Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Polls that matter and polls that don't matter

OK, so the United States has killed Osama Bin Laden and thrown his body into the sea. A highly symbolic development that gives Barack Obama some much-needed oxygen. For the record, I fully reject the killing of civilians and am totally against Osama's methods and activities. However, I believe he wasn't nearly as important now as he used to be; killing him wasn't my top priority. I also believe that disposing of his body the way the US did was childish and unwarranted; and that the cause of anti-terrorism would have been better served if he had sat before a tribunal to face charges of crimes against humanity. That being said, having him convicted by a court of law wasn't my top priority either.

But the Zionists are taking advantage of his death to remind us that Palestinian Muslims were the most ardent supporters of Osama. This is the inculpatory evidence:

These figures would indeed be worrying if they had any relevance at all. When Palestinians are asked about Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden, words are, to a large extent, being put in their mouths. It's not like they are spontaneously demonstrating in favor of Al Qaeda. Osama is, was, a reality far removed from theirs, almost a construct. Saying that they had confidence in him is irrelevant insofar as most Palestinians, an overwhelming majority, had no chance of translating that declared confidence into a concrete support for Bin Laden. Even more importantly, those who did have that possibility --the Palestinians who managed to travel and settle abroad-- did not enroll in Al Qaeda. Indeed, Stanford's Martha Crenshaw, one of the foremost scholars in terrorism studies, has noted that there are "almost no Palestinians in al Qaeda and no proven links with Hamas or the other Palestinian groups that use terrorism against Israel." So when the Palestinians are asked if they have confidence in Bin Laden, their answer must be seen as a manifesto against the West that has so often betrayed them. Essentially they are telling the Western pollster "I'll say what I know that will irk you." If they meant it, they would have joined Al Qaeda in large numbers.

Now this must be compared with other polls about concrete matters and events the respondents can take an active part in. Case in point, the one published by Ynet on 15 Dec 2010, after more than 50 top Jewish religious figures signed on to an anti-Arab racist letter:

Poll: 55% back rabbis' anti-Arab ruling

Survey shows 41% of secular Israelis support municipal religious leaders' call not to rent apartments to non-Jews, as do 64% and 88% of Israel's traditional and haredi Jews, respectively.

This kind of support is not speculative or theoretical or pure blah-blah. Many of the respondents are Jews who do own apartments and who, in 55% of the cases, would not rent them out to Arab tenants. And they don't stop there; they're also taking positive steps to oust Arabs from apartments owned by other Jews. But it gets worse. Shortly after the ruling, racist Jews threatened a Holocaust survivor --a Holocaust survivor!-- with the burning of his house if he didn't stop renting rooms to Arab students. For all the Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Day) commemorations, with the sirens sounding, the cars stopping in the roads and the deeply moving 2-minute silence, the crude fact is that Jews in Israel hate Arabs more than they love Holocaust survivors.

In short, the polls showing an apparently outrageous Palestinian support for Osama are basically meaningless and reflect an exercise in épater le bourgeois, since Palestinians are not rushing to join Al Qaeda. The polls showing a deep Jewish racism against Arabs, on the other hand, reflect a hate that is translated into very real actions of arson, threats and attacks against both Arabs and non-prejudiced Jews. And that matters much more than mere words.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jewish racist of the day

Although there is no shortage of nominees, today's award goes to Rabbi Dov Lior, head of the Kiryat Arba yeshiva. Sorry, Daniel Pipes; your efforts are commendable, but the Rav is trying harder and has clearly outdone you.

The distinguished sage chose to use the platform of the fourth Ramla conference to state that the State of Israel "must encourage Bedouins to return to their native land." In case you believe, correctly, that the native land of Israeli Bedouins is, well, Israel, be advised that Lior has a different theory which posits that they were born in Libya and Saudi Arabia. Where he gets that from is unclear, but a good bet is that someone recently presented him with a copy of Joan Peter's From time immemorial. It would be interesting to know Lior's theory of how these non-Jews managed to immigrate to Israel, where, individual cases aside, only Jews are allowed to become citizens. I guess it must have something to do with Arab deceptiveness.

In support of his proposal, Lior stressed that "If they are left here, there won't be any solution as they work against the people of Israel and the State of Israel."  It is a particularly well known fact that Bedouins, together with the Druze, serve in the IDF, which is not the case with yeshiva students such as, ehm, Lior's. Facts? What's that? It's narratives that count, dude.

