Carter May Meet Hamas Leader Mashaal - Syria Comment

Carter May Meet Hamas Leader Mashaal

Jimmy Carter to Meet With Hamas Leader in Syria
Tuesday , April 08, 2008
By Joseph Abrams, Fox News

NEW YORK CITY —
Former President Jimmy Carter is reportedly preparing an unprecedented meeting with the leader of Hamas, an organization that the U.S. government considers one of the leading terrorist threats in the world.

The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Tuesday that Carter was planning a trip to Syria for mid-April, during which he would meet with Khaled Meshal, the exiled head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, on April 18.

Deanna Congileo, Carter’s press secretary, confirmed in an e-mail to FOXNews.com that Carter will be in the Mideast in April. Pressed for comment, Congileo did not deny that the former president is considering visiting Meshal.

“President Carter is planning a trip to the Mideast next week; however, we are still confirming details of the trip and will issue a press release by the end of this week,” wrote Congileo. “I cannot confirm any specific meetings at this point in time.”

Meshal, who lives in Syria to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government, leads Hamas from his seat in Damascus, where he is a guest of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The State Department has designated Hamas a “foreign terrorist organization,” and some groups hold Meshal personally responsible for ordering the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack once said of the prospect of meeting with Meshal, “That’s not something that we could possibly conceive of.”

Some Carter critics called the latest reports typical of the ex-president.

“It’s about par for the course from President Carter, demonstrating a lack of judgment typical of what he does,” said John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. “To go to Syria to visit Hamas at this point is just an ill-timed, ill-advised decision on his part.”….. Read rest

Ambassador Crocker on Syria's Role in Iraq

Syria plays an ambivalent role. We have seen evidence of efforts to interdict some foreign fighters seeking to transit Syria to Iraq, but others continue to cross the boarder. Syria also harbors individuals who finance and support the Iraqi insurgency.

Naji writes in the comment section:

The best commentary on yesterday’s Senate hearings came, as usual, from the inimitable Maureen Dowd in her column in today’ NYT:

[…]

Many words hovered Tuesday in the Senate — including some pointed ones by the woman and two men vying to be commander in chief. But the words seemed trapped in a labyrinth leading nowhere.

The Surge Twins were back, but the daylong testimony of David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker before two committees seemed more depressing this time. As the Bard writes in “Macbeth”: “From that spring whence comfort seemed to come, discomfort swells.”

They arrived on the heels of the Maliki debacle in Basra, which made it stunningly clear — after a cease-fire was brokered in Iran — that we’re spending $3 trillion as our own economy goes off a cliff so that Iran can have a dysfunctional little friend.

[…]

You know you’re in trouble when Barbara Boxer is the voice of reason.

“Why is it,” she asked, “after all we have given — 4,024 American lives, gone; more than half-a-trillion dollars spent; all this for the Iraqi people, but it’s the Iranian president who is greeted with kisses and flowers?”

She warmed to: “He got a red-carpet treatment, and we are losing our sons and daughters every single day for the Iraqis to be free. It is irritating is my point.”

Ambassador Crocker dryly assured the senator from California that he believed that Dick Cheney had also gotten kissed on his visit to Iraq.

Comments (210)


Laurie said:

Kissing Dick Cheney? Wow, that _is_ shocking!

April 9th, 2008, 3:12 pm

 

wizart said:

it’s a three trilion dollar kiss you know unless he has nemonia then it becomes more expensive 🙂

April 9th, 2008, 3:44 pm

 

Alex said:

Let us revisit October

Sami Moubayed

The Israelis insist they are not seeking war with the Syrians, even as Israel began its biggest military maneuver in its history since 1948. This was on the border with Syria, which has been calm since the June war of 1967.

This nation-wide “exercise” is being carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command, in cooperation with the recently-established National Emergency Authority.

President Shimon Peres insisted this was not a prelude to war with Syria, telling the Syrians not to worry. Israeli Radio, however, told citizens the scenario being practiced was for how things would look like on the fourth day of an “imaginary” war with Hezbollah on one front, and the Syrians on the other.

The training envisioned Kassam rockets and Katyusha missiles raining down on Israel, yet the IDF gave out a statement assuring Israelis not to worry, saying that the drill was “part of the IDF 2008 work plan”. It stressed the exercise was not in preparation for any adventure, nor was it in retaliation for earlier skirmishes between Syria, Hezbollah and Israel. For its part, Hezbollah is uncomfortable with the Israeli maneuver, saying it neither routine – nor normal – for two countries technically at a state of war since 1948.

As part of the exercise, sirens went off inside Israel at 10am on April 8. News anchor Gadi Sukenik was called in to stage “emergency instructions” on television – and to do the same in the event of a real war. Between 10-11am, Channel 33, broadcasting from the Home Front Command’s new studio, gave instructions on what to do in a time of war. Major General Yair Golan gave guidance and showed tutorial videos on how to behave while under attack.

Kindergarten teachers practiced how to deal with little children when and if war were to break out with Syria or Hezbollah, while a field exercise simulated various scenarios – conventional and unconventional rockets being fired onto Israel, a chemical attack, along with search and rescue training.

Adding spice to the show were the words of General Dan Harel, the deputy chief of staff of the IDF, who said, “Anyone who tries to harm Israel must remember that it is the strongest country in the region, and retaliation will be powerful – and painful.”

If all of the above is not a prelude for war, then what is?

Last September, four Israeli warplanes invaded Syrian airspace and reached the village of Tal Abyan near Deir ez-Zour. Things became murky after that. Some said the planes struck at targets in Syria. Others denied this, until President Bashar al-Assad came out and confirmed the story, a few months later, confirming that they had struck, but he downplayed the targets.

Syria called it a “flagrant aggressive act” and said it confronted the planes, forcing them to drop their fuel and ammunition so they could fly faster and escape. The Israelis at first refused to comment, then confirmed they had in fact carried out an air intrusion into Syria.

The Israeli and international media were filled with speculation on why the story was leaked by the Syrians, not Israel. One theory said that the Israelis were preparing to back the Americans in an upcoming war with Iran and were trying to reach Iranian territory – thus explaining the extra fuel. Another theory claimed the Israelis were searching for Russian missiles that Syria had acquired, and wanted to test Syrian defenses.

This was seconded by Israeli counter-terrorism expert Boaz Ganor, who said his country was “collecting intelligence on long-range missiles” deployed by Syria in the north. A third speculation said the Israelis wanted to hit a training camp for Palestinian militants in Syria (Hamas and Islamic Jihad); and missed their target. A fourth tale claimed the Israelis were trying to flex their muscles and remind Syria that although taken aback – or as the Arabs would say “defeated” in the war with Lebanon in 2006, Israel was still around in the Middle East – and could create trouble. One theory even said that the Israelis were after North Korean weapons being stockpiled in Syria.

Regardless of what the target was, this was provocation and an early warning for the Syrians. The Israelis “were not to be trusted” and were capable – and willing – to engage in a new adventure with Damascus. It also made all talk of a peace process seem increasingly silly since nations interested in peace don’t go around invading other nation’s air space, dropping bombs then flying away.

There was much speculation in the summer of 2007 that “something” was going to happen on the Syrian-Israeli front. The Israelis had mobilized the IDF on the Golan border, and reports in Israeli dailies said that 70% of the army’s reservists were taking part in exercises along the Golan. Israel also declared that one of its famous units, the Golan Brigade, had just completed intensive training in war games.

Guy Hazoot, the officer in charge of the 91st Division deployed along the border with Lebanon, noted: “The worst case is war, and we have to be prepared for the worst case.” United Press International, quoted “well-informed sources in Washington” saying that a “confrontation between Syria and Israel may happen this summer”.

This was echoed by Dennis Ross, a Middle East envoy of the era of US president Bill Clinton, who was quoted in Yediot Aharonot as saying there was a serious “risk” of war, adding, “The Syrians are positioning themselves for war.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak came out, however, to defuse the tension, one week before the air invasion, saying Israel was going to withdraw its troops from the Golan Heights. The mobilization, he said, raised the risk of an “accidental confrontation” between the Syrians and Israelis, something that Israel wanted to avoid. He seemed to be pouring cold water on the tensions and telling the world that there would be no war between Israel and Syria.

Syria responded with similar commitments to peace, saying that ever since it went to Madrid in 1991, its choice had been a “just and comprehensive peace” based on United Nations Security Council resolution 242; the “land-for-peace” formula.

After the intrusion, Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Shara told the Italian daily La Republica, “All I can say is that the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” When asked what kind of retaliation was expected from the Syrians, he replied: “I cannot reveal details.” A journalist then spoke about an appeal from Peres to Syria, to which Shara responded: “Excuse me for smiling. The talks about peace are a disguise for blatant aggression. Israel’s responses in light of the aircraft infiltration are amazing, with [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert saying he knows nothing about it.”

The Syrians – who seem to be relatively calm about what is happening now – have not, however, crossed off the possibility of war with Israel. In May 2007, Assad spoke to parliament and said defeated leaders like Olmert could do strange things – like go to war rather than make peace with his neighbors, to right the wrongs done to Israel’s image in 2006. Olmert responded in an interview with the Saudi channel al-Arabiyya, saying he was ready for peace with the Syrian president. “Bashar al-Assad, you know that I am ready for direct talks with you. I am ready to sit with you and talk about peace, not war.” He added, “I will be happy if I could make peace with Syria. I do not want to wage war against Syria.”

Assad in turn replied – indirectly – in his July 2007 inauguration address, saying: “The most Syria could do is send a Syrian to a neutral place to negotiate with a third party, who in turn would convey Syria’s message to the Israelis, who might be staying at another hotel. Direct talks between Syria and Israel are also out of the question at this stage.” The basis of the Syrian peace position would be resolution 242 and the border of June 4, 1967. Out of experience, however, he added, the Syrians do not trust Israel, “We did not trust them before the 1990s and now distrust them further.”

The Syrians then went to Annapolis in the United States in November 2007, claiming beforehand that the entire peace conference was destined to fail because neither the Americans nor the Israelis was ready for peace. The Syrians believe Israel cannot sign a peace accord with the Palestinians or Syrians unless it corrects the damage done in the Lebanon war of 2006.

The Israelis, however, deny this, claiming that although the results were less than satisfying, they can live with them, just like the Americans learned to live with Vietnam. The Americans, however, in what remains of the George W Bush administration – are unwilling to engage the Syrians. They claim Syria is more interested in a peace process than a peace deal; a process aimed at breaking the isolation imposed by the US since 2005.

If the Israelis wanted to talk to the Syrians, however, the Americans insist they will not discourage them. They won’t encourage – but they certainly won’t say no. The Syrians, however, don’t believe that, yet find themselves in a dilemma since they cannot enter into a peace process without an honest and reliable third party. The only acceptable broker (to the Israelis) is the United States.

The last eight months of the Bush administration cannot produce a peace deal, neither with the Syrians, nor with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. Left hanging is the war option.

At first glance, it is in nobody’s interest to see yet another war – the fourth in the Arab world since 2001. A deeper look shows the Israelis might have their reasons for seeking a confrontation to wage a limited war – then peace – with the Syrians.

The theory goes: you cannot go to peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict without first having obtained your war medals. Olmert needs that for domestic consumption – and for a better hand at the negotiating table with the Arabs. This peace has many strings attached to it; no Hamas, no Islamic Jihad and no Hezbollah.

While the first two are to be dealt with via the Palestinian track, the last runs through peace and war with the Syrians. Many in Israel are starting to re-emphasize that the only way to get rid of Hezbollah is to alienate it from its natural allies.

Another war against Hezbollah will not succeed – and a ground invasion of Lebanon could prove disastrous for the IDF. The Israelis couldn’t do it in 2006.

The Lebanese system, which in itself is on the verge of collapse, couldn’t do it in 2006-2008. The UN couldn’t do it with its resolutions. The Iranians would never do it.

So the Israelis believe the only people able to find a solution to the Hezbollah problem are the Syrians, and they would only do that if a full peace treaty were reached with Israel. No peace process is possible with Syria, however, without a war – a war that would redraw the front lines, impose new realities on everybody, and psychologically prepare all parties for an end to the conflict.

Re-visiting Sadat
In times like these, it is illuminating to revisit the late Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt. Undoubtedly, the Israelis learned more from Sadat than the Arabs. Sadat scored a psychological and political victory in 1973 – in addition to the famed crossing of the Suez Canal – by catching the Israelis off guard.

He began to send off messages to Tel Aviv – using all kinds of language to assure them that Egypt was not seeking war with the Jewish state. First, he requested that all Soviet experts working in Egypt since the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser return to the Soviet Union in July 1972. In all, almost 20,000 advisors were expelled. He wanted to assure the Americans, and also wanted the Israelis to believe that he was not planning a war.

Israeli intelligence believed Egypt would not and could not go to war unless it had arms from the Russians. A spy in the Egyptian army, whose name until today has not been revealed and is known only as “the source”, told the Israelis Egypt wanted to regain Sinai, but Cairo would not go to war unless Moscow supplied it with fighter-bombers to neutralize the Israeli Air Force and scud missiles to be used against Israeli cities.

As long as the fighter-bombers had not arrived, Israel believed Sadat would never attack because he did not have the weapons for war. The Israelis also believed that if Egypt did not attack, then Syria also would not. Both the Americans and Israelis believed the expulsion of the Soviet advisors would greatly weaken the Egyptian army.

Sadat also made sure that a constant stream of false information was given to Israeli intelligence. For example, Egypt made it public that it did not have trained or qualified soldiers to work with the new weapons that came from Russia. It also sent messages to Israel that it had a major problem with spare parts for its tanks and airplanes. In May and August 1973, he threatened to go to war. The Israelis mobilized to fight and Sadat did nothing.

Each mobilization cost Israel about US$10 million. Because he always threatened to go to war against Israel and never did anything, nobody believed him in 1973. That is exactly what Sadat wanted and he, along with Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, managed to catch the Israelis off guard on October 6, 1973.

That is why the Syrians should worry about the Israeli operations that started on April 6. It might be costly to mobilize in defense, but a lack of response and believing the assurances of Peres would certainly be more costly for the region as a whole, not only for Syria. There are no assurances in war; and no promises kept in the Arab world. The Israelis said one thing and did the opposite in September 2007. They can – and might – do it again in April 2008.

Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst. This article appeared in Asia Times on April 9, 2008 entitled, “War and peace, Israeli style.”

April 9th, 2008, 4:09 pm

 

offended said:

Here is another vile article from al Seyassa likening the Syrian regime to the Nazis!

ووصف الديبلوماسي الخليجي بشار الاسد بأنه »يلعب نفس دور هتلر ضد دول اوروبا كلها في الحرب العالمية الثانية كما ان نائبه الشرع يلعب دور وزير اعلامه غوبلز وصهره آصف شوكت يمثل دور هملر زعيم الغستابو ومعاونيه الآخرين يسيرون على خطى زعماء النازية بشكل حميم«.

http://www.alseyassah.com/news_details.asp?nid=151&snapt=First%20Page

I wonder what’s in order for Al Seyassa now that they’ve used the most detestable personality in the 20th century!

April 9th, 2008, 5:08 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Interesting article about the FPM’s election woes:

http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArticleDetails.aspx?ID=37731

And before you all start telling me that NOW Lebanon is a March 14 mouthpiece, and that this is pure propaganda, I will challenge you to go on the Aounist blogs and see for yourself.

The empire may not be quite ‘crumbling’, but there are some major disputes behind the scenes. And now, with Murr out of the picture, this changes the electoral situation dramatically.

However, let me say that I very much hope that this does not encourage March 14 to think that they can now afford to just wait and see the opposition fall apart. It’s not going to happen. They should take Frangieh’s offer, elect Suleiman, adopt the 1960 law with some necessary updates, and move forward.

(By the way, my personal preference is the Boutros commission law, but it seems that none of our crooked politicians are interested in a truly fair electoral law.)

(Finally, I also believe that there should be a moratorium on any discussion of Hizbullah’s disarmament until after the 2009 elections.)

If I were a Lebanese Maronite of the right age (i.e. past high school), would any of my Syrian brothers support my vision and candidacy?

I thought not. 😉

April 9th, 2008, 5:13 pm

 

T said:

Other side to the Nazi slur– (sorry Joshua, dont mean to give ya a heart attack calling Israel’s bluff, but considering their history in the torture/assassination biz etc, I cant resist):

“Meanwhile an Israeli Cabinet Minister Yosef Lapid Holocaust survivor caused an uproar yesterday by claiming Israel’s offensive in a Gaza refugee camp brought back memories of his family’s suffering.” NY Post 5/24/04

“Israeli Troops Mark Palestinians with ID Numbers” AP 4/28/03
“Israeli Police ‘tied Palestinian to galloping mule’ 12/23/05 Independent UK
“Ïsraeli doctors experimented on children” 5/11/2005 Guardian UK

BUT NOT TO WORRY-
“Israel plans to build ‘museum of tolerance’ on Muslim graves” 2/6/06 Independent UK

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m 09/04/2008
Israel to deny UN official entry for comparing Israel to Nazis
By The Associated Press

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it will not allow the United Nations official appointed to investigate Israeli-Palestinian human rights to enter the country, after he stood by comments comparing Israelis to Nazis.

Richard Falk is scheduled to take up his post with the UN Human Rights Council in May, but the Foreign Ministry said it will deny Falk a visa to enter Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, at least until a September meeting of the council.

At that meeting, Israel intends to ask the council to expand the envoy’s mission to include investigating Palestinian human rights abuses against Israelis. The mandate currently allows him to monitor only human rights violations by Israel in the Palestinian territories.

Israel will also express its displeasure with the council’s choice of Falk as investigator. “If he already believes Israel is like the Nazis, how fair will he be?” said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Israel has objected for years to what it perceives as anti-Israel bias by many UN bodies.

According to a Tuesday posting on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Web site, Falk defended statements he made last summer equating Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with Nazi treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. He told BBC News that Israel has been unfairly shielded from international criticism.

Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II in an effort to liquidate all of Europe’s Jews. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson called Falk’s comments “unacceptable and, in fact, a little strange.”

“To compare Israel to the Nazis is not just a total falsehood, it’s also a personal insult to everybody,” he said, adding that the choice of Falk is indicative of the Human Rights Council’s negative attitude toward Israel. “Of all the people to be able to appoint, to find somebody who compares Israel to the Nazis is very bizarre and outrageous,” he said.

The council’s previous investigator, John Dugard from South Africa, compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to apartheid, the discriminatory policy of the previous white regime in South Africa toward blacks.

Falk, a professor emeritus at Princeton University, could not be reached for comment.

Related articles:

UN expert: Palestinian terror ‘inevitable’ result of occupation

UN agent: Apartheid regime in territories worse than S. Africa

UN expert says U.S., EU, others ignoring rights abuses by Israel

Ban backs Wiesenthal Center’s call for UN session on terror

April 9th, 2008, 5:20 pm

 

wizart said:

Ok Syrians time to build more military muscle, add more protein!, give Israelis some timely misinformation about Syrian capabilities, etc.

I wonder how much of the “news” we read in the local press is accurate and how much is disinformation designed to mislead the “enemy”, to create wrong expectations or to manipulate policy makers and planners.

Anyway, let’s experiment by inventing potential story lines here 🙂

1- we have satellite guided influenza that attack only IDF pilots upon entering Syrian airspace. Currently on cloud 9 with secret coordinates.

2- Our China Olympic bound athletes have joined the special forces and bought a franchise from Hizbula to operate near the Golan.

3- Bashar and Saad have joined Prince Bandar for Kabsa in Riyad.

4- The tribunal has been voted down due to decreasing M14 pressure.

5- An undercover jewish tourist discovered a giant oil field under a Syrian based synacoke located next to influenza storage facility.

6- Obama has invited Bashar for a day at the gallery of arts in D.C

7- Olmert signed up for a leadership seminar in Omaya palace.

8- Ahmadinajat and Sheik Mohammad decided to purchase the Golan.

9- Gamal Mubarak invited Warren Buffet to take over the Egyptian stock exchange in return for feeding Gaza and Cairo for 99 years.

10- A national referendum elects a Saudi woman to head Aramco and repatriate U.S based Saudi funds to be deposited in Syrian banks.

April 9th, 2008, 5:23 pm

 

Naji said:

Wiz,
No. 10 is actually true…! Now you have given away our secret plans…!!
… 😀

April 9th, 2008, 5:34 pm

 

wizart said:

Naji,

Oh shoot! we shall keep her actual driving capabilities as inside secret though! cheers:)

April 9th, 2008, 5:38 pm

 

offended said:

test

April 9th, 2008, 5:47 pm

 

T said:

Seems that Israeli who is marketing the Kill Obama T-shirt is just one part of a many-pronged approach:

April 09, 2008, 02:36:49 PM
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April 9th, 2008, 6:41 pm

 

Sol said:

After reading about President Carter’s possible meeting with Khaled Meshal I “googled” the Hamas Charter because I could not understand what the big deal was in talking to the Hamas leadership. The Charter was eye opening. There is an anti- Semitic and anti-Christian tone that runs throughout the whole Charter!

I am trying to understand how much weight should be given to the Charter? Is this just rhetoric or the ideological foundation of the organization? In Article Thirteen of the charter it states;

“Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.”

What exactly are Hamas’s long term goals?

April 9th, 2008, 6:52 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Thanks for the article. It is indeed very gloomy. Sami is covering what seems to be all the possibilities (direct war, deception before war, etc.), and provides sound rationale for Syrians to fear Israeli intentions as of recent.

It would be very difficult for me to try to convince him that there is a whole slew of other possibilities for the exercises, including:

1) Truly checking our readiness and response capabilities, should events initiated by other parties lead to war.

2) Conducting a massive exercise in order to send various messages to different parties (HA, Hamas, Syria, Iran).

3) Conducting a massive exercise in order to be seen as a responsible leadership that has learned the lessons of Lebanon 2006 (Olmert, Barak, Livni, etc.), or in order to gain votes in a potential upcoming election (Barak).

4) Raising the level of tension, so that a deal with Abu Mazen will seem like a good idea and receive majority acceptance (as an alternative to war).

5) Raising the level of tension, so that a 3rd party (U.S.?) would sense the need to intervene by engaging the two parties (hence, talking to Syria).

And others…

I doubt Israel is using deception here, like Egypt did in 1973. First, because if Israel wanted to attack Syria, it would probably try to lure HA to respond to something terrible we did to the Palestinians, such as a massive ground operation into Gaza (the scenario I’ve been discussing every so often on SC). If a deception is meant to cause Syria to lower its guard, and then Israel attacks, then it would seem military exercises are the last thing we want to do. Instead, we should talk peace “like never before”, have our foreign minister meet Mouallem in Europe (“Molotov-Ribbentrop”, 1939), do everything to cause Bashar to never imagine war coming next.

Second, what would we gain by starting a war ourselves? You don’t need to be a genius in Israel today to realize that if we are deemed the attackers in a war on Syria, or Iran, thousands, if not tens of thousands of missiles will be launched against every major town and city in Israel, from four different directions (Hamas, HA, Syria, Iran). The toll would be unacceptable to any Israeli citizen, knowing we started it all. If Golda’s government had to resign after the 1973 war (where we didn’t initiate, the other side did), certainly no government could possibly survive a single day after such a war would end, if we had started it. This is not 1967. No Russian intelligence is deceiving Syria or Egypt into thinking that Israel is about to attack, and therefore they are readying their armies for war. No side seems interested in war, as no one has anything to gain from it (with the exception of Hamas, or HA). With all our might, and our apparent ability to erase entire cities off the map, we still will not be able to stop the horrific damage that will be brought upon us through the use of SCUD or Shihab missiles. Not to mention that if we truly destroyed much of the strategic capabilities of either Syria or Iran, who’s to guarantee us that neither will introduce (out of desperation) WMD’s. We know both nations have stockpiles of these (apparently we do too), and when a nation feels it is nearing its “doomsday scenario”, all sorts of possibilities are suddenly brought to the table.

Israelis could, since 1967, see how wars initiated by Egypt or Syria made sense. Despite coming at a heavy price, at least they would be attempting to return their lost territory (Golan and Sinai). This would make sense also if Syria was to attack us tomorrow morning – the rationale would be accepted by Syrians, the Arab world, and perhaps even the rest of the world. Syria has a right to its land. Israel could, in theory, explain a preemptive strike on Iran, which could turn into a mini-war (if fought only between these two distant nations). Again in theory, when details of the raid on Deir ez-Zur will be exposed (apparently at the U.S. Congress), Israel might be able to explain its strike, as a similar situation to that of 1981 in Osirak. But how in the world would Israel explain outright war against Syria? For what purpose? Do we have land to retrieve? Do we want to occupy Syria? (we can’t even if we wanted to – even Ben Gurion recognized that 60 years ago). Is Syria preparing for a surprise attack, so this will be a type of 1967 again? (I doubt it). So I can’t imagine Israel has any offensive goals with these exercises. I also imagine the Syrian leadership has gone through the same thought process as well, and reached similar conclusions.

What is happening is most probably attributed to an internal need of Olmert/Barak’s to remain in power. Both are at an all-time low in popularity polls, with Netanyahu far ahead, and there’s still the possibility that Olmert’s government could fall anytime because of the final Vinograd Report about Lebanon 2006. So when you’re unsure of your own political survival, what do you do? You flex your muscles, you get your constituents’ minds off the subject, and you rally people behind you by introducing the element of fear. Then, you use all your “toys” and might to show them you’re the most capable guy on the block to defend them, no matter what. The reasons for the exercises is mostly likely far more cynical that Syrians could imagine about Israel or its leaders. Shimon Peres once accused Menachem Begin for attacking Osirak when he did, for the sole purpose of preparing for (and winning) the next elections. Until today, none of us know whether Begin first had Saddam’s nuclear program in mind, or his potential PM-seat. Politicians are… unfortunately… politicians. We can never discount what they’ll do to be deemed worthy of a few extra votes… But going to war is probably not a likely possibility.

