vrijdag 21 september 2012

Wie zijn de Joodse vluchtelingen?

Ik vraag me af of mensen, zoals hieronder gesteld, per internationaal recht vluchtelingen zijn als de Hoge Commissaris voor de Vluchtelingen ze als vluchteling aanmerkt, maar het kan als ondersteunend argument geen kwaad lijkt me.
Veel Joden uit met name Egypte zijn overigens verbannen. Bannelingen worden gemakshalve vaak als vluchtelingen gerekend, maar het woord vluchteling suggereert nog iets van een keus of eigen aktie: weg gaan of (het risico nemen) onderdrukt, opgesloten of vermoord te worden. Israel Bonan bijvoorbeeld werd tijdens de Zesdaagse Oorlog gearresteerd en opgesloten en toen op een boot naar Kreta gezet.
Eén van de dingen die ik 'de linkse beweging' het meest kwalijk neem is hun selectieve en hypocriete opstelling betreffende de vluchtelingen: de kwestie van de Joodse vluchtelingen uit Arabische landen wordt genegeerd of zelfs ontkend, en de schandelijke behandeling van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen door hun Arabische buren wordt vergoeilijkt.

Who are the Jewish refugees?



09/04/2012 22:14

Under international law, Jews displaced from Arab countries were indeed bona fide refugees, subject to full UN protection

I refer to the Sept. 1, 2012 article in The Jerusalem Postentitled "PLO's Ashrawi: No such Thing as Jewish Refugees." Ahrawi states that the "claim that Jews who emigrated to Israel…are 'refugees' …is a form of deception and delusion." In fact, in asserting so, it is Ashrawi who is guilty of deception and delusion.

By contending that "If Israel is their homeland, then they are not 'refugees'" she betrays her ignorance of international law and Middle East history.

She is obviously not aware of, or has chosen to ignore the fact, that on two occasions, in 1957 and again in 1967, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) determined that Jews fleeing from Arab countries were legally refugees who fell within the mandate of the UNHCR.

In the first instance, referring to Jews displaced from Egypt, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Auguste Lindt, in his Report to the UNREF Executive Committee's Fourth Session (Geneva 29 January to 4 February, 1957) announced that: "Another emergency problem is now arising: that of refugees from Egypt. There is no doubt in my mind that those refugees from Egypt who are not able, or not willing to avail themselves of the protection of the Government of their nationality fall under the mandate of my office."

The second reference to Jews from Arab countries as refugees was discovered in a July 6, 1967 letter from Dr. E. Jahn, of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees which confirms: "I refer to our recent discussion concerning Jews from Middle Eastern and North African countries in consequence of recent events. I am now able to inform you that such persons may be considered prima facie within the mandate of this Office."

Therefore, under international law, Jews displaced from these Arab countries were indeed bona fide refugees, subject to the full protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Ashrawi compounds her deception by claiming that "Jews were not singled out…The emigration of Jews was a voluntary act." In fact, Jews were specifically singled out in many decrees enacted by numerous Arab regimes which stripped Jews of their citizenship, and deprived them of civil and human rights. By way of example: On March 9, 1950, the Official Iraqi Gazette published Law No. 1 of 1950, entitled "Supplement to Ordinance Cancelling Iraqi Nationality," which was enacted to deprive Jews of their Iraqi nationality. Section 1 stipulated that "the Council of Ministers may cancel the Iraqi nationality of the Iraqi Jew who willingly desires to leave Iraq," a decree singling out Jews.

The first Nationality Code, Article 10(4), promulgated by Egypt on May 26, 1926, established that a person born in Egypt of a "foreign" father was entitled to Egyptian nationality only if the foreign father "belonged racially to the majority of the population of a country whose language is Arabic or whose religion is Islam." The requirement operated against Jews in Egypt, a great proportion of whom could therefore not acquire Egyptian nationality. Later, during the fifties, having failed to become "Egyptian," this provision served as the official pretext for expelling many Jews from Egypt.

On Aug 8th 1962, the Council of Ministers announced a Royal Decree which provided that a Libyan national forfeited his nationality if he had had any contact with Zionism, defined as any person deemed to have acted "morally or materially in favor of Israel interests." The vague language enabled the authorities to deprive Jews of Libyan nationality at will. It is true that many Jews displaced from Arab countries did immigrate to Israel to fulfill the Zionist dream of returning to the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. However, Ashrawi ignores the fact that of the estimated 856,000 Jews displaced from Arab countries, some two-thirds emigrated to Israel, while roughly one-third - or 285,000 Jews - sought a safe haven in countries other than Israel. Zionism played no role in their departure and many would have preferred to stay.

Jews have lived in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf Region for over 2,500 years – 1,000 years before the birth of Islam. In the twentieth century, all were caught in a "push-pull" scenario. Due to longstanding and mounting persecution, Jews in most Arab countries realized that there was no long term future for them and their families in their countries of birth - the push theory. In deciding where to go, for many, the pull theory was paramount - resettle in the Jewish homeland in Israel. However, whether Jews displaced from Arab countries resettled in Israel or elsewhere, they were still considered by the UNHCR, under international law, to be refugees.

Asrawi is being disingenuous in expressing the hope that Jews would be allowed to return to Arab countries. She knows well that there are no democratic Arab regimes that respect pluralism.Does she expect Jews to return to Arab countries where anti-Semitism is rampant and Jews, at best, would return to the second-class status of dhimmis (non-Muslim subjects of a Muslim state)? Ashrawi is correct in drawing a distinction between Arab and Jewish refugees. Indeed, there is a fundamental distinction between the two narratives.

Israel, opened her doors to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, granted them citizenship, and tried, under very difficult circumstances, to absorb them into Israeli society.

By contrast, the Arab world, with the sole exception of Jordan, turned their backs on displaced Palestinian Arabs.

