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Monday, August 31, 2009

Comments on comments

This blog got 1466 comments in August, a little higher than July's previous high. Monday alone saw 75 comments.

Most of the comments are quite good and the debates have been enjoyable, and it is making this blog not only a destination for reading posts but also a community, which is particularly gratifying.

I just wanted to thank everyone who jumps into the fray and who avoids ad hominem attacks. I would like this nascent community to be as welcoming, respectful and lively as possible.

Can soccer players break the Ramadan fast?

Controversy has erupted around a recent fatwa out of Egypt:
Egypt’s top religious institution has exempted the national football team from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan ahead of an international tournament, officials said, but the players have refused.

The fatwa or religious edict, which comes ahead of the World Youth Championship in Egypt due to kick off on September 24 just days after the end of Ramadan, has sparked the fury of the country’s hardliners.

Dar al-Ifta, the country’s institution which clarifies religious principles and issues edicts, “has allowed the players to break their fast,” so that fasting does not interfere with training for the Under-20 tournament, Egyptian Football Association spokesman Alaa Abdel Aziz told AFP.

“But it is the players who have refused. They insist on fasting,” he said.

Dar al-Ifta confirmed it had issued the edict explaining that “a player who is tied to a club by contract is obliged to perform his duties and if this work is his source of income and he has to participate in matches during Ramadan and fasting affects his performance then he is allowed to break the fast,” Dar al-Ifta spokesman Ibrahim Nigm told AFP.

Religious opinion states that “those who work difficult jobs and can become weaker as a result of fasting can break the fast,” Nigm said.

But the fatwa infuriated the Azhar Scholars Front, a group of fundamentalist religious scholars who issued a statement on their website denouncing the opinion.

“Playing is playing, it is not an essential part of life which justifies breaking the fast during Ramadan.”

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until dusk.
But a few days later, most of the players have decided they will take advantage of the leniency:
Reports have disclosed that the players of the Egypt side are willing to skip the Muslim Ramadan fasting on the day of their game against Rwanda in a decisive World Cup qualifier on September 5.

Islam makes it mandatory for its faithfulls to go without food and water for most of the day during the month of Ramadan, but even though the Rwanda World Cup clash falls within this period, the president of the Egypt Football Association (EFA), Sameer Zaher, has said the players think it is not a good idea to fast on that day and that they have received support from some clerics in this respect.

"All players are convinced not to fast on the match day," said Zaher.

This is a must-win match for Egypt, who are three points behind surprise leaders Algeria in their qualifying group after four rounds of matches.
Al Arabiya (Arabic) talks about the controversy, with some clerics very much against this idea. One, named Sheikh Farhat, agrees that travelers can skip the fast, but that soccer players do not have that status, no do they fit in the categories of others who can legally skip the fast like breastfeeding and menstruating women (if I am interpreting the article correctly.)

He also says that Israeli players would ask for a postponement for matches scheduled for Saturdays, and Muslims should do no less.

Unfortunately, most Israeli players are not quite that serious about the Sabbath.

100,000 Hamas campers learning to kill Jews

From the IDF:

700 summer camps, for children and teenagers, operated this summer by terror organizations along the Gaza Strip – operating under the slogan – A "Victory for Gaza – The Glory of Jerusalem". The camps are operated by the Hamas in order to encourage the next generation of this organization. In the same area many summer camps are operated by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) – the main "competition" of Hamas’s summer camps. The Hamas reacted by presenting the UNRWA camps as "child corrupters", trying to discourage the parents from sending their kids to the foreign aid organization's camp.

According to Arab and Palestinian media, 100 thousand children and teenagers participated in Hamas camps this year. The budget of these camps is estimated to be 2 Million Dollars. The youths were guided by 1,500 counselors that went through special training courses. A marketing campaign of the Al-Aqsa channel of the Hamas and a special internet site encouraged participation of children in these camps.

The children and teenagers in the summer camps undergo semi military training. The pictures and commercials published this year and last summer showed that part of the curriculum included firearm practices and grenades dismantling as well as military drills for the children, while holding life-like weapons.

What better excuse can there be for me to repost my video from last year, Hello Martyr, Hello Fatah:

(h/t Israel Matzav)

Hamas calls Holocaust education a "war crime"

I am hard pressed to come up with a better example of turnspeak:
A Hamas spiritual leader on Monday called teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews a "war crime," rejecting a reported U.N. proposal to include the Holocaust in Gaza's school curriculum.

Hamas spiritual leader Younis al-Astal lashed out after hearing that the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. body aiding Palestinian refugees, planned to introduce lessons about the Holocaust to Gaza students.

