance of eliminationist influences on the Palestinian side.

That makes his analysis fundamentally and profoundly different from what tends to pass as a "pro-Palestinian" perspective these days.

Rahnema is the sort of left-wing intellectual one can learn from, agree or disagree with and have arguments with. With the other kind - the pro-Hamas, second-campist, "anti-Zionist" variety - there isn't even the possibility of a useful argument, because there isn't even the basis of a conversation. I think you'll have to grant me that, Comrade Contentious.

3:41 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Terry:

Conversations are good and if you feel you and Rahnema are on the same page then that's great, for you.

For myself, I keep to my right not to agree with him about how the I/P conflict should be examined and analysed. I do see in his words the rigid balancing act that has become so entrenched in the discourse of this conflict.

4:58 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:05 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

From Rahnema's article:

"No doubt the Palestinians missed opportunities for peace, but so did the Israelis. Following Israel’s astounding success in the Six-Day War of 1967, the country had the opportunity to triumphantly accept the UNSC Resolution 242, return to the pre-1967 borders and sign peace treaties with its neighbours."

As I said, there is an insistence on dead end balance, even at the price of historical record. He leaves out of his narrative the Arab League's answer to Resolution 242:

"The Arab Heads of State have agreed to unite their political efforts at the international and diplomatic level to eliminate the effects of the aggression and to ensure the withdrawal of the aggressive Israeli forces from the Arab lands which have been occupied since the aggression of June 5. This will be done within the framework of the main principles by which the Arab States abide, namely, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it, and insistence on the rights of the Palestinian people in their own country"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khartoum_Resolution

Why would he do that?

Perhaps because with this factual detail included, he cannot in good faith go on to claim that Israel "had the opportunity to triumphantly accept the UNSC Resolution 242, return to the pre-1967 borders and sign peace treaties with its neighbours. Yet, not only did it refuse to do so, but it kept a strong grip on the West Bank and Gaza, and annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem."

Since the resolution's most important feature is the "land for peace" formula, Khartoum's infamous three "No"s vitiated the very import of the resolution. I would seriously doubt Rahmena's selective reading of history can be regarded as authoritative or educational.

Israel has been grappling with its mistakes and wrong-headed decisions and trying to learn from that experience. As Dennis Ross once explained, the Israelis had been able to face up to their own mythologies about their own agency in bringing about the current deadly impasse; the Palestinians (or by extension most Arabs) have not.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Sohrab said...

Terry,

Thanks for introducing me to Rahnema. I read his piece, and more or less liked it. Rahnema linked to a piece by Slavoj Zizek as an example of someone on the left whose analysis, while imperfect, is far better than what's been produced by the 'Reactionary Left.'

Anywho, I decided to write my own assessment of Zizek's piece. Here it is: http://iranianfreedom.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/zizek-on-the-uprising/

7:50 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

An excellent essay, Sohrab. I particularly liked this:

"It is tactical considerations, not political ones, which inform the green movement’s appropriation of ‘79 imagery: carrying Korans during protests, shouting Allah-u-akbar from rooftops, etc. are strategies devised to make it difficult for the IRI establishment and the security personnel to demonize the protesters as foreign-inspired or religiously deviant — which they did anyway, since they have no shame."

This is precisely what I thought was going on, but strangely, this is the first time I've seen it so clearly acknowledged.

T

2:28 PM  
Blogger Sohrab said...

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, Terry.

7:28 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"I would hardly peg Olmert as "hawkish"

And there we have it folks. Olmert is responsibvle for presiding over a war roundly condemned by Manesty International, the Red Cross, Human Rights USA, Human Rights Israel and a plethora of other organisations which documendted what they reffered to as war crimes including the use of white phosphorus on a civilan population and the direct targetting of the innocent now being revealed by Israeli soldiers who served in Gaza. Pick up the latest Haaretz to catch this. A war that killed over 1300 people, including 400 children and was waged against a population suffering under a blockade again condemned by human rights groups. Had some other leader, most likely belonging to an anti US regime, had this much recent blood on his hands then Terry would most likely be screaming murder. But, sigh, for much of the liberal left Palestinians just dont count. Depressing

3:14 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

I do not believe that we need Israeli soldiers to co sign what independent human rights groups have already documented in Gaza but, if anything, this story shows that it is impossible to completely seal of the truth and regiems that rule by fear, intimidation and murder will at some poijt be exposed by those who carry out wars in their name. What does Terry think of his man Olmert now?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israeli-soldiers-reveal-the-brutal-truth-of-gaza-attack-1746485.html

3:20 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Palestinians count. Bullshit propaganda from Palestinian sources or the UN in Gaza doesnt count for much. This latest report detailing Israeli atrocities is a great example: The headlines sound really bad, then you read the stories and they're all about what a single soldier did here or there. Well I bet upChuck and the other lefties dont' focus as much on actions by individuals when talking about, say, the actions of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran or, to bring matters closer to home, Hamas "fighters." And reading about "1400+ dead palestinians, mostly civilians, including 400 children" is starting to be the most overused phrase in the reactionary left's lexicon, reminiscent of the anti-Albright chant "she said it was worth killing 1,000,000 Iraqi children." I don't for a minute believe the stats, I'm sure some Israeli soldiers behaved like brutes but they were abberations, and I suspect sure most of the so-called "civilians" killed were in fact Hamas operatives, and will continue to believe that until there is unbiased proof to the contrary, and to date, none has been provided.

5:45 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:19 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

.. Manesty International, the Red Cross, Human Rights USA, Human Rights Israel a..."

The latest story doing the rounds about the questionable ethics of HRW does not bode well for the future respectability of "Human rights" organizations. And a good thing, too. It's time to rescue human rights from those who have a very warped grasp of what they actually mean.

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2009/07/greeks-bearing-gifts-demonizing-israel.html

4:21 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

So Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch USA, the Red Cross and other groups can be trusted when it comes to documenting the human rights abuses of Iran, Cuba, Hezbollah, China and a whole group of nations and other actors the sole exceptioin here is Israel and on this front I guess we should accept what the Israeli government and the IDF says as fact. Right. People who make these arguments, and go to all sorts of lengths to shiled Israel from legitimate criticism, are starting to appear delusional, much like the current Israeli government headed by Bibi who recently even called Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod "self hating jews".