The writer is the Executive Vice President of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.


donderdag 20 september 2012

Regering Israel verliest langzaam goodwill bij commentatoren in de VS

Onder Olmert deed Israel serieuze pogingen om tot een vredesakkoord met de Palestijnen te komen, maar Netanyahu kost het zichtbaar moeite om zelfs maar de schijn op te houden echt in te zijn voor een tweestatenoplossing. Ook gematigde commentatoren in de VS beginnen hun geduld te verliezen en dringen aan op initiatieven van de Israelische regering om weer een vredesproces op gang te krijgen. Een van de belangrijkste punten is om eindelijk het nederzettingenavontuur een halt toe te roepen...


Israel is losing the battle for public opinion in America


U.S. commentators are talking more loudly in the media about Israel's failure to engage with a two-state peace process – which could leave Israel out in the cold when it comes to fateful decisions on Iran as well as disconnecting Israel itself from a democratic future.

By Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie | Aug.06, 2012 | 2:25 PM

The government of Israel wants to talk about Iran, but a lot of people did not get the memo.

For an important group of public intellectuals, the occupation of the West Bank is becoming more rather than less important. And we are not talking here about the usual cast of anti-Israel characters, but of mainstream journalists, scholars, and opinion makers – those who write in middle-of-the-road, general publications with a broad readership.

Something is happening—a turning point, I suspect. No matter how much Israel’s leaders want to change the subject, it’s not working.

Exhibit A, of course, is New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, whose already-famous column of August 1 ripped into Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel and, in the process, castigated Israel for its building of settlements and its less-than-aggressive advocacy for a two-state solution. Friedman has made these arguments before, although rarely with such vehemence. In the last week, efforts have been made yet again to dismiss Friedman as an Israel hater, and yet again, they have failed; Friedman is a centrist, a moderate, and, by the way, the most important foreign policy columnist in the world.

But especially interesting are the many other voices, silent until now, that are suddenly being heard. Jonathan Tepperman, the Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs, wrote in the Atlantic Monthly in August that Israel’s case against Iran would be immeasurably strengthened by taking the initiative to diminish its presence in the West Bank. Alan Dershowitz, a ferocious and admirable defender of Israel who rarely addresses settlement issues except in passing, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in June that Israel’s leaders, under certain conditions, needed to consider a settlement freeze. And Alan Wolfe, of Boston College and The New Republic, a political scientist and brilliant observer of American religious life, wrote a few months ago in The Chronicle of Higher Education about his personal struggles with Israel and his rejection of leftist anti-Israel critiques, while sharply criticizing the lack of energy on Israel’s part to advance a two-state plan.

These voices are very far from identical; I have had my disagreements with all of them and with Wolfe especially. But the point is that we are now seeing, even as the threat from Iran escalates, a broad spectrum of respectable, pro-Israel opinion that is emphatically suggesting the need, right now, for some movement by Israel on the Palestinian issue. And it is not idealistic dreaming; every one of these voices talks about the poisonous nature of Palestinian politics and makes clear that the failure to achieve peace cannot be placed primarily at Israel’s door.

Why are we hearing these voices at this moment? I am not entirely sure.
It has to do, I suspect, with the cumulative impact of a 45 year occupation; with the fundamental illogic of Israel’s government calling for a two-state solution and then building settlements in a way that makes such a solution far less likely; and with the sense that Israel’s moral standing is being gradually eroded and that this is a tragedy. But this too: They know that Israel must be seen at all times as aggressively pursuing peace, and fairly or otherwise, that is not the case now.

Interestingly, these voices have been given additional weight by Dani Dayan, the chairman of the Yesha Council, the primary arm of Israel’s settler movement. The settlers are an in-your-face movement in Israel, but generally have kept a low profile in America. But Dayan decided to proclaim for all to see the vision of the future that the settlers hold. Writing in the New York Times recently, he announced that the two-state solution is dead, that it must be declared dead, and that what the settlers want is for the status quo to continue in exactly its current form. The word democracy was never mentioned.

Dayan cannot be dismissed as a marginal voice. He is the official representative of a movement that is warmly embraced by much of Israel’s current government. To all who, for years, have asked about the endgame of the settlers, we now have the answer: It is to build more settlements so as to keep things in the West Bank as they are and to formally reject the two-state solution that has been the heart of American foreign policy for decades. And it is to insist that in talking about the future, one need never mention democracy or the needs of the Palestinians.

In light of all this, the voices of the critics seem not only eminently reasonable but welcome. And it is essential that these voices be listened to. No matter who wins the election in November, Israel cannot afford to lose the support of the sensible center; that is the territory that most Americans inhabit and that sets the tone for American political discourse.

And the best way to keep that support, of course, is to disavow Dayan’s extremist views, restrict settlements to the major blocs, and make it clear that Israel’s leaders have no higher priority than keeping their country both Jewish and democratic.


Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie served as President of the Union for Reform Judaism from 1996 to 2012. He is now a writer, lecturer, and teacher, and lives with his family in Westfield, New Jersey.