Adding the Holocaust to the curriculum would amount to "marketing a lie and spreading it," al-Astal wrote in a statement.

"I do not exaggerate when I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies," he wrote.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also objected to including what he referred to as the "so-called Holocaust" in the lesson plan. "We think it's more important to teach Palestinians the crimes of the Israeli occupation," he said.

Soon we will hear that Holocaust education is offensive to Muslims altogether, so therefore it should not be taught anywhere.

Hamas pirate graphic

Looking through some Palestinian Arab forums, I saw this image, edited from a Pirates of the Caribbean logo:
A dead al-Qassam Brigades member. What's not to like?

Hamas confiscates charity's cars

Palestine Press Agency reports that Hamas confiscated some 50 vehicles belonging to the National Center for Community Rehabilitation in Gaza, an organization that helps out disabled Gazans. The cars were used to transport the disabled to rehabilitation programs.

As a result, the organization today closed some of its offices and around 50 employees are out of a job.

Hamas at the time justified its seizure by saying that the organization didn't need the cars.

"Islamophobia" virtually nonexistent in NY

From the Times Herald-Record (h/t Vicious Babushka):
Jews were the top targets for hate crimes in New York state last year, followed by blacks, gay men and Hispanics, according to a report by the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.

The report analyzed crime data submitted to the state by police agencies from all 62 counties. The results of the state's number-crunching are distilled in an eight-page report made public last week.

The report found that police agencies identified 596 hate crimes throughout New York last year. Jews were targets 36 percent of the time, with blacks targeted 25 percent of the time, gay men, 11 percent, and Hispanics, 4 percent.

So what about anti-Muslim crimes? We hear so much about "Islamophobia," where are all the Muslim victims of bias?

One has to dig deep into the actual report to find out the numbers. For crimes against people, Muslims were targeted six times - 1.5% - vs. 129 such incidents against Jews (37.2%.)

What about vandalism against mosques or other Muslim property? Here, the percentage is even less - 2 incidents, 1%, compared to 92 cases against Jewish property, or 46.2%.

Remember that this is the state where Muslims murdered thousands of Americans in the name of Islam.

Just more proof that Islamophobia is a fiction that was created to make Muslims appear to be perpetual victims.

Bloggers' block open thread

I couldn't come up with anything else good this morning so I have to fall back on my old stand-byes, looking at whatever the Saudi Vice Squad is up to - and the dreaded Open Thread.

Saudi Vice squad vs. the circus

If this report is correct, the Saudi vice squad is sometimes going against the wishes of the Saudi government itself:
The Commission for Promotion of Virtues and Prevention of Vice (the Hai’a) is cracking down on summer festivals that the government hopes will promote domestic tourism.

“These acts contradict the faith and must not be done, taught, spread or encouraged,” the Hai’a spokesman Abdullah Al-Mashiti told Al-Watan Arabic daily this week, referring to circus acts such as fire-eating and lying on beds of glass that he believes is a form of magic prohibited by Islamic Shariah law.

They must be fought and those performing them must be reported and punished so as to be deterred and their evil restricted,” he said.

Reports suggest that the Hai’a was behind the last minute cancellation of the Jeddah summer film festival.

This month music concerts were also banned from the Abha tourism festival, in the mountainous southwest of the Kingdom. “Unfortunately such actions carried on by them (the Hai’a) do not adhere to the official political will and they sabotage the government efforts to improve and maintain the internal tourism industry,” said Mahmoud Sabbagh, a newspaper columnist.
Meanwhile, the muttawa has other pressing issues as well:
Worshippers in the Eastern Province have been warned they could be arrested by officials if they conduct prayers in mosques sporting “unsuitable” fashions.

A notice from mosque Imams in the region has reportedly been circulated informing of a ban on persons wearing “unusual and immodest clothes” from entering mosque premises, including those with “strange hairstyles or who use women’s bands in their hair”.

One Imam who preferred not to be named said the move followed a noticeable increase in the popularity of leg-wear known as “tayyihni” – most commonly seen in low-slung jeans with a crotch reaching down to the knees to partially or fully expose the wearer’s undergarments – as well as “haircuts unsuitable for a Muslim at prayer,” in probable reference to the widespread “kadash” Afro hairstyle.

“There has been cooperation between Imams and the police and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in order to detain these violators during prayer,” the Imam said.
If I understand things correctly, the Muttawa makes sure that people attend prayers (arresting those who keep their shops open during prayer time, for example,) and then they arrest those who wear clothing that it unsuitable for prayer. Which means that they enforce a dress code for the entire country.