April 9th, 2008, 7:07 pm

 

bondo said:

any arab who is not antisemitic meaning anti jew meaning anti those jews supporting israel and all its atrocities is a fool. and also anti non jews giving same support.

i would hope hamas’ goal is the retaking of palestinian land and resources.

anyone concerned with israel eat a nyt or wash post editorial pages.

April 9th, 2008, 7:14 pm

 

Sol said:

But ever last inch of Palestine? No room for compromise?

April 9th, 2008, 7:21 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Sol

Hamas’s long term goals are a state secret.

Nobody wants to speculate about them, because that might lead to *gasp* criticism, or at the very least, uncertainty.

April 9th, 2008, 7:31 pm

 

Seeking the Truth said:

I’m certain, there are people whose religious interpretations and convictions don’t jibe with a permanent two-state solution.

April 9th, 2008, 7:59 pm

 

bondo said:

has israel compromised? no. just keeps taking and killing.

April 9th, 2008, 8:18 pm

 

Sol said:

“I’m certain, there are people whose religious interpretations and convictions don’t jibe with a permanent two-state solution.”

The point of my question is to get a better understanding of the organization as an organization. I realize there are extremists on both sides but what is the ideological foundation of Hamas? Is Hamas looking to establish a Palestine state in the West Bank and Gaza or an Islamic State in the West Bank, Gaza and pre-’67 Israel?

April 9th, 2008, 8:25 pm

 

Naji said:

Sol,
Hate, belligerence, and intransigence can only breed the same in the side unto whom these have been inflicted. Hamas leaders do not talk like that in public and diplomatic forums, though. In fact, they have been quite pathetically begging for the smallest compromise from the other side and from their Arab/Muslim “brothers” lately, but to no avail…!! I really think that their charter and their more rigid stances are just a case of the absolute weak fortifying themselves with bravado and tough talk and trying to preserve any dignity they still have. If anybody starts to talk to them sincerely and with some respect, as Carter could, I think they will find them much more reasonable… the weak cannot afford not to be…!

Also, when Israel keeps assassinating the Kanafani types, they end up with only the Arafat or the Meshaal types to work with…!!

April 9th, 2008, 8:58 pm

 

Sol said:

NAJI,

Thank you for your insight. I hope for both sides sakes you are right.

April 9th, 2008, 9:32 pm

 

ausamaa said:

If one needs to dig up into the ideological foundation of Hamas, then one should equaly research the ideological orientation of Menahim Begin and the founders of Israel.. Hamas will look like a white pigon carrying a bunch of olive branches by comparison.

If one seriously want to bring up the subject of Hamas’s ideological orientation, the atroceties the Palestinian people are increasingly being subjected to at the hand of Israel would convince one that Hamas in its wildest responses acted more humanly than the independent, cultured, democratic, western-oriented, UN member State of Israel.

So please, have some objectivity. Laying the blame on Hamas resistance and the support it has among Palestinians, is a fools errand. If Israel treats Palestinians as it does, I still insist that Hamas is trully a self restraining resistance movement.

So, first may God bless Mr. Carter on his mission, and second, may God also “enlighten” some of us to the fact that the signals we are getting from the US and Israel about the “need” or the “eventuality” of having to speek to Hamas is a result of the sacrifices and the steadfstedness of the Palestinian People and the failure of Israel to break their will; and not because Israel or the Bush Admin have finally had a sudden humanitarian urge of sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinians.

They just could not break us, so they have no option but to talk to us. Pragmatic. Pure and simple.

April 9th, 2008, 9:44 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Naji & Ausamaa,

What you say is all very well, but neither of you have really answered Sol’s question, which was:

“What exactly are Hamas’s long term goals?”

If we invoke our favorite Martian example, this would be a relevant question.

The Martian who comes to earth and witnesses the situation in Palestine would come to some of the same conclusions that we have all come to, regarding the violence and inhumanity that Israel wages upon the Palestinians.

But this Martian, if tasked to solve the problem, would be curious about the intentions of all the different players. He would want to know, as he objectively sets about his work, what the potentially viable solutions are.

If you were an advisor to this Martian, what would you tell him about Hamas and what they would be happy with? A two-state solution like the one described by the Arab Peace Initiative? A one-state solution? What’s the end game?

Inquiring Martian minds want to know…

April 9th, 2008, 10:02 pm

 

Naji said:

To the enquiring Martian mind,
Any solution that would allow the Palestinians to live in the DIGNITY they deserve is what the Palestinians would be happy with, and Hamas is just Palestinians…!! This is not just some real-estate squabble…

April 9th, 2008, 10:13 pm

 

ausamaa said:

I think Hamas will settle for a two-state solution with a long Hudnah during which the issue of the Refugees will be somehow resolved.

What matters more is that Israel realizes that this is the absolute minimum acceptable but finds it hard to accept.

And dont worry. On the ground, Hamas is as pragmatic as they come. It would not have gotten where it is if it was not so.

April 9th, 2008, 10:13 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Naji, you’re fired by the Martians for being far too vague.

Ausamaa, you’re hired. When can you start?

April 9th, 2008, 10:21 pm

 

Naji said:

QN,
That’s fine… Martians could never solve this problem, anyway. Only what we like to pride ourselves on as our HUMANITY can…!

April 9th, 2008, 10:30 pm

 

Enlightened said:

Daniel Pipes is coming to Australia next week on a couple of speaking engagements, First appearance is in a debate about ” Islam is incompatible with Democracy” in Sydney (surprise surprise he is speaking for the affirmative)

Follows with a talk at Uni of NSW ( Talk anbout Five I’s- Iraq,Iran,Isreal, Islamism, Islam in Europe,)

Monash Uni in Melbourne (Threats to Israels existence), both universities have a significant Jewish presence , (I found out since my sister in Law studies at This university as a software engineer)

Checked his website for clarification. and he is coming while Pipes is a good writer and has a good grasp of issues, he is a right wing necon with a very poisonous attitude towards muslims and arabs. I wonder what the left wingers in the National Students Union in Australia are planning for him?

Should be interesting. (LOL)

April 10th, 2008, 1:13 am

 

norman said:

US Secretary of State Rejects Immunity for Syria in Hariri Probe
By David Gollust
Washington
09 April 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Wednesday rejected the notion of excusing Syrian leaders from scrutiny in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. In Senate testimony, Rice also ruled out unconditional U.S. talks with Iran over its nuclear program. VOA’s David Gollust reports from the State Department.

Secretary of State Condoleezza pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill, 09 Apr 2008
Rice says the U.N. tribunal on the Hariri assassination is not necessarily trying to implicate the Syrian leadership.

But she says to excuse Syria from possible blame, before the tribunal ends its work, would be a setback for international justice.

Rice was responding at a U.S. Senate hearing to a suggestion by Republican Senator Arlen Specter that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might be more willing to reign-in Middle East radicals such as Hamas and Hezbollah, if he knew he would not be a target for prosecution in the Hariri case.

Specter said he is not advocating such a step himself, but that the probe was cited by Jordan’s King Abdullah during a recent visit to Washington as a major concern of the Syrian leader.

Rice said limiting the scope of the tribunal, because it might implicate the Syrian government or the al-Assad family, would be inappropriate and a “very bad step” for Lebanon and international justice.

“We don’t know what the tribunal will produce. Our effort has been not to focus the tribunal toward Syria or about Syria, about the al-Assad family, but rather to try and insure the smooth and integral working of the tribunal. And I think that is the appropriate place for us to be,” said Rice. “After all, the tribunal was created under a U.N. Security Council resolution, and it needs to take place with integrity.”

The U.N. tribunal has not filed any formal charges in the Hariri case, although four pro-Syrian Lebanese military officers have been under arrest for nearly two years for alleged involvement in the truck-bomb assassination, which killed the former Lebanese leader and 22 others.

On Tuesday, the former Canadian federal prosecutor now heading the Hariri probe, Daniel Bellemare, asked the U.N. Security Council to extend his investigative authority beyond its June 15 expiration. Bellemare said the probe is making progress but that no indictments will be issued soon.

On another issue at the Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Senator Specter told Rice the Bush administration should drop its demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for political talks with the United States and other powers.

“Frankly, I think it’s insulting to go to another person, or another country, and say ‘we’re not going to talk to you unless you agree to something in advance.’ What we want them to do is to stop enriching uranium,” said Specter. “That’s the object of the talks. How can we insist on their agreeing to the object that we want as a precondition for having the talks?”

Rice said halting enrichment is not just a U.S. condition but also a demand of other major powers trying to deal with Tehran on the nuclear issue.

She said Iran cannot be allowed to use negotiations as “cover” while it continues perfecting techniques that might be used for nuclear weapons.

Rice said suspicions about Iran’s nuclear intentions have been raised by its refusal to stop enrichment – even as Russia offers Tehran a guaranteed supply of uranium fuel for its power station at Bushehr. Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

April 10th, 2008, 1:40 am

 

Majhool said:

طلال سلمان

من مفارقات زمن الانحطاط أنه يحلو لبعض «العرب»، «قادة دول» و«قادة رأي»، أن يقارنوا فيفاضلوا بين الطغيان والاحتلال الأميركي للعراق، فيخلصوا إلى تزكية الاحتلال، بل وإلى الاعتراف بفضله على المنطقة جميعاً وليس على العراق وحده.
ولولا شيء من الخجل أو الخوف لدعا هؤلاء إلى تعميم نعمة الاحتلال بوصفه الطريق الآمن إلى الديموقراطية والعدالة الإنسانية وتأمين حقوق الطفل!
وكأن جنرالات الاحتلال ليسوا إلا بعثات تعليمية جاءوا إلى بلاد لم تعرف المدرسة لكي يبشّروا بالعلم والحرية وحق الشعوب في الاستقلال مع الكرامة.
وكأن جنود الاحتلال ومرتزقة الشركات الأمنية هم أساتذة في هارفرد وجورج تاون وأوكسفورد وييل، وقد أوفدوا للارتقاء بمستوى التعليم.
وكأن حكّام الاحتلال، وأشهرهم اللص الدولي بريمر، هم من حملة جوائز نوبل للسلام، أو من المكافحين المعروفين بنضالهم من أجل تحرير الأرض والإنسان من الاستعمار، قديمه والجديد.
بل إن بعض «القياديين العرب» تحسّروا ولعلهم ما زالوا يتحسّرون على أنهم حُرموا من نعمة أن يولدوا أميركيين، وإن كانوا عقدوا العزم على الحصول على بطاقة إلى الجنة الأميركية، تبدأ خضراء، ثم تصبح رسمية وتؤهل حاملها لأن يكون سيد العالم..
بالمقابل فإن بعض الأخبث من هؤلاء «القياديين» صار يوحي للآخرين وكأن الجيوش الأميركية التي جاءت من أقصى الأرض إنما هي حشود لمرتزقة يعملون عنده ولحسابه وبإمرته، فإذا ما أتموا مهمتهم صرف لهم المكافأة نقداً أو نفطاً ثم أمرهم بالانصراف فينصرفون دون تردد!
أما بعض الأكثر سذاجة من هؤلاء «القياديين العرب» فافترض أنه من الدهاء والعبقرية بحيث يمكنه استخدام الجيوش الأميركية لحسابه ضد إيران، فتجيئه إيران طالبة رضاه، فيصير بذلك السيد المطلق لأغنى منطقة في العالم، باستخدام قواعد البليارد: اضرب طابة بالأخرى فتفوز بالجائزة!
على أن الحقيقة أن هؤلاء «القياديين» وبعضهم برتب لها ألقاب مجلّلة ومفخّمة، قد استقووا بالاحتلال على شعوبهم، فصار المعارض لهم من جماعة الطاغية صدام وعهده البائد، أو أنهم اكتشفوا فجأة أنه من «القاعدة»، أو أنهم ضبطوه متلبساً بجرم المقاومة مما يجعله إيرانياً إن لم يكن بالجنسية فعبر ولائه المذهبي، حتى لو كان جده الصحابي سعد بن أبي وقاص!
… وهكذا تتكرّر المأساة الفلسطينية فصولاً: الاحتلال (الإسرائيلي) أكثر تقدماً وعصرية، ومن أخضعه الاحتلال بالقوة والقهر متخلّف وخارج العصر.. ولأن الفلسطيني متخلف، و«إرهابي»، لا يؤمن بالديموقراطية ولا بحقوق الإنسان (حتى لو أجرى انتخابات مشهودة وبحضور مراقبين دوليين) فإن الاحتلال هو خلاصه من حرب أهلية، لا يهم أن يكون شعارها طلب تحرير الأرض ليقيم شعبها فوقها دولته وليبني تجربته.. الديموقراطية!
والحقيقة أن معظم الأنظمة العربية تقف مع الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق وتسانده فتغطي على جرائمه وعلى نهبه ثروات أرض الرافدين… فتكون في موقع المساند للاحتلال الإسرائيلي لفلسطين.
.. وأن هذه الأنظمة تريد للاحتلال أن يبقى طويلاً، وأن يتمدد في أرض الجزيرة والخليج وصولاً إلى اليمن، وهي تفتح أرضها لقواعده الهائلة القدرات، بذريعة أنها تريد أن تطمئن لوجوده الدائم… إذ إن الاحتلال (الأبيض) هو مصدر طمأنينتها أمنياً وازدهارها اقتصادياً وتقدمها علمياً واحتلالها مكانة مميزة دولياً.
الاحتلال بشع وكريه. لكن الأبشع منه التبريرات التي يسوقها حكّام أذلاّء، وكتّاب و«قادة رأي» مأجورون أو هم يستشعرون في نفوسهم نقصاً، أو جبناء يشترون سلامتهم بالذل ثم يحاولون تعميمه.
إن الطغيان مدمّر للبلاد التي تقع في قبضته. لكن الاحتلال الذي هو في الغالب الأعم شريك للطغيان، يتآمر معه على شعبه وعلى جيرانه (بشهادة تجربة صدام حسين)، بل إنه قد يحرّضه على حزبه الذي أوصله إلى موقع القيادة، لكي يضعفه فتزداد حاجته إليه، حتى إذا حانت الساعة التي يراها الاحتلال مناسبة أزاحه وورثه بلا عناء…
لقد دخل الاحتلال الأميركي بغداد على حطام العراق، ومن الصعب افتراض «البراءة» في من حرّض وساند وفتح أرضه وخزائنه للمشاركة في تمويل هذه الحرب الظالمة التي أباد عبرها الاحتلال، حتى الساعة، أكثر من مليون عراقي، وشرّد أكثر من ثلاثة ملايين خارج بلادهم، ومثل هذا العدد تقريباً داخل بلادهم، وفي عملية تهجير لعلها الأوسع والأفظع في التاريخ الإنساني كله.
إن العديد من الحكّام العرب و«قادة الرأي» الذين تولوا التمهيد ثم التبرير، ثم تزيين الاحتلال واعتباره عملية إنقاذ كان لا بد منها ولو بجراحة قد تقضي على «المريض»، يتحمّلون من المسؤولية عن هذه الجرائم مثل ما يتحمّل الاحتلال الأميركي (البريطاني) إن لم يكن أكثر.
إن جيش الاحتلال الأميركي هو الأقوى في العالم، لكن الغطاء العربي جعله «شرعياً»، بل كاد يجعله ملاكاً حارساً ومخلصاً جاء لإنقاذ العراقيين من الدكتاتورية والطغيان وحكم الفرد واحتقار كرامة الإنسان، وكأن أولئك الحكّام من شركاء الاحتلال وموفري التبريرات والذرائع له يحترمون مواطنيهم، ولا يحكمونهم بالقهر والإذلال والإفقار المتعمّد، حتى إذا ما انتفض بعضهم كانت تهمة «الإرهاب» جاهزة.
إن هؤلاء الحكّام هم الذين زوّدوا الاحتلال بأقذر الأسلحة وأشدها فتكاً، وهي الطائفية والمذهبية والعنصرية وما اشتق منها..
وبالتالي فإن هؤلاء الحكّام هم الذين مدّوا ظل الاحتلال ليشمل أقطاراً أخرى خلف العراق وأمامه وإلى جانبه، ومنها لبنان.. أساساً، وفلسطين حيث يجري تمويه الصراع السياسي بالطائفية والمذهبية.. ولو مزعومة.
وليس مبالغة القول إن بعض هؤلاء الحكّام يعيشون على حساب إسقاط صدام حسين ونظامه.. مع أنه كان أقواهم وليس بالضرورة الأسوأ من بينهم.
وها أن المنطقة العربية تكاد تكون مفتوحة الآن لهيمنة الطغيان المحمي بالاحتلال، أو الاحتلال المموّه بالطغيان الداخلي، وهما شريكان يبدأ أولهما من حيث ينتهي الآخر، والعكس بالعكس.

April 10th, 2008, 3:57 am

 

Alex said:

مصادر فرنسية لـ«الشرق الأوسط»: بشرى الأسد لم تتقدم بطلب لجوء.. وهي في بلد عربي
لندن: «الشرق الأوسط»
كذبت مصادر فرنسية رفيعة المستوى المعلومات التي أفادت بأن بشرى الأسد، شقيقة رئيس الجمهورية السورية، وزوجة اللواء آصف شوكت، موجودة في فرنسا، أو أنها قد تقدمت بطلب للجوء السياسي الى فرنسا، أو أن طلبها رفض. وقالت ذات المصادر الرسمية، ردا على سؤال لـ«الشرق الأوسط» عن هذه المعلومات إنها «تنفي نفيا قاطعا هذه المعلومات». وأفادت هذه المصادر بأن السيدة بشرى الأسد «موجودة في بلد عربي»، غير أنها امتنعت عن تسمية هذا البلد.

وبحسب المعلومات المتوافرة فإن السيدة بشرى الأسد كانت تتردد على العاصمة الفرنسية وعلى مدينة نيس الساحلية. وتربط اللواء آصف شوكت «علاقات عمل» مع بعض المسؤولين الفرنسيين من بينهم أمين عام القصر الجمهوري كلود غيون منذ كان يشغل فيه منصب مدير مكتب وزير الداخلية (آنذاك) نيكولا ساركوزي، وذلك حتى وقت قصير من موعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الفرنسية في مايو (أيار) الماضي.

April 10th, 2008, 5:02 am

 

wizart said:

Enlightened,

Daniel Pipe is so incompatible with democracy I bet he would be better off dropping by at the international comedy festival in Melbourne where his talent for public speaking would be more appreciated 🙂

http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/season/2008/

April 10th, 2008, 5:36 am

 

Enlightened said:

LOL WIZART:

My inlaws are already going and booked tickets! To the comedy festival that is.

I just read about that Bastard Pipes and his campaign in concert with Martin Kramer against Joseph Massad ( Columbia University), in concert with the Campus watch programme. Pure and simple bastardry! You can read it on the MESA website, and read Massads statement on their tactics and how they did it!

It is the most classic case of Ad Hominem argument I have ever read!

Wiz I wont waste my money and buy a ticket to hear him, I would rather donate it to the poor. What amazes me is that given he is a supporter of Democracy and free speech that he would use such gutter tactics against academics in the US.

What a Grub!

Cant wait for the local SC pitbulls to comment on this!

April 10th, 2008, 5:46 am

 

wizart said:

Enlightened,

I saw him on video the other day and wondered if he had a DNA flaw somewhere lol anyway I always wanted to go to that comedy show and think about it everytime I happen to be within 2000 miles of Australia 🙂

April 10th, 2008, 5:58 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

First, what are you doing up so late? Second, what’s the “funny language” you’re writing in? 🙂 I gotta take some crash-course Arabic lessons. How can I possibly be deemed half-serious on SC, when I can’t even read your writing?

April 10th, 2008, 5:59 am

 

Naji said:

Enlightened,
No need to read about Daniel Pipes… enough to to look at his picture to see the devil incarnate…!

April 10th, 2008, 6:02 am

 

Shai said:

Enlightened,

Daniel Pipes, like Cheney, now Gingrich (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZiw3qVdFzw), believe that the Arab world is full of a bunch of unsophisticated, unrealistic, terrorist Jihadists, who could easily be defeated, while their brethren await “liberation” by flag-bearing Western forces. Most worryingly is their belief that we are truly two different civilizations (Huntington), and that we should and must clash. This is as apocalyptic a view of life as one can have, and if too many such people achieve positions of power, or influence people therein, our world will truly be heading in that direction. It is a shame, that while people like him are sincere in their wishes to see peace on earth one day, and freedom, they’re choosing such an outlook on life, that could well bring about the very opposite.

April 10th, 2008, 6:09 am

 

Naji said:

Shai,
But isn’t your favorite Bibi of the same school…?!

April 10th, 2008, 6:12 am

 

Shai said:

Naji,

Good Morning my friend. Bibi is not my “anything”. I’ve brought him up occasionally, pointing to the fact that he may well be the most likely Israeli leader to make peace with the Arabs, suggesting the absurdity of the political situation in Israel. I mentioned, that it seems exactly the ones who preach for war, for not compromising, for building instead of withdrawing, are precisely the ones most likely to do the opposite. Bibi is not the only example. Better ones are Begin and Sharon, who were by far less “pragmatic” than Bibi. But in a way, it all makes sense, because peace is best made between two terrible enemies, not between two lovers… Does that mean I’ll vote Bibi in the next election? I’m not sure yet. But if I do, that’ll be my rationale most likely.

How about you – who are you voting for, in the next Israeli election? If you could… 🙂

April 10th, 2008, 6:31 am

 

wizart said:

I think politicians and media workers must be subjected to stringent mental health checks before they’re allowed to inflict mass scale damage! Right now every sick lunatic hungry for power, fame or extra attention is drawn to these fields at the expense of public health.

April 10th, 2008, 6:39 am

 

wizart said:

How many politicians we know off can be described as Narcissists?

The narcissist

Doomed to build and ruin, attach and detach, appreciate and depreciate, the narcissist is predictable in his death wish . What sets him apart from other suicidal types is that his wish is granted to him in small, tormenting doses throughout his anguished life.

Narcissism By Proxy

Is narcissism contagious? Can one catch narcissism by being in the presence of a narcissist?

The psychiatric profession uses the word epidemiology when it describes the prevalence of psychopathology. There is some merit in examining the incidence of personality disorders in the general population. Some of them might be genetically induced. Most of them are, probably, influenced by the cultural context of the society in which they occur. But are personality disorders communicable diseases?

The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. Personality disorders are not contagious in the restricted, rigorous, medical sense. They are not communicated by pathogens from one individual to another. They lack many of the basic features of physical-biological epidemics. Still, they are communicated.

First, there is the direct, interpersonal, influence.

A casual encounter with a narcissist is likely to leave a bad aftertaste, bewilderment, hurt, or anger. But these transient reactions have no lasting effect and they fade with time. Not so with more prolonged interactions: marriage, partnership, co-existence, cohabitation, working or studying together and the like.

Narcissism brushes off. Our reactions to the narcissist, the initial ridicule, the occasional rage, or the frustration – tend to accumulate and form the sediment of deformity. Gradually, the narcissist distorts the personalities of those he is in constant touch with, casts them in his defective mold, limits them, redirects them, and inhibits them. When sufficiently cloned, the narcissist uses the effected personalities as narcissistic proxies, narcissistic vehicles of vicarious narcissism.
The narcissist provokes in us emotions, which are predominantly negative and unpleasant. The initial reaction, as we said, is likely to be ridicule. The narcissist, pompous, incredibly self-centered, falsely grandiose, spoiled and strange (even his manner of speech is likely to be constrained and archaic) – often elicits smirks in lieu of admiration.

But the entertainment value is fast eroded. The narcissist’s behavior becomes tiresome, irksome and cumbersome. Ridicule is supplanted by ire and, then, by anger and by rage. The narcissist’s inadequacies are so glaring and his denial and other defense mechanisms so primitive – that we feel like constantly screaming at him, berating, debasing and reproaching him, even to the point of striking at him literally as well as figuratively.

Ashamed at these reactions, we begin to also feel guilty. We find ourselves attached to a mental pendulum, swinging between repulsion and guilt, rage and pity, lack of empathy and remorse. Slowly we acquire the very characteristics of the narcissist that we so deplore. We become as tactless as he is, as devoid of empathy and of consideration, as ignorant of the emotional composition of other people, as one track minded. Bathed in the sick halo of the narcissist – we are blessed.

The narcissist invades our personality. He makes us react the way he would have liked to, had he dared, or had he known how (a mechanism known as projective identification). We are exhausted by his eccentricity, by his extravagance, by his grandiosity, by his constant claims.

The narcissist incessantly, adamantly, even aggressively makes demands upon his environment. He is addicted to his Narcissistic Supply: admiration, adoration, approval, attention. He feels entitled. He forces others to lie to him and over-rate his achievements, his talents, his merits. Living in a narcissistic fantasy-land he imposes on his nearest or dearest to join him there, however incommensurate the exercise, either with their personality, or with reality.

The resulting exhaustion, desperation and weakening of the will – are fully taken advantage of by the narcissist. Through these reduced defenses he penetrates, and, like a Trojan horse, spews forth his lethal charge. Imitation and emulation of his personality traits by his surroundings are but two of the weapons in his never dwindling, always creative, arsenal. But he does not recoil from using fear and intimidation.

He coerces people around him by making subtle uses of processes such as reinforcement and conditioning. Seeking to avoid the unpleasant consequences of not succumbing to his wishes – people would rather comply with his demands and be subjected to his whims. Not to confront his rages – they cut corners, pretend, participate in his charade, lie, and become subsumed in his grandiose fantasies.

Rather than be aggressively nagged, they reduce themselves, minimize their personalities, and place themselves in the shadow cast by the narcissist, however small. By doing all this – they delude themselves that they have escaped the worst consequences.