Mitt Romney over de Palestijnse vredeswil

Op een besloten bijeenkomst voor sponsors van zijn verkiezingscampagne liet Mitt Romney zich nogal negatief uit over democratische kiezers, en dit kwam via een verborgen camera naar buiten. Het haalde ook ons journaal, en deze uitgelekte uitspraken zouden hem de verkiezingszege kunnen kosten. NOS op 3 meldde tevens dat hij zich ook over de Palestijnen negatief en generaliserend had uitgelaten: de Palestijnen willen geen vrede en zijn uit op de vernietiging van Israel. In de VS zullen deze uitspraken hem minder in de problemen brengen, want een overgrote meerderheid van de Amerikanen staat nog steeds aan de kant van Israel en de meesten zijn waarschijnlijk eveneens sceptisch over de Palestijnen en de kansen op vrede met hen. De officiele Amerikaanse positie is echter voor een tweestatenoplossing, en de VS trekt graag de rol van bemiddelaar en vredestichter naar zich toe. Mocht hij alsnog winnen van Obama, dan lijkt het uitgesloten dat president Romney als geloofwaardige bemiddelaar kan optreden.
Obama heeft overigens een vergelijkbaar probleem aan de andere kant: sinds hij president is heeft hij Israel niet meer bezocht maar wel Egypte en Saudi-Arabie en diverse andere moslimlanden, heeft hij duidelijke handreikingen naar de islamitische wereld gedaan (deels om de door Bush aangerichte schade te herstellen) en vooral Israel sterk bekritiseert en concessies geëist, en tot overmaat van ramp lekte vorig jaar een conversatie uit waarin Sarkozy had gezegd Netanyahu zat te zijn en hem een leugenaar te vinden, en suggereerde Obama het daarmee eens te zijn. Voor zijn verkiezing was door rechts al een lastercampagne begonnen over zijn deels islamitische achtergrond en vermeende moslimgeloof (naast andere onder-de-gordel verdachtmakingen), wat hij met dit ongebalanceerde en onhandige optreden niet bepaald heeft kunnen logenstraffen.
De Palestijnse woordvoerders reageerden uiteraard gepikeerd op Romney's uitlatingen, maar Elder of Ziyon merkt terecht op:
The PLO and the PA has consistently and adamantly refused to accept the formulation of "two states for two peoples."
Een tweestatenoplossing kan alleen werken als het gaat op "twee staten voor twee volken", maar de Palestijnen krijgen de term "Joodse staat" maar steeds niet over hun lippen.


Who's right, Romney or the PLO?



Over the past couple of days, Mitt Romney was slammed for saying, among other things:

I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I've had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? Some might say, well, let's let the Palestinians have the West Bank, and have security, and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions. And I don't have a map here to look at the geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv, which is the financial capital, the industrial capital of Israel, the center of Israel. It's—what the border would be? Maybe seven miles from Tel Aviv to what would be the West Bank…The other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point, or Jordan. And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did near Gaza. Which is that the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armament into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel. So Israel of course would have to say, "That can't happen. We've got to keep the Iranians from bringing weaponry into the West Bank." Well, that means that—who? The Israelis are going to patrol the border between Jordan, Syria, and this new Palestinian nation? Well, the Palestinians would say, "Uh, no way! We're an independent country. You can't, you know, guard our border with other Arab nations." And now how about the airport? How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we gonna allow military aircraft to come in and weaponry to come in? And if not, who's going to keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are gonna say, "We're not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land in our airport." These are problems—these are very hard to solve, all right? And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way." And so what you do is you say, "You move things along the best way you can." You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently.

Outside of Romney's idea that the West Bank borders Syria, and a little oversimplification, this is pretty accurate. Even under the most rosy scenarios, the chances that a Palestinian Arab state would end up being controlled by Iranian proxies within a couple of years is unacceptably high. After all, Hamas did win the last elections, and Gaza today could easily be the West Bank tomorrow.

But here was the reaction from the PLO's envoy to the US:

"The leaked statements by the Republican presidential nominee once again show complete ignorance of facts and realities regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Maen Areikat said in a statement. 
"Romney's allegations that Palestinians are committed to the destruction of Israel are baseless given the fact that Palestinians have expressed support for the two-state solution, and repeatedly recognized Israel's right to exist."

And here is what Saeb Erekat said:

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Tuesday that comments by US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that the Palestinians did not want peace were "absolutely unacceptable." 

"We consider these statements absolutely unacceptable," he told AFP.
"No one has an interest in peace more than the Palestinian people, because peace for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian leadership means freedom and independence from the Israeli occupation," Erakat said.

So let's look at the numbers.

The latest PSR poll for which we have the full results, from June 2012, shows that 49% of Palestinian Arabs oppose a two-state solution.

The last Bir Zeit poll (from 2007) showed that 67.5% of those polled preferred a solution where Israel is destroyed. 

In the latest PCPO poll from February only 15% supported peace negotiations, as opposed to an imposed solution or a new intifada.

And The Israel Project poll last year showed that the vast majority of those who said they wanted a two-state solution wanted it as a stage to take over all of the area and destroy Israel. 

Of course, you can look at this video and see how many Palestinian Arab organizations show their desire for a two-state solution

On balance, it seems that Romney's off-the-cuff remarks reflect reality more than the outraged soundbites of the PLO's official liars.

But what about the official position of the PLO itself? Surely it supports two states, right?

Well, yes - as long as both states are Arab-majority.

The PLO and the PA has consistently and adamantly refused to accept the formulation of "two states for two peoples." They want "Palestine" to be allowed to ethnically cleanse some half million Jews from its borders, while insisting that Israel must accept millions of Arabs as full citizens in the 1949 armistice lines. I've documented this exhaustively.

Erekat and Areikat are feigning offense at being told what they in fact believe themselves. But if you don't believe me, just find a reporter to ask them the question plainly: do you support two states for two peoples? We know what the answer would be. 


(By the way, since Romney's leaked remarks are so newsworthy, when are we ever going to see the videotape of Obama's 2003 remarks at the dinner honoring Rashid Khalidi? Why is one off-the-record video leaked and the other one purposefully buried by the media? What is the line between good journalism and partisanship?)


woensdag 19 september 2012

De Arabische woede over de Mohammed film (IMO Blog)



IMO Blog, 2012

De Arabische wereld is weer eens boos, en niet zo'n beetje ook. Commentatoren op TV zoals Bertus Hendriks, Sander van Hoorn en Hassnae Bouazza benadrukken steeds weer dat het maar om een heel kleine groep gaat die zijn woede op straat bekoelt en de Amerikanen verwenst, maar feit is dat nu al een week lang dagelijks vele duizenden mensen de straat op gaan, en een nog veel groter aantal die sentimenten deelt. Wanneer in Nederland dagelijks duizenden mensen de straat op gaan om te protesteren tegen de bezuinigingen of de Euro, zou dat ook terecht als een massa protest worden uitgelegd, al zit de overgrote meerderheid gewoon thuis. Zo werkt dat nou eenmaal met protesten en demonstraties, maar dit argument wordt altijd nogal selectief gebruikt door mensen die bepaalde protesten willen bagatelliseren.

