vrijdag 26 oktober 2007

Kleine leugens, grote leugens, en de Israël lobby

Niet alleen de inhoud van Mearsheimer en Walt's boek over de macht van de Israël lobby is - laten we mild zijn - controversieel, ook op hun methode valt een en ander aan te merken. Het lijkt een typisch voorbeeld van 'naar je conclusie toewerken': de conclusie stond vantevoren al vast, en daar moeten de feiten alleen nog bij worden gevonden. Tja, en dan krijg je fouten als onderstaande. 

 "Small lies, big lies, and the Israel lobby"
 by Amitai Etzioni   [The Huffington Post]

Posted October 4, 2007 | 03:17 PM (EST)


To those of us for whom the claim that the Israel lobby is all-powerful is neither a well established truism nor an ugly piece of anti-Semitism, the evidence presented in support of this claim matters a great deal. Surely Washington has more lobbies than a derelict dog has fleas. And, lobbying is a constitutionally protected activity, like the right to free speech and the right to vote. Hence, the pivotal question is whether the Israel lobby is significantly more powerful than others, and whether it is able to check-mate the usually pro-Arab oil companies, the arms manufacturers, and the other relevant lobbies that affect our foreign policy.

There are quite a few who have taken for granted the veracity of claims that the Israel lobby is all-powerful on the grounds that a new book making this case has been written by two highly regarded scholars; John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt of the University of Chicago and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, respectively. In fact, the quantitative data they cite amount to (at best) a very thin reed on which to hang such a mighty claim. I will donate my house to anyone who can find a half respectable social science publication that would publish what these two present as evidence.

The authors write:

"In 1997, Fortune Magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March of 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington 'muscle rankings'."

In fact, the Fortune survey was not made of Congress members and their staffs, but of  2,165 "Washington insiders" (chosen by two panels whose membership has not been disclosed), a group that includes an unknown number of congressional members and staffers, among an unknown number of others. More importantly, in both surveys roughly six out of every seven persons asked, i.e.most of those asked, did not respond. The authors' claim that members of Congress and their staffs ranked the Israel lobby higher than many others is based on 15% of those who were surveyed. No respectable social scientist (and many unrespectable ones) would dare to suggest that they have a sense of what any given group holds on the basis of the responses from such a small minority.

Moreover, social science has numerous procedures to correct for such a deficit of responses. One can return to the same group and elicit more answers, draw another sample, or study the differences between those who did and did not respond--and adjust the conclusions accordingly. None of these methods were employed here.

The number of people who responded is so small that an additional vote or two, or a change of mind by one or two respondents, would have significantly altered the results of the survey. The total number of the National Journal responses--which did survey only law makers-- is 73. (Congress, the last time I checked, had 535 members and at least 17,000 staff members). The National Federation of Independent Business was ranked first and the National Rifle Association second -- with nine and eight votes, respectively !  In third place, ranked as the most powerful by seven members, was the US Chamber of Commerce. The AARP and AIPAC were each given the nod by five members. The oil companies and the arms manufacturers were not on the list of those to be ranked. I wonder if any student at GWU could get away with a term paper that held that such small numbers support a generalization about any given population or the ranking of a set of groups.

Some will say that all of this is nothing other than typical social science hair splitting. But, these data go to the heart of the matter. Is the Israel lobby just one among a whole slew of lobbies, each pulling Washington its own way? Is it one of the more effective ones? Or can it trump all the others? What the data show is surprisingly little. The book stands much more on accusatory anecdotes than, as the authors' claim, on evidence.

Amitai Etzioni  is University Professor at The George Washington University, and the author of Security First: For A Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 2007).

Oxford blaast debat af over één-staten-oplossing

Stel je voor: Wilders en Jami gaan met elkaar in debat over integratie. Of Cherfontaine gaat met Verdonk in debat over de schadelijke gevolgen van het vliegverkeer voor het milieu. Marijnissen gaat met vredesactivisten in debat over de oorlog in Irak. Ilan Pappe gaat met Norman Finkelstein in debat over het Israëlisch-Palestijns conflict. Alleen dat laatste dreigde ook te gebeuren, op een door studenten georganiseerd debat over de twee-statenoplossing versus één staat voor beide volken, op de Universiteit in Oxford. Nadat de voorzitter van Peace Now zich hierover had beklaagd bij de organisatoren, en die voorstelden dat hij in plaats van Finkelstein het voor een twee-statenoplossing - en dus voor Israëls bestaansrecht als Joodse staat - zou opnemen, zegden de proponenten van een éénstatenoplossing Pappe en Schlaim hun medewerking op. Met die vieze Zionisten van Peace Now in discussie gaan, dat was blijkbaar teveel gevraagd. Of waren ze bang dat ze tegen een organisatie die sinds haar ontstaan strijdt voor een einde aan de bezetting en een compromis met de Palestijnen, weinig kans zouden maken met hun pleidooi om aan 60 jaar Joodse zelfbeschikking een einde te maken?

Oxford cancels one-state debate

Jonny Paul, Jerusalem Post correspondent , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 22, 2007

The Oxford University Student Union debating society has been forced to cancel a debate on the Middle East following the withdrawal of the proposers of the motion: "This House believes that one state is the only solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict."

Prof. Avi Shlaim of the university's St. Antony's College at Oxford, and Dr. Ilan Pappe and Dr. Ghada Karmi, both of Exeter University, were due to present the one-state solution at Tuesday's debate.

Norman Finkelstein, formally of De Paul University in Chicago, Peter Tatchall, a gay rights activist, and David Trimble, a former first minister of Northern Ireland, were due to present the case for a two-state solution. Shlaim and Pappe are both Israelis.

When Peace Now-UK co-chair Paul Usiskin saw Finkelstein's name on the team opposing the motion, he expressed concern that "a far-left detractor of Israel" had been chosen to defend the existence of the Jewish state.

He told the Student Union they were "seeking sensation over substance" and were denying a proper and balanced debate.
Following talks with Oxford Union President Luke Tryll, the union decided to drop Finkelstein and invited Usiskin to participate along with Yossi Mekelberg, an associate fellow of the Middle East program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, who is also Israeli.

Usiskin told The Jerusalem Post that a Jewish student informed him Sunday that the proposers of the one-state solution were disgruntled at his inclusion in the debate and demanding Finkelstein's re-invitation. When this was refused, Shlaim, Pappe and Karmi withdrew from the debate.

"They clearly thought they had it sown up," said Usiskin. "I believe they're desperate for another arena in which to deligitimize Israel, after the failure to begin the academic boycott of Israel - in which all three were key. What they expected was a clear field for a one-state solution as the start of creating that new arena. Those of us who believe in Israel and support a two-state solution remained steadfast and denied them their victory."

Instead of the debate, a discussion with student participation will take place, in what Usiskin described as a "more open forum where a free flow of views can be held."

Herdenking dood Rabin. Olmert: Kogels kunnen vrede niet tegenhouden

Ieder jaar wordt de dood van Rabin herdacht, afgelopen woensdag 12 jaar geleden volgens de Joodse kalender. Een mooie traditie, maar ondertussen is de vrouw van Yigal Amir, de moordenaar van Rabin, hoogzwanger van een zoon. Amir was indertijd vrijgezel, en trouwde pas in 2004. Van het hooggerechtshof kreeg het stel toestemming zich een keer per maand af te zonderen, omdat ook zij recht zouden hebben op nageslacht. Ondertussen pleit een groeiende minderheid in Israël voor vrijlating van de tot levenslang veroordeelde moordenaar. Hij zou het niet hebben gedaan, of het zou begrijpelijk zijn omdat Rabin de Palestijnen teveel tegenmoet wilde komen. Amir heeft overigens nooit enig berouw getoond - integendeel. Hij, en zijn vrouw, zijn er trots op. Hij offerde zich op voor het vaderland, aldus zijn vrouw onlangs. Het vooruitzicht dat zij mogelijk binnen niet onafzienbare tijd een gelukkig gezin zullen zijn is welhaast ondraaglijk.

Er waren maar weinig leiders zoals Rabin. We zullen nooit weten of het hem was gelukt vrede te sluiten met de Palestijnen, maar de combinatie van militaire ervaring en aandacht voor veiligheid met de wil daadwerkelijk vergaande concessies te doen, gaf hem gezag en vertrouwen van een groot deel van de bevolking. Hij was bereid de kolonisten te confronteren en ook om verantwoordelijkheid te nemen voor gemaakte fouten. Met name dit laatste is iets waar de huidige regering van zou kunnen leren. 

Last update - 19:39 24/10/2007

Leaders mark Rabin's death; Olmert: Bullets can't stop peace 
By DPA and Haaretz Service  
Israeli leaders gathered at the cemetery at Mount Herzl Wednesday afternoon to mark the 12th anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was gunned down by a religious ultra-nationalist opposed to peace moves let by Rabin's government.

