Friday, August 13, 2010

Ramadan Mubarak!

Remember these things the next time you find yourself confronted by some doofus who wants you to join him in instructing Barack Obama or Stephen Harper to "stop the war." Notice that the doofus will profess to be left wing, but when he's talking about Muslims he can't help but resort to the terms "they" and "them," and he will look you straight in the eye when he's saying "we" and "us." All I can think to do when I'm stuck in such awkward situations is to ask: What the hell do you mean, "we"?

From such geezers of the "right-wing" sort, I can't count the number of times I have heard this plaintive question: Why don't "they" do something about all these jihadists? Why don't "they" speak up? It's everything I can do to keep my temper and simply point out that in the company I happen to keep, among those I would consider to be the bravest anti-Islamists and the most fervent partisans of democracy, toleration, secularism and freedom, the overwhelming majority happen to be Muslims.

It might also be useful to remember all those Muslims who would be the first to defend democracy and freedom, but they can't, because they are dead.

- from my contribution to today's Propagandist Magazine.

90 Comments:

Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: among those I would consider to be the bravest anti-Islamists and the most fervent partisans of democracy, toleration, secularism and freedom, the overwhelming majority happen to be Muslims.
It might also be useful to remember all those Muslims who would be the first to defend democracy and freedom, but they can't, because they are dead.

Very well put, Terry. The Islamaphobes won't be pleased! F*ck 'em.

5:00 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

I also highly recommend this thoughtful assessment by my friend Jonathon Narvey, right here at Propagandist Magazine, but I will take exception to this: "There is no monument to Stalin and the Gulag Archipelago in Washington, D.C."

That's absolutely disgusting. Does this man really equate people who congregate at a mosque, for many reasons, and share a complex religious identity to Stalin? Weird. Bordering on Palinesque forms of bigotry. I know that you also take issue with the metaphor but its hard to think that the purveyor of such rubbish can be described, in any sense, as thoughtful. Maybe some further working metaphors for this Narvey chap. How about no synagogues in right wing Christian communities sensitive to "christ killers" setting up tent in their hood. The Southern Baptists denomination was created to buff up theological justifications for slavery and came out of a split on exactly this question. Surely they should go nowhere near black communities given the history of slavery with its genocidal death toll. I could go on and on.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Warm regards, Vildechaye.

Bartleby: You should really read Jonathon's piece. Reductio ad absurdam got him all tangled up; be careful you don't go mixing apples and oranges yourself.

Alternatively, here's an example of a horribly, disgracefully self-serving defence of the idea of the mosque in Manhattan: “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

Apply your scythe and you will have to notice that the right of Muslims to practice their religion in America does not depend upon or require Obama's opinion as president or as a citizen. His statement is merely a sophomoric declaration of a fact; a drooling bigot could have said exactly the same thing, but Obama puts it in a way that makes him look virtuous, because, after all, that's what politicians do.

7:07 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Terry anyone who would produce such a weird and frankly bigoted sentence, comparing a mosque to museum for Stalin in Washington DC, is way off the rails. That Palin'esque rhetoric which deserves nothing but contempt. The current debate right now places far too little emphais on Islam as it is lived and the Koran as an experienced text. A Moroccan man may be very devout and yet work as a sommelier in a restaurant in Paris. A Turkish teenager may not be particularly faithful and yet keep Ramadan because it is the only time of year she gets to connect with her community. An Algerian elder may be the imam of his mosque and yet carry credit card debt. Islam is not just its texts; it is millions of people, each one of whom has found an idiosyncratic way of adapting faith to modern life. Our religious beliefs are not the sum total of our lives. To discuss them as if they were puts our very lives up for debate.

I disgree with you on Obama. In a sensible sane world the president would not have to issue such a statement but that's not the world we live in. He occupies a position of power and great influence which allows him, nay should compel him, to step forward and show some elementary decnecy and leadership on this issue. Im glad that he did

12:14 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

As always, Hitchens nails it. Can't say I agree with your opinion of Obama, though. If the anti-ground-zero-mosque forces have their way, his statement will no longer be a "declaration of fact", sophomoric or not. The new fact will be "Muslims have the right to practice their religion so long as no bigots get offended". Why you found Obama's statement so offensive mystifies me.

1:05 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Within the context of a wingnut campaign waged against the mosque by some of the most pernicious and odious forces in American political discurse-Palin, Newt, and others-Obama's rather bland defence of the project becomes neccesarry. A sign of moral decency and leadership. I'm with Colvin on this one.

1:34 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

ps The New York Times has very good piece about Mayor Bloomberg's decision to stick by the mosque in spite of flak from his own base. It talked about how Bloomberg was sensitized by anti-Semitic housing discrimination in Medford, Mass., where he grew up and how he connected that experience has framed his understanding of the mosque debate. Apparnetly he has been infuriated by the vitriolic nature of much os what he has heard. Claims and analogies similar to Narvey's. There's a nice universalism to this story and an understanding that ultimately prejudices shouldn't be pitted against each other they connect.

What I disliked about Narvey's piece was this prevailing idea that the "American" identity stood for all these great values. It has at times, not so at others. And the contrast of this identity with its values-freedom of religion and speech-are pitted against the alien other, themsleves not ever defined. And in this dynamic Narvey then justifies going against the rather rosy essentialist image of a free America that he extrols in the first place.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Colvin: I didn't say i found Obama's statement "offensive," I simply observed that it was a merely sophomoric declaration of a fact, expressed in such a way as to make him look virtuous.

You say this "mystifies" you. Good. It's high time you admitted to offering an opinion about something you don't understand.

5:57 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"I simply observed that it was a merely sophomoric declaration of a fact, expressed in such a way as to make him look virtuous."

Your problem then, a fair one, has more to do with the grandiosity that surrounds the Oval Office-the cult of presidency specifically. There's much to critique here but expressing opinions, whether sophmoric or not, in such a way as to make the head honcho look virtuous is a tradition that long predates Obama. Its what presidents do. That such a banal statement had to be offered in the first place speaks to the tea bagiffication of American political discourse and the mainstreaming of a nasty nativist insular dialogue-Muslim Americans as alien others. No surprise that hate spewing opportunist from Giuliani to Palin have jumped on the anti mosque bandwagon. With the absurd sentence about Stalin it appears that Jonathan Narvey fits right in

11:11 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

Terry:

The fact that you used the terms "horrible" and "disgraceful" to describe Obama's words might naturally lead one to believe that you found Obama's statement offensive in some way. But I'll take your word for it that "revolting", "horrible", "disgraceful" etc are simply epithets that you sprinkle at random into your commentary for added fox-pundit-like colour and don't actually reflect the way you really feel.

11:43 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.”

That's all that really needs to be said in reply to the coalition of miscreants and toxic spewing opportunists, including the ADL, who have sprung up in opposition. I prefer Bloombergs soul delving response but there's a simplicity about Obama's statement, a brevity, and commitment to principle that's refreshing. The Palins, Newt's, and Giuliani's arent interested in a dialogue and in a better world we wouldn't have to bother dignifying their skulldugerry

11:59 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Note Colvin.

Missed the whole point, entirely, again. Went right over his head.

8:39 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

As Obama (rightly in my opinion notes), the mosque's legal right to be built is not in question. What should be questioned, however, is why the builders of the Mosque chose the location they did and stick to it despite the offence it causes. That, to me, is the most revealing aspect to this affair, and it's amazing to me that those who support the Mosque being built there never acknowledge this. Even Obama obliquely criticized the Mosque builders' motivations when he said he wouldn't comment on the "wisdom" of putting a mosque there.

8:50 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"What should be questioned, however, is why the builders of the Mosque chose the location they did and stick to it despite the offence it causes."

Perhaps they thought the idea of collective guilt-asigning what Saudi born jihadist did on september 11th, then laying responsibility on the feet of the broad and diverse new york muslims, is population perverse. Maybe they assumed the muslim communitty of new york, some of whom suffered losses that terrible day as a result of the wretched attacks, should be able to enjoy the same rights as any other religiius group to build a place of worship. There's a mosque, after all, which has been servicing the muslim communitty for forty years and its not tht from this new center which will also be a communitty space, open to christians, jews, and anyone who wants to check it out. Perhaps they naively believed that bigots-while they would make some noise-would ultimately lose the day. Whatever the reason what's clear as day is that the opposition to the mosque represents and the arguments been thrown around about "offense" must be strongly rejected. In fact those making them are wittingly or not creating the very climate which breeds the very intolerance and bogotry they purport to opposse.

10:26 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Bartleby: I couldn't disagree more with your analysis. This mosque is a triumphalist gesture and will certainly be seen as such (in some circles it already is seen that way) by Hamas, the Taliban and other unsavoury types. I'm sorry, but building a big mosque a few metres away from where 3,000 people were murdered in the name of islam seems, at the very least, insensitive to the max and definitely gives insight into the headspace of these supposed Muslim "moderates." Of course, they have the legal right and nobody has the right to stop them, but the fact they didn't stop themselves speaks volumes. One way or the other, this isn't over.

