“Why Doesn’t Washington Give Syrian Internet Users a Thumbs Up Too?” by Laura Pitel

Why Doesn’t Washington Give Syrian Internet Users a Thumbs Up Too?

Laura Pitel, a reporter at The Times of London
Exclusive for
Syria Comment
March 18, 2010

.

What’s going on at the US Treasury? Last week it announced that it would be easing sanctions that limit the export of online communication tools to Iran, Cuba and Sudan.

Great news, you might think. But to those who have been following recent developments in this field, the list was missing two big names: North Korea and Syria.

While the wider debate around the value of sanctions has been going on for decades, discussion about their relevance (and viability) in the field of information technology picked up pace earlier this year.

It had long been the case that, under legislation designed to punish hostile regimes, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) banned American companies from providing software and services to anyone in Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan and North Korea. This included operating systems, internet browsers and messaging services to embargoed countries’ citizens.

Google, Microsoft and Cisco were among the technology firms affected by the OFAC restrictions, which covered downloadable products such as Google Chrome and Google Earth. Web-based services, such as Gmail and Google, were still available in embargoed countries.

In January, Sourceforge, a website offering “open-source” software developed and shared by internet users across the world, reluctantly became the latest company to bar access to people living under the five blacklisted regimes after coming under increasing commercial pressure to comply with sanctions.The ban, which was rolled out from January 16, came just days before Hillary Clinton gave a high-profile speech on the importance to the US government of a global internet “where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas.” The timing of Sourceforge’s announcement was no coincidence. The contrast between Clinton’s words and the reality faced by tech companies was seized upon by angry citizens of the embargoed countries as a shining example of US hypocrisy. [See Syria Comment’s article by Idaf on this.]

The irony of criminalising the supply of simple communication tools to Iranian and Syrian internet users, many of whom play an active role in agitating against the regimes being targeted, was not lost on experts in the field of sanctions law.

“If the sanctions were strictly interpreted we would do something that would make the Iranian government very happy,” Clif Burns, a lawyer at Bryan Cave, Washington, DC, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Centre, told me. “Providing communications for ordinary Iranians is an irritant to the Iranian government.”

And as Jillian York, project coordinator at the Berkman Centre for Internet Society at Harvard University, pointed out, restrictions on US companies seemed to contradict the Obama regime’s actions during the Iranian elections.”It seems hypocritical of the government to request Twitter to delay maintenance operations for Iranians on the one hand, then prevent those same Iranian dissidents from accessing certain software, including potential anonymity or circumvention tools,” she said.

So, in many ways, the announcement on March 8 that some of the barriers to US technology companies would be eased was unsurprising, given the recent rhetoric. From now on, they can freely offer “internet-based communication services – such as instant messaging, chat and email, and social networking.” Other types of communications software must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

But why, just weeks after Barack Obama nominated the first US ambassador to Damascus in five years, has Syria been left out?

In a story published the day before the Treasury’s official announcement, The New York Times claimed that existing sanctions did not bar the export of internet services to Syria and North Korea. This seems unlikely – all of the biggest technology companies in the United States have been denying products and services to Syrian and North Korean citizens for years.

It is possible that the government decided that benefits of relaxing the rules for Syria would not outweigh the costs? Did it weigh up the potential benefits of access to new, fast-growing markets to American technology companies and the potential fallout on the domestic front? Compared to Iran, Syria’s internet community is small, with a penetration rate of about 17 per cent of the population, as opposed to 32 per cent in Iran.

But the tactics of the Obama administration towards the two countries are also quite different. It is approaching Syria from the top end with the resumption of diplomatic relations and tentative top-level talks. In Iran, there is talk of increasingly aggressive sanctions against the regime, while quietly easing the rules stigmatising the country’s politically active Twitter-users and bloggers.

Seen in this light, the logic behind tightening Iran’s sanctions on the one hand and relaxing them on the other seems a lot less odd. Obama is trying to crack the whip at the top, where regime stakeholders will be hurt, while giving the thumbs-up to opponents of the regime at the grassroots to network and freely communicate.