Yigal Amir, now serving life imprisonment, pumped three bullets into Rabin's back as the premier was leaving a peace rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995. State ceremonies marking the anniversary of the assassination are held on the Hebrew calendar date, though an annual memorial ceremony will also be held on November 3 in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, where the assassination occurred 12 years ago.

Speaking at the official ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that "Israel's aspiration for peace will not be stopped by the bullets of a vile assassin."

Rabin's grandson Michael Rabin said, "It has been twelve years since we had our last conversation. So much has happened since the night you were murdered because of your political ways and I was sitting at home studying for a social studies test. When I was deep into my studies I didn't know that the cruel and painful lesson on the limitations of democracy in Israel was still to come. And I, as a citizen, but more than that as a grandson, soon will pay a high, personal price."

President Shimon Peres said Amir had failed in his goal of derailing the peace process with the Palestinians, which was now being renewed.
"We were a strong people, we remain a strong people, stronger than any shock or crisis," said Peres, who was foreign minister at the time of the assassination and had left the rally just ahead of Rabin. Amir told interrogators he did not shoot Peres because he was a "secondary target."

Following the ceremony, the Knesset plenum convened for a special memorial meeting.

At the Knesset meeting, Olmert dedicated his address to linking Rabin's path toward peace to the path he himself has undertaken. He spoke about the suffering of the Palestinian people, saying "for the sake of fairness, it must be said that the opposite side has also experienced pain, loss and distress. We must recognize the pain of the Palestinians."

Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik also addressed the plenum, and harshly criticized the family of Rabin's assassin, Amir. "We have called this despicable man a stray weed, but we were wrong. This terrible man's roots, and the origins of his evil, lie firmly within his family, who supports his views and his actions. To these people I wish to say: Israel's G-d is not your G-d, and your G-d is not ours. Your country is not our country. You have no part in the land of Israel."

In his address before the Knesset, opposition leader and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu set out to prove that Rabin's legacy included strong opposition to the division of Jerusalem. He said that he chose to focus on this topic in order to "point this out to those who claim they are followers of Rabin's way, yet call for the division of Israel."

"Rabin's way was clear: a unified Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty," Netanyahu added.

The assassination, one of the most traumatic events in Israel's history, came amid a period of heightened, almost overbearing tensions between hawks and doves, sparked by the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo interim peace accords.

While doves and centrists welcomed the accords as paving the way to peace with the Palestinians, hawks, including nationalist and religious Israelis, were aghast at the idea of Israel giving up parts of the West Bank, which they consider Israel's biblical homeland.

In the months and weeks leading up to the assassination, Rabin and his government were subject to intense incitement from their opponents, and chants of "death to Rabin" heard at least one anti-Oslo rally.

Amir, who never denied his actions, was sentenced to life in prison. But a small but vocal group of ultra-nationalist Israelis are campaigning for him to be set free.

Hamas bouwt Palestijnse filmstudio in Gaza

Onlangs de vele tekorten in Gaza is er geld genoeg voor een film studio, want de Hamas boodschap moet wel worden overgebracht. En wat is daarvoor een betere lokatie dan een voormalige Israëlische nederzetting?


24/10/2007 RIA Novosti Agence russe
Hamas to build Palestinian film studio in Gaza

GAZA, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - Palestinian authorities plan to build a film studio in Gaza to shoot propaganda films, the head of the Hamas-run television channel, Al-Aqsa, said Wednesday.

The movie studio called Madinat Asdaa (the city of echoes) will be located on the site of the former Israeli settlement abandoned two years ago under the dismantlement program, Fathi Hammad said.

Despite the economic problems in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip work has already begun on the site and following the example of Hollywood, organizers are to build an amusement park and a fish farm next to the studio.

The first film to be shot at the new movie studio will be an Islamic movie Hammad said, but there are hopes that it will repeat the critical acclaim awarded director Elia Suleiman's 2003 film, Divine Intervention, which won best foreign film at Cannes in 2002 and was nominated for an Oscar in 2003.

The Gaza Strip has been under control of the radical Islamist group Hamas since June, which resulted in sanctions and the suspending of humanitarian aid by the UN and the European Union, and the closure of borders with Israel.

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Palestijnse PRC leider: "Kill Jews everywhere"

Het is een veelgehoord geluid uit de hoek van Hamas, Islamitische Jihad en de volksverzetscomitees, maar het went niet. Het is overigens een geluid dat de afgelopen 2000 jaar met enige regelmaat te horen was, van fanatieke Romeinen, fanatieke christenen, aanhangers van de Tsaar, fanatieke nationalisten en natuurlijk de nazi's. So what's new? Dat het sinds 1948 veelal bij woorden blijft, al zijn er sindsdien meer dan 20.000 Israëlische Joden omgekomen.

PRC leader: "Kill Jews everywhere"
Date: 24 / 10 / 2007  Time:  14:20

Gaza - Ma'an - Prominent leader of the Popular Resistance Committees Abu Al-Sa'id on Wednesday called on the de facto Palestinian government to hasten disbanding the Palestinian Authority and establish a 'Resistance Authority' instead in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking during a press conference, Abu Al-Sa'id urged Palestinian resistance factions, particularly the Salah Addin Brigades of the PRC, to "kill Jews everywhere without waiting for permission", in retaliation for the murder of Muhammad Al-Ashqar and the violent treatment of Palestinian detainees at Ktziot prison.

Spokesperson of the Salah Addin Brigades Abu Mujahid denied intentions to hurt captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, saying "Islamic morality states that captives cannot be harmed".

Abu Mujahid said that any prisoners' exchange for Shalit has stagnated due to Israeli intransigence.

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Iraanse president Achmadinejad niet tegen Joodse staat - alleen ongelukkig met lokatie

Er zijn mensen, zoals Een Ander Joods Geluid, die beweren dat Achmadinejad niet tegen Israël is, alleen tegen de bezetting, en dat hij nooit heeft opgeroepen tot de vernietiging van Israël. Dit zou een misverstand zijn als gevolg van een fout van de vertaler, en sindsdien bewust in stand gehouden door Westerse neo-cons en Zionistenvriendjes (wat volgens velen op hetzelfde neerkomt). Achmadinejad op zijn beurt doet erg zijn best om van dit softe imago af te komen:
"Politicians who dream at night of reconciliation with the Zionist regime should know that the Palestinian people is steadfast, the Iranian people and the free peoples of the world are steadfast, and they will not rest for a day until the entire land of Palestine is liberated."
"Until the entire land of Palestine is liberated." Dat gaat niet echt samen met het bestaan van een Joodse staat, lijkt mij zo.
Het is je moeilijk voor te stellen dat Achmadinejad alles meent wat hij zegt, en niet bezig is met een gigantische misplaatste grap. 
"The leaders of several Western superpowers comprise the Zionist party. They are the ones who pull the strings. They created something called Zionism, and invented the so-called 'oppression' of the Jews. They themselves created the background for this, and today as well, it is they who are running the show."
"After World War II, they invented the so-called 'genocide of the Jews.' 
De Joden zelf hebben in Achmadinejads wereldbeeld blijkbaar helemaal geen wil, geen wortels en geschiedenis en al helemaal niet in Palestina. Ze leefden in Europa, waren daar altijd gelukkig, totdat Europese leiders een stok zochten om de Arabieren mee te slaan en daarom het Zionisme uitvonden. Om dit succesvol te laten zijn moesten ze de impressie creëren dat de Joden werden onderdrukt en daarom een eigen land nodig hadden - vandaar de mythe van de Jodenvervolging en de gaskamers. Iedereen is er uiteindelijk op uit om de Arabieren een hak te zetten, daar is de mythe van Palestina als thuisland voor de Joden en de mythe van de Joden als volk en de mythe van hun onderdrukking en de mythe van de Holocaust allemaal op gebaseerd. Logisch toch?
Special Dispatch-Iran/Antisemitism Documentation Project
October 25, 2007
No. 1748

Iranian President Ahmadinejad Reiterates Proposal for "Zionist State" in Canada or Alaska, Suggests International Committee of "Truth-Seekers" Examine Holocaust, 9/11

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit:

The following are excerpts from a public address delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which aired on Channel 1, Iranian TV, on October 6, 2007.

To view this clip visit:

To view more clips of Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinejad visit:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "The Western governments that bear the standard of secularism, anti-religion, and lack of respect for the rights of the peoples, and for the followers of all Abrahamic religions, themselves consider the defense of the Zionist regime to be the most sacred value in the world. Zionism and the existence of the Zionist regime are so important to them that they do not even allow the raising of questions about the preparations and pretexts that led to the establishment of this regime."


"In some of these superpowers, anyone who runs for president must first officially declare that he is committed to supporting Zionism and the Zionist regime, and he must prove this by his actions."