Bouazza benadrukte ook dat er veel tegenprotesten waren, maar ja, die krijgen geen aandacht want ze passen niet in het beeld dat de media heeft. Kan zijn, en deze mensen en protesten verdienen zeker aandacht en steun, maar het neemt niet weg dat de boze moslims die zich weer eens gekrenkt voelen de boventoon voeren. Voor veel moslims is het nog steeds onbestaanbaar dat er ook mensen zijn die hun geloof maar niks vinden en die afkeuring ook uiten. Laat duidelijk zijn dat de film walgelijk is, maar in een wereld waar iedereen alles op internet kan zetten is het niet echt realistisch te verwachten dat jouw geloof of overtuiging nooit wordt beledigd.

Er staat veel walgelijks op internet, en het is zeker niet verkeerd daar aandacht voor te vragen en Google, Facebook en YouTube op te roepen extremistische en haatzaaiende zaken te verwijderen. Maar dat doe je niet door ambassadeurs en andere westerlingen in de Arabische wereld te bedreigen en vermoorden. Het is sowieso absurd om het Westen verantwoordelijk te houden voor een film van een paar extremisten, die zelf deels uit het Midden-Oosten komen.

Ik heb me onlangs behoorlijk geërgerd aan een aantal antisemitische uitlatingen op een Facebookgroep. Een Nederlandse groep, aangemaakt door een organisatie van kritische Israeli's in Nederland (Gate 48), vanwege een serieus evenement waaraan diverse politici deelnamen (verkiezingsdebat). De admins lieten het staan, anderen praatten het goed en pas toen men door kreeg dat er mensen 'mee bezig waren' werd opeens alles verwijderd.

Ondertussen is het natuurlijk behoorlijk krom dat juist de mensen die zelf zo boos zijn als hun religie wordt beledigd vaak geen enkel respect kunnen opbrengen voor het jodendom en christendom. Met name Joden worden in de Arabische wereld voortdurend beledigd en zwart gemaakt, de Holocaust wordt ontkend, en deze antisemitische propaganda heeft veel overeenkomsten met de nazi-propaganda uit de jaren '30. De Protocollen van de Wijzen van Zion en Mein Kampf zijn in veel landen bestsellers en liggen open in de schappen van boekwinkels.

Uit het opinieartikel hieronder:

Another reason is what is referred to as the frustrating "cognitive dissonance" Muslims all over the world have been experiencing for the past 200 years or so. On the one hand they are taught from birth that Islam is a source of greatness and achievements in all fields – as was the case during the religion's golden age. On the other hand, the frustrating reality is that despite their oil reserves, the Muslims cannot integrate into the modern world and succeed in it. They are having trouble feeding their children when the heretics in the West boast unimaginable achievements in every field. According to Professor Dan Schueftan, all this creates feelings of insecurity, inferiority and sensitivity to any insult to the Arab honor – be it real or fictitious.

Veel moslims hebben de plaats die zij in de moderne wereld hebben, naast andere religies en overtuigingen, nog niet echt geaccepteerd. In een wereld zonder TV en internet kun je makkelijker blijven geloven dat jouw geloof en jouw clan geweldig is, zonder te weten hoe men het er elders vanaf brengt. Nu dat niet meer mogelijk is, en tegelijkertijd de Arabische wereld het in een aantal opzichten nogal slecht doet, roept dat gevoelens van wrok, rancune en gekrenkte eer op. En daar houdt men het Westen voor verantwoordelijk.

De gematigde moslims die zich kritisch opstellen verdienen onze volle steun, en daarbij moeten we dus een duidelijk onderscheid maken tussen hen en de extremere moslims die de boventoon voeren. Enig begrip voor de gevoelens van hen die zich gekrenkt voelen kan helpen, maar het gaat te ver wanneer Westerse landen en politici zich collectief gaan verontschuldigen voor iets waar zij niet verantwoordelijk voor zijn, terwijl de Arabische en islamitische landen wel actief antisemitische propaganda verspreiden. Ook in de VN moeten we onze poot wat dat betreft stijf houden, en niet accepteren dat de vrijheid van meningsuiting wordt ingeperkt en alle aandacht eenzijdig naar anti-islam uitingen gaat.

Ratna Pelle

Arabs sense weakness


Analysis: Lack of serious American threat encourages Muslim rioters

Ron Ben-Yishai / Published: 09.18.12, 13:54 / Israel Opinion

The wave of anti-West riots that is sweeping through the Muslim world will gradually subside, mostly because the regimes in Muslim countries, from Indonesia to Algeria, realize that this wave threatens them more than it does the West.

This is why they have regained their composure and have begun taking measures to curb the riots: Access to western diplomatic missions has been blocked; large forces have been deployed in sensitive areas; and clerics, as well as Islamist politicians are urging the public to respect foreigners.

When the riots erupted after the anti-Islam film was posted on YouTube with Arabic subtitles, the regimes in the Muslim countries displayed sympathy and understanding with the rage and violence of the masses, and they refrained from taking any measures to protect the US, British and German embassies. The street sensed that it had the government's support and went wild.

Now the moderate Islamist leaders, including Egypt's Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, are taking action because they realize that this wave threatens them as well.

The riots erupted, among other things, due to genuine rage in the Arab world over the movie, which was justifiably viewed as an intentional insult to the prophet Mohammed and an attempt to tarnish Islam's image. Every Islamic child is taught that the prophet and the Quran are sacred, so any attack on them, such as the Coptic film, stirs among Muslims a sense of an almost existential threat, as well as fear and frustration. All of these feelings were expressed in an outbreak of rage and violence.