But the worst is yet to come. The narcissist is confined, constrained, restrained and inhibited by the unique structures of his personality and of his disorder. There are many behaviors which he cannot engage in, many reactions and actions prohibited, many desires stifled, many fears inhibiting.

The narcissist uses others as an outlet to all these repressed emotions and behavior patterns. Having invaded their personalities, having altered them by methods of attrition and erosion, having made them compatible with his own disorder, having secured the submission of his victims – he moves on to occupy their shells. Then he makes them do what he always dreamt of doing, what he often desired, what he constantly feared to do.

Using the same compelling methods, he drives his mates, spouse, partners, colleagues, children, or co-workers – into collaborating in the expression of the repressed side of his personality. At the same time, he negates the vague sensation that their personality has been substituted by his when committing these acts.

The narcissist can, thus, derive, vicariously, through the lives of others, the Narcissistic Supply that he so needs. He induces in them criminal, romantic, heroic, impulses. He navigates them to forbidden realms of the intellect. He makes them travel far, travel fast, breach all norms, gamble against all odds, fear not – in short: be what he could never be.

And he thrives on the attention, admiration, fascination, or horrified reactions lavished upon his proxies. He consumes the Narcissistic Supply flowing through the human conduits of his own making. Such a narcissist is likely to use sentences like I made him, He was nothing before he met me, He is my creation, She learned everything she knows from me and at my expense, and so on.

Sufficiently detached – both emotionally and legally – the narcissist flees the scene when the going gets tough. Often, these behaviors, acts and emotions induced by the proximity to the narcissist – bring about harsh consequences. An emotional crisis can be as calamitous as a physical or material catastrophe.

The narcissist’s prey is not equipped to deal with the crises that are the narcissist’s daily bread and which, now, he or she are forced to confront as the narcissist’s proxy. The behavior and emotions induced by the narcissist are alien and a cognitive dissonance usually ensues. This only aggravates the situation. But the narcissist is rarely there to watch his invaded victims writhe and suffer.

At the first sign of trouble, he flees and disappears. This act of vanishing need not be physical or geographical. The narcissist is better at disappearing emotionally and at evading his legal obligations (despite constant righteous moralizing). It is then and there that the people who surround the narcissist discover his true colors: he uses and discards people in an absentminded manner. To him, people are either functional and useful in his pursuit of Narcissistic Supply – or not human at all, dimensionless cartoons. Of all the hurts that the narcissist can inflict – this, probably, is the strongest and most enduring one.

When Victims Become Narcissists

Some people adopt the role of a professional victim. In doing so, they become self-centered, devoid of empathy, abusive and exploitative. In other words, they become narcissists. The role of professional victims – ones whose existence and very identity is defined solely and entirely by their victimhood – is well researched in victimology. It doesn’t make for a nice reading.

These victim pros are often more cruel, vengeful, vitriolic, lacking in compassion and violent than their abusers. They make a career of it. They identify with this role to the exclusion of all else. It is a danger to be avoided. And this is precisely what I called Narcissistic Contagion or Narcissism by Proxy.
These affected entertain the (false) belief they can compartmentalize their narcissistic behavior and direct it only at the narcissist. In other words, they trust in their ability to segregate their behavior patterns: verbally abusive towards the narcissist – civil with others, act with malice where the narcissist is concerned – and with Christian charity towards all others.

They cling to the faucet theory. They believe that they can turn on and off their negative feelings, their abusive outbursts, their vindictiveness and vengefulness, their blind rage, their non-discriminating judgment. This, of course, is untrue. These behaviors spill over, into daily transactions with innocent others.

One cannot be partly or temporarily vindictive and judgmental any more than one can be partly or temporarily pregnant. To their horror, these victims discover that they have been transmuted and transformed into their worst nightmare: into a narcissist.

Narcissism is contagious and that many victims tend to become narcissists themselves: malevolent, vicious, lacking empathy, egotistical, exploitative, violent and abusive.

The Narcissist as sadist

You mention three different types of victims of the narcissist. What things would cause a narcissist to victimize a significant other sadistically versus just discarding them when no longer useful?

The narcissist simply discards people when he becomes convinced that they can no longer provide him with Narcissistic Supply. This evaluation, subjective and highly emotionally charged, does not have to be grounded in reality. Suddenly – because of boredom, disagreement, disillusion, a fight, an act, inaction, or a mood – the narcissist wildly swings from idealization to devaluation. He then disconnects immediately. He needs all the energy that he can muster to obtain new Sources of Narcissistic Supply and would rather not spend these scarce and expensive resources over what he regards as human refuse, the waste left by the process of extraction of Narcissistic Supply.

A narcissist would tend to display the sadistic aspect of his personality in one of two cases:

1. That the very acts of sadism would generate Narcissistic Supply to be consumed by the narcissist (I inflict pain, therefore I am superior) or

2. That the victims of his sadism are still his only or major Sources of Narcissistic Supply but are perceived by him to be intentionally frustrating and withholding it. Sadistic acts are his way of punishing them for not being docile, obedient, admiring and adoring as he expects them to be in view of his uniqueness, cosmic significance and special entitlement.

The narcissist is not a sadist or a paranoiac, per se. He does not enjoy the application of pain to his victims. He does not believe firmly that he is the focal point of persecution and the target of conspiracy. But he does enjoy punishing himself – it provides him with a sense of relief, exoneration and validation. In this restricted sense he is a masochist. Because of his lack of empathy and his rigid personality he often inflicts great (physical or mental) pain on meaningful others in his life – and he enjoys their writhing and suffering. In this restricted sense he is a sadist.

To support his sense of uniqueness, greatness and (cosmic) significance, he is often afraid of his environment in a manner incommensurate with the facts. If he falls from grace – he attributes it to dark forces out to destroy him. If his sense of entitlement is not satisfied – he attributes it to the fear that he invokes in others and to their intentional ignoring of his grandness. In these restricted ways, he is a paranoid.

The narcissist is an artist of pain as much as any sadist. The difference between them is in the motivation. The narcissist tortures and abuses as means to punish and to reassert superiority and grandiosity. The sadist does so for pure (usually, sexual) enjoyment. But both are adept at finding the chinks in people’s armors. Both are ruthless and venomous in the pursuit of their prey. Both are unable to empathize with their victims, self-centered, and rigid.

The narcissist abuses his victim verbally, mentally, or physically (often, in all three ways). He infiltrates her defences, shatters her self-confidence, confuses and confounds her, demeans and debases her. He invades her territory, abuses her confidence, exhausts her resources, hurts her loved ones, threatens her stability and security, involves her in his paranoid states of mind, frightens her out of her wits, withholds love and sex from her, prevents satisfaction and causes frustration, humiliates and insults her privately and in public, points out her shortcomings, criticises her profusely and in a scientific and objective manner – and this is a partial list. Very often, the narcissist acts sadistically in the guise of an enlightened interest in the welfare of his victim. He plays the psychiatrist to her psychopathology (totally dreamt up by him). He acts the guru to her need of guidance, the avuncular or father figure, the teacher, the only true friend, the old and the experienced. All this in order to weaken her defences and to lay siege to her disintegrating nerves. So subtle and poisonous is the narcissistic variant of sadism that it might well be regarded as the most dangerous of all.

Luckily, the narcissist’s attention span is short and his resources and energy limited. In constant, effort consuming and attention diverting pursuit of Narcissistic Supply, the narcissist lets his victim go, usually before an irreversible damage occurs. The victim is then free to rebuild her life from ruins. Not an easy undertaking, this – but far better than the total obliteration which awaits the victims of the true sadist.

If one had to distill the quotidian existence of the narcissist in two pithy sentences, I would say:

The narcissist loves to be hated and hates to be loved.

Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence.

Many of them are veritably inebriated by the looks of horror or repulsion on people’s faces: They know that I am capable of anything.

The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as Godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict.

He nurtures his ill-repute, stoking it and fanning the flames of gossip. It is an enduring asset. Hate and fear are sure generators of attention. It is all about Narcissistic Supply, of course – the drug which narcissists consume and which consumes them in return.

Deep inside, it is the horrid future and inescapable punishment that await the narcissist that are irresistibly appealing. Sadists are often also masochists. In sadistic narcissists, there is, actually, a burning desire, NEED – to be punished. In the grotesque mind of the narcissist, his punishment is equally his vindication. By being permanently on trial, the narcissist claims the high moral ground and the position of the martyr: misunderstood, discriminated against, unjustly roughed, outcast due to his very towering genius or other outstanding qualities. To conform to the cultural stereotype of the tormented artist – the narcissist provokes his own suffering. He is thus validated. His grandiose fantasies acquire a modicum of substance. If I were not so special – they wouldn’t have persecuted me so. The persecution of the narcissist IS his uniqueness. He must be different, for better or for worse.

The streak of paranoia embedded in him, makes this outcome inevitable. The narcissist is in constant conflict with lesser beings: his spouse, his shrink, his boss, his colleagues. Forced to stoop to their intellectual level, the narcissist feels like Gulliver: a giant strapped by Lilliputians. His life is a constant struggle against the self-contented mediocrity of his surroundings. This is his fate which he accepts, though never stoically. It is a calling, a mission and a recurrence in his stormy life.

Deeper still, the narcissist has an image of himself as a worthless, bad and dysfunctional extension of others. In constant need of Narcissistic Supply, he feels humiliated. The contrast between his cosmic fantasies and the reality of his dependence, neediness and, often, failure (the Grandiosity Gap) is an emotionally corroding experience. It is a constant background noise of devilish, demeaning laughter. His inner voices say to him: You are a fraud , You are a zero , You deserve nothing , If only they knew how worthless you are .

The narcissist attempts to silence these tormenting voices not by fighting them but by agreeing with them. Unconsciously – sometimes consciously – he responds to them: I do agree with you. I am bad and worthless and deserving of the most severe punishment for my rotten character, bad habits, addiction and the constant fraud that is my life. I will go out and seek my doom. Now that I have complied – will you leave me be? Will you leave me alone?

Of course, they never do.

The narcissist is pathologically envious of people – and projects his feelings unto them. He is always over-suspicious, on guard, ready to fend off an imminent attack. A punishment to the narcissist is a major surprise and a nuisance but it also proves to him and validates what he suspected all the time: that he is being persecuted. Strong forces are poised against him. People are envious of his achievements, angry at him, out to get him. He constitutes a threat to the accepted order. When required to account for his (mis)deeds, the narcissist is always disdainful and bitter. He feels like Gulliver, a giant, chained to the ground by teeming dwarves while his soul soars to a future, in which people will recognise his greatness and applaud it.
Group Therapies

Narcissists are notoriously unsuitable for group activities of ANY kind, let alone group therapy. They immediately size up others as potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply – or potential competitors for such. They idealize the first (suppliers) and devalue the latter (competitors). This, obviously, is not very conducive to group therapy.

Moreover, the dynamic of the group is bound to reflect the combined dynamics of its members. Narcissists are individualists. They regard coalitions with disdain and contempt. The need to resort to coalitions is perceived by them to be humiliating and degrading (a contemptible weakness). Thus, the group is likely to fluctuate between short-term, very small size, coalitions (based on superiority and contempt) and outbreaks (acting outs) of rage and coercion.

April 10th, 2008, 6:45 am

 

MSK said:

Dear Sol & QN,

For Hamas, I highly recommend Azzam Tamimi’s book “Hamas: A history from within”.

Long story short: Hamas’ ultimate goal is for the Muslim community to govern itself in a state encompassing all of the community and according to sharia.

Steps on the way:

1 – Retain control over Gaza and establish an Islamic society/state there. For that a ceasefire with Israel is necessary.

2 – Gain control over the West Bank and establish an Islamic society/state there. For that, a 99-year hudna with Israel is necessary.

3 – Establish an Islamic society/state in all of historic Palestine.

4 – Join up with brother states throughout the Muslim world until ultimate goal is achieved.

Now, what Hamas (and other political Islamic (i.e. Islamist) movements) have is time. And plenty of it. They can live side-by-side with Israel for ages & work on a strategy to “retake” what they consider to be holy Muslim territory. (Hamas talks about all of historic Palestine as a “waqf”.)

For Israel, as its citizens and politicians are of the opinion that, in direct comparison & competition, western democracy & capitalism always wins over theocracy & “Islamic socialism”, the idea of a 99-year hudna should be welcomed as it will give Israel ample time to develop itself & watch the Islamists next door self-destruct.

–MSK*

April 10th, 2008, 6:58 am

 

Shai said:

MSK,

I agree with your suggestion that Israelis should prefer a 99-year hudna with Hamas, over a 99-year period of bloodshed, and especially in light of the belief in democracy and capitalism eventually winning the hearts and minds of the Palestinians. I disagree, however, in the notion of having Israel during this time “… watch the Islamists next door self-destruct”. We must actively re-engage the Palestinians (including those in Gaza) economically, culturally, and in all other ways they would accept. Only interaction and openness could lead to our common desired goals. Hamas should not be “destroyed”, or allowed to “self-destruct”. Instead, it should be given every reason in the world to first soften its belligerent stance towards Israel, and with time, change its complete outlook on the future and on its goals. Perhaps that’s an impossibility, perhaps they are far more radical than I imagine, but there have been other groups in history that were deemed no less “radical”, and proved capable of making changes in their ideology over time. But they have to have the reasons for doing so.

April 10th, 2008, 7:09 am

 

Alex said:

I agree MSK. Whateer “Hamas” wants to achieve in 99 years (at the end of that Hudna) is not a threat to anyone … The soviet Union did not last 99 years.

Besides … “Hamas” is .. what exactly? .. leadership? .. supporters? … sympathizers?

As our friend Akbar Palace knows, many here are sometimes supporters … this includes many Christians and many more secular, all peace loving.

Did anyone analyze Sunni fundamentalist Hamas’ relations with Secular Syria and with Shia Iran?

“Hamas” has many parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGIelcG0r3s

Within the next 99 years, good neighbors can easily empower the good in Hamas.

Hi Shai : )

April 10th, 2008, 7:12 am

 

why-discuss said:

MSK

“Long story short: Hamas’ ultimate goal is for the Muslim community to govern itself in a state encompassing all of the community and according to sharia.”
Isn’t that also the aim of the wahhabite regime of the best arab US friend, Saudi Arabia, now smartly called KSA?. In addition, KSA wants exclusivity in a Sunni state and they are grinding their teeth to see that Shia Iran (and partly democratic) is becoming more popular in the arab world than Saudi breed of young terrorists.

April 10th, 2008, 7:13 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

You really should move back to the region. At least here you’d work during the daytime (on SC), and not in the crazy hours you’re on now… 🙂

April 10th, 2008, 7:19 am

 

wizart said:

Israel politicians appear to be inflicted either with Narcissistic, Narcissistic Victim or Narcissistic Saddest Personality Disorder!

http://healthyplace.com/Communities/Personality_Disorders/narcissism/faq_index.html

April 10th, 2008, 7:33 am

 

Naji said:

Shai,
I am proud of your response to MSK… we should all be helping each other not to self-destruct (which can happen in a multitude of ways)… that was the spirit of my previous comments about Zionism…

So, there is hope after all… you get my vote for President of Israel, but unfortunately, as the Wiz observed above, only the wrong people seem to be drawn to, or able to tolerate, this profession these days… perhaps in Obama times things will be different…??!

And, perhaps it is now clearer why I keep picking on our young nahostexpert… 😉

April 10th, 2008, 7:37 am

 

MSK said:

Dear Shai,

My last sentence was not what I suggest Israel to be doing. I just pointed out that, since Israel thinks that it is inherently “better” than an Islamic state, then why is it not concluding a 99-year hudna?

Personally, I agree with you when you say that Israel needs to engage with Palestinians & all that but disagree with you when you think that an Islamist group like Hamas “with time, change its complete outlook on the future and on its goals.” If it does, it wouldn’t be an Islamist group anymore & many of its members would leave it and join a new movement that would go along the lines of current Hamas.

Why-discuss,

The Saudi regime is a secular power elite that is in alliance with the Wahhabi religious establishment. Both depend on each other. The Saudi regime doesn’t give a damn about religion. The Wahhabi establishment doesn’t have the power to implement its desires (making first the whole Muslim community & then the whole world Wahhabi) – it depends on the regime’s $$$.

At this point, the Saudi regime seems to be using popular discontent with the Wahhabi extremists (i.e. the hay’a) to curb the Wahhabi influence & (slowly) move toward reconciliation with Shi’i Saudis, etc.pp.

But in the end, of course, they’re just doing it to stay in (semi-absolute) power & it doesn’t change anything about the fundamental nature of that society: a (male) Najdi tribal domination (occupation?) of everyone else.

I recommend Madawi al-Rasheed’s book, “A history of Saudi Arabia” and Mai Yamani’s “Cradle of Islam: The Hijaz and the quest for an Arabian identity” plus a whole lot of Saudi blogs.

In any case, whatever happens in KSA is not overly connected to Israel/Palestine, other than that (private) Saudis funded Hamas quite a bit … 😉

–MSK*

April 10th, 2008, 7:41 am

 

Shai said:

Naji,

Thank you, but I don’t think I’ll be running for President anytime soon. I can barely handle my wife and kids…

But I believe that narcissism is a necessary element in almost any politician, let alone leader. There are, of course, degrees to this element as found in each leader, but aside from perhaps Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and the Dali Lama, show me one leader who isn’t utterly in love with himself/herself.

MSK,

I’m not suggesting that Hamas can or will necessarily change its ideology. But why can’t Hamas remain an Islamist organization, or political party, and eventually do away with its rhetoric of making historic Palestine run by Islam? There are plenty of Christian political parties in the West, that don’t speak of converting or destroying every last non-Christian in Asia, Europe, or the U.S., and then controlling it themselves. One can remain religious, and even represent religion, and yet not speak of forcing its will upon others, no?

April 10th, 2008, 8:02 am

 

Naji said:

Shai,
Perhaps there is nobody more “utterly in love with himself” than I am… You know the cliche about having to love youself in order to love others… so the more the better, I suppose, but I was refering to :

“wizart said:
I think politicians and media workers must be subjected to stringent mental health checks before they’re allowed to inflict mass scale damage! Right now every sick lunatic hungry for power, fame or extra attention is drawn to these fields at the expense of public health.”

You’ll learn to love the Wiz eventually… 🙂

April 10th, 2008, 8:13 am

 

Shai said:

Naji,

I’ll let him do the Psychiatric mental checks… I’m sure he’s better qualified for it than I am…

April 10th, 2008, 8:14 am

 

MSK said:

Dear Shai,

All those “Christian” parties you refer to are not Christianist, in the sense that their aim is to establish a “Christian” society in their home countries and convert non-Christians. There are, however, plenty of Evangelist groups, and in the U.S. they’re quite strong, that want to do exactly that. And they do actually carry out active missionary work, from South America (where they compete with the Catholic Church) to, out of all places, Afghanistan.

Those “Christian” parties in Europe are thus in their internal ethics, but they are not theological parties, they do not think a spiritual leader (pope or some bishop) has the last say over politics and they do not look to the Bible for figuring out how to organize their health system.

Hamas is thus not comparable to them, but more to Shas in Israel, in the way they conceptualize politics and everything else.

I cannot see how an Islamist organization can ever give up the (however long-term) goal to retake previous Muslim territories, especially Palestine. It wouldn’t be an Islamist organization anymore.

–MSK*

April 10th, 2008, 8:22 am

 

Shai said:

MSK,

Thanks for the clarification – I now understand what you mean better. Yes, if Hamas is indeed more like our Shas, then you may be right, and it will either dissolve on its own over the years, or survive quite well throughout. Since I am a secular Jew, I happen to believe that such religious groups (Shas, etc.) are able to exist and even grow, mainly because of economic hardships, poor education, discrimination, and other injustices particular subgroups of society are enduring. These religious groups come in, offer help, and offer hope. When you’re a family of 8, living off barely $10 a day, why on earth would you NOT embrace God and his earthly messengers, who just happened to speak your language, reside in your neighborhood, and can offer more than anyone else does?

April 10th, 2008, 8:36 am

 

wizart said:

Religious Codependency

There are two basic forms of religious codependency. One kind develops in relationship to a religious addict; the other kind develops in relationship to a codependent God. Both kinds of religious codependency are fairly common. Both can be devastating to a healthy spiritual life.

Relationships with religious addicts can lead to religious codependency.

Some time ago I received a letter from a woman describing a series of painful experiences of spiritual abuse in a small, independent church. She talked about leaders who bullied the members into religious activities by holding hostage their right standing with God based on those activities; about employees of the ministry who were underpaid, while leaders were making a comfortable living; about the absence of financial accountability; and about questioning of the leadership being equated with questioning God. The church leaders were misusing their authority by controlling and manipulating, instead of serving and equipping, the members of Christ’s body.

At one point in the letter she posed this question: “Why do 300 people allow one man to control their each and every move, even though they, at best, question it or, at worst, know it is wrong?” What a great question! Was the answer simply that the people were unaware of the problem? The letter made it clear that many in the congregation knew that things were not right. Was the answer a lack of courage? I suppose a factor could be the fear of a strong, charismatic leader; the fear of being humiliated publicly; the fear that they might lose everything for which they had invested their souls and finances; or the fear of having a falling out with God by disagreeing with his official “representative.”

But there is another possible explanation. Could it be a matter of religious codependency by the members? Is it possible that these people had been trained to believe that one of their primary “jobs” was to keep the leader happy? Could it be that the congregation had learned that their “happiness” was dependent on the happiness of their leader? Our experience over the years with many, many Christians who have found themselves in similar situations suggests that this could certainly be the case.

If you find a leader who is a religious addict–whose mood depends not only on the amount of his or her own religious activity but also on the amount of religious activity performed by the members of the congregation–then you can be sure there are some religious codependents in the neighborhood. Religious codependents may believe that their behaviors are a simple matter of devotion to God, to God’s people and to the leadership that God has appointed, just as codependents to alcoholics often vigorously defend their behaviors. But the real motivations are often much more complex. If I feel good only when the leader feels good, if I feel bad only when the leader feels bad, it’s probably for a reason other than being “committed and dedicated.” It’s probably some form of religious codependency. This is especially true if my need to please a leader leads to compromises in my own integrity, peace, rest, and “that sense of blessing I once had.”

There is a curious phrase in Jeremiah 5:31: “The prophets prophesy lies,/the priests rule by their own authority,/and my people love it this way.”

My people love it this way? How can that be? Well, I suppose one reason could be that some people prefer to not think, and so they are happy to have someone else do all their thinking for them. It is more likely, however, that some people in religious circles are happy only when they can be in control of spiritual things, even if their authority is a figment of their religious addiction and is not from God. And for every religiously addicted leader there is almost always a group of religiously codependent followers. There are people who are happy only when their spiritual leader is happy. This is not just dedication and commitment, no matter how vigorously the dysfunction is defended.

Relationship with a codependent God leads to religious codependency.

A second, related form of religious codependency results from serving a codependent God. Suppose for a moment that God has poor boundaries. Or that God spends his days in a frenzy, trying to get us to make the right choices. Or that God’s mood is completely dependent on the choices we make: happy when we make good choices, but sad when we make bad choices. Or suppose that God is full of resentments because he is always the one who has to solve the world’s problems. Or suppose that God is manipulative, trying to get things to work his way by using indirect and dishonest means. If we serve a Higher Power with any of these characteristics, we are probably in for a very troubled relationship. It is possible to serve a codependent God, but it is physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausting.

If we were raised in an environment where codependency was common, we may gravitate to a “God” of this kind. This form of religious codependency is typically learned early in life. As young children many of us were taught that God’s mood was dependent on our behavior. If we did certain things, God was happy. If we did other things, God was sad. We were, apparently, powerful enough to be in charge of God’s mood! Now, does it make sense for a six- or seven-year-old child to be in charge of God’s mood? Clearly not. And what does it say about God? Does God have such poor boundaries that his mood will swing in response to my behavior? In spite of how little sense this makes, this distorted image of God leads many of us to tip-toe through our Christian lives, trying to do everything possible to prevent God from having a negative mood-swing. Because, after all, you know what happens if we do something that puts God in a bad mood. We are in deep trouble and are going to pay the price one way or another. We need to get up in the morning and look to see what God’s little flip sign says today. Is it “Today God is happy,” or “Today God is sad”? If the answer to that question determines the things we have to try harder to do, or not do, in his name today, we can be pretty sure that some element of religious codependency is involved.

Most Christians, of course, understand that their relationship with God involves dependency. We depend upon God for our needs, for our identity, for life itself. This is not a problem that needs to be solved. We are dependent on God. Unfortunately, however, many Christians have a difficult time distinguishing between a healthy dependence on God and an unhealthy dependence, or codependency. And that inability to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships is the vulnerability that makes religious codependency possible.

Moving Beyond Religious Codependency

If you find yourself stuck in religious codependency, here are a few ways to move forward. First, if your higher power is a religious addict or a codependent god, fire him. These gods do not deserve your worship or service. They have become what the Bible calls idols. You don’t negotiate with idols. You don’t compromise or make deals. You don’t hope for improvement in the future. Instead, you clean house. That’s what has to happen first: house-cleaning of all idolatrous attachments. Easy to say but difficult to do. \ Second, get help. Most of us can’t make the necessary changes by ourselves. Religious codependency usually has very deep roots; most of us learned it very early. That means that the changes we need to make must not be superficial changes. They require major surgery. For example, we need to develop healthy boundaries in our relationship with God. If that sounds strange, or just plain wrong, well, that’s a hint of how deep the problem goes and how deep the healing needs to be. That means it’s important to find a therapist, sponsor, pastor or friend who understands these issues. This also is easy to say but sometimes difficult to do.