10:11 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

If 400 Palestinian children killed, on top of the across the board comdemnation Israel's human rights abuses under Olmert does not render him "hawkish" in Terry's mind than I wonder to what extent he is willing to apologise for or condone any Israeli leader. Maybe 1000 children killed might sway him, a little

12:37 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Yes, chuck, I absolutely have more trust in figures coming from Israel than anything coming out of "Human Rights" organizations which are being fed, not forcefully, numbers by Hamas or Palestinian operatives.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1233304788684&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2009/01/numbers-continued-coverage-of-numbers.html

2:46 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

So I opened up the link Contentious sent me to the Jpost, suspicious already since its a right wing hawkish paper, only to find that its reporting that the IDF is disputing what independent human rights organisation have reported in Gaza, as they and the whole word have been "duped" by Hamas. Contentious surely knows that the chinese government would say the same thigns about their record in Tibet, blaming the findings of say Amnesty on the "duping" done by the Dalai Lama, the spokepople of the Iranian guard would use the same tactic and so on. That someone seemingly as smart as CC would make such an absurd and silly argument is itself revealing.

3:10 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

Btw, what leads smart people like Contentious to make such plainly illogical arguments and weave all sorts of webs of apologetics for war crimes. Rick Salutin had an interesting aside on today Globe

"This also applies to our experiences as members of groups. Speaking as a Jew, I think one reason North American Jews identify so powerfully with Israel is a sense that the soulfulness of past Jewish experience is missing in their generally comfortable lives. They'd never want to repeat the horror, but they miss the intensity. This is a familiar enough paradox."

3:13 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Speaking as a Jew..."

Funny how people who hate Israel, and are eager to accept any Palestinian complaint as gospel truth, each one can produce in support of this selective morality his decent Jew. All the rest are liars, but here is a first-class Jew.

5:43 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"Funny how people who hate Israel"

Who are these people exactly or are you referring to Rick Salutin, in which case its an odd charge to say the least. I've never got the sense at all that he "hates Israel". As for the gospel allegation what we've seen so far is quite fascinating. I put my faith in independent human rights organisations which have a track record in copiously examing evidence and producing verifiable reports whether it involved Israel, Hezbollah, China or Iran and you on the other hand trust state outlets and the IDF to tell the truth even when they are the ones accused of commiting such crimes. Truly bizarre

1:14 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Chuck, in this thread, I produced one reason why you should not put your faith in "independent human rights organisations which have a track record". Explain why a HR organization will go on a junket to Saudi Arabia, relying on the "track record" of demonizing Israel. Give us your money, they plead, and we'll show you how we can help you destroy Israel's reputation. We are both on the same side, you and us.

Some track record.

7:23 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

Weird, especially since I have read concrete accounts that suggest donor dollars have been threatened to be withheld from more than a few human rights groups precisely because of some of their reporting on Israel. More so, these same organization are justifiably damning when they document all sorts of barbarity committed by Saudi Arabia which you bring up. You have given me no reasons to doubt the findings of not only Amnesty but also HR Israel, B'tselem, HR USA and others. That they are all part of a grand conspiracy borders on delusional these are indepedent and reliable organizations.

Regardless your point is clear. For human rights abuses comitted by the Israeli state you trust the word of the IDF and the Israeli government and I go to independent human rights group which copiously produce hundreds of pages of findings. Let people draw their own conclusions from this

12:19 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

You, of course, are taking the view that the IDF is guilty as charged. And of course, lying is one inherent aspect of its general and congenital mendacity. Maybe because you are attached to the idea that the Israel commits atrocities, kills children and lies about it.

Fact is, you have no plausible answer to justify HRW as it was caught pissing into the pool from the diving board. Which, in my opinion, is the only difference between them and other NGOs that report about Palestinian suffering.

12:52 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

What is weired is that your language seems to evoke classical anti semitic type conspiracies, except that you just use them when speaking of Palestinians. Those Palestinians, tricky and they are, lie about everything but are some how cunning enough to get world bodies and a cross section of human rights organisations, each who copiusly cionduct their own research on the groumnd, to fall for their dirty tricks. Like I said this is truly odd and perplexing.

Again the facts here are basic. When it comes to the actions oif the IDF in Gaza or the broader human rights violations in the occupied territories (which includwe targetting of civilians, the use of human shields, collective punishment and other kindred barbarities) all the relevant independeent human rights organisations (Amnesty, HRW, B'tselem, Red Cross) are fairly annanymous with their findings. You on other hand, based on that article you posted, prefer to take your word from the spokepeople of the IDF and the Israeli government, like any body are accused of somehting would seek to deny, minimise and willfully distort. Case closed

3:34 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"...all the relevant independeent human rights organisations (Amnesty, HRW, B'tselem, Red Cross) are fairly annanymous with their findings."

Yes. That's like positing all those hundreds of UN resolutions condemning Israel as though they were reflective of any real, objective and neutral judgment.

Or the 85% anti-Israel condemnations taken by the UNHR Commission.

5:41 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

In reaction to CC's comment "Funny how people who hate Israel," upChuck said:

"Who are these people exactly or are you referring to Rick Salutin?"
No you dope, he was referring to you, and Salutin is your "pet" Jew.

As for the rest of your argument, about independent HR groups, I'm thinking the truth is somewhere in the middle. No doubt Israeli human rights orgs like B'tselem do in fact find HR abuses by the Israeli govt, authorities, army or individual soldiers. That should not be at issue. What IS at issue is how these abuses are conflated and often reported without verification, as in the "IDF bombed a UN compound," "Mohammed al-Dura," etc. ad nauseam. It seems the the moment israel fires up a tank, it's already committing human rights abuses. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of UNHRC resolutions relate only to Israel, that Arab/Islamic state human rights offences are routinely ignored or explained away, and it's understandable why the testimony of those groups you hold so dear is considered unreliable when it comes to Israel. Oh, did I mention those unbiased UN reports from the likes of Richard Falk, who clearly has made up his mind before looking at any facts. And the final nail in this particular coffin are the continuous screams about "genocide" when the Palestinian population has risen maybe 8-fold since 1948, not only in Israel and the Pal diaspora, but also in the West Bank and Gaza. Some "genocide."

So forgive us for not taking your "reports" at face value. I await the report on the Sri Lankan suppression of the Tamil Tigers, but wait: DIdn't the UNHCR or some other "unbiased" group actually praise the Sri Lankan govt for its operation. And why not, only 10 x more civilians were killed in that operation than were in Gaza, and hundreds of thousands made homeless. But hey, upChuck, you just sleep well tonight, knowing you've done your bit to combat the evil Zionists. What a friggin' joke.