Lior is a chemically pure hater. His résumé includes a variety of jewels, among which:

  • In 2008 he pioneered the restrictions-on-Arabs wave by calling on Jews not to employ them.
  • In 2010 he endorsed and foreworded Yitzchak Shapira's The complete guide to killing gentiles. (Well, the tract's title is actually The King's Torah, but it does remove most restrictions on killing non-Jews, including newborns: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”)
  • Also in 2010, he signed on to the rabbinical letter forbidding Jews from renting houses to Arabs.
  • In 2011, he ruled that Jewish Law prohibits sterile couples from conceiving using non-Jew's sperm, as it causes adverse traits. With a logic that would dwarf Aristotle, this Jewish genius wondered: "If the father in not Jewish, what character traits could he have? Traits of cruelty, of barbarism! These are not traits that characterize the people of Israel."

When US journalist Helen Thomas claimed that Israeli Jews should return to where they came from, all hell broke lose and she was fired. When a relevant Israeli rabbi who is (literally speaking) right at the center of Jewish-Arab land disputes says the same about Bedouins the story is met with deafening silence from the world press. I'm not outraged at this unequal treatment. It signals that in one case the hateful statement is extraordinary, abnormal, anomalous, while in the other case it's an everyday occurrence that hardly raises eyebrows anymore.

In any event, Rabbi Lior is a valuable asset for those of us who spend time exposing officially-supported (Lior is a State employee) hate of Arabs in Israel. That's why I'm giving him the Jewish Racist of The Day Award.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Israel tastes own medicine, cries antisemitism

On Sunday, several crazed Jewish settlers invaded Palestinian Area A territory (where, in theory at least, Palestinian Authority exercises full control) to pray at the so-called Joseph's tomb in Nablus, without previously getting the required authorization. It appears that PA policemen tried to stop them. The Jews refused to give themselves up and apparently broke through a checkpoint. Warning shots were fired, and they still refused to stop. In an unclear turn of the events, the settlers were then shot at, with the result that Ben Yosef Livnat (the nephew of Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat) was killed and the four others were injured.

For what it's worth, I'm against the police shooting trespassers unless it's patently clear that they intend to hurt the officers; I believe this was an avoidable tragedy. That said, one would expect the Israeli authorities to be very happy with this outcome, since it perfectly fits into Israeli engagement rules. They should have noted that:

  • The settlers were criminals seeking for trouble and they got it.
  • This is war, and war is messy.
  • The Palestinian policemen have the right to prioritize their own lives over those of the civilians they regrettably kill.
  • The settlers made suspicious movements.
  • The policemen had to make difficult decisions in a short instant of time, decisions you and I don't face.

Instead, the Israeli government displayed the crudest Jewish victimhood. Minister Livnat said:

I woke up this morning and received a phone call from Ben-Yosef's mother, who told me that he was murdered by a terrorist masked as a Palestinian police officer.

It was cold-blooded murder. Ben-Yosef went to pray with other Jews, and he was murdered simply for being a Jew.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concurred:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday evening the shooting incident at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus that killed 24-year-old Ben-Yosef Livnat and injured two other Hasidim, calling it a "terrorist attack."

In his statement, Netanyahu urged the Palestinian Authority "to take harsh steps against the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against Jewish worshipers who were on their way to prayer."

Defense Minister Barak was also furious:

Barak's office said: "No coordination mishap justifies this kind of outcome or the shooting of innocent people." Barak ordered the IDF to investigate, as well as demanded "the PA take swift and full measures against the shooters."

I for one am unimpressed by these gentlemen's (and lady's) outrage. Of course, if Livnat hadn't been a fanatical Jew he wouldn't have been there in the first place, so that his death is, in a way, related to his Jewishness. But the reason he was shot is not that he was a Jew; it's that he broke the law, and while you can get away with it most of the time if you're a West Bank settler, there are times when your luck runs out and you get shot.

It's interesting to compare the killing of this Jew with that of an elderly Palestinian citizen earlier this year:

A Palestinian resident of the southern West Bank city of Hebron was killed early Friday during an Israel Defense Forces raid on the city to arrest Hamas members, security and medical sources said.

The IDF raided Hebron to re-arrest six Hamas members that the Palestinian Authority had released only the day before following an intervention from the emir of Qatar.

Medical sources said a 65-year-old Palestinian, who was reported to be an unarmed civilian, was brought dead to hospital with several bullet wounds to the upper part of his body. They said the man had been shot in a building the soldiers had raided to arrest one of the Hamas members.

The man who was killed, Amr Qawasme, was asleep when soldiers broke into his home before dawn. His wife, Sobheye, said IDF troops brushed past her into the bedroom, where she heard several shots fired. When she went in, she found her husband in a pool of blood.

There are several differences between both killings:

  • The settlers were engaging in illegal activities. The Palestinian old man was asleep.
  • The PA responded to a conflict initiated by the settlers. The IDF started a conflict by invading the Palestinian's house.
  • The PA policemen were taken by surprise. The IDF action had been carefully planned.