Third, expect the healing process to take some time. It will take time to find the resources you need. It will take time to become the kind of person who is capable of being honest about these issues. It will take time to grieve over the losses, betrayals and neglect that have helped cultivate the codependency. Last, and perhaps most important, believe that recovery from religious codependency is possible. Codependency is learned behavior. That means it can be unlearned. It’s not easy to unlearn it. But it is possible, because God also wants a healthy, noncompulsive relationship with us. And that is good news.

Dale Ryan is the executive director of the NACR. Jeff VanVonderen is the executive director of Spiritual Abuse Recovery Resources and a professional interventionist .

April 10th, 2008, 8:56 am

 

Naji said:

Blessed are the peace makers for they shall inherit the earth… one hopes…!
___________

Dalai Lama supports Olympics, says violence outdated
Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:06am EDT
NARITA, Japan (Reuters) – The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, said on Thursday that China’s use of violence was an outdated way to suppress unrest in Tibet but expressed support for Beijing’s hosting of the Olympics.

“(For) the Chinese government, now time has come to accept reality and try to find (a) solution according to reality,” he told a news conference near Tokyo en route to the United States.

“Whenever some crisis happens, just using violent suppression is actually (an) outdated method.”

China blames the Dalai Lama and his associates for orchestrating monk-led protests in Tibet last month that later turned violent as part of a campaign for independence.

The Dalai Lama denies involvement.

He threw his support behind the Beijing Olympic Games despite the unrest in Tibet and pressure mounting on Western leaders to boycott the opening ceremony.

The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, spoke to reporters during a brief stopover in Japan on his way to the United States for a two-week visit he said was not political.

Representatives for the Dalai Lama in Tokyo had said he had no plans to meet political figures during his stopover in Japan, although Japanese media reported he had met with Akie Abe, wife of former conservative prime minister Shinzo Abe.

(Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by Jerry Norton)

© Reuters 2007.

April 10th, 2008, 9:17 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

For Israel, as its citizens and politicians are of the opinion that, in direct comparison & competition, western democracy & capitalism always wins over theocracy & “Islamic socialism”, the idea of a 99-year hudna should be welcomed as it will give Israel ample time to develop itself & watch the Islamists next door self-destruct.

Most likely the Israeli society is becoming as religiously extreme as the Palestinians are now or even exceed the “Islamic level”. Portraying that religious extremism is only the Palestinian problem is simplifying the problem. The Jewish religious extremism has a very influential role in country’s politics and the share of the population’s ultra religious is already big and rapidly growing. The Kristallnacht of Israel can occur any day when the influential “voices” mobilize their “SS and SA” to throw out the Israeli Arab Knesset members and begin to “clean” the country.

If and when Israel has to leave West Bank it will certainly radicalise badly the Jewish society. Can Israel control those hundreds of thousands angry Israeli “Talebans” who loose their swimming pools on the settlement hilltops? Will they create their own armed “Hamas”?

Israel is far from the present secular western democracies. It is rather funny that the Jewish state is so afraid of Islamic states. Can a religious based extreme society demand that others to be ruled secularly? Well of course it can, but on what moral basis. Israel has rather successfully managed to hide its religious nature and extremism. But the more the situation escalates the more evident the religious extremism on the Jewish side becomes.

Hamas is a “traditional” resistance movement. As all resistance movements around the world it has to change its rhetoric and behaviour when Palestine is really created. Naturally much depends what kind of Palestine is created. If it consists of the several isolated bantustan “islands” which Israel clearly has planned for it, there is little hope that rationality wins. If the the solution is based on the 1967 borders there is hope of peace on Palestinians side, but then the problem will be can Israel handle the religious extremism and violence which will follow that move.

If Jews have for thousands of years cherished the dream of invading back their “homeland”, it is rather naive to demand that some Palestinian groups “throw away” their wish of returning. We Finns lost 20 percent of our country to Russia in WW2. Do we want our ancestors land back? Of course we do, but only few lunatics are ready to get it back through war.

April 10th, 2008, 10:12 am

 

MSK said:

Simohurtta,

This has nothing to do with your post, but I’m curious: Have you been to the Middle East, and if so, where?

Thanks,

–MSK*

April 10th, 2008, 11:30 am

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Do you think in Arab-Israeli discussions, or even Arab-Arab discussions, it would help to compare Israelis to Nazis? If so, please let me know, because maybe I’m in the wrong forum…

April 10th, 2008, 11:39 am

 

Naji said:

Perhaps it helps to compare all extremist racists/nationalists/ideologues (Arab, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, …whatever) to Nazis to remind us of the potential danger… That is why I do it… that is why a lot of people (most ofen Jewish) do it… Sometimes in hypebole, sometimes in details…!! What is wrong with that…??!

April 10th, 2008, 12:10 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

I haven’t heard too many Jews comparing Arabs to Nazis. Even if some Jewish extremists in Israel think Ahmedinejad is very much like Hitler, in his (declarative) goals to annihilate Israel (his words, not mine), they wouldn’t dare refer to the Iranian people as Nazis. I wouldn’t accept this from anyone, Arab, non-Arab, Jew, non-Jew. Especially with Jewish people, comparing them to the same Nazis that annihilated 6 million of their own people (one third of the total population of Jews on earth at the time, today one half), is lacking the most basic minimal human decency possible, even for an innate enemy of the state of Israel. The terrible crimes Israel has and still does commit, and they are indeed horrific. still do not measure up to the Nazis. We have not gassed and burned to death 6 million Arabs. We have caused terrible suffering upon the Palestinian people, and have killed many many innocent people. We are behaving very much like an Apartheid state, controlling the lives and the fate of nearly 3 million people, as I write these words. But we are NOT behaving like Nazis. If we were, we would (in a modern way), drop 10 nuclear bombs on the major Palestinian cities, burn to death 2-3 million, and take care of the rest with trains and death camps. I don’t see too many Israelis standing in line to do this. I’m sorry Naji, you know I can accept a lot. In fact, I doubt there are many on this forum that can or have accepted as much criticism of their entire nation, or even people, as much as I have. But I can’t and won’t accept a comparison to Nazi Germany.

April 10th, 2008, 12:21 pm

 

Naji said:

Shai,
What the Nazis did is universally regarded as the ultimate evil that humans are capable of, and thus, the word Nazi has become a word in every language… a term universally understood to mean the ultimate in the banality of evil in what humans are capable of doing to their fellow humans… as I said, a hyperbole, an exaggeration sometimes used to make a point… nobody has ever said that what the Israelis are doing is exactly like what the Nazis did… one is often pointing to an underlying ideology of exclusiveness and warning that, if carried to its ultimate end, it will lead to that ultimate evil… It is a matter of degree rather than kind… The Nazis were humans and their descendants are living amongst us and are perfectly nice people now… it was the ideology that produced what it did and the people who did that thought of themselves as perfectly good people at the time… eventually they realized what they had done… Germans are not uniquely capable of that evil… Arabs, Hutus, Tutsis, and… unfortunately yes, even Jews are capable of such horror if they do not watch out…!

That said, if I found a particular word particularly offensive to a particular person, for whatever reason, I would find a way to avoid it and use another word… But I don’t really think you should want people to find another word to express that ultimate evil and to forget about Nazism…!!

April 10th, 2008, 12:52 pm

 

wizart said:

Finland has one of the oldest and most respected Democracies in Europe. Simo’s opinion which is obviously shared by a lot of people in the region and in the civilized world is also shared by the UN representative that Israel tried hard to discredit recently for comparing Israeli behavior to that of the Nazis.
————————————————————-

The special feature of Finnish democracy: consensus

At the end of the 1960s, civic activity increased, mass movements played a conspicuous role and public debate was strongly politicized. Latent needs and new problems created by rapid social change emerged. Many of the features current in Finland in the 1906 were also apparent in the 1960s. Social movements reached their peak in the 1970s and during the following decade the interest of citizens in political action declined and even hostility to politics arose.

Despite numerous perils, the democratic tradition of the 1906 parliamentary reform continued unbroken. However, in contrast to the old parliamentary democracies of western Europe, Finnish democracy has a special feature: strong pressure for concensus. In other words, toleration for differences of opinion in Finland has been difficult.

In response to an external threat, the political right in the 1920s and 1930s sought to force the nation to conform and resorted to means that in fact threatened the essence of democracy. The significance of concensus was established in the experience of the Winter War. The dangerous years following the war and our special international status between east and west preserved the necessity of national concensus during the Cold War.

Almost compulsory internal concensus was justified with the sensitivity required by foreign policy. Differences of opinion were regarded as sacrilege and comparable to treason. The idea expressed on several occasions by President Kekkonen of a coalition government embracing all parties is a peculiar one in the light of democratic principles. Kekkonen’s re-election in 1974 by means of special legislation will remain a curious event in the history of our democracy.

The most recent indication of how difficult it is for Finns to tolerate differences of opinion was the referendum on membership in the European Union held in October 1994. Many Finns even felt that the division of opinion over this issue was a threat to our independence and to the future of the nation. We would do well to recall, however, that our democracy has already lasted 90 years, and there are few democracies in Europe older than Finland. In this sense our position is respected and recognized. We are justified in being proud of our democratic tradition of 1906.

April 10th, 2008, 1:23 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

I of course do not want anyone to forget Nazism. And yes, I agree that we must be careful, all of us, not to ever regress to that level of evil. But also not to any level of evil. But just as you would expect me to be sensitive to the Arabs I speak to, recognizing their own pain and suffering in their history, I would hope to at least see the same from you (or others) when it comes to our history with the Nazis. You almost cannot say anything worse to a Jew than to compare him, or his people, to Nazis. If you do, you lose that Jewish person immediately. He does not wish to listen to you anymore, nor would care about your own concerns, even if truly legitimate. If you’re not particularly bothered by this, then continue. But do be aware of the consequences. I haven’t thought enough about a similar disrespectful comparison someone may have for an Arab, or a Muslim, but I’m sure there are certain labels you would also find intolerable. Most of us can find a plethora of words to describe what we mean, other than using the word “Nazis”, unless we mean what we say, and say what we mean…

April 10th, 2008, 2:12 pm

 

nafdik said:

Shai,

If Israel were to drop a few nukes on Arab targets she would not be compared to Nazis but to Good Red Blooded Americans Fighting for The Cause of Freedom 😉

However there is a similarity between Israel today and pre-Nazi Germany is that a number of Israelis fear the growth of an enemy within whose loyalties lie outside Israel. This is why it is in the interest of Israel to resolve the conflict with Palestinians and to start the transition into a bi-ethnic state, simply to remain a sane society in 50 years.

Of course no Syrian, Lebanese or Iraqi can give Israel lessons in ethnic cleansing as we have Hama, Sabra, and Halabja to remember.

April 10th, 2008, 2:29 pm

 

Shai said:

Nafdik,

You’re right that many in Israel do fear a 5th-column situation with the Arab-Israelis, just as some Americans feel the same about American-Jews or American-Muslims, or some Europeans about their immigrants. All these cases are ridiculous, and unacceptable. But this certainly cannot be compared to the blatant anti-semitism that existed in pre-Nazi Germany, as in much of Europe. Those Germans were not afraid that Jews would side with Israel (which didn’t exist yet), but rather viewed Jews as subhuman animals. God-forbid Israel should drop nukes anywhere. Our children deserve a future, just as much as we do.

April 10th, 2008, 2:42 pm

 

Alex said:

Shai,

I disagree with Naji. Not that his explanation is not right, but there is more to the use of the Nazi word in describing Israel.

I hate what Israel is doing to the Palestinians (serious, serious crimes), I hate how AIPAC is too stupid to abstain from using its power to strongly influence the media in a way that makes Israel often behave like a spoiled child whose parents never stop him/her from acting more and more selfishly … which in the Middle East often means taking other people’s lands, and killing them “in self defense”

But I don’t allow myself to use the word Nazi because it is really meant as a tool for taking revenge … those who use it are relying on their power (to participate on a blog, where they have a popular platform) to hurt the Israelis… to take revenge in the small way they can … since none of them (people here for example) would go beyond this level of revenge (hurting an Israeli’s feeling like his country hurts their feelings and more) … the others, who want more serious revenge, have already travelled to Iraq or Afghanistan to fight the infidels…

So … I do not allow myself to succumb to the need to take revenge … but others do.

Wizart, honestly .. don’t you think there is an element of revenge when you type the “Nazi” word?

April 10th, 2008, 2:43 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I do understand the need to “hurt an Israeli’s feelings” on this blog. But it’s one thing to (correctly) call Israel an Apartheid state – which certainly hurts me when I hear it, because I know how true it is – and calling me a Nazi. I doubt any of those who’d call me that (or refer the same upon Israel) had a grandmother in their family with a number tattooed on her forearm, having miraculously escaped from Auschwitz in 1945, after seeing her entire family go up in ashes, courtesy of Nazi Germany. Even a “moderate” like myself can turn his ears off (and harden) when being labeled a Nazi.

April 10th, 2008, 3:36 pm

 

wizart said:

Alex,

I think it’s rather misleading to jump to conclusions about the motives of those who use Nazi behavior to describe atrocities in other countries. I also find it rather abusive of those who try to censor, silence and label others’ opinion just because it doesn’t fit their own. The opinion of those who agree is not worth more or less than those who disagree, etc. So as blogs are there to express different opinions, they cannot be “elements of revenge.”

Honestly, I think it’s a very appropriate term to describe the ultimate cost of a nasty 60 year occupation full of daily suffering, killing and invisible torture. It’s worse than Nazi behavior in many ways because it’s spread over a much longer period of time and cost the lives of even more victims if you consider the lost real lives of millions who are living dead not only actual dea d and the damage is continuing as we speak thanks to the “silence.”

So the use of the “hurtful” Nazi analogy is a wake up call to communicate the gravity of what’s happening. Some people might feel different and so I’m not hurt by that although I won’t make a fuss if someone described his angry feeling instead of denying them!

April 10th, 2008, 3:39 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Now Israel’s behavior is “worse than Nazi behavior in many ways…” What’s next? I’m glad these things are coming out. You only get to know a person once they open their mouths.

April 10th, 2008, 3:46 pm

 

Naji said:

Alex,
I hope you were not talking about me when you discussed stooping to revenge, using the word Nazi or by any other means, on this blog or anywhere, in the “cyber-space” or in “real life”…!!! That would mean that my writing is so obscure that I must find some English lessons or stop writing all together… at least on this blog…!!??

April 10th, 2008, 3:54 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Shai,
Why are you surprised? Antisemitism is a major illness in the Arab world.

April 10th, 2008, 4:02 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

MSK I have been in over 40 countries, including several countries in Middle East.

—-

When Israel banned the respected American-Jewish UN representative because he had used the Nazi comparison, they (Israel) brought to public discussion is comparison between Nazis and Israel justified.

The word Nazi comes from words National Socialism. The Nazis were a over nationalistic movement and party. Also a Zionism is a “very” nationalistic movement, with racial theories, and had considerable socialists elements by the worker Zionists. Both “ideologues” have/had an element of more rather undefined lebensraum (Eretz Yisrael) and military aggressiveness and domination. And evaluating “own” people as the Herrenvolk = racial supremacy. Naturally Israeli Parties are not Nazi parties, nor Zionism is not equal to Nazism.

Comparing Nazis’ behaviour and Israeli behaviour is completely justified. It is the question how “the groups” behave. Yes Israelis do not have death camps, but they have concentration camps, they have created closed ghettos, they use collective punishments, they use racial profiling, they profit from the occupied territories economically etc = many equal means and acts what Nazis had and did. It is not the question of the amount how many one “ideology” managed to kill.

Using the term Israeli Kristallnacht is perfectly justified. So many influential Israel politicians have been lately threatening the Arab Knesset members and speaking rather openly about an ethnic cleansing if or when a two state solution is put in reality.
The vision of an Arab-free Knesset
Order: Spot Arab MK at restaurant? Curse him
Analysis: MK Ahmed Tibi – Profile of a Brilliant Enemy
Critical Currents: The Other in our midst

Speaking about Nazis and modern days Israel should be seen as a moral warning for Israelis. Stop using equal methods as the the movement which caused so much misery for Jews. A fair warning for Chinese would be now, do not use the Zionist methods in Tibet. Does that warning mean that Chinese are Zionists?

April 10th, 2008, 4:04 pm

 

Alex said:

Wizart,

I beg to differ. There is no comparison. Israel’s crimes are terrible, but over the past 60 years they still are not more than a VERY small fraction of those of the Nazis. Hitler not only killed millions of Jews, but he pushed the world to go to war …and you know the total human cost of WWII I’m sure.

Shai,

Only you will understand how it feels for someone whose grand parents were killed by Nazis to be called a Nazi. But I want you to remember this bitter feeling next time you hear Mr. Netanyahu call a young Palestinian demonstrator “a terrorist” … who knows, maybe that kid’s grandmother was also killed in cold blood by the IDF …

There is no fairness anywhere. you heard me complain that Israel did not get 1% of the negative press that Syria got the past few years … Israel killed (for sure) about 1500 Lebanese and destroyed their country … Syria MIGHT HAVE killed a few Lebanese politicians. Yet, until today, every week we have news” to remind us that evil Syrians killed Hariri… I don’t recall much coverage for memorials for the dead 1500 Lebanese .. But there are many memorials for the one Lebanese that Syria allegedly killed.

Then there is the Saudi owned Arab press which is always championing the cause of human rights in Syria …

And America that directly or indirectly led to the killing of millions in Iraq … starting from encouraging Saddam to fight Iran in 1980 … until the sanctions in the 90’s .. then this last war … yet President Bush is on TV telling the world how he is doing good things for Iraq …

April 10th, 2008, 4:08 pm

 

Alex said:

Naji,

Don’t worry. With all the 🙂 🙂 : ) you use in your comments, I do not see you as angry and revengeful.

Have a good day. I am going back to work for the next few hours.

April 10th, 2008, 4:18 pm

 

Naji said:

Alex,
Well, thank god for these emoticons then…!! I guess I am still going to need the English lessons… 🙂

Btw, …angry: often; vengeful: NEVER…!

April 10th, 2008, 4:21 pm

 

SY said:

Hi,

Any reactions or thoughts to the rumors that Bushra has asked for asylum and that Asif is under house arrest?

April 10th, 2008, 4:30 pm

 

ausamaa said:

SHAI, I admire and like the way you want to see the Palestinian-Israeli issue solved in a “good” way as expressed in your various posts. But…

… can you tell me how one can truly differentiate between the manners thru which the Nazis treated the peoples of the countries they occupied and the manners in which the Israelies have treated and are still treating the Palestinians?

At least, during the days of Hitler, most of the German people did not know what exactly was being done in their name to the victims of Hitler. Todays acts by the democracy-driven Israeli soldiers are on TV, and live most of the time and within walking distance even. And what do the mainstream Israeli person do during all this???? Calls for more of the same, and gets dissapointed and critical of his country, its ideology, its politicians -or only their failures perhaps- when the Palestinian or Lebanese victimes refuse to play dead and stop resisting!

Sorry, but does that answer your question to Alex about what we may think of Israelies and Nazis?

April 10th, 2008, 4:49 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

I’m not asking for justice, I know it’s a myth that children or immature adults still believe in. But I would have hoped that mature adults going online to voice their concerns on this blog would also have some limits. To go on and on justifying why it is okay to compare Israelis to Nazis is insensitive and ignorant of our history at best, and plain cruel at worst.

There is so much that I hate about how certain people in my country relate to Arabs and Palestinians. Many Israelis are racists and bigots. But not most, like some here so effortlessly suggest. And I can think of a few other nations that actually come a bit closer to the Nazis “successes”, which for some odd reason do not get any mention here, other than Israel. Funny how I’m expected to attest to my nation’s crimes, but others tend to comfortably “forget” theirs.

April 10th, 2008, 4:54 pm

 

Naji said:

Shai,
I hope the competition is not about who is worse… I can tell you that all around Israel fratricide and inhumanity are rampant… Lebanon, Iraq, …what Egypt is doing right now with the siege of Gaza… Syria at various times… Saudi is probably worse than Israel in a million ways… and the list goes on… That is why I was disappointed when none of the IG’s, including you, would take my comment seriously when I suggested that Israel try to fulfill its original dream of being a light unto the nations…!! Not much use in you keeping to attesting to your nation’s crimes and in other’s forgetting their’s… One would hope that we all face-up, like adults, to the reality of things and try to make them better for all…!!

This reminds of a reply by Tony Judt to one of his critics on one of his first articles on an alternative vision for Israel…:

“Zionism is only an anachronism if you think of it, as I was taught to do, as a secular nationalist movement with real, albeit outdated, ideals. As the dogma of intolerant, belligerent, self-righteous, God-fearing irridentists, however, it is well adapted to its locality and may indeed represent the wave of the future.”

I hope his final prediction turns out to be wrong…!

April 10th, 2008, 5:25 pm

 

Shai said:

Ausamaa,

Let’s not pretend that when someone is comparing Israelis and Nazis he is referring to the way Israelis are acting as occupiers, like the Germans treated the French, or Belgian, or Dutch Christians. He is referring to the way Nazis ethnically cleansed Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc. The Nazis, as some of us remember, systematically shipped 6 million Jews (that would be equivalent to 100 million Arabs today – 1/3rd of its world population) on trains to death camps, then gassed the overwhelming majority, and burnt them into ashes. The few “lucky” ones were enslaved, worked to death, lost about 65% of their body weight, and the miniscule few that managed to stay alive long enough, walked as skeletons to greet the liberating armies of the Russians and the Americans.

As much terrible suffering as the Palestinians have endured (both refugees and those living in Palestine), and for the umpteenth time I repeat how indeed Israel is and has committed crimes against these poor people, to compare their suffering to that at the hands of the Nazis, is vicious and cold-hearted. It is this kind of thinking (about Jews), that Israelis are afraid of, and which will make them close up even further. You want an end to the suffering of the Palestinians? Me too. But if you think Israelis will “wisen up”, become more sensitive and aware, when you refer to them as Nazis, you’re dead wrong. That’s the kind of stuff that rallies Israelis against you. If we are to ever see peace in our region, in our lifetime, sensitivity will have to be demonstrated not only by Israelis, but also towards them (at least in the historic sense).

How can I say to my fellow Israelis, “Listen, you need to listen to what these guys are saying… they are good human beings, and deserve no less than you and I do… It’s time we put our differences aside, end our vicious cycle of violence and bloodshed, and trust one another.”? How can I say that, when “these guys” are calling my people Nazis? You don’t need to answer me, but if you want peace one day, you’ll need to give yourself an answer. Don’t expect only the diplomats around the negotiation table to show sensitivity towards one another – it can begin here too. Believe me, it’s not as easy as you think, for me to show the kind of understanding and sensitivity for my fellow Arab bloggers on this site as I often do. But I fight every ounce of my tendencies to do the opposite. We must start changing the way we think and act. And since we can’t change our action on this forum, we can start with the language.

April 10th, 2008, 5:37 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

This is not about competition. If you noticed, in all my comments before, I’ve never pointed out the terrible things others have done. 99% of the time, I speak merely of what Israelis are doing to others. I could have gone on and on, day and night, about others. But I don’t. I’m also here (out of choice) to take responsibility for my own doings, and those of my people. And Naji, I know you well enough through our communication here, to know that you’re certainly no Anti-Semite, nor that you think of me or of most Israelis as Nazis. I know you innately do not hate anyone, but you do hate what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. I too innately hate it, as you know. But I just wanted to point out to you how what we perceive as almost a cruel insensitivity can cause Jews and Israelis to simply shut-down any willingness to listen, and change. It’s like the most exposed nerve anyone could possibly have, which hurts beyond understanding, when touched or pressed too hard.

You know, I’ll end this long discussion (from my end at least) about Nazism and the comparison, by telling you about something my 72 year old uncle told me a few years ago. He was born in Palestine, and was old enough to remember the Holocaust quite well, from seeing the few that made it out alive, their stories, etc. He saw a picture of two Jewish settler kids in the newspaper, standing next to an Arab woman, probably in her 60’s, in Hebron. These two little kids had a look of such distaste and hatred towards this poor woman, and my uncle said it clearly reminded him of pictures from the Holocaust, where little German kids were photographed kicking some elderly Jew, or spitting on him.

The majority of Israelis are sane, and do not want to occupy and control another people. They do not want to regress to be like so many other cruel people and nations have been in our world’s history. But they are so numb and tired of everything, of our political impotency, of the ongoing conflict, of the bloodshed on all sides, that they’re just incapable of even getting up and doing something about it. They need a “rude awakening”, either in the form of a new leader with a new vision (the best case), or war (the worst case). People like myself, and many others, are doing everything we can to bring about the first, rather than the latter. But it will take time, and we will need help, also from you. By showing us, as so many Arabs have, that you are amazing people, who have feelings, and care, and respect, and understand, also our side in some fashion (as I said, even if only in the historical sense), you are helping us change people’s feelings and beliefs, and helping us demonstrate to potential leaders what they’re missing when they’re continuing to reject peace.

