Traces Of Uranium found in Syria: Moallem Says No More Searches

Diplomats: Uranium found at suspect Syrian site
International Herald Tribune, 10 November 2008

Samples taken from a Syrian site bombed by Israel on suspicion it was a covert nuclear reactor contained traces of uranium combined with other elements that merit further investigation, diplomats said Monday.

The diplomats — who demanded anonymity because their information was confidential — said the uranium was processed and not in raw form, suggesting some kind of nuclear link.

But one of the diplomats said the uranium finding itself was significant only in the context of other traces found in the oil or air samples taken by International Atomic Energy Agency experts during their visit to the site in June.

Syria has a rudimentary declared nuclear program revolving around research and the production of isotopes for medical and agricultural uses, using a small, 27-kilowatt reactor, and the uranium traces might have originated from there and inadvertently been carried to the bombed site. But taken together, the uranium and the other components found on the environmental swipes “tell a story” worth investigating, said the diplomat…

The leaked information came shortly after the IAEA Director Mohammed ElBaradei announced he would release a formal, written report on the subject, Reuters reported. The IAEA had no immediate comment.

“It isn’t enough to conclude or prove what the Syrians were doing, but the IAEA has concluded this requires further investigation,” a diplomat with ties to the organization said. …

‘America’s Role Is Central’: INTERVIEW WITH SYRIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER
Spiegel Online, 10 November 2008

“This truly is the time to come to a comprehensive peace,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem tells SPIEGEL …

Part 2: ‘We Don’t Want Syria to Experience What Iraq Has’

SPIEGEL ONLINE: American sources say that Syria knew in advance of the commando operation. Is that true?

Moallem: This is a fabricated story by the Americans. It has nothing of truth to it. They were confused, and they were late with their own statement from Washington. And then they leaked this story to the media. It is totally untrue.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If it is untrue, then why didn’t the Syrian army respond? Why didn’t you protect your citizens?

Moallem: Frankly, we did not expect such an aggression. We don’t understand why (it happened) — especially now that Syria is exerting enormous efforts to tighten its side of the border. Anyway, we are not Georgia. We were seeking wisdom not to escalate the situation.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The situation would improve even further if Damascus gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all the facilities in Syria it wants to inspect.

Moallem: Seven months after an aggression against a Syrian military position near Deir al-Zor, Israel went to the IAEA and claimed that Syria intended to build a nuclear reactor. This is totally untrue. We have allowed inspectors to visit the site. They spent three days there, they took samples and analyzed them. I assure you: They did not find the materials needed to build a reactor — graphite, for example. They came to Damascus fulfilling a memorandum of understanding between Syria and the agency in which we allowed them to visit the site once.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The IAEA would like to see three other sites as well.

Moallem: We do not want Syria to experience what Iraq has experienced. You remember the big American lies before the war in Iraq. Now they want to see this location, then they want to see three other locations and then, maybe, another four. We are not ready to repeat this. This will harm our national security…

U.S. Sends ‘X-Band’ Missile-Detecting Radar to Israel to Confront Iranian Threat

JERUSALEM, Israel —  The U.S. is providing Israel with high-powered X-band radar capable of detecting missile launches up to 1,500 miles away — and sensitive enough to detect small- and medium-range missiles being fired from Iran and Syria. The radar will grant Israel about 60-70 seconds more warning time when missiles are launched. The system’s massive range means targets as far away as southern Russia can be monitored.

Exploratory Oil excavation Drilling Start in Lattakia  — Ooops 🙂
SANA (Syria Arab News Agency) 20 September 2008

Lattakia – Oil excavation drillings started in the Syrian coastal city of Lattakia on Saturday following the construction of the Oral Touch Drilling Machine last week.

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian Allaw said in a statements to reporters in the city that Syrian and foreign experts had already finished oil studies of the oil well and the black material discovered in it.

He added that drilling works in the experimental well could reach down to 3500 meters underneath along with continuous analyses and supervision of the discovered materials to see whether there are oil-carrying stones or any other probabilities such gas or oil.

The Minister said that in case oil has been discovered then drillings will not be done inside but outside the city by way of horizontal or slant drilling.

The discovered site last year produced almost one thousand barrel of good oil brand which had surfaced to the as drillings were being made for building pillars in the site. By Ahmad Fathi ZAHRA. © SANA (Syria Arab News Agency) 2008

Heartbreak with Palestine” by Sami Moubayed

…..Another question in the survey was: “Who is your favourite former Arab leader?” I expected answers such as Jamal Abdul Nasser or Arafat — those who had worked hard for the sake of Palestine. Surprisingly, the highest number of votes (75 per cent) went to Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Young Syrians voted for him because he built a country from scratch, provided jobs and authored a success story for the nation. Lowest on the list were Arafat and Nasser — precisely because of their commitment to revolution and armed resistance, which led the Arabs nowhere. ….

…Given that the October 26 raid was an unauthorized and illegal attack, killed innocent civilians, resulted in negative diplomatic fallout, and likely increased rather than decreased the threat of terrorism in Iraq, it would appear to be a great opportunity for the Democrats to attack the Bush administration for its dangerous and reckless action.

Yet, even in the course of the final dramatic week of the presidential campaign, neither Barack Obama nor Joe Biden uttered a word of criticism. And, despite contacting the offices of every single Democratic member on both the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, I was unable to find any criticism from and of these leading Congressional Democrats either.

The raises the serious possibility that, even under an Obama administration and an expanded Democratic Congressional majority, such militaristic policies may continue. This is particularly disappointing given that many observers had hoped that Syria would be the focus of a likely early diplomatic victory of an Obama administration. ….

Secret Order Lets U.S. Raid Al Qaeda
By ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI
New York Times, 9 November 2008

The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States…

Mideast Negotiators Vow Talks Will Go On
By Matthew Lee and Amy Teibel
Washington Post, 10 November 2008

Israeli, Palestinian and international negotiators pledged Sunday to continue peace talks launched last year by President Bush, even though the quest for peace will certainly outlast his administration.

But future talks will be held in an increasingly uncertain terrain, with the prospect of a hawk coming to power in Israel’s parliamentary elections in February and deeply divided Palestinian factions controlling the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is also unclear how high Mideast peacemaking will figure on President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda.

…..”I believe that the Annapolis process is now the international community’s answer, and the parties’ answer, to how we finally end the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters after the talks.

….”Abu Mazen has warned against the possibility of Israel using this transition period in Israel and the U.S. to accelerate settlement activity and attacks and incursions,” Erekat said.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Isreal’s chief peace negotiator, is running evenly with hawkish former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in polls to become the next prime minister.

Netanyahu’s spokeswoman, Dina Libster, indicated Sunday that he would not continue the Annapolis process if he won.

“The process as it has been until now is not helpful, and there is no point in continuing with it,” she said…..

It is also unclear whether Obama will prioritize the Mideast peace process, at a time when he must handle an economy in crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Quartet envoy Tony Blair urged Obama on Sunday to carry on with the process, saying, “The single most important thing is that the new administration in the United States grips this issue from Day One.”

Syria pleased to show itself and its rich history
By Judith Fein
The Boston Globe, 9 November 2008

The flaps of the Bedouin tent were open, and the father, dressed in a long, gray robe and sporting a red and white kaffiyeh, grinned and waved for us to enter.

“Where are you from?” he said as his family gathered around him.

“The United States,” we answered.

“Ahlan wa Sahlan, welcome!” the family called out. They ushered us into their desert abode where we leaned on overstuffed pillows and were served tea.

In the souks of Aleppo, where locals shop for everything from camel meat to spices, clothing, and kitchenware, vendors and shoppers called out “welcome” and a man pressed hard candies into our hands.