Another reason is what is referred to as the frustrating "cognitive dissonance" Muslims all over the world have been experiencing for the past 200 years or so. On the one hand they are taught from birth that Islam is a source of greatness and achievements in all fields – as was the case during the religion's golden age. On the other hand, the frustrating reality is that despite their oil reserves, the Muslims cannot integrate into the modern world and succeed in it. They are having trouble feeding their children when the heretics in the West boast unimaginable achievements in every field. According to Professor Dan Schueftan, all this creates feelings of insecurity, inferiority and sensitivity to any insult to the Arab honor – be it real or fictitious.

The third reason relates to the situation created as a result of the turmoil in the Arab world. Suddenly, the street became a dominant factor that imposes its will on the new Arab regimes, which are cautious not to anger it for fear they will meet a fate similar to, let's say, Mubarak's. This is apparent in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Jordan and even in the Palestinian Authority. If in the past the Arab dictatorships imposed their will on the people by way of draconian coercion and enforcement, today, in the aftermath of the revolutions, the Arab street imposes its will on the regimes. The regimes in Egypt, Libya and Yemen went as far as justifying the rage and violence of the masses in response to the anti-Islam film.

Organized and armed terror groups inspired by global jihad and the Salafi movement took advantage of the chaotic situation created by the riots. It happened in Libya last Tuesday, and then in Sinai and Afghanistan. Over the past two years these groups, which consistently fight the West, the US and the secular Arab regimes have amassed weapons and power mainly because the regimes that once limited their activity are no longer. Now they are threatening the moderate Islamist regimes, which are aware of this threat and have begun to act.

The fifth cause of the Muslim riots is the weak response from the West and the US Administration in particular. The statement from the White House and State Department, which was adopted by German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, condemned the insult to the Muslim religion's values and also said, in very soft rhetoric, that there is "no justification for this kind of senseless violence."

Such a statement may be taken seriously in London or Berlin, but in the Muslim world it was interpreted as an admission of guilt by the US, which, from the Muslims' perspective, legitimizes violence. The lack of a threat allowed the masses to go wild.

Despite the Obama Administration's mistakes, including extremely lax security at the US Consulate in Libya and the appeasing, almost Chamberlain-esque response to the violence, it is not too late to rectify the situation. Experience has shown that the US can still apply effective pressure on the new Arab regimes, including the Islamist ones, which are in need of Washington's aid. There is already an indication that the White House's policy is moving in this direction.

Another option is to boost US military presence (in the air and on the ground) near or right above the sensitive zones and have Marines secure the diplomatic missions. Such measures have been proven to have a moderating effect on incited masses.

dinsdag 18 september 2012

PLO verwijt de ketel dat hij zwart ziet


Saeb Erekat, onderhandelaar namens de PLO maar ook bekend vanwege zijn flexibele omgang met de waarheid, beweert dat de Israelische bezetting een belangrijke bron is van het geweld en de chaos in het Midden-Oosten. Hij veroordeelde uiteraard ook de film:

"All abuses and attempts against Islam cannot be justified by freedom of expression. The real names for such abuses and attacks are 'racist,' 'terrorist,' and 'fascist,'" Erekat said.

Maar waarom zou deze film, hoe smakeloos en vooral amateuristisch ook, niet onder de vrijheid van meningsuiting vallen? Daarbij is Erekat meer dan hypocriet, want in de door zijn PA gecontroleerde media worden Joden en Israeli’s ook voortdurend gedemoniseerd en beledigd en de Joodse religie zwart gemaakt. Als Erekat zo tegen aanvallen op mensen hun religie is, waarom stopt men daar dan niet mee? Daarbij is het grote verschil dat de anti-islam film door een enkeling is gemaakt en op het internet gezet, terwijl de antisemitische haatpropaganda door veel Arabische en islamitische landen wordt gesteund. Daarom is het moeilijk de gevoelens van woede en gegriefd zijn bij moslims uit die landen werkelijk serieus te nemen. 





PLO whines it is not the center of attention in the West



The Muslim world is engaging in deadly riots against Western targets, and the PLO is jealous that the media is not focused on them - and only them:



PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat met on Thursday with ambassadors from Europe, the US and Japan on the 19th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords. 

Erekat said Israel had been occupying Palestine since 1967, "and this is considered an offense to humanity. Israeli authorities have signed many agreements, and never committed to them."

In a statement, he called the occupation a main source of violence and chaos in the Mideast.


Yup. All the rioters in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and elsewhere are really upset over - the "occupation."

But Erekat did talk about the idiotic Mohammed video, in typically bombastic terms:


Separately, Erekat addressed the growing outrage over an anti-Muslim video clip apparently produced in the United States. 

"All abuses and attempts against Islam cannot be justified by freedom of expression. The real names for such abuses and attacks are 'racist,' 'terrorist,' and 'fascist,'" Erekat said.

Now, which is worse: a stupid video no one saw until Muslims broadcast it on their TV, or the now-daily explicit anti-semitism and incitement in the Arab media that are read by hundreds of thousands?

And why is it that not a single Western journalist is smart enough to ask Erekat the liar such a simple question?


Juist de Joden zouden beter moeten weten...


Waarom het ‘juist de Joden zouden beter moeten weten en zoiets niet moeten doen’ argument niet klopt en ook bijzonder hypocriet is. We moeten allemaal van de geschiedenis leren, maar is het niet ietwat vreemd dat de kinderen van de daders tegen de kinderen van de slachtoffers zeggen dat ze lessen uit de geschiedenis moeten trekken en zich extra voorbeeldig moeten gedragen?

Let us strip the “they-of-all-people” argument down to its very basics: gentiles telling Jews that we killed six million of your people and that as a result it is you, not us, who have lessons to learn; that it is you, not us, who need to clean up your act. It is an argument of atrocious, spiteful insanity. Do not accept it; turn it back on those who offer it. For it is us, not you, who should know better.