The reality is that this latest OFAC announcement is little more than that: a message of encouragement. Compared to Ahmadinejad’s widespread programme of surveillance and censorship, a few restrictions on US technology exports are very small fry. As the aftermath of last summer’s disputed elections showed, knowing how to negotiate the online obstacles put in place by the regime is a standard weapon in the arsenal of many young, tech-savvy Iranians. Bypassing the US Treasury restrictions was well within their grasp.

Removing OFAC restriction sends a message from Washington to internet-users in Iran: we’re on your side. But removing them still sends a message to internet-users in Iran: we’re on your side. Syria’s community of online political activists may be tiny compared to Iran’s but they pay a high price for their actions. Do they not deserve a thumbs-up, too?

Given that all other US sanctions against Syria have proved futile, the current technology export rules can do little more than alienate a generation of young, outward-looking citizens that the Obama administration should be trying to impress. If Secretary Clinton truly believes in a world with no online borders, freedom of expression and equal access to information, she can lift these counterproductive barriers to freedom of speech.

————

Note: A few weeks after its initial announcement, Sourceforge lifted the blanket ban on users in embargoed countries. It has now delegated responsibility for deciding if a project contravenes export regulations to the individual project administrators instead.

* Syria Comment thanks Laura Pitel for this story.

Comments (156)


Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] Show All

151. Yossi said:

Oy vey Akbar… (@135)

When are you going to listen, my little propagandist…

The topic we have been discussing has been whether Israel is comparable to Western democracies or not. It has not been, as far as I’m concerned, an attack or defense of the Zionist project. From your perspective if you can’t show that Israel is as democratic and progressive as Sweden, then that would be a failure, and therefore you’d make any ridiculous argument possible rather than concede that perhaps Israel is in a different league.

Your point about the antagonism of the Arab minority is exactly the same one I’ve been making in this thread. THAT is exactly why Israel is different. It’s not that the people in Israel are inherently evil, they are simply stuck in a situation that is extremely demanding and problematic. Our ancestors put us there either because they thought they were very wise or because they thought they didn’t have any other choice. But that’s it. And as I said I don’t expect other nations to have done better in these circumstances. But that’s exactly the point, you can’t create a Disneyland of Israel where there is still war, where the Arab minority is still seething from the Nakba and all the humiliations of loss and just day-to-day suspicion and discrimination. And of course, a full Apartheid regime in the OPT.

You bring the representation of the Arab MK’s, as if the Arab parties were ever invited to join a coalition, and of course completely ignoring what I said in a previous thread about the disqualification of Arab parties. You just pick and choose what you respond to whereas I dismantle each and every argument you have to make. Let me add another one to your pile: the Knesset had a discussion a few days ago about “Oley Hagardom” the Jewish terrorists who were executed by the British for attacking British and Arabs, civilians too. When an Arab MK said that they were terrorists, he was removed from the chamber. So much for freedom of speech. It’s a regime that is an enemy of the truth. I bet you also didn’t know that while the Israeli Arabs were not interned like the Japanese in America, they did leave under military rule and constant curfew between 1948 and 1966. It wasn’t much better than camps. And let’s not forget that there are more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel prisons, some of them minors, many of whom detained on flimsy charges and without a trial.

Jonathan Cook and CAMERA have nothing to do with our topic, enough with the diversions.

You’re saying “Like I said, I still believe Israel is MORE like the West, and in some cases, BETTER than the West.” The fact you say it but provide zero backing, just illustrates that you are either a propagandist or just very irrational. Take your pick. Like I said, the weakness of your argument shows because I could have easily replaced “Israel” with “South Africa” in your argumentation and it would make about the same amount of sense.

Israel goes way beyond “extreme racism” and I have provided ample evidence for that. It’s a country that is wholly dedicated to the preferential treatment of one ethno-religious group over others. It’s not isolated episodes. It’s a country that has been ruling over millions without representation and provision of basic rights and in contravention of international laws and conventions. It is a country that goes on periodic punitive campaigns which leave hundreds dead and thousands maimed, orphaned and homeless.