"If any country in Latin America, Africa, or Asia wants to sign an agreement with any Western country, it must first recognize the Zionist regime, support it, and maintain economic ties with it."


"They have created a certain organization, something sacred, a sacred phenomenon no one can oppose. They have all committed themselves to supporting this. This [Zionism] is the axis around which they unite. As a result, all the wars, animosity, and crimes of the Western countries have moved to other countries. They have moved these wars away from themselves, and by uniting around this [Zionist] regime, they have transferred the wars to other peoples."[...]

The Leaders of Several Western Superpowers "Created Something Called Zionism" and "Invented the So-Called 'Genocide of the Jews'"

"The leaders of several Western superpowers comprise the Zionist party. They are the ones who pull the strings. They created something called Zionism, and invented the so-called 'oppression' of the Jews. They themselves created the background for this, and today as well, it is they who are running the show."


"After World War II, they invented the so-called 'genocide of the Jews.' Throughout Europe, and in countries under the control of the Western superpowers, they established an anti-Jewish movement. By means of propaganda and a certain psychological atmosphere, and by using the issue of the so-called 'crematoria,' they created the sense that the European Jews were oppressed. They used the pretext that some Jews were oppressed and were harmed during World War II and by the wave of anti-Judaism in order to lay the foundations for the establishment of the Zionist regime. Later, of course, they called it 'the massacre of the Jews,' and only after World War II did they call it 'the Holocaust.' They made this issue more sacred than all the sacred things in the world."[...]

"You Have Turned This Phenomenon... Which You Yourself Invented After The War, And Which You Began Calling 'Holocaust' Only In 1975 – Into Something So Sacred...?"

"How can it possibly be that you have turned this phenomenon – a phenomenon which you yourself invented after the war, and which you began calling 'Holocaust' only in 1975 – into something so sacred that nobody is permitted to even raise questions about it? In World War II, there were several incidents similar to a plane crash. Later, under the pretext of these incidents, they have been perpetrating an ongoing genocide of historic proportions in Palestine. They have been perpetrating an ongoing crime in Palestine."


"They permit themselves, under the pretext of the Holocaust, to commit every type of crime. They even built secret prisons in Europe, and they kidnap people and publicly announce that they would kill them."


"Why don't you allow the deciphering of the code of the World War II 'black box?' Why don't you permit this? We want to help you. Let's open that 'black box,' and see what is happening there and who caused it. If people were killed there, who were they? Who was responsible? Who supported this? Let's examine the role played by other peoples in all of this. If the leaders of the Western countries are not members of the Zionist party, they should enable an international team of truth-seekers to unlock the mysteries of this phenomenon. What really happened there? Under the pretext of what happened, crimes are still being committed, and the [Nobel] Peace Prize is awarded to the Zionist criminals."


"It happened in Europe, so we proposed allocating them a place in Europe. They might say, as some of them already did: 'Oh really?! We worked so hard to drive those Jews out of Europe, and now you want us to take them back?' We say: 'Fine, you can't bear the presence of these Zionists in your region, but you want to impose them upon the peoples of this region? You have vast territories. Give them part of Canada or Alaska, so they can establish a state. After all, you give them $30 or 40 billion in aid every year – so give them that money in order to establish their state there.'"


"An Incident Occurred on September 11, and Look What They Did Afterwards... They Are Creating Another Incident Like the Holocaust"

"Politicians who dream at night of reconciliation with the Zionist regime should know that the Palestinian people is steadfast, the Iranian people and the free peoples of the world are steadfast, and they will not rest for a day until the entire land of Palestine is liberated."


"An incident occurred on September 11, and look what they did afterwards. They used this pretext to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, they killed dozens of thousands of peoples, and they want to continue to kill. They are creating another incident like the Holocaust. We advise them not to create something sacred, not to fabricate another sacred lie, and to allow a group of truth-seekers to get to the bottom of things, to identify and expose those behind it, and get it over with."

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
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donderdag 25 oktober 2007

De nieuwe cultuuroorlog en de linkse radikale islam

Er is een vreemde alliantie tussen sommigen binnen de (extreem) linkse beweging en de radikale islam.

De ideologie van de radikale islam heeft net zo weinig met progressieve idealen te maken als het Sovjet communisme dat had, waar vrijheid en respect voor het individu slechts op papier bestonden. Het verschil is hooguit dat de radikale islam duidelijk zegt anti-homo te zijn, 'westerse' waarden als vrijheid van meningsuiting en gelijkheid van man en vrouw te verachten, en andersdenkenden en -gelovigen hooguit als ondergeschikten te dulden, terwijl het communisme er op papier zeer fraai uitzag ('werken naar kunnen, nemen naar behoefte'). De radikale islam probeert zich revolutionair en als de beschermer van de zwakkeren voor te doen, en helaas trappen sommige linkse idealisten daar in.....


Where do you stand in the new culture wars?

by Sarah Baxter    [The Sunday Times]  Sunday, October 21, 2007

As the rise of Islamism challenges the old assumptions of left and right, new cultural fault lines are emerging.

A glorious culture clash took place in Iran recently that made me laugh out loud. The children of Che Guevara, the revolutionary pin-up, had been invited to Tehran University to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their father's death and celebrate the growing solidarity between "the left and revolutionary Islam" at a conference partly paid for by Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president.

There were fraternal greetings and smiles all round as America's "earth-devouring ambitions" were denounced. But then one of the speakers, Hajj Saeed Qassemi, the co-ordinator of the Association of Volunteers for Suicide-Martyrdom (who presumably remains selflessly alive for the cause), revealed that Che was a "truly religious man who believed in God and hated communism and the Soviet Union".

Che's daughter Aleida wondered if something might have been lost in translation. "My father never mentioned God," she said, to the consternation of the audience. "He never met God." During the commotion, Aleida and her brother were led swiftly out of the hall and escorted back to their hotel. "By the end of the day, the two Guevaras had become non-persons. The state-controlled media suddenly forgot their existence," the Iranian writer Amir Taheri noted.

After their departure, Qassemi went on to claim that Fidel Castro, the "supreme guide" of Guevara, was also a man of God. "The Soviet Union is gone," he affirmed. "The leadership of the downtrodden has passed to our Islamic republic. Those who wish to destroy America must understand the reality and not be clever with words."

Don't say you haven't been warned, comrade, when you flirt with "revolutionary Islam" as if it were a mild form of liberation theology. But it is time, too, for Che to lose his secular halo. If he were still living, the chances are he would be another dictator like Castro, who has ruled Cuba with an iron fist for half a century but gets a pass from liberals because he provides a modest health service.

There used to be a clear dividing line between conservatives and liberals. It defined the culture wars of the late 20th century, which pitted reactionary fuddy-duddies against tolerant, enlightened types, who believed in equal rights for women, minorities and gays. That fault line is becoming as dated as the flower power of the 1960s.

By the time Terry Eagleton, a Marxist professor of literature * how quaint and old-fashioned that sounds * is laying into Martin Amis, the Mr Cool of British fiction, for remarks on Islam that supposedly make the son as racist as his father, Kingsley, "an antisemitic boor, a drink-sodden, self-hating reviler of women, gays and liberals", it is obvious we are into a wholly different culture war, between phoney and real progressives.

Wasn't one of Amis fils's main complaints about Islamic militants that they were "antisemites, psychotic misogynists and homophobes"? Confused? You are not the only one.

My own test for spotting a phoney liberal is as follows. If you think Bush is a fascist and Castro is a progressive, you are not a democrat. If you think cultural traditions can trump women's rights, you are not a feminist. And if you think antisemitic rants are simply an expression of frustration with American and Israeli policy, you have learnt nothing from history.

It is no longer possible to tell at a glance which side people are on. My husband, a photographer, has long hair and wears T-shirts and cargo pants. We live in stuffy Washington, where almost everybody wears a suit and tie but secretly longs to be artistic and hip. On the school run, nice lawyers confide to him that they hate George Bush, despise the Iraq war and are not as reactionary as they look. They are completely thrown if he tells them he dislikes Islamo-fascism more than Bush, is glad to see the back of Saddam Hussein, supports Nato against the Taliban and thinks the Iranian mullahs should never be trusted with a nuclear bomb. He considers himself an antifascist who believes in the secular values of the Enlightenment and human rights. There is nothing radical about being tolerant of the intolerant, he says.

On the other side of the looking glass, jeans-clad leftists are horrified that one of their own could possibly have anything in common with the dreaded neocons. Christopher Hitchens is a rock star among atheists, most of whom oppose the Iraq war. Last weekend, he travelled to Wisconsin to receive an award from the Freedom from Religion conference for his book God Is Not Great.