And at the Umayyad Palace Restaurant here in the capital, the owner gave me an oval piece of black meteorite with one of Allah’s names inscribed on it. “It’s for safety and protection during voyages,” he said. Were we really in Syria, a country not high on Americans’ destinations wish lists?…..

Analysis: How Damascus could leave Teheran isolated…
By AMIR MIZROCH
The Jerusalem Post, 10 November 2008

Syria’s Bashar Assad, derided as the son even his own father didn’t want to succeed him, is turning out to share many of Hafez’s wily and cautious traits. Despite a series of recent blows to his homeland security (the killings of Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyeh and Syrian military adviser Muhammad Suleiman, and the IAF’s destruction of his nascent nuclear plant), Assad junior is managing to keep a steady hand on the reins of power.

Assad Jr. is plainly looking to the long-term. He has accounts to settle with several players in the region, but for the moment he’s playing it cool. And for this, and his indirect talks with Israel, the West, and notably France, have rewarded him with greater acceptance.

Assad may have slammed Israel on Sunday as “not serious” about peace, but he does not want to abandon the talks. Far from wanting to return to pariah status, he wants to parlay his newly acceptable status into a warmed relationship with Washington…..

A Mujahideen Bleed-Through From Iraq? A Look at Syria
The Jamestown Foundation, Volume 5, Issue 36 (October 22, 2008

Al-Qaeda’s organizational goal in Iraq was to acquire contiguous territory from which to spread its influence and operatives, as well as those of its Islamist allies into the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Turkey. Having been weaned as an insurgent in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden has consistently refused to commit large al-Qaeda resources to jihads lacking country-wide maneuver room or Pakistan-like contiguous safe haven. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, therefore, opened a chance for the above-described expansion by al-Qaeda and its allies that would not have been possible under a Saddam-controlled Iraq.This is the first of four articles that will assess the initial stages of the penetration of the Levant by al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. This piece will look at Syria, and will be followed by analyses of the bleed-through from Iraq into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. The quartet of articles will seek to assess the validity of the recent claim by the state-run Syrian newspaper Al-Thawara that because of the war in Iraq “the [Levant] region is throbbing with terrorists.” (quoted in Christian Science Monitor, September 29).

After crushing the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB) at the city of Hama in 1982 – killing up to 20,000 people and leveling a quarter of the city – President Hafiz al-Assad adopted the traditional and traditionally unsuccessful tack of Arab tyrants of trying to use government largesse to co-opt Syria’s remaining Islamists and thereby moderate their message. ….

 

“The Syrian regime fell – as have others – in[to] the famous illusion that they can toy with the terrorist fundamentalist bear at the beginning of the day and then get rid of it or put it back in the cage at the end of the day! This is an illusion that is repeated and always repeated in the Middle East region….

Having now tightened up Syria’s borders with Iraq under pressure from Washington and the French government, Bashar al-Assad is now running a country-size hotel for a variety of ill-tempered Islamist guests (al-Akhbar [Beirut], September 30; NOW Lebanon, September 27). In addition to long-term tenants Hamas, Hizballah, and the secular Palestinian fraternity, Syrian security has to keep tabs on newer and not fully domesticated guests: a growing Syrian Muslim Brotherhood organization; a militant “official” clergy that is stoking greater Islamic fervor at the grassroots level; more than a half-million Iraqi refugees; a multinational assortment of veteran mujahedeen stranded in Syria after leaving Iraq; and would-be fighters who got to Syria but were prevented from entering Iraq. Among the veteran fighters are a contingent of Syrians who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan – some commentators are calling them the “Syrian Afghans” –with military skills they can impart at home and in other countries of the Levant (al-Hayat, September 28).All told, President Bashar al-Assad – a man not as skilled as his father or as able to control the regime’s security services – is faced with a growing Islamist threat to the stability of his regime. ….

 

A Mujahideen Bleed-Through From Iraq? Part Two – A Look at Lebanon
Volume 5, Issue 38 (November 5, 2008)

By Michael Scheuer

11/05/2008 – Lebanon always has been a country whose people are more loyal to family, clan, tribe, and faith than to the concept of Lebanon as a united nation-state. Since 2003, this existing internal divisiveness has been sharpened by the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-led international effort to drive Syria out of Lebanon. The former opened a role for Lebanon as part of the path for would-be jihadis traveling to fight in Iraq. The latter – together with the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war – forced the precipitate decline of effective governmental authority in Lebanon, allowing jihadis to use the country for transit and basing. This made it a target for aggressive expansionist efforts by Saudis and other Salafis and encouraged the rapid growth of internal violence between political and religious factions. Overall, the Iraq war and Syria’s departure from Lebanon gave al-Qaeda and its Islamist allies an unprecedented opportunity to infiltrate their influence and manpower into Lebanon, as well as help strengthen the Sunni Salafist trend in northern Lebanon. ….

As in Syria, the growing al-Qaeda and Saudi-backed Salifist movement in Lebanon’s north and its Palestinian refugee camps clearly is in part a product of the militant bleed-through from Iraq. But, as in Syria, Salafism’s Lebanese growth is occurring in already fertile soil: Lebanon’s Sunni north has been slowly radicalizing for much of this decade – Tripoli’s Sunni leaders long viewed Hezbollah as the “Resistance,” but now regard it as the “party of evil” – and the eviction of Syrian forces has substantially reduced Beirut’s ability to limit the growth of Salafism (Middle East Times, June 30). Bin Laden’s operatives and Saudi intelligence will continue to push these trends, thereby once again demonstrating just how closely aligned are the interests of al-Qaeda and Riyadh outside the Arabian Peninsula.This said, al-Qaeda still has considerable work to do in Lebanon. While Ayman al-Zawahiri said in April 2008 that Lebanon is now “a Muslim frontline fort,” Lebanese Salafists will for the foreseeable future be more concerned with securing increased political power and communal autonomy in the country than in flocking to support the worldwide Sunni jihad. …

 

SYRIA: Secret world of sexy women’s lingerie
By Khaled Hijab
Los Angeles Times, 9 November 2008

Look within your culture to discover the unexpected. What it might be hiding from you can give you a shock.” That is how designer Rana Salam ended a talk about her book of undergarments, “The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie,” at American University of Beirut.

“Secret Life” takes readers on a tour of the hidden intimacies and gaudy traditions of an outwardly rather conservative Arab country. …

Made with Chinese toys and other accessories, the collection of underwear Salam gathered includes bras and G-strings decorated with coconut shells, television remote controls, glow-in-the-dark toys and singing birds as well as edible lingerie with a variety of flavors.

Salam called them works of art. She said she visited the factories as attempt to “get into the brains of these designers, to know where all the creative ideas are coming from.” As she put it, “These are people who lack basic education about design but tend to produce one of the most creative pieces of work my eyes ever witnessed.” …

Comments (31)


1. samir said:

I totally agree with this quote from the article “Diplomats: Uranium found at suspect Syrian site”

“It isn’t enough to conclude or prove what the Syrians were doing, but the IAEA has concluded this requires further investigation …”

The next part of the investigation should start with the testing of the munitions Israel dropped at the site. Without doing so, there can be no way to be sure that Israel didn’t drop said processed uranium during the attack itself.

What’s that you say? It would be absurd for Israel to allow them to inspect their military sites where such munitions would be stored? Sounds oddly familiar . . .

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November 11th, 2008, 7:28 am

 

2. offended said:

I found the last article to be of more nuclear nature than the first one. 🙂

That could rate a thorough inspection too.

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November 11th, 2008, 7:30 am

 

3. Rumyal said:

I’m reluctantly resurrecting an exchange between Simo Hurtta, Shai, OTW, Alia and myself that occurred here http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=1500 between comments #35 and #80 on the question of how much does Israel resembles Nazi Germany and whether it is at all productive for any side involved in the equation to promote this comparison.

