Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ways of the truth

Here is the latest from you-know-who:

And as RAND's Jenkins wrote in the 2010 edition of his report, "There are more than 3 million Muslims in the United States, and few more than 100 have joined jihad—about one out of every 30,000—suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence." Using Bergen's figure of 203 jihadist terrorists, that means approximately 0.007 percent of Muslims in the United States have been involved in domestic terror plots since 9/11."

One way is statistically consoling:  Only 0.007 percent of Muslims in the United States have been involved in domestic terror plots since 9/11. (Meaning I suppose that the chances of an American being hurt in a terrorist attack are close to nil).

Another way, is statistically alarming:  There are only 203 jihadist terrorists in the US. (Meaning I suppose that there is the distinct possibility of only 203 terrorist attacks taking place at some point or another.)

So how are we to relate to the Boston Bombing? If it is one of those terror attacks with almost nil probability, then what other way than to just shrug it off as an unfortunate accident? Aren't the 3 dead victims and the over 180 injured so statistically negligible to the point of insignificance?

Take your pick.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Sceptic ...

A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.

Selective thinking is the process whereby one selects out favorable evidence for remembrance and focus, while ignoring unfavorable evidence for a belief....  It should be noted that selective thinking works independently of wishful thinking and should not be confused with biased thinking, whereby one seriously considers data contrary to one’s belief, but one is much more critical of such data than one is of supportive data.
Read more at The Selective Skeptic


Claims and fabrications

"Syrian opposition activists said Sunday".   After how many faslse claims and fabrications will Western media exhibit an iota of skepticism?

 After how many false claims and fabrications will Angry Arab exhibit an iota of skepticism?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

 Of Mad Dogs and Wolves

"Israeli schemes". This is the title to a post by our  pathologically enraged friend from the State University of California. To make his point, he provides two quotes from an article. He does not quite point out that between one quote and another, there is a gap of text, deliberately left unquoted. That is, he left out the chunk of text that would not quite fit in with his characterization of the ideas propounded in the text:

The first quote is: " "Meanwhile, back in Israel, people are talking about another missed opportunity. The presidential elections in Iran this June could have been an ideal chance to try to destabilize the regime." 

 The second quote is:"One could design and broadcast and air Internet campaigns. News such as this has the potential to stir the hearts of the desperate masses in Tehran, Shiraz, and the other cities and villages of Iran. It can offer them hope. It can let them know that there is chance for something better, that there is life after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that life after Ahmadinejad can even be quite good.".

Here is what's strategically left out:

Had the Iranian masses, so eager to rid themselves of the dictates of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, seen clear incentives from the West and evidence that they would get support and aid, if and when they replace the government, the Islamic dictatorship could have been destabilized and toppled. But this requires an initial investment. All the global corporations should be brought together and asked to make an explicit commitment as to how much money they will invest in Iran once the ayatollahs are finally deposed.

 What is the meaning of to scheme?

Make plans, esp. in a devious way or with intent to do something illegal or wrong.

That is to say,  Israel is plotting something  bad, something nasty and illegal. 

And then we read the actual content of the post, and it turns out that the "scheme" involves a thinking about how Iranians could be persuaded to get rid of their tyrannical and irrational rulers, and thus bring about for themselves a more humane, democratic existence and prosperity. Is there any doubt that such a denouement will be good for the Iranians, good for the Arabs, good for Israel and good for the world? Only if you are a religious nut bent on wreaking havoc on the Middle East, would you find anything wrong with such a hope. Moreover, how is this "scheme" to be implemented? Not by war. Not by covert operations, but by openly published persuasion.

Here is the entire excerpt as it should be read:

Meanwhile, back in Israel, people are talking about another missed opportunity. The presidential elections in Iran this June could have been an ideal chance to try to destabilize the regime. Had the Iranian masses, so eager to rid themselves of the dictates of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, seen clear incentives from the West and evidence that they would get support and aid, if and when they replace the government, the Islamic dictatorship could have been destabilized and toppled.

But this requires an initial investment. All the global corporations should be brought together and asked to make an explicit commitment as to how much money they will invest in Iran once the ayatollahs are finally deposed. One could design and broadcast and air Internet campaigns. News such as this has the potential to stir the hearts of the desperate masses in Tehran, Shiraz, and the other cities and villages of Iran. It can offer them hope. It can let them know that there is chance for something better, that there is life after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that life after Ahmadinejad can even be quite good.

The problem is that the US and Europe are both convinced that at there is no “revolutionary momentum” in Iran at present. In other words, the government is too stable. In Jerusalem, they claim that it will continue to be stable for a very long time.