I’m spending my time refuting your pathetic claims because it is a crime to let a shameless person like yourself, a person whose whole ideology is an insult to the principles of the American constitution, the Israeli declaration of independence and basic Jewish values, have the last word. I don’t care if we agree or not, you will not have the last word on this one, and you will not be able to mask your miserable arguments by changing the topic.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

March 31st, 2010, 6:43 am

 

152. Yossi said:

Akbar,

After your attempt to move our debate to a different thread (I presume in an effort to de-contextualize and trivialize it, i.e. by “escaping” from the substantial material I have provided herein to expose the vacuity of your claims) we are back in the right place…

For completeness, I have told you this on the other thread:

“Akbar @17 and @55,

I will respond to your latest batch of shallow argumentation later. Sit tight. My answers will appear in the thread where we’re been having the rest of the discussion. Here:

http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5835

The discussion on the topic will happen there, and I’d like to explain why and also comment on your performance and my attitude towards you.

The reason we will have the continuation of our discussion back in the original thread is three-fold

First, as much as I’d like to drag your bottom and put you to shame through the comment section of each thread, some sanitation is in place. Taking the garbage out is healthy, but the trip from the kitchen to the dumpster doesn’t have to include every room in the house. So I will do my bit for hygiene by containing our discussion, and especially your ridiculous half of it, in one place.

Second, it would help me immensely to have a single point of reference when it will come to summarize my triumph over your excuses of arguments.

Third, it will provide me with an accurate metric of the tenacity with which you’re willing to peddle your propaganda. I will be able to easily count how many times you have failed to respond to the same argument and repeated your “arguments” after they have been thoroughly refuted.

As to the form of my discourse in our debate:

I do not wish to attack you personally, but I can’t believe that you believe your arguments of the form 2+2=5. Especially after having been demonstrated where your mistakes are. Because you are making the same arguments repeatedly, completely ignoring my refutations, if I were pressed to make a judgment call about why that happens, I would have to assume that you, as a person, are either a propagandist or very stupid. There is no other choice, and I know you are not stupid. I could have stuck to characterizing your arguments, instead of you, and I’d actually much prefer that, but here’s the problem with that: when you ignore MY arguments and repeat yours as if I never refuted them, you’re giving me very little respect, and really wasting my time. Because you are hurting my personal interests, by forcing me to repeat the same things over and over without any hope of making forward progress, I have no choice but to expose your motives for doing so. You can always take the higher path and start replying to the point, conceding a point when you have to and not repeating the same argument while ignoring a refutation of the same argument, which I have taken time to write FOR YOU to read, understand and internalize or at least take into account. When you will provide me with the courtesy of an intelligent debate, it will be reciprocated. It’s that simple.”

And now, I shall demonstrate to you how this criticism applies to your latest comments.

You said:

“You presented 5 “challenges” to show how Israel is not like or isn’t “comparable” to any Western country:

Challenge #1: name another county in the West which is building new settlements specifically for one ethnic group (e.g., the Jews) and consistently prevents members of the minority from joining such new settlements.

I mentioned the examples of Northern Island and the American internment of Japanese-Americans during WW2.”

To that I reply: I have explained to you many times already that the discussion is whether Israel is similar to a Western democracy *today*. If you wish to say that Israel is comparable to the US during WWII I’m willing to have this discussion but that’s not what we are discussing here nor what you mean when you say that Israel is a “Western democracy”. When you say that, you mean to say that Israel’s standards of democracy *today* are similar to those of other contemporary countries.

You DID NOT mention the Japanese internment as a response to challenge #1 but as a general indication that Israel is no worse than the US, but nor is it a good example of that, since this episode was very time bound and before and after it was in effect, Japanese Americans were (and are still today), free and equal Americans.

You DID NOT mention Ulster previously (why lie Akbar?), nor am I sure what in Ulster would constitute a refutation of the first challenge. Please be more specific.

You DID mention “Tibet” a great embarrassment to you, which understandably you don’t repeat.

Your current crop of arguments failed to address my points about the Japanese internment and is also inaccurate (or is a lie), since you haven’t brought Ulster before at all, and the Japanese internment was not brought as an answer to challenge #1, as you maintained.