They sure keep busy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Honor, humility, and realism in Islam

Amr Khaled, the charismatic Egyptian preacher I just mentioned who is under fire for being to sympathetic to Jews, has an English section to his website. I found the following passage fascinating:
We have previously discussed the importance of not being passive and that we should take positive actions, and the importance of seriousness and perfecting what we do. This time we will talk about the Honor and Dignity ('Ezzah) of the Muslim Ummah. 'Ezzah encompasses meanings of Honor, Dignity, Might, and Glory, and its opposite is Zillah or humility. Today we will say, "Yes" to Honor and "No" to humility. A Muslim only accepts Honor and never settles to humility. Allah wants us to be an Honorable and Mighty Ummah, so why do we drift ourselves to the weakness of humility? Do you know how we sowed the seeds of humility in our Ummah? When a Muslim father slaps his wife on the face, in front of his children, he's sowing the seeds of humility. When a teacher beats a student or punishes him or her in a humiliating way and when a father punishes his son in front of his friends, they are both sowing seeds of humiliation. All these things make a Muslim used to humiliation and make us forget that we were to be honorable people.
From reading this passage and the rest of the lecture, it is clear that Islam does not distinguish between humility and humiliation! Khaled does later on give specific examples of when humility is allowed (towards Allah and towards one's parents) but for him the two words are synonymous.

Self-esteem and humility are not opposites. On the contrary: both attributes should reflect a realistic self-image. To give a personal example, I may consider myself a pretty good writer compared to many bloggers, but compared to others I know I am not good at all.

A realistic self-assessment should impel one to improve him or herself; it should not lead to either despair or to self-righteousness.

Yet this Muslim preacher - who by any account is more modern and progressive than most - cannot conceive this simple concept. To him, humility is the exact opposite of honor. Worse yet, neither concept is based on reality.

For Islam, honor is something to be demanded, not earned. In Islam, humility is shameful. Neither of those views has a grounding in truth, which means that Islam is based on self-deception.

What a contrast with the Talmudic expression "Whoever seeks prestige, it flees from him, but whoever flees from prestige, it comes seeking him." Honor is not a right and humility is not a shame.

As a result, Islam looks upon people who are genuinely humble as being weak. Which brings up an interesting Catch-22 when dealing with the Muslim world today: if the West portrays itself as humble, it indicates weakness and that it is ripe for attack; if the West portrays itself as strong, it is perceived as humiliating Muslims and therefore it must be attacked.

Never do Muslims look at themselves as being inconsequential to the rest of the world, which is the biggest humiliation of all. Another example from Khaled illustrates that neatly:

The day the Jews came into our country and occupied Al-Aqsa Mosque; they were chanting a certain song. If you listen to that song, you will feel so sorry for yourself and will be eaten up with grief. Do you know what they were singing when they seized Al-Aqsa Mosque? They chanted, Muhammad is dead, he only got daughters. This is not meant to insult women, but rather to insult men.
The story is of course absurd. When Jews returned to Jerusalem, the last thing they were thinking about was humiliating Muslims, it was sheer joy at recovering the holiest site in the world. Yet even well-spoken Muslims cannot conceive of a world where they are not constantly in the center of everyone else's thoughts; they have to make up a story of Jews humiliating Muslims.

Once again, we see an Islamic worldview that is based on anything but reality, whether it is false bravado or a false sense of humiliation. (Of course, it is not only Muslims who have this failing, but Islam embraces this attribute.)

One cannot understand the Islamic world without understanding this essential concept.

Followup on Egyptian preacher

Al Arabiya finally translated the article I mentioned last week about Egyptian preacher Amr Khaled's Ramadan TV show about the life of Moses and the criticism it came under for being too sympathetic to Jews.

While I was pretty accurate, one important subtlety was lost in the autotranslation.

Khaled's website asked general questions about the life of Moses to get his viewers to think out of the box:
"Think about these questions," he wrote on the website. "You will not find their answers in any book. They just need brains and imagination."

Among the questions posted were those asking: Why did the Pharaoh order male Jews to be killed? What do you think was Moses’ political goal? Was it saving the Israelites or talking the Pharaoh into believing in God? Why didn't Moses call upon Egyptians to join his faith?

The responses were remarkable because the majority linked the story of Moses to the current political situation in Egypt and viewed it as an incentive to rebel against repressive leaders.
So while the criticisms of the program were slanted as to make Khaled appear to be pro-Jewish, the real reasons that the Egyptian government is against this series is because the Koranic story of evil Pharaoh reminds a lot of Egyptians of Mubarak.

They just knew that they could use the accusation of Khaled being a "Jew sympathizer" to help discredit him in among Egyptians.