7:39 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

Again are we in some kind of bizarro world. I came here and took issue with contentious who challenges a whole concensus that has been reached by a plethora of HR groups, while seemingly prefering to take the word of a government and its armed forces. No one would make such an argument if it involved any other country. That seemed simple enough. And now I "hate Israel" and you guys wonder why the debate is so toxic. Sigh, a bit like Bibi sayinfg Axelrod is a "self hating jew". Give me a break

12:17 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"...a bit like Bibi sayinfg Axelrod is a "self hating jew". Give me a break"

That's quite a non-sequitor. A bit like this one:

http://georgeszirtes.blogspot.com/2009/07/neat-segue.html

Yes, I do take "the word of a government and its armed forces." as a better source of data. I wouldn't take the word of the Palestinian or Syrian or Jordanian governments for much but I do take the word of the Israeli government. It is a democratic government whose transparency and accountability are mercilessly, routinely, relentlessly, scrutinized by its own people, its media, its judicial systems.

The fact there is a "consensus" by HR groups does not impress me one little bit. There is a "consensus" in the UNHR Commission. What does that say about anything? The same consensus that you could find in an all-white jury trying a black man in Alabama not so many years ago. Those members of the jury were also respectable people.

4:08 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"Yes, I do take "the word of a government and its armed forces." as a better source of data. I wouldn't take the word of the Palestinian or Syrian or Jordanian governments for much but I do take the word of the Israeli government. It is a democratic government whose transparency and accountability are mercilessly, routinely, relentlessly, scrutinized by its own people, its media, its judicial systems."

I am satisfied that you've finally come out and said, plainly, that when it comes to allegations of say collective punishment, targetting of civilians,destruction of propoerty and other such kindred barbarities you have more faith in the words of IDF spokepeople than Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, et cetera. Like I said this discussion and that frankly bewildering conclusion is very instructive and revealing

9:21 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I have to ask you, chuck, I'm genuinely curious: How do you see the IDF? I would appreciate an honest response with some effort at accuracy.

11:04 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

I will get to that in a second. A quick question though for you. I just visited the sites from both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. Both of them are following the crackdown of dissent in Iran, which includes allegations of kidnapping, imprisonment and various forms of violence and assualt. Is it your postion that these groups have some credibility when criticizing Iran, Hezbollah and China but suddenly cannot be trusted when they cover and document human rights violations perpetuated by the Israeli state. At that point you invest your trust in Israeli government spokepeeople ans the like. That still stikes me as either hopelessly naive or worse. A bury your head in the sand position. Weird.

As for the IDF, they are an army like many armies in the world. I have known more than a few freinds who have served in the IDF, which itself is made up mostly by young Israelis. My own belief is that the very structures of the occupation; the need to guard its settlements and strangle and suppress opposition to its rule, its illegality, its control through force and brutality, the widepspread dehumanisation of Palestinian people all of this creates a situation whereby the type of abuses which go on a daily basis become an inevitable part of its functioning. My friend Max Blumenthal has been one of the voices in the wilderness covering this and I'd encourage you to check out his work. Peace

http://maxblumenthal.com/2009/07/neda-in-palestine-sentenced-to-die-alone/

11:18 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"My friend Max Blumenthal... "

Why am I not surprised?

11:41 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Max Blumenthal is a drooling idiot, a laughing stock, and one of the creepiest characters to have insinuated himself into this "debate" in some time. Which is saying something.

Carry on.

11:44 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"Max Blumenthal is a drooling idiot, a laughing stock, and one of the creepiest characters to have insinuated himself into this "debate" in some time. Which is saying something."

I can see why some people may have a problem with his guerella type stryle of reporting which strikes me as Michael Moore like, but I think that people like he and Phillip Weiss have done a lot of soul searching and really opened up the dialogue amongt liberal jews in the USA. They've done some heavy lifting towards breaking some taboos and wrestlign the debate away form the hardliners represented by thuggish groups like AIPAC. Besides a bunch of slurs and ad hominems I wonder what's your beef about Max, Terry? Just curious.

Also is your opinion of Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, B'tselem et cetera as low as Contentious and do you agree with him that its morew reliable to just take the word of the Israeli government and the IDF. Just curious

11:53 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"They've done some heavy lifting towards breaking some taboos and wrestlign the debate away form the hardliners represented by thuggish groups like AIPAC"

Brave dissidents they are. As
Anthony Julius once described their "moral courage" as

"a kind of political posturing by people who don't expose themselves to any real danger, but are attracted to the glamour, the reputation at any rate, of being freedom fighters risking their lives in a noble cause. It's trivial, inconsequential stuff, the material really of vanity and self-regard, and nothing more than that."

12:02 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Hey upChuck: For once, can you actually respond to points in the argument rather than simply repeat your mantra ie "you trust Israel's govt and the IDF more than HRW, UN, etc. etc blah blah blah."

I specifically outlined why those organizations have lost a lot of credibility re: their reporting of Israeli misdeeds specifically, but of course you chose to ignore that and throw in the strawman that now we are saying you "hate Israel." NOt sure what the problem is there, since it's clearly true, but even if it weren't, nobody said it (i did say you could take comfort that you managed to fight the 'evil zionists', but that isn't the same thing.

Get over your stupefaction (which one might call stupidfaction) and try listening to why HR groups have historically not reported fairly about Israel, much the same as many western-based media outlets (remember the Jenin "massacre"?)
In short, get your head out of your holier-than-thou anti-zionist ass.

12:05 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"a kind of political posturing by people who don't expose themselves to "any real danger, but are attracted to the glamour, the reputation at any rate, of being freedom fighters risking their lives in a noble cause. It's trivial, inconsequential stuff, the material really of vanity and self-regard, and nothing more than that."

As opposed to shutting your ears and closing your eyes, claiming those cunning and lying Palestinians are able to fool a vast number of independent human rights groups into documenting and compiling what are fake claims and relying instead on apologetics issued by the Israeli govenment and IDF spokespeopke who we are supposed to imagine would report honestly about charges levied against themselves. Right

12:08 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

For what it's worth son, I was at one time accused of hating Israel, a really odd charge but let's leavew that aside. You and I might as well be inhabitating different universes. There is plenty to criticise when discussing the role of the "western media" regrading Israel/Palestine. In my opinion they routinely fail to report what are regular and widely documented routine violations and brutality inflicted by what is still an illegal occupying power. They tend to treat one Israeli life as being worth that of hundreds of Palestinian, themselves often seen as inherently violent and nameless victims. The media fails to question the premise that a vast occupying power which build walls, settlements, demolished hones et cetera is somehiw carrying this all out in the name of security. But to open upall of this is top boraden the debate ask for a slew of back and forth polemics.

My guess is that the hate on you two have for the human rights groups, at its base, is grounded on an attack the messenger type mentality

12:19 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"Max Blumenthal is a drooling idiot, a laughing stock, and one of the creepiest characters to have insinuated himself into this "debate" in some time. Which is saying something.