For your reference, this is what I said about the Japanese internment in comment #151: “I bet you also didn’t know that while the Israeli Arabs were not interned like the Japanese in America, they did live under military rule and constant curfew between 1948 and 1966. It wasn’t much better than camps. And let’s not forget that there are more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, some of them minors, many of whom detained on flimsy charges and without a trial.”

Try again, and try this time try to address my points and be more accurate.

You said:

“Challenge #2: name another Western country in which immigration laws discriminate between potential immigrants’ members of the majority’s religious affiliation and that of the minority’s.
I mentioned the case of Austrailia adn Europe:

http://www.angelfire.com/in/roachworld/Aus3.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1017/p06s02-woeu.html”

You DID NOT previously mention “Europe”, another lie I suppose, nor would there be any merit to that, since European countries do not limit immigration based on ethnicity and religion, although many right-wing populists advocate for that. The article you linked to mentions that France will be accepting *less* immigrants, not that it will be discriminating in any way.

You did previously mention Australia and I responded saying: “Whatever policies Australia USED TO HAVE is not pertinent any more. We are talking about the present.” Australia today has large Asian and Mid Eastern populations and it certainly doesn’t discriminate based on religion or ethnicity in its immigration policy. Preference of the skilled and educated is not discrimination on the base of ethnicity or religion, of course.

So, again, your response is inaccurate (why did you lie Akbar, about mentioning “Europe”) and doesn’t have any merit. You can try again, but do mind the argument I have brought forth, and cut down on the lies.

You said:

“Challenge #3: name another country in which citizens who are born in the country may not bring their foreign spouses into their country based on the country of origin of the spouse.

I admited that I didn’t know of a Western country that practiced that, but I responded that in most Arab countries, an Israeli cannot enter.”

Good, so that’s settled: you have no relevant answer for this challenge.

You said:

“Challenge #4: name another Western country, in which the Education Ministry, among other ministries, does not offer a Web site in the native language of a 20% minority.

I posted an Arabic website from the Israeli Education Ministry. You chose to ignore it.”

You keep lying Akbar, that’s against your religion. I certainly DID NOT ignore it, this is what I had to say about it: “Well well… To demonstrate to you what a different debate culture can look like, let me say on the outset: you have located the Arabic language Web site of the Israeli Education Ministry. And thus, technically, you have answered the challenge!

However… you’d note that the Hebrew Web site is updated daily, is colorful and dynamic whereas the main page for the Arab site is… the address book for the heads of the divisions of the ministry (all Jews by the way). The links mostly point back to Hebrew content. Some links are broken. The link to the main Arabic site from the main Hebrew page doesn’t work in Chrome (all the other links do work). It’s a picture of neglect and half-ass’d investment, which is very typical.

I’d urge you to compare the situation in Israel to that in other WESTERN DEMOCRACIES with a 20% minority which speaks a different language have to offer to the minority. Canada for example.

But like I said, you have technically answered the challenge! Congratulations.”

You were then very happy to rest on your laurels, completely ignoring the substance of what I said: that the Web site is basically not functional, and that this is typical of all public service in the Arabic language. You said:

“You asked me to:

name another Western country, in which the Education Ministry, among other ministries, does not offer a Web site in the native language of a 20% minority.

And I showed you and web site from the Israeli Ministry of Education that was fully in Arabic.”

How mature Akbar. This has been the quality of your debate all along. So I will summarize it this way: Israel is a democracy for its Arab citizens the same way that it services them with government Websites and the same way you care about their functionality and usability—not more than a lip service to the concept of democracy.

You said:

“Challenge #5: name another Western country whose national anthem requires the person singing it to identify as a member of the majority affiliated religion.

I posted a website showing scores of religiously-oriented flang and ANTHEMS from western countries. You chose to ignore this as well.”