By: Chas Newkey-Burden   On: 27 July 2012

As one who advocates formally and informally for Israel, I have heard the full gamut of misconceptions and slanders that are aired by those opposed to the Jewish state. Over time, my skin has thickened; people can throw whatever baloney they want my way.

Except… there is still one anti-Israel argument that makes my jaw drop. And it is one that is made with unfortunate frequency. It is the “they-of-all-people” argument: the suggestion that the Jews, having faced extraordinary persecution, should know better than anyone not to be oppressors.

Put aside for a moment that the “oppression” which proponents of this argument are accusing Israel of committing is usually imaginary. When directed by gentiles towards Jews, the “they-of-all-people” argument is in its very essence so fundamentally ill-judged and unjust, and voiced with such a breathtaking lack of self-awareness, that my spirit flags when I hear it.

Where to begin in response? The heroic Howard Jacobson made a fine start when he proposed that “they of all people” is the natural successor of Holocaust denial. He wrote that the argument leaves the Jewish people doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to elevated moral scrutiny as a result of it.

I agree, and I would go further. I contend that, as a result of the Holocaust and what preceded it, it is we gentiles who should know better. The Holocaust followed centuries of slander, persecution, violence and murder committed by gentiles against Jews. So it is not you who have an increased responsibility to behave morally, but us.

For instance, something that we gentiles should know better than to do is lazily accuse Jewish people, or the Jewish state itself, of any misdemeanour. We have seen what centuries of slander against the Jewish people led to during the 1930s and ’40s. We see the hatred, heartbreak and bloodshed that such anti-Jewish libels continue to provoke, particularly in the Middle East.

Yet much of the world still continues to delight in damning Israel with indecent haste. From Al Dura (the false claim that Israeli forces murdered a boy in Gaza) to Jenin, from the Goldstone Report to the Gaza flotilla; time and again the world has found Israel guilty of a particular crime before all the evidence was available. When the full picture emerged and exonerated Israel it was too late to undo the damage. We gentiles, of all people, should know better.

It is also us, of all people, who should know better than to expect Israel to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat alone.

The world’s ceremonies and gestures of regret over what happened in the Holocaust would carry an increased weight of sincerity were they to be matched with robust support for Israel as the countdown to a nuclear-armed Iran, whose leader denies the Holocaust while promising to commit a second one by wiping out the Jewish state, continues.

World leaders should be sincerely standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel’s government as it decides what to do, not dawdling on the sidelines, waiting to wag their collective, condescending finger yet again.

Let us strip the “they-of-all-people” argument down to its very basics: gentiles telling Jews that we killed six million of your people and that as a result it is you, not us, who have lessons to learn; that it is you, not us, who need to clean up your act. It is an argument of atrocious, spiteful insanity. Do not accept it; turn it back on those who offer it. For it is us, not you, who should know better.

(The above is my latest column for the Jewish Chronicle) Follow me on Twitter.


maandag 17 september 2012

Softporno regisseur achter "Onschuld van de Moslims" film

Meer nieuws over de bizarre anti-islam film die afgelopen week voor ophef zorgde. Van wat ervan op YouTube te zien is, heeft het vooral een hoog "Life of Brian" gehalte. Het is moeilijk voorstelbaar dat religieuze christenen hieraan mee hebben gewerkt. "Media for Christ", dat tot nu toe niet wil reageren, zit er waarschijnlijk alleen al om die reden danig mee in haar maag.


Report: Softcore porn director behind 'Innocence of Muslims' film that sparked anti-U.S. protests


Ties found between ex-convict, insurance salesman and Christian charity, who produced the film over a shared belief that radical Islam threatens the world; cast and crew say believed they were participating in a film on ancient Egypt, had no idea of its Islamophobic nature.

By Haaretz and The Associated Press | Sep.15, 2012 | 3:28 PM 

A schlock softporn director named Alan Roberts has been identified as the director of the film that ridicules Muslims and the prophet Muhammed and has incited violent protests across the Middle East, according to a report by Gawker published Saturday.

According to Gawker, an Alan Roberts is listed as director on casting calls and call sheets of "Innocence of Muslims" from the summer of 2011, back when the film was innocuously called "Desert Warriors."

Further, the report says, Roberts' real name is Robert Brownell, a 65-year-old small-time director and editor, whose directing credits include some softcore porn from the 70s and 80s like 1977's "Young Lady Chatterly," "The Sexpert" and "The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood," third of the Happy Hooker trilogy. Other credits reportedly include low-budget films like 1991's "Karate Cop" along with 28 editing credits.

"My gut tells me he (Roberts) was just a has-been director who was trying to prove he could still be Hollywood," an actress who worked on Innocence of Muslims reportedly wrote in an email.

Gawker wrote that it has tried to reach Roberts, "but his business associate told us he 'turned off his phone' soon after protests broke out over the film and is laying low. But he said Roberts was 'non-political' and did not have any apparent anti-Islam feelings."

According to the report, "Roberts may have been duped by the film's producer in much the same way as the rest of the cast and crew. They believed they were participating in a period piece about ancient Egypt and had no idea the movie would be edited and dubbed into a piece of Islamophobic propaganda."

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that most of the film was shot using a backdrop to simulate other locations. The crew members received sheets with the scenes each day - never a full script - and Eric Moers, who served as chief electrician for the production, said there was no mention of the word "Muhammed" throughout the filming.

Other actors have come forward to say references to Muhammad were dubbed after the film was shot and they had no idea the film would be so denigrating. "I'd say this was the most unprofessional professional film I've worked on," said Moers, who estimated the cost of production at $100,000.  "I don't think anyone took it seriously."

Castmembers and crew told Gawker on Friday that Roberts was brought on by producer "Sam Bacile," also known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. According to the Associated Press, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who authorities say has used multiple names and was convicted of bank fraud, says he managed logistics for the film.