Having had a lot to do over the weekend, I only read the comments in passing and one thing that immediately stood out in Simo’s criticism is the claim that Israel has the plans and the equipment to carry out industrial scale genocide in the Palestinians, and that the fact that this is just a planned event vs. a realized policy is the only big difference between Israel and Nazi Germany. In Simo’s own words:

What is still missing is genocide on industrial scale. But “you” have surely plans and tested equipments ready to do that any day if your “corporal” demands it.

Not being able to control the uncontrollable knee-jerk reaction for an Israeli I asked Simo for clarification on what exactly he means by the “plans and equipment for industrial scale genocide”. I brought up two plausible answers: one is the fact that Israel posses WMD’s which can cause genocide if used, the other that he literally meant that Israel has developed gas chambers or some similar means for the planned and selective extermination of the Palestinian population. Of course other interpretations are also possible, such as saying that the dispossession and the daily encroachment on the territory represent a sort of an attempt to exterminate the Palestinian nation, if not its constituent individuals.

I left my question open and haven’t returned to read the ensuing discussion until now. In retrospect, Simo provided enough clarifications that I can say that I agree with 90% of what he said, and I agree with 100% of Shai’s replies on the topic. To summarize, we all recognize the crimes that are being carried out against the Palestinians and we are aware that if somebody like Lieberman got into power it is possible that physical extermination would be attempted. But it is not true that the degree of discrimination and violence against the Palestinians, and definitely not towards Palestinians inside Israel, is anything on the level of the Nazis and it is not true that Lieberman is anywhere close to Israeli mainstream. Alia confirmed that the Nazis had great popular support when they got into power.

Shai, being the very open and honest person he is, was willing to entertain the comparison and re-iterate our responsibility to the crimes against the Palestinians. OTW was very astute when he noted that for the Arab side promoting this comparison is going to achieve counter-productive results with Israeli and Jewish interlocutors.

Simo Hurrta, on the other hand, is experimenting with “shock therapy” on his Israeli reader and in this respect he resembles AIG. The tactic repeats itself: start with an incendiary over-sweeping comment (Israel == Nazi Germany) then back-paddle with plausible deniability and qualifications when probed. Luckily for Simo, Shai and myself are more keen on talking about our faults then probing and setting the record straight (because we are NOT here to persuade a Finnish guy to make peace with us. We are here to promote peace with Syrians and Lebanese…), and then the incendiary comments just go down unchallenged. Thankfully this time around we had OTW and Alia stand up and request clarifications, too. This again reaffirms our mutual commitment to avoiding any foul-play and concentrate on productive rather than destructive discourse and action.

To conclude I’d like to say that it’s one thing when the people inflicted by the conflict have their prejudices and barriers of suspicion to overcome. It’s a different thing when a third party volunteers a match to the powder keg. The motives of such 3rd parties are always questionable when they incite against one side, sometimes in a libelous manner. This holds for the AIPAC zealots when it comes to demonizing the “terrorist Muslims” and I’m afraid to say this holds equally true to our friend Simo when it comes to describing Israel as Nazi.

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November 11th, 2008, 7:37 am

 

4. SimoHurtta said:

It would be interesting to know from which country is those anonymous diplomats, who leak confidential information, are coming from. Maybe Alex could make a poll so we could provide our guess. It is astonishing that IAEA even bothers to mark the information as confidential knowing that certain “diplomats” leak the information (or suitable, for their propaganda purposes, parts of it) to the loyal press before the IAEA briefing has ended.

These stories about nuclear developments in Middle East are mildly said interesting.

Documents linking Iran to nuclear weapons push may have been fabricated

What makes me wonder that there are so many stories about hypothetical nuclear ambitions and events in Arab / Muslim countries and practically none of Israel’s much less hypothetical “ambitions”.

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November 11th, 2008, 8:19 am

 

5. Innocent Criminal said:

WOW!!! A post that discusses uranium, oil exploration and tacky feathery lingere just to name a few. I guess Josh’s schedule is so busy he’s obliged to create this interesting mosaic of stories 😉

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November 11th, 2008, 9:44 am

 

6. Akbar Palace said:

Rumyal said:

I’m reluctantly resurrecting an exchange between Simo Hurtta, Shai, OTW, Alia and myself that occurred here http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=1500 between comments #35 and #80 on the question of how much does Israel resembles Nazi Germany and whether it is at all productive for any side involved in the equation to promote this comparison.

Rumyal,

No need to be reluctant. Feel free to list for us how Israel resembles Nazi Germany. Then, when you’re done, I’ll counter with a list of how Israel does NOT resemble Nazi Germany. Does that seem fair to you?

Here’s some “food for thought”:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday used a Jerusalem memorial ceremony for former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to reiterate that Israel must be willing to cede parts of the capital.

“The moment of truth has arrived,” he repeated. “We can push if off for many years in which blood will be spilled. But we must look at it honestly, proudly and responsibly. The bullets that killed Rabin could not stop the historic path that he led. Even after his death, Rabin will be victorious.”

“Israel’s honor, the power of democracy and rule of law, obligate this. The extremists have no future because they don’t act justly. The majority of the electorate won’t be frightened by this threatening minority. The people will defend their land, peace and democracy with all their might. They will overcome those struck by blindness, like just one candle can dissolve darkness.”

“Every government must tell the truth and this truth will unfortunately make us divide many parts of the homeland, in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights,” he told the Knesset. “Whoever thinks that it’s possible to duck out of a decision and also to continue to build ties with Arab and Muslim counties, like we are doing today, is living in a dream.”

Olmert said that 13 years after Rabin’s death, incitement and hate had still not subsided.

“Israeli citizens repeatedly hit with violent cruelty Palestinians who want to harvest olives, as they have done for hundreds of years, in places where their personal and family homes have stood,” he said.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1225910083935&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

PS – Please tell us where you got the quote “terrorist Muslims”. Who said that all Muslims are terrorists?

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November 11th, 2008, 11:45 am

 

7. norman said:

Printable view

Tue, Nov 11, 2008, 14:40 GMT

Iraq FM visits Syria in wake of US raid

DAMASCUS, Nov 11, 2008 (AFP) – Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari flew in to Damascus on Tuesday, on a surprise visit two weeks after a US raid on a Syrian village launched from Iraq that caused tension with Baghdad.

Damascus criticised an initial government statement in Baghdad that appeared to condone the October 26 helicopter-borne raid on a Syrian border village and called off a joint meeting scheduled for November 12-13.

Zebari was greeted at the airport by his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem at the start of the previously unannounced visit.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday called on the United States to pull out its troops out of Iraq, saying they posed a threat to neighbouring states.

“The presence in Iraq of American forces of occupation is a permanent threat to neighbouring countries and an element of instability in the region,” Assad said in a speech to MPs.

Assad also slammed a security accord being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad, saying it was “aimed at making Iraq a base for attacks on neighbouring nations.”

Syria said eight civilians were killed in last month’s raid, while a US official in Washington later said the raid had targeted militants smuggling arms and fighters into Iraq.

A security pact being thrashed out by Baghdad and Washington aims to lay down the framework for the future of US troops in Iraq after the UN mandate governing their presence expires at the end of this year.

But Iraqi officials have repeatedly given assurances that the deal would prevent the US military from launching attacks on Iraq’s neighbours.

lb-rm/hc/bpz

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November 11th, 2008, 2:40 pm

 

8. Observer said:

In the grand scheme of things, the world is now facing up to the three hundred years of colonial messing of the world, from Tutsi Hutu war to Kashmir to Taiwan separated from China and to the Arab Israeli conflict.

The acceleration of the spread of technology coupled with the shift of wealth to the East is compelling the EU mainly to try to solve those problems while the US under the current administration has done everything in its power to create an empire.