2:05 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Incidentally, requesting that the mosque not be built there does NOT equal, how did you put, oh yes:
1-Collective guilt-asigning
2-Not allowing Muslims to "enjoy the same rights as any other religiius group to build a place of worship"

Interesting you would conclude that the question "why build the mosque there?" = bigotry before we actually know the answer to that question.

2:11 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

A mosque is being built there because it serves the needs of a large, vibrant and diverse community. Duh why else would it be built. To blabber on about the victory such a construction would represent to Hamas or the Taliban is to denationalize American mulsims, making the exercise of their rights dependent on absurdist overblown rhetoric. Connecting the atrocity that happened three thousand feet away to the multiple communities who'd be accessing the mosque is not only to perpetuate the idea of collective punishment-it disguises bigotry against a minority under the rubric of sensitivity. Besides if three thousand feet away is too close for muslim communities to congregate, what exactly is the adequate "sensitive " distance?
The entire "debate" about this issue is nothing but disgraceful

4:32 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: A mosque is being built there because it serves the needs of a large, vibrant and diverse community.

What BS. First, I realize many opposing the mosques are anti-Muslim bigots and Islamophobes, but that doesn't mean you can tar all critics with that brush. Of course, the Muslim community is diverse, but that is irrelevant. The atrocity was done in the name of Islam by islamic fundamentalists. There is something unseemly about building a mosque 1.5 blocks from Ground Zero, not to mention WANTING to build a mosque there.

Second, since the Mosque will be 1.5 blocks from ground zero, it's hardly 3,000 feet (1 km) away. If it were that far away, few would care. Let's be real, Manhattan is a large island and the Mosque could be built somewhere else.

I repeat, they have the right to do it, but it's a triumphalist gesture, particularly in the face of so much criticism, irrespective of what YOU think about it. Even Obama obliquely agreed, saying he would not comment on the "wisdom" of building it there.

But, like Obama, I agree that they should be allowed to build it if it's within their constitutional rights, as it is apparently.

6:16 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

What's frankly troubling about your response is the narrowness around which you view victimization. There have, after all, been countless of atrocities committed in the name of myriad's of sect, religions, nations, creeds, ideologies and utopias. Start applying your standard to other groups, in this case a minority one, with regards to actualizing their rights and the world becomes of more dizzying place.

Agin your language is hyperbolic and bizarre. A triumph for who, exactly? We're discussing a humble place of worship in the form of a communitty center, open to people of all backgrounds, meant to service a diverse group of muslims who happen to live in new york. Folks who are dredging up Stalin analogies (Narvey!) or speaking as if America is on the verge of welcoming a breeding ground for the future Caliphate need to give their head a shake. Such shrill alarmism, which relies and sustains bigotry towards America's muslim population, is a greater threat to the values of equality and freeedom than the humble Cordoba Center

6:58 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

ps you keep talking about Obama's statement which is frankly quite weak. He should have been much stronger. Mayor Bloomberg, on the other hand, who has been incensed by the bigoted opposition, and drawn parralels between the anti semitic housing laws of his youth and the anti mosque brigade, has been a paragon of decency and strength

7:01 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bartleby:

Before you embarass yourself too much about "the humble Cordoba Center," do remember that its imam, Feisal Rauf, is closely connected with the Gaza flotilla moneybags, the Perdana "Global Peace" Foundation, headed by the drooling Jew-hater and former Indonesian strongman Mahathir Mohamed. Rauf is also a bumkisser for the Khomeinists.

I suspect that if the proponents of a new Manhattan mosque intended to serve as a 9-11 commemorative tribute were animated by the desire to demonstrate that Muslims in America are free and th Islamists will not have their way, the debate would be a lot different.

I don't trust Rauf or his motives, and skepticism about Cordoba isn't based solely on bigotry.

It's complicated.

7:13 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Terry I don't much care for Saudi based funding pouring into North American mosques. Still, there's the important issue here of rights. If we're going to interogate foreign finanacing of religious psaces then the rules need, in a liberal democracy, to apply to everyone. Singlng out this mosque is wrong and creates the impression that the muslim communitty as a whole is shadowy. That's wrong. Oppostion to the mosque is sustained by a nasty streak of intolerance and no dicing of the iman of figures involved can negate this rather elementary fact.

ps I don't know enough about the "moneybags" funding the flotilla but their goal, to openly challenge a hideous and awful blockade of Gaza, is a noble one.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"I don't know enough about the 'moneybags' funding the flotilla but their goal, to openly challenge a hideous and awful blockade of Gaza, is a noble one."

You believe any old kind of bullshit you want, Bartleby.

7:41 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: What's frankly troubling about your response is the narrowness around which you view victimization.......blah blah blah...

Sounds like Ahmed to me. "narrowness around which you view victimization? WTF? HTF do you know the width of my view of victimization. I didn't even know I had a view of victimization. Sounds like post-modern discourse bafflegab run amok to me.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:49 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"You believe any old kind of bullshit you want, Bartleby"

Bullshit is, in fact, being flung around by people who compare this mosque, a communitty center of sorts, to a symbol of triumph for the global ummah in thier struggle against the forces of goodness. Bullshit is what that Narvey charcters says about Stalin. Bullshit is suggesting that hurt feelings means that New York's muslim population have less rights than others to practice their faith and congregate so as not to disturb "hurt feelings" some of those deeply felt, others a mask for bigotry. Alot of bullshit is indeed involved in this rather sad debate.

ps The blockade is in fact brutal and every indenpendent human rights report that I read maps out its crippling effect on the population of Gaza. It should be challenged and must end. Period. Full stop. Why be more outraged at the "moneybags" funding the flotilla as opposed to the policymakers maintaining the blockade, or those pirating and rampaging the boats, killing passengers as part of thier despicable raid.

1:49 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"I suspect that if the proponents of a new Manhattan mosque intended to serve as a 9-11 commemorative tribute were animated by the desire to demonstrate that Muslims in America are free and th Islamists will not have their way"

I'm not sure that this is relevant, really. The centers first and foremost goal should be to serve to communitty that will congregate there. For the mosque to jump through hoops in order to prove its "moderation", or strive to meet some broader ideological goal may be important for you, and others, but it shouldn't be the tell tale test with regards to whether this project goes through

1:55 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Great response JC! Your sparkling wit goes a long way toward masking the lack of insight or facts... but really, if you don't get how
building a mosque 1.5 blocks from where 3,000 were killed by Islamic fundamentalists in the name of islam might be considered problematic, if you really believe New Yorkers aren't "sensitive" to that simply because they're famously rude, then so be it. Of course, you and B continue to dodge the question of WHY they chose to build the mosque there -- "because they can" doesn't quite answer the question, now does it? Is it because the real estate is less expensive?
Oh, and since I clearly stated in several posts that (a) Muslims are in the forefront of the fight against Islamism; and (b) the legal right of the mosque to be built there isn't in question, your insinuation that I would support restrictions on Muslims walking near Ground Zero is like saying that someone (like the Pope) who opposed the Carmelite nuns establishing a convent at Auschwitz might also be offended at the very site of Christians visiting that site. Silly extrapolation, but revealing.

7:54 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Yes, B. The videos clearly show that the paintgun-armed troops who were being beaten, cut open and tossed overboard by those lovely humanitarian "passengers, were, indeed, "rampaging." those damn "pirates," how dare they board a ship that had the stated aim of breaking a blockade and was in the process of doing so. And how dare the Israelis blockade Gaza anyway? What other country would blockade a territory whose "democratically elected" "government" is a terrorist outfit whose charter calls not only for its destruction, but for the extermination of its entire ethnic group and continually launches attacks to back it up. One last thing, is the new luxury mall and olympic sized swimming pool recently opened in Gaza one of the crippling effects those "indenpendent human rights reports" are talking about? Or the fact that Gazans have a higher standard of living and GDP than Arabs in many neighboring countries. Nah, don't worry about it, those reports weren't "independent," they were generated by Zionists (a slur, I know), who, it is well known, control the mainstream media.