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula as the key figure behind the film. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film.

According to the Associated Press, Media for Christ, a nonprofit that raised more than $1 million in 2011 "to glow Jesus' light" to the world, was listed as the production company for the film. Steve Klein, a California insurance salesman and Vietnam War veteran who has spent years protesting at mosques and espousing hatred of radical Muslims, acted as the film's promoter.

Most of Innocence of Muslims was shot in about two weeks inside a squat warehouse that serves as the offices of Media for Christ, according to Eric Moers.

What prompted Media for Christ's involvement isn't known because the organizations' leaders have not spoken publicly. And much about the film remains a mystery, notably who financed it.

Film's financing

Media for Christ, which produces a program called "The Way TV," reported spending nearly $650,000 on "TV recording production" in 2011. But the organization did not break down those costs so it's unclear if any of that money was spent on the film.

The clumsily produced film, which looks like a spoof, alternately portrays Muhammed as a fraud, a womanizer and a child molester. Despite its poor production value, the film would have cost at least tens of thousands of dollars to make because of the equipment used and the professional actors and stage hands who were hired.

The permit, issued by Film LA, could have cost under $1,000 though details aren't known because the document has been sealed at the request of federal law enforcement officials.

Moers said the film took 15 to 16 days to shoot and 90 percent of the work was done at the Media for Christ studios. He said one day was spent at a movie ranch in Santa Clarita, and one day was spent filming at the home of the man he knew as Bacile.

Eric Moers said he was paid with a check issued on the account of Abanob Basseley Nakoula, the 20-year-old son of the purported filmmaker.

While Steve Klein has granted a steady stream of interviews and is unapologetic for the film, Nakoula has disappeared since talking to an Associated Press reporter in his driveway Wednesday. And Media for Christ President Joseph N. Abdelmasih has not spoken publicly.

Tax records for the charity do not identify any donors other than Abdelmasih, who lent the organization at least $30,000. He did not return phone messages and an email sent to the charity. Kamal Rizk, listed as vice president on federal records, did not return several phone messages.

Abdelmasih, a Christian originally from Egypt, has spoken out against radical Islam and participated in a protest against a proposal to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center near the World Trade Center site.

The Media for Christ offices are located just off a freeway and next to a mall with big-box stores in the quiet Los Angeles suburb of Duarte. There is no sign on the building identifying the nonprofit.

City Manager Darrell George said Media for Christ held a valid business license since 2006 and no issues had ever come up, until authorities confirmed earlier this week that the group was listed on the film permit.

One of Klein's platforms was a weekly show on Media for Christ's satellite network, The Way TV, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Klein has a long history of anti-Muslim activities. He founded Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. He also started Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which preaches against Muslims and publishes volumes of anti-Muslim propaganda that Klein distributes.  The Southern Poverty Law Center says they have been tracking Klein for several years and have labeled two of the organizations he is affiliated with as hate groups.


De Palestijns land verdwijntruc

Hieronder een sterke repliek op de Palestijnse propagandakaartjes die geregeld opduiken. Je hebt ze wellicht weleens gezien. Vier kaartjes, het eerste nagenoeg groen, het laatste nagenoeg wit. Ze moeten laten zien hoe binnen een eeuw tijd de Palestijnen hun land kwijt raakten aan de landhongerige zionisten, die het stukje bij beetje inpikten.

In werkelijkheid laten de vier kaartjes echter totaal verschillende zaken zien. Zo is op het eerste kaartje te zien hoeveel land in het mandaatgebied Palestina in prive bezit was van Joden. Ander prive bezit (van lokale Arabieren, van Arabieren uit andere landen, van de kerk, etc.) is niet ingetekend. Land dat niet in prive bezit was en dus onder de mandaat autoriteiten viel, evenmin. Overigens is lang niet al het Joodse prive bezit van grond ingetekend. Het tweede kaartje laat het delingsplan zien. Een plan van de VN uit 1947 dat door de Arabische staten en de Palestijnen werd afgewezen, waarna zij een oorlog begonnen om te verhinderen dat het toch zou worden uitgevoerd. Het derde kaartje toont de situatie na die oorlog, maar het groen van de Westbank en Gazastrook verhult dat deze gebieden geen Palestijnse staat vormen, maar door respectievelijk Jordanië en Egypte zijn veroverd. Op het vierde kaartje ten slotte zijn slechts het A-gebied onder de Oslo Akkoorden en de Gazastrook nog groen. In dit gebied hebben de Palestijnen volledige autonomie gekregen. Dit is in feite het enige groen in alle kaartjes dat voor gebied onder Palestijnse controle staat; al het andere groen betekende wat anders.


Het is een sluw staaltje propaganda, omdat onze hersenen het groen en het wit in alle kaartjes gemakkelijk verbinden en dus in een oogopslag 'zien' hoe de Palestijnen zowat al hun land zijn verloren. Dat met name het groen in alle kaartjes voor wat anders staat wordt niet opgemerkt, en dus ook niet dat de Palestijnen in werkelijkheid voor het eerst in al die tijd de controle hebben over het overgrote merendeel van hun eigen bevolking.

Ik had zelf al eerder over deze kaarten geblogd, evenals diverse anderen, maar niemand heeft ze zo helder en trefzeker doorgeprikt als Yaakov Lozowick. 


Zie ook:

IMO blog: Palestina op de landkaart

Ami Isseroff: Palestinian Loss of Land





The maps of disappearing Palestine



I know, I know, I keep saying this blog is dormant, but apparently it isn't fully dead.

Anyone who deals with the Israel-Palestine conflict will probably have come across the nasty four-map series purporting to show how Israel is eliminating Palestine step by step. Recently some fellow in the NY area hired space on local billboards to expose them to commuters. I contacted him and asked if he'd be willing to listen to a critique; when he said he would I sent him the following analysis. You can see his brief response - and mine - at the end.