Despite this, PM Netanyahu didn't find the "misshap" that ended in Qawasme's death outrageous at all. It was just a product of the messiness of war.

The fact that Israeli authorities are not even mentioning the illegality of the shot settler's actions is very telling, considering that even the victim's relatives blame him for his lunacy:

The 17-year-old brother of one of the wounded men arrived at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, where they have been hospitalized.

"They knew what they were getting into, and the level of risk involved. But they considered it as action," the brother told Ynet.

"They only wanted to pray; sometimes fate can be pretty bad and unpleasant," he said, adding "they have a rabbi that coordinates these entries. This time they came without a permit or authorization of the rabbi.

"When the visits are coordinated nothing happens – the rabbi looks after us. However this time the rabbi wasn’t there with them; it was a crime for them to enter the tomb without the rabbi or a permit," noted the brother.

But it's always easier to cry antisemitism than to reflect on how your crazy policies are encouraging young people to consider themselves above the law -- and meet their death as a consequence.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yes, but what about Tibet!

This week saw the resolution of the Itamar murders case, in which five members of a family, including three children, were apparently killed in cold blood by two Palestinians from the village of Awarta. It must be noted that, according to the IDF account, the two acted on their own. The organization they belonged to, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, didn't authorize the attack, and, although it doesn't seem to have done anything to stop it (much like the Israelis at the time of the Sabra and Shattila massacre), they didn't provide the murderers with the weapons they had asked for. It is true that several PFLP members seem to have given shelter and cover to both murderers after the attack, but they seem to have done so as their relatives, not as members of the organization.

In any event, Israeli Jews were quick to blame the whole Palestinian people. Reflected the father of the illegal settler slain:

This is a heinous murder of bottomless hate that is simply impossible to understand. Going into a family home and murdering people is something that only those who have it instilled in them from babyhood can do.

A Ynet reader noted in a comment:

84. What kind of society spawns teens who slit a baby's throat?

There is a very deep problem here. Palestinians had better stop wallowing in the blame game, and start addressing it.
Serge, Montreal, Canada (04.18.11)

Zionist like to make Tibet analogies. You know, Israel may occupy Palestinian land, although Israel disputes this, but what about the Chinese occupation of Tibet? So that it occurred to me to compare the Palestinians' reaction to Israeli occupation to the Tibetans' reaction to Chinese annexation.

First a little context. Tibetans are full Chinese citizens and enjoy exactly the same rights (or lack thereof) as their ethnic Han fellow citizens. They face no checkpoints. They can drive on the same roads as the Han. China has built extensive infrastructure for them, including the highest railroad in the world, against zero investment in infrastructure for the occupied Palestinians on the Israelis' part. The Tibetans' "suffering" is nowhere like the Palestinian subjugation at Israeli hands.

When Tibetans rioted in Lhasa in 2008, however, they behaved with "bottomless hate." They caused extensive damage to property:

Chinese picture of damage caused by protestors in Tibet

Five girls were burnt alive in a store:

All in all, 10 people were burnt alive during the protests. The rioters made it a policy to target Han people and businesses, so that ethnic Tibetans had to attach white prayer shawls to their houses and stores for them not to be set on fire.

So what kind of people can stab a baby to death? I guess the same kind of people who can burn a shop assistant alive. It's called human beings. The Palestinian reaction is very much like that of any other people under similar conditions of oppression and humiliation.

To summarize, if Israel's behavior must be compared to China's, the Palestinians' response must be compared to the Tibetans' -- which Zionists never do, in a clear example of double standards.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Jews do do these things

On 11 March 2011, an adult couple and three of their children were stabbed to death at the Israeli settlement of Itamar. It is yet unclear who murdered them, and I was waiting for the investigation to reach a conclusion before commenting on the case. Almost one month has passed, though, and a gag order remains in place forbidding Israeli officials from releasing information on the investigation's progress. However, today, April 9, is a good day to reflect a little on this tragedy and how it has been handled.

One of the most striking aspects about the coverage of the massacre was how the Zionist media were quick to ascribe it to terrorists, despite the alternative explanations available (revenge killing by a Thai worker, retribution for the killing of 2 Palestinian children near the settlement two years ago...). Not only that, but the whole Palestinian people were dehumanized in op-ed after op-ed, despite the Palestinian Authority's condemnation of the murders. In some cases the demonization reached cosmic levels. I was particularly shocked by a Hanoch Daum article at Ynet under the title These are not humans:

Are they members of the family of nations at all? Would a human being stab a three-month-old baby girl in her sleep and kill a tender four-year-old child sleeping peacefully in his bed next to his parents’ bedroom? (...)