Carry on"

Are you sure that you havent mistakenly confused Max with Marty Peretz

1:07 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Hey upChuck: first of all don't call me "son," i'm 54 and don't need patronizing from the likes of you. Second, you are correct, we are inhabiting separate universe. In your bizarro universe, the only country in the region in which you could maintain the same lifestyle you live here is evil, and its enemies are, how did you put it, the victims of brutality by an illegal occuping power. We note the usual Pal "victim" status without any mention of why they were "victimized", say, in the Gaza War, namely, indiscriminate rocket fire for 3 years. Or the fact that Israel has to live under the incredible strain of knowing that if it falters on security at all, it will be destroyed by virtually all of its neighbors AND the pals. I wonder how many individual HR violations Canada would rack up in a similar situation.
Third, I don't have a hate on for human rights groups. I just wish, when it comes to the subject of Israel and the Palestinians, they were even handed. They aren't. Of course it all stems from the UN, which set up UNRWA for the Palestinians but has NEVER set up any other parallel org for any other ethnic group or nationality. Now that's bias.
Fourth, the wall was built for security. If it were built for other reasons, it would have been built long before. In fact, it was a reaction to the wave of suicide bombings dispatched to Israel in the wake of the failed 2000 negotioations and 9/11. And it's been successful. Your strategy for halting Pal attacks on Israel: let's see, no retaliatory attacks, no wall, no targeted assassinations of plotters/leaders, basically no nothing. Yeah I suppose that makes sense in your universe, but not in mine.

3:00 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Note to the rest of you:

upChuck is starting to remind me of Jonathan Cook, that sniveling excuse for a "journalist" based in Nazareth. I once got into a similar exchange with him and after three or four rounds he began to spew venom. I suspect we'll hear the same from our latest anti-zionist hero (which i suppose makes me a zionist anti-hero). cheers all.

3:05 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I think you forgot,chuck to answer this question: How do you see the IDF? I would appreciate an honest response with some effort at accuracy.

4:02 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

CC- You may have missed it but I responded already to that question. See 11:18 am

1:41 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

Philip Weiss btw had a very good response to the issue of Israeli demoncracy

"I prefer being given religious reasons for why Israel gets to occupy the Palestinians, it's a bit less gross than hearing Israel defended on the basis of it being a democracy. Because really, if you're a Palestinian being oppressed and occupied it doesn't matter whether it's being done by a democracy, a military junta or a dictatorship--it's all the same. Decades of Israeli democracy never brought an end to the land theft, war crimes, illegal detentions, collective punishment, starvation or extra-judicial assassinations."

2:10 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Perhaps Phillis Weiss should learn a bit of history and be a little less disingenuous in his assertions. He should, for example, learn how Israel came to be in control of the Palestinians, how it signed the Peace agreement with Egypt (which provided for a solution for the Palestinian problem), then the Oslo Accords which would have resulted in Palestinian statehood by 1998, had they any real wish to govern themselves. He should learn what they opted for, instead of independence. He should also look around the world to see what it's like to be under thumb of non-democratic regimes.

Let's leave all this aside for a minute.

I'd like to know, chuck, what is your solution to the conflict.

____________

BTW, the IDF is, as per definition and practice, the most moral army in the world. You can see it from the level of the introspection that takes place within its ranks, the never ending quest to minimize loss of life, the rules of engagement with a terrorist enemy which have to be constantly updated in order to avoid, as much as possible, harming genuinely innocent by standers. Errors in judgment and implementation are always made and some soldiers may act in response to the kind of enemy they are facing. But the bottom line is that the IDF is exemplary.

Here is Claude Lantzmann in a recent interview:

"In "Tsahal" I also knew exactly what I wanted to tell: the creation an army, the construction of an army, the creation of courage. This army represents a victory of the Jewish people over themselves. There had never been a Jewish army before. My film tells how Jews took their fate into their own hands to avoid ever become victims again. I show how they overcame the victim role and overcame a mental predisposition.

In the Israeli army life is valued higher than anything else. And yet every soldier in the Tsahal is prepared to give his life. Unlike other armies of the world, the soldiers of the Tsahal do not die for the glory of their fatherland, they die for life alone. You should not forget that the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War was not just a murder of innocents. It was also a genocide of the defenceless. My film describes the path to overcome defencelessness. It describes how the Jewish people empowered themselves with weapons and it describes the psychological metamorphosis that the people had to undergo, in order to build an army like the Tsahal, in order to be able to defend themselves, to be able to kill.

For decades, young Israelis have been growing up with the insecurity of knowing that no-one can guarantee that "Israel will still exist in 2025".

_____________

When I read such opinions as chuck and his Jewish friends are offering, I am rather perplexed by this inexorable compulsion to contribute their own little drop of demonization and venom in order to make sure that "Israel will NO LONGER exist in 2025".

As per Martin Amis:

"I know it’s a great tradition of the British left to support Palestine, but when you come up against this question, you can feel the intelligence and balance leaving the hall with a shriek, and people getting into this endocrinal state about Israel. I just don’t understand it. The Jews have a much, much worse history than the Palestinians, and in living memory. But there’s just no impulse of sympathy for that . . . I know we’re supposed to be grown up about it and not fling around accusations of anti-Semitism, but I don’t see any other explanation."

Chuck also needs to explain why he chooses to devote so much of his time and energy to militate against Israel when millions of people in other trouble spots in the world are suffering a very great deal more and for much less or for anything.

3:59 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"BTW, the IDF is, as per definition and practice, the most moral army in the world."

I'd like to correct this:

"... except for, possibly, the Swiss army."

4:01 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Philip Weiss is nearly as thick as upChuck. "Democracy" is NOT the reason "why Israel gets to occupy the Palestinians." Israel occupies the West Bank because the territory was taken from Jordan in 1967, and there has been no settlement to the dispute. Nobody has ever claimed that because Israel is a democracy, it gets to hold on to land. That is simply a diversionary argument, since Weiss and upChuck apparently cannot actually argue with the fact that Israel IS a democracy and, as mentioned previously, is the only state in the region which would tolerate the lifestyle and opinions of the likes of upChuck.

I believe Martin Amis is spot on re: motivations, and it applies to many individuals in HR orgs as well as those cultured Brits he talked about.

Finally, isn't Weiss just a bit hysterical? "land theft" "war crimes" "home demolitions" and "illegal detentions" are well worn accusations against Israel (though they're always applied as though bad old Israel just has a hate on for those poor innocent Palestinians who bear not a whit of responsibility for their actions), but "starvations"? I've yet to see a photo of a starving Palestinian... and believe me if such a creature existed, he or she would be photographed ad infinitum. "extra-judicial assassinations"? oh yeah, just another successful security option that these clowns would not have Israel be able to utilize.