The problem with your answer to this challenge, Akbar, was that it didn’t answer the challenge. And the reason you didn’t answer the challenge, was because it is impossible to do so. You have indeed pointed to a Wiki page which claims that some national anthems of Western democracies have Christian themes but this is not true. All these anthems simply cite the protection of “God” which is a very abstract concept that certainly no 20% of the population will feel uncomfortable with. I have written to you:

“You haven’t named another WESTERN DEMOCRACY whose national anthem requires identifying as part of the majority’s religion (or ethnicity). I would require a complete answer to name the country and provide the lyrics which will meet the challenge.”

To which you replied: “And I responded to a list of several countries (including Western countries) that have religious symbols in their flag as well as their “national anthem”.”

Again, completely missing the point: which country? What lyrics?

I have responded with: “The question about the national anthem (not the flag…) is important because it shows how callous Israel is when it comes to thinking about the role of the Arab minority in the state. It’s one thing when a European country in the 17th century was a 100% Christian and religiously so, adopts Christian national symbols. But it’s a different thing when you establish a new country, with a fresh and unresolved refugee problem and a large minority. When they chose the lyrics of the HaTikva for the anthem, they didn’t think for one second, whether non-Jewish people will be able to sing it or not, and what would be the price they’d had to pay for keeping loyalty to a country that forces them to bow to Jewish symbols. We are very proud as Jews of how we never agreed to bow to a cross, even in the cost of our lives, but we didn’t have any qualms about putting our future neighbors and partners in the state in the same predicament. This is shameful and should have been fixed many times by now, if the Jews in Israel had any brains in their heads, and were not just setting themselves up to be the next crusaders.”

YOU have completely ignored what I said and replied with: “Some say “The Pledge of Allegiance” is “callous”, as well as the scores of other national anthems. Why should Israel be any different with respect to their majority? Do you cry when your in the US?”

I have patiently answered, again, with this very detailed answer: “The anthem example, again, is just very typical, you say “Why is it Leftists have a different standard for Israel? Mind-boggling!” where I specifically showed you where the differences in the situations lie and therefore the difference in positions of “leftists” such as myself. Again, if you need a reminder to what we were discussing, show me another Western country that has in its anthem words requiring the citizen to identify as a “Christian soul”. There aren’t any. Some of them talk about “God” in a very generic manner, which will be objectionable only to die-hard atheists. And even if there was such a Western country, it would *still* be very different from the situation in Israel because Israel from the get-go was created as a bi-national and multi-religion country (a minority of 20% cannot be thought of as anything else but making the country bi-national). The equivalent would be something like the national anthem of Germany saying that a German has a “protestant soul” or the Canadian anthem saying that the Canadian has “Anglo-Saxon soul”. This is pretty obvious to any Israeli you’d ask. They are all very aware that the anthem is not something that a Muslim or Christian can be comfortable with. They will not argue this point like you do. They will say something like “well that’s how we like it and if the Arabs don’t like it, they can go to Jordan”, which is really how Israelis feel about Arabs in Israel—that they are guests who are in the state as an act of generosity of the Jews, rather than with the rest of the refugees where they could and probably should have ended up, after 1948. Other Israelis, not few of them, will say “yes it sucks, it needs to be fixed”. It’s even not that difficult to fix, just replace the word “Jewish” with “Israeli”, that will allow for non-Jewish Israelis much more comfortably to identify with the anthem while at the same time even the word “Israel” has obvious Jewish roots, it just doesn’t go overboard with the religious tone. It just requires a little bit more flexibility to make a dramatic change.”

So as you can see I have explained to you why your answer didn’t meet the challenge: you didn’t name a single Western country whose anthem’s lyrics are so oppressive for a 20% minority. Nor can you. I have provided great detail on how Israel’s situation is different than that of more established Western countries which have their flags selected many centuries ago. And I certainly DID NOT ignore ANY of your arguments. This is another one of your LIES.

You on the other hand have ignored almost all of my answers to you, including this one: “We are very proud as Jews of how we never agreed to bow to a cross, even in the cost of our lives, but we didn’t have any qualms about putting our future neighbors and partners in the state in the same predicament.”. How would you feel if the Christian majority in the US forced you to sing “glory to Jesus” as the national anthem? Shame on you.