We can keep talking at length about painful concessions, but as long as on the other side we have blood-thirsty psychopaths capable of knifing an 11-year-old child, a four-year-old boy, and a baby who was just born, such talk would mostly be futile.

We have to recognize the following fact: Inhumane elements exist in the other camp. These are terrorists that Israel must eliminate, before they kill our children.

The desired reader reaction took nothing to arise:

15. Kill of 5 family members
The pain that is coused here is too unbearable. something must be done about it. my heart bleeds for this family- wich will have a heavy future. May god protect us from those Unhuman Living things wich act worse then animals.
Katy, Vienna (03.14.11)

30. Time to kill Palestinians (End)
Eyal, USA ISRAEL (03.14.11)

43. The Murderers are not Psychopaths
Hanoch Daum is wrong. The murderer who perpetrated this horror is not a psychopath. He is not a sick individual. He is the natural product of his upbringing, an upbringing that glorifies the spilling of Jewish blood. A society that names public squares and schools after murderers is going to produce more of the same. When are we going to wake up this reality. Bibi and all the rest talk of bringing the perpetrator to justice. The entire society is to blame. The perpetrator is simply the agent who actually carried out the horror. The society applauds him and in a few years will name a school or a hospital after him.
Moshe Tokayer, Petach Tikvah (03.14.11)

Now Ynet talkbacks are moderated. One wonders what the reaction would be if, say, The Guardian published a comment along the lines of "Time to kill Jews."

But what I take issue with most is Hanoch Daum's assertion that "the other" side is capable of horrific actions that, presumably, his side would never engage in. Yes, the old, tired argument "They hate, we don't; the Jews don't do these things."

Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, that the settler family was murdered by a Palestinian, it is utterly wrong to compare what that presumed terrorist did with what the State of Israel does and conclude that only one side, the Palestinians, intentionally kills civilians. Three thoughts arise:

1) The Palestinians can’t disguise their crimes as military actions. The Israelis can. We can’t say “the Israelis don’t kill civilians;” at most, we can say that the extent of IDF operations makes it impossible to ascertain if the civilians that they kill are intended murders or not. The recent case of an old man killed in his sleep by IDF forces provides an excellent example of a totally unnecessary and highly suspicious death in which the soldier who pulled the trigger is acquitted based on his own testimony.

2) The Israelis have at their disposal –and use– a variety of methods to punish the Palestinians, from bombing their power plants to targetedly killing their leaders (and a few bystanders in the process) to impeding the import of food and clothing. The only way the Palestinians have of exacting a price for the Israelis’ crimes is to randomly kill civilians. Again, this is not to excuse those killings; it’s simply to compare the many retaliatory options the Israelis enjoy with the only one the Palestinians have. Give them planes, choppers and the most powerful army in the Middle East and they will probably do other, less disgusting things, such as blacking out Tel Aviv, killing 120 policemen at a graduation ceremony or using Israeli minors as human shields.

3) If any valid comparison is to be established, it must be with what the Jews did when they didn’t have a State. And here's where it is worth remembering that in such a day as today, April 9, but 63 years ago, Jewish terrorists under the command of later Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin carried out the Deir Yassin massacre, in which at least 93 Arabs were murdered in cold blood -- before Israel became independent, the seven Arab armies invaded, etc.

And it doesn't end there. When the Jews didn’t have a State, they randomly killed civilians — 42 machine-gun attacks on buses, trucks and carts in January-March, 1948, alone; Arab women, children and elderly people blown to smithereens in markets; high-ranking UN officials mowed down in the street… And remember, the most ferocious Jewish terrorist of all, David Raziel, has hundreds of streets and even a town named after him.

Indeed there may exist a peaceful people that fully rejects the killing of civilians, but it’s not the Jews.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cum libel

When you think of an Arab you picture a dark-skinned man with a piece of cloth around his head, shining black eyes and a knife hidden somewhere he might stab you with if you get too close. This man is unredeemably machoist, irrational, Jew-hating and gay-bashing. That's anyway the image created by decades and decades of Hollywood films such as Exodus, or of journalistic ranting by the likes of Daniel Pipes, Ann Coulter or Melanie Phillips.

This Arab man is also, by the account of these specialists, a child rapist who specializes in sodomizing young boys. That's why when recently an Israeli Jewish boy aged 11 accused four Arabs of repeatedly raping him, there could be no doubt that the four were guilty. They  were immediately arrested, as the charges looked impressive:

Four Palestinians residing in Israel illegally have been arrested for allegedly raping and severely abusing an 11-year-old boy from central Israel several times. The four, aged 23-27, are also suspected of indecent acts.