In short, one a-hole quoting another.

9:21 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Philip Weiss is nearly as thick as upChuck. "Democracy" is NOT the reason "why Israel gets to occupy the Palestinians." Israel occupies the West Bank because the territory was taken from Jordan in 1967, and there has been no settlement to the dispute. Nobody has ever claimed that because Israel is a democracy, it gets to hold on to land. That is simply a diversionary argument, since Weiss and upChuck apparently cannot actually argue with the fact that Israel IS a democracy and, as mentioned previously, is the only state in the region which would tolerate the lifestyle and opinions of the likes of upChuck.

I believe Martin Amis is spot on re: motivations, and it applies to many individuals in HR orgs as well as those cultured Brits he talked about.

Finally, isn't Weiss just a bit hysterical? "land theft" "war crimes" "home demolitions" and "illegal detentions" are well worn accusations against Israel (though they're always applied as though bad old Israel just has a hate on for those poor innocent Palestinians who bear not a whit of responsibility for their actions), but "starvations"? I've yet to see a photo of a starving Palestinian... and believe me if such a creature existed, he or she would be photographed ad infinitum. "extra-judicial assassinations"? oh yeah, just another successful security option that these clowns would not have Israel be able to utilize.

In short, one a-hole quoting another.

9:22 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

About those numbers:

http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/07/ben-dror-yemini-how-many-civilians-were/index.shtml

About that starvation:

http://contentious-centrist.blogspot.com/2008/09/lauren-booths-concentration-camp-chic.html

I feel I've taken too much advantage of Terry's hospitality. I hardly think anything further said will change anybody's mind about anything, so...

Thank you for your infinite patience and generosity, Terry.

9:52 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"BTW, the IDF is, as per definition and practice, the most moral army in the world. You can see it from the level of the introspection that takes place within its ranks, the never ending quest to minimize loss of life, the rules of engagement with a terrorist enemy which have to be constantly updated in order to avoid, as much as possible, harming genuinely innocent by standers. Errors in judgment and implementation are always made and some soldiers may act in response to the kind of enemy they are facing. But the bottom line is that the IDF is exemplary"

This is a nice fairy tale CC which can only be believed by someone by their own admission prefers to believe the word of the IDF and their spokespeople over say Amnesty, B'tselem. Human Rights Watch and the like. Your statement is either hopelessly naive or simply reflects state apologetics, regardless its silly, and really out of place in any serious discussion. BTW, here's your most "moral army in the world" in action.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=b%27tselem+idf&search_type=&aq=f

10:25 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

wow upchuck, you're really scraping the barrel now, is that the best u can come up with. When I opened the Youtube i was expecting some sort of massacre, blood, something. Instead, we get an Israeli army unit humiliating palestinian security forces by making them remove clothes for a few hours? Assuming it's true (1) this is one group of soldiers, after an operation; (2) I'm sure that unlike the big bad israeli armies, other armies of the world just sit around handing out candies to kids and drinking tea.

Your so-called example is an indicator of nothing, other than your obsessive fixation on Israeli malfeasance, real or (as is usually the case) imagined.

1:18 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

The very existence of such a treasure trove of vids about Israeli "atrocities" illustrates my point better than anything else. Is there a similar website documenting, in film, the very real atrocities in Hamastan? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Not bloody likely. Why? Does chuck care to answer?

Chuck's concern about human rights reminds me of the man who is seen looking for his lost key under a street light. When finally people ask him where exactly he lost the key, he points to the other side of the street. So why is he looking here? people wonder. Well, it's dark there. There is light here...

1:37 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"When I opened the Youtube i was expecting some sort of massacre, blood, something"

Somehow, son, I doubt even this would move you as your commitment to protecting the glorious reputation of the IDF and the state of Israel borders on pathological leading you to blather about all sorts of weird conspiracies about lying Palestinians, subserviant "western media" and the dupes know as Amnesty, B'tselem, HRW and the like. Grow up

1:39 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Somehow, son..."

If Vildechaye were a black person and not a Jew, would you be calling him "boy"?

2:10 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"If Vildechaye were a black person and not a Jew, would you be calling him "boy"?"

I had no idea that Vildechaye is jewish. I spent a lot of time on the east coast of the USA and the term "son" is associated with hip hop culture, it has many different usages. One of them involves imparting knowledge sometimes referred to as "sonning" someone. That's what I was getting at. See this

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=son

2:22 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I see. It was meant as a term of endearment. A friendly gesture. I'm so sorry to have misunderstood you.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Of interest: "Operation Cast Lead and the Ethics of Just War."

http://www.azure.org.il/article.php?id=502

I have little use for "just war theory," based as it is in such primitive notions of statecraft as the limiting of the "moral" justification for war to self-defense. But there's some helpful stuff there. Upshot: "I am deeply impressed with the courage displayed by each and every one of the soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead and their commanders. They acted and suffered 'for a noble end,' and endangered their lives 'in war to save the community.' I would like most of all to commemorate the four officers and six soldiers who died in combat, along with the three civilian casualties, and to pay my respects to their families. At the same time, I am deeply grieved on behalf of each and every one of the harmless Palestinians who were not involved in terrorism, but nonetheless died during the operation due to the malicious designs of Hamas."

6:42 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"I have little use for "just war theory," based as it is in such primitive notions of statecraft as the limiting of the "moral" justification for war to self-defense. But there's some helpful stuff there. Upshot: "I am deeply impressed with the courage displayed by each and every one of the soldiers who participated in Operation Cast Lead and their commanders. They acted and suffered 'for a noble end,' and endangered their lives 'in war to save the community.' I would like most of all to commemorate the four officers and six soldiers who died in combat, along with the three civilian casualties, and to pay my respects to their families. At the same time, I am deeply grieved on behalf of each and every one of the harmless Palestinians who were not involved in terrorism, but nonetheless died during the operation due to the malicious designs of Hamas."

What double speaking bullshit worded in such as to glorify and whitewash a war campaign which killed over 400 children, 1300 Palestinians, utilised white phosphorus and was roundly and rightly condemned by Amnesty International, the Red Cross, a growing number of liberal jews and the like. As for the courage and "morality" of the IDF we are now hearing from dissenting soldiers who are confirming the horritic allegations made by human rights groups and Palestinians on the ground. The last line of what Terry posted, is basicallty the worst (and thats saying something) and a variation of that logic has been used as a justification to build an ever increasing infrustructure of occupation as if the world really believes that a nation moves unilaterally stations thens of thousands of settlers on someone elses land, illegally, builds walls and checkpoints, stationn its soldiers in occupied territories, improsons a entire population, suffocating its economy, peiople and infrustructuire all in the name of "security".