You said:

“then told you that you 5 CHALLENGE QUESTIONS still do not tell the whole story. Your 5 CHALLENGE QUESTIONS do not determine which country is more Western or more Middle Eastern.

I asked you why you didn’t consider asking about BASIC FREEDOMS, like freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom of the press, and freedom to vote. I believe these are better examples of what makes a country “WESTERN”.”

In all of my answers to you I have given you multiple examples of how BASIC FREEDOMS are eroded in Israel. I have cited the disqualification of Arab parties, the muzzling of Arab MK’s during the commemoration of the Jewish terrorist bombers, the curfew on Israeli Arabs been 48 and 66, the incarceration of political dissidents, the lack of equality of opportunity in housing and in allocation of other government resources, the religious oppression embodied in the state’s symbols, the stifling of the right for life and family through the ban on marrying spouses from certain countries or areas. These are just a few that I mentioned in passing. I challenge you to bring any particular freedom that you’d like to discuss and we can do so. I am not at all opposed to that. But let’s not forget one thing: I haven’t taken out the heavy artillery yet: Israel’s residents in the OPT, who live without many BASIC FREEDOMS for 42+ years. I have really just been soft-balling you till now with my focus on Israeli Arab citizens.

You said:

“I appreciate you spending the time to respond. I think the argument is a good one and a positive factor for the Syria Comment forum, where Syrians have yet to experience the kind of freedoms we have here in the US and Israel. I aslo do not discount that fact that these two democracies have come a long way and STILL have a way to go, especially Israel. I have said that considering the REAL security concerns Israel is faced with, I think she has done a GOOD job.”

And my response to that is: I agree. Like I said, it could have been a lot worse. More on this below when I discuss the France/Algeria comparison.

You said:

“Using words and phrases like “pathetic claims”, “shameless person”, that my “ideology is an insult to the principles of the American constitution, the Israeli declaration of independence and basic Jewish values” [how so I wonder?], and “miserable arguments” doesn’t make YOUR argument any better. I suggest YOU respond to my points instead of relying on personal attacks.”

I have shown above how you have earned these “accolades” by using LIES, ignoring MY arguments and showing complete lack of sensitivity to the people Israel has under its boot. Israel’s policies have betrayed its declaration to run a state that provides equality to all. And so does, of course, the American constitution which is dedicated to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Israel provides these freedoms to its Jewish citizens by cleansing and oppressing its Arabs citizens and non-citizens. The Jewish heritage is also famous for these same concepts. Do you make the connection now?

You said:

“It is no wonder PBS calls Turkey and Israel, “Western-Style Democracies”…

Both Israel and Turkey are Western-style democracies with regularly scheduled elections. But Israeli Arabs and Turkish Kurds experience political restrictions, as these groups are seen as threatening to both the security and the identity of the state.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/themes/politics/index.html”

Yes, very big BUT. They are both MECHANICALLY democratic but not with the same level of freedoms that is available in other Western countries. A reminder: Turkey’s democracy is “chaperoned” by the army. A comparison between Turkey and Israel will yield much closer results than the one you are trying to make between Israel and let’s say, Spain. The comparison between the OPT and Northern Cyprus is almost perfect, too.

You said (or was it AIG?):

“Another example came to mind. The French war with Algeria. It seems to me you are trying to change the parameters of the debate. When we compare two things, we say they are similar when we are in a similar situation and we would do the same thing. You agree with me that Israel is acting no different than any Western country in its situation, so how is Israel not similar to Western countries?

If Israel would be in France’s situation it would act like France. If France would be in Israel’s situation it would act like Israel. In fact, given the fact that France killed nearly 1 million people in Algeria, I put it to you that Israel is acting much better than France in the same situation. The difference is that the French could go home. Israelis have nowhere to go. What I am presenting to you are facts that clearly prove that Israel is better than France because in similar situations Israel acted much more humanely.

QED”

Akbar we can have any one of these two possible discussions. But I have a feeling that when you are advocating for Israel and you say that “Israel is just like any other democracy”. You mean to say that it applies to the standards of democracy as they are perceived *today*. e.g., if France was still occupying Algeria, then it would have come under great pressure too to stop that, and it would not be able to say that it’s “just like any other country in Europe”.