I ask you: With this kind of tactics, designed to mislead and disinterpret, in order to paint Israel as a villainous insidious schemer, can you ever trust anything at all this (bona fide) professor who teaches young students at a university of good standing, says, writes or teaches? He keeps crying Wolf and as we rush over to look what's happening, what do we encounter but a few sheep peacefully grazing and perhaps a mad dog or two, barking furiously at some shadow their fancy wished were a wolf?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Is Cognitive Dissonance a Mental Disorder?

AbuKhalil posts a photo of  jolly Palestine

Here is a piece of advice: If you spend your life trying to convince anyone who deigns to listen that Palestinians are the poorest, most oppressed victims in the history of the world, you don't do that by proudly publicizing this kind of photo. It is counterproductive. It makes the viewer puzzle what Palestinians are complaining about when they claim to be oppressed and suffering. And why, for bloody hell's sake, if they live on streets like this, do they need UNRWA for? 

  Rations are distributed to families in UNRWA's special hardship category every quarter. The yearly value of the food is just over US$ 100 per person and most of it is received by the agency in the form of in-kind donations of basic foodstuff, such as flour, rice and dried milk. Finances permitting, the Agency also provides small cash grants to very poor refugee families to help with the purchase of items such as school uniforms and school books or as crisis grants, for example if they lose all their possessions in a house fire.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Daily Snarls:

Disappointed Angry: "The security coordination between Israel and Egypt has not only continued despite the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power but has even gotten better, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said on Tuesday."

From AA's bag of tricks: Maariv published the original posting, which I translate:

An Arab asks a Jew: “Why do you stand when the siren [wails].” The Jew answers: “We stand silently in memory of the Jewish soldiers who were killed in Israel’s wars.” The Arab asks: “And what about our dead?” The Jew answers: “That we will celebrate tomorrow.
 I left the following comment on the blog of that great Jewish Humanist, Richard Silverstein*, who seems as always to miss the point, in his eager quest to slander Israel, Israelis and their supporters:

 "Chalalim" means dead soldiers, not citizens. The joke is hardly racist, merely crude and very much against the Jewish decree of refraining from joy when your enemy suffers or dies. The "translation" is pointedly directed towards misconstruction.

"An Arab asks a Jew: “Why do you stand when the siren [wails].” The Jew answers: “We stand silently in memory of the Jewish soldiers who were killed in Israel’s wars.”   So far so good.

"The Arab asks: “And what about our dead?” The Jew answers: “That we will celebrate tomorrow"
This is where it gets tricky. Because the "Arab" asks not "what about our dead" but rather: "What about our dead soldiers" ("chalalim shelanu"). Is the Arab an Israeli Arab or is he an enemy-of Israel?. This is important, since there are many Arab soldiers in the IDF, either Bedouin, Arab or Druze, and many of them have been killed in Israel's wars. Remembrance Day is for all the fallen soldiers, Jews and non-Jews alike, provided they are ISRAELI:

""Three hundred and ninety two Israeli Druse have been killed while serving in the IDF; have served in all of country's wars."  []

So the Jew's response hardly makes sense. It is a very silly, vulgar and even cruel joke, for the reason I mentioned above, the explicit Jewish injunction of “Do Not Rejoice at the Fall of Your Enemy” [**]). But it is not racist.

Have the Americans,  Brits or Russians ever mourned for the many German soldiers killed in WWII?
Have the Egyptians (who claim victory over Israel in 1973) mourned the many deaths they inflicted on the IDF?

Are they all racists for being joyous at their victory over the Germans? Which means that they killed more German soldiers than German soldiers killed them.

And I won't mention   who those are who do celebrate the deaths of little Jewish children.


* Looks like my comment did not make it past the great Jewish humanist's moderation policy. Big surprise.

Correction: My comment appeared a day after I submitted it. Again, big surprise. This is Silverstein's response. 

And for the record, here is my answer:

“@Noga: Chalal can mean either a dead soldier OR a civilian who dies of non-natural causes.”

Can you provide some authoritative source in HEBREW for this interpretation? The term “chalal” in modern Hebrew usage by modern Hebrew users means only slain soldiers. If it has some arcane meaning that might fit in with your mistranslation then it is your responsibility to prove that the intention was to claim “civilian who dies of non-natural causes.” You can prove intention by providing some quotes from the Hebrew media in which the word “chalal” was used as a designation of a “civilian who dies of non-natural causes.”

Can you make this little effort in the service of truth?

The most famous quote with this word can be found in David’s lament, which is why the term “chalal” is always associated with Israel’s fallen soldiers:

הַצְּבִי, יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַל-בָּמוֹתֶיךָ, חָלָל: אֵיךְ, נָפְלוּ גִבּוֹרִים. 19
כ אַל-תַּגִּידוּ בְגַת, אַל-תְּבַשְּׂרוּ בְּחוּצֹת אַשְׁקְלוֹן: פֶּן-תִּשְׂמַחְנָה בְּנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים, פֶּן-תַּעֲלֹזְנָה בְּנוֹת הָעֲרֵלִים.
המשמעות בהקשר המקראי: ארץ אהובה, ארץ חֶמדה, בניך נהרגים עליך בקרב.