April 10th, 2008, 5:57 pm

 

Observer said:

Over the last few weeks, my observation of the situation in the ME with particular emphasis on the Arab summit and the situation in Iraq is that we are in wait and see mode. No one is willing to be the first to provoke any dramatic change. For example, Iran quickly brought a ceasefire in Basra; Israel conducted its home front exercise while toning down any possible threat to either Syria or Lebanon; the Surge Twins said we are holding the fingers in the dyke for now but we do not know whether the place will blow up again or not; La Vache qui Rit met with the guardian of the two holy places and both looked perfect for a metamucil advertisement: constipated to the hilt. I believe that the action will move into the realm of the cloak and dagger arena, that is, secret service against secret service with little media attention until the new occupant of the Maison Blance is sworn in.
The economic down turn and it is one of significant proportions will be long and long lasting. In my field in medicine, we are seeing ever more patients that require services and care that will never be covered by Medicare, and people not able to travel to seek help, and institutions losing hand over fist in trying to cope with the decline in revenue.
Now anyone has any news regarding the following items:
1. The restoration of the supreme court judge in Pakistan: if it happens it is the end of Musharraf presidency
2. The deal with the Taliban, if true, then maybe they can mount a summer offensive
3. The elections in Iraq in October; if the outcome is looking like it is going to be cooked in advance, then expect a huge blow up by the Sunnis
4. The unified currency in the GCC and its unpenging off the dollar. Even the WSJ is now calling for intervention to stave off a run on the dollar especially since the European Central Bank did not change interest rates yesterday
5. Backlash by China over the Tibet-Olympics issue
6. The Pennsylvania primaries, if it is true that Hillary’s lead is gone, then Obama is surely going to be the next president.
Minor ones:
1. where are Bushra and Shawkat
2. How come Siddiq disappeared in France, one the best countries in terms of its DST secret service penetration of all antagonists
3. how come Siniora sounds conciliatory? Does he feel lonely all of a sudden? Does he feel abandoned?
4. A Saudi high official in Syrian custody over the Mughnyah killing, does that link with the word Tribunal and does Kouchner have anything to do with it?
5. Is the civil war in Sudan about to start again, with intra South fighting first?
6. Is Chad the next phase or Somalia as the transitional goverment looks shaky again?
Come on please give your latest on all of this. Where is HP when we need him

April 10th, 2008, 5:58 pm

 

Shai said:

Jesus, Observer, you just caused whatever bit of optimism I still had for this region to completely disappear… 🙂 What is it about human beings, that they cannot live peacefully with themselves, unless it comes at the expense of others? When will it all end? When will we start to care about others, no less than about ourselves?

April 10th, 2008, 6:10 pm

 

Naji said:

Observer,
Your observations and comment are an excellent summary of the state of affairs at this point in time. Number 6 is the most hopeful one and is what a lot hinges on. America still leads the world and just as the Bush presidency affected profound changes all over the globe, an Obama presidency will…, but hopefully in a much better direction… not because Obama is the next messiah, but because it will represent a dramatic transformation in American society and psyche that will ripple its way throughout the globe… And I do think that Obama will get elected, which is why America will deservedly continue to lead the world during our lifetime…

April 10th, 2008, 6:19 pm

 

Naji said:

Shai,
Here is some more Judt…

“Ideas acquire traction over time as part of a process. It is only when we look back across a sufficient span of years that we recognize, if we are honest, how much has happened that we could literally not have conceived of before. Franco-German relations today; the accords reached across a table by Protestant Unionists and Sinn Fein; post-apartheid reconciliation in South Africa—all these represent transformations in consciousness and political imagination that few but “escapist fantasists” could have dreamed of before they happened. And every one of those thickets of bloodshed and animosity and injustice was at least as old and as intricate and as bitter as the Israel–Arab conflict, if not more so. As I said, things change. Of course, they also change for the worse. After all that has happened, a binational state with an Arab majority could, as Amos Elon ruefully reminds us, very well look more like Zimbabwe than South Africa. But it doesn’t have to be so. Those of us who observe from the side can at best hope to put down markers for the future.”

April 10th, 2008, 6:25 pm

 

Shai said:

Naji,

I of course agree with the beginning of what he says, about things we never thought possible, really can and do happen. This is precisely why I am still optimistic about our region. But the part about a single, binational state with an Arab majority being a reasonable solution in the near future, has no chance whatsoever. In essence, that’s precisely what we have now, but with a Jewish majority, though not overwhelming. We must separate into two states, to have a chance at peace. When we live long enough in peace, we might one day consider rejoining. I believe there is a good likelihood that this could happen, even if via my infamous UME… (or United Syria, as you prefer…)

April 10th, 2008, 6:33 pm

 

bondo said:

Alex said:
Wizart,

“I beg to differ. There is no comparison. Israel’s crimes are terrible, but over the past 60 years they still are not more than a VERY small fraction of those of the Nazis. Hitler not only killed millions of Jews, but he pushed the world to go to war …and you know the total human cost of WWII I’m sure”

i will differ with you. how many “millions” of jews died we dont know. we arent permitted to know. certainly not the famous 6 million since at least auschwitz has been reduced by 3million or 3 1/2 million deaths. the nazis lasted 12 years. zionism has been making life unbearable for the palestinians and all arabs in the region for over 100 years and especially horrendous the last 60.

the brits have as much to do with ww2 as the nazis. how many did the usa slaughter needlessly?

April 10th, 2008, 6:51 pm

 

bondo said:

zionists/zionism/jewry combines the worst of south africa’s apartheid system, the nazi system, the soviet system, and usa’s atrocities.

the jews of israel for 100 years plus are the worst of the worst.

April 10th, 2008, 6:54 pm

 

Shai said:

Alex,

Here we go… another genius not knowing how many “millions” died… The Holocaust is only the most studied event in the history of mankind, but some of us “aren’t permitted to know…” Strange how most academics don’t claim to the same “limitations” of knowledge.

You know what, I think I’ll go watch the Maccabi Tel-Aviv – AXA FC Barcelona game on TV. At least there I can find some hope… If Maccabi wins tonight, it’ll once again make it to the Final Four, to meet its old rivals CSKA, TAU, and Siena.

Good Night.

April 10th, 2008, 6:58 pm

 

bondo said:

“Sol said:

“I’m certain, there are people whose religious interpretations and convictions don’t jibe with a permanent two-state solution.”

The point of my question is to get a better understanding of the organization as an organization. I realize there are extremists on both sides but what is the ideological foundation of Hamas? Is Hamas looking to establish a Palestine state in the West Bank and Gaza or an Islamic State in the West Bank, Gaza and pre-’67 Israel? ”

what does “a permanent two-state solution” mean? that israel wont take back the 6 prison cells it generously gives unilaterally to the inmates called palestinians? whatever hamas wants to establish is no ones concern. the devouring, fanatical jewish state is the concern of all.

April 10th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

offended said:

Go ahead Shai, you need the entertainment.
And please keep us posted on the score…
Yalla good luck for FC Barcelona. : )

April 10th, 2008, 7:25 pm

 

Shai said:

Offended,

They need “luck” alright… Tel-Aviv is leading 72-58 in the fourth quarter. But it ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings…

April 10th, 2008, 7:31 pm

 

Shai said:

Sorry Offended, Maccabi just won 88-75 at Nokia stadium, and we’re going to the Final Four… I was cheering for Barcelona for you (not), but what to do… 🙂

April 10th, 2008, 7:48 pm

 

bondo said:

Shai said:
Alex,

“Here we go… another genius not knowing how many “millions” died… The Holocaust is only the most studied event in the history of mankind,”

most studied does not equal most truth nor most honesty. it is maybe the most censored, controlled history in history.

most if not all that we know is fabrication. like i mentioned, auschwitz death total reduced to 1million maybe to 300, 000 deaths. and the other camps also reduced. so how many jews died and from what causes?. and why do jews continue to use the 6 million figure with some trying to increase to 7 million?

April 10th, 2008, 8:15 pm

 

wizart said:

Bondo,

Thanks for your observations. I think some readers might have missed reading Simo’s previous post in which he observed the number of people one ideology managed to kill is not the point, what’s more important is to serve a moral warning for Israelis and others to stop using similar tactics today or in the future.

https://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=661#comment-132544

April 10th, 2008, 8:47 pm

 

Sol said:

Bondo,

You seem like such a intelligent person, isn’t obvious why the “jews continue to use the 6 million figure with some trying to increase to 7 million” The jewish conspiracy for world domination. Duh! Don’t forget the jewish holiday of Passover is coming up, maybe we need to warn people of the Jewish practice of using children’s blood to prepare Passover matza.

April 10th, 2008, 9:05 pm

 

ausamaa said:

SHAI, you tell us: “How can I say to my fellow Israelis, “Listen, you need to listen to what these guys are saying… they are good human beings, and deserve no less than you and I do”

Nice words with good intentions indeed. But since when has World Politics and the powers behind them operated on the principles of Justice, Fairness and compassion.

Might is right. While it lasts, I should add. The Arab-Israeli conflict, with the Palestinian issue at the core of it, would be resolved according to the given balance of power at any given moment. Not simply through a civilized debate where good intentions are exchanged and when past sins are forgiven for the sake of a bright and peacefull future for all.

In my opinion, we are nearing that point with Israel. Socially, ideologically,financially and militarily. This is not 1948, nor 1967, closer to 1973, and much closer to 2000, 2006 and to the continuous and the unstopable Intifadas. Israel’s edge is eroding, the will to fight battles, with some threatening to be losing or costly battles is not as sharp as it used to be, the undisputed ability to conqure and rule is now an illusion rather than a modus operandi. And in a contiuously evolving and more interactive world, the stunch support for Israel is not there anymore. It has played its role to the limit. It has become a liability rather than an assest to its creators. And the limits of hardware power and financial power that can be excersized against the Arabs is declining. Or the Arab street is not really awed by it anymore. The opposit is happening on the other side. We have been pushed to the limit, and we made a choice of not only: no more, but, to escape Israe’s might we should fight it back. And this is being proven day after day. Things may be taking shape slowly, but they are. Show me an Arab who is really scared of Israel’s nuclear arms today, and I will show you en who will say: the hell with it.

Nevertheless, and while Arabs have not reached the point of lunching a major direct attack against Israel, yet, the thought of being able to do so has become a possibility now. When it becomes a probability, then, at that point I am sure, some Israeli group or leader will rise from the aches of the past Peace Now movement or from the tunnels of a pragmatic IDF power center who w3ill shout:enough. And Israelies will then listen. Not out of sympathy but out of reason. The signs are allready there. The continuous Israeli peace messages to Syria is a pragmatic try to de-couple the compononts of the front that is facing Israel. The five-sided front being Syria, Hizbullah, the Palestinians, Iran and the under estimated Arab street. And all attempts to break up this core alliance is not working, nor are any such attempts expected to work despite US, Moderate Arab pressure and what have you. Why do you think ALL of them are trying so hysterically -but evidently in vain- to squeeze and pull Syria away? It is the linchpin of the deeper tide that is evolving out of social and historical necessity and out of the human will to reject suffocating and unfair pressure.

Maybe one more confrontation is necessary, maybe Israel will win a battle, but the long term outcome is clear. Israel is no longer what it used to be. Niether materially nor morally. And so is the other side. The tide has turned, and not in Israe’s favor. Remember the law: each action has a reaction….

Until then, we count on nothing, we expect nothing, we prepare for everything including more suffering and more hardships, and…,and we keep an eye open to meet that pragmatic Israeli leader who will one day come and say: Come on, let us find a way. And who means what he says, like a smart, prophetic man called Rabin realised long ago.

See SHAI, the choice is Israel’s now. Now or later. Not ours. History says, not me.

April 10th, 2008, 9:31 pm

 

Ford Prefect said:

Ausamaa,
You are making valid points. But while each side is waiting for their “prophetic Rabin” to emerge and parity to materialize, let us accelerate the process by reaching out to the other side to understand and respect their culture, their aspirations, their beliefs, and their issues.

Prophetic leaders like Rabin will only emerge from that mindset.

April 11th, 2008, 3:09 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

Even a “moderate” like myself can turn his ears off (and harden) when being labeled a Nazi.

Shai,

As an Israeli “moderate”, you’re supposed to accept Arab hot air that equates Israeli self-defense from Arab terrorism to the death factories where innocent jews were led into gas chambers and burnt in ovens or simply just starved to death.

Meanwhile, Muslims and Arabs are killing themselves at a rate orders of magnitude higher than any Nazi Zionist could ever hope for.

Please rethink your stance on this issue;)

April 11th, 2008, 4:31 am

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

The more you continue to claim an absolute moral superiority of Israel (“self defense against terrorists”) the more you should expect equally outrageous statements form the Arab side… Poor Shai is mostly experiencing the results of your total lack of sensitivity to the others. You and AIG of course.

But you want that apparently… typical AIPAC foolishness and over confidence.

Bondo and Wizart,

While I understand Naji’s rationale behind his warning to Shai that Israel might be on a path that might lead them to more Nazi-like treatment of their enemies, the value of your approach to opening the Nazi file (questioning how many died for example) is not entirely clear to me.

I hope we don’t need to continue with this topic again tomorrow.

April 11th, 2008, 4:45 am

 

Zenobia said:

God, please no. lets not continue it.
i was pleased to see the Nazi talk go away for a bit. and then… alas, it got started again.
i think everyone should just drop it. It is about the most annoying and useless topic that comes around periodically.

Mostly, i will just say that… although i can understand why the one side goes there, so to speak… just to make some point. the point will get lost completely because the whole thing is just offensive.

It is offensive to me when people try to shock and hurt Israelis by calling them their own worst insult. and it is also very offensive to me when Israeli leaders or an American president uses comparisons to Hitler.. saying the Arafat was like Hitler or Saddam or Ahmadinijad. They should cut that out immediately, all of them, because they are asking for the mud to fly even more- and it encourages the Arabs to make counter comments that are just as ridiculous. We should leave Hitler where he belongs in history. Along with Pol Pot and Stalin and Pinochet, and a few others.

No, Israelis – as much as they may do some heartbreaking things, do not as a collective body have an entire ideology built around exterminating the Palestinians. Bad as it may have been at times, the worst they ever came to was having the widespread ethos of ‘transfer’ of Arabs… which is quite.. far from poisoning and incineration.
and although there are sometimes atrocities and even generalized policies that lead to harm and death in specific circumstances – this is not and never has been the goal in itself.
This is still not genocide, ok. could we agree on that?

anyhow, the point of the others (calling Israelis as bad as Nazis) reduces the debate to an angry measuring contest of moral guilt again. which seems pointless. what is happening is bad all around. Humanitarian suffering is bad. Killing is bad…etc so on and so forth.

but lets kill the Nazi comparison. It is so offensive, even to me.. to hear the word. I visited the remnants of Dauchau once , a long time ago. And that is enough forever. I have visited refugee camps too, now. And that is alive with its own sorrow and pity.
so let us stop wasting our energies arguing about what is worse… and just respect that nobody wants to be called the name of the executioner.

I for one, would just like to stop the execution.

April 11th, 2008, 5:53 am

 

wizart said:

Alex,

The Nazi file is always open and there’s a four story museum for it which I visited recently, it’s within a walking distance from the white house so it’s not me who opened a “nazi file” yesterday. Respecting the memories of all those who perished and the reality of all present day victims and past victims of Israeli atrocities doesn’t mean debating how many died. As I mentioned previously.

http://www.ushmm.org

Zenobia,

I understand how you feel although I was not around when previous discussions about this subject took place here. I understand how crazy and sick are the atrocities which took place in Germany 60 years ago. The issue is highly politicized and as you can imagine there are a lot of people who feel and witness similar practices on the ground today as stated recently. So let’s judge not being judgmental about that and let’s keep from silencing each other for the sake of pleasing the few outspoken ones who feel upset by it. After all there’s no museum yet for the atrocities that jews have committed over 60 years. If there’s one many people would go visit. (perhaps you had a chance to visit a lively one at one of the refugee camps?) A modern day high tech air-conditioned museum dedicated to jewish atrocities doesn’t exist. People are still free to explain their experiences in vivid terms on Josh’s lively blog.

I did try to change the subject already by discussing your previous post about jewish nationalism which you might have an opinion on.

April 11th, 2008, 6:41 am

 

trustquest said:

Good read for SC readers:
The following is wonderful peace about the plight of Palestinians and the understanding of this plight by some Jews in the midst of the Middle-East dilemma, through a lunch invitation, close to Mr. Landis.
Read the full invitation and the storey inside at the link:

http://by116w.bay116.mail.live.com/mail/ScanAttachment.aspx?messageid=9d6f8aeb-e985-403b-8cd6-2be64fbe91f0&bissafe=True&attindex=0&cp=1252&attdepth=0

Here is the title:
The Passover of Peace:
A Seder for the Children of Abraham, Hagar, and Sarah
Sunday April 13 3:00pm
Traditional Seder service and meal

We invite you to celebrate the freedom holiday, Passover, at The Red Shoes. The Passover story tells of the Israelite’s journey from slavery to freedom. It begs us to ask questions:

Are we truly free?
What enslaves us today?
How can we celebrate freedom when others weep in despair?
How can brothers and sisters shed each others blood in the name of freedom?

This new Seder liturgy draws deeply on the Biblical and Quranic accounts of Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah, and Issac.

This communal, interfaith Seder led by a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew will heighten our understanding of the challenges to freedom and peace and help us sense the common threads that run through our cultures and our humanity.

Fee: $25
Includes complete meal

The Red Shoes
2303 Government Street
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
(225) 338-1170
redshoes@bellsouth.net

April 11th, 2008, 7:58 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Does anybody really think that South Africa changed because of “soft talk” and avoiding central issues in discussion. South Africa changed because of growing military resistance and more importantly by the decades long international open disgust and harsh critic. Only when the whites in South Africa realized that there is no more hope in continuing that Apartheid policy, it ended. Could that conflict have ended with a FOX tv or Soviet style media coverage and discussion where only on side has a voice and only “nice” things are told.

Should we in the South Africa case have respected some white South African peace supporter’s wishes not comparing South Africa and Nazi Germany? In international conflicts such as Israel/Palestine, China/Tibet there is no room to “personal level” if we discuss about the conflicts reasons, events and consequences.

The often repeated claim by “the peace IG” that the majority of Israelis want peace is certainly true but on the same time completely untrue. The majority of Israelis want peace for themselves, but are completely unwilling to give up what they have “achieved” and are obviously not so interested in the peace for Palestinians. The majority of Palestinians certainly want peace, but they also want the “rights” Israel is not willing to give them.

My mother is Austrian, so I have a “link” to Nazism, even no of my relatives were members of the party. What if I and the numerous others who have “German blood” would begin to whine every time Jews blame Germans (in general) for the terrible things Nazis did in WW2? We would be whining all the time. One of the IGs here in the blog comments section even once blamed rather directly me (my relatives) for killing his family in Poland or what Martin Luther said 400 years ago. I was not even born even WW2 happened, not to mention Luther’s time.
https://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=418#comment-74100

Did I begin “to jump on the table” and begin to demand that about Germany, Christian religion, Nazis etc is not allowed to speak? I am not using the “Dershowitz strategy” which these IG’s constantly use.

Israel deliberately on personal (as we have seen) and governmental level try to do damage control by limiting the discussion around the conflict. It is banned to compare Nazi actions with Israeli actions, apartheid is not allowed to be linked with Israel, Gaza is no Warsaw ghetto, it is not allowed to speak about Jewish religious extremism etc. Not to mention the massive attempts in trying to influence what is allowed to say and taught in US and European universities.

However we people need to compare things and find equal events in history, when we discuss about present events. If Israelis and Americans can compare Ahmadinejad with Hitler, why can’t for example Ariel Sharon be compared with Herman Göring? Both were fat men and had a strange world view.

Maybe we all should read again CSCI report about nuclear war in Middle East.
http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/071119_iran.is&nuclearwar.pdf

How to talk about such issues which will destroy the modern world with “a soft voice” and respecting feelings?

April 11th, 2008, 8:00 am

 

ausamaa said:

Who is it behind distributing such stupid juicy bits of intel? Saudi behind the assasination of Mughania? What disinformation machines are at work here? To push Syria, Iran and Saudi further apart? Saudi Inntel may do a good job funneling money to Feb 14, but getting involved in serious stuff? No way. Even if Bandar -during a meeting with Abrahms- had an extra couple of drinks and went temporarily over the edge!

http://nysun.com/editorials/israeli-saudi-operation

“An Israeli-Saudi Operation?
EDITORIAL OF THE SUN | April 10, 2008
The killing in February at Damascus of Hezbollah terror master Imad Mughniyeh was a big story at the time, but the question of who was behind the assassination has yet to be authoritatively answered. The latest intriguing clue is a report by RTTNews, a financial wire, picking up a report from Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. The Iranian organ reported that “a high-ranking defense official in Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Damascus” had been arrested by Syrian authorities in connection with the assassination. It quoted a source as saying that Israel had masterminded the operation.”

What is next, Saudi F-16s bombed the Dair al Zour place?

Who killed Mughanieh??

Israel, with or without Bush help. Simple and straight forward. The little culprits on the ground could be Jordanians, Palestinians, Turks, Dans, Saudies or whatever. But it was Israel. Pure, straight and simple.

April 11th, 2008, 9:06 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

General nabbed in Hariri case was asked to find ‘scapegoat’

El Sayed claimed that three months prior to his arrest an investigator from the UN commission asked him to transmit a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad “which was meant to persuade him to present to the commission a Syrian victim of a certain caliber, who would confess to the crime and would eventually be found dead.” This would allow for an agreement with Syria similar to the one with Libya in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in December 1988, he said.

A Libyan intelligence agent and a Libyan airline official were tried for the bombing and the intelligence agent was convicted, though a Scottish judicial commission said last June that new evidence indicates a miscarriage of justice may have occurred. El Sayed said he told the UN investigator that he could not transmit such a message unless he was provided evidence “pointing in the direction of a Syrian involvement in the crime, otherwise the Syrians would consider that he is leading them to a trap.”

The general said the investigator replied that the commission did not have such evidence and insisted that if he did not transmit the message for a Syrian to admit to the crime he would be blamed for the assassination. Syria denies any involvement in the Hariri assassination, but the furor over the attack forced Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon after a 29-year presence.

April 11th, 2008, 9:34 am

 

Nour said:

I agree that we should drop the comparisons to Nazis, but for an entirely different reason. I think each country and region has had its share of bad and good, and each of those experiences are unique to that country or region, with a nature and reasons of its own. Gruesome things have happened all over the world, and continue to happen.

What took place in Palestine is definitely one of the worst crimes in the history of mankind. To remove an entire people from their land and turn them into stateless refugees is not a minor occurrence by any stretch of the imagination, and thus the collective sadness, anger, shock, etc. felt by the Palestinian community should not be undermined or made less serious than those of other peoples who have undergone disasters of their own.

Nazi Germany was most definitely an example of extreme violence and viciousness. But so were many other entities or regimes. Pol Pot’s regime was not less criminal or gruesome. Neither were the regimes of Mao Zedong, Stalin, or even the US today. Sure, the US internally is nowhere near what those systems produced, but in terms of its treatment of others, I don’t find a difference really. 2 million Iraqis killed since the US first imposed sanctions on that country cannot be discounted or given less value than those killed by other states.

As such, to simply use Nazi Germany as the model of all evil is quite absurd and diminishes the criminality of other states as well as the sufferings of other peoples. Over a million Rwandans killed in a period of a few months should not be given less importance than the Jews who were killed during the holocaust. And to continuously claim that what happened in WWII should happen “never again” is quite hypocritical when it is happening still to this day.

The bottom line is that each major event has unique effects on its victims and its perpetrators and no comparisons should be made between them, while respecting all people’s unique experiences and the psychological impact it has had on them. To make one event more or less important than another that is equally horrendous to its victims is neither fair nor just. As such, let’s leave Nazi Germany out of these discussions and focus on what Palestine has suffered at the hands of “Israel”.

April 11th, 2008, 11:01 am

 

Akbar Palace said:

What took place in Palestine is definitely one of the worst crimes in the history of mankind.

Nour,

How did you come to that conclusion?

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

April 11th, 2008, 11:10 am

 

wizart said:

Hitler Comedy No Laughing Matter for Germans

by Emily Harris

Helge Schneider plays Adolf Hitler and Ulrich Muhe stars as his Jewish acting coach in a comedy that doesn’t have critics laughing.

Weekend Edition Saturday, January 13, 2007 · A new German movie about Adolf Hitler opened this week. It’s the first mainstream German film to make fun of the Nazi leader. And while laughing at Hitler has been a successful form of comedy in the U.S. and Britain, it’s been unusual — if not taboo — in Germany.

As Mein Fuhrer, the Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler begins, it’s December, 1944. Germany has all but lost World War II. Hitler is depressed and unable to do anything. His propaganda minister organizes a major New Year’s Day speech for the Fuehrer to rally the nation, and pulls a Jewish actor out of a concentration camp to coach Hitler back to his former glory. Hitler is played by a beloved German comedian, and his Jewish coach by a well-respected actor.

On opening night, at least one audience in Berlin chuckled when the acting coach — also named Adolf, last name Gruenbaum, middle name Israel — dressed Hitler in a track suit and made him do deep breathing exercises, and later, when Gruenbaum punches Hitler and knocks him out.

The film portrays Hitler as an impotent man who plays with battleships in the bathtub and wets his bed. Most critics have not been amused.

“It was not funny at all,” said Claudios Seidel, who writes for the Sunday Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

He has two main problems with the movie. One, it makes Hitler seem harmless. And two, as a comedy, it does not go far enough.

The film suggests Hitler became a brutal dictator because he was mistreated as a child. One Jewish community leader here says Hitler does not deserve any mitigating circumstances or pity. But director and screenplay author Dani Levy says he was tired of documentaries that insist on demonizing Nazi leaders without asking how they came to power. Levy is Jewish and was born in Switzerland, where his mother lived after fleeing Hitler’s Third Reich.

“For me as a Jewish person who lives here in Berlin I needed a new approach,” Levy says. “And I felt this need of creating a comedy and deconstruct, destruct the nazi figures to have a better understanding what made the German people follow Adolf Hitler.”

Critics say the movie has an oddly split personality — slapstick, plus wrenching back story. The wife and four children of Adolf Grunbaum, the Jewish character, are also allowed out of concentration camps while Grunbaum is working with Hitler.

Grunbaum’s eldest son and wife want Grunbaum to kill Hitler, which he tries but cannot bring himself to do. This is an important storyline, says Moritz Reininghaus, editor of a Jewish paper here, Juedische Zeitung.