8:07 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Vildechaye, I'm not going to go back and forth with you mostly because we wouldnt change each others minds, and gaza, for now, isnt germane to the topic at hand. For now I'll say that there's a condescension in how you speak about Gaza and a clear double standard. After all Israel's democratic government is responsible for severe violence towards Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, keeps thousands of Palestinians as prisoners and is rejectionist with regards to international law and a myriad of resolutions. They are an occupier. If your logic was at all consistent you'd call on the international communitty to blockade its population until Israel complies with international law. There's little parity in this conflict.

ps Terry in terms of thew flotilla, Roger Cohen, hardly a raving lefty, and also one of the few mainsteam journalist who has questioned the basic, ethnocentric and frnakly pathetic discourse which passes for "debate" on Israel/Palestine has written a moving column about a 19 year old Turkish American killed on that ship. Its a beautiful and moving.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/opinion/27iht-edcohen.html

9:48 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Vildechaye, I'm not going to go back and forth with you mostly because we wouldnt change each others minds, and gaza, for now, isnt germane to the topic at hand.
[Right. You brought it up.]
For now I'll say that there's a condescension in how you speak about Gaza and a clear double standard. After all Israel's democratic government is responsible for severe violence towards Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, keeps thousands of Palestinians as prisoners and is rejectionist with regards to international law and a myriad of resolutions. They are an occupier. If your logic was at all consistent you'd call on the international communitty to blockade its population until Israel complies with international law. There's little parity in this conflict.
[So this is how you don't go "back and forth" re: Gaza,is it? Makes about as much sense as most of your comments.]
But I would say, why don't you watch BBC's Panorama "Death in the Med". Those Zionists at the Beeb have produced a fair documentary on what took place, and, as usual, the truth about Marvi Marmara -- long available to anybody without a reflexive anti-Israel obsession -- now comes out, after the propaganda damage is done. Activists ready to "kill or be killed," expired medicines, the lot.
But hey, remember, no back and forth.

10:20 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Oh I forgot to mention: Roger Cohen is about as anti-israel as you get while remaining respectable within mainstream media. He's also a buffoon. His columns extolling the virtues of the Iranian govt. -- not a month before the elections and resulting turmoil -- exhibit not only mind-numbing vacuousness but also disdain for Iran's long-suffering population. After the protests began, there was no mea culpa, and he arrogantly goes on pontificating on matters about which he clearly has no clue. So nice choice there, buddy.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Whatever his faults, Cohen has an interesting take - a double standard is applied in this dead boy's case because he is a Muslim. Quite possibly. But to have been more assiduous in his exposure of double-standards, Cohen might have taken care to notice that it's the fanatical anti-Israel bunch that canonized the distinctly non-Muslim Rachel Corrie, and appear to have forgotten Dogan. Cohen might at least have laid the charge of double-standards at the proper feet.

Worse, Cohen lets off, scot free, both the IHH and the captain of the ferry. Both are clearly guilty of criminal negligence and reckless endangerment leading to death, especially in Dogan's case. They took advantage of Dogan's own naive altruism and led him to his death in a deliberate and violent confrontation with the Israeli military, on the high seas.

For some reason, Israel's necessary cordoning of Gaza - despite its sometimes-cruel consequences, and despite its intentions - is routinely called "collective punishment," but the deliberate intention of collective punishment of Israelis that is the purpose of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, also gets off scot free.

There's your double standard for you.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:09 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

But Gazans aren't starving, nor have they ever starved. The Gazans themselves now admit the problem isn[t food or medicine but rather "building materials," which even you surely could surmise may be used to build a variety of things, some of which Israelis might frown upon.

You might want to read the report in Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper by Ashraf Abu Al-Houl, the paper's Palestinian correspondent. He was shocked by the situation in Gaza -- shocked that food prices were cheaper than in Egypt because of TOO MUCH SUPPLY!!

In fact, Hamas refused to accept Israeli relaxation of food restrictions because, to paraphrase what he said, "We don't need soda, we need construction materials."

The food stalls are stacked, a luxury mall opened up. Has there been a single death from starvation or malnutrition since the "hungry Gaza" canard was started in 2006? didn't think so. Some food crisis.

So much evidence to the contrary from so many sources, and yet the "starving Gaza" lie gets repeated again and again by useful idiots and anti-Israel obsessives.

But hey, since you're so concerned about humans without food, I look forward to your repeated, obsessive posts about countries where real starvation occurs. Shouldn't be too hard to find them, they are in the news occasionally, somewhere below the raft of stories about wicked Israelis and starving Gazans.

12:37 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

The "he" in the previous post being Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman.

12:45 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: I have no doubt they'd be told to get stuffed.

I on the other hand have strong doubts. And it's a block and a half away, not "a few blocks."

Again, why choose that particular location? and don't say "because they can"; it's true, but it's not an answer.

12:57 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"His columns extolling the virtues of the Iranian govt. -- not a month before the elections and resulting turmoil"

What a bald faced lie. Cohen's columns took misperceptions and stereotypes about Iranian society. What has been clear from his writing is that he has spent time to emerse himself with both the politics and people on the ground-his stuff on Iran shows a sensitivity and nuance nurtured by an ethical journalistic mind. He wrote long pieces for the New York Review of Books and the NYT about the reform movement in the streets which were detailed and supportive of their struggle against the regime. What a fucking odd bordering on crazy charge. Your beef with Cohen is that he cuts through your sloppy generalizations of the anti mosque hysteria brigade, and takes on the dominant discourse concerning Israel/Palestine. So you make up a bunch of nonsense. Shameful

5:14 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"For some reason, Israel's necessary cordoning of Gaza - despite its sometimes-cruel consequences, and despite its intentions - is routinely called "collective punishment,"

Last I checked Palestinians are not cordoning off sections of Tel Aviv for their settlers to travel on roads to get to huge illegal colonial settlements which are over even US objections expanding, they do not place tens of thousands of armed troops on occupied land of another people, nor do they put up checkpoints, regularly imprison kids for throwing stones and intimidate activists or keep tens of thousands of prisoners in their jails. Israel does that everyday and has been engaged in a willfully cruel and manifestly unjust occupation which relies on racism and dehumanization. Have you seen the picture released a few days back the female Israeli soldier smling, posing with a blindfolded old man, a Palesitnian prisoner? Double standards indeed.

ps Your opinion that the blockade is necessary goes against the stated views of Amnesty International, B'tselem, Breaking the Silence, Mandela and the Elders and a host of others. More so the humanitarian effect on average Gazans has been rigorously documented and collective punishments strikes me as an apt description. Its an awful policy which flows directly from occupying and dominating another people

5:25 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"Whatever his faults, Cohen has an interesting take - a double standard is applied in this dead boy's case because he is a Muslim. Quite possibly. But to have been more assiduous in his exposure of double-standards, Cohen might have taken care to notice that it's the fanatical anti-Israel bunch that canonized the distinctly non-Muslim Rachel Corrie, and appear to have forgotten Dogan. Cohen might at least have laid the charge of double-standards at the proper feet."

You can't accuse apologists for the Israeli occupation, the IDF, nor American politicians of double standards. They are all at least consistent in their utter disregard for the lives of Corrie and Dogan, both killed, while trying valiantly, in different ways, to demonstrate their solidarity with a long suffering people under military rule and occupation. To strike out against the double standards of one group while saying nothing about the other (the ones doing the killing in this case) is odd

5:29 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

For people unfamiliar with what the process that I described looks like here's a video. The image encapsulates a much longer historical lineage of dis-possession Palestinians have experienced now for decades at the hands of the Israeli state. You probably won't see too many headlines about this story and in the end that's to the detriment of us all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rud19ytcPS8&feature=player_embedded

5:51 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Will the one-sided, de-contextualized, obsessively anti-Israel propaganda never cease?

6:01 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Viledechaye we started taking about the mosque which you in an obsessive, one-sided, de-contextualised way described as a would be symbol of triumph for the Taliban and Hamas. A paranoid form of ranting which would fit in nicely among the coalition of: professional Islamaphobes, fringe right wingers, Christian fundamentalist, out of my backyard xenophobes, opportunist populist flakes (I'm thinking Palin) who have sprung up to oppose the mosque. It doesn't strike me as surprising that your lens is equally distorted when it comes to Israel. The low point being when Roger Cohen, who wrote prolifically during the protest against the Iranian regime, sympathetically and movingly in support of those on the streets in Tehran, was accused by you of being a defender of the regime. Ridiculous.

ps Terry I read a piece by you in the National Post where you mentioned Combatants for Peace as being a courageous voice, one that you wanted to hear more of. You've probably seen this already but if now here's their statement about both the flotilla raid and the the siege on Gaza. I dont agree with every point here but its well worth reading. And yes we should be hearing more from them. On that you and I find common ground. Cheers

http://cfpeace.org/?cat=37&story_id=585

6:29 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

No B: I actually started this thread saying "f*ck the islamophobes." I did point out that the construction of a mosque so close to Ground Zero could be a cause for triumphalism among Islamist radicals, but I would hardly call one sentence a "rant" or "obsessive," quite unlike your one-note "Israel always bad samba."
As for Cohen, I guess you didn't read his column 2 weeks before the election, in which he praised Iranian "democracy" to the hilt. Of course, once the protests started, he rather sheepishly and lamely "supported" the protesters whom he had done so much to undermine immediately prior to the election. Your hero.