 The meaning in the biblical context: Beloved beautiful land, your sons have been slain in doing battle for you.

Update: The great Jewish humanist refuses to provide the explanation and proof, on what basis he perverts the usage of the word "chalal". Instead he resorts to his usual personal ad-homs. Here is my response:

""I don’t have to prove anything to you. And your claim that I must do this in service of the truth is offensive. Get out your dictionary and do your own homework. I’m not going to teach you your own language. That should be your job."

You have to prove to your readers that you have the credentials to make such judgments about Hebrew. The fact that you can't do that means that you probably do not have any real claims for those credentials. Do you think I would not check before I wrote the comments? These are matters that go directly to the reputation of a man and a people. You have to be very careful, before you make such allegations, that they are based on real facts and meanings, not just your personal inclination. The tone of your responses to me suggest that you do not really understand what it is , to submit truth to inclination. 

Are you a translator? Do you understand what ethics of translation means? Do you understand the responsibility that goes with it? If you are and you do, then you will have no problem proving the meaning you put forth about the word "chalal".  Let's see you, then, follow your own righteousness with the same vigor you preach it to others.

Even the official title for Israel’s Remembrance Day recognizes the distinction in MEANING between chalalim and civilians who were exterminated in a terrorist attack יום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות

 ישראל ולנפגעי פעולות האיבה 

Update II:  My last comment on Silverstein's blog:

It’s a problem with you guys (anti-Zionists and other strange animals) that you are so i love with your own voices that you are limited in reading very simple statements that threaten it. In my very first comment here I wrote: “The joke is hardly racist, merely crude and very much against the Jewish decree of refraining from joy when your enemy suffers or dies. The “translation” is pointedly directed towards misconstruction. ”

I believe you said the same thing, then, Matan.

I put it to you that Silverstein, out of bad faith (since he insists he knows the insides and out of the Hebrew language and is aware of all its nuances) deliberately set out to mislead the message of this story: First, he misrepresented Maariv’s position as if it were supportive of the joke. Secondly, by confusing “dead”" and “chalalim” he misrepresented the purpose of this joke. The joke itself is not very coherent on that which makes it something of a failed joke, but any translation of it should have taken that into consideration. If S is the expert in Hebrew that he wants us to believe he is, he should have been honest about these factors.

I stand by my statement that the term chalal , in Hebrew parlance, almost invariably designates those killed in battle. Perhaps in more recent years it has accrued also to those victims of terrorism.
Silverstein: What I wrote was: “The Carmel Disaster was considered an act of terrorism, at least early in the investigation. ” ((and the first one to suggest it was a Druze Member of Knesset. ). If you can’t be relied on to represent what is written here, in the comments, in English for all to see, how are you to be trusted to deliver a message from an unknown language?

If you are not an anti Zionist what are you, then? A lover of Israel? Of Jews? Of Mankind? You are actively working by slander, lies and innuendo to undermine the ethical standing (criminalize, and whip up loathing for) of the Jews of Israel. I don’t know what that makes you. Pathetic, perhaps? Terribly needy? Treading clouds of glory, in your own fantasy?


The same idea has persisted into the modern state of Israel. The late Prime Minister of
Israel, Golda Meir, commented: "Perhaps we can forgive the enemy for killing our children, but it will be much harder to forgive them for turning our children into killers."

Then Chief of Staff, General Yitzhak  Rabin commented after the Six-Day War in 1967:
War is harsh and cruel, filled with blood and tears. While the joy of victory seized the
whole people, among the community of fighters themselves there is a strange phenomenon: they cannot celebrate whole-heartedly. There is a large measure of sadness, of shock, mixed into their festivities. Some fighters cannot celebrate at all. The frontline soldiers saw with their own eyes—not only the glory of victory, but also its price—their fellow fighters fell at their sides in pools of blood. I know that the price paid by the enemy also touched a deep place in the hearts of many. Perhaps the Jewish people has never been educated and never become accustomed to the joy of the conqueror.
Therefore, our victory is received with mixed feelings.” (As quoted in A Different Night by Noam Zion and David Dishon)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Pity the children

... to Follow in Her Footsteps
 (Transcript, here)

Veiled child presenter: We should sacrifice our lives for the sake of the homeland, so we can please God and liberate Palestine and Jerusalem. What we learn from her example is that we should follow in her footsteps.
Child presenter: She raised her children from an early age on love of martyrdom for the sake of Allah, as well as on love of the homeland and its defense. We should learn from them. We should wage Jihad and persevere, in order to liberate this land. When one of us is martyred, we say that his life is precious, yet it is a cheap price to pay for the liberation and defense of the homeland.
Veiled child presenter: The lives of all the martyrs are precious, but no price is too high when it is paid for the sake of the homeland.