Terry I know that that you profess little knowledge about Israel/Palestine but c'mon, mate

7:56 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

i guess upChuck too thick to understand just how idiotic it is to call a 54-year-old "son." Your mind apparently is too addled by repeating the mantra UN, HRW, Amnesty, B'tselem over and over again ad nauseam. I've already given what i think are very good reasons for not taking at face value what these agencies say about Israel in particular, you never counter any of those arguments in any way shape or form, but prefer to call me "son" and repeat the mantra endlessly. And for the record, as for B'tselem, I'm glad it is around to keep the IDF on its toes, I only wish the Palestinians had such an outfit shining a spotlight on their misdeeds -- that applies to all neighboring Arab countries as well.

Also, apparently to buttress your weak rant, you attribute opinions about the Western media vis a vis Israel that I don't have, particularly as I served as world editor for a major canadian daily for several years and have my own opinion about "mainstream" press bias (ie, there isn't much, particularly regarding international news in general or Israel in particular).

And finally, I saw the link and see the slang definition of son, but unlike CC, am quite sure it was intended not as a "term of endearment" (yeah, right) but rather as a patronizing put down. Of course, when you call a person "son" whom you already know is 54, you sound like a jackass. Son some of that.

7:57 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Broken record ain't got nothin' on you, upChuck. And I think Terry's being modest when he says he knows little about Israel/Palestine. He knows enough to know what a ideologically blinkered clown you are, making out like security is a pretext when Israel was facing 7/7's on an almost daily basis before the wall was built, and rocket attack from Gaza for years before the invasion. C'mon mate.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

It's quite true that I don't claim any special expertise on Israeli-Palestinian matters. But this is also true:

"The continuing attacks on Israel from those who claim to favour civilised values are based on a perverse inversion of reality. When theocratic devotees of a Jihadist death cult launch murderous attacks on Israeli civilians, the fashionable approach is to ‘understand’ these criminal actions. And when Israel, in a very limited way, fights back against this violence being directed at its civilian population it encounters a firestorm of criticism and abuse, being accused of ‘racism’ and painted as a bloodthirsty monster that delights in ’slaughtering’ and ‘massacring’ women and children."

= Edmund Standing.

9:34 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

"The Israeli army never intentionally kills anyone, let alone murders them – a state of affairs any other armed organisation would be envious of. Even when a one-ton bomb is dropped onto a dense residential area in Gaza, killing one gunman and 14 innocent civilians, including nine children, it’s still not an intentional killing or murder: it is a targeted assassination. An Israeli journalist can say that IDF soldiers hit Palestinians, or killed them, or killed them by mistake, and that Palestinians were hit, or were killed or even found their death (as if they were looking for it), but murder is out of the question. The consequence, whatever words are used, has been the death at the hands of the Israeli security forces since the outbreak of the second intifada of 2087 Palestinians who had nothing to do with armed struggle.

The IDF, as depicted by the Israeli media, has another strange ability: it never initiates, decides to attack or launches an operation. The IDF simply responds. It responds to the Qassam rockets, responds to terror attacks, responds to Palestinian violence. This makes everything so much more sensible and civilised: the IDF is forced to fight, to destroy houses, to shoot Palestinians and to kill 4485 of them in seven years, but none of these events is the responsibility of the soldiers. They are facing a nasty enemy, and they respond dutifully. The fact that their actions – curfews, arrests, naval sieges, shootings and killings – are the main cause of the Palestinian reaction does not seem to interest the media. Because Palestinians cannot respond, Israeli journalists choose another verb from the lexicon that includes revenge, provoke, attack, incite, throw stones or fire Qassams.

Interviewing Abu-Qusay, the spokesman of Al-Aqsa Brigades in Gaza, in June 2007, I asked him about the rationale for firing Qassam missiles at the Israeli town of Sderot. ‘The army might respond,’ I said, not realising that I was already biased. ‘But we are responding here,’ Abu-Qusay said. ‘We are not terrorists, we do not want to kill . . . we are resisting Israel’s continual incursions into the West Bank, its attacks, its siege on our waters and its closure on our lands.’ Abu-Qusay’s words were translated into Hebrew, but Israel continued to enter the West Bank every night and Israelis did not find any harm in it. After all it was only a response."

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v30/n05/mend01_.html

I dont like to hyper link but that quotation leads me to believe that you view the conflict primarily through religious lens, and while that may be the current language that colours the conflict I'd urge you to go back and see the way in which imperial policy, firsat under the British and Israel as an expansionist power has framed whats going on today. The LRB article is also a must read which dispels both of the rather awful stuff you've linked to

12:23 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"And when Israel, in a very limited way, fights back against this violence being directed at its civilian population.."

And here we arrive at the crux of the problem. You, too, seem to buy into the mythology that the occupation is inherently defensive in nature and that its the Israelis who are responding and fighting back never the Palestinians. I once heard Christopher Hitchens do a fabulous job shutting down an apologist for the occupation who used this tactic, he said simply that old time socialist saying that we must desire for others what we want for ourselves. Terry read some of those lengthy reports widely available about the conduct of the IDF and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza, you would not want to live in those conditions and thye dont come out of nowhere. There is a historical narrative and given those two lame arguments you've cited, you need to read the other side in order to gain a braoder understanding

12:40 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Fatal flaws:
1-There are no settlers in Gaza.
2-Gaza is not occupied.
3-3000+ rockets say gaza "blockade" (not really a blockade, but even so) is inherently defensive. I've substituted the so-called blockade (also maintained by the Egyptians, whose rationale is nowhere near as clear cut, though you hear boo about it from the likes of our anti-Z hero or anyone else for that matter) for "occupation," because, as noted before, there is no occupation of Gaza. Hitchens, of course, writing in a different time, WAS talking about the occupation, NOT the Gaza war or the so-called blockade.
4-Lame arguments. I think you've got the market cornered on that one, what with all the mixing up of occupation, Gaza war, etc.
The only thing i'm really interested in hearing from you is what concrete steps you think should occur in order to end this conflict. Two-state? One-state... 67 borders? Do you have ANYTHING constructive to say? Or is it just more "Israel bad, always, all the time." So far, that's all there's been.

I suggest that you keep the same ole same ole mewling about UN, HRW, AA, etc. and Israel's horrific crimes to yourself, as we've all heard it a million times before, and from writers far more eloquent than you (though just as disingenuous).

1:15 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

".... but unlike CC,"

I meant ironically, of course. I thought it would be obvious.