Khaled's website is here and the page about the current story of Moses is here.

Today's PalArab news (8/30/09)

There were two bombs set off in Gaza, one outside Hamas security headquarters and another outside Mahmoud Abbas' (presumably empty) Gaza residence. A third bomb was discovered and dismantled. Looks like Jund Ansar Allah is not quite dead yet.

Hamas abducted five Fatah members in Gaza. Happy Ramadan!

Hamas called in members of the Independent Commission for Human Rights for questioning. The commission had criticized Hamas for how it treats prisoners, and Hamas wasn't happy with the report. A little pressure is always a fun diversion.

A preacher at the Al Aqsa mosque complained that Arab and Islamic leaders have abandoned Jerusalem, leaving it as a "captive and sad orphan." I dunno, it seems like that description fit a bit better when Arabs controlled the city.

Gaza groups against UNRWA Holocaust education (UPDATED)

From Ma'an:
A group of refugee camp committees in the Gaza Strip wants the United Nations to remove history of the Jewish Holocaust from its classroom curriculum.

In a letter to director John Ging, the committees urged the refugee agency to scrap its program because mention of the genocide "confirms the Holocaust and raises sympathy for Jews."

Holocaust denial is not uncommon in Gaza's refugee camps, where many feel marking legitimate Jewish suffering discounts the injustices done to Palestinians displaced from their homes in 1948.

Nevertheless, UNRWA's eight grade curriculum includes an overview, as part of its course on human rights, of the estimated six million Jews killed in European concentration camps. It was thought that by explaining the plight of Jews in Europe before they arrived, Palestinians would gain sympathy for their suffering, as well.

"The refugee camps committees categorically refuse to let our children be taught this lie created by the Jews and intensified by their media," the committees' letter said. "First of all, [the Holocaust] is not a fact, and secondly, those who added it to the curriculum intended to mess with our children's emotions."
Unlike, say, videos of children going to an amusement-park paradise after becoming "martyrs."

It will be interesting to see how UNRWA reacts. My guess is that this "overview" takes up a minuscule amount of the eighth grade human-rights curriculum.

UPDATE: The UNRWA denies teaching anything about the Holocaust to begin with. Presumably it will now be cowed into ensuring that such a topic is never introduced into the minds of helpless Palestinian Arab children who are taught that they are the only victims in history.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Terrorist Innovation: The Ass Bomb

From the Saudi Gazette:
The failed assassination attempt on Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, Thursday night was planned by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which operates from Yemen, sources confirmed.

According to Okaz sources, the bomber who detonated himself only a meter away from the Prince was part of a terrorist cell formed to target oil installations and public figures.

He had slipped into the Kingdom from Mareb, east of Sana’a, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu-Bakr Al-Qirbi told The Associated Press.

“He was in Yemen,” said Al-Qirbi. “He claimed that he was going to hand himself over to Saudi authorities and make a statement to his followers to abandon Al-Qaeda principles.”

Okaz sources said the bomb was implanted in the attacker’s rectum, which could explain why he refused to drink coffee at the Prince’s Court.

The bomber had sent word he wanted to surrender personally to the Prince who had ordered that he not be searched to encourage others to come forward.

At the Prince’s home in Jeddah’s north Obhur beach area Thursday night around 11.30 P.M., the attacker was in line to enter a gathering of well-wishers for Ramadan when he blew himself up. The Prince was lightly injured in the attack. The bomber died.
Al Arabiya (Arabic) adds more detail than you might be interested in, including interviews with experts on how exactly one can create an assbomb and how long it can be inside one's body. Al Arabiya's version says that the terrorist was searched but not quite that intimately. He was only a couple of meters away from the prince when he detonated, so it looks like Al Qaeda and its terrorist pals will be working a little harder at perfecting this technology.

Now is the time to lobby for Jonathan Pollard's release

No matter what you think of Jonathan Pollard, he has paid for his espionage many times over and it is way past time for him to be released.

Here are the facts of the case.

Now that the Obama administration is seeking to increase its credibility among people who support Israel, it would be an obvious move for President Obama to pardon Pollard and set him free.

This is the time to call and email the White House, every day, and ask them politely to pardon Jonathan Pollard.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More and more "civilians" being added to the list

PTWatch and t34zakat continue to scour various sources to identify more of the "civilians" killed in Gaza on the PCHR list that were in fact terrorists.

As the widget on my upper right corner shows, so far we have identified 331 terrorists who were named as "civilian" by the PCHR, in statistics that were unquestioningly used by other NGOs.

19 of them were also listed as "children."