 The Daily Snarl

This is what appears on AbuKhalil's website today:  

"A report written by Israeli Journalist, Gideon Levi, and published by Haaretz Hebrew Language daily, accuses the Israeli military of deliberately executing two Palestinians, who were recently shot by the army at the Ennab roadblock, east of Anabta near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. The two Palestinians, identified as Naji Al-Balbisi, 18, and Amer Ibrahim Nassar, 17, were shot by several rounds of live ammunition from a close range. At least four Palestinians have been injured."
 Here is a detailed report of what happened:

According to the IDF, a half-hour before the Wednesday incident the soldiers stationed at the checkpoint identified four armed Palestinians who were approaching them. In response, the soldiers prepared for a possible engagement by loading their weapons with live ammunition and rubber bullets.

One of the Palestinians hurled a Molotov cocktail at the soldiers, who then immediately opened fire on the Palestinians.

One Palestinian was killed and the soldiers then chased after the three remaining suspects, who fled on foot. The soldiers continued firing, killing a second suspect and lightly wounding a third. The fourth suspect managed to escape.

A soldier was also injured in the incident and was taken to a nearby hospital. There was no report of his condition.

“This was a planned attack on a position that has already been assaulted in the past,” a senior source in the Central Command told Ynet. “The force encountered real danger during the chase and that is why shots were fired. The incident lasted only a few seconds and we have a detailed record of the chain of events,” he added."

Nobody could guess, from AA's type of "reporting"  that the incident involved more than the simple act of arbitrary and brutal killing of two innocent Palestinian youths. No context. No explanation. AA seems to count on his readers' intelligence and sentiments not to be curious about such irrelevant details. What matters is that two Arabs were shot to death by Jews. That is an outrage in and of itself. Haven't the Jews learned that they are not allowed to respond to and prevent any threat of violence against them by similar violence? That they do not have the human right to protect themselves against their would be murderers? 

BTW, anyone who chooses to believe anything Gideon Levi writes ought to know this about him. Not that such a sentiment would be abhorrent to our rage-engorged friend.


Another little snarl by the great moralist from California state university: 

Jordan's King asked for more bribes to cover the cost of hosting Syrian refugees--as if they are being hosted in his palace.
Note the ugliness of the language, the dismissive tone and the integral contempt for the king (whose entire fault begins and ends, for AA, in one major crime: maintaining the peace treaty with Israel).

Here is the real story that prompted this piece of  flying excerement:

The Civil War in Syria has driven thousands of people out of the country and into Jordan. This has resulted in major problems in Jordan as they try to figure out what to do with all of the Syrian refugees. Recently, President Barack Obama made a public announcement offering $200 million in U.S. aid to help with the Syrian refugees in Jordan.

...  more than 460,000 Syrians have fled their country in search of refuge within the Jordanian borders. This number is estimated to double in the upcoming months if the turmoil in Syria continues.

Putting these numbers into perspective: 460,000 people make up approximately a tenth of the Jordanian population. Doubling the number of Syrian refugees, causes an almost 25% increase in the number of people in Jordan.

This increase in people will have serious effects on the economic situation in Jordan. Some economists predict a nearly 30% unemployment rate by the end of the year as more and more Syrians pour into the county. This many refugees are also predicted to cost over $1 billion. Yet, King Abdullah pledges to not turn away any refugees, asking “how are you going to turn back women, children or the wounded?”

One wonders at the extent of the professor's animus. Doesn't he care for very real and suffering refugees? Does he care only for third and forth generation "refugees", like the Palestinians?  And how come his multitudinous readers do not ask these basic questions from the provider of "news"? 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A lie or mere ignorance?

Prof. AbuKhalil, who passes himself for an expert on the Israel-Arab conflict*, tells us that this statement in a NYT article is a lie:  

"Nasser began expelling them. [the Jews]" 

He does not quite explain what the lie is. Does he dispute the fact that Nasser choreographed the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt? Or does he dispute the attribution of Nasser being the first to orchestrate such a move, as might be understood by the verb "began"? 