The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court extended their remand by four days on Tuesday.

Police launched an investigation after the boy told his older brother he had been abused. The brother first became suspicious after the boy complained of stomach aches.

He eventually revealed his terrible secret: "They paid me NIS 400 to sleep with them, bought me presents I asked, and threatened me not to say anything, I was ashamed to talk about it."

The suspects were swiftly apprehended for fear they would flee to the territories.

Police suspect that the four, who were working at an event hall, promised the boy candy, presents and money and lured him into accompanying them to the building where they lived.

The four are also suspected of urinating on the victim, hitting him, putting out cigarettes on him, cutting him, and coercing him to use drugs.

Commenters on Ynet were quick to call the incident proof of the overall inhumanity of the Arab people:

6. Using sex for terror.
There are no bounds to their savagery. This is sexual terrorism. They are doing the same to young women through out Israel. At what point do we say enough?
Josh, US (03.29.11)

10. They have no respect for their own
They do this to their own women. So this brutality is not surprising.
Rachel, US (03.29.11)

24. Death Sentence for All Rapists!
The sick perverts also kidnapped the little boy and G-D gave the death sentence for kidnapping. The child has been scarred for life by these inhuman filthy predators. These demonic monsters must never be released to perpetrate more evil. Please, G-D, help this little boy and his family.
Linda Rivera, New York, USA (03.29.11)

To make a short story shorter, as it turned out the boy was lying. On a second round of questioning, he changed his story, supplied a different description of his alleged rapists and finally admitted that the apparent signs of abuse on his rear were the result of an enema he had undergone.

But just in case, the police had already beaten the four Arabs, spat on them, shouted "death to the Arabs" and stolen their cell phones. Nothing new there; it's the usual prescription for a Palestinian prisoner in Israel.

An interesting detail from this story is that these Arabs were Palestinians from the territories who were illegally working at an event venue inside Israel. How come the Apart... er, security fence did not stop these aliens from entering the country? And once they were inside, why did they look for a job, instead of committing a terror act to kill Jews, the ultimate objective of all Arabs? Maybe because they wanted to support their families rather than deny the Jews the right to self-determination? That can't be, they aren't that human.

In any event, it is still true that they bestialize their camels and goats, isn't it? They haven't been able to prove that they don't, have they?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Israel's opportunistic goodness

Which is the country that, in the wake of earthquakes, tsunamis and other catastrophees, has made the biggest donations to the affected populations on a per capita basis? Yes, it's that particular and unique Middle Eastern country you're thinking of -- Saudi Arabia. To give but one example, after Pakistan was hit by devastating floods in 2010, Saudi committed public and private donations to the tune of $350 M; it also donated two 100-bed hospitals. This compares favorably with, for instance, the US's donation of $216.5 M (most of which loan guarantees, not an actual gift) or Britain's donation of $115 M.

I bet that many readers of this post have never heard about this. The foreign aid given by Saudi Arabia is usually not reported by the media. On the other hand, the kingdom is harshly criticized over its treatment of women, non-Muslims and foreigners. Is there a double standard in place? Is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia subject to a policy of demonization, whereby its good actions go unreported, while its bad actions are widely discussed? Obviously this is not the case. Bad actions make for better headlines than good actions, and that's why the stealing of an old lady's $100 purse by two guys on a motorbike is news, while my neighbor's monthly cash donation of $100 to a soup kitchen is persistently ignored by the newscasts. That's also why the stoning of an adulterer gets more coverage than Saudi Arabia's gift of the King Faisal Hospital to Kigali, Rwanda. Anyone can understand this.

Giulio Meotti also understands it -- in the case of Saudi Arabia. But he doesn't seem to understand it in the case of Israel. In a recent piece on Ynet under the title Ignoring Israel's goodness, Meotti lists a few of Israel's responses to natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti in early 2010, and complains that:

Israel’s amazing altruism never had its legitimate space in the global media, because this radical goodness doesn’t fit in with the Zionist stereotype of the colonialist, fascist and apartheid occupier.

A reader picks up the Haitian example and claims:

The only reason the Israeli hospital in Haiti was covered was because it was the only one there - an oasis of salvation in a wasteland.

This is a good time to dispel this myth, and to put the claim of unfair reporting in perspective.

The Israeli field hospital was not the only one in Haiti. An Argentinian field hospital was already operative before the Israelis arrived. Yet I don't see Argentinians moaning that the country's goodness is not reported.

In fact, the Argentinian hospital was part of a permanent program for helping Haitians, which was in place before the earthquake and continues to be in place many months after. There's a huge difference between this genuine goodness and the bogus, opportunistic Israeli goodness, which only shows during the short time that TV cameras focus on a catastrophee site. 