Perhaps most importantly, we now have identified, by name, over 70% of the policemen killed in Gaza - 197 out of 280 - that were also members of terror organizations. In other words, we have conclusively proven that Hamas does not employ the principle of distinction between its supposedly civil police and its terrorist wing. This fact had been further proven in recent days as Hamas used uniformed Al Qassam Brigades terrorists - not police - to fight the Jund Ansar Allah group in Rafah, and in today's news that the Al Qassam Brigades claimed a "martyr" who was performing police duties.

This means that, contrary to the claims of human rights groups, Israel was more than justified legally in targeting the Hamas police force in the first days of the operation as being, effectively, the Hamas army. It also means that nearly half of the dead in Gaza have been identified as legitimate military targets by name. (This is not counting the real civilians who died directly because of Hamas/PIJ actions, like hiding weapons caches in civilian neighborhoods or using them as human shields, whose deaths would be considered legal as well when the targets are considered to be important military objectives.)

According to the IDF, over 90% of the police have been identified as terrorists. We're still working on reconciling that list.

There is no doubt that hundreds of civilians died in Gaza during the three weeks of Cast Lead. However, the numbers (using PCHR figures) show that the civilians were not a vast majority of the victims, and possibly not even a simple majority. Considering that Hamas and Islamic Jihad bragged about hiding among civilians and that they were shooting at Israel wearing civilian clothing, Cast Lead cannot be considered a "massacre" - it is more like a model for how to fight terrorists effectively while minimizing civilian casualties.

video



No other nation has ever shown greater regard for the lives of enemy civilians than Israel. Few other groups have shown more blatant disregard for the lives of their own people than Hamas and their cohorts.

The Arab and NGO meme of Israeli brutality is simply a grotesque lie that gets repeated far more often than the truth can be told.

Tunnel Collapse! Work Accident! And more...

Ma'an reports:
Three Palestinians were killed and another injured after a tunnel collapsed in southern Gaza on Friday morning.

Medics at Yousef An-Najjar Hospital told Ma'an three bodies were brought in after the Rafah tunnel collapsed. Another injured Palestinian was taken to the European Hospital, they said.

All four men were thought to be from the same family, the Al-Lahhams of Khan Younis.
I'm not sure if they are from the same al-Lahham family who lost four members during Operation Cast Lead - all of whom were Hamas terrorists (in that case, from Deir al-Balah, three listed as "civilians" by PCHR and one listed as "militant," and all four Hamas "policemen.")

Meanwhile,
A Hamas-affiliated militant from Khan Younis died overnight, its armed wing said in a statement on Friday morning.

The Al-Qassam Brigades said Tareq Abu Jazer, 22, was killed in an operation, the nature of which was not specified.

The group added that the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian was killed in the line of duty.
Which means he either blew himself up or was offed by "friendly fire" while Hamas was practicing killing Jews.

The slightly more interesting part is that the announcement is on the al-Qassam Brigades website - and they say he was killed while doing "police" duties. Which is just more proof that for Hamas, there is no distinction between police and terrorists.

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is now at 175.

In non-self-death news, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal's father died this morning.

A 65-year old Gazan who made it to Mecca for the Umrah died there.

The Palestinian Authority is trying to replace shekels with Jordanian dinars, dollars and euros as currency in Gaza. Gaza consumes some 50 million shekels of cash every month, which raises the question - if it is under siege, where does it all go? Some people in Gaza must be getting rich.

A Palestinian Arab human rights office was raided by unknown people and its computers were confiscated.

US supporting Judenrein PalArab state

From UPI:
A U.S. agency says it is replacing West Bank road signs
only in areas under full or partial Palestinian Authority control with English and Arabic ones.

The U.S. Agency for International Development denied reports claiming it was removing existing road signs in Hebrew in the Israel-controlled portion of the West Bank and replacing them with English and Arabic road signs.

Media reports Thursday implied the new road signs were in preparation for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The replacing of the signs is a small component of a larger project called the Palestinian Authority Capacity Enhancement Project, which works with six Palestinian ministries, including the Ministry of Transportation, the agency's press office said in response to a query submitted by United Press International Thursday.

The project's goal is to improve delivery service across the area "in ways that will make a noticeable difference for the Palestinian people," the agency said.

The agency said the new road signs in Arabic and English are posted in Area A, which is under total Palestinian control, and Area B, under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli security control. The agency insisted road signs in Area C, which is under total Israeli control, were not being touched.
Even if you assume that Area A and Area B are no longer negotiable or disputed, which is not necessarily true, this move - at the cost of $20 million taxpayer dollars - implies something much worse.