Well the empire is no more and the emergence of a multipolar world is clearly occurring.

Exporting problems to the third world is no longer possible as it will goes massive migration and disclocation of the effort to exploit natural resources. Maintenance of the standard of living of the West is no longer going to be possible and the East will not have an opportunity to achieve the same level of wealth as the US and EU have now except in a few elites.

If the resolution of these problems is not based on justice true and secure then we will have just postponed the problem to another generation that will come out ever more militant and violent.

Opening up to Syria and restoring Iraq and building interfaith dialogue and resolving conflicts is part of the recognition of this effort.

Now everybody is hoping that the new administration will lead, well, I can tell you that the internal issues are by far overwhelming right now and the US may not have the ability to affect much change.

I remain pessimistic and I still think Cheney can poison the well with an attack on Iran.

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November 11th, 2008, 3:17 pm

 

9. Friend in America said:

SIMO –
At present, the best assumption is the ‘diplomats’ are members of the IAEA Council representing European or other middle eastern countries. Note ‘diplomats’ is plural. That means the investigative reporter contacted more than one ‘diplomat’ and received sufficient replies to corroborate the facts in this news story. The final report will be released in 10 days or less, so it is not a significant breech of confidentiality,and we can discuss the contents of the report then.

The insistance of Iran to develop an enrichment capability has stirred concerned among nuclear security experts around the world. Because the countries in the mid east are the closest to Iran (and within the range of its missiles) and because of Iran’s bellicose words about Israel, there are analyists who believe at least some of Iran’s leaders would use nuclear weapons to achieve its goals. I am one. The Iranian nuclear program contains an implied danger to all mid eastern countries. Some mid east countries, it is feared, will therefore be prompted to acquire a nuclear capability for themselves. This will result in a nuclear weapon proliferation in the middle east which already is dangerously volatile.
Add to this concern the IAEA report earlier this year of 250 thefts of nuclear materials in 2007. Where did the materials go? Who would pay for such materials? Present thinking is the most likely area of the world is the middle east. Not China, not the countries bordering Russia, not Africa, not Venezuela. If I lived in any country in the middle east, I would be very concerned about the potential for nuclear proliferation.

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November 11th, 2008, 3:56 pm

 

10. SimoHurtta said:

To summarize, we all recognize the crimes that are being carried out against the Palestinians and we are aware that if somebody like Lieberman got into power it is possible that physical extermination would be attempted. But it is not true that the degree of discrimination and violence against the Palestinians, and definitely not towards Palestinians inside Israel, is anything on the level of the Nazis and it is not true that Lieberman is anywhere close to Israeli mainstream. Alia confirmed that the Nazis had great popular support when they got into power.

Well let us remember that Yisrael Beiteinu (Lieberman’s party) got as much votes in last elections as Likud got and little less as Shas got. Undermining Lieberman’s role and influence is simply unfounded and dangerous underestimating or simply pure propaganda.

Lieberman, Nethanuany and other hardcore Zionists (in Israel and USA) represent the mainstream Israel. You Rumyal, Shai and other members of the peace “camp” are a ministream in Israel. Sad but true. Israeli mainstream politicians are competing who is the “hardest guy” towards Palestinians and neighbours. And Israelis like that uncompromising bulling more than the peace tone.

What comes to Nazis support. NSDAP got in the parliamentary elections in 1932 July 37.8 percent of vote
elections in 1932 November 33.1 percent
elections in 1933 (just after Reichstag fire) 43,9 percent
NSDAP got its support for its promises to turn around the economy in the time of Great Depression and big unemployment. Anti-Semitism was not the core for the party’s support. After 1933 there were no more elections. NSDAP turned to a “normal” dominant party in a one party dictatorship. The majority of Germans were never Nazis and would certainly supported what happened in the concentration camps, if somebody had asked them.

The support of non compromise seeking Israeli parties was at least as big as the percentual support of NSDAP in the last elections.

It would be interesting to know did Alia’s comment about Nazis support in the middle and upper class mean the era before 1933 or after that. Surely Nazis were supported by some industrialists, bankers (including Bush’s grandfather) and members of the upper class. But so is no peace camp in Israel.

Simo Hurrta, on the other hand, is experimenting with “shock therapy” on his Israeli reader and in this respect he resembles AIG. The tactic repeats itself: start with an incendiary over-sweeping comment (Israel == Nazi Germany) then back-paddle with plausible deniability and qualifications when probed.

Well Rumyal do not invent your own reality. It was you who mentioned gas chambers not me. You created your own “shock”. And I must give therapy or better said tell the ugly truth.

I suppose even you understand what some of the demands of Israeli “circles” against Palestinians mean in reality if they are accomplished. I suppose that you understand that emptying big parts of Israel from Palestinians is a big job demanding planing and wast resources. I suppose you understand what a major attack against Gaza will cost in human lives and what kind of weapons will/can be used. Both are genocide on industrial scale.

As said before Sabra, Shatila and Jenin did not happen by accident and the probability that such events happen in future is extremely high. Those actions were carefully planed and performed and so will the possible future “actions” be.

Luckily for Simo, Shai and myself are more keen on talking about our faults then probing and setting the record straight (because we are NOT here to persuade a Finnish guy to make peace with us. We are here to promote peace with Syrians and Lebanese…), and then the incendiary comments just go down unchallenged.

I understand your motives about peace building and respect them. However in this kind of “forum” it is important to discuss about real issues linked to the peace process (and possibilities of it) in Middle East instead avoiding them and degenerate the discussion to rather worthless “we are friends” liturgy and chatting. This over 60 year long conflict is reflecting to the whole world.

The real core issue is that Israel is NOT WANTING TO MAKE PEACE. Palestinians and Arab nations have clearly let Israel to know that 1967 borders are enough. It is perfectly clear that the only who can open the knot is Israel. Let us remember that it is Israel which is/has been the aggressor and is overwhelming the strongest in this conflict. The “solution” to the conflict is “hidden” inside the Israeli society. So analysing and trying to understand Israel’s social “system”, ideology and political players is extremely important.

I fully understand that Israeli Jews do not want to be compared with Nazis. However Israelis frequently compare others to Nazis and speak with comparisons from the 30’s about Iran. Surely much of that what happens and had happened in Israel was happening in Nazi Germany. Especially with regards to the treatment of the unwanted minority. There are/has been isolated ghettos, deliberate starving, concentration camps, no trial detentions, theft of property, separation walls, movement restrictions, population transfers, law differences with treatment of population groups etc. The only difference with many things is in the amount of dead. But is that essential? The similarities in the societies’ behaviour and used means is essential.

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November 11th, 2008, 3:57 pm

 

11. qunfuz said:

I’m really enjoying the new anti-spam words.

Anyway.

I would really like to hear one of Josh’s commentaries on the claim of uranium. I’ve been writing and saying for months that – obviously – Syria has no nuclear programme. I don’t think I’ve changed my mind, but I have lost my confidence on this. And I too really want to know who this diplomat is.

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November 11th, 2008, 3:58 pm

 

12. qunfuz said:

FIA says: “The Iranian nuclear program contains an implied danger to all mid eastern countries.” I agree, but I put the Iranian nuclear threat to the Middle East behind 1. Israel’s real nuclear warheads. 2. America’s real nuclear warheads. 3. Pakistan’s real nuclear warheads.

Iran is the second most democratic country in the region, after Turkey. Unlike numbers one and two on my list it has not attacked another country in its modern history. Neither is it guilty of mass ethnic cleansing.

FIA’s ridiculous absorption in the myths of his empire doesn’t allow him to see that middle eastern countries may want to acquire nuclear arms because of the presence of American imperial force in the region, and of course because of the expansionist apartheid state’s nuclear weapons, pointing right now at us.