"In my acceptance speech I upbraided the audience by saying I could easily have got the impression that they thought the only threat to our society came from the Christian Coalition and possibly the odd Israeli settler," he says. "You would not have known from anything on sale, any T-shirt, any peaked cap, any book or pamphlet, that there was such a thing as Islamic fundamentalism."

They didn't like it. "I got the usual lame and bleating replies that, to the extent that if there was such a thing, it's been created by us," Hitchens says. One of the most indulgent forms of western narcissism is that everything is "all about me" * or, in this case, the West. Myopic liberals find it impossible to believe that radical Islam may have a dynamic of its own that threatens their values. "You cannot stand for multiculturalism if you represent a group that wants to kill all the Jews and Hindus. Shouldn't that be obvious?" Hitchens asks. "Martin [Amis] was saying, 'Look, there's a real problem here', and good for him.

"The name of the problem is religion, and there is only one religion that threatens us with this kind of thing . . . There is a reason people look askance at a mosque in their neighbourhood, and they are not mad or cruel or stupid or selfish or bigoted to worry about it."

Nick Cohen, whose book What's Left? has just been published in paperback, identifies progressives as antitotalitarian internationalists who subscribe to "some kind of universal values", as he puts it.

"The left are like old-style Tory imperialists, who believe rights are all very well for western Europe but not for Johnny Foreigner, and that the liberation of women is essentially for white-skinned women, not brown-skinned women," Cohen says.

A case in point is the treatment of  Ayaan Hirsi Ali,  the Somalia-born author of Infidel, who has received an astounding lack of support from liberals and the left. An article in Newsweek described her as a "bomb-thrower", when it is Hirsi Ali who faces death threats from real bomb-throwers merely for speaking her mind and has had to rush back to the Netherlands because its government will no longer pay for her bodyguards while she is abroad.

Natasha Walter, reviewing her book in The Guardian, wrote blithely: "What sticks in the throats of many of her readers is not her feminism, but her antiIslamism" - as if the two could be separated. It was Hirsi Ali's culture that led her to be genitally mutilated as a girl, and it was her Muslim former co-religionists who murdered her friend Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker. Why should she remain quiet?

Irshad Manji, the Canadian Muslim feminist, is about to become Director of the new Moral Courage Project at New York University. "It's about developing leaders who speak truth to power within their own community," she says. "Ultimately it is about defeating self-censorship.

"Human beings are born equal but cultures are not," she believes. "They are human-made and for the most part man-made. There is nothing sacred about cultures and nothing blasphemous about reforming them."

When Amis said something a little more forceful along those lines at the Cheltenham literary festival, he set off a new firestorm. "Some societies are just more evolved than others," he said. Then last week on Channel 4 News, he said: "I feel morally superior to Islamists."

Note that he is not saying he feels morally superior to Islam - but to Islamists. Is it wrong to make such a judgment, when there is nothing immutable about culture and society?

Manji says: "I absolutely defend his right to believe that certain civilisations are superior to others," but adds the important rider: "In contemporary times he may be right, but in the past Islam gave birth to the Renaissance."

To my mind, Manji is a "moderate" Muslim, in that she still describes herself as a person of faith, but to many of her Islamic brethren, she is off the scale. Liberals have been too quick to accept as moderates Muslims who are nothing of the kind * except in comparison with the suicide bombers and theologians of Al-Qaeda.

"It's not a waste of time to search for the moderate Muslim, because there is a civil war within Islam between people who do and don't want to live under sharia," says Hitchens, "but there are a lot of counterfeits who are being seized on in our cultural cringe moment."

The chief cringers, he might have added, are the phoney liberals. The new culture war looks set to run and run.

The Sunday Times.
© Copyright 2007  Times Newspapers Ltd.

Vroegere moefti van Jeruzalem: er was geen Joodse tempel op de Tempelberg

Volgens voormalig moefti Ikrema Sabri hebben de Joodse tempels op de Tempelberg nooit bestaan en is dit slechts een verzinsel van de Zionisten. De Klaagmuur, het enige restant van de Tweede Tempel, zou eigenlijk een deel van een moskee zijn. Sabri staat met dergelijke ideeën bepaald niet alleen onder de Palestijnen.
De groot-moefti Haj Amin Al Husseini heeft ook altijd iedere Joodse connectie met Jeruzalem ontkend. Onder zijn leiding werden de Joden stelselmatig belemmerd in het bidden bij de Klaagmuur, en voor een groot deel werden zij gedurende verschillende opstanden en pogroms uit de Oude Stad verdreven.
Yasser Arafat ontkende eveneens iedere connectie van de Joden met de Tempelberg en de Klaagmuur, en dit heeft jarenlang op de officiële website van de Palestijnse Autoriteit gestaan. Onlangs maakte een medewerker van Abbas vergelijkbare opmerkingen.
Overbodig te zeggen, dat een dergelijke houding niet tot vrede bijdraagt.
Former mufti: Western Wall was never part of Jewish temple
Mike Seid , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 25, 2007

The former mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, has made the claim that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall was really part of a mosque.

"There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

Sabri rejected Judaism's claim to the Western Wall as part of the outer wall of the Second Temple.

"The wall is not part of the Jewish temple. It is just the western wall of the mosque," he said. "There is not a single stone with any relation at all to the history of the Hebrews."

Asked if Jews would ever be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount under Muslim control, he replied: "It is not the Temple Mount, you must say Al-Aksa. And no Jews have the right to pray at the mosque. It was always only a mosque - all 144 dunams, the entire area. No Jewish prayer. If the Jews want real peace, they must not do anything to try to pray on Al-Aksa. Everyone knows that."

"Zionism tries to trick the Jews claiming that this was part of a Jewish temple, but they dug there and they found nothing," Sabri added.

Archeologists overseeing Islamic infrastructure work on the Mount announced this week that they had unveiled a sealed archeological level dating back to the First Temple period.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BCE, and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was built 70 years later, enlarged during the first century BCE by Herod, and destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.

The Dome of the Rock and Al-Aksa Mosque were constructed on the Temple Mount site in the late seventh century.

The controversial issue of the holy sites is expected to come up during negotiations ahead of a US-sponsored summit on the Middle East in Annapolis later this year.

Palestinian leaders, most notably the late Yasser Arafat, have consistently denied Jewish claims to the Mount.

Sabri made the comments in an interview with the Post's Friday supplement, In Jerusalem, for a cover story on how religious leaders view the capital.

woensdag 24 oktober 2007

Turken geven Joden de schuld voor Amerikaanse genocide wet

Het leek mij eigenlijk wat overdreven dat Israël de Armeense genocide niet wilde erkennen om haar goede relatie met Turkije niet te schaden.
Dat blijkt niet zo te zijn: een niet onaanzienlijk deel van de Turken wijt de aanname van de "Armeense genocide wet" door het Amerikaanse congres mede aan de Joodse lobby, en zelfs de Turkse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken gaat hierin mee.
Zoals al eerder geconstateerd is ook de Turken antisemitime niet vreemd.

Turkey blames Jews for genocide bill
Yigal Schleifer
Turkey is blaming Jews for a U.S. congressional committee's passage of a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide. But U.S. Jewish leaders say Ankara should look in the mirror.
Published: 10/22/2007

ISTANBUL (JTA) -- When a U.S. congressional committee approved a resolution recognizing the World War I-era massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide, Turkey's reaction was swift and harsh: Blame the Jews.
In an interview with the liberal Islamic Zaman newspaper on the eve of the resolution's approval Oct. 10 by the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said he told American Jewish leaders that a genocide bill would strengthen the public perception in Turkey that "Armenian and Jewish lobbies unite forces against Turks."

Babacan added, "We have told them that we cannot explain it to the public in Turkey if a road accident happens. We have told them that we cannot keep the Jewish people out of this."
The Turkish public seems to have absorbed that message.
An online survey by Zaman's English-language edition asking why Turks believed the bill succeeded showed at one point that 22 percent of respondents had chosen "Jews' having legitimized the genocide claims" -- second only to "Turkey's negligence."
U.S. Jewish community leaders reject that argument and privately say Ankara has only itself to blame for its failure to muster the support necessary to derail passage of the Armenian genocide resolution, which in Turkey is seen as anti-Turkish.
Lingering resentment remains in Washington over the Turkish Parliament's failure to approve a March 2003 motion to allow U.S. troops to use Turkish soil as a staging ground for an invasion of Iraq.
And an official visit to Ankara in early 2006 by Hamas leader Khaled Mashal angered many of Israel's supporters on Capitol Hill, who have been among Turkey's most vocal proponents as part of a strategy of developing strong ties between Turkey and Israel.
"The Hamas thing was really serious," said an official from a large Jewish organization who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue. "There is less sympathy for Turkey because of what some see as an anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish policy that is there."
"I think there's a sense on the Hill that Turkey is less of an ally. There is a sense that it's a different Turkey," the official said.
Soner Cagaptay, coordinator of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, echoes that thinking.
"The lingering effects of 2003 resonate," Cagaptay said. "Some people are still angry with Turkey."
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the Jews should not be blamed for the Armenia genocide bill, particularly not by Turkish officialdom.
"We regret that some officials there are trying to lay the onus of what's happened on the Jewish community," Hoenlein told JTA. "They shouldn't allow some people to manipulate this initiative in Congress to the detriment of this relationship, which is beneficial for both sides."
Hoenlein, who met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during last month's U.N. General Assembly, said, "There is the same commitment on the part of the organized community to support Turkey."