If Israel's rescue actions are not seen as the definitive proof of Israeli generosity it's perhaps because the media can distinguish a PR operation, however sophisticated, from true charity, which is manifested over months and years of quietly helping those in need, rather than in spectacular, but short-lived, rescue efforts whose foremost aim is to improve a country's image.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great comments, #1

Sometimes you read comments on blogs and online papers that you wish you had authored. I've decided to periodically report the most juicy ones, if only so that their authors will know that they haven't gone unnoticed.

Let's start with a comment the other day on Haaretz. But first a little context. A few weeks ago the Palestinian Authority freed five Hamas terrorists, or suspected terrorists, that had been imprisoned several months before. Right after their release, Israeli soldiers invaded the Hebron building where they were staying, went into the wrong apartment and killed a 65-year-old man, Amr Qawasme, apparently in his sleep. After the regrettable mistake, they proceeded to go down to the floor below, where the men they sought were in fact staying, and captured them.

The IDF published a report:

According to the IDF, one of the soldiers in the mission fired on Qawasme "following a suspicious movement that caused the soldier to feel that his life was threatened."

An investigation into the incident found that while this soldier fired "in accordance with IDF rules of engagement," a second soldier who followed the first one's lead and also began firing at Qawasme had acted "unprofessionally", and was thus discharged from his IDF service.

At least it can be said that the incident embarrassed a few Zionists before they could put their acts together. In the comments, the expectable knee-jerk reactions were immediately displayed:

65. What was the supposed "civilian" doing hosting a houseful of Hamas?

* Jasper - Milwaukee
* 20.01.11
* 17:26

Common sense would say there could be trouble.

This gentleman and others who subscribed to the same thesis apparently have some trouble making out the difference between a building and an apartment. The notion that the senior citizen was housing terrorists, however, immediately became a staple of the Zionist commentariat all over the blogosphere.

Another, more reflexive type of comment was:

57. IDF discharges soldier involved in Hamas raid which left Palestinian civilian dead

* Avi
* 20.01.11
* 12:42

Why don't you all give it a rest. When the US kills 40+ civilians in Afghanistan I don't see you complaining

Now there's a problematic aspect to this argument in that it makes an analogy between two situations that can't be compared. Israel controls virtually all movement within the West Bank and has an extensive network of informers that allow it to gather intelligence as to where any person is located at any given time, which is hardly the case with the coalition forces in Afghanistan. Moreover, the situation in the WB is not one of war in the same sense that the situation in Afghanistan is. In 2010, more than 700 coalition troops, including 500 US ones, were killed in Afghanistan. By comparison, Israeli soldiers are only killed in accidents and friendly fire. The Hamas terrorists were not an imminent threat and the operation in which they were captured was not the "messy war" situation in which collateral damage arises. War, as conducted by Israel in the West Bank, is anything but messy. The Israelis had all the elements to perform a pinpoint, if entirely illegal, operation. If they didn't, it was not because of messiness, but because of carelessness and utter disrespect for any life not Jewish.

Oh, yes, but I was going to quote a great comment. Here it is:

55. Hamas Just Completed Their Investigation of Suicide Bombers

* Doug
* 20.01.11
* 11:36

from 10 years ago. They have concluded that they only activated the bombs after there was suspicious movement by an Israeli, and that the bomber followed Hamas rules of engagement. However, one of the bombers acted unprofessionally and would have been dismissed had he not died in the bombing.

Cute, eh?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Close encounters of a nasty kind

Israel provides free medical care to Palestinians. Every year, [fill in with number] Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals, getting world-class attention, which proves Israel is no cruel occupier.You will have heard this Zionist claim a fairly large number of times.

For some reason, certain people seem to believe that you can't be bad unless you're absolutely bad. Unfortunately, they don't apply the same reasoning to the Palestinians, who are incurable Jew-haters even though they sent firefighters to help control a recent fire in Israel, or to the Cuban leaders, who are irrationally evil even after they offered to send some 1,600 medics, field hospitals and 83 tons of medical supplies to ease the humanitarian disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in the US.

But a recent JPost story provides a new angle to analyze Israel's kindness towards its occupied people (an obligation under international law, by the way) at its hospitals. Reports the daily:

Specialist helps Palestinian talk after 8 month silence

The ability to speak – lost eight months ago by a 21- year-old Palestinian allegedly from the emotional trauma of an encounter with security forces – has been restored by a clinical communications specialist at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center.

The humanitarian gesture was that of Pnina Erenthal, who has much experience in treating psychogenic aphonia.(...)

She finally found him and volunteered to treat his condition at Kaplan; approval for his entrance was granted by the authorities.(...)