I have no argument with the observation that Israel is on par or slightly better than the way other democracies WERE half a century ago (including South Africa, France and Switzerland). In fact I said exactly that in comment #96, guess you weren’t paying attention. I also said, in comment #107 that it’s possible that if other countries will be under the same circumstances that Israel is under, then they would perform worse the Israel currently does.

The France/Algeria comparison to Israel is indeed very educational. It shows us that:
1. France has had the potential to be worse than Israel currently is.
2. Israel has a chance of catching up with France’s standards if it does the right things, and if the Arabs cooperate.

But this really says nothing about the difference between France or Israel today, and is also thoroughly hypothetic in terms of the assumption that Israel can catch up with France. It’s not bound to happen. I personally wish it would, but I think it will not. Israel doesn’t have the basis of secular egalitarianism that would allow it, nor does it have a buffer between itself or its enemies, or any strategic depth, nor can it offer a compelling exchange for the people it has cleansed. So yes, Israel is in a similar situation to that of France, but with less options. Life’s tough. I didn’t say it was all Israel’s fault that it’s not democratic. There is just very little room for juggling in the mess created by the early Zionists. So the first thing that will go out the window, will be the semblance of democracy. Now we have these pathetic endless debates. Soon it be a hell lot clearer what’s going on, I’m afraid.

So yes, but all means, choose which comparisons you’d like to make. I’m all in agreement with you that comparing today’s Israel to today’s France is NOT an apples to apples comparison—that’s been my point all along!—while comparing today’s Israel to the France of the 50’s IS an apples to apples comparison.

I hope you’re happy you made me retype the same things for the 10rd time after you have lied more than once about my alleged lack of response to your superficial arguments. Your last attempt at changing the methodology of the discussion was cute, too. I believe this is AIG’s contribution. “The ghost in the machine” as they say. Send my regards and ask him what’s the weather like in “Ramat HaSharon”. You bunch of pathetic systematic liers.

My summary, if it needs to be repeated, is that your arguments have become more defenseless and therefore you have resorted to lies and unfounded accusations. If I had any doubts about you being a paid propagandist, they are quickly disappearing.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

April 1st, 2010, 7:58 am

 

153. Yossi said:

The Troll Has Been Defeated

Akbar said:

“Yossi,
Because it is not my intention to get personal, I hereby declare you victorious. You win the argument. Israel is not like any Western country. Israel is much worse. In fact, your country is a terrorist state.
Now that we have that taken care of, I will continue posting here, asking questions, pointing out factual errors, anti-semitism, and providing my opinion all at the discretion of Alex and Professor Josh. IMHO, they allow me to post here because I’m not as articulate as other past posters. Anyway, just make sure you’re wearing a mask and rubber gloves so you don’t get infected.;)
Sincerely,
AP”

Unable to answer any of the questions brought up to him, Akbar runs away with his tail between his legs, blaming his retreat on the fact things have become “personal”. The truth is that things became personal when Akbar started using lies and diversions as my previous comment clearly documents.

It is a tedious but satisfying task to corner a troll until it runs out of steam. I recommend doing it every once in a while, it’s a public duty, like army reserve of jury duty, something that is done for the common good.

THE END.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

April 2nd, 2010, 5:23 am

 

154. jad said:

Yossi,
Congratulations!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

April 2nd, 2010, 5:32 am

 

155. Akbar Palace said:

The truth is that things became personal when Akbar started using lies and diversions as my previous comment clearly documents.

Yossi,

Congratulations for a job well done.

BTW – What “lies” are you referring to?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

April 2nd, 2010, 11:10 am

 

156. jad said:

AP, Go read the link that Yossi left you 3 times already and you will get all your answers, just accept your defeat already 😉
http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5987#comment-235336
http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=5835#comment-235347
http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=6013#comment-235406

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

April 2nd, 2010, 12:34 pm

 

Pages: « 1 2 3 [4] Show All

Post a comment