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November 11th, 2008, 4:09 pm

 
 

14. SimoHurtta said:

9. Friend in America said:

SIMO –
At present, the best assumption is the ‘diplomats’ are members of the IAEA Council representing European or other middle eastern countries. Note ‘diplomats’ is plural. That means the investigative reporter contacted more than one ‘diplomat’ and received sufficient replies to corroborate the facts in this news story. The final report will be released in 10 days or less, so it is not a significant breech of confidentiality,and we can discuss the contents of the report then.

Investigate reporter? Hmmmm. Better said a propaganda mouthpiece. Europe and other middle eastern countries? From where do you make that assumption. They can also be from USA and Israel (that is also plural). And that is much more likely than that they come form Europe. Who has been making the most voice of Iranian bomb plans?

Your theories about Iran’s nuclear danger are somewhat unfounded. From where have you picked that notion that Iran’s leaders would use their hypothetical nukes against others? Iran has very little means and need for aerial expansion. I have not seen any news that Iran’s leaders want to occupy Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc. There are some minor border disputes. The Iranian nuclear attack claim against nuclear Israel is simply hilarious. The is no Iranian leader who want to commit a suicide on nation level. Let us remember that Israel has more nukes than China. Do you seriously believe that Iran would make fast their first bomb, at once put it on a missile and turn it against Tel Aviv. Come-on. Iranian leaders may be difficult to understand but they are not stupid or lunatics.

The reality is that one nation has ready nukes in Middle East. Friend in America Israel is in Middle East, not in America or Europe. Why do you not speak in your analysis about the real present danger, instead you repeat wild speculations and rumours. Surely you understand that the power balance in Middle East is very badly unbalanced. Every nation there struggles to get at least the Japanese option of being able to produce nukes if needed. Not because Iran but because of Israel. One can neutralize the nuclear deterrence only with an own bomb.

There will be unavoidable nuclear proliferation in Middle East so long Israel has nukes and keeps up increasing its armament and attack distance. If Middle East wants to be a nuclear free zone it means all are nuclear free.

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November 11th, 2008, 4:45 pm

 

15. Alia said:

SimoHurtta,

We were speaking of the percentages of membership in the NASDP, not of the election results in percentages for the whole nation.

One has to remember that within the 5 years between 1925 and 1930, Hitler seeing that his alliance with the (Volk) lower middle –class and lower class industrial workers and then the farmers- who were wupposed to be his power base- was not bringing him the results that he wanted, he allied himself with the right wing conservative group of the German Nationalists (DNVP) under Alfred Hugenberg- a mutually manipulative alliance- which led to a dramatic increase in upper middle-class enrollment in the NASDP and -although not immediate- their subsequent significant success. So that in 1928, the Nazi party had 108,000 members, while in 1929 the party membership reached 178,000 and the number of SA men reached the size of the army 100,000. and so on… Elite and upper-middle-class membership in the Nazi party was not large in number but they were overrepresented in the party after 1925.

In 1926, Wilhelm Tempel at Leipzig University founded the National Socialist German Student Union. By 1930, 50% of German university students had joined the Nazi party. Although the number of big industrials was small, they had a significant role. In addition, one of the key concepts that Hitler supported and his entourage maintained was: “the higher the social class the higher the rank in the organization of the party membership”, thus a significant power and dominance process was put into place in a traditionally conservative society.

On the issue of anti-Semitism, the groundwork was already present in the “25 point program of the NSDAP” note items, 17, 18, 24- although left vague at the beginning, over time Hitler himself went on to specifically designate Jews as the negative elements to eradicate, and the bankers who were oppressing the poor farmers and small entrepreneurs, in speeches dating as far back as 1927, when he was still trying to woe farmers and the lower classes to his party.

The words were said and heard- How many understood the final solution? Who knows? I have interviewed a few hundred people informally – very few admitted to know anything about it. A former POW who spent his 5 years post- WWII in Siberia and was one of the last prisoners to be released by the Soviets stated that he heard about it in Labor camp.

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November 11th, 2008, 5:40 pm

 

16. Rumyal said:

Simo,

>>> …isolated ghettos, deliberate starving, concentration camps, no trial detentions, theft of property, separation walls, movement restrictions, population transfers, law differences with treatment of population groups etc.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

>>> The only difference with many things is in the amount of dead. But is that essential? The similarities in the societies’ behaviour and used means is essential.

No there are many other differences and the differences are huge and essential, despite the many similarities. And yes we need to heed your admonitions to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

Let me repeat my main complaint again. You could just call things what they are (a siege of Ghaza, 5,000 people in prison, many without trial, etc..) and I will acknowledge them, as I just did. In this respect, as OTW told AIG, you’re preaching to the quire.

However you choose to peddle a comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany that despite some similarities is not at all accurate and I still fail to understand what constructive purpose it serves? Let me propose a couple possible answers I can think of for this question:

Option #1: you are trying to convince Israelis of how horrible their sins are. If this is the case then:
(a) you need to go and engage Israelis, which there aren’t too many of here; and,
(b) as I and others said before your selection of a yardstick (Nazi Germany) in this case is going to make sure your voice is unheard, for the following reasons:
1. You can just talk about the phenomenon themselves, without resorting to comparisons.
2. If you insist on comparing, then the comparison to Nazi Germany is not that great on a factual basis (e.g. South Africa would have been a better comparison, on a factual similarity basis).
3. The trauma that Israelis have with the Nazis will ensure most of them shut their ears really well.
4. When this criticism is coming from a European of Austrian decent they will (rightfully so) suspect that you are not the bias-free humanist that you purport to be and that you bring an age-old hatred towards them.

Option #2: you are trying to convince the Syrians and other Arab folks here that Israel is Nazi, lest they be lulled into believing that peace really has hope, because that would be the conclusion coming out of your analogy. If that’s the case, then again I see similarity with AIG’s presumptuousness here. Let the citizens of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine form their own opinions about just how horrible and hopeless Israel is, your help is really not required.

I think the answer is neither option #1 nor option #2. It’s a third option that I’m not going to spell out here but you don’t have be a genius to know what it is.

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November 11th, 2008, 7:15 pm

 

17. Shai said:

Alia,

If I may ask, what is/was your background? Are you an historian? Your knowledge of history, indeed of Jewish history, is astounding and extremely impressive. I wish I (and most other Jews) knew as much about our history as you seem to.

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November 11th, 2008, 7:52 pm

 

18. Akbar Palace said:

SimoHurtta said:

Lieberman, Nethanuany and other hardcore Zionists (in Israel and USA) represent the mainstream Israel.

So?

Well Rumyal do not invent your own reality. It was you who mentioned gas chambers not me. You created your own “shock”. And I must give therapy or better said tell the ugly truth.

What is the “ugly truth” Sim?

As said before Sabra, Shatila and Jenin did not happen by accident and the probability that such events happen in future is extremely high. Those actions were carefully planed and performed and so will the possible future “actions” be.

Sim, please answer the same question I asked Rumyal. Please list for us how Israel resembles Nazi Germany. Then, when you’re done, I’ll counter with a list of how Israel does NOT resemble Nazi Germany. Let’s delve into this matter without leaving any stone unturned.

The real core issue is that Israel is NOT WANTING TO MAKE PEACE.

Again, you seem to be in denial. Israel has already made peace with Eygpt and Jordan and has been discussing peace treaties with Syria and the Palestinians for years.

Perhaps you are confusing “wanting to make peace” with “agreed to make peace”. A what about Israel’s negotiating partners? Why are they not held accountable for not making peace?

Palestinians and Arab nations have clearly let Israel to know that 1967 borders are enough.