_______

"‘We are not terrorists, we do not want to kill . . ."

What does Hamas want? Does chuck know?

"The Hamas charter (or covenant), issued in 1988, calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories,[51] and the obliteration or nullification of Israel.[52] Specifically, the quotation section that precedes the charter's introduction provides the following quote, attributed to Imam Hassan al-Banna: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."[53] The quotation has also been translated as follows: "Israel will be established and will stay established until Islam shall nullify it, as it nullified what was before it."[54] The charter's advocacy of an Islamic state in the territory of the Palestinian territories and Israel is stated as an Islamic religious prophesy arising from Hadith, the oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.[55] In this regard, the charter states that "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith. . ."[56][57]" (wiki)

When chuck likens Hamas action to "resistance" he should know what "resistance" means to them.

And what their justification. (Protocols).

And how they mutilate the souls of Palestinian children:

http://www.pmw.org.il/Bulletins_Apr2009.htm#b050409

3:50 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"I once heard Christopher Hitchens do a fabulous job shutting down an apologist for the occupation"

The question is, of course, what Hitchens meant by "occupation", what you mean by "occupation", what hamas means by "occupation" and what Palestinians in general mean when they say "occupation".

Hitchens is quite aware of the differences, I daresay. And he has travelled quite some distance since the times he held positions like yours, when he was a friend of Chomsky's and particularly Edward Said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXUh4FUicxE

4:03 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

He doesnt advocate it as strongly as before but Christopher still understand the Palestine, at its moral core, and that the Palestinians have historically been the victims of a victim, Edward's old formulation which he still uses from time to time. His writing from before still stands quite well especially his classic demolishing of the "Palestinians were braodcasts to leave their homes in 1948" a claim which is no longer taken seriously, at least amongst historians. Here's Hitch in 2008 "Do I think it ridiculous that Viennese and Russian and German scholars and doctors should have vibrated to the mad rhythms of ancient so-called prophecies rather than helping to secularize and reform their own societies? Definitely. Do I feel horror and disgust at the thought that a whole new generation of Arab Palestinians is being born into the dispossession and/or occupation already suffered by their grandparents and even great-grandparents? Absolutely, I do."


As for Martin Amis, I stopped really listening to him when in 2006 he threw his lot with the craky racists and others. Rightly castigated by Terry Eagleton, Amis advocated a deliberate programme of harassing the Muslim community in Britain. "The Muslim community," he wrote, "will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation - further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they're from the Middle East or from Pakistan ... Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children..."
Amis was not recommending these tactics for criminals or suspects only. He was proposing them as punitive measures against all Muslims, guilty or innocent. The idea was that by hounding and humiliating them as a whole, they would return home and teach their children to be obedient to the White Man's law. Need I go on about that disgusting screed?

7:10 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I'm not going to have libel here. It's one thing to be instructed on what I should and should not do and who I should read and so on (Chuck: you might inform yourself, actually, about the old socialist principle "what we want for outselves we should demand for all"; start here: http://thetyee.ca/Views/2009/05/01/MayDay/ ), but that crap about Amis is boilerplate nonsense.

7:52 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

How exactly is it nonsense? I've quoted directly from Martin Amis who was, rightly, taken to task by Terry Eagleton ando thers for that comment and none of his accusers were hit with a libel charge. Ronon Bennett also had a fabulous editorial at the time

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/nov/19/race.bookscomment

8:18 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

It's a bit hard to reconcile that "old socialist principle" with the two awful quotations you put up, which basically served as apologetics for Israeli violence but whatver. I also find it bizarre that you never once bother to highlight the postions of the Palestinian left, its trade union movement, its marxist political parties, secularists like Mustapha Barghouti, its grass roots non violent advocacy organisations. You do realise, right, that the natives have a voice too?

On that from Laila Lalami, a feminist and author of two really brilliant books about migration basically demonstrated that Amis is beyond out of his league and a bit of a dimwit on this front

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/sep/13/post376

9:08 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

chuck:

It would be a bit counter productive for you to quote selectively the Hitchens you like to remember. He now openly acknowledges his past misconceptions. He does not apologize for them because he considers them part of growing up. You should listen to the entire conversation. I can assure you it will not be to your liking.

As for Amis, I remember well that kerfuffle.

Here is how Michael Henderson treated Eagleton:

"Conservatives, according to this unrepentant Marxist, don't "do" political ideas. But then, on the evidence of his writing, neither does Eagleton. In a recent review of A.N. Wilson's excellent novel, Winnie and Wolf, based on the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Winifred Wagner, he seemed to think that, on the basis of his anti-Semitism, Richard Wagner was a National Socialist avant la lettre. German history is a bit more complicated than that, dear boy.
Nor does he understand what Martin Amis was saying in The Age of Horrorism, his essay on the Muslim threat to Western civilisation.

Neither Amis, nor anybody else, needs lectures on tolerance from old-style Marxists. Everybody knows how they treated writers in the countries they ran. Boris Pasternak, Terry? Anna Akhmatova? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? It was the labour camps or internal exile; sometimes death. Is that the sort of tolerance you had in mind?

What a bore he is, and such a predictable bore."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3643139/Eagleton-vs-Amis-a-very-literary-spat.html

It would behoove chuck to read Amis a little more carefully, especially when he says things like this:

"When his appointment was announced, Amis gave an insight into what he would be teaching students. "If all this does turn out to have a theme, it'll be, 'Don't go with the crowd, don't do anything for the crowd, don't be of the crowd or with the crowd," he said."

Amis also urges against the use of cliche, which he considers a symptom of stunted thinking. I think chuch here has been regurgitating cliches upon cliches. He should take heed.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Chuck: The only thing unclear about the grafitti you've been leaving here is whether you're sincerely ill-informed about subjects you clearly feel entitled to lecture people about or whether you're just pretending to be stupid.

I am not going to engage you in any debate. Neither of us would benefit from that.

For now, you might actually read Amis on the matter at hand. Do note that Eagleton's allegations have been thoroughly exposed for the rot they were at the outset - you were really unaware of this? - and if you still cleave to Eagleton's slurs against Amis (and others), then you either come by your ignorance honestly or you're being willfully ignorant. Either way, after all this time, to parrot Eagleton on this subject as you do is to engage in a dirty and slanderous misrepresentation (otherwise known as a libel).