If the first, then AbuKhalil  is not the expert he quite thinks he is. According to wikipedia

"The 1956 expulsion of Egyptian Jews came as a direct consequence of the Suez Crisis and a background of generalized anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish attitudes in Nasserist Egypt. The decree bound all Jews with relatives in Israel and those suspected as Zionist agents - nearly half of the whole community. Similar measures were enacted against British and French nationals in retaliation for the invasion. About 25,000 Jews left Egypt following the decree, urged to abandon all their property. By 1957 the Jewish population of Egypt had fallen to 15,000.[1] The expulsion came within the scope of the Jewish exodus from Arab countries. [-]
 In October 1956, when the Suez Crisis erupted, Nasser brought in a set of sweeping regulations abolishing civil liberties and allowing the state to stage mass arrests without charge and strip away Egyptian citizenship from any group it desired; these measures were mostly directed the Jews of Egypt.[2] As part of its new policy, 1,000 Jews were arrested and 500 Jewish businesses were seized by the government.[3] A statement branding the Jews as "Zionists and enemies of the state" was read out in the mosques of Cairo and Alexandria. Jewish bank accounts were confiscated and many Jews lost their jobs.[4] Lawyers, engineers, doctors and teachers were not allowed to work in their professions.[5]"
And according to this source: 

Egyptian Jews being  expelled from Egypt in 1956 under the direction of President Gamal Abd El Nasser. All those expelled had to sign a pledge of NEVER TO RETURN, leaving behind their possessions, amounting to Billions of dollars.
All their assets have been placed under sequestration and confiscated by the government  of which no restitutions have been made.  
The policy of sequestration and confiscation was in effect from 1948-1967. During the war of 1967 many Jews  were mistreated and placed in jails for no reason other than they  are of the Jewish faith. Egypt has yet to apologize. 
Today, with a handful of Jews left in all of Egypt, our request to salvage and rescue our heritage and religious articles has been denied by Egypt stating  it all has been placed under the auspices of the department of Antiquities, and therefore may not leave Egypt.
If the second, then AbuKhalil might be inadvertently correct, since the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt was not begun by Nasser but started earlier. Again, according to Wiki:

While the exodus of Egyptian Jews had begun following the 1945 Cairo pogrom, it had not been significant until 1948. In 1948, approximately 75,000 Jews still lived in Egypt. Their numbers however quickly began to decrease, following the eruption of the 1948 War over the creation of Israel and the resulting local violence directed against the community.

I suspect that AbuKhalil's contention here is that the event never happened, or, alternatively, if it did, whatever did cause the Jews to flee Egypt, denuded of all their assets and barely alive, was not the fault or result of anything any poor, maligned and misunderstood  Arab leader did. Such is the information, the truth, one gleans from the professor's knowledge.


"[AbuKhalil i]s a tenured Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, and a visiting professor at UC Berkeley. He taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
He teaches courses in American Government, Comparative Politics: Middle East, Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East, and Politics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (I can only imagine what this is like).
He’s paid — we California residents pay him — to teach our children."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

 What Americans do not know about Palestinians

Angry Arab is angry. It is a day away from Israel's 65th Independence anniversary celebration and he wants to remind the world of how Israel came to be, according to his perverted view of history. He provides a story:

"The late mother of friends, Riad and Imad Baalbaki, is Palestinian.  She went back to her birthplace in Acre, Palestine back in the 1960s.  She found her home and tried the old key that she always kept with her.  The door opened. She found a Jewish family occupying the house.  She roamed around the house and yelled at them in tears: these are our dishes.  These are our saucers.  These are our chairs.  These are our closets that are now filled with your clothes.  This is our house on our land.  The occupying family could only tell her (in tears): we are sorry for what happened.  When Michele and I heard the story from Riad recently, Michele (my American girlfriend) kept telling me: Americans need to hear stories like that about Palestinians.  They never hear such stories."

The details of the story seem somewhat unrealistic. How come her key of at least 15 years earlier opened the lock to a house inhabited by Israelis who occupied it after that event? Where did they get the key to fit into that lock? How come the lock had not changed during all those years? How come the residents in that house allowed this stranger to roam around the house, without calling the police? Why would they cry in response to her accusations? Did this really happen like it is told or was there some other context to this event? How was she allowed to enter Israel in the first place? Why aren't we told about the circumstances of this visit?  Perhaps because knowing the full story might render it  less sensationalistic and less likely to inspire the pity it aims for?

There is a double-tiered context to this story which is left outside the frame.

First context: What happened in Acre? A couple of details, gleaned from a very cursory search on google:

According to wiki:
"In the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Acre was designated part of a future Arab state. Before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War broke out, Acre's Arabs attacked neighbouring Jewish settlements and Jewish transportation. On 18 March 1948, Arabs from Acre killed Jewish employees of the electricity company who were repairing the damaged lines near the city."