Where in the Hamas, PLO and Hezbollah Charters are the 1967 borders shown to be the requisite for peace? Israel claims a stake in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was not part of Israel before the ’67 war. Israel will not give up this claim. Israel offered East Jerusalem, the Gaza strip, and 95% of the WB at the end of Clinton’s term. How is this “NOT WANTING TO MAKE PEACE”?

It is perfectly clear that the only who can open the knot is Israel.

Of course. Clearly, your point-of-view is that no matter what the arabs do, Israel is fault.

Let us remember that it is Israel which is/has been the aggressor and is overwhelming the strongest in this conflict.

Before Israel had the WB, Gaza AND the Golan, Israel was at war with ALL of her neighbors. What was the problem then? Settlements?

The “solution” to the conflict is “hidden” inside the Israeli society.

Please clarify.

So analysing and trying to understand Israel’s social “system”, ideology and political players is extremely important.

Ditto.

I fully understand that Israeli Jews do not want to be compared with Nazis.

Compare away Sim. Enlighten us. Educate us.

However Israelis frequently compare others to Nazis and speak with comparisons from the 30’s about Iran.

Please list all the Israelis who have frequently compares others to Nazis. Personally, I think more gentiles compare Israelis to Nazis than the other way around, but that’s just my POV.

Surely much of that what happens and had happened in Israel was happening in Nazi Germany. Especially with regards to the treatment of the unwanted minority. There are/has been isolated ghettos, deliberate starving, concentration camps, no trial detentions, theft of property, separation walls, movement restrictions, population transfers, law differences with treatment of population groups etc. The only difference with many things is in the amount of dead. But is that essential? The similarities in the societies’ behaviour and used means is essential.

Please list:

– “isolated ghettos”

– deliberate starving

– concentration camps

The only difference with many things is in the amount of dead.

Sim,

Is that really the only difference?

Please tell us where we can find the following in Israel:

– work labor/concentration camps

– death camps where gas chambers (using a poisonous gas like Zyklon B, etc is used), crematoria for burning dead bodies and pits where piles of dead bodies are bulldozed underground.

– laws preventing intermarriage, going to university, working in a certain profession, stripping Israeli citizenship from Arab-Israelis, Arabs not allowed to show the Israeli flag, Arabs not allowed to hire Jewish women, all punishable by “hard labor”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Laws

Another point to consider Sim:

What kind of terrorist threat were Jewish-Germans to the State of Germany prior to WW2? Perhaps this is a point you may have overlooked.

– Specifically, how many German buses, restaurants, and transportation centers were bombed by Jewish terrorists?

– When did German-Jews claim parts of German land only for themselves where German-gentiles had to withdraw from?

– When did German-Jews fire missiles into German population centers?

– When did German orthodox Jews not recognize Germany and declare “jihad” against Germany using language like this:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Jews fight the Germans (killing the Germans), when the German will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Jews, O Moses, there is a German behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the German.”

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November 11th, 2008, 7:59 pm

 

19. Akbar Palace said:

Israeli Nazi organization exposed:

http://www.btselem.org/English/index.asp

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November 11th, 2008, 8:15 pm

 

20. Shai said:

Akbar, Rumyal, Simo,

Putting aside for a moment the validity or not of making any sort of comparison (even partial) between Zionism and Nazism, I do think I finally understand one of the main reasons why anyone would suggest this to Jews and Israelis. When you’ve tried everything else, and the same result occurs time and again for 60 years, ensuring a continuation of your suffering for another 60 years, you are left with no alternative but to shake that “master of your fate” where it hurts him most. And when he is faced with the one reality he knows better than any other, he may finally see the truth.

Except, that the opposite happens…

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November 11th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

21. Shai said:

Akbar, Rumyal, Simo,

Putting aside for a moment the validity or not of making any sort of comparison (even partial) between Zionism and Nazism, I do think I finally understand one of the main reasons why anyone would suggest this to Jews and Israelis. When you’ve tried everything else, and the same result occurs time and again for 60 years, ensuring a continuation of your suffering for another 60 years, you are left with no alternative but to shake that “master of your fate” where it hurts him most. And when he is faced with the one reality he knows better than any other, he may finally see your truth.

Except, that the opposite happens…

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November 11th, 2008, 8:22 pm

 

22. Shai said:

While I disagree that Zionism today is sufficiently comparable to be described as Nazism of the 1930’s, can we honestly dismiss any concern that addresses the potential (be it minimal or huge, in the present, or the future) for one to turn into the other? Are there not elements within Israel who uphold, on behalf of Zionism, similar horrific ideologies? And indeed what ensures us, that these elements cannot, almost overnight and by democratic process, ascend to the throne? I would like my answer to be – morality and common sense, that still make up the basic fiber of our society. But can we honestly claim this is the case? I fear that indeed we must be well on alert these days, more perhaps than ever before. Deep divisions, that take on the shape of clashing ideologies, could lead a society into very dangerous waters.

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November 11th, 2008, 8:48 pm

 

23. AIG said:

In France 20% of the population support the Front National. In the UK the BNP is gaining strength. In Italy, Austria and other parts of Europe the extreme right is gaining strength. BUT, it is Israel that is in danger of becoming Nazi. Israel has proven to be the most reselient democracy in the world, remaining democratic throughout 60 years of war and even granting citizenship to its harshest enemies because that is what democracies do.

Any comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany is not just plain wrong but plain antisemitic. Any analysis of democracy in Israel without a comparison to how other democracies behaved in war is antisemitic. Israel should be held to the same standards as any democratic country, no more no less. You can find faults in even the best democracy in the world. But what is important is how democracies compare to each other under similar conditions. Any absolute judgement of Israel without a proper reference for comparison is pure and simple antisemitism, it is holding Jews to different standards.

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November 11th, 2008, 9:14 pm

 

24. Shai said:

AIG,

You’re right, Israel should not be held to higher standards (even though some of us like to refer to Israel as “a light unto the nations”…) And it is also true that in many democracies around the world extremism is growing rapidly. But Israel is still in a particularly different position, unlike most other democracies, in that it is occupying and controlling the fate of a huge indigenous population, whose freedoms and rights are not recognized or guaranteed by Israeli law. If Britain was occupying Scotland, yet not recognizing the Scottish people as being British, with fully equal rights and obligations as any other Brit, then the picture would look very differently, like it does in our case.

If Israel annexed the West Bank and Gaza (as it did the Golan), and made the 3 million Palestinians de facto and de jure Israeli citizens, with truly equal rights, then I would say the chances are much slimmer for a Nazi-like movement to ever gain enough power politically. But our Occupation of Palestine not only corrupts our own society from within, but indeed endangers it from without, by posing endless threats that lead it to think and act radically, rather than moderately. In such an environment, many dangerous ideologies brew.

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November 11th, 2008, 9:30 pm

 

25. Alia said:

Shai,

A few years ago, in the course of working on a project for the WHO, I met a German Professor of Medicine who had spent the last 30 years of his life researching the issue of Euthanasia during the Third Reich.
I had something to contribute to his project and in turn he let me in on a lot of the data that had recently been declassified from one of the Universities that had been a centre for Euthanasia. He had sued the Department Head in order to obtain access to this information. He did present his findings to the appropriate German Medical society, and it was also published.
Although this work did not involve Jewish history per se, I ended up studying the history of Germany with emphasis on the Third Reich, and then one thing led to another and I found myself in the middle of a major work on European history- although this is not my primary discipline- but it is a learning path, all of it.

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November 11th, 2008, 10:29 pm

 

26. SimoHurtta said:

4. When this criticism is coming from a European of Austrian decent they will (rightfully so) suspect that you are not the bias-free humanist that you purport to be and that you bring an age-old hatred towards them.

Are you Rumyal seriously claiming that Jews claim that all Germans and Austrians bear the responsibility of Nazi time until the end of times. I was not even born then. My mother was a very small girl that time. Not a single of my relatives living then was a party member. Come-on. How many of your relatives have killed Palestinians? Do you live in a house robbed from Palestinians? Or in a settlement? Those are fair questions with the discussion style you adapted.