Erenthal said she “took the weak voice and helped him build it into sentences and texts. The first thing he said was about the trauma he had suffered,” but she did not provide details.(...)

[The patient] said he was very excited by Erenthal’s initiative to restore his voice.

“I want to study industrial engineering and management in university, and now I hope I will be accepted. Thanks so much to Pnina – she is a dear woman – and to Kaplan Medical Center which arranged all the authorizations.”

So here we've got a caring Israeli doctor who helps restore a Palestinian's lost speech. OK. But notice how matter-of-factly the article mentions the reason the young man suffered from that condition in the first place. He was traumatized by an "encounter" with Israel's security forces (elsewhere we learn he was beaten by police after he was caught in Ashkelon, where he works, without a permit to be in Israel).

In the talkbacks, a reader moans:

3. This won't appear in Ha'aretz

* Author: Michael
* Country: Israel
* 01/11/2011 08:16

And you won't hear from Israel bashers like Ron in Fairfax, the Labrador Retriever, etc.

Leaving aside that it did appear in Haaretz, notice how oblivious the reader is to the fact that it was a (commendable) private citizen who took it upon herself to help out the young man, while it was the public forces of the State of Israel that traumatized him in an "encounter."

At most we can say that Israel still has individual persons who have the will and the scientific knowledge to correct the wrongs caused by the State with its security bodies.

Kudos to Dr. Pnina Erenthal for restoring a young Palestinian's speech. Shame on the Israeli police for beating him until they rendered him voiceless in the first place. Shame also on those who turn reality upside down by suggesting that it is a beautiful person's kindness what is representative of the State of Israel, and not the brutality daily exercised by its men in uniform.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

An awful lot of few bad apples

David Harris, the CEO of the American Jewish Congress, recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in which he concluded that, with all its shortcomings, Israel is a liberal cause and, all in all, a good country. This should come as no surprise to anyone as Mr. Harris gets paid to find that Israel is a good country, but the most interesting part was the lively debate that ensued in the talkback. Some of us explained why Israel is not so good a country, giving numerous counterexamples. Basically, we argued that a country with the level of racism tolerated in Israel does not belong in the liberal democratic family. We were met with a lot of denial from the Zionist commentariat.

One problem with brainwashed Zionists is that they are programmed to deny everything, when a smarter approach would be to concede a few points before challenging their adversaries' theses. So that when you confront them with incontestable evidence, they always display the same kneejerk, instinctive reactions. Over the time it becomes tiresome. So here I'm presenting a few preemptive rebuttals to their also prepackaged talking points. (My blogging consists mostly of preparing materials ready for copy-pasting so that I won't have to spend so much time writing responses when confronting the Zios on the web.)

1) It's a few bad apples.

This argument sometimes works for two reasons. First, people have short memories. After all, who among us could name the ethnic groups involved in the Rwandan genocide, and who killed who? (It was the Hutus killing the Tutsis.) When someone commits an act of racism in Israel, the reader of the story usually has already forgotten that last month, last week or the day before yesterday a similar act was carried out by other Israeli Jews. Second, there's a racist idea lingering in Western educated circles that the Jews are particularly moral or good, and if some behave bad they must necessarily be exceptions.

Looks like not, however. In the last few weeks, a stunning number of anti-Arab racist incidents took place in Israel, such as:

  • On 17 Oct 2010, rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a senior Sephardic religious figure and leader of the Shas party, declared that “Goyim (i.e. Gentiles) were born only to serve us (i.e. Jews). Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel.”
  • On 31 Oct 2010, a Jewish mob gathered outside of an Arab students' residence in Safed, chanted "death to the Arabs," hurled rocks and bottles at the building, shattering glass, and fired a shot at the building before dissassembling. If Jewish students had been thus treated elsewhere in the world, we would be talking of a Kristallnacht.
  • On 7 Dec 2010, a group of 50 state-paid rabbis signed a letter instructing Orthodox Jews not to rent or sell houses to non-Jews. The letter was later endorsed by some 250 other Jewish religious figures. In a move reminiscent of darker places and times, a hotline was opened for denouncing those Jews who did intend to rent out to Arabs.
  • On 12 Dec 2010, the rabbis of the Israeli Jewish city of Rosh Ha-Ayin, including the chief rabbi, declared a ban on hiring Arabs at stores which employ Jewish girls.
  • On 19 Dec 2010, a demonstration was held in Bat Yam, close to Tel Aviv, against the "assimilation of young Jewish women with Arabs living in the city or in nearby Jaffa." One of the organizers, Bentzi Gufstein, declared that "the public is tired of so many Arabs going out with Jewish girls." One of the protestors called out, "Any Jewish woman who goes with an Arab should be killed; any Jew who sells his home to an Arab should be killed."
  • On 20 Dec 2010, a group of five Arabs, including a Druze IDF veteran, were driven from an apartment in Tel Aviv after their landlady was threatened with the torching of her house if she continued to rent out to Arabs.
  • On 21 Dec 2010, a gang of Jewish youths was arrested in Jerusalem after carrying out a large number of attacks on Arabs. A girl aged 14 would lure Arab men to the Independence Park, where they were savagely attacked with stones and bottles and severely beaten. The teens confessed to nationalistic motives.
  • On 27 Dec 2010, the wives of 27 top rabbis signed another letter calling on Jewish girls to stay away from Arab men. Echoing the "they want to take our girls" theme so common in supremacist societies, the document went: "there are quite a few Arab workers who use Hebrew names. (...) Don't date them, don't work where they work and don't perform National Service with them."