Observers in Turkey say the public perception of the Jews' outsized role in the resolution's passage is based on an element of fact mixed with a greater amount of fiction.
In August, the Jewish-run Anti-Defamation League, facing pressure from grass-roots activists, reversed its long-held policy of not recognizing the Armenian genocide when ADL National Director Abraham Foxman declared that what happened to the Armenians was "indeed tantamount to genocide."
But Foxman maintained the ADL's position opposing a congressional resolution on the matter. Such a resolution would strain U.S.-Turkey ties and jeopardize ties between Israel and Turkey, Israel's main Middle Eastern ally.
Nevertheless, in Turkey the ADL's reversal was seen as a major blow to the country's diplomatic and public-relations campaign against Armenian efforts to get a genocide resolution passed in Washington.
"Obviously the ADL's switch was not good news," said Suat Kiniklioglu, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party and spokesman for the Turkish Parliament's foreign affairs committee.
Mustafa Akyol, an Istanbul-based political commentator who frequently writes about religious issues, says the strong reaction to the ADL's policy switch and the perception that it somehow legitimized the Armenians' claims are based on an "inflated sense" of American Jewish power among the Turkish public.

"There is a belief that [the resolution] couldn't have happened without Jewish support," Akyol said.
The House bill passed the committee by a 27-21 vote, with seven of the committee's eight Jewish members voting in favor of Resolution 106. The full House of Representatives has yet to vote on the resolution.
Yet despite the vote, U.S. Jewish groups said they lobbied against the bill -- just as they have done in the past.
"Behind-the-scenes support [from U.S. Jewish groups] has been quite powerful" in persuading congressmen to oppose the bill, said the Washington Institute's Cagaptay. It may yet help prevent the bill from being brought to a vote in the full House.
Turkish Jewish community leaders declined to be interviewed for this story, but Turkey's Jewish leaders published a full-page advertisement in the Washington Times on the day of the vote voicing their opposition to the House bill.
"We believe this issue should be decided first and foremost on the basis of evidence adduced by historians, not on the basis of judgments by parliamentarians or Congressmen, who naturally (and understandably) may be influenced by concerns other than historical facts," the statement said. "There have been insinuations that our security and well-being in Turkey is linked to the fate of Resolution 106. We are deeply perturbed by any such allegations."
Historically, Jews both in Turkey and the United States have been strong opponents of a congressional resolution on Armenian genocide. Jews consider their support for Turkey's positions on the genocide bill and other issues on Capitol Hill key to maintaining strong ties between Turkey and Israel.
"There is a trilateral relationship, which is Turkey, Israel and the American Jews," Cagaptay said. "The relationship is about good ties between Turkey and Israel, and good ties between Turkey and the American Jewish community, which makes up for the fact that Turkey has not had, historically, a strong presence on the Hill."

This time, however, it seems Jewish opposition to the bill was not enough to overcome support for it by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a longtime supporter of Armenian-American issues. Pelosi has vowed to bring the bill to a full House vote.

Hamas creëert humanitaire crisis om Israël onder druk te zetten

Er wordt al tijden gerept over een dreigende humanitaire crisis in de Gazastrook, vanwege de internationale boycot van de Hamasregering enerzijds en de afsluiting van grensovergangen door Israël anderzijds. Afgezien van wapens is vrijwel alles schaars in de geisoleerde Gazastrook, maar rampen hebben zich nog niet voorgedaan, buiten de ramp van de machtsovername door Hamas.
'Hamas is creating humanitarian crisis to pressure Israel'
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 22, 2007

Hamas is unnecessarily endangering Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by generating phony humanitarian crises, head of the Gaza Coordination Liaison Administration (CLA) Col. Nir Press said Monday.

On Sunday night, Gaza's Shifa Hospital claimed that due to tight Israeli restrictions on imports into Gaza, it had run out of anesthetic for surgeries, and as a result had canceled all but the most critical procedures.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Press dismissed the claims and said that in a meeting he held Sunday afternoon with Palestinian Health Ministry officials he was informed that the hospitals were running "low" on the anesthetic. On Monday morning, less than 24 hours after making the request, Israel transferred 151 nitrous oxide gas balloons to Shifa Hospital.

"It is the Palestinians' responsibility to order the supplies," Press said, noting that despite the daily rocket attacks on Israeli towns - on Monday 10 rockets and shells pounded the western Negev - Israel continued to transfer medical goods and supplies into Gaza whenever they were ordered.

Press said that orders were usually placed by the Palestinians days in advance and that Sunday's sudden announcement "was a spin by Hamas and an attempt to put pressure on Israel by creating a humanitarian crisis."

He said that the incident resembled Palestinian claims a few months ago that due to Israeli restrictions on the crossings they ran out of gas needed to operate the Gaza power plant and as a result large parts of the Strip were left without electricity for several days. Also then, Press said, Hamas unnecessarily disrupted Palestinian civilians' lives to try to create an image that a humanitarian crisis was developing in Gaza.

"These are examples of how Hamas wants to create humanitarian crisis," he explained. "They wait until the last moment and then tell us they are running out of supplies so they can create this image of a crisis."

While Israel was preventing the transfer of raw materials into Gaza - such as pipes that could be used to manufacture Kassam rockets - Press said that any order of medical supplies or food was immediately processed. He said that the CLA also allowed a number of Palestinians to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel for medical treatment daily.

Meanwhile Monday, in an effort to improve health conditions in the West Bank, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yusef Mishlav allowed 120 Palestinian medical students to enter Jerusalem to complete their studies. Some of the students are from the Gaza Strip and have been studying medicine for the past six years at Al Quds University.

The Foreign Ministry also approved a plan to train Palestinian medical teams at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem. Under the plan, Palestinian doctors, nurses and technicians will be trained at the Israeli hospital and in addition receive a monthly stipend of $643.

On Thursday, a joint Palestinian-Israeli conference on gynecology and childbirth will be held at the French Hospital in Nazareth. The IDF has allowed 50 Palestinian doctors to enter Israel to attend the conference.

*** Balanced Middle East News ***

Sarkozy: Palestijnse staat bestemming voor vluchtelingen

De Israëlische premier Olmert bezocht dezer dagen Europa, waar hij onder meer sprak met Sarkozy, Brown en Erdogan. Hoofdpunten waren Iran en de conferentie in Annapolis. Voor Europese begrippen was Sarkozy opmerkelijk uitgesproken in zijn erkenning van de veiligheidsbelangen van Israël en vooral ook in zijn uitspraken over de Palestijnse vluchtelingen: de terugkeer van vluchtelingen naar Israël is in strijd met de twee-staten oplossing.
Hopelijk is Sarkozy op dit punt even duidelijk naar de Palestijnen.
Last update - 04:46 23/10/2007

Sarkozy tells PM: Palestinian refugees will not return to Israel
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent

PARIS - Palestinian refugees should be resettled in a Palestinian state, not in Israel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Monday.

"Each side should have its own nation-state," he said, according to Israeli officials who were present at the two leaders' meeting. "It is not reasonable for the Palestinians to demand both an independent state and also the refugees' return to the state of Israel, which even today has a minority of one million Arabs."

Sarkozy, who hosted Olmert at the Elysee Palace, expressed strong support for Israel, describing its establishment as "a miracle" and "the most significant event of the 20th century."

"They say that I support Israel because my grandfather was Jewish, but this isn't a personal matter," he continued, according to the Israeli sources. "Israel introduces diversity and democracy to the Middle East. It's a miracle that out of the remnants of the ... scattered Jewish people, such a state has arisen."

"Israel's security is a clear red line, which is not up for negotiation," he added. "That is an inviolable condition, which we will never concede."

Olmert and Sarkozy initially met in a small forum, with one aide apiece present. The focus of those talks was Iran's nuclear program. Olmert told Israeli reporters afterward that "on the Iranian issue, I could not have heard statements that better satisfied my expectations."

He said that he and Sarkozy did not discuss a military attack against Iran.

"There's a broad spectrum of measures between the extremes of capitulation and military action," he said, adding that he believes there is a possibility of intensified sanctions against Iran via both the UN Security Council and the European Union. Sarkozy supports expanded sanctions, and the two leaders discussed how to persuade Germany, Italy and Spain to go along.