6:52 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"As for Cohen, I guess you didn't read his column 2 weeks before the election, in which he praised Iranian "democracy" to the hilt. Of course, once the protests started, he rather sheepishly and lamely "supported" the protesters whom he had done so much to undermine immediately prior to the election. Your hero."

He is not my hero, in fact on the issue of Israel/Palestine, Cohen's continued believe that the Obama adminstration holds out promise, even after they pathetically caved on the rather minimal demand that existing settlements not expand (at this late date), for a more just resolution contrasts sharply against my own more pessimistic perspective on this front. I see a continuity in US policy, sometimes shaken up although never overturned. That's why I support a longterm grassroots internaional pressure as focus. I hold out little hope in the near future for the absurdly named "peace process" which has produced nothing but status quo and a coterie of corrupt Palestinian, who are granted little real governning power, while being structurally reliant on Israel and the US. Cohen enthuisiastically supports some of these current leaders. Still he is an eloquant and thoughtful writer who has broken with stilted mainstream opinion, slaying sacred cows in the process. I'd put him, in this regards, in a category with Andrew Sullivan and Peter Beinart, both formerly associated with the New Republic. They've thankfully parted ways with thier one time employer, Marty Peretz, whose history of anti Arab rants, is, by now, well known.

Cohen spent a lot of time in Iran, filing long interesting articles and speking to a myriad of people, from middle class secular youth in Tehran, to religious reformers, to oppostion politicians, and the regimes mostly poorewr rural religiously conservtive base. He is against any American attack which he thinks would be catostrophic for the democratic impuleses he saw everywhere in Iranian society. He is higly critical of the regime, detailing its cruel repression, and was of the opinion that the election was fabricated. He covered the reform movement better than any writer with much more compassion and solodarity for the people taking enormous risks. He cautions against demonizing Iran or viewing it through a one dimensional lens, and is senstive to America's history of support for the Shah.He says that as a Jew he was shocked at how little prejudice he noticed coming from ordinary Iranians towards him. He also visited synagogues and spoke to mny of the countries Jewish population.

The world is complicated and Cohen's wirtings were displays of fine journalism, a helpful counterblance to those who see the region as a kind of abstraction. The bomb Iran crew. For this Cohen was denounced by a coterie of miscrents who know little about Iran. Jeffrey Goldberg, a former IDF prison guard, and would be ventriluquist for Israeli and US power brokers, the Jewish Committee which takes the Israel is always right position and others.

Cohen's liberalism shows little signs of dominant prejudices. In its place he is a serious universalist. An interesting writer with minstream audeince

8:31 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

I meant the American Jewish Committee which could be accurately described maintaining a parochial ehtnocentric postion with regards to Israel

ps Terry I've been reading more about Combatants for Peace including their position papers. I agree with you that their voices need to be heard and they represent a welcome and hopeful change even if i dont always agree

8:42 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

RE: Jeffrey Goldberg, a former IDF prison guard, and would be ventriluquist for Israeli and US power brokers.

Obviously you read ABOUT Goldberg, but don't actually read Goldberg. If you did, you'd realize that painting him as a likudnik is, to say the least, wildly inaccurate. He is OFTEN critical of Israeli policy, but a staunch supporter of its continued existence.

And speaking about wild inaccuracies, here's the low down on Roger Cohen vis a vis Iraq. Rather than compile a full list of all the asinine things he said about Iran in the runup to the election and afterward, I'll let J.J. Goldberg of the Daily Forward do the summing up and save myself the work:

"Column after column restated the ease of Iranian Jews and the pragmatism of the mullahs.

On March 2 he mocked Israeli fears of Iran’s nuclear efforts, saying the work had been underway for 30 years, was nowhere near completion and was more likely to produce “a Persian Chernobyl” than a nuclear war. Talk to them, he said. They’re not so bad. Also, restrain Israeli war-mongering. By April 8, a nuclear Iran had somehow become inexorable, though still “a couple of years” away. Suddenly, the “only way to stop Iran going nuclear” was to “get to the negotiating table. There’s time.” Meanwhile, “rein in” Israel.

Just four days later, Cohen announced after interviewing U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei that it was “almost certainly too late to stop Iran from achieving virtual nuclear power status.” Now it was really time to start talking and recognize Iran’s nuclear status. Also, “get tougher on Israel.”

All that is nothing, however, compared to his irrepressible faith in Iranian democracy. “The June presidential election,” he wrote March 1, “…will be a genuine contest as compared with the charades that pass for elections in many Arab states.” [HAHA-vc]He restated that theme in various ways throughout the spring. Then came the June 10 election. Now he remembered that the regime was brutal. He did admit June 14 that he’d been wrong on a few points. Since then he’s been berating President Obama for not speaking out firmly enough against the mullahs. The only theme he’s flogged more frequently is restraining Israel.

And yet, in August he managed to outdo himself. In a 5,000-word article in the August 2 Sunday Times Magazine, he unraveled the tangled lines of authority in Obama’s Iran policy-making. The loose thread, he strongly suggested, was veteran diplomat Dennis Ross, an “ultimate Washington survivor,” who started at the Obama State Department, left in a “fiasco” and moved in a “bizarre odyssey” to the National Security Council.

Ross’s role in the administration raises many questions in Cohen’s mind, but the one that comes up over and over throughout the article, “a recurrent issue with Ross, who embraced his Jewish faith after being raised in a non-religious home by a Jewish mother and a Catholic stepfather, has been whether he is too close to the American Jewish community and Israel to be an honest broker with Iran or Arabs.” In the crisis atmosphere following the Iranian election, “Can this baggage-encumbered veteran… overcome ingrained habits and sympathies?” Indeed, “Will the Iranians be prepared to meet with Ross?” — a “reasonable question given Ross’s well-known ties with the American Jewish community.”

That, in effect, is the dilemma facing American policy toward Iran at this pivotal moment: Is there too much Jewish influence? We’ve heard the question before in Hamas sermons, in Al Qaeda videos and on some left-wing blogs. Now it’s been incorporated into the nation’s newspaper of record."

Eloquent and thoughtful indeed....

9:39 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Sigh. We've gone from your rather paranoid rantings about the mosque to Roger Cohen and Dennis Ross. I'll try not to bore people reading this suffice to say that instead of taking Cohen on, you've linked to an attack article replete with cherry picked decontextualised quotes.

Asking whether Ross, who worked for AIPAC in the 1980's and was cstigated by even his fellow Clinton era negotiators for holding steadfaast, always, to the Israeli gov't position, is the man to head up US diplomacy is a fair question. Or whether he is an honest broker. He wrote the part in Obama's speech to AIPAC that called Jeruselam Israel's capital, not to be divided. Surely those commited to a fair and just resolution should hope for less hackeyed failed voices. The issue is his closeness to ideological positions held by orginizations in thew jewish communitty which have preached rejectionalism of the international concensus for decades. Its not like Cohen is miffed that Ross is buddying up to J Street ot Tikkun.

ps on the other hand remember when Khlidi, a respected scholar, author of n excellent book on Palesitinin nationalism was all over the news, not because he was advising Obama (if only) but because he knew him in Chicago. That was a campaign of pure racism and vitriol. How dare Obama even know this Palestinian who must be through geneology a terrorist. Christopher Hitchens a friend of the Khalidi family wrote a moving and eloquant defence of Khalidi while condenmening decades of US policy for ignoring and degrading Palestinian rights

10:39 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Colvin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:41 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

The quotes aren't decontextualized just because you say so. I could pull them out myself, and you'd probably also say they were decontextualized, when in fact, they are the heart and soul of Cohen's articles and perfectly in context.

The paranoid crack is a low -- not to mention unfair and inaccurate -- blow, but I guess when you run out of real critique, that's the best you can come up with. OK by me.

I can't help but noting, that, as always, you've dodged the key point -- this time about Cohen -- namely his defence of the mullahs and their "democracy," only to have to admit he "erred" -- to put it very mildly -- when two weeks later those same great democrats were beating, raping and murdering their own people in the streets and in their prisons.

And yes, Cohen making Dennis Ross the main obstacle in U.S. policy toward Iran, for whatever reason, is so friggin' blinkered and, dare i say it, decontextualized -- not to mention obsessively anti-israel -- that it beggars belief that anyone could repeat it, let alone endorse the notion as you have.

Also noted the latest dodge, bringing in Khlidi. Did I mention him in any way shape or form. No, didn't think so. Once again, change the subject, and trot out the villainous Zionist (in this case Ross). As i said before: Nice!

Finally, thanks for bringing Hitchens up. I don't suppose you're aware of his views on Iran/nukes and, given that, what his opinion or the anointed Cohen must be. Or do you simply "cherry pick" from Hitchens?

My turn now to Sigh!