According to what I've read on Mondoweiss, you seem to be of the opinion that the series of four maps showing the disappearing Palestinian presence in what was once Mandatory Palestine are factually accurate. I suggest we take a closer look.


There are various problems with the series, the most obvious being that it compares apples with oranges and also with screwdrivers, meaning that the different maps present different data-sets. Some of the data-sets themselves are inaccurate.

Judging by the picture above, your version of the maps is even more problematic than some of the other versions which are out there. I'll relate to your version as presented on Mondoweiss.


First, the map from 1946. Even standing alone without the series, it's misleading in that it contains two distinct types of information. The outline is of the territory controlled by the British, commonly known as Palestine. Being a map of a political entity, however, the whole thing should be the same color, green in this case, since the entire territory was ruled by the British, the white parts and the green. If one wished to show privately owned land under the sovereignty of the British according to ethnic identity, the green would have been replaced by a hodgepodge of colors. Some of the land was owned by Jews, some by Arabs (today we would call them Palestinians), some by Arab absentee landlords of other nationalities (Lebanese, Syrians, Egyptians and so on), some by European churches – Catholic Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and others, and finally, the largest section by far would have been land registered by no-one and thus belonging to the government, i.e the British.


As far as I can see, your version has omitted the Jewish ownership of property in Jerusalem (where there was a majority of Jews), and in various pockets such as the Etzion Block, Neve Yaacov, settlements on the Dead Sea, Hebron, Safed, Naharia and its hinterland, Kfar Darom in Gaza, and so on. But the main problem with this map isn't its omissions of Jewish property, but rather the implication that any land not owned by Jews was "Palestine". Not true. If it's land ownership you're trying to depict then most of the territory was owned by the British government; if it's political sovereignty then the entire area was British.


The second map drops the issue of land ownership, and the series never returns to it. This map is a reasonably accurate depiction of the partition plan adopted by the United Nations on November 29th 1947, with one glaring omission: the Jerusalem-Bethlehem area, which was very clearly not allocated to either side, but designated as a Corpus Separandum. I emphasize: Jerusalem and Bethlehem. So the cartographer has allocated to a notional Palestine a very important piece of territory which it never had.


Of course, this map never depicted a reality. At the time it was rejected by all the Arab states which had a vote, and also by the local Arabs themselves who did not generally call themselves Palestinians at the time, but we can agree to call them that now. I'm not going to get into the question of who foiled the UN partition plan, but I think we can agree that all sides played their roles; the Jewish Yishuv, Husseini's Palestinian forces, Kaukji's forces, and the Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese forces which participated in fighting in territory which had previously been under British rule.

The third map (1949-1967) is misleading in its own way. It depicts Israel in white, and two other un-named territories in uniform green, the same green the first two maps implied had been Palestinian territory. Of course, this does not conform to the historical reality. The Gaza section was controlled by Egypt, not the Palestinians, and rightfully should be defined as Egyptian-occupied Gaza. The larger green section was controlled by Jordan. Jordan annexed it and gave its population Jordanian citizenship, so I don't know if it was legally occupied or not: if so, it's status was probably similar to its status under Israeli rule after 1967: occupied, with settlers from the occupying country. If it wasn't occupied, then it was part of Jordan. (That's the source of the name "West Bank: the western half of Jordan). Either way, it can't be depicted as Palestine.


You'll also note that this map shies away from dealing with private ownership, which was the theme of the first map. Had it shown private ownership it would have had to note that some of the territory inside Israel was owned by Palestinians, of course, but that no land inside Jordan was accepted as being owned by Jews, even though in some places their ownership had never been rescinded in anything that might resemble due process.

Finally, the fourth map. For the first time in the series, there is now a type of Palestinian rule – in all of Gaza, and on the West Bank. Let's set aside the distinction between Hamas rule in Gaza and PA rule on the West Bank. Less explicable is the cartographer's decision to pretend that the Palestinian writ runs only in Area A, with nary any mention of the larger Area B sections. As far as I understand the history, this map doesn't show a rump area of Palestinian rule, but on the contrary, it shows the emergence, for the first time ever, of a new entity, of and for Palestinians. Not a disappearing Palestine, but an emerging one!


I suppose you may say I'm quibbling, and that in a territory which had a minority of Jews 150 years ago, there has emerged a state of foreigners which has thwarted the emergence of a state of the original population. This, of course, is true. The tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that both sides are right, and both have legitimate claims on the same tiny piece of land. Most of us think that the only way to resolve the conflict is for each side to reconcile itself to the loss of important parts of the territory so that the other side will have room for their national state. As to why this hasn't yet happened, you and I probably disagree. We may also not agree on the details of how the partition ought to be done. Yet those are legitimate issues which need to be resolved in negotiations.


The maps you've published, on the other hand, tell a different story: that Israel is purposefully pushing out the Palestinians so as to have the entire land for itself. This is not true, which explains why in order to make the claim the maps need to be so sloppy with the facts.

Finally, a note on projection. I never cease to be surprised by Americans, Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders who feel they have a moral right to condemn the Jews for migrating to another land and pushing aside the natives. Surely the Jewish case for moving to the land of their history is vastly better than the case of Europeans moving to continents they had no history in. Over time, however, I've begun to notice that such critics of the Jews assume, perhaps subconsciously, that the behavior of the Jews must by necessity follow the pattern of their own forebears: total dismissal of their common humanity with the natives they're pushing aside, followed by near-total dispossession. This, however, is a complex of the critics, and has very little to do with the Jews.




HC's response:

In any format the bottom line is irrefutable - the Palestinian people have lost most of their homeland.


My response (and the end of our conversation)


And equally irrefutable: the Jews finally have it back.


Now, either they find a way to partition it, or one side will be without. Partition seems to me vastly better, but the possibility that the Jews need to do without is unacceptable