So that if indeed the perpetrators of such acts of hate can be described as a few bad apples, it's certainly an awful lot of few bad apples.

2)  Like any other democracy, Israel has its problems.

It is true that Israel has its problems and other democracies also have their problems, but it is wrong to convey the idea that both sets of problems are remotely comparable. As I commented on The Huffington Post:

Harris makes two comparison­s. First, he compares Israel with other surroundin­g countries, and concludes that Israel is far better. No problem with that.

But then he compares Israel to "every democratic­, liberal and peace-seek­ing country" that he knows, and says that Israel is imperfect to the same extent that those other countries are. That is nonsense.

Take, for instance, Britain. In Britain you don't see 36 State-paid Anglican bishops signing a letter calling on Anglicans not to rent out apartments to Jews. You don't see an MP stating that intermarri­age between Anglican women and Jewish men is dangerous for the women. You don't see the Housing Minister stating that the Jewish and Anglican population­s should not mix. You don't see Anglicans hurling bottles and bricks at a building where Jewish students live while chanting "death to the Jews."

If anything remotely close to that were allowed in Britain, the country would be expelled from the EU and NATO and the US would sever ties with it. In Israel, on the other hand, such racism is allowed and encouraged by the government (please note that it's a Likud MK who's proposing a Knesset meeting to prevent intermarri­age).

Israel has a problem of totalitarian supremacism entrenched in political parties that form part of the governing coalition. Nowhere else in the developed democratic world can anything similar be found.

3) It's not racism -- Judaism isn't a race.

This argument takes advantage of the public's insufficient awareness of what the word "race" means, as we have explained elsewhere. But Israeli politicians are not afraid of calling it racism. As the Jerusalem Post reported:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday spoke out strongly against a letter signed by 27 rabbis' wives, which called on Jewish women not to date Arab men. He also had harsh words for a petition signed by municipal rabbis calling on Jews not to rent property to non-Jews.

Both letters, Barak said, are "part of a wave of racism, which threatens to carry Israeli society away to dark and dangerous places."

Anyone describing the latest events in Israel as anything less than racism is, thus, just one more instance of being more Catholic than the Israeli pope.

4) The haters have been roundly condemned by the society, and they're already being sought by the police.

If only.

No one is saying Israeli Jews are not aware of the image problem created by the racism that pervades their society, and of the need to do something about it. It's called damage control. Thus we have the lame condemnations made by politicians and journalists, but which never end up in those who incite to hate being arrested. Actions speak louder than words, especially when it's state-paid rabbis who promote hate. At the very least, they could be dropped from the payroll. Yet, according to the Jerusalem Post, "No legal or disciplinary action has been taken against the nearly 50 municipal rabbis who recently issued an edict against renting or selling real-estate to non-Jews in Israel." As The Guardian's Mya Guarnieri aptly put it when kicking ass on a rabidly Zionist site:

Again, as I said in the comments section of CIF, you seem to be confused between words and action. Everyone can condemn all they want but that doesn’t mean anything if the state doesn’t lift a finger.

This, of course, may have to do with a large proportion of the constituency (a staggering 44% of Israeli Jews) supporting the rabbis' ban on rentals to Arabs.

5) It's just freedom of expression being exercised.

When everything else has failed, Israeli Jewish racism will be explained away as an instance, or many instances in this case, of free speech being exercised.

Of course, there's an asymmetry in the freedom accorded by Zionists to people who want to speak. If it's a rabbi saying that Gentiles were born to serve the Jews -- yes; if it's a British Foreign Office employee saying "fucking Jews, fucking Israelis" -- no.

It would be good for them to remember that Israel does not grant unlimited freedom of speech to its population, and that there are laws against incitement to hate that could very well be applied to the rabbis who sign weird letters if the country were the democratic paragon it's purported to be.