It means that the US admits that even after a "peace" agreement, Israelis will not be allowed to visit the West Bank as tourists in any large numbers.

Think about it. Some of the holiest Jewish spots in the world are in Areas A or B, along with a huge number of important biblical sites. Any country at peace would welcome the hordes of tourists - and, as we've seen elsewhere, will do everything necessary to make them feel welcome, including putting up signs in their native languages so they can get around.

If a Palestinian Arab state was truly at peace with Israel, crossing the borders would be about the same as crossing between Canada and the US. Almost certainly the Palestinian Arab tourist industry would try to cater to the types of people who would visit most often, and in this case Israelis and Jews would be among the biggest tourists.

Hebrew signs make sense - if you accept a scenario of true peace.

But if the "peace" that you imagine is one that is not true peace, if your definition of the term says that peace is simply the existence of a Palestinian Arab state that has no obligation to normalize relations with Israel - then it makes perfect sense that such a state will do everything in its power to keep Jews out.

If USAID is working towards a real kind of peace, then Hebrew road signs aren't an obstacle - they would be considered as normal as Arabic road signs in Israel are. But if USAID's idea of peace corresponds with the Palestinian Arab definition, then it makes sense to work now to ensure that "Palestine" will be Judenrein and to erase anything that would indicate that Palestinian Arabs and Jews could live together.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

About that two-state solution that Hamas supposedly endorses...

There have been no shortage of people over the past few years trumpeting various Hamas statements as indicating that Hamas would accept a two-state solution.

Of course, these same people ignore Hamas when it says the exact opposite, in plain language.

So here is something else for them to ignore:
Hamas and Islamic Jihad rejected caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan to establish a de facto Palestinian state within two years, arguing that “resistance” is the only way to establish a Palestinian state.

Fayyad’s 65-page plan deepens “the reality of [Palestinian] division and the presence of the Israeli occupation. This fulfills the desire of the occupation in line with the policy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.

“Fayyad is not authorized to make determine the political course for the Palestinian people … Fayyad’s government is not legitimate because he believes in coordination and negotiation with the [Israeli] occupation,” Barhoum added.

We have one path for our Palestinian state to be established. The only way to do so is through resistance and a state without settlements, when all detainees are released and the refugees are back to their homeland,” he said.
Isn't that interesting? Hamas' goal isn't a state, it is a war.

In other words, what good is a state when it is not accompanied by lots of dead Jews?

I wonder what Jimmy Carter thinks about this latest peaceful statement from his Hamas buddies. I'm sure he'll condemn it real soon now.

Radical Islam: Totalitarianism, Mark III (TNR)

Today's must read, by Jeffrey Herf and published on TNR:

The Totalitarian Present: Why the West Consistently Underplays the Power of Bad Ideas

As uncomfortable as it may make some tolerant and well-intentioned souls, an intellectually respectable case can be made that radical Islam constitutes the third variant of totalitarian ideology politics in modern history. The first version emerged in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The second was that of modern communism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. While these first two versions succumbed to military might and ideological exhaustion, respectively, the political, ideological and military battle with radical Islam remains undecided.

One way to illustrate the case for radical Islam as Totalitarianism Mark III (and perhaps draw some practical conclusions from it), is to focus on three points of comparison and contrast between the Nazi and communist eras and that of contemporary political Islam: the problem of underestimating the power of ideology; modernity and anti-modernity; and the issue of preemption in context.

Read the whole thing.

He partially blames liberal "sophisticated" thinking as one reason that the Islamist threat is not taken as seriously as fascism and communism was, but I would venture to say that much of it is simply that Islamism as a political ideology cloaks itself in religion, and most liberals don't want to challenge religious thought as much as they would like to challenge political ideas. If the separation between Islamism as a political movement and Islam as a personal religion could be explained better, then liberals would come around to the fact that they are against everything that political Islam is for.

Egyptians upset: Exodus story too sympathetic to Jews

An Egyptian TV preacher has brought up the apparently sensitive topic of the Exodus on his show being seen during Ramadan, causing controversy in Egypt.

According to Al Arabiya (Arabic), Amr Khaled created a Ramadan TV show called "Stories of the Koran." The second episode tackled the story of Pharaoh and the Jews, which very roughly parallels the Biblical story.

Khaled discusses Pharaoh's reasons for slaughtering the Jewish males. In his website, he asks the audience whether Pharaoh was justified (in the Koranic story, Pharaoh dreamed that the Jews would take away his property and this prompted his plans for genocide.) He also asks more general questions to prompt readers to think about the story, such as whether Musa (Moses) wanted to save the Israelites or if he wanted to convince Pharaoh to believe in Allah.