Well if we all who have German and Austrian blood heritage are responsible then it is fair that say every single Jew bear the responsibility for Palestine, for that what has happened and will happen. Even your grand-grandchildren born in USA in 2080. Isn’t it so? Isn’t that somewhat stupid Old Testament thinking? Surely I know that hundreds of thousands of Jews are deeply discussed what is happening in Israel and some have even publicly made equal Nazi time comparisons.

So is your viewpoint that all nations in the world have a collective responsibility even to further non born generations except Jews. It would not surprise me. If you Israeli Jews constantly demand millions of Palestinians to pay for the acts of a few militants (= collective punishment) why do you then deny that your use of collective punishment etc is something different as what happened in the beginning of Nazi era.

Let us take Gaza as an example. Where are the nearest comparison points in western countries history to that? I suppose in Nazi Germany are the nearest. An other example the separation walls and “one race” roads. Again in Nazi Germany. Not even the soviet block had such “solutions”.

Today UN chief spoke about Gaza in BBC. Did you, Akbar, AIG and Shai know that the necessities for life have not been allowed there for a long, long time. Meaning food, medicines etc. I suppose you do, but you have done anything to help? I suppose not. What do you call that is happening in Gaza? I call it starving a vast civilian population, a terrible crime and a planned genocide attempt on industrial scale. You may disagree, but so what. But tell me one single example in the last hundred years history which could be compared to this “event”. I suppose you have to long back in history with your “studies”, but Gaza is happening now. Not in 1936.

A couple of days ago there was in BBC a story from Hebron which told how a young Palestinian boy has to be pushed by wheelchair to school hundreds of meters in difficult terrain when the school is only some tens of meters away. This all because IDF is protecting some Israeli lunatics with separation walls. Today IDF begun, after this PR humiliation, to build a private door for the poor boys family in the separation wall. You may call it as a positive step in reconciliation with Palestinians and the neighbourhood. I call it the example of extreme naiveness and hypocrisy in a seriously sick country.

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November 12th, 2008, 1:51 am

 

27. AIG said:

No Sim,

Rumyal was claiming that there is an ancient history of antisemitism in Europe and that you may in fact be an antisemite. For example, we know you are a Lutheran and that Luther was a rabid antisemite. Of course, not all Lutherans are antisemites, but when your religion is named after an antisemite, and has never denounced Luther’s antisemitism, and then when you write what you write, then some people may think you are an antisemite. In fact most scholars believe that Luther’s writings are the base for antisemitism in Germany and his works were used as propoganda for the Nazis. So while we do not know exactly what you were taught as a child, we know that the possiblity that you received antisemitism with your mother’s milk is not zero and what you write raises the probability quite high above zero.

Luther on Jews, from wikipedia:
He argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people, but were “the devil’s people.” They were “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.”[84] The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”[85] and Jews were full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.”[86] He advocated setting synagogues on fire, destroying Jewish prayerbooks, forbidding rabbis from preaching, seizing Jews’ property and money, smashing up their homes, and ensuring that these “poisonous envenomed worms” be forced into labor or expelled “for all time.”[87] He also seemed to sanction their murder,[88] writing “We are at fault in not slaying them.”[89]

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November 12th, 2008, 4:56 am

 

28. Rumyal said:

Simo,

I’m sorry but you have totally misinterpreted what I said to you and asked of you. In this response I would clarify things again and would answer the additional questions you have asked.

I did not AT ALL pose the question of whether you, or I, or anybody, bear responsibility for our ancestors’ deeds. This is an interesting moral question and I will get back to it, as you seem to be really keen on discussing it. My point, however, that you quoted, was not about guilt or responsibility but about the perception in Jewish mind that there still exists burning hatred in Europeans, towards Jews. i.e., that the European have “more in store” for the Jews and that their age old hatred “meme” hasn’t been eliminated. That perception certainly exists within the Israeli/Jewish society and due to that reason when you, as a European, especially as a European of Austrian decent, find fault in them, this perception kicks in and immediately ulterior motives are suspected. I was describing this phenomenon in the context of asking you whether it was your goal to educate Israelis about the severity of their crimes when you promote the comparison between Israeli and Nazi Germany and I indicated that this phenomenon would get in your way, if opening the eyes of the Israelis was indeed your goal. You haven’t indicated whether this is your goal or not. I would appreciate your position on that.

I also said that I suspect that in your individual case, the perception that you have a burning primordial hatred towards Jews seems to be rooted in reality. This is my gut feeling and I may be wrong about that. You have certainly managed to keep your posts ambiguous enough that I cannot tell for sure.

—————————–

As for your additional points.

I haven’t given a lot of thought as to whether we shall always be responsible for our ancestors’ sins. I’m not an expert on ethics. I suppose that gradually our responsibility wears out, as long as the grievances are addressed. So I would hope that one day, soon hopefully, we would be able to compensate the Arab nation for our intrusion and that future generations will be able to put this behind them. I am certainly willing to do the same with the Europeans (in a reverse role), but to be very honest with you, forgiving the Europeans is on the cheap for me because we have untangled our destiny from yours. Whether or not you have “repented enough” is an interesting question only for people who like to dwell on the past. (And I’m saying this as somebody who has a great deal of his paternal side of the family exterminated in the Holocaust and their property taken away from them). Receiving forgiveness and reconciling with the Arabs is the ticket for the future. What happens with Europe is of secondary importance EXCEPT when somebody like you comes here on a crusade to extinguish any hope of reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

>>> How many of your relatives have killed Palestinians?

I was fortunate enough to have nobody in my close family serve in “policing” in the territories.

>>> Do you live in a house robbed from Palestinians? Or in a settlement?

Never have. No. Sorry to disappoint.

But, I have deep desire to compensate anybody whose property was taken away from him and I’m also not adamant like the rest of the Israelis that the right-of-return has to be symbolic only. Whomever wants to live in the country and contribute to its success is welcome in my book.

Let me also add this. My mother’s family had to flee from Iraq after signing a government paper requiring them to relinquish their citizenship and property. They had quite a bit of property. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab countries is on the same order of magnitude as the Palestinian refugees. I am all hope that when we reach comprehensive peace, there is going to be some reciprocity in this regard. Both the Jewish and the Arab refugees are hostages of the governments who have found it politically expeditious to keep things as they are.

>>> Well if we all who have German and Austrian blood heritage are responsible then it is fair that say every single Jew bear the responsibility for Palestine, for that what has happened and will happen. Even your grand-grandchildren born in USA in 2080. Isn’t it so?

Yes, this is consistent thinking, same criteria should apply. (But it wasn’t at all my point.)

>>> Isn’t that somewhat stupid Old Testament thinking?

I wouldn’t know about that, that book doesn’t rank high in my reading list. I told you before I am an atheist (but I think I’m unsuccessful in getting to you).

>>> Surely I know that hundreds of thousands of Jews are deeply discussed what is happening in Israel and some have even publicly made equal Nazi time comparisons.

That is fine. I am disgusted too, and that is a main reason why I left Israel. I think I’m getting ready to come back and try and help change the situation. My whole point was that it was unproductive, or at least I couldn’t conjure a supporting argument to the constructiveness of making the comparison. In my previous comment I asked you to explain what it is that you are hoping to achieve with the comparison and I would still appreciate an answer.

>>> So is your viewpoint that all nations in the world have a collective responsibility even to further non born generations except Jews. It would not surprise me.

OK, this is borderline funny. I don’t believe that and I never said that. I think you had a conversation between yourself and the hated Jew in your head.