Olmert believes that existing sanctions, which target Iran's economy and banking system, have already had an effect. "We need to prevent Iranian businessmen from doing business, until the class that controls the Iranian economy does something against the regime," he said in a conversation with French journalists after his meeting with Sarkozy.

After their talks on Iran, the two leaders met in a larger forum, with more aides present. These talks focused mainly on the Palestinian issue, and especially the upcoming peace conference in Annapolis.

Sarkozy urged Olmert, who briefed the president on his talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to make additional gestures to the Palestinians. "The prisoner release was very important," he said, referring to Israel's release of two batches of Palestinian prisoners over the past few months. Both were billed as goodwill gestures to Abbas.

France, Sarkozy continued, wants to be involved in advancing an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. It will attend the Annapolis conference, and will also host a meeting of donor states to the PA in Paris on December 17.

After the meeting, Sarkozy's spokesman said that "the minute Israel's security is assured, it will be possible to display creativity toward the Palestinians."

In his comments to French journalists, Olmert also insisted that his coalition was not at risk of unraveling over the Annapolis conference.

Two rightist ministers, Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu and Eli Yishai of Shas, have threatened to take their parties out of the government if the conference, due to convene in in late November or December, tackles final-status issues such as borders, Jerusalem and the refugees.

"I don't see any political difficulty with this," Olmert told the reporters. "I gather from my meetings with coalition partners that the coalition is cohesive and stable."

This morning, Olmert will head to London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, their first since Brown took office. The talks will focus on Iran and the Palestinian issue. In addition, Olmert will ask Brown to work to change the law that enables Israel Defense Forces officers to be indicted in Britain for alleged war crimes.

Tuesday evening, before heading back to Israel, Olmert will meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also in London. Turkey has also expressed interest in helping Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; in addition, it has sought Israel's help in blocking a proposed resolution the U.S. House of Representatives that defines Turkey's massacre of Armenians in 1915 as genocide.

dinsdag 23 oktober 2007

Analyse: plan voor aanslag op Olmert overviel PA

"Draaideur-criminelen" is ook in Nederland een ingeburgerde term voor mensen met een abonnement op de penitentiaire voorzieningen.
De Palestijnse Autoriteit laat verdachten van aanslagen op Israëlische doelen vaak weer zo snel vrij, dat je je afvraagt of er tussendoor wel een rechtszaak is geweest. Bij de verdachten van de geplande aanslag op Olmert was die er inderdaad niet. Ze waren per vergissing vrijgelaten, of er zou onvoldoende bewijs zijn geweest.
Je in algemene bewoordingen uiten over iemand om zeep helpen, moet ook beslist kunnen. Zo in de trant van: "Zullen we die Gordon niet beter een nekschot geven?"
Zolang ik dat schrijf zal er niets aan de hand zijn (hoop ik...), maar als de Idolskandidaten zoiets onderling gaan bediscussiëren, moet de politie misschien toch een paar taps plaatsen: die hebben een motief, en wellicht krijgen ze ook een gelegenheid... 

Last update - 12:43 22/10/2007   

ANALYSIS: Olmert assassination plot leaves PA caught unaware

By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents

Nobody comes out of this story looking good - not the Palestinian Authority, members of whose security forces planned to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; not Israel, which decided Sunday to air a four-month-old affair, perhaps to score points ahead of Olmert's European tour and the Annapolis conference; not Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, who appears to have given the cabinet a partially erroneous report. Not even the assassins themselves, who were hoping somehow to pierce the prime minister's armored car using 7.62-caliber bullets.

The plan to assassinate Olmert during a visit to Jericho last June (which was ultimately canceled) brought back to the Israeli-Palestinian discourse a forgotten term from Arafat's era: "revolving door." Israel used the term frequently in the days when it still nurtured some hope of security coordination with the Palestinians, at the time of the bus bombings in the mid-1990s, and during the first 18 months of the second intifada.

Later, when hope faded, nobody expected anything from the Palestinians in this regard. Now, when the Americans are painting PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a partner Israel can rely on, Israel is returning to the old arguments, all of which figure in the assassination affair - involvement of Fatah men and security services in terrorism, "revolving door" and failure to bring terrorists to justice.

The PA had three of the cell's members in detention up to September 25, then released them. Why? Here the Palestinians offer contradictory versions. Palestinian intelligence claims they were released mistakenly by an unauthorized officer, and rearrested as soon as the mistake was discovered.

But officers in the Jericho region and political officials in the PA say the three were released for lack of evidence and had denied the allegations against them. Palestinian intelligence claims the trio confessed to talking "in a general manner" about targeting Olmert. None of this prevented Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad from saying Sunday, after his meeting with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, that the three had been released.

Fayad, who is not in charge of the security forces, apparently was not in the know at all. Why then did he speak? A senior Palestinian officer puts it down to a well-known custom among PA leaders: If you're asked a question and don't know the answer, always reply confidently. More importantly: Never say "I don't know."

The assassination itself was evidently nipped in the bud. Olmert's June visit never took place, for unrelated reasons. By the time he visited Jericho in August, the five cell members were jailed, three in the PA and two in Israel. And while the security service men had professional knowledge of the travel route and security arrangements, they did not have a plan that would put Olmert in real jeopardy (as Public Security Minister Avi Dichter conceded Sunday).

When Dichter headed the Shin Bet, he was fond of an anecdote that demonstrated the revolving-door policy: British intelligence agent Alistair Crooke was invited by the PA to Bethlehem in the fall of 2001 to debunk Israeli allegations about murderers being released. Crooke visited a Tanzim terrorist, Ataf Abiat, at the Bethlehem offices of the security services. But after his visit Crooke lurked at an observation point - and within a short while saw Abiat coming out of "detention" and continuing on his way (the wanted gunman was liquidated by the Shin Bet a few days later).

Did the PA play the "Crooke trick" on Haaretz staff on Sunday? Only a few minutes elapsed between the request to see the detainees and the jail visit - and numerous Palestinian sources confirm that two cell members were rearrested last Friday. Yet Sunday evening Israeli defense officials could not say whether and when the two had been rearrested.

President Abbas bevestigt dat OneVoice mandaat met zijn beleid overeenstemt

Het is een beetje laat en het klinkt nogal mat tegenover een organisatie die net als Abbas vrede en een twee statenoplossing wil d.m.v. onderhandelingen. Heeft hij wel genoeg gedaan voor hun beveiliging? Waarom neemt hij niet wat duidelijker stelling tegen 'Another Voice'? Als Abbas echt vrede wil, heeft hij organisaties als OneVoice hard nodig om publieke steun voor concessies en tegen de extremisten op te bouwen.


Press Release
President Abbas Affirms OneVoice Mandate Corresponds with his Platform
Saeb Erekat Explains OneVoice Palestine's Goals Align with President's Vision for Palestinian State
Singer Ilham Al Madfai Denounces False Reports, Emphatically Supports OneVoice
Ramallah – 18/10/2007 – In a press conference today, Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Spokesperson of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, explained that President Mahmoud Abbas asked him to clarify that OneVoice Palestine is a non-governmental organization committed to upholding the vision of President Abbas. Dr. Erekat delivered his remarks in a press briefing on the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East.
"The president would like to say that OneVoice organization is an NGO that has every right to work," said Dr. Erekat.  Erakat explained the organization had sent invitations to a OneVoice Summit under the auspices of the President without receiving an official endorsement, but added that the OneVoice "political program, after Abu Mazen read it, reflects the President's platform and the Palestinian objectives." 
Erakat added, "[President Abbas] would like to reiterate his full support to those NGOs and civil society organizations that work for democracy, a culture of peace, and ending occupation on the basis of a two-state solution."
Dr. Erakat explained that a lot of "misleading information" had been provided about OneVoice. He said contrary to what was widely spread, "[President Abbas] read the document of OneVoice and this document corresponds with his political program of ending the occupation that began in 1967 by having two states: a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital next to an Israeli state along the 67 borders and solving the issues reserved  to the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, borders, refugees and settlements consistent with  relevance to the security council international resolutions."
Today, renowned Iraqi recording artist, Ilham al Madfai, also re-affirmed his support for OneVoice, contrary to reports circulating that he had pulled out of the October 18th Summit in Jericho. "I have been very clear to all those who have been calling that I regretted not being able to participate in OneVoice Palestine's effort to raise the voice of the Palestinian people for an end to the occupation, and for peace in the region." Mr. Madfai added, "I call upon all boycott groups to stop threatening and intimidating artists and to respect the freedom of all."
Mr. Madfai explained he had received a lot of "threatening phone calls and warnings" from groups opposed to his visit but he cherished the day when all logistical and travel challenges, including procuring visas for al his crew and band, could be resolved to enable him "to sing with the Palestinian people and with the people of the world, a song of peace, justice, dignity, respect, and hope."
OneVoice Palestine is part of a movement of ordinary citizens that now surpasses 600,000 signatories not just in Palestine and the Arab world, but with citizens in solidarity across America, Europe and Israel, who agree on the imperative of ending the conflict and propelling and supporting their Heads of State to immediately commence negotiations, uninterrupted till the conclusion of a two state agreement. The international movement does not take specific positions on the agreement that the Heads of State must deliver, emphasizing that is a duty of the political representatives, but it does empower citizens to propel and support their Heads of State towards the negotiating table. In efforts to mobilize the moderate majority in Palestine and Israel, the OneVoice Movement has trained over 3,000 Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders. Specifically, OneVoice Palestine has trained 1,800 Palestinian youth leaders and has offices in Gaza and Ramallah.
OneVoice Palestine's Honorary Board includes the Chief Islamic Justice, Sheikh Taysir al Tamimi, the son of President Abbas, Yasser Mahmoud Abbas, Dr. Saeb Erakat, and a dozen more Palestinian dignitaries, scholars, and religious leaders.