“That’s maybe one of the aspects of the film that actually works, I think,” Reininghaus says. “This is an actual discourse, an inner Jewish discourse about how the people should have reacted to Hitler in the regime. Could they have done something different?”

This cumulates in a scene when Hitler climbs in bed with Grunbaum and his wife, and she really tries to smother the German leader. Reininghaus says here, the film goes awry.

“Grunbaum himself says to his wife when she wants to kill Hitler: ‘Now you are just like him, you would kill a defenseless person.’ At first this is seems OK, because both Hitler and his victims were human. But how to handle this is a very delicate question.”

In the run-up to the opening of Mein Fuhrer, the German media was consumed with the question of whether it’s OK to laugh at Hitler. At this point in history, many Germans say yes.

But the film also makes jokes about the Holocaust too, which some critics say is a completely different matter.

As the end credits roll, the film shows a series of what appear to be interviews with ordinary people, young and old, who say they don’t really know much about Hitler. This bothered 20-year-old Jan Schulmer.

“I thought the film had a funny approach,” Schulmer said. “But overall, I wasn’t totally satisfied with it. Because I think you need to be careful how you present Hitler.”

Some people don’t know much about Hitler and the Holocaust, he says, and worries they could think “Yeah, Hitler, his father was mean, and maybe it wasn’t all so horrible.. “

April 11th, 2008, 11:12 am

 

T said:

Hitlerian tactics? Next we’ll see a line of “Who Killed Carter?” t-shirts by the same death merchant? Horrible. (And illegal, I may add).

Shai,

You fail to acknowlege that the Arabs did NOT commit the Holocaust- Europeans did. But the Arabs are paying. Irregardless, no Holocaust – Armenian, Rwandan or otherwise, entitles the victims to kill, pillage and attack others who are totally unrelated to the perpetrators to score retribution. This is not Holocaust denial. But I do deny linkage. I deny that Holocaust entitles Israel to hit back at unrelated 3rd parties in retaliation for WW2 sufferings.

Israeli designs ‘Who killed Barack Obama?’ T-shirts
ynet.com april 7, 2008

Israeli fashion designer shakes up New York with T-Shirts, hoodies bearing this controversial message. Shirts are a hit, but designer receives death threats
Yaniv Halily

NEW YORK – The American political system sees its fair share of mudslinging, accusation and incendiary statements—especially during a presidential election campaign. An Israeli fashion designer residing in New York has, however, managed to stir up heated controversy in the city even in the midst of a hotly contested presidential campaign.

The brouhaha began several weeks ago, when the American press began to examine the possibility that Senator Barack Obama might be a target for assassination should he win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. Obama is believed to have a real chance at becoming the first African-American US president, but many Americans are less than thrilled by this likely scenario.

Doron Braunshtein, an Israeli fashion designer and owner of the Apollo Braun fashion boutique in New York, decided to capitalize on this sensational Obama story by creating his own line of T-shirts bearing the logo “Who killed Obama?”

In creating this controversial clothing line, the designer had hoped to wed the political and fashion scenes, and comment on various societal phenomenon surrounding the heated election campaign. The “who shot Obama?” slogan is a throw back to popular 80’s TV show, Dallas, which featured the immortal line “who shot J.R.?”

What was supposed to be a limited clothing line for New York’s youth soon caught fire, however, and became a fashion phenomenon all throughout the United States. With success came fierce debate and public scrutiny, as millions of Americans saw the shirts as blatant incitement against Obama and as a call for his assassination.

The story received massive media coverage on TV, internet websites and in the US press. Photographers swooped on Braunshtein’s store hoping for a shot of the damning shirts and hoodies. [A BLATANT lie. NOT ONE MSM outlet covered this T-shirt story. Google confirms it. There are only 121 total entries on this subject]

Since everyone truly has their 15 minutes of fame, suffice it to say that all the Obama shirts very quickly sold out. Braunshtein had to quickly produce fresh stocks of the coveted T-shirts, sported by youngsters all throughout New York.

Not all has been rosy for Braunshtein, however. Ironically, the shirts have lead to numerous death threats against the designer and a multitude of angry phone calls to his store and home. Braunshtein’s boutique window has also been spray painted and vandalized by people enraged by his clothing line. Conversely, many see these shirts as a defiant statement decrying American preoccupation with skin color as part of the presidential campaign, as well as the looming threats on Senator Obama’s life.

One owner of the Obama T-shirt, Amy Weinstein, stated that she had purchased the shirt in order to “‘challenge those who are wholly preoccupied with Obama’s color, which has zero relevance to the election campaign, and to awaken the American public to this very ugly reality.”
—–But this meets with the usual anti-semitic/racist charges:

Obama Hosts Anti-Israel Blogger
4 Nissan 5768, 09 April 08 11:05by (IsraelNN.com) United States Presidential candidate Barack Obama is hosting leftist blogger Tony Wicher on his official website. Wicher’s blog is promoted as “A forum for a new foreign policy based on peace, democracy, and human rights instead of hegemony and war, with particular attention to the Israel/Palestine conflict as the key to a new Middle East policy.”

Wicher repeatedly refers to Israel as an apartheid state, and in fact claims that Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Authority Arabs is “worse than apartheid.” He also refers to the Likud party as “right-wing jingoists,” and insists that “Zionism means ethnic cleansing.”

Israel’s current government, Wicher says, “is faithfully carrying out the Zionist policy, by relentlessly persecuting the Arabs until they give up and go to Jordan or whatever.” He dismisses any who call his claims of Israeli “apartheid” anti-Semitic as members of the “Zionist thought police.”

April 11th, 2008, 12:43 pm

 

offended said:

Two interesting picks today:
Zuhair al Suddiqe made a telephone call to Al Seyassa newspaper to assure them that he’s alive and kicking. He said he’s hiding in a European country.
They were too courteous to ask which country was that…

on the other hand, Khaled Shihab, the military principal in Al Mustaqbal movement (Sa’d Hariri) made a discreet visit to Tel Aviv…

It’s not clear what was the purpose of his visit and whom he had met with. But it is clear that sheb’a Farms weren’t anywhere to be seen on the agenda.

April 11th, 2008, 1:10 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Zenobia,

Here’s a little piece of triviality to break up the seriousness of the discussion:

The Power 100: The World’s Most Influential Arabs, 2008

I wonder how many Syria Comment regulars are on this list.

April 11th, 2008, 1:37 pm

 

norman said:

QN,

We live in the US , our names are in the FORB’s Bilionare list,

April 11th, 2008, 1:45 pm

 

Naji said:

On the Sixtieth Anniversary of Deir Yassin:

“As Israel’s first minister of agriculture, Aharon Cizling, stated in a 17 November 1948 Cabinet meeting: “I often disagree when the term Nazi was applied to the British … even though the British committed Nazi crimes. But now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being is shaken.” [7] Despite these sentiments, Cizling agreed that the crimes should be hidden, creating a lasting precedent.”

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9445.shtml

April 11th, 2008, 1:53 pm

 

Alex said:

Akbar,

That was a very useful link. thanks. You are right that Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are not among history’s bloodiest cases, not even close.

But again … Thanks to Israel’s friends in America (media and elsewhere), a dead Israeli gets more coverage on the news than ten dead Palestinians or a hundred dead Sudanese… don’t be surprised when the Palestinians and Arabs learn from “you”.

To my friends Nour, Simo, and others

When you compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa you can make a very good case. I agree that it is a good thing to face an Israeli reader of this blog, or an American friend of Israel, to face them with this analogy.

But the Nazi analogy is simply counterproductive.

It reminds me of the many, many Washington based “Syrian Opposition” statements and online comments calling Bashar a Nazi.

Our friend George Ajjan was once approached by reps of “Syrian Opposition” trying to convince him to join them and help them in getting rid of “the Hitler of Syria”

If there is any group who get relatively close to the Nazis in terms of the amount of killing and destruction that they had a major role in, as well as the plans they had for much more bloodshed … it is the lunatics that General Clack is talking about here:

They ARE mad. And they are criminals… or at least criminal through their negligence and messed up way of seeing things.

The fact they were democratically elected or appointed to their positions by the democratically elected administration does not lessen their responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and the millions of Iraqi refugees living in Damascus and elsewhere.

April 11th, 2008, 3:30 pm

 

T said:

Alex,

Wasnt Hitler democratically elected too? And our own Mr. Bush in that cheap-chad coup of 2000? Some seem to use the Hitler analogy to broadly imply any system that involves the most heinous, sadistic authoritarianism for propaganda effect.

But what if a comparison (involving US-Hitler) refers to the sort of fascist system under Mussolini- not Hitler- that of radical syndicalism. Could that analogy be made? Economy-wise at least?

April 11th, 2008, 3:46 pm

 

Akbar Palace said:

Alex –

That was a very useful link. thanks. You are right that Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are not among history’s bloodiest cases, not even close.

Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians and the Palestinians crimes against the Israelis are definitely NOT “the worst crimes in the history of mankind” as Nour believes.

This is just another example of the Arab/Muslim anti-Israel hyperbole.

To my friends Nour, Simo, and others

When you compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to Apartheid South Africa you can make a very good case. … But the Nazi analogy is simply counterproductive.

Don’t be so hard on your friends Alex.

You will pay your friends lip service (as usual) as they continue to fill your web-pages full of the Israel = Naziism = Racism = Apartheid nonsense (schtuyot).

Better to fill you wonderful “peace site” full of that all-important hot air so you can cover-up the root causes of Middle East stagnation, violence, and poverty; non of which, is Israel’s responsibility.

April 11th, 2008, 3:55 pm

 

Naji said:

Honestly, if Alex gets any more conciliatory, we are going to have to start calling him a “regime cheerleader” for Abu Mazen:)… and what does he get in return… the lunatic ravings of that akbar khar*… what a waste of time…!!??

April 11th, 2008, 4:02 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Naji,
There is one thing every Syrian on this blog agrees and that is that corruption is a huge problem in Syria.
Please explain how a “just” peace with the Palestinians or giving the Golan back to Syria is going to solve the problem of corruption in Syria?

How is it going to solve the problem of education? etc. etc.

AP and I are simply saying that all the Israeli bashing seems just like a form of escapism from solving your own problems. We would like to understand why Arabs living in the US and Canada hold their governments to much higher standards than they hold governments in the Arab world? Would the Syrians living in Montreal accept for one second that their children be schooled at the level of the Syrian education system? Would any of them accept that the level of the Canadian state universities be the level of Damascus University?

April 11th, 2008, 4:38 pm

 

wizart said:

where’s my previous comment?!

Alex, are you blocking my posts?

April 11th, 2008, 4:44 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Look at the following ranking:
http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gitr/2008/Rankings.pdf
This is the recent ranking for how technologically advanced and networked countries are.

This is made by an objective widely respected forum. Look at the ranking of Syria. It is the last Arab country in the ranking. When you see this info, is there not one little piece of you that says: “Boy, we are focusing on the wrong things. It is time to make Syria a modern country.”

When you look at this data how can you say to yourself that everything is good and reforms in Syria can wait 50 years?

April 11th, 2008, 4:47 pm

 

Alex said:

Naji

As Akbar realized, I am not exactly right in the middle between you and him. I only don’t want “my friends” to make the same mistakes that his AIPAC is doing.

Akbar, I’m sorry if I sounded sneaky to you, let us be very clear:

1) Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are a small fraction of Nazi crimes against Jew and against humanity in general

2) Palestinian crimes against Israeli civilians are a small fraction of Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

3) both (Israel’s and Palestinians’) pale in comparison to the Neocons’ crimes in Iraq and to the crimes they intended to commit by invading Syria, Lebnon … and Iran after they succeed in Iraq.

4) AIPAC is stupid. Shai is smart.

Clear enough where I stand?

April 11th, 2008, 4:49 pm

 

Alex said:

Wizart,

Of course I am not blocking you. When I block someone, (G, or AIG) I give many warnings before I do.

I just checked the spam filter an there are no messages from you. What message are you talking about? a new one? … if an old one disappeared it might be Joshua?

AIG,

There are many reasons why Syria ranks low on many of these lists. One reason is corruption and and mismanagement. Another reason is the United States making it difficult for many companies to do business with Syria.

1) They are not doing enough about corruption in Syria. They are working on improving their skills in management with limited success.

2) Syria needs to have peace with Israel so that the United States can get off its back… but that won’t happen until the United States and Israel understand Syria’s significance in the area. If they are not ready to understand …too bad. But that’s how it will be.

3) In the meantime, people living in Syria are happier than people living in most other countries … this is my subjective understanding.

April 11th, 2008, 5:02 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,

The Arab dictators such Asad, Mubarak, Abdallah 2 etc. have been very successful in making sure that the only alternative to them is chaos. You bite the bullet and say, let’s face reality and support Asad. The alternatives are much worse. There are many in Israel that would agree with you and say that Israel’s interests are to have a weak Asad regime rule a weak Syria.

My voice is a lone one in the dark. Somedays I say to myself, if the Arabs are really happy with their dictators then why bother? But the problem is that Arabs just do not know what they want, and those that do know, do not know how to get there (except the Islamists). A plan to have democracy in 50 years or 200 is not a plan. It is capitulation. There must be another way between chaos and surrendering to dictators, but it is up to the Arabs to find it.

April 11th, 2008, 5:05 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
If 3 were right, Asad would not be afraid of freedom of press and speech. If 3 were right, he would not imprison people for saying their mind. If 3 were right, there would be no any restrictions on the little interenet there is in Syria. If 3 were right their would not be 1 million Syrians working in Lebanon. etc.

I think the problem is that Syria does not understand the significance of Israel and the US in the middle east, not the other way around. Syria has every right like every other country to prosperity and to trade freely with its neighbors. Syria has no right to destabilize its neighbors. Significance comes from your ability to build, not your ability to spoil, but I guess this is something you and I will never be able to agree on.

April 11th, 2008, 5:13 pm

 

wizart said:

Alex,

I think I lost about five comments over the past week. Has it ever happened to anyone else? I’m just curious to know if there was just plain system overload in which case I have no problem posting less!

As for Josh censoring my comments I highly doubt it. I don’t think it’s his style based on my observations and personal experience.

Anyway, the comment was in reference to Naji’s previous post which hit the nail on the head because I share his views on that. I also mentioned Nadine Labaki did a great job with her recent comedies!

April 11th, 2008, 5:17 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

“A plan to have democracy in 50 years or 200”

I will repeat one more time and please try harder to remember it next time we discuss this issue:

7 to 15 years .. gradually. Not one shot n 50 to 200 years as YOU keep insisiting.

As for the other issues … we also debated them before and you are right, we will not agree. Except the blocking of some sites and putting some secular political prisoners in jail.

April 11th, 2008, 5:24 pm

 

Alex said:

Wizart,

Nothing can be lost by itself. If I did not remove them then either Joshua or Innocent Criminal removed them. IC used to take care of the comments section last year and he still helps sometimes.

April 11th, 2008, 5:28 pm

 

wizart said:

Alex,

They were not removed they just were never posted although from my side they appeared set to be posted. Just thought I’ll ask if anyone else had a similar experience with that.

Thanks for everyone’s efforts to make this a beautiful production.

I came relatively late to this site and I often like to browse old posts out of curiosity. It’s not easy to search for old material 🙂

April 11th, 2008, 5:36 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
By the way, Syria can get the US “off its back” if it stopped supporting Hamas and Hizbaollah. There would be no reasons for sanctions then.

As for the 7 to 15 year plan, has the implementation begun? Most Syria observers think oppression has gotten worse over the last few years. Yes, I forgot, it is the fault of the US and Israel.

You see, you need a plan that works irregardless of what the US and Israel do. Otherwise, you are giving the regime an excuse not to do anything. Just as Syria does not determine the kind of regime in Israel, Israel does not determine whether Syria is democratic or not. But for some reason many Syrians think that Israel is an excuse for no reform in Syria.

April 11th, 2008, 5:42 pm

 

ausamaa said:

So, more fun to come!!! And who really pays in the end SHAI?
Disposable You, and disposable us!

But naaaaah, no body will ever match the Dubbya nightmare. McCain is just doing what he thinks is best to round up and rally the conservative vote I guess.

And just wait till Hillary and Obama are finished with each other, the anti-Bush fun will start then.

Americans may be fooled once, twice, but no one would buy into this neo-con stuff again. Not with a bad economy, slipping dollar, and so many dead Americans. I think an Age of American Reason is not hard to expect.

April 11th, 2008, 5:45 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Ausamma,

When Americans support a dictator like Mubarak, they are bad.
When they don’t support a dictator like Asad, they are bad.

I think we need the Age of Arab Reason or let’s just admit that the US is bad because it support Israel.

April 11th, 2008, 6:00 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

Syria was put on the list in 1979, before Hizbollah and Hamas. And we know now that it was meant as a limited tactical move by none other than the Carter administration to put pressure on Syria to not resist the Camp David accords. Then came the Reagan administration who kept Syria on the list … etc.

Egypt gives hamas most of their weapons, rich Arabs from the Gulf states and KSA send private donations to Hamas.

When America puts Egypt and Bahrain on the same list as Syria then ill take that list seriously.

The 7 to 15 year plan is realistic and it has a good chance of success … you don’t need to worry about that. Some of us are smart enough to know how to think of reasonably good plans without help.

If you want to help, work on a plan in Israel that helps you undo the mistakes that helped create Hamas and Hizbollah .. both of which Israel gets the credit for helping create them and / or making them significant players.

April 11th, 2008, 6:04 pm

 

Zenobia said:

oh dear. it was too much to ask , i guess.

i will give my ‘friends’ a hard time too. The nazi thing is soo annoying and counterproductive!…
and ….

although i agreed with a number of things that Nour said, that statement about the Israeli crimes against Palestinians being one of the worst in history is simply total nonsense. there are so many incredible things that have happened. And atrocious people in history. It is hard to believe the human race can survive.
what about those moguls invaders? one of the Khans used to build mountains of human skulls.

so lets drop it.
I think there are some useful comparisons. Jimmy Carter made the Apartheid comparison and there are some aspects of that which are illustrative. But of course, as Nour also said, every situation is different and many time equally terrible in different ways for different reasons.

anyhow, i hate having to agree with Akbar. but then again, i mostly don’t like it because then it gives people like Akbar the idea that there is no tragedy going on with his own people that they should address.

Wizart, I have had that problem sometimes with loading my comment. Not it disappearing afterwards but just sometimes it doesn’t go through and i have to back page it and hope i didn’t lose what i typed. then when i submit it again, i find out that actually it did go through, but it took some time for some reason.

and finally,
Qifa Nabki, how come you directed the link about 100 influential Arabs to me…. ?? did you think i need the trivia the most? : ) ??

April 11th, 2008, 6:08 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Wizart,
did you think that Nadine Labaki’s movie “Caramel” is a comedy???
I just saw it recently…all the way here in California. I loved it. It was really great.\
but pure comedy?? no way. there were amusing parts, but overall…it was really.. poignant and sad mostly.
this is a movie about the sad state of being a single girl or woman in Beirut these days….the desperation, the fight against getting older (the worst thing to be as a female apparently) and being dismissed, envy and jealousy, trying to be beautiful, virginal (including getting an ‘operation’ to reinstate that), and hot at the same time, the forces of culture against her, few economic options… trying to be chosen as a bride with the current demographics of five women to every man.

ok, it was excellent and lovely- aesthetically speaking,… but comedy it was not!

April 11th, 2008, 6:20 pm

 

wizart said:

Zenobia,

Have you ever been known as Zenobia of the East & West or was that a different person? I’m just curious because I came across that name before on this blog and that Zanobia had a touch of Scandinavia in her writing or so I sensed. Anyway, I don’t know much about the history of Zenobia although it seems like a cool name. What does it mean? I know there’s Danube river in Hungary..anyway, please have tell us more about your history and track record with the Vikings or their fans and if you could share a resume or post a picture I would be grateful!

cheers:)

April 11th, 2008, 6:23 pm

 

wizart said:

Zenobia,

OOps you’re from Califooooooooooooooooooornia 🙂

I agree with you about Caramel and thought it was a bit sad. I saw it a few months ago at the Dune center in Beirut. The real funny comedy I thought was the Bosta which I saw in Dubai a couple years ago and had a chance meeting Nadine Labaki the director and star herself. (it was at the film festival in open air, nice California style feeling!)

Thanks for sharing your experience with this blogging technology straight from silicon valley?!

Just curious are you single?

April 11th, 2008, 6:34 pm

 

Alex said:

Yes Wizart she is single and she is exceptionally smart … almost a Ph.D. (very soon inshallah)

April 11th, 2008, 6:40 pm

 

wizart said:

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your help. I’m forever curious as to why someone else is answering for her. Are you her brother or am I getting in the middle of a potential serious relationship that could involve national security or our diplomatic relationships with foreign countries ? 🙂

PHD is great. My sister got one. I hope I wasn’t too invasive in my questions. Anyhow, I’m in a good mood today because someone I know is getting married and I’m pretty excited for them.

April 11th, 2008, 6:49 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
You don’t have to take the list seriously, my point is something else. Surely, if Syria wants to be rid of US sanctions it can make a deal to do so by stopping support of Hamas and Hizbollah. I would not agree to such a deal, but most Israelis would and AIPAC would be for it.

I am glad to hear that the democracy plan is up and running. Just to reassure me, can you confirm that it is not conditional on what the US and Israel do?

April 11th, 2008, 6:49 pm

 

Zenobia said:

LOL.

hey…. why is whether i am SINGLE… a topic of interest??!!! does this denote some bias?
i resist accepting the Labaki worldview that this is all that bad… ha ha…

anyhow, I am not ‘from’ california…really. 90% of Californians are from somewhere else… ok. i am from Cambridge Massachusetts… : ) oh well.

but i am sort of Syrian. and yes…i am/was “Zenobia of the East and West” on this blog and others.
and i can’t believe that you remember that I am also part Scandinavian.. gees… good memory.
mother’s half is Swedish from Finland (my maternal great grandfather’s name is Erik Erikson…i kid you not) Father’s half is Syrian with a little dash of Turkish in there. how’s that for a mix…

anyhow, Wizart, you must not be Syrian. You don’t know who ZENOBIA is??? my namesake…

Queen of Palmyra! Look her up… you won’t be disappointed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenobia

April 11th, 2008, 6:49 pm

 

Alex said:

From Yoel Marcus at Haaretz today:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/973979.html

3. Since the assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah, whose car was blown up in Damascus, the government and defense establishment have been scaring us silly. When the 40 days of mourning are up, they warn, there will be terrorist attacks like we’ve never seen before. The airlines are being told to introduce drastic security measures. Israeli tourists are being urged not to stand out in a crowd when they go abroad. Jewish leaders have been alerted to the possibility of an attack on a Jewish community center somewhere in the world. Ministerial security has been doubled and tripled. If revenge is so likely and the government is so worried, the question is: Why did he have to be bumped off. Whatever happened to the principle of looking before you leap?

4. Who authorized Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to warn Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran will be wiped off the face of the earth if it dares to attack Israel? Iran knows exactly what we are capable of without Fuad’s two cents. Apropos intimidation, how smart is it to conduct maneuvers on the northern border at this particular date and time? Syria is apprehensive enough as it is about another Israeli-American operation, after the bombing of that “facility” no one is allowed to talk about, although everyone knows what it is. What is the point of stressing them out even more with our denials? “What does she mean when she says no?” goes the refrain of a popular Hebrew song. The Syrians are probably asking the same question.

April 11th, 2008, 6:55 pm

 

Alex said:

AIG,

it is not CONDITIONAL .. but it can be delayed through what Israel and the US and Saudi Arabia do.

Reforms (economic and political) will take place … significant progress (not full “democracy”) can take place in 7 years or in 15 if the US and Israel and Saudi rabia continue trying hard to weaken Syria and find news stories to keep Bashar busy every week with Hariri investigation, then Deir Ezzore, then with boycotting Arab summit, then with sanctions on his cousin, then with disappointed Sarkozy, then Hariri investigation again (the filler in the pressure tactics) …

April 11th, 2008, 7:00 pm

 

Zenobia said:

LOL.
no, Alex is not my brother… LOL.
he’s a fan!

ha ha. but hey…i am his fan too (most of the time). but apparently, if i don’t finish that degree…he will no longer be a fan… : (

and W, if you are Lebanese, then you should still know who Zenobia is. Shame on you. she ruled over your land for a while. Even the Lebanese border guys… always said to me with hopeful eyes… “ahhh like the Queen, yes? … so you are Lebanese?” i am not sure if they were hoping to grab me for their side or what.

April 11th, 2008, 7:05 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Alex,
Thank you for highlighting the fact that there is internal debate about everything in Israel. That is how societies get better. Marcus does not make sense on the first issue. If in the long run killing Mugniyeh is beneficial for Israel, why not do it but be prepared for the short term implications such as a revenge attack? If he wants to make his point he needs to explain why killing Mugniyeh was a strategic mistake. As for Ben-Eliezer, I didn’t understand his remark either.

Why is nobody in Syria discussing the sad state of its technological innovation? Why do Syrians not care that they are among the most backward countries in the world? As an engineer, why is this not a topic worth discussing? How is the Palestinian problem more important than that?

April 11th, 2008, 7:18 pm

 

wizart said:

Zenobia,

I’m up for some serious competition in here and since we’re surrounded with “enemies” from all sides what do you say we just ask Alex to give us each other’s email address and I will help you with your PH balance 🙂 I’m pretty impressed by your pedigree and loyalty to the region. I only visited Sweden for a couple weeks and still have a few friends from that region. As a matter of policy I don’t reveal where I come from in public because I did live in several countries over the years (half my life in the U.S and the other half in about 30 other countries mostly Syria, Dubai and Lebanon) I think of myself as a global citizen so nobody hates me for any particular reason except for my ideas and not b/c of where I come from 🙂 As for Zenobia I visited Palmyra and Egypt and my memory failed me there!..I read her husband’s name was unknown?!