1:45 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

JC: Nobody's starving in Gaza. Not now. Not since Hamas took power. Probably not since the Egyptians ran the place. Rant all you want. I suppose you'll blame the Israelis for the malnutrition in all the other 3rd world countries where the gap between haves and have nots results in similar stats. Read what the Egyptian journalist from Al-ahram wrote. Then rant some more.

And no, it's not all right, but it's entirely within the power of the "legitimate democratically elected govt of Gaza" to do something about it; namely, end their eliminationist stance. If they cared a whit about their own people, they'd do it. But I rather think they like being in the aforementioned 10% now that they're in power and don't give a shit.

1:51 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

On the Gaza blockade I'm not sure how you describe such a policy except to name it as collective punishment. I'd take the word of the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, and Combatant for Peace (applauded in an article by our generous host) over the opinion of Vildechaye, who opposes the most based the most hysterical reasons and faux appeals to sensitivity, anyday. Here's some credible stats on the cruel human toll of a policy which really must end

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7545636.stm

2:04 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"most" should dear readers say mosque. sorry for the sheer amount of ranting today. night y'all

2:05 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"And no, it's not all right, but it's entirely within the power of the "legitimate democratically elected govt of Gaza" to do something about it; namely, end their eliminationist stance."

Yet the actual occupying countries democratically elected government maintains a position at odds with a plethora of international law as it expands its infrustructure of occupation, eating from underneath the very soil that Palesitinians stand, the ground upon which a putative Palestinian state is supposedly going to be built. Here's a stoic and theatrical Olberman taking the Vildechaye's and others to school on the original mosque issue

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38731398#38731398

2:08 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Colvin's banned.

The post was Ramadan Mubarak, a tribute to our Muslim comrades and an appeal for humilty and reflection. For my trouble I get called an apologist for "the deliberate starving of children."

Not allowed here.

8:35 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Bartleby changing the subject again. What is so difficult about "end their eliminationist stance" that you don't understand. All they have to do is: adhere to previous agreements signed by the PA, end attacks and recognize Israel. They refuse. So what does B do? He talks about opinions -- that's all they are -- of int'l law, and weird emotive talk about "eating under the soil of a putative Pal state." All this to mask a very simple reality -- end eliminationism, end of blockade. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
As for the Mosque, it's a bit rich putting me in the Palin/Gingrich category. I'm actually like Obama, accept the law, question the wisdom. If you think that makes me or Obama the anti-Muslim bigot you've conjured up in your brain, so be it. Believe me, I don't think much of you, your intelligence, morals or ethics either, but I choose not to dwell on it as i would rather discuss issues.

11:09 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

It was wrong of JC to include you terry. I was clearly the child-devouring monster supporter he was referring to.

11:11 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

More blabber from Vildechaye who now hides behind Obama's weak but given the toxic political climate understandable perfunctory statement. It's the Palin paranoid fringe who have been making all kinds of noise. Saying, as Vildechaye did, that the mosque would be a triumphant symbol for the Taliban and Hamas is to engage in hysterics. Such nonsense smacks of Pat Robertson, Tea Party rhetoric, hiding such lurid allegations, which appeal only to bigotry, behind Obama is dishonest.

Colvin's tone is disrespectful especially since it's Terry's blog. I wonder though how anyone even remotely familiar with say the reports of the World Health Organization, who have mapped out the consequence of the blockade on children, could support such a manifestly cruel policy especially when the power doing the blockading territorially controls 42 per cent of the land on the West Bank and shows no intentions of leaving nor allowing for meaningful Palestinian self determination. The blockade is, in fact, a horrific from of collective punishment. Terry has lauded Combatants for Peace numerous times as being a group he supports. He has said that they offer a model and we should be hearing more from them. Here they are on the blockade:

"Combatants for Peace", a movement whose main principle is non violence, hereby condemns all types of violence and calls for a non-violent struggle to end the conflict. The events of the past days prove yet again the pointlessness of the Gaza siege – a violent act of collective punishment against a million and a half innocent Gazans which failed to achieve any of its original goals – the Hamas rule was not brought down, the firing of rockets was not stopped, the smuggling of arms via the tunnels has not ceased and Gilad Shalit has not been brought home. Aside from the siege being oppressive and ineffective, it weakens those who support peace and non-violence in Israel and Palestine and feeds the cycle of violence and blood which we at "Combatants for Peace" seek to halt.

Taking all of this into account, we call Israel to desist from continuing the choking siege on the Gaza strip and allow people and goods to enter freely. We demand of both sides to stop partaking in the endless cycle of violence and initiate a serious and honest negotiation which brings with it the release of all captives and prisoners on both sides.

In light of the above, many "Combatants for Peace" activists participated in demonstrations in Jerusalem, Haifa and in the central demonstration opposite the Ministry of Defence in which over a thousand people were present, against the aggressive take-over of the Turkish relief flotilla.

6:13 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Vildechaye-Obama has not, unlike you, appealed to bigotry and hysteria by saying the mosque would be a symbol of triumph for the Taliban. That rhetoric in fact sharply mirrors that of Palin, Newt, and other toxic characters on the political right, who have used this issue to bash Muslims while appealing to the lowest forms of populist bigotry. As for the blockade I really dont know how anyone, familiar with the numerous reports filed by groups such as the World Health Organization could support such a manifestly cruel policy. Its effect on children is, in fact, documented. Here's Combatant for Peace, a group thankfully lauded publicly by Terry, on the blockade:



Combatants for Peace", a movement whose main principle is non violence, hereby condemns all types of violence and calls for a non-violent struggle to end the conflict. The events of the past days prove yet again the pointlessness of the Gaza siege – a violent act of collective punishment against a million and a half innocent Gazans which failed to achieve any of its original goals – the Hamas rule was not brought down, the firing of rockets was not stopped, the smuggling of arms via the tunnels has not ceased and Gilad Shalit has not been brought home. Aside from the siege being oppressive and ineffective, it weakens those who support peace and non-violence in Israel and Palestine and feeds the cycle of violence and blood which we at "Combatants for Peace" seek to halt.

Taking all of this into account, we call Israel to desist from continuing the choking siege on the Gaza strip and allow people and goods to enter freely. We demand of both sides to stop partaking in the endless cycle of violence and initiate a serious and honest negotiation which brings with it the release of all captives and prisoners on both sides.

In light of the above, many "Combatants for Peace" activists participated in demonstrations in Jerusalem, Haifa and in the central demonstration opposite the Ministry of Defence in which over a thousand people were present, against the aggressive take-over of the Turkish relief flotilla.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bartleby:

I happen to disagree with CforP on their characterization of the blockade, by the way. I support their efforts nonetheless.

But you might tone it down a bit yourself. Colvin is just an idiot. Vildechaye is most certainly not.

For what it's worth, CforP may well be right about all the things the Gaza quarantine has failed to accomplish, even though CforP seems to ignore the certain consequences that would follow were there no blockade. But it is in this very form of awkward reasoning that I find evidence of my own difficulty with all the ostensibly pro-Palestinian polemics in the entire "debate": If the blockade has gotten us nowhere, neither did Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. And neither would any concessions Israel might make matter, regardless of how unilaterally or generously or obsequiously, in satiating or quenching Hamas in its thirst for Jewish blood.

Failing to recognize that is to get the "debate" nowhere. Failure to see Hamas as the greatest threat to Palestinian freedom and you will not only get absolutely nowhere, but everytime you rev your engines you'll find yourself roaring backwards. For one thing, you will not even notice that no matter the justice of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, that struggle has been utterly eclipsed by a larger war in which Palestinians have been conscripted as cannon fodder: The war against modernity, liberty, the "west," womens rights, and, as always, against the Jews.

What is also most certainly getting us nowhere is the constant, rote, Pavlovian and hysterical grievance enumeration that passes for "support" for the Palestinian cause. There is no virtue in expressing "outrage" about any of this. None. More importantly, there is no evidence that infantalizing the Palestinians and allowing them indulgences for ostensibly "electing" Hamas (which is itself a bit of a fiction, and which has been rendered irrelevant by the Hamas refusal to face the Palestinian electorate at the polls) is doing anyone any good, either.

Do not take what I am about to say as some sort of comparison between Gaza and Ulster, but you may get where I'm coming from on these issues (after all, I have rarely offered an opinion of any kind on the Israel-Palestine debate, if truth be told) if you bear with me for a moment.

Maybe it's because I grew up in Canada within a particular immigrant background that made me intimate with Irish republican and Irish solidarity circles, but my immediate sympathy for Palestinians is informed by the way my family was constantly offered "support" during the hunger strikes and the darker days of the troubles with an unending parade of babbling leftish gadgies and meeting-organizers and demonstration-planners who would pull out chairs for us and stroke our backs and go on and on to us about how vicious the British are and how sordid the occupation of the Six Counties was and how justified the IRA was in its (occasionally) arguably justifiable resistance no matter how heinous the IRA crimes, no matter how savage its gangsterism, no matter how cruel and lurid and sectarian it all became in advance of the utter folly of its strategic goals.