Here's Amis, from two whole years ago:

It is a dull business, correcting Eagleton's distortions, but this is the work he is obliging me to do. The anti-Muslim measures he says I "advocated" I merely adumbrated, not "in an essay" ("he wrote", "wrote Amis" – each of these is an untruth), but in a long interview with the press. It was a thought experiment, or a mood experiment, and the remarks were preceded by the following: "There's a definite urge – don't you have it? – to say... [etc, etc]." I felt that urge, for a day or two. My mood, I admit, was bleak – how I longed, Yasmin, for your soothing hand on my brow! It was, in its way, one of the bitterest moments, one of the moments of wormwood, in the strange tale that began five years earlier, in September 2001.

The press interview took place in the immediate aftermath of the foiled plot (August 2006) to obliterate 10 commercial jets with explosives put together in transit. Which would have resulted in the deaths of another 3,000 random Westerners, the majority of them women and children (these were summer flights across the North Atlantic). Human beings, born of women, caressed such thoughts in their minds.

There were two additional depressants. At least one of the alleged would-be mass murderers had taken the trouble to convert to Islam, suggesting that the exterminatory virus was about to mutate, like bird flu. And I'm sure you remember, Yasmin, that passengers on this route were suddenly forbidden to take books on the eight-hour flight – a resonant symbolic victory for the forces of ignorance, humourlessness, literalism, boredom and misery.

Anyway, the mood, the retaliatory "urge" soon evaporated, and I went back to feeling that we must, of course, build all the bridges we can between ourselves and the Muslim majority, which we know to be moderate. Moderate, and mute. The quietism is perhaps no mystery. In 15th-century Spain, not many people, I imagine, were proclaiming that the Inquisition had gone too far. The extremists, for now, have the monopoly of violence, intimidation, and self-righteousness.

. . .People like Eagleton are the nearest thing we have to the "iron mullahs": he is, in other words, a deluded flailer and stirrer. He recently did a similar job on my old mucker Sir Salman Rushdie; and the rigged-up spat ended with a helpless apology from Manchester. . . .

- Martin

9:30 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"When his appointment was announced, Amis gave an insight into what he would be teaching students. "If all this does turn out to have a theme, it'll be, 'Don't go with the crowd, don't do anything for the crowd, don't be of the crowd or with the crowd," he said."

Amis also urges against the use of cliche, which he considers a symptom of stunted thinking. I think chuch here has been regurgitating cliches upon cliches. He should take heed."

I actually quite like a lot of Amis fiction, actually one summer I read only him and Norman
Mailer and I still have plenty of effection for both. I dont really get your point. That Terry Eagleton should be blamed for horrors of state socialism. That Amis did not say what I quoted above? That the statement isnt racist? You havent touched any of these topics perhaps because you're wise enough not to defend the indefencible

9:33 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"It was a thought experiment, or a mood experiment, and the remarks were preceded by the following: "There's a definite urge – don't you have it? – to say... [etc, etc]." I felt that urge, "for a day or two. My mood, I admit, was bleak – how I longed, Yasmin, for your soothing hand on my brow! It was, in its way, one of the bitterest moments, one of the moments of wormwood, in the strange tale that began five years earlier, in September 2001."

It's interesting how the apology it almost us ugly and repulsive as the original comment. Imagine the reaction if someome of Martin Amis stature commenting on inner city crime said that he pondered, mendatiously about a "definate urge" to impose collective punishment on black people, detain them, lock them up and make their communitties suffer until theitr children change. And then saying that this racist and ugly urge passed, in defence. Disgusting and deserving or the contempt that it earned. Amis isnt stupid nor is he unaware of how these "urges" manifest in time of crisis whether it be the Japanese internment or the issuing of security certificates. What a disgusting, boorish racist screed pretending to be an apology

9:40 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

As Laila Lalami points out in her classic peice, Amis actually confuses Yasmeen's Ismaili backround for a Sufi one which itself is revealing, in the orientalist sense

9:43 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

We note without surprise that once again, upChuck has not provided any kind of constructive discussion about what might be done, but rather falls back on what might or might not have occurred in 1948. He also adopts the classic reactionary left tactic of discrediting the writer (Martin Amis) when he can't actually take issue with his points on the particular issue at hand. Yes Amis had an emotional reaction to 7/7 but that doesn't negate everything else he's written.

I can partially agree with Hitchens that the Pals WERE to a certain degree victims of victims, that seems like a fair enough assessment to me. But as usual, you quote Hitchens when it suits you but ignore most of what he has to say. Hitchens does not pooh-pooh the danger posed by Hezb and Hamas and realizes that tough action has to be taken to neutralize these groups, and he would never shrug off Israel's legitimate security concerns vis a vis these groups. Hitchens current position on suicide bombing etc. in Israel is neatly summed up in a July 13, 2009 Slate article, which you can find at www.slate.com/id/2222991/. Among other things, he rightly calls the suicide bombings in Israel a "pogrom" and demolishes the argument that the suicide bombers and their enablers are driven by "despair."

It's also worth reiterating that, Hitchens notwithstanding, the radio broadcasts of 1948 have NOT been discredited by all serious historians; they've only been discredited by historians who travel in the same reactionary leftie circles upChuck travels in; fter all, when the likes of Ilan Pappe say something did or didn't happen, it usually doesn't mean much except those those in the choir he's preaching to. In any event, i'm not interested in playing the reactionary left's game of endlessly returning to 1948 when we have big problems in 2009 and folks like upChuck are unwilling to even posit anything constructive that might contribute to actually ending the conflict.
I suspect the reason he doesn't is because his preferred solution is that Israel should simply disappear, to "correct the historical error," as those "historians" are so fond of saying, but is rightly worried that if he actually come out with it, then his obsessive anti-Israelism (and all that it implies) would be plain to see.

9:46 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

and now the loser is busy giving us his twisted take on Amis -- talk about making Rahnema's point about the "reactionary" left.
say anything, change the subject, whatever it takes.

Imagine the reverse: Chomsky says something I disagree with usually the case), instead of taking the argument on directly, i simply shrug it off with "Chomsky supported the Khmer Rouge."

I'm done with this loser.

9:53 AM  
Blogger chuck said...

"I'm done with this loser."

And I'd say the same thing, son

10:00 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"In the orientalist sense" I see you're now either willfully lying about me or just plain wrong when you say "you never once bother to highlight the postions of the Palestinian left, its trade union movement, its marxist political parties," most of which, it bears noticing, have been either silenced or slaughtered by the glorious Palestinian "resistance."

Either way, you don't know what you're talking about. You're not worth engaging in debate.

10:01 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

and loser never addressed a single point, never made a constructive comment, but managed to call 54 year old me "son" 3 times. I think that says it all. bye for now.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

He just accused me of being "too busy whitewashing Israeli violence."

He's banned.

10:55 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Finally, Terry!! Thank you. :)))

10:59 AM  

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