According to the article, Khaled (who is now in Saudi Arabia for the Umrah) is under pressure for airing a program that is so sympathetic to Jews, and he may not be allowed back into Egypt. Apparently the Interior Minister has asked Khaled to scale back his pro-Jewish views on TV, and Khaled refused. A colleague of his defends him, saying Khaled has no such sympathy for Jews, and future programs will talk about Israeli crimes to prove his loyalty to the Arab cause.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Don't play with firecrackers!

From PCHR:
...A family dispute took place between members of the al-Jamala family and those of the al-Bughdadi family in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, north Gaza city. The dispute took place when a member of the al-Jamala family asked children from the al-Bughdadi family, who were playing with firecrackers in front of his house, to leave the area. The issue developed into a dispute between the two families. During the dispute one of the parties opened fire, killing two civilians:

1. Ghazi Munir Deeb al-Jamala, 20, hit by a bullet to the heart; and

2. Shadi Nabil Deeb al-Jamala, 23, hit by a bullet to the forehead.
You see, kids, this is why it's dangerous to play with firecrackers. Your neighbors might just kill members of your family because of it!

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is at 171.

Shalom Sesame will return

From JPost:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Stiller and Christina Applegate are just a few of the stars slated to appear in a new Sesame Street-style production geared at teaching Jewish-American children about Jewish culture.

"Shalom Sesame," a 12-part series for preschoolers featuring the globe-trotting Muppet Grover, will explore Jewish identity and traditions and will film on location at several Israeli sites, including the Western Wall.

Big-name guest stars, including actors Debra Messing, Greg Kinnear and Cedric the Entertainer, will join puppets and children in segments filmed in Israel and the U.S., according to the series' producers.

"Shalom Sesame" was first produced in 1986, selling more than 1 million copies on video and DVD. The new incarnation will tackle more issues of diversity for Jewish children and be accompanied by an interactive Web site and other outreach materials.
I just went to YouTube and found some of the older clips, bringing back many memories from when I watched it with my kids.



It also had stars, like this segment with Alan King:



But for some reason I cannot find any of the clips with a much younger Sarah Jessica Parker.

Nefesh B'Nefesh offering free blogger flights to Israel

Nefesh B'Nefesh is asking Jewish/Israeli bloggers to nominate other bloggers to fly to Israel on a NbN flight, with the proviso that they must write about their experience.

The catch is that we can only nominate other bloggers and must write a blog post as to why we chose that person.

So, as much as I'd like to win (hint, hint), I need to nominate someone else.

For the same reasons given by JoeSettler, I would choose Soccer Dad. He has done more than anyone else to promote the JBlogosphere and he has specifically promoted my blog numerous times. His postings are always well thought out and he would do a great job in reporting on NbN.

This is my official nomination post. Watching these types of posts over the next week is going to be amusing.

DFLP women terrorist training photos

Ma'an shows us pictures of DFLP female terrorists training:




Once again, Gaza just doesn't seem that crowded. Plenty of room - for practicing killing Jews.

Predicting the next Arab rumor

Rumor prediction is a very inexact science, but the fact that Ma'an chose to highlight a single story about an Israeli scientific experiment makes me think this one is on the horizon.

You see, Israeli scientists have a joint research project with the University of Hawaii where they detonate tons of explosives underground in the Negev to simulate a small earthquake. Even more nefarious is that this research is being paid for by the US Defense Department.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Tamimi continues his daily screeds against Israel, today saying again that Jerusalem is an Islamic and Arab city and that there is not a shred of evidence that Jews ever lived there, that the Temples didn't exist, and that Israel is furiously trying to purge all signs of Muslim presence in the city. (And every time he opens his mouth it makes headlines in the PalArab press.)

I think it is only a matter of time before Tamimi or one of the other anti-Jewish crusaders accuses Israel of planning to create an earthquake in Jerusalem meant to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Hell, there's more evidence for this than for stealing the organs of dead Palestinian Arabs!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Erekat and the "Jewish State"

Ha'aretz has an interesting interview with chief Palestinian Arab liar/hypocrite/negotiator Saeb Erekat where all the questions come from readers around the world. One of his answers is:
Will you ever recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Thank you
Asked by Jon P, from Buffalo, U.S.A.

Saeb Erekat: That's so amazing of Israel. The birth certificate of Israel as embodied in the UN is called the State of Israel so I'm asked to recognize the State of Israel. I'm a Palestinian, Muslim, Christian, I don't think about converting to Judaism or joining the Zionist organization.

I'm not going to call the shots for you. I'm not going to stop you from circumcising your boys, I'm not going to stop you from going to synagogues. You can call yourself whatever you want.