>>> If you Israeli Jews constantly demand millions of Palestinians to pay for the acts of a few militants (= collective punishment) why do you then deny that your use of collective punishment etc is something different as what happened in the beginning of Nazi era.

No disagreement here.

>>> Let us take Gaza as an example. Where are the nearest comparison points in western countries history to that? I suppose in Nazi Germany are the nearest.

I cannot in the life of me understand why Israel is putting a blockade on Ghaza. This is not only a horrific collective punishment of millions but also a stupid move that serves nobody. But, you’re asking me whether other countries have done similar things, after the Nazis. I so much detest this question but I will have to play along because I have committed to answering *all* your questions in the futile hope that I’ll be able to nudge you a bit. Here are some situations that may be in the same league or worse than Ghaza:
1. Russia in Afghanistan
2. America in Vietnam
3. Communists in Vietnam
4. Iraq vs. the Kurds and vs. Kuwait
5. Syria in Hama
6. American sanctions on Iraq
7. Most of Africa.
What comes next? We’re going to discuss why Ghaza is much worse than each of these? Or more Nazi because it’s the result of a supremacy ideology? Fine knock yourself out, I don’t see how this helps the Ghazans though. What would help is showing the world pictures of kids suffering in Ghaza, not making a futile point about whether this situation is more horrific than Hama or not.

>>> Another example the separation walls and “one race” roads. Again in Nazi Germany. Not even the soviet block had such “solutions”.

As I told you before, South Africa or the segregation in the US would be both more recent, more accurate, and more potent comparisons (*if* your goal is to get people to listen to you). Present day Saudi Arabia comes to mind too, with their treatment of foreigners, especially non-Muslims and the Muslim-only sacred cities.

>>> Today UN chief spoke about Gaza in BBC. Did you, Akbar, AIG and Shai know that the necessities for life have not been allowed there for a long, long time. Meaning food, medicines etc. I suppose you do, but you have done anything to help? I suppose not.

I know that. Israeli peace activists have defied the blockade for a third time, bringing in a ship with supplies. This was on the first page on all newspapers in Israel. This is just symbolic given there are two million people there. I also trust the Palestinians to be resourceful and find ways to get some essentials in (this is in way an endorsement of what’s going on there). What did I do? I have to be honest with you, I’m a working man with a family to take care of. I’m not a career politician or activists. So this is my modest contribution:
1. I’m donating money to B’tselem and other organizations.
2. I talk about these topics with whomever is willing to listen, most notably with my kids which are my hope for a better future.
3. I support this site with the hope that if other Israelis see the Israeli engagement here, it’ll open their heads a little bit.

It’s not much, I know. Simo, how do you perceive your contribution to the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Ghaza? (this is not a bait and not a cynical question. I know you’re definitely not responsible for it, but you may still want to help.)

>>> What do you call that is happening in Gaza? I call it starving a vast civilian population, a terrible crime and a planned genocide attempt on industrial scale. You may disagree, but so what.

It is a starvation of a vast civilian population it is a crime and it may deteriorate quickly out of control such that people will start dying like flies. But, it is not a planned genocide. The intention of Israel is to generate a lot of discomfort, which they believe is barely tolerable and will not cause massive casualties. You can call it “water boarding on a national level”.

>>> But tell me one single example in the last hundred years history which could be compared to this “event”. I suppose you have to long back in history with your “studies”, but Gaza is happening now. Not in 1936.

Are you asking for an example of a situation where two million people were put under a somewhat porous siege? Or are you asking for examples of equally bad or worse situations that have transpired? I think I have provided examples of the latter. I don’t think it’s interesting to concentrate on precedents for the former (and the Nazis would not be an example either).

>>> A couple of days ago there was in BBC a story from Hebron which told how a young Palestinian boy has to be pushed by wheelchair to school hundreds of meters in difficult terrain when the school is only some tens of meters away. This all because IDF is protecting some Israeli lunatics with separation walls. Today IDF begun, after this PR humiliation, to build a private door for the poor boys family in the separation wall. You may call it as a positive step in reconciliation with Palestinians and the neighbourhood. I call it the example of extreme naiveness and hypocrisy in a seriously sick country.

Simo, all indications are that a confrontation with the settlers, especially those of Hebron, is in the cards in the near future. Whomever is going to prevail in this confrontation will determine whether Israel is headed towards an ever more racist future, or in the other direction. We, peace-seeking Israelis, are shouldering the burden of proof now. It is possible that our cause is lost, not because we don’t have the numbers but because we are reluctant to drop the latte. I am optimistic though. I think we will shake out of the tyranny of the settlers.

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November 12th, 2008, 7:30 am

 

29. Alia said:

Simo and Rumayl,

I had trouble following this thread in which I became peripherally involved, but your last 2 posts are a bit clearer. Last night, I read the news about the lack of elctricity and heat in Gaza and UNRWA declared that it will not be distributing food after Thursday because of the closure of the passages. It was difficult going to sleep thinking of the millions trapped there under those conditions and now up in the middle of the night I ask myself what all this talking is for.

Simo, I do not have the feeling that any results have come from confronting the Israelis about the human rights issues, there is always an excuse, a response, an accusation, a counterargument.
The only way for them is finally to open their own eyes and to see the situation for themselves. The only hope is in the Israeli organizations that are working against these terrible abuses.

I continue to think that the outside world should not be sitting still, that active isolation of Israel and divestment should be pursued. More work than words and accusations.

Shai, while we are talking, there are people who are suffering, what are you going to be doing about that?

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November 12th, 2008, 9:02 am

 

30. Alia said:

Mondoweiss has a very good piece on his blog

‘Encountering Jews Who Are Progressive about all Issues but Palestine Is an Awful and Uncomfortable Situation for Non-Jewish People’ –Anne Silver

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November 12th, 2008, 9:27 am

 

31. Shai said:

Alia,

Anne Silver’s comment is certainly understandable, and you (and others) may be feeling the same with me, or with Rumyal. Indeed both of us can do more. We can change what we do for a living, and take on fulltime jobs as activists. They are the ones that are making the biggest difference, because they are devoting their lives to helping the poor Palestinians. I admire them beyond description. But yes, I do choose selfishly, to do more in my day for myself and my family, than for others. I am not particularly “proud” of that fact.

Having said that, I do engage on a fairly regular basis people who are activists, people who have the ability to help, a few decision makers, or people very close to them, and I do occasionally take advantage of personal contacts to deliver a message as high up as I can. I made a mistake a few months ago, by telling someone on SC (I think Joe M.) that I delivered a message to the Foreign Ministry about the horrific policy of the enclosure of Gaza. It was a mistake because it caused Naji to suspect that I was linked to the government, or had some official role (and thus you see where that can take you, knowing that I’m a regular commentator on SC). It doesn’t look good, any which way you cut it. So I clarified my position, to remove any suspicion, but I’m not sure I fully succeeded (at least not with Naji).

I am more involved than the average Israeli certainly, but I cannot in all honesty say that I’m doing enough. There are conflicts within me, that surely have also effected me negatively. Some of me also “gave up”, like you perhaps, thinking that unless my people are going to suffer miserably in some WWIII here, they’re just not going to wake up. But another part of me knows that this is not completely true, that there are many here in Israel who are doing a lot to change, and that even our (not so capable) leaders of today cannot escape certain realities, like perhaps they could 40 years ago. At the end of the day, Livni or Netanyahu may not wish to deal with Gaza (i.e. we won’t help them while they’re lobbing missiles at us), but pressure from within is growing, and especially now that a more humane, empathic, and reasonable leader is about to occupy the White House come January 20.

Still, Alia, I also at times cannot sleep at night, knowing that 1.5 million Palestinians have no electricity in their refrigerators, nor food to put inside even if they did. It makes me sick, and ashamed. Also of myself.

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November 12th, 2008, 10:07 am

 

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