maandag 22 oktober 2007

Het vluchtelingen vraagstuk anders bekeken

Dit interview is 2 jaar oud, maar het onderwerp is zo onderbelicht dat het loont het nog eens onder de aandacht te brengen.
Verschillende Palestijnse woordvoerders hebben openlijk verklaard dat het 'recht op terugkeer' van de Palestijnse vluchtelingen hun troefkaart is om het verloren gegane grondgebied (Israël) terug te winnen voor de Arabische wereld, daar de terugkeer van de vluchtelingen en hun nakomelingen tot een Arabische meerderheid zou leiden.
Zij vergeten daarbij uiteraard voor het gemak even dat de vluchtelingen een gevolg waren van een door de Palestijnen en daarna de Arabische staten begonnen oorlog met als doel de Joden uit Palestina te verdrijven.  
Israël beschikt over een sterkere 'troefkaart', namelijk de Joodse vluchtelingen uit de Arabische wereld, die méér eigendommen hebben achtergelaten in hun landen van herkomst dan de Arabische vluchtelingen in Palestina, maar er is veel aarzeling om die uit te spelen. Eén van de redenen is dat Israël de Joodse vluchtelingen direct staatsburgerschap gaf en voor huisvesting zorgde, en zij daarom niet meer als vluchtelingen worden beschouwd. Bovendien wijzen veel Joodse vluchtelingen de slachtofferstatus af, en stellen dat ze uit overtuiging naar Israël zijn geëmigreerd. Gezien de omstandigheden lijkt dit echter niet waarschijnlijk. De meeste Joodse gemeenschappen waren eeuwenlang geworteld in de Arabische wereld, en ze moesten doorgaans al hun bezit achterlaten en hun rechten en staatsburgerschap opgeven toen zij hun geboorteland verlieten. De meeste Joden vertrokken niet uit Zionistische idealen, maar op de vlucht voor pogroms en discriminatie.
The Jerusalem Report
issue of May 16, 2005 
In early April, the Israeli branch of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) announced it was shutting down. The government, it claimed, had reneged on a December 2003 promise to fund the group's documentation of property left behind by Jews fleeing Muslim lands in the years following Israel's establishment. WOJAC argues that 950,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in Arab countries, leaving behind property worth anywhere between $50 and $100 billion - a humanitarian disaster the group says was even greater than the exodus of 600,000-700,000 Palestinians from their homes inside what became Israel during the 1948 War of Independence.
WOJAC has been going about the work of tracking lost Jewish property in Arab countries for nearly 30 years. Iraqi-born Prof. Heskel M. Haddad, one of the organization's founders and head of its American branch, who is still hopeful the government will make good on its funding commitments, explains why documenting the Middle East's other refugee problem is crucial for Israel.
Q/ How did you come to represent the cause of Jewish refugees from Arab countries?
A/ In 1950, when I was 19, I fled Baghdad along with my parents, two brothers and three sisters. I was in medical school. My father had a successful store where he sold pipes and septic tanks and plumbing equipment. We left our house in the old Jewish ghetto with five suitcases, and nothing else. Within three hours we were in Israel. We were sprayed with DDT and taken to a resettlement camp near Beit Lid.
In 1973, years after I had moved to America, I wrote an article about the Middle East refugee problem in an academic journal. In it I discussed both Arab and Jewish refugees. When I met with Israeli politicians afterwards, they had no idea what I was talking about. They told me that Jews from Arab countries weren't refugees.
Q/ What was behind the Israeli reluctance to use the term?
A/ They wanted to believe that Jews left Arab countries and came to Israel because they were Zionists. But that isn't true. In Paris in 1976, I spoke to the 600 delegates at WOJAC's first conference. I asked them who would have left their home and come to Israel for ideological reasons. Not a single person raised their hand.
We were Zionists for 2,000 years, of course. It was in Babylon that we wrote, "If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning." But the Iraqi Jewish community at that time was the richest in the world. Why would anyone go to Israel and leave all of their property behind? It wasn't Zionism. The Arab League colluded to expel all of the Jews. We left because we were forced out, and we are refugees, just as the Palestinians are.
Q/ How can you compare those Jews, who have settled and prospered in Israel and elsewhere, to stateless Palestinian refugees?
A/ If Israel hadn't given us citizenship, we'd have been in the same situation as them. In 1949, the Arab League decided that no one could grant citizenship to Palestinians. Only Jordan did. If the League rescinded that resolution, tomorrow there would be no refugees.
I met Anwar Sadat in 1978, and proposed just that. He said the Arabs would never accept such a proposal. I proposed it to Amr Moussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, and he said I merely wanted to dilute the refugee problem. But wouldn't diluting the problem make it easier to make peace?
Q/ Do Jewish property claims in Arab lands match the property left behind by Palestinians in what is now Israel?
A/ Jews left behind far more property than the Palestinians did. It hasn't all been documented, but we're talking about billions and billions of dollars. In Iraq, Jews owned 100,000 square kilometers of land. Israel itself is only 20,000 square kilometers. How much land could the Palestinians have left behind?
Q/ Is there any chance of actually reclaiming lost property in Arab countries?
A/ I have little hope of ever getting my house in Baghdad back. Iraq is vehemently anti-Jewish. Even the moderate newspapers there are extremely anti-Jewish. And the Shi'ite cleric Ali al-Sistani has issued a fatwa prohibiting land sales to Jews. But when Israel sits down with the Arabs, I want them to discuss our rights. Our claims will balance out the Palestinian claims. And then, with Israel having benefited from our property, we can ask the government to grant us partial compensation.
There will be no peace without a solution to the refugee problem. That is clear. And the only way to obviate the problem is through compensation. There are an equal number of refugees and their descendants on both sides - about 3.5 million. In effect, there was a population exchange - imposed by the Arab League.
I once met Morocco's foreign minister; he told me how well his country's Jews had lived. Why then, I asked, were only 4,000 left out of 350,000? There were pogroms, and they were forced out. In the end he agreed with me. I've met many Arab foreign ministers, and none have denied that we were forced out and left our property behind. So let's talk about compensation - about reparations, not repatriation. In this way, WOJAC can help the peace process.
A/ Why isn't the Israeli government cooperating?
Q/ I don't know. The funding for documentation that the government promised would cost it next to nothing, maybe $250,000. I spoke to Sharon before he was prime minister, and he saw the importance of this issue then, but I guess he's forgotten. This material will have tremendous value in peace negotiations. Also, U.S. support is important, and this is an issue that Americans understand - dispossession, forced expulsion. When I speak at conferences, people come up to me and say, "I knew about the Palestinians, but I had no idea that there were Jewish refugees." This is one of Israel's best trump cards, and it must not be wasted.

Kwart Duitsers zien ook positieve kanten Nazi bewind

Waren er ook goede kanten aan het Nazi-bewind? Jazeker!
Hitler at vegetarisch en was lief voor (Arische) kinderen.
In een recent in Duitsland gehouden enquete beantwoordt 25% van de ondervraagden de vraag of het nationaal-socialisme ook goede kanten had, bevestigend. Van de 60-plussers is dit zelfs 37%. Vanwaar de behoefte om het nazisme, dat symbool is geworden van het Kwaad, 'genuanceerder' te bekijken? Het gitzwarte verleden iets te verzachten? En waarom zien juist oudere mensen, die de nazi-terreur en de ellende van WO2 gedeeltelijk zelf hebben meegemaakt, hier ook positieve kanten aan? 
Ik schrok van deze cijfers. De voorbeelden die worden genoemd zijn zaken als de verschaffing van werkgelegenheid en de koestering van het moederschap. Dat klinkt misschien onschuldig, maar die werkgelegenheid werd wel vooral gecreëerd om de economie en vooral ook de wapenindustrie op volle toeren te laten draaien, en het ideaal van het moederschap had alles te maken met de rassenideologie, waarin voortplanting van het Arische ras een voorname plaats innam. Voor Zigeuner- of Joodse moeders had Hitler heel wat minder respect. 
Vóór dat de oorlog uitbrak en vóór de concentratiekampen, konden mensen nog het excuus gebruiken dat ze niet konden weten waar een en ander toe zou leiden, maar wat voor excuus is er nu?? Hoe kun je, na alle aandacht voor en studie naar de oorlog en de nazi's, hun rassenideologie, nationalisme, ideeën over het moederschap, verheerlijking van geweld, verheerlijking van een sterke leider, nadruk op lichamelijke kracht en sport, ontkenning van het individu, etc. etc. niet met elkaar in verband brengen, en vooral ook los zien van wat zij in 13 jaar in Duitsland en Europa hebben aangericht?