And how long was the agony in the north prolonged by that constant, rote, Pavlovian and hysterical grievance enumeration that passed for "support" for the Irish cause?

Hard to say. But it is harder to say whether it helped at all, and easy to say that it hurt. You would have no fucking idea how much it hurt, but you might profit from wondering for a moment how little that sort of carry-on is helping the Palestinian cause, and with respect, you might ask yourself how much it is hurting the Palestinian cause, besides.

7:04 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Beautifully written, Terry. Especially your N. Ireland analogy and this part: "even though CforP seems to ignore the certain consequences that would follow were there no blockade. But it is in this very form of awkward reasoning that I find evidence of my own difficulty with all the ostensibly pro-Palestinian polemics in the entire "debate": If the blockade has gotten us nowhere, neither did Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. And neither would any concessions Israel might make matter, regardless of how unilaterally or generously or obsequiously, in satiating or quenching Hamas in its thirst for Jewish blood. Failing to recognize that is to get the "debate" nowhere."

I really don't mind that B et al lump me in with Palin and Gingrich, any more than when that other idiot escape velocity lumps me in with reactionary lefties. It's the price you pay for being a centrist or liberal and judging issues on their merits rather than with ideological blinkers.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

On the subject of the grand global campaign of support for Palestinian rights, this is a must-read:

http://propagandistmag.com/2010/08/18/why-are-palestinians-still-refugees

8:03 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Hey, Bartleby. Didn't you call Jeff Goldberg "a former IDF prison guard and would be ventriluquist for Israeli and US power brokers"? And weren't you trying to use Golberg to box Vildechaye about the ears on the question of the mosque?

Here's Goldberg today: "There is a very depressing story today in The Washington Post about the lunatic racist Pamela Geller, who has been leading the crusade against the so-called Ground Zero mosque. This is a woman who once called me a "Jewicidal Jihadi" for advocating for peace and compromise in the Middle East. It's a clever phrase, true, but, moi? In other dank corners of the Interwebs, I'm thought of as a blood-and-soil Jewish nationalist. I didn't really address her charges at the time, because it was my impression that Geller was a marginal nutbag, but it seems as if she's setting the national agenda now on matters related to Islam and religious freedom. To which I say, Jesus H. Christ."

This was Goldberg yesterday:

"As many Goldblog readers know, I do not run a pro-Hamas site. As many Goldblog readers also know, I am well-acquainted with the imam who is trying to build this mosque (and community center), and I know, from personal experience, that he has no love at all for Hamas, its paranoia, its violence and its anti-Semitism. So: please, before you repeat the lie that Cordoba is some sort of subsidiary of Hamas, please check with me first."

Personally, I couldn't really give a rat's ass about the Yanks and their mosque-fights, and as I wrote in the post these comments are supposed to be about, Hitchens may as well have had the last word on it.

But I'm liking Goldberg again. Should read him more often.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

This is good:

"Indeed, it is probable that Hamas’ future will be largely determined in the West Bank, rather than in Gaza. Its role as a spoiler cannot be underestimated, but Hamas’ long-term fortunes depend on an irrevocable failure of the national strategy of negotiations and of the PA state- and institution-building program. If either or both of these policies succeed, Hamas’ single-minded promotion of the strategy (though certainly not always the practice) of violent resistance and insistence on the non-recognition of Israel - even in the context of Palestinian independence - will become increasingly hollow and unappealing. If the PLO and PA strategies unequivocally fail, however, there is little to prevent Hamas from inheriting practically uncontested the leadership of the Palestinian movement and transforming it from a nationalist to an Islamist one."

Ibish on Hamas, via ZWord:

http://blog.z-word.com/2010/08/ibish-on-hamas/

10:06 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"and neither would any concessions Israel might make matter, regardless of how unilaterally or generously or obsequiously, in satiating or quenching Hamas in its thirst for Jewish blood."

And there we have the problem. Palestinians rights which decent people should view as just on their own is now downgraded to Israeli concessions. Or even wose we get Israeli generosity. It doesn't get more condescending than this. Hitchens in a stirring tribute to the great Israel Shahak once lambasted this language, with its assumptions that Palestinians must earn their rights. No those rights are struggle belong to them as they have been chased off the very land of their birth.

Think about what you're saying for a bit. It implies that people under a foreign military occupation who are negotiating on what little (22 per cent which is disappearing before a complacent world communitty) is left of their homeland, who have lived in the shadow of a state founded on the very land they once called home, whose cultural and political identity have been at every step denied by an Israeli national identity which has by definition sought to erase its existence, who have experienced waves of disposession and massacres, whose plight for national liberation has been slandered at every step of the way, whose subjugation has been greeted as a sign of democracy and enlightment, do not have just claims. That the occupation itself is not a form of daily aggresions, humiliation, which functions only through systematic racism and denial of the other. Israel "left" Gaza but continues to control access to borders, flow of goods, who goes in and out, airspace, and the right to arrest, detain, and assisinate anyone it wishes. It can blockade, bomb schools and hospitals, and impose collective punishment. At the same time while no attacks originate from the West Bank Israeli everyday expands settlemetns, destroys homes,and inprison non violent leaders in villages where communities are trying valiantly to protest the illegal wall that cutsa them off from each other and acts to stagnant and imprison their population.

The occupation and disposesion which has gone on for too long now is systematic violence and unles you address the roots of it, in history and culture, we will get nowhere. Palestinians whether in the West Bank or Gaza has few political of human rights that they can exercise free from Israeli control. The cause is for social justice and it is beautiful. Mandela said that only free men (should be people) can negotiate. Palestinians have been unfree for too long and their story has been narrating by their imprisoners making them an invisible second class citizens on their land. Solidarity demands that we ruthlessly work to change the status quo. Peace through justice

1:26 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Hitchens on the muddied language of "generosity" and "concessions". This is beautiful stuff

"That was well said, and I hadn’t at the time read his (Thomas Friedman) then-most-recent column, so I didn’t think to reply. But in that article he wrote that Chairman Arafat, by his endless double-dealing, had emptied the well of international sympathy for his cause. This is a very Times-ish rhetoric, of course. You have to think about it for a second. It suggests that rights, for Palestinians, are not something innate or inalienable. They are, instead, a reward for good behavior, or for getting a good press. It’s hard to get more patronizing than that. During the first intifada, in the late 1980s, the Palestinians denied themselves the recourse to arms, mounted a civil resistance, produced voices like Hanan Ashrawi and greatly stirred world opinion. For this they were offered some non-contiguous enclaves within an Israeli-controlled and Israeli-settled condominium. Better than nothing, you might say. But it’s the very deal the Israeli settlers reject in their own case, and they do not even live in Israel “proper”. (They just have the support of the armed forces of Israel “proper”.) So now things are not so nice and many Palestinians have turned violent and even – whatever next? – religious and fanatical. Naughty, naughty. No self-determination for you. And this from those who achieved statehood not by making nice but as a consequence of some very ruthless behavior indeed.

I am writing these lines in memoriam for my dear friend and comrade Dr. Israel Shahak, who died on July 2. His home on Bartenura Street in Jerusalem was a library of information about the human rights of the oppressed. The families of prisoners, the staff of closed and censored publications, the victims of eviction and confiscation – none were ever turned away. I have met influential “civil society” Palestinians alive today who were protected as students when Israel was a professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University; from him they learned never to generalize about Jews. And they respected him not just for his consistent stand against discrimination but also because – he never condescended to them. He detested nationalism and religion and made no secret of his contempt for the grasping Arafat entourage. But, as he once put it to me, “I will now only meet with Palestinian spokesmen when we are out of the country. I have some severe criticisms to present to them. But I cannot do this while they are living under occupation and I can ‘visit’ them as a privileged citizen.” This apparently small point of ethical etiquette contains almost the whole dimension of what is missing from our present discourse: the element of elementary dignity and genuine mutual recognition.

1:31 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Yes Terry I noticed that Goldberg has not joined the ranks of the bigots and cranks regarding the issue of the mosque and, to an extent (there's some positioning here too) I give him credit. I wasn't using him against Vilfechaye regarding the mosque although its interesting to see Goldberg mock our dear commentators claim about what a triumph for Hamas the mosque would represent. The debate is important because in the end our rights are tied together, and that the Yanks are debating it doesn't mean that we should abstain. If you don't care about the issue then why did you mention it in your article in the first place?

1:37 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"eclipsed by a larger war in which Palestinians have been conscripted as cannon fodder: The war against modernity, liberty, the "west," womens rights, and, as always, against the Jews."