"Fuad Abu Higla, then a regular columnist in the official PA daily Al Hayat Al Jadida, wrote an article before an Arab Summit (Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, March 19, 2001), which criticized the Arab leaders fora series of failures. One of the failures he cited, in the name of a prisoner, was that an earlier generation of Arab leaders "forced" them to leave Israel in 1948, again placing the blame for the flight on the Arab leaders.
"I have received a letter from a prisoner in Acre prison, to the Arab summit:
To the [Arab and Muslim] Kings and Presidents, Poverty is killing us, the symptoms are
exhausting us and the souls are leaving our body, yet you are still searching for the way to
provide aid, like one who is looking for a needle in a haystack or like the armies of your
predecessors in the year of 1948, who forced us to leave [Israel], on the pretext of clearing
the battlefields of civilians... So what will your summit do now?" (Source)
Second tier context (as seen from the vantage point of Martha Gellhorn, a journalist in 1961): 

The best way to consider this case is close up, by looking at the Palestinian refugees themselves, not as a "problem," not as statistics, but as people. The Palestinian refugees, battered by thirteen years in the arena of international politics, have lost their shape; they appear as a lump and are spoken of as one object. They are individuals, like everyone else.

Despite the unique care and concern they have received, despite the unique publicity which rages around them, the Arab refugees, alas, are not unique. Although no one knows exactly how many refugees are scattered everywhere over the globe, it is estimated that since World War II, and only since then, at least thirty-nine million non-Arab men, women, and children have become homeless refugees, through no choice of their own. Their numbers grow every year; Angolans are the latest addition to the long list. The causes for this uprooting are always different, but the result is the same: the uprooted have lost what they had and where they came from and must start life again as handicapped strangers wherever they are allowed to live.

The world could be far more generous to these unwilling wanderers, but at least the world has never thought of exploiting them. They are recognized as people, not pawns. By their own efforts, and with help from those devoted to their service, all but some six million of the thirty-nine million have made a place for themselves, found work and another chance for the future. To be a refugee is not necessarily a life sentence.

The unique misfortune of the Palestinian refugees is that they are a weapon in what seems to be a permanent war. Alarming signs, from Egypt, warn us that the Palestinian refugees may develop into more than a justification for cold war against Israel. We ignored Mein Kampf in its day, as the ravings of a lunatic, written for limited home consumption. We ought to have learned never to ignore dictators or their books. Egypt's Liberation, by Gamal Abdel Nasser, deserves careful notice. It is short, low-keyed, and tells us once again that a nation has been ordained by fate to lead--this time, to lead the Arab nations, all Africa, all Islam. The Palestinian refugees are not mentioned, and today, in the Middle East, you get a repeated sinking sensation about the Palestinian refugees: they are only a beginning, not an end. Their function is to hang around and be constantly useful as a goad. The ultimate aim is not such humane small potatoes as repatriating refugees.

THE word "refugee" is drenched in memories which stretch back over too many years and too many landscapes: Spain, Czechoslovakia, China, Finland, England, Italy, Holland, Germany. In Madrid, between artillery bombardments, children were stuffed into trucks to be taken somewhere, out of that roulette death, while their mothers clung to the tailboards of the trucks and were dragged weeping after the bewildered, weeping children. In Germany, at war's end, the whole country seemed alive with the roaming mad -- slave laborers, concentration camp survivors who spoke the many tongues of Babel, dressed in whatever scraps they had looted, and searched for food in stalled freight cars though the very rail-yards were being bombed. From China to Finland, people like these defined the meaning of "refugee."
And today, on the eve of Israel's Remembrance Day, as Israelis once again brace themselves to remember those fallen so that the others can go on living, and being, we must never forget this:

"From the murder of a Jewish blacksmith in Nahalat Reuben (now Ness Ziona) in 1888 — considered to be the first act of Arab terror against Jews in the land of Israel — up to the most recent Israeli soldier to fall in battle, violence directed toward Jews in this land has taken many lives. This violence prompted pre-state Jewish communities to defend themselves. After the state was established, the Israel Defense Forces took over that task. The Jews have never been the initiators of violence and war here, something that must be reiterated today."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On the Irony of History

I re-read today this historic document,  the Peel Commission Report (July 1937), to the League of Nations, when one sentence distinguished itself to me:

Considering what the possibility of finding a refuge in Palestine means to thousands of suffering Jews, is the loss occasioned by Partition, great as it would be, more than Arab generosity can bear?

The map on the right illustrates the proposed boundaries and size of the Jewish state that the Commission proposed back in 1937. (Compare with this map)

Let me repeat: The statement was written in 1937, when the world was beginning to get wise to what was being planned for the Jews, but even so, the report can only imagine "thousands" of suffering Jews getting a lease on life if permitted to immigrate to Palestine.

The Arabs of Palestine, though addressed with the most explicit plea in the report for showing "generosity" to the persecuted Jews of Europe, existentially threatened, did not for a second consider this possibility and continued to mount their pressure on the British to seal the borders. When there was hardly a country in the world open to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Hitler's ominous programmes, Mandate Palestine, which had been commissioned with the provision of a safe haven for Jews, chose to close ranks with the Arabs and seal the borders, against the Jews.

The only place that would have welcomed these refugees and could have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, joined the rest of the world's complicity in these crimes.

20 years later  Ben-Gurion wrote: 

"Had partition [referring to the Peel Commission partition plan] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed—most of them would be in Israel". 