Germans believe in positive aspects to Nazi rule

Talk show host fired for praising Nazi Germany's attitude toward motherhood; poll conducted later shows quarter of Germans believe National Socialism also had some 'good sides'

Associated Press Published:  10.17.07, 17:24

A German talk show host was fired for praising Nazi Germany's attitude toward motherhood. After that a poll showed that a quarter of Germans believe there were at least some positive aspects to Nazi rule.

Pollsters for the Forsa agency, commissioned by the weekly Stern magazine, asked whether National Socialism also had some "good sides (such as) the construction of the highway system, the elimination of unemployment, the low criminality rate (and) the encouragement of the family."

Forsa said 25 percent responded "yes" - but 70 percent said "no."

Stern commissioned the survey, conducted October 11-12, after Germany's NDR public broadcaster last month fired talk show host Eva Herman following her statement on the Third Reich.

News reports quoted her as saying at the presentation of her latest book that, while there was "much that was very bad, for example Adolf Hitler," there were good things, "for example the high regard for the mother" under the Nazis.

Since then Herman, a 48-year-old who has written books urging a return to more traditional gender roles, has stood by her comments.

She later said, "What I wanted to express was that values which also existed before the Third Reich, such as family, children and motherhood, which were supported in the Third Reich, were subsequently done away with by the 68ers" - a reference to 1960s leftists.

Any praise of the 1933-45 Nazi dictatorship is taboo in Germany. The Nazis were responsible for the murder of some 6 million Jews and starting World War II - a conflict in which at least 60 million people died, including more than 7 million Germans.

The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, showed that people 60 or older had the highest regard for aspects of the era, with 37 percent answering "yes."

Those who grew up directly after the war, now aged 45 to 59, were the least enthusiastic about the Nazi era, with only 15 percent responding "yes."

Sommige inwoners van Oost-Jeruzalem wonen liever in Israël

De burgemeester van Ras Hamis, een Palestijnse wijk helemaal in het oosten van Jeruzalem, is niet blij met het vooruitzicht dat zijn wijk straks deel van een Palestijnse staat uit zal maken.
"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA."
Ooit wil hij wel in een Palestijnse staat leven, als daar recht en orde heersen:
The 53-year-old said he'd be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. "I don't believe in these factions. I only believe in putting bread on the table for my children. I fight only for them. At least in Israel, there's law."
Het is van één kant logisch dat men de hogere levensstandaard onder Israëlisch bestuur (de meeste inwoners van Oost-Jeruzalem hebben geen Israëlisch paspoort maar wel een 'permanent residency' kaart, en zij hebben recht op allerlei sociale voorzieningen in Israël) verkiest boven de chaotische en corrupte Palestijnse Autoriteit. Het doet echter vreemd aan dat zij Israël doorgaans van al hun problemen de schuld geven, en wanneer zij de mogelijkheid zouden krijgen van hun onderdrukkers verlost te worden, hier tegen protesteren.
Een stabiele en welvarende staat is niet iets dat vanzelf komt aangevlogen zodra de laatste Israëlische soldaat zijn boeltje heeft gepakt, maar iets dat met bloed, zweet en tranen opgebouwd zal moeten worden, zoals ook Israël haar welvaart en (relatieve) goede bestuur door hard zwoegen heeft bereikt. Er valt daar overigens nog genoeg te verbeteren. Wat mij verbaast is dat Mr. Gheit hier blijkbaar niet aan bij wil dragen, de nieuwe Palestijnse staat niet mee op wil bouwen, en bovendien verwacht dat anderen in zijn wijk dat ook niet willen en nog liever een intifada starten. Waar is het Palestijnse nationalisme en de trots wanneer het er daadwerkelijk op aan komt de nieuwe staat vorm te geven?? 

Some Palestinians prefer life in Israel
In East Jerusalem, residents say they would fight a handover to Abbas regime
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
October 16, 2007 at 4:52 AM EDT
JERUSALEM — After 40 years of living under Israeli occupation, two stints in Israeli prisons and a military checkpoint on the same road as his odds-and-ends shop, one would think Nabil Gheit would be happy to hear an Israeli prime minister contemplate handing over parts of East Jerusalem to Palestinian control.
But the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighbourhood on the eastern fringe of this divided city, says that he can't think of a worse fate for him and his constituents than being handed over to the weak and ineffective Palestinian Authority right now.
"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Mr. Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon watching Lebanese music videos. "We will not accept it. There would be another intifada [uprising] to defend ourselves from the PA."
In comments that are likely to stir fierce debate on both sides, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested yesterday that Israel could relinquish several Arab areas on the periphery of East Jerusalem. The idea is likely to please very few, since many Israelis consider Jerusalem indivisible, while few Palestinians would accept a peace deal that didn't include sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.
Those who live in the neighbourhoods Mr. Olmert spoke of handing over are nonetheless worried that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who is seen as weak and desperate for an achievement after losing control of the Gaza Strip to the Islamist Hamas movement, will accept the offer. They dislike the idea of their neighbourhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.
Mr. Gheit, with two posters of "the martyr Saddam Hussein" hanging over his cash register, can hardly be called an admirer of the Jewish state. But he says that an already difficult life would get worse if those living in Ras Hamis and the adjoining Shuafat refugee camp were suddenly no longer able to work in Israel, or use its publicly funded health system.
The 53-year-old said he'd be happy to one day live in a properly independent Palestinian state, but not one that looks anything like the corruption-racked and violence-prone areas that are split between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions. "I don't believe in these factions. I only believe in putting bread on the table for my children. I fight only for them. At least in Israel, there's law."
Mr. Gheit said that over the past five years, some 5,000 people have moved into Ras Hamis from other parts of the West Bank, concerned that they would lose their Israeli identification cards if they didn't live within the city limits. There would be a mass exodus into other parts of the city, or other towns in Israel, if it looked likely that Ras Hamis and Shuafat, home to a combined 50,000 people, were about to be declared no longer part of Jerusalem, he said.
Another concern for many in Shuafat is that they would lose access to the al-Aqsa mosque if they were transferred on paper from East Jerusalem to the West Bank. West Bank Palestinians are generally barred from entering the city, even to pray.
In a speech yesterday to Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Mr. Olmert stayed far away from such issues, but made his most explicit comments to date about offering some parts of Jerusalem to Mr. Abbas.
"Was it necessary to annex the Shuafat refugee camp, al-Sawahra, Walajeh and other villages and state that this is also Jerusalem? I must admit, one can ask some legitimate questions on the issue," Mr. Olmert said, referring to the Israeli decision 40 years ago to annex East Jerusalem, including outlying Arab neighbourhoods. The entire city was declared to be Israel's capital, a decision no other country recognizes.
Notably, all three neighbourhoods that Mr. Olmert mentioned are on the farthest outskirts of the city, within the greater municipality of Jerusalem, but outside the eight-metre-high concrete wall that Israel has constructed through the city.
The Israeli government says the barrier was constructed for security purposes; critics say the barrier, which zigzags deep into East Jerusalem and the West Bank, has always been intended to establish a de facto border. Mr. Olmert's suggestion doesn't go as far as previous Israeli leaders have in negotiations with the Palestinians. At the 2000 peace talks in Camp David, Israel's then-prime minister, Ehud Barak, offered almost all of East Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat. The talks collapsed, primarily over the status of the Old City and the holy sites within it.
Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said that Mr. Olmert's offer was an empty one, since he knew it was doomed to be rejected by the Palestinian side, which wants all of East Jerusalem for its capital, including its holy sites.
He said that Mr. Olmert, who is facing three separate criminal investigations into his financial dealings, must make conciliatory gestures toward the Palestinians in order to keep the left-wing Labour Party in his coalition. However, Prof. Inbar said the Prime Minister is too weak to carry through, since he also needs to keep right-wing parties onside.
Mr. Olmert is also under pressure from the United States to make concessions ahead of a peace conference that President George W. Bush is scheduled to host next month. However, hopes are fading fast for the November peace conference and Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that it was likely to be postponed.