Absurd. I'm old enough to remember a time when the Palestinian struggle was led by secular leftist and the dominant factions were modern nationalists combined with various Marxist groups. Hamas and the rise of Islamist politics in relation to the movement has been relatively recent, they were dormant throughout the 1970's and 1980's, and emerged as an alternative to a class of Palestinian leadership who wrestling power from the more grassroots elements who fueled the firstm heroic intifada, came back to the territories and agreed to Oslo which took the wind out of the movements sails and guranteed that Palestinian leaders would play the role of caretakers for the Israeli occupation. Settlements doubled post Oslo to the point where talking about a "two state" solution is almost irrelevant given such a state, in any real sense, would be almost impossible to create. What we'd have is Palestinian banstustans surrounded a a powerful Israeli overlord.

Palestinians has been colonized, chased off their land, massacred, exiled for decades before Hamas emerged. To view what if a conflict predicated on dissimilar rights and land theft through the lens of a religion is to miss the point entirely even if both "sides" speak that language. Roger Cohen, Andrew Sullivan, Gleen Greenwald, and Hussein Ibish (did you see him yesterday on TV saying that pictures of Israeli soldiers humiliating Palestinian prisonerss speaks volumes about Israeli control of Palestinian bodies and the rotting soul of the occupier) get it. People like Vildechaye beating the same tired parochial drums are yesterdays men

1:56 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

On that front you should consider how ongoing denial of Israeli war crimes, the glorification of massacres, the normalization and denial of occupation, the dehumanization of Palestinians and the like by so called supporters of "Israel has poisoned the well of good faith while preaching violence and subjugation under the false rubric of hard headed security. Its got us nowhere and in the long term this discourse harms Israelis and Palestinians who want a just future

2:05 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bartleby:

Notice how you had to so distort as to invert my meaning in order to find fault with it? You should ask yourself why you feel the need to do that.

p.s. you forgot to mention Cromwell, the famine, and Kitty O'Shea.

6:58 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

B as always misses the point. It isn't about "concessions" or "generosity." Those inalienable Palestinian rights he drones on about don't exist in a vacuum. Hamas' "right" to an open border with Israel, for instance, depends on its willingness to co-exist with Israel. To imply, as B does, that the right to an open border is inalienable regardless of the hostile actions and words of the Gazan government is, to put it mildly, unrealistic, not to mentio silly. Which pretty much describes the mindset of the anti-Israel crowd, B included.

Also, I wouldn't drag Hitchens into this. He views Hamas as an existential threat not only to Israel but to the entire Western world, as his latest columns attest.

Oh, and B, see how short this entry is! Brevity is the soul of clarity.

8:33 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Should have mentioned: Your use of Goldberg -- a day after dismissing him as an "idf prison guard" -- speaks volumes about your intellectual honesty. And tarring a hundred million Americans as bigots simply because they oppose the idea of a mosque right next to the site where thousands of their countrymen were slaughtered in the name of Islam strikes me as a tad bigoted in itself.

8:57 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

The majority of Americans at one time or another opposed equal rights for under the law for a myriad of disenfranchised groups. My point was that the campaign against the mosque is premised on bigotry, that it speaks to an impulse which positions the rights of muslim americans as different amd apart from thier fellow citiens. Olbermann can be tiresome but his critique of the hysteria should be lauded. My point isn't to tar millions of Americans as "bigots", that's just ducking the point and hiding your own repugnant position behind a veil of populism.

Meanwhile as we talk Israel for the fourth time this week destroys a Beduin village of Kafr al-Arakib. On the day before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, at 2:30 in the morning, workers sent by the Israeli authorities, protected by dozens of police, destroyed the tombstones in the last portion of the Mamilla cemetery, an historic Muslim burial ground with graves going back to the 7th Century, hitherto left untouched. The demolition of homes is, of course, only a small, if painful, part of the destruction Israel wreaks daily on the Palestinian population. Over the past few weeks a violent campaign has been waged against Palestinian farmers in one of the most fertile agricultural areas of the West Bank, the Baka Valley, steadily being encroached upon by large suburbs of the settlement of Kiryat Arba, in Hebron. Israel already takes 85% of the West Bank’s water for its own use, either for settlements (settlers use five times more water per capita as do Palestinians, and Ma’aleh Adumim is currently building a water park in addition to its four municipal swimming pools and the huge fountains constantly flowing in the city center) or to be pumped into Israel proper – all in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an Occupying Power from using the resources of an occupied territory.

The message of the bulldozers is the message same message conveyed to all those who valiantly resist the occupation through remaining committed to justice and historical memory. Israel has created one bi-national entity between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River in which one population (the Jews) has separated itself from the other (the Arabs) and instituted a regime of permanent domination. All in the name of mordernity, universalism and enlightenment. It's a shame

10:13 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

And if you're looking a too often unhear voice from an organiation representing the secular left in Palestine you could do no better than the Palestine National Initiative headed up by the courageous doctor Mustapha Barghouti. He is ruthlessly critical of both Hamas and Fatah and has fought steadfest against the lack of democratic, grassroots outlets in Palestinian society. He is one of the more compelling voices who passionately speaks out against the domination and oppression inherant to the occupation and has served jail time in Israel for his activism. He along with a young jewish activist, Anna Balzer, brought the Palestinian struggle to prime time, appearing on Jon Stewart, making a clarion call for equality.

http://www.almubadara.org/new/english.php

10:22 AM  
Blogger DGH said...

Hey Bartleby, what's the 'message of the bulldozers' when Hamas is at the wheel?

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iFPsv5xO7nPqyXEwz2NH6fzRAtCQ

10:25 AM  
Blogger bartleby said...

I don't support Hamas nor so I share their worldview or religious political orientation. Their "rule" over Gaza is in fact marred by grave human rights violations. One can say this while not ommitting that Israeli rule over Palestinians if fundementally wrong and neccesitates the kind of barbarism more and more people are coming to terms with, vildechaye notwithstanding. To evoke Hamas to deny Palestinian self determination is to take an old tool out of the box from every colonial occupier. We must be in Vietnam, slaughtering and punishing the villagers because ofthe depravity of the Vietcong. Indians can not rule over themselves say the Birtish because of their backwardness. The ANC are communists, the PAC committed to lurid forms of pan africans, while white, for themsleves, have a liberal democratic system, said the apologists for apartheid. The French stayed in Algeria coloniing and committing massacres in the name of modernity and secularism as they battled the independence movement, made up of both nationalists and Islamists. The script here is the same. Injustice and oppresion in the form of a higher calling. Home demolitions in the name of modernity. Arbritary arrests in the name of secularism. And it goes on

10:40 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

I have only one question. How can the person who says this: "The majority of Americans at one time or another opposed equal rights for under the law for a myriad of disenfranchised groups."

followed almost immediately by this:

"My point isn't to tar millions of Americans as bigots"

Keep a straight face?

11:18 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bartleby: "And it goes on." Indeed. And on and on and on. Your incessant expressions of outrage and unceasing enumeration of grievances adds absolutely nothing to any rational conversation, and nothing to this comments box but graffiti. You really should stop.

By the way, your Mamilla cemetery outrage: Jerusalem city officials are getting heat for removing 300 phony headstones recently placed at the cemetery in an attempted propaganda scam.

This is part of a larger story of neglect and desecration of both Jewish and Arab burial places:
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/even-the-dead-and-buried-enter-the-conflict-1.308076

The latest Mamilla "outrage" has been quite reasonably described “one of the largest deceptions in recent years,” and you have fallen for it.

You are not helping yourself.

You should stop.

11:34 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

One interesting phenomenon I've observed that B typifies is that, in the absence of any real, tangible success in advancing their worldview, the ideologically blinkered have to resort to self-congratulatory, "in-their-dreams-only" victories. Hence we get statements like this "People like Vildechaye beating the same tired parochial drums are yesterdays men" based on nothing more than wishful thinking. Why not just sing "tomorrow belongs to me" and really mean it.

ALSO:
"Pictures of Israeli soldiers humiliating Palestinian prisonerss speaks volumes about Israeli control of Palestinian bodies and the rotting soul of the occupier."

Funny i thought it was racist to attribute to an entire nation the actions of a single stupid, sadistic woman.

And finally: "Their "rule" over Gaza is in fact marred by grave human rights violations. One can say this while not ommitting that Israeli rule over Palestinians if fundementally wrong and neccesitates the kind of barbarism more and more people are coming to terms with, vildechaye notwithstanding. To evoke Hamas to deny Palestinian self determination."

Mind-numbingly thick. Nobody is "evoking Hamas to deny Palestinian self-determination." Hamas' actions are invoked to justify blockading Gaza and for legitimate security measures. The Israeli population wouldn't have it any other way (and neither would you if the rockets and suicide bombers were coming from a nearby native reserve).