Today, the staple Palestinian argument is that they had no responsibility whatsoever for what happened to the Jews. But they did. They bear at least the same responsibility as as every country that ever refused to accept Jews who were looking to get out of Europe.

The Grand Mufti's special relationship with Hitler is another aspect of Arab complicity in the annihilation of the Jews:

As German political scientist Matthias Kuntzel chronicled in his work ... the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned the PLO's Fatah as well as al-Qaida, Hamas and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, owes much of its ideological success and pseudo-philosophical roots to Nazism."

"In the 1930s, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, rigorously courted the Nazis. When, in 1936, he launched his terror war against the Jewish Yishuv in the British controlled Palestine Mandate, he repeatedly asked the Nazis for financial backing, which began arriving in 1937." "From 1936-39 Husseini's terror army murdered 415 Jews. In later years, Husseini noted that were it not for Nazi money, his onslaught would have been defeated in 1937. His movement was imbued with Nazism. His men saluted one another with Nazi salutes and members of his youth movement sported Hitler Youth uniforms."

With this history as a model, the Palestinian Foundational documents which call for the destruction of Israel make a lot of sense. They were not conceived out of the blue, a reaction to the Six-Day-War and occupation, but were the natural denouement that began in 1920, premises taken to their logical conclusions.

The Palestinian narrative likes to attribute the establishment of the Jewish State in 1947 to Western guilt over the Holocaust, an expiation of which turned the Palestinian Arabs into a sort of totally innocent sacrificial lamb. But here is the Peel Commission Report, the Jewish acceptance and the Arab rejection, telling us a different kind of story.

It tells us that Britain reneged on its international commitment to the League of Nation's mandate principles,
that there was full awareness of the evil brewing up in Europe against the Jews,
that there was a formal, international plea addressed to the Arabs to allow a very small part of the territory originally promised to the Jews as a safe haven for persecuted European refugees,
that there was never the slightest indication that Arabs ever considered the implications of such a total and implacable rejection, despite the clear and shrill warnings,
that the most important Palestinian Arab leader spent the war years as Hitler's guest, and helping him wherever he could in liquidating Jews.

It also tells us that Arabs' rejection of the Peel Commission plea for partition yielded favourable fruits for them: 6 millions Jews exterminated and none who would ever be able to set foot in the land of their ancestors.

Imagine the re-doubled rage when it turned out that the Jews were not giving up on their existence or their rights in the land of the Jews. 

Imagine the rage when it turned out that the Jews could actually fight to keep that land and win!

Imagine the rage when it turned out that the Jews, far from being a broken up, intimidated and traumatized people, turned out to have the stamina, the will, the intelligence, to build a state where other Jews could now find refuge and no longer need be the supplicants for a right given freely to anyone else: the right for a free, decent, and dignified life in their own country.

Will the Arabs ever learn that anger makes you stupid? That compromise is not a dirty word? That human rights are indivisible, and that what goes around comes around?

  A soul mutilated by hatred

 ...Israel pollutes the earth...  says the professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and visiting professor at UC, Berkeley But not only the earth, but the earth's air and water, too.That is, Israel, the tiny Jewish state that inhabits 0.16% of the entire territory of the Middle East,


 pollutes, contaminates, poisons, renders unlivable, the world. Does it do so through an extraordinary expenditure of fuel and waste materials? No. It does so by its very existence. The simple fact that Israel exists is enough to poison the entire world. So implies the Prof. who teaches young American students at a bona fide American university. It is not an environmental argument, hailing from an environmental concern. It constitutes a moral judgement and a possible verdict.  Now, where did we hear this before? 

Israel as pollution.  Israel as contaminating the pure air the people of the world breath and the water that they drink.

What is one's relationship to pollution? Need we ask?

 " Don't be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus.  Don't think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis.  This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst. (Applause)"

Here is a bit of information about the history of such a position:

... well poisoning was one of the three gravest Antisemitic accusations made against Jews...

Walter Laqueur writes in his book The Changing Face of Anti-Semitism: From Ancient Times to the Present Day:
There were no mass attacks against "Jewish poisoners" after the period of the Black Death, but the accusation became part and parcel of antisemitic dogma and language. It appeared again in early 1953 in the form of the "doctors' plot" in Stalin's last days, when hundreds of Jewish physicians in the Soviet Union were arrested and some of them killed on the charge of having caused the death of prominent Communist leaders... Similar charges were made in the 1980s and 1990s in radical Arab nationalist and Muslim fundamentalist propaganda that accused the Jews of spreading AIDS and other infectious diseases."
Well.  Here is a little advice for the learned prof. from the very architect of the final solution:

And here is something in an attempt to cure Prof. AbuKhalil of this primeval hatred that he nurtures so lovingly in his heart against the Jewish state:

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

What counts for "truth" 

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, 
ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

Here is how Prof. AbuKhalil, who teaches young American students how to read records and reports  and interpret them critically, constructively and properly, describes an event that took place on 8 April 1970, during the War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt:
Don't forget, don't forgive ever.  We want peace but not with Israel: we want peace AFTER Israel.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the event:

When asked about the incident, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan said: "Maybe the Egyptians put elementary students in a military base." Speaking about the incident, Egyptian commander Abdelatim Ramadan said: "Actually, two targets were hit by the Israelis. The first target was a group of military bases about 30 km. from the Suez Canal, which were targeted before, on the night of 18-19 December 1969. The second target was the Bahr El-Baqar primary school. […] There comes a time to acknowledge an important fact in this area, that at those black days of Israeli bombing, the military targets were mixed with civilian targets. We can even say that in many cases the military targets were hiding behind civilian targets."[5]

Here is a thought: Peace between Israelis and the Palestinians will come AFTER  Palestinians allow themselves to stop being incited to fever-pitch murderous hatred by "Angry Arab" and his ilk.


Later: Dr. AbuKhalil is hardly the most rigorous of reporters or researchers. A few hours after posting the above, he published a correction:

"The Dayr Yasin remembered.
PS I had placed the wrong link earlier. Apologies."

Only of course it was not just a "wrong link" but a wrong name, a wrong event, a wrong victim, a wrong "massacre", a wrong year, a wrong war. But hey, what's with this obsession over fine details and verifiable accounts? It is after all Israel's history we are speaking about and everyone knows how it is up for grabs. Who cares about truth, or reliability of facts, or historical background? Certainly not a professorr of Political Science teaching hatred to anyone who would listen, and being declaratively proud of it.

About Deir Yassin, again, wikipedia furnishes a more accurate account:

 The view that the relationship between Deir Yassin and its neighbors was invariably peaceful is disputed by Yehuda Lapidot (underground name, "Nimrod"), the Irgun's second-in-command of the operation to take the village. He writes that there had been occasional skirmishes between Deir Yassin and Givat Shaul residents, and that on April 3, shots had been fired from Deir Yassin toward the Jewish villages of Bet Hakerem and Yefe Nof. He writes that the village was defended by 100 armed men, that ditches had been dug around it, that Iraqi and Palestinian guerrillas were stationed there, and that there was a guard force stationed by the village entrance.[16] Benny Morris writes that it is possible some militiamen were stationed in the village, but the evidence is far from definitive, in his view.[17] In Gelber's view, it is unlikely that the peace pact between Deir Yassin and Givat Shaul continued to hold in April, given the intensity of hostilities between the Arab and Jewish communities elsewhere. He writes that shots had been exchanged on April 2 between Deir Yassin and several Jewish communities. Over the next few days, the Jewish community at Motza and Jewish traffic on the road to Tel Aviv came under fire from the village. On April 8, Deir Yassin youth took part in the defence of the Arab village of al-Qastal, which the Jews had invaded days earlier: the names of several Deir Yassin residents appeared on a list of wounded compiled by the British Palestine police.[18]

Here is a more detailed account:

The attack on the Arab village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem (today, the Har Nof neighborhood) was not, as claimed, a "massacre" nor was it a premeditated killing.  As we now know from Arab sources and other independent research, (see Bregman, Ahron & El-Tahri, Jihan, "The Fifty Years War, Israel and the Arabs," Penguin Books, BBC Books, London, 1998. pp. 27-34 and Klein, Morton A., “Deir Yassin History of a Lie, ZOA, NY 2005) the number of dead at the village was between 93 and 110, at the most.  All of them were killed during the course of the battle, in house-to-house fighting.  There were no mutilations or atrocities caused to the corpses as per testimony from the villagers themselves.  The attacking combined force of Irgun and Lehi units brought with them a loudspeaker to the village entrance to warn the inhabitants.  They also left an escape route open, which led to Ein Karem, so as not to have to harm the inhabitants unnecessarily and hundreds took advantage of this Jewish act of kindness in battle.  All these preparations and actions belie any intent of a massacre.
We should recall that, for example, when Hulda was attacked in 1929, Efraim Chisik, brother of Devora Chisik who was killed nine years earlier at Tel Chai, after being shot dead by Arabs was then set alight and his body burned.  The British soldiers who saved the survivors did not permit them to take with them his body which was recovered several days later, horribly mutilated as were the bodies of the famous 35 of Gush Etzion who were killed in January 1948. 

You will never find this kind of meticulous research and fact finding in any of Prof. AbuKhalil's "news reports".  Why is that, one wonders? He is a bona fide professor teaching at a bona fide university of sound standing. He knows the meaning of research, truth, facts, contexts, etc etc. Why does he feel he is exempt from observing these standards in his reports on his website?