So what’re you studying at what school and where in CA?

April 11th, 2008, 7:23 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Zenobia said:

Qifa Nabki, how come you directed the link about 100 influential Arabs to me…. ?? did you think i need the trivia the most? : ) ??

No habibti, but you said earlier “God please no. let’s not continue it” (with respect to the Nazi discussion). So I thought I’d try changing the subject for you. 😉

There are 20 Lebanese on that list. Makes me proud. Although the UAE-ers came in first with 21. Bastards.

Although… it’s, as I said, rather trivial.

April 11th, 2008, 7:23 pm

 

Nour said:

Alex and Zenoubia,

The severity of crimes are not, and should not be, measured merely by counting bodies or assessing the gruesomeness of the crime. Some of the torture techniques used by Mao Zedong’s men in their purging of fellow communists are much more disturbing and gruesome than anything Hitler ever did. Even the number of people Mao killed far exceeds what Hitler “accomplished”. Does that mean that Mao is worse than Hitler? I don’t know. To the Jews, he definitely was not, but if you ask some of the Chinese groups in China they may disagree with you.

Israel was responsible for the disposession of an entire people. They rendered a whole population stateless and turned them into refugees. On the way to doing that, they killed, massacred, tortured and maimed. Does the nature of their particular acts compare to some of the tactics employed by other states and leaders? Probably not, but this does not diminish the collective psychological effect that their actions have had on an entire people. In addition, one must not discount that Hitler’s Germany was a major superpower and did not have to watch every step it was taking. Israel, on the other hand, is a country whose existence is based purely on foreign assistance and who is in a very peculiar position, such that the smallest mistake might mean its doom. This on its own forces them to proceed with extreme caution in everything that they do. But when they feel they can, we saw what their criminal war machine can do. So to somehow diminish the seriousness of their crimes and the severity of the Palestinian suffering is irresponsible at best.

April 11th, 2008, 7:25 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

This is big news, because Nabih Berri is not Sleiman Frangieh. M14 should take their heads out of their asses and take the stupid offer. Although, I suspect they won’t agree to new parliamentary elections in 3 months… they should stay in 2009, as previously planned. I

Berri: 1960 Electoral Law in Exchange for Immediate Presidential Elections

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced his willingness to elect Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman as President “immediately” if the pro-government majority approved a 1960 electoral law at the same parliament session scheduled to choose a new head of state for Lebanon.
Berri told the daily As Safir in remarks published Friday that he is also willing to abandon a demand for the shape up of the future cabinet if the majority March 14 coalition adopted the 1960 law, a demand that has been rejected by the anti-Syrian alliance.

Al Mustaqbal MP Mustafa Alloush said in response to Berri’s offer that the proposal needed to be “examined carefully” by March 14 before any decision is taken.

He said March 14 will also have to see if Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun and Hizbullah also approve Berri’s suggestion.

Berri’s proposal came after a similar offer made by Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh in which he said “give us the 1960 electoral law and we will vote for Michel Suleiman tomorrow on condition that the election law is adopted at the same parliament session to elect a President.”

Berri said he had asked former President Amin Gemayel during a meeting on Wednesday to bring in a “written vow” from March 14 on approval of the 1960 election law.

As Safir said Gemayel tried to get a “clear response” from Berri on whether his offer also represented the Hizbullah-led opposition, but the speaker insisted that there “will be no problem whatsoever with the opposition.”

Hizbullah, meanwhile, refused to comment on Berri’s proposal, while a source with Aoun’s FPM said “we are willing to go with the 1960 electoral law …. on condition elections are held within three months from now and under supervision of a neutral, transitional government.”

Beirut, 11 Apr 08, 09:05

April 11th, 2008, 7:26 pm

 

Zenobia said:

AIG,
unfortunately, Syrians have a lot of pride and they are good at taking their time, and…as a cultural trait that i noticed, they are very good at projecting problems outward and not being very self-reflective about the internal sources of difficulties.
i am generalizing of course.
there are also a lot of thoughtful reflective and educated people. But they are dramatically outnumbered by pretty narrow minded pedestrian people. and the educational system sucks at the moment- in terms of social sciences that might bring more self-reflection to the mainstream society.

i think they do externalize problems as a general pattern.

on the other hand, the bad behavior of the Americans and of Israel does not help the situation. It makes these people even more closed and stubborn and untrusting,and more able to fixate on what is happening ‘out there’….

April 11th, 2008, 7:26 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Nour,
of course. I basically agree with you. no dispute there.

April 11th, 2008, 7:32 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Wizart,
yes, you could email me. i don’t mind.
but first you have to be sorry for that comment a long while ago about how nobody wants to watch Hilary Clinton as president get old… !…

frankly, i don’t like Hilary. I want Obama to win, big time. but… is that necessary to talk about her aging process? didn’t you learn anything from movies like ‘Caramel’?? to say such things… only perpetuates the problem of making women feel bad that they are judged primarily by how nice they look…and god forbid old…

ok, other than that, if you take it back, we can make friends now. : )

April 11th, 2008, 7:36 pm

 

wizart said:

lol

yes for sure my apologies for hurting anyone by that comment.

what was I thinking? anyway, let’s be friends then 🙂

Alex please give Zenobia my email address and while you’re at it please feel free to give Naji and Simo my email address if they wish to email me in the future as we seem to be on the same wave length.

April 11th, 2008, 7:42 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Qifa Nabki,

yes, i did plead. but obviously, my pleas didn’t work! nor did your attempt to distract us with trivia : )

as for the list….hmm.. i did find it interesting. but it seemed like half the people came from UAE. thats all we got in the middle east? UAE!…. where about the other 70 percent of the people are foreign born.
i guess that shows that it pays to integrate yourself with the West! proof in the pudding.

Actually, i didn’t really recognize hardly anybody on that list. But i am not that up on my business, finance, and construction world.
obviously a few i am familiar with- the Prince Talal al-Saud and Sheikh Ahmad bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.

i only sort of recognized some of the artists and pop culture people… the lowly guy who made the movie Paradise Now. Elissa,Cheb Khalid, Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish of course, Nadine Labaki, as we have been talking about. Fouad Ajami, unfortunately. And Hatem Ali because he is married to my first cousin, and i was just in Syria when his TV series about King Farouk came out.
Unfortunately, every time I saw him, i couldn’t have any meaningful interaction cause Hatem doesn’t speak a word of Engligh and I don’t speak arabic….sooo… too bad.

anyhow, I doubt that any of these people are SC commentors!..I think they are a bit too busy and have other things going on to banter with us…
We can fantasize about it though. I didn’t even know where that dream about Joe M. = Joseph Mossad came from. Like Mossad is the only one who has such views?? I think he is too busy to be writing on here too…

April 11th, 2008, 7:50 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Zenobia,
What do you agree with in what Nour was saying?

I am going to pick on you a little because I think this is an example of why the internal Arab dialog is not going anywhere.

April 11th, 2008, 7:53 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Aig,
i don’t know. it is frustrating. i agree with both of you! isn’t that possible.
i agreed with Akbar that the original offending line about “worst in history” in Nour’s comment was hyperbolic.

but i also agree with the idea that just because Israeli policies and actions do not come close to genocide or the “worst” things in history.. doesn’t mean they are to be ignored.
I feel sympathetic to Israelis actually. no kidding.

but, at the same time… there were very bad consequences to how the Israeli dream of a jewish state played out… all the military decisions that were made over decades had serious impacts.
I also blame arab leaders and states for what happened. they were stupid and short sighted and read history wrong. There was clearly war mongering and rhetoric on both sides that locked people into aggressive paths that could have been avoided.

of course, the arab world thinks it is playing on some hundred year or even millenium plan….and one day… Israel will lose and disappear (or some people think that way)..but this is absurd.. and even if it were a fantasy that could come true.. it means years and more years of suffering and pain.

ok, well that last part has nothing to do with what Nour said. but… it is more of what i think.

April 11th, 2008, 8:05 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Zenobia,

Thanks, I think I actually understand you well now (and don’t disagree with you much if at all).

April 11th, 2008, 8:40 pm

 

Naji said:

Coolest Wiz,

You know I am your biggest fan, so if you agreed with a previous post of mine, and your comment was lost, I wish you would post it again… 😉

Which post of mine was it anyway? Was it the post on the 60th anniversary of Deir Yassin, which does not have its own museum although the village was only a stone’s throw away from the present Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, which every dignitary that visits Israel must make an obligatory visit to…?! Did you notice that the IG’s conveniently skipped over that comment and went straight through to concentrate on Alex’s regime apologetics…?! Bless his heart, he always falls for their trick of diverting the discussion and putting him on the defensive. They probably did not like the fact that one of their founding fathers had the decency to compare Israel’s actions to those of the Nazi’s, but not the courage to do anything about it:

As Israel’s first minister of agriculture, Aharon Cizling, stated in a 17 November 1948 Cabinet meeting: “I often disagree when the term Nazi was applied to the British … even though the British committed Nazi crimes. But now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being is shaken.” [7] Despite these sentiments, Cizling agreed that the crimes should be hidden, creating a lasting precedent.

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9445.shtml

And, since Deir Yassin does not have its own memorial, here is some more on its 60th anniversary, lest anybody forget:

Jacques de Reynier of the International Committee of the Red Cross met the “cleaning up” team on his arrival at the village:

“The gang … were young … men and women, armed to the teeth … and [had] also cutlasses in their hands, most of them still blood-stained. A beautiful young girl, with criminal eyes, showed me hers still dripping with blood; she displayed it like a trophy. This was the ‘cleaning up’ team, that was obviously performing its task very conscientiously.”

He described the scene he encountered on entering the homes:

“… amid disemboweled furniture … I found some bodies … the ‘cleaning up’ had been done with machine-guns … hand grenades … finished off with knives … I … turned over … the bodies, and … found … a little girl … mutilated by a hand grenade … everywhere it was the same horrible sight … this gang was admirably disciplined and only acted under orders.” [6]

I hope Zenobia will forgive me for bringing up this little unpleasantness …!

April 11th, 2008, 8:45 pm

 

Alex said:

I received an invitation to this event. I thought I should pass it to those of you who wish to attend.

Ammar Abdulhamid
Tharwa Foundation

Ambassador Dennis Ross
Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Joshua Muravchik
American Enterprise Institute

Mona Yacoubian
U.S. Institute of Peace

Ted Kattouf
Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria (Invited)

Radwan Ziadeh
U.S. Institute of Peace

Ausama Monajed
Damascus Declaration/ Movement for Justice & Development

Anas Al-Abdah
Damascus Declaration/
Chair, Movement for Justice
& Development

James Prince
Democracy Council

A CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY MEMBERS OF THE
DAMASCUS DECLARATION’

Syria in Transition:
The Human Rights Situation in Syria
The Emergence of Organized Opposition
Implications for U.S. Policy: Engagement or Confrontation?

Friday April 25, 2008, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Room 2255 Rayburn House Office Building,
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC

April 11th, 2008, 9:11 pm

 

Alex said:

Naji, Wizrt, QN, and Zenobia .. I sent you all the emails you requested (check your email).

If I forgot any other requests please remind me.

April 11th, 2008, 9:14 pm

 

Zenobia said:

The Arab American Institute and Foundation

are pleased and honored to announce to its members that

His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas

President of the Palestinian National Authority

will attend and speak at our

Kahlil Gibran “Spirit of Humanity” Awards Gala
April 23, 2008 Washington D.C.

AAI is making this special announcement today, only to its members. Seating is limited, so we urge you to reserve your tickets now, before Monday’s press release. To accommodate the many AAI members who will want to attend the Gala and hear the President’s speech, the AAI Foundation has extended the deadline to reserve tables and tickets for the Spirit of Humanity Awards until Wednesday, April 16.

To make your reservations, please click here or contact Sabeen Altaf at 202-429-9210.

We have a great program again this year – I know you won’t want to miss it.

* Renowned actor Sam Waterston (The Great Gatsby, I’ll Fly Away, Law and Order) will present the Award for International Commitment to Refugees International;
* Rami Khouri, editor of the Beirut-based Daily Star, will present the Award for Institutional Achievement to Reporters Without Borders;
* U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood is being honored for his years of public service in the U.S. Congress; and
* Edward Said’s widow, Mariam Said, will accept a special recognition on behalf of the Barenboim-Said Foundation for its programs to bring together young musicians from across the Middle East.

For information on the program, venue, honorees and more, please visit http://www.aaiusa.org/foundation/kahlil-gibran-awards.

I look forward to seeing you next month at the gala!

Sincerely,

James Zogby
President, Arab American Institute

April 11th, 2008, 9:32 pm

 

Naji said:

Alex,
The only email I received from you tonight is the one I replied to. Was that it…?

You also may give the Wiz and Simo my email address if they wish to email me in the future as we seem to be on the same wave length.

April 11th, 2008, 10:05 pm

 

Zenobia said:

apparently i ended up on AIG’s wavelength somehow. so he can have my email if he wants, since i know he’s a fan. lol.

what kind of waves are you guys talking about, anyway.

April 11th, 2008, 10:09 pm

 

Naji said:

Zenobia,
LOL. You are on everyone’s wavelength, but we are not giving you up to AIG that easily… we red-blooded Syians fight for our women, you know… 😉

April 11th, 2008, 10:20 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Regarding Lebanon,

will somebody, Qifa N? , explain what the 1960 law is? entails…etc…???

April 11th, 2008, 10:27 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Naji,

lol. thanks. i feel better knowing that you are going to save me….

i think Shai is asleep otherwise i could have at least tried for HIS wave… that would have been better. i have to wait another five hours or so for him to wake up.

April 11th, 2008, 10:34 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

I must really wonder the attitude here in the last comments. Certainly the Palestine problem is not one of the mankind’s biggest slaughters. But it is an astonishing robbery and enslavement of millions in MODERN TIMES, performed by a “nation” which claims to be democratic. As said before many times, it is not the question of how many are killed. Is a lifelong and generations long misery and enslavement of millions a small thing?

Let’s “watch” the Tibet problem. China has ruled Tibet with a much smoother hand after the economical reform than Israel its Tibet. There are no separation walls etc. And the amount killed is far less than in Palestine. So we approve Tibet, or what Zenobia? If we do not condemn Israeli occupation how can we condemn China’s occupation. Or Zimbabwe or Burma were the amount of killed is not millions.

With this attitude the Hama massacre was a completely insignificant event because only over 10.000 were killed. Or the Israeli Lebanon war One, totally insignificant only 17,825 dead Arabs.

So far I read the comments nobody said that IGs are Nazis or Zionism is equal to Nazism. We spoke about nazi like behaviour and means. More importantly as I said Israel it self brought the topic “out of the box” when it banned the UN representative for using the “bad comparison”.

I must really wonder your morality and rationality. Now Akbar and AIG are waiving their little blue white david star flags, when you have approved that Israel Palestine conflict is a tiny episode in human development.

———–

AIG why is Finland in your technology ranking number 6 and Israel only number 18. Is because of the democracy level or because of the corruption in Israel (a world record of parliament members in Israel are under inspection)? Or because the Arab and Haredi population which can’t afford or are not allowed broadband connections. Israel is one of tiniest countries in the world so you should be able to network your country easily and cheaply. 🙂

PS
AIG do you think that Israel lets Mordechai Vanunu move to Norway and became a university teacher?
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/974087.html

The Norwegian daily Dagsavisen on Friday cited an Israeli diplomat as saying that giving Vanunu asylum would be considered interference in Israel’s internal affairs and a “sign of the generally anti-Israeli sentiment in Norway.”

The University of Tromsoe in north Norway granted Vanunu an honorary doctorate in 2000 and its rector said on Thursday he would be willing to give Vanunu a job.

Why do you AIG hold this man in Israel against his will? He is not even any more a Jew. Is it normal in your democracy?

Hmmmm internet censorship in Israel. Will it be soon like in Syria? 🙂

IDF soldiers ordered not to reveal too much on Facebook
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/974083.html

April 11th, 2008, 10:38 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Simohurtta,

i am not sure if you are directing this at me, but i am sure i am one.

well, i hope Akbar and AIG are not waving their ‘little flags’… lol.
anyhow, thats the problem. i feel like if i critique some comparison as unproductive and ineffective then its as if i am giving some free pass to the arguments of Akbar or AIG, which is not the case. Usually, there are many things we disagree on.

anyhow, i never said that I condone the situation in Israel or Tibet. This is beside the point. My last comment to AIG was really what i think. And i don’t see it all in black and white.
I mean, i see certain policies as black and white. Occupation is occupation and this should be ended. Checkpoints suck. Letting people starve or shutting off their electricity grid or power resources is wrong with no qualifications.

but when we are talking about intentions, philosophy, ideology, historical understandings, beliefs, moral culpability, and all these abstractions…
things to me get a little murky.

one could say that the 1930’s Germans (ha ha… see i am the one bringing it back now…but…)the German people had been brainwashed and had a belief system that allowed them to ignore something horrendous taking place just out of their immediate view…but was somewhere in their consciousness, and they weren’t that exceptionally bad as people. They were racist against the Jews but that is not that amazing, historically speaking. A great deal of harm is done across the world through these terms. Not because people are ‘evil’ or monsters. I think that is what Arendt’s conception of the banality of evil was about.
to do something evil, you don’t have to be this amazing monster, you just have to not think. To deny as opposed to think.

but my main point is that because the term “Nazi” has developed a deep symbolic meaning worldwide…to denote almost EVIL… to use it as an adjective… or something to throw on someone or some group… functions not as a useful historical comparison at all.. it is just an attempt at slander and an attempt to say that whomever is being called ‘Nazi’ has no humanity in them.
and so, i reject calling anybody this… or just throwing the word around.

If someone wants to compare some historical moment, or social phenomenon, or political conditions, or the charismatic leadership of someone like Hitler… or any other tyrant, go ahead, but be clear about what you are doing. that might be a valid analysis.
but to just call some group ‘Nazi-like’ or some leader..to be equivalent to Hitler…95% of the time…is just an inflammatory rhetorical means of discrediting the other and their validity as part of the human community.

so , what i am saying is that the story of the creation of Israel and its trajectory is complex (like everything else) and can’t be reduced to something about evil people arriving and killing off the natives or exiling them.
They didn’t come to the Middle East to do that. I think they had different, even noble intentions. Dare i say noble?
at least understandable. And everything else unfolded in a terrible tragic way. But I think this wasn’t solely the result of Israeli heartlessness or racism against the arabs… etc etc. Or even a result of that at all. It was a function of many many different factors and mishandling by all parties in the region.
I don’t think this all started with hatred.
Colonialist thinking, and blindness, and denial maybe. but not heartlessness.
and, so

the reason i go on this way, is just to say… I would never dispute your (Simo’s) ‘facts’…your data…about what has happened. but, the question is… how is this going to help?
does shoving this data in Israelis face make a positive difference?

i think not.
especially when coming from outside.
maybe that is useful when it comes from some Israelis shoving it in other Israelis’ faces. At least then it is heard more and has more credibility.

there are many organization doing just that. I just went to a talk by a member of Breaking the Silence, (and there is also Combatants for Peace, which is made of Pals and Israelis together) who are former soldiers reporting on their service in the territories…just to make sure that their countrymen understand and cannot ignore what occupation entails.

But coming from a bunch of Syrians?
I think this just reinforces Israeli fear that they are hated and not understood and that they will perpetually be in jeopardy, and why should they ever stop being so militaristic because then they will be attacked…. etc so on and so forth….

i think there has to be a respectful dialogue between outsiders and Israelis and Palestinians who are interested in connecting and finding common ground..to turn the train around… to move in another direction.
It is not about denying the facts or the documentation of events and realities. But rather we should be clear in our understanding of the function of such documentation and not use it to attack the other …
We , as outsiders and those more closely involved, including Palestinian activists need to figure out how most effectively to communicate to certain Israelis who are interested in changing the status quo and who are going to lead their countrymen in a new direction.

to me this is much more important at the present moment than showing exactly how atrocious the historical record is. There is time for truth and reconciliation later.

April 11th, 2008, 11:07 pm

 

Enlightened said:

Alex:

You going to accept the invitation?

April 12th, 2008, 12:17 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Zenobia, the salient aspect of the 1960 law is that it is based on the qada’ (the ‘county’) rather than the muhafaza (‘governorate’). This means that the electoral districts are smaller, which generally favors the Christians in the sense that they have a slight advantage with regard to voting for Christian candidates.

When the electoral districts are large, this means that Christians are being elected by Lebanese of all sects, and so the Christian vote gets drowned out by Sunnis and Shi`a. When the districts are smaller, this means that they are mostly comprised of members of one denomination (although not always). So, under this scheme, political candidates tend to receive most of their votes from members of their own sect.

Anyway, people criticize the 2000 law (which the Syrians devised) because it was used to boost their allies’ representation in government (which it was, no question). Ironically, March 14 benefited tremendously from that corrupt law during the 2005 elections. The opposition is counting on the fact that they will benefit more (although perhaps not that much more) from the 1960 law, because it will weaken Hariri’s support base in Beirut.

So that’s the story.

My personal belief is that the government should adopt the Boutros Commission law (you can read about it here), which is a far superior law to any of these other options. With a fair law and a carefully monitored election with safeguards against corruption, we will finally have a sense of what the real “majority” is in Lebanon. I say let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, this is the only way forward.

April 12th, 2008, 12:26 am

 

idaf said:

What’s wrong with everyone? I think that we have a bit too many lonely guys on this blog and very few ladies. I call for a better gender balance on SC…

Wiz is “excited” about Zenobia!
Alex is a “fan” of Zenobia!
QN is calling Zenobia “habibti”!
Naji is not “giving up” Zenobia and wants to “fight” for her!
Hell, even AIG is now on Zenobia’s “same wavelength”!

I think that you guys should start your own fan club in praise of this Syrian-Swedish-Finish-Turkish PhD candidate in California. Personally, I think that Zenobia is a confused student who occupies too many posts on this blog. Enough already.

Meanwhile, I hope the rest of the guys (those here less occupied with Zenobia) would enjoy the following article for change..

Axis of Adventure: Syria
Damascus has had a corner in conversions for 2,000 years, since Saul of Tarsus saw the light and metamorphosed into St Paul the Apostle. I too underwent a transformation on the road to Damascus, not Pauline exactly, but definitely opinion-changing. My revelation was Syria.

April 12th, 2008, 12:32 am

 

Zenobia said:

Qifa,
thanks so much for the explanation.

as for Idaf,

lol.
nothing confused about that!

you are just jealous!… but i agree…we DO need more gender balance. what do you propose? maybe most women have no patience for these guys… remember Ms. Levantine… telling them that they were engaged in a … something unseemly… ha ha…that was pretty funny.

too many posts? some days i am not even here. but when i am here… you know, thats it.

Hail Zenobia!

Long live Zenobia!…

April 12th, 2008, 12:45 am

 

Enlightened said:

This is Interesting!

From Now Lebanon!

Today In Lebanon
Israel might exchange the Shebaa Farms for two Israeli soldiers
April 11, 2008

The Lebanese daily Sada Al-Balad quoted a high-ranking French diplomatic source in Paris as saying that Israel has suggested ending its occupation of the Shebaa Farms in return for the release of the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah on July 12, 2006.

The Al-Nabaa Iranian news agency said that the French source refuses to give further details on the date of the swap deal or on the mediating party.

The same French source ruled out the possibility of the outbreak of war in Lebanon or between Israel and Hezbollah, despite the fact the Hezbollah is stocking its military arsenal with sophisticated missiles.

April 12th, 2008, 12:51 am

 

Enlightened said:

To ALL:

To address the gender imbalance and for the sake of equality I propose that some here go in for gender re allocation. I propose that AIG be gender re assigned to temper his views a bit!

Any one else care to volunteer?

April 12th, 2008, 12:54 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

AIG ==> AnotherIsraeliGirl?

😉

just kidding

How about Qifette Nabki?

April 12th, 2008, 1:16 am

 

Enlightened said:

YES QN:

You picked it up! I cant get one past you, il try harder next time!

April 12th, 2008, 1:52 am

 

Alex said:

Qifette Nabki .. the one on the right.

null

April 12th, 2008, 1:57 am

 

norman said:

Zenibia,

Can somebody ask Abbas about the time that he needs to take to declare the Oslo accord dead . About another 15 years.

April 12th, 2008, 2:10 am

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Here’s Alexander the Great

null

April 12th, 2008, 2:25 am

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

Sim,
Yes, Israel is only 18 in the world. We have no excuse. We need to get better and we will. The fact that the Ultra religious Jews are against the internet and that many Arabs don’t have it at home is a problem but not an excuse. We need to get them more wired.

At least we are number 1 in the world in personal computers per capita because the Ultra religious use computers but do not network them, so there is what to build on.

As for Vanunu, he is a traitor and in most countries would have been executed. Israel has given him house arrest in all of Israel. That is really much more than he deserves.

And soldiers told not to reveal things on facebook is censorship? You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel in trying to say bad things about Israel.

Of course the history of the Palestinians is insignificant in human history. That is obvious for anyone that has a basic understanding of history (but of course to the Palestinians personally it is very important). In fact, it could all have been easily resolved if the Arab countries had absorbed the Palestinians like Israel absorbed the Jews from Arab countries or granted the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank a state in 48.

April 12th, 2008, 2:28 am

 

Naji said:

And this is all the commemoration that Deir Yassin had… 30 seconds at UNHRC and all remained seated…!! Notice the cruel and completely unrepentant tone of the reporting… the inverted commas… THE GLOATING… the sneering disregard for the victims…. this in Israel’s most liberal newspaper…!!!