Apparently, it has yet to penetrate B that Gazans already have self-determination, they must have, or else they couldnt possibly have a Hamas led govt (or any govt) in the first place.

Also, it's interesting that B is "coming to terms with" what even he describes as "barbarism" directed at Israeli rule as a "necessity" because Israeli rule over Palestinians is "fundamentally wrong." Never mind that the authors of this barbarism -- he's right there -- are not "ruled" by Israel. It's just non-sequitor after non-sequitor, contradiction after contradiction. Collective punishment for Palestinians (blockade) -- bad. Collective punishment for Israelis, such as rockets (a necessity, remember) or BDS -- good.

11:58 AM  
Blogger DGH said...

Ahh...at last, the invocation of Vietnam. Wondered how long it would take you; you know Godwin's Law? I propose a new version...Bartleby's Law: the invocation of shoddy comparisons to vietnam, betraying as it does the flaccid reasoning of a boomer who can't move on, instantly disqualifies one from serious consideration.

I evoked Hamas to do the tedious job of restoring some balance to your consistently slanted diatribes: it's a job you should have done yourself. Interesting, though, that you devote a single sentence to denouncing the human rights violations of Hamas, and get right back to your belaboured fixation on Israel. I think you owe a few more paragraphs to the despicable acts of your fetishized 'other'. After all, the violations you describe, in the service of an historic narrative you've concocted on the spot, aren't confined to the 'colonial' side of the ledger. And you neglect to cite Iranian imperialism as it operates through it's proxies, oppressing Palestinians to a degree that makes Israel look pro-palestinian in comparison. I note these plot elements are missing from your historic ‘script’. This is not at all surprising.

12:24 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"And you neglect to cite Iranian imperialism as it operates through it's proxies, oppressing Palestinians to a degree that makes Israel look pro-palestinian in comparison."

A jaw dropping absurdity which reveals more than anything that you're kept yourself willingly in the dark about the lives of those living under foreign Israeli military rule through systematic discrimination which is structured into laws, bureaucracy, and deadly force. The Iranian regime is despicable and no doubt views Palestine through its on desires often having little to do with the suffering. The same is true for other Arab regimes, many of whom, btw, can be counted on to enforce Israeli and American dictates. President for life, Mubarek, an example.

But that doesn't negate Israel's responsibility for its behaviour. Israel I remind you is occupying Palestine. It destroys villages. It bombs hospitals. It imprison over ten thousand Palestinians, many without trials, many children, many tried under a sham and stacked military process. How many Iranian checkpoints are being built on Palestinian land? How many homes Palestinian homes have the Iranian regime destroyed this year? You get the point. The Iranian regime threatens and harms its own people in ways similar to what Israel does to Palestinians who live under its military rule.

Again, people seem to have trouble with basic principles and therefore make Palestinian rights dependable on the behaviour of "arab" or other states. Thats disgraceful. What we have is an inablilty to speak clearly and condemn the aggression and violence coming from the occupier.

Terry I take your point about uncritical wild eyed solidarity with every and all acts of resistance. Its mind numbing. But in Ireland people the struggle, at its core, was for human dignity and rights, not concessions or British generosity. I'm not being dicey, language matters. Defenders of the occupation know this, and thats why illegal settlements become neighbourhoods, violence from Israel is called defence, rights are reduced to concessions and so on. Its a shame but the times are a-changin

12:45 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

I've had enough of this fucking bore who evades every criticism of contradictory and poorly-thought-out remarks by simply ignoring them and repeating his tired mantra (and having the nerve to call himself forward-thinking no less). If someone else wants to continue playing this tedious game of whack-a-mole, be my guest.

12:54 PM  
Blogger DGH said...

Hamas=Iranian proxy milita, trained by Republican guards, equipped by Iran.

Israeli blockade of Gaza= Due to constant rocket attacks (guess who supplies the rockets?) by...Hamas.

"Hospitals bombed"...in such rare cases, who has converted said hospitals into arms caches and missile sites? Yep...Hamas.

"How many Iranian checkpoints on Palestinian land"? Consider a Hamas checkpoint an Iranian one...they are it's agents. So: lots.

I doubt you'll get it: Iran employs it's proxies, who forcibly control Palestinian territories, to wage war on Israel from these territories. Which is to say, Iran enlists every Palestinian civilian to it's cause, uses their schools, hospitals and mosques as military facilities, bulldozes their villages (didn't you read the earlier link?), and actively works to undermine any initiative for peace. In so doing, it knowingly and actively perpetuates a state of affairs in which Israel cannot ease its control of an unfriendly border. Where's the absurdity?

12:57 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Says the man who upon entering this discussion declared that a community space for Muslim New Yorkers blocks away from the core of the World Trade Center (this shouldn't matter) with the vocal support of the city Mayor- opposed, most visibly, by mad dogs of the American right- would represent a triumph for the Taliban. Vildechaye, is, no doubt, a calm, thoughtful, voice of reason.

1:01 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

"In so doing, it knowingly and actively perpetuates a state of affairs in which Israel cannot ease its control of an unfriendly border."


And that also compels Israel to steal Palestinian water, divert it to its expanding settlements (Israel territorially controls 22 per cent of the West Bank), station its soldiers throughout the West Bank, grant Israeli settlers more legal rights than Palestinians, reject the international concensus, scoff at the unanimous International Court of Justice's ruling that the wall which wraps around the settlements and chokes Palestinians off of their land is illegal, and commit barbarities. Perhaps the four hundred Palestinian children killed, too, were Iranian proxies. And since the issue then of Israeli occupation is really about Iran, here we have a recipe for a never ending occupation, with no condemnations ever for Israeli violence, nor need to listen to those who live under foreign military rule.

This is a pathological worldview in which a ready made excuse is perpetually avalaible so as to excuse and overlook nasty and criminal behaviour from the side you support-the side that, again, in in occupation of Palestinian land. Peter Beinart who for years preached a similar line wrote a shape shifting piece about the abject consequences embedded in this kind of "thinking".

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/?pagination=false

1:12 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Bartleby: You're just hyperventilating now. It's not helping your case.

Maybe I should just tell everyone comments are closed?

1:53 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Fair enough. Terry I noticed that you write for both Z word and the Propagandist. I appreciate your support for Combatants for Peace whose positions on the Gaza war, flotilla, and siege are thankfully, diametrically opposed to much of the commentary here. As for the two sites mentioned, neither features a Palestinian writer, nor perspective, and both, from the looks of it, seem to engage in the kind of bordering on state worship advocacy that closes it's eyes to Israeli violence, and paints the occupation of defensive, always, and part of a Manichean world struggle between the forces of secular enlightenment against death worshiping Islamists. Beinart a mainstream voice,self described Zionists, who honestly says that a jewish state is more important than absolute equality for Palestinians, described the aptly described the mindset of these insular blocked from reality perspective. We can do better. For starters, why not expand what comes off as an ethnocentric focus of these publications and publish voices from, you know, Palestinians, whether they be folks like Mustapha Barghouti or others in the disaspora? Those who in our current discourse are often shut out of the dialogue.

And what about listening to the organizational representatives of the secular Palestinian left? Grassroots organizations, civil society, people who week after week are getting together to mobilizer in Bi'lin? You may not agree with them but why not engage? Part of rendering a people's rights invisible involves denying then a platform from which they can narrate their story. Phillip Weiss, for example, notes that Palestinians are rarely if ever allowed a platform in the New York Times. Robert Malley is great on his NYT blog but that doesnt addresss this issue. Some thoughts. Off for the day now but thanks for hosting :-)

2:27 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"Those who in our current discourse are often shut out of the dialogue":

Here are several:

http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1635-no-israeli-palestinian-reconciliation

http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/2010/05/speaking-truth-to-power-in-palestine.html

What pro-Palestinian activism should look like:

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/19/terry-glavin-the-meaning-of-pro-palestinian.aspx

http://www.hudson-ny.org/424/on-campus-the-pro-palestinians-real-agenda

http://www.hudson-ny.org/1172/the-palestinians-the-result-of-no-demands

http://www.hudson-ny.org/1111/what-about-the-arab-apartheid

3:12 PM  
Blogger bartleby said...

Um I asked about Palestinian grassroots organizations, representatives of the secular Palestinian left, protest organizers, and I'd add writers and intellectuals, including those in the diaspora. Khaled Abu Toameh may very well be a fine and insightful writer but that's pretty much the only Palestinian mentioned and engaged with in your piece. One person is hardly a cross section of Palestinian opinions. It's not hard to see, more broadly, how this lack of representation fuels a climate of ignorance of the realities of life under a foreign military occupation. The perspectives I'd appreciate hearing more from and being engaged with are plentiful and thanks to the web widely available. Worth thinking about how debates and polemics about Palestine so rarely involve Palestinians themselves. Oppression by way of, too often, condescension and invisibility. Worth thinking about

3:50 PM  

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