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/960846.html

UN rights body holds moment of silence for Gaza ‘martyrs’
By The Associated Press
Last update – 20:39 04/03/2008

GENEVA (AP) – The United Nations Human Rights Council held a moment of silence Tuesday for martyrs in Gaza killed in an Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Strip, after a request by Iran’s foreign minister.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for the gesture on behalf of the women and children who are “nowadays under attack by the Zionist regime,” the term Iranian officials use for Israel because they do not recognize its right to exist.

“I would like … to request one minute silence and ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to read the Fatah for those martyrs in Gaza,” he asked the council president, referring to the opening verse in the Koran.

The room was silent for about 30 seconds. Those present said no one stood.

Israel’s UN ambassador in Geneva, Yitzhak Levanon, said, the news is that the international community did not respond and all the members of the Human Rights Council remained seated. He said he would have stood himself if the silence had been devoted to victims of Iranian human rights abuses.

The U.S. mission in Geneva said it had no comment on what happened.

The council, created in 2006, is dominated by a bloc of African and Islamic countries, and has denounced Israel in a series of resolutions. The body has no power beyond international scrutiny.

[thanks to Annie for bringing this to attention]

April 12th, 2008, 6:21 am

 

Naji said:

And this is all the commemoration that Deir Yassin had… 30 seconds at UNHRC and all remained seated…!! Notice the cruel and completely unrepentant tone of the reporting… the inverted commas… the sneering disregard for the victims… THE GLOATING… this in Israel’s most liberal newspaper…!!!

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/960846.html

UN rights body holds moment of silence for Gaza ‘martyrs’
By The Associated Press
Last update – 20:39 04/03/2008

GENEVA (AP) – The United Nations Human Rights Council held a moment of silence Tuesday for martyrs in Gaza killed in an Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Strip, after a request by Iran’s foreign minister.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for the gesture on behalf of the women and children who are “nowadays under attack by the Zionist regime,” the term Iranian officials use for Israel because they do not recognize its right to exist.

“I would like … to request one minute silence and ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to read the Fatah for those martyrs in Gaza,” he asked the council president, referring to the opening verse in the Koran.

The room was silent for about 30 seconds. Those present said no one stood.

Israel’s UN ambassador in Geneva, Yitzhak Levanon, said, the news is that the international community did not respond and all the members of the Human Rights Council remained seated. He said he would have stood himself if the silence had been devoted to victims of Iranian human rights abuses.

The U.S. mission in Geneva said it had no comment on what happened.

The council, created in 2006, is dominated by a bloc of African and Islamic countries, and has denounced Israel in a series of resolutions. The body has no power beyond international scrutiny.

[thanks to Annie for bringing this to attention]

April 12th, 2008, 7:49 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

Zenobia your views are simply astonishing. We are speaking about to day. Not historical events. Do you seriously think that major international crisis end when a couple hundred (of millions) of both sides hold hands and speak in constructive way. Especially when those couple hundred have no political influence what so ever. Israeli Jews and Palestinians have had these “hand holding” meetings and groups for decades, have they made the situation better or changed it? No.

Certainly most Jews came to Israel with “noble” intentions and dreams. But soon they found themselves with a rifle in hand, killing and exiling the original inhabitants. Few of those Jews did understand that creating Israel would mean throwing the others out or putting them in an early grave. People in general are naive and put their own ass before others’.

Of course you like we all compare things all the time. As a researcher you do it in your studies. We all use comparisons to make our point. It is idiotic to claim that we do not do that.

Here is what professor Richard Falk (a Jew by the way) said about the N… comparisons:

“If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison,” he said.

That reluctance was, he argued, based on the particular historical sensitivity of the Jewish people, and Israel’s ability to avoid having their policies held up to international law and morality.

The Israel / Palestine problem is a huge problem. It has shadowed a wast regions history and development for decades. It has created the most dangerous military conflict point in the world. It is not the question how many Arabs Israel has managed to kill. It has never been. Why do you Zenobia think that the world’s leaders spend so much energy and time with this problem. For their own personal fun?

PS
zenobia why u do not use capital letters. is it a image question for u or an educational handicap? 🙂

———–

As for Vanunu, he is a traitor and in most countries would have been executed. Israel has given him house arrest in all of Israel. That is really much more than he deserves.

Hmmm traitor because he told that Israel has nukes. Well the guy has served his prison term(s). Do you have many people in house arrest.

By the way AIG would you see an Iranian who would give pictures of Iranian nukes as a traitor or as constructive whistleblower? Well no need to answer. I know the right answer. 🙂

Of course the history of the Palestinians is insignificant in human history. That is obvious for anyone that has a basic understanding of history (but of course to the Palestinians personally it is very important). In fact, it could all have been easily resolved if the Arab countries had absorbed the Palestinians like Israel absorbed the Jews from Arab countries or granted the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank a state in 48

Well that is just what I was saying how IG’s use the “zenobia” attitude. AIG the history of Israeli Jews is completely insignificant in human history. So is Holocaust, because more Germans died during WW2 as Jews. Why can I say like this, on the same grounds as you say the Palestine suffering is.

AIG you know perfectly well the history of “empting” the Arab Jews. First it happened after the Israel independence war (= land robbery), which created a hostile attitude in Arab countries, naturally what else. Secondly Israel needed fast more Jews to settle the area. So Jews were encouraged using many means to move. Even creating chaos and panic by Israelis as some sources describe what happened then.

For many Arab Jews Israel was only a transit point before moving to a better environments.

April 12th, 2008, 7:52 am

 

Naji said:

Am I behind a spam filter or something now… just like the Wiz…?! Who is next… Simo…?! Anyway, the following comment is what I have been trying to post… along Zenobia’s and AIG’s opinion: “Of course the history of the Palestinians is insignificant in human history”.
_______________________
This is all the commemoration that Deir Yassin had… 30 seconds at UNHRC and all remained seated…!! Notice the cruel and completely unrepentant tone of the reporting… the inverted commas… the sneering disregard for the victims… THE GLOATING… this in Israel’s most liberal newspaper…!!!

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/960846.html

UN rights body holds moment of silence for Gaza ‘martyrs’
By The Associated Press
Last update – 20:39 04/03/2008

GENEVA (AP) – The United Nations Human Rights Council held a moment of silence Tuesday for martyrs in Gaza killed in an Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Strip, after a request by Iran’s foreign minister.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for the gesture on behalf of the women and children who are “nowadays under attack by the Zionist regime,” the term Iranian officials use for Israel because they do not recognize its right to exist.

“I would like … to request one minute silence and ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to read the Fatah for those martyrs in Gaza,” he asked the council president, referring to the opening verse in the Koran.

The room was silent for about 30 seconds. Those present said no one stood.

Israel’s UN ambassador in Geneva, Yitzhak Levanon, said, the news is that the international community did not respond and all the members of the Human Rights Council remained seated. He said he would have stood himself if the silence had been devoted to victims of Iranian human rights abuses.

The U.S. mission in Geneva said it had no comment on what happened.

The council, created in 2006, is dominated by a bloc of African and Islamic countries, and has denounced Israel in a series of resolutions. The body has no power beyond international scrutiny.

[thanks to Annie for bringing this to attention]

April 12th, 2008, 8:42 am

 

wizart said:

Naji,

I have no records of what I have not posted due to technical difficulties. In general, I find your posts quite useful.

Zenobia,

I appreciate the need and desire to connect with whoever in Israel is looking for peace although I think Simo is reaching out to the international public opinion and the American public in particular which is what I feel the blog is trying to reach because frankly we’re no longer convinced by Israel’s ability to change on its own.

I think both you and Simo are correct in your approach although you’re trying to reach two distinct audiences and you’re very good using different tool sets to connect with different audiences friends and “enemies” as well.

Simo,

I think there’s room for the two approaches to work in concert and for sure different people are better able to influence their target audience in their own way.

Josh,

I think Zenobia may have influenced my thinking a little recently. I wonder if your wife has done that with regards to Syria! If you start a matchmaking session once a week you could sell advertising!

cheers:)

April 12th, 2008, 3:04 pm

 

Zenobia said:

Simohurtta,

i can’t really see what i can say more. I gave you my best thoughts on the matter from one vantage point. I am sure I can make an argument that would sound like yours too, if that would please you.

I make different arguments at different moments depending on who said what on the blog and what i think i want to emphasize at that moment. Anyhow, I am capable of seeing different sides to it.

In no way do I not appreciate what you are saying or your contributions. I always appreciate your stats and links and quotes etc that are hard for people to access at a given moment, but you seem to have at your fingertips for us.

However, I don’t need criticism from you. There are more worthwhile people to criticize if that is what you are inspired to do.
I really don’t appreciate your blaming me for the fact that AIG may get some mileage out of some concessions i make to his perspective or some aspect of critique of another’s comment. Who cares. AIG is not going to be convinced of anything by YOU, thats for certain, so why waste your breath.
I don’t think you have read what I wrote very carefully or generously. You are looking to slam it, simply because I am not choosing at this moment to swing to the other side.. to the ‘Simohurtta view’ or whatever…
things are relative are they not.
I am not in anyway disregarding the present conditions of the last hundred years.
i realize we are talking about now.
and even though i agreed with some that saying that the crime against Palestinians wasn’t great in the scope of human history… I guess i should have made it more clear to AIG or anyone else that I think the impact of the Arab-Israeli conflict has contributed to an incredibly destructive environment in the ME and that it may lead to WWIII.
I am not doubting that. And it is possible, that should such a crisis occur- of another regional level war, or world war, or even low grade on-going war, that this would be a very significant chapter in the history of the modern era. and yes, Israel would be in part responsible for that.

Is that sufficient for you???

meanwhile, piss off!… who cares whether I use CAPITAL LETTERs???? you weirdo….
maybe my left pinkie is tired when i type and so when I go fast I just skip it a lot.
I think you need to calm down.

My views are not ‘astonishing’ to most others. And I have had many a day when i get to play the Simo part. And i know you know that. Remember the battle with TOPOV!.. that was fun!

And finally, you can criticize all the ‘hand holding’ activists of Israel and Palestine who are trying to build peace efforts and collaboration… while they are up against huge structural forces, but are you really going to be that arrogant?

I personally care very much about all of this. And presently, i am looking for ways to dedicate my professional life to it. I am even willing to go leave the States and go live in uncomfortable circumstances to do it. But most of the yoyos here are busy being tech heads and engineers and doctors and business people, maybe professors. And i am sure you are not moving to Palestine any soon either. You all have the luxury of mouthing off from your lives of comfort.

I would like to know what YOU propose as the road to justice?
more weapons? or….what really would your plan be?
You have been asked that before, but you never give any answer.

April 12th, 2008, 4:40 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

this is great:

meanwhile, piss off!… who cares whether I use CAPITAL LETTERs???? you weirdo….

hee hee hee

April 12th, 2008, 4:57 pm

 

Zenobia said:

as for the matchmaking… gees louise… how did we come to this?
i hate the advertising already!

and as for me, I am waiting for Qifa Nabki to grow up, reach the age of twenty, so I can hook up with a such a talented fine young boy half my age.

Then after he becomes prime minister or EL Presidente, i will knock him off, and become Queen of Lebanon…..

April 12th, 2008, 5:07 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Then after he becomes prime minister or EL Presidente, i will knock him off, and become Queen of Lebanon…

I don’t think they reserve any official government positions for Rastafarians, so I wouldn’t be able to legitimately accede to either position.

But if you like, we can stage a coup, and then you can knock me off.

April 12th, 2008, 5:17 pm

 

Zenobia said:

lol.
ok. its a plan!

April 12th, 2008, 5:27 pm

 

Alex said:

Lol

I always knew you were a Ras-tafarian.

Does your father know?

April 12th, 2008, 5:51 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Not sure. But anyway, the only authority I recognize is JAH.

April 12th, 2008, 6:24 pm

 

AnotherIsraeliGuy said:

There are two Arab countries that were founded by Rastafarians:
Yeah-man and Oh-man

I guess QN is from there.

Zenobia, one of the main points of the UN Arab development reports was that the Arabs are lagging because of rights for women and women education. For example, illiteracy among women in the Arab world is much higher than among men. Research has shown that educating and empowering women brings the highest economic rewards long term for many reasons including the banal fact that mostly women raise the future generation. Just something for you to consider as you ponder your options.

April 12th, 2008, 6:55 pm

 

Zenobia said:

what options are you referring to AIG?

April 12th, 2008, 7:11 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

good one AIG

*chuckle*

Here’s a strange piece of news:

“Berri noted that he had achieved in Syria things beyond the “dreams of the majority.”

“Syria is honest in its cooperation over finding a solution to the present crisis in Lebanon,” Berri declared.

He also praised the awareness and rationality of Druze leader MP Walid Jumblatt.

April 12th, 2008, 7:20 pm

 

idaf said:

QN (Qifette Nabki),

Going back to achieving the gender balance on SC, I suggest you take a trip to Iran.

I bet that everyone on SC can’t wait to see how a 17 years old Rastafarian Lebanese “girl” would look like in chador. Then you can easily win loads of votes in the south while raising to power in Lebanon. Josh would definitely dedicate a post for you then, and Zenobia would be out of the competition. Otherwise, you will have to put up with her as a Syrian president or prime minister of Lebanon.

PS. AIG, if you would consider Enlightend’s suggestion and put your money where your mouth is (regarding women equality and empowerment) you might as well join QN in his trip to Iran. You would also be able to get “funding” if you apply for Iranian citizenship and then the government will have to pay for “the operation”. You simply can’t get a better deal; Iranian passport and sex change for free.. think about all the headlines you will be making in Haaretz.. “Ex-IDF becomes Peace-activist After Receiving Iranian Passport and a Free Sex-Change Operation”. Alex will then definitely give you a dedicated post on Syria Comment and your own section on Creative Syria.

April 12th, 2008, 7:48 pm

 

Naji said:

So, apparently Syria is finally interceding with some of its old reliable clients/cohorts… the most corrupt crooks in Lebanon of course… Murr, Berri, and some others are abandoning the General, because HA wouldn’t… Jumblatt is making his way back into the fold… and so many weird developments, it has the heads of the poor weary Lebanese, who think they have already seen everything, spinning…!! I hope everyone is happy…! Are you, QN…??! I wouldn’t be…! 🙁

April 12th, 2008, 7:48 pm

 

idaf said:

QN (Qifette Nabki),

Going back to achieving the gender balance on SC, I suggest you take a trip to Iran.

I bet that everyone on SC can’t wait to see how a 17 years old Rastafarian Lebanese “girl” would look like in chador. Then you can easily win loads of votes in the south while raising to power in Lebanon. Josh would definitely dedicate a post for you then, and Zenobia would be out of the competition. Otherwise, you will have to put up with her as a Syrian president or prime minister of Lebanon.

PS. AIG, if you would consider Enlightend’s suggestion and put your money where your mouth is (regarding women equality and empowerment) you might as well join QN in his trip to Iran. You would also be able to get “funding” if you apply for Iranian citizenship and then the government will have to pay for “the operation”. You simply can’t get a better deal; Iranian passport and sex change for free.. think about all the headlines you will be making in Haaretz.. “Ex-IDF becomes Peace-activist After Receiving Iranian Passport and a Free Sex-Change Operation”. Alex will then definitely give you a dedicated post on Syria Comment and maybe even your own section on Creative Syria.

April 12th, 2008, 7:52 pm

 

Naji said:

Wow, IDAF is cool… 😀
This is my first encounter… I will have to look up some old comments…

April 12th, 2008, 7:57 pm

 

Qifa Nabki said:

Idaf,

LOL

😉

Idaf, seventeen year-old Rastafarian Lebanese girls don’t wear chadors, they carry these:

null

April 12th, 2008, 8:02 pm

 

SimoHurtta said:

Simo,

I think there’s room for the two approaches to work in concert and for sure different people are better able to influence their target audience in their own way.

No doubt about that Wizard. Of course it is good that the people of a conflicts different sides create personal bindings with each other and establish these “hand holding” operations. That is honourable activity. I am certainly not against it, but my opinion is, that is still marginal activity and has little influence to the masses. Sure I would want to be wrong.

I think this kind of discussion forum as a blog like SC comments section is, is more for “reasonable” opinions around the world than a chatting forum for creating personal “respectful” links between Israelis and Arabs in the way some seem to want. This is simply a wrong kind of media to do that personal “respectful” contact making, if it means that some times sore topics for some can’t be discussed or even not mentioned.

My target in writing these comments is trying to make people think that the problem is not simply Islamic terrorist and non democratic Arab regimes or better said not USA / Israel obeying non democratic Arab regimes. Certainly I know I can’t make AIG and Akbar change their opinion. Shai I managed to convince, now he doesn’t any more like his Nokia phone and Finland.

meanwhile, piss off!… who cares whether I use CAPITAL sometimes difficult LETTERs???? you weirdo….
maybe my left pinkie is tired when i type and so when I go fast I just skip it a lot.
I think you need to calm down.

I made the capital letter remark purely for reading reasons. I find it little difficult to read this kind of “modern” writing style where it are no clear chapters, differences between sentences are difficult to detect. It is difficult to read a less organized stream of consciousness. Well maybe I have a reading handicap.

I must say that these “peace people” have a remarkable short fuse. 🙂 Even Akbar and AIG do not get so easily agitated from my opinions.

———–

Naji I have every now and then had those spam filter problems (though not lately). Then I send Alex an email and Alex “releases” the text.

Always before sending the text to SC’s comments I copy it to the clipboard. So I do not have to see the trouble of writing the comment again if problems occur.

April 12th, 2008, 9:47 pm

 

Naji said:

A graceful and meaningful response by Simo… That’s why he is everyone’s hero…! 🙂

Now, your turn to be nice, Zeno…! 🙂

April 12th, 2008, 10:11 pm

 

Zenobia said:

I don’t think that i have been not nice.
I have been plenty diplomatic in my response. But I also refuse to be bullied around by somebody who seems to think that he has the authority to say what this blog comment section is for and what kind of media it is appropriate for, and that he determines what is “reasonable” discussion and what is “chatting”..

Not only is he presumptuous, but he would be wrong.

However, I don’t recall anyone saying there are things that “can’t” be discussed or “even mentioned”. I certainly didn’t say that they couldn’t…if that is what people want.
If people want to write for fifty more posts about whether Israelis are like Nazis – go ahead.
I can always tune out for that, easily. I can also give an extensive opinion on why I find that material to be quite ridiculous “chatter”… and put forward what I think is ‘reasonable’ discussion.

April 12th, 2008, 10:59 pm

 

norman said:

Simo’s notes are the most direct and to the point he says things as they are no sugar coating , while I and some others try to be diplomatic and to forget the past and look for the future he puts things as they really are ,

I am listening to the book ( the Israeli Lobby ), I feel bad for president Bush , they overwhelmed him with their hate for Syria.

April 12th, 2008, 11:46 pm

 

Enlightened said:

IDAF:

My wifes secretary sent us a very funny email the other day about a Arab Man photographing six women in Chador, with the Ninja cover over their faces, with an explanation saying the one on the left is my mum, next to her is my wife, then my sister, then my aunt

oh no I made a mistake wAS IT MY WIFE FIRST, then my sister

it went on and on and on, it was funny

The secretary was over our place last night for dinner with her husband and asked if i received the email, I gave her a stone cold look and told her that I would have sacked her if she worked for me, it took her ten seconds to realize I was joking, and she burst out with laughter.

The moral to the story is that AIG should take up the offer!

April 13th, 2008, 1:52 am

 

annie said:

Josh, why is the comments section closed for the last postings ?
Chou al ahbar ?

April 13th, 2008, 4:52 am

 

SimoHurtta said:

I don’t think that i have been not nice.
I have been plenty diplomatic in my response. But I also refuse to be bullied around by somebody who seems to think that he has the authority to say what this blog comment section is for and what kind of media it is appropriate for, and that he determines what is “reasonable” discussion and what is “chatting”.

Well let me try again to make my point. When a comment section advances to a stage where there are tens or hundreds of comments like, did you get my mail, I got your mail, now I am going eating etc with no or little additional meaningful arguments, the discussion has became rather irrelevant for outsiders (not members of the inner core). I do not claim that SC’s comments section is in anyway near that “stage”. I am not against personal messages, but I would like people to use their common sense what is the right media for them. Is it relevant to inform all others that comment writer X has send or will send an email to writer Y?

I used to follow the famous blog’s, Iraq the Model, comments when the blog appeared shortly after Saddam’s fall. First there was lively discussion both against and for US policy and achievements in Iraq. Little by little pro Bush red necks turned it to a chatting forum where the main interest is to tell how bad Islamic sand niggers are, give advice like “nuke Mecca” and make an astonishing amount of personal greetings to each other with the same kind of opinion. Who wants to read such nonsense for five years? Also finding the few relevant / interesting comments among hundreds of irrelevant comments became so boring, that I like most of other “not Bush admirers” stopped to read the comments. The pro-Bush people did win, but the blog lost most of its audience.

I personally like to read here comments made from different points of view and which meaningful arguments. I “like” when Lebanese debate with the different Syrian “opinion trends”. I “like” when different Syrians with adverse opinions debate. Especially much I like when Israelis give their advices how to change Arab societies. What I do not like is when an Israeli demands that about Israel’s problems is not allowed to discuss, because it “hurts his feelings” , is “undiplomatic” or anti-Semitic. I see it only as an attempt to trying to control and limit the discussion in order to hide the reality as I see it.

There is a clear difference between expressing one’s view of a certain topic even using a less diplomatic style and to begin a row of meaningless or very poorly fitting personal insults if one doesn’t like the others opinions.

Certainly I have no authority (neither I have done it) to demand what is said here or how the comment section is used. I only would like SC’s comments to be a forum were different well written and relevant “clashing” opinions can be expressed. I certainly would not like to see SC’s comments to develop in diplomatically kosher direction were “friendly” people avoid speaking about the reality as it is.

April 13th, 2008, 7:46 am

 

wizart said:

Simohurtta,

I think you made excellent points as usual. As for me I notice my tolerance level has increased and I am not getting “hurt” as easily as I used to in days past. In my view I think women in general require more support and can take insults more personal than guys. I’m impressed by AIG’s ability to withstand what has been thrown at him and he’s still around contributing to more heating discussions.

I used to get more offended. Now I channel my anger in a more positive way. I think you’re one of the most valuable contributors to this blog as I noticed you had a very informative discussion with Ehsane2 about public companies in Syria as far back as 2006. Thanks for your loyalty and I have already encouraged Zenobia (by email) to invite more of her diverse family to join the blog. I encourage you and others who enjoy the blog to invite their friends and relatives to. Welcome everyone to this marvelous age of the internet where even Israeli Arabs can hope to join the discussion when they get a chance to have internet access in their home.

I’m going to buy a new Nokia this year. There’s also a huge market for used Nokia in developing markets so anybody can afford one 🙂

April 13th, 2008, 8:30 am

 

syr_chi said:

From the Economist:

Let there be justice for all – America and Israel
12 April 2008

Restitution for Arab Jews

America’s Israel lobby scores another questionable victory

ONE of the thorniest questions in an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, if it ever happens, will be what recompense to give the 4.5m Palestinian refugees and their descendants, of whom only a tiny minority, if any, are likely to be allowed to return to what is now Israel. But now a coalition of Jewish organisations has managed to get a no less thorny problem onto the agenda: compensation for Jews who fled the Arab world.

Some 850,000 Jews were living in Arab countries by the early 20th century but began leaving as Arab attitudes to them soured in the wake of Jewish immigration to Palestine and the later creation of Israel. Often they fled after being attacked or stripped of their property and citizenship. Around 700,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out of Israel at the state’s birth. But while most of the Palestinians have remained stateless, living in refugee camps scattered around the Arab world, the Jews all ended up as citizens of Israel and other countries in Europe and the Americas.

Five years of work by Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, a lobby group based in Washington, paid off earlier this month in the form of a resolution passed by America’s House of Representatives, which calls on the government to make a policy of insisting on restitution for Jewish refugees as well as Palestinian ones. Though non-binding, the resolution is a big symbolic step for the campaign.

Its advocates claim that putting Jewish restitution on the table is not only a question of justice, but could help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by leading to mutual recognition of the plight of each side’s refugees. “Dealing with [both refugee issues] honestly and upfront will increase the odds of a peaceful resolution,” says Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat congressman who was one of the bill’s sponsors.

But he also mentioned another goal: to show how Arab leaders, by keeping the Palestinian refugees in misery while the West accepted Jewish ones, have used the Palestinians as pawns to whip up anti-Israel feeling. Though true, it makes this look like little more than an effort to reduce the cost to Israel of a peace deal. Certainly, Palestinians will see it as a way to cancel out any restitution they might get. And to Jewish critics of the campaign it looks like just an attempt to derail the peace process. “To say that there is a Jewish refugee problem is to negate the success of Israel as the refuge for all Jews who choose to live there,” says M. J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum, a doveish think-tank in Washington.

Mr Rosenberg is optimistic that the resolution, being non-binding, will “disappear from view”. Restitution for Arab Jews is not a hot topic in Israel, where the press largely ignored the congressional vote, though a group of prominent Israelis has started a campaign to publicise the issue. The government is avoiding it for now, for fear of jeopardising the current fragile talks with the Palestinian leadership. In any case, restitution would have to be resolved not with the Palestinians but with Arab countries where Jews used to live; up to now, Israel has not demanded it from countries such as Egypt and Morocco, with which it has long had diplomatic relations.

But the fact that a resolution of doubtful value even to Israel’s government, let alone American foreign policy, passed with bipartisan support shows once more the power of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. The lobby’s critics often complain that it represents not Israel but the Israeli right wing. This month a more left-wing Israel lobby group dubbed the “J-Street Project” is due to be launched, based on the premise that unstinting support for Israel’s hardliners that exacerbates its confrontations with the Arab world is not actually in Israel’s best interests. Whether it can dent the power of the existing lobby on America’s Congress remains to be seen.

April 14th, 2008, 9:45 pm

 

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