If you want to call yourself the biblical, united, eternal, holy, milk and honey land of Jewish Israel, submit your name to the UN. Your name is the State of Israel. It's unbelievable to ask Palestinians.
It is the Jewish State that called itself Israel, not the UN.

I would argue that the "birth certificate" of Israel from the UN's perspective is United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for a partition of Palestine into two states.

That resolution uses the term "Jewish state," by my count, 30 times.

(h/t Mustafa, who points out that Erekat avoids answering whether the PA would accept a land swap.)

Saudi husband is 80, wife is 10

From the Arab News:
AL-LAITH: A 10-year-old bride was returned last Sunday to her 80-year-old husband by her father who discovered her at the home of her aunt with whom she has been hiding for around 10 days.

A local newspaper said the husband, who denies he is 80 in spite of claims by the girl’s family, accused the aunt of meddling in his affairs. “My marriage is not against Shariah. It included the elements of acceptance and response by the father of the bride,” he said.

He added that he had been engaged to his wife’s elder sister and that this broke off as she wanted to continue with her education. “In light of this, her father offered his younger daughter. I was allowed to have a look at her according to Shariah and found her acceptable,” he said.

This may be a new record in Saudi depravity: a groom eight times the age of the bride.

Who do you think has a lower opinion of the girl: the father who sells her to a dirty old man and forces her to return to him when she runs away, or the dirty old man himself who finds her looks "acceptable" for his nightly rape?

But who are we to disapprove? It is acceptable under Sharia!

Israeli dates being eaten for Ramadan

Al Quds has an article about how Jericho-area farmers are trying to market their dates in competition with Israeli dates grown in settlements.

Arab farmers have increased their date yields this year so that Muslims can more easily avoid eating the imperialistic Israeli dates. The article seems to imply that Israeli dates are cheaper and more plentiful, as they are an export product. If I am reading it correctly, Arab farmers are also saying that their dates are healthier than the evil Israeli dates.

In previous years, Muslims in England, Egypt and Morocco were aghast to find out that their yummy Ramadan dates originated in Israel.

I wonder if some of the dates in Gaza came from Israel.

PFLP not happy with Hamas

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist terror group that thrives in Gaza, is less than happy with the slow Islamization of Gaza by Hamas.

The latest edict by Hamas mandating that girls in government schools cover up their hair is being criticized by the PFLP:
[The PFLP statement said these are] "irresponsible actions occur that crack the Palestinian social fabric and will reflect negatively on the situation of education, and is a blatant violation of human rights that are guaranteed by law.

"There is no item in the Palestinian Basic Law, allows any party whatsoever to impose its vision of Palestinian society...
The PFLP apparently missed Article 4 of the Palestinian Basic Law, which states:
Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect for the sanctity of all other divine religions shall be maintained.

The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be a principal source of legislation.
Legally, Hamas seems to have the right to impose Shari'a on Gaza (and, inshallah, on the West Bank and all of Palestine) unless it violates the precepts of another religion.

Sorry, PFLP. Your Marxist radicalism just doesn't fit as well with Islamic radicalism as well as you like to believe.

Seth Freedman eliminates anti-semitism!

Seth Freedman, one of The Guardian's house Jews whom we last saw trying hard to dissociate himself from those "other" Jews who support Jewish self-determination, has just singlehandedly eliminated almost all anti-semitism in the world today.

According to him:
Last week's allegations in a Swedish newspaper sparked an inferno in diplomatic circles, the flames of which are being fanned higher with every passing day. Despite dealing specifically with the behaviour of Israeli troops in the West Bank, rather than being a broad-stroked attack against Judaism, the indictment against the Israeli army has been held up as a shining example of modern-day "blood libel", as though the forces of antisemitic darkness are amassing once more against the Jewish people in their entirety.

On reading the original story, it is clear that the article's content is journalism of the worst kind: based on the flimsiest of evidence, making tenuous connections on little more than pure conjecture and relying on dubious testimony in the absence of hard fact and proof. However, bad journalism does not automatically an antisemite make, especially when the allegations were directed at the Israeli army, rather than at Judaism and its practices. Had the article claimed that Jewish teaching encouraged the killing of gentile children and the use of their blood for ritual purposes – the classic definition of blood libel, and the origin of the phrase – it would be another matter, but in this case the accusations are clearly made against a subsection of Israeli society, not against Israelis per se, let alone the worldwide Jewish community.
So Freedman's test of anti-semitism is whether the accusation is against all Jews based on a libelous interpretation of Jewish religious teachings.

Which means that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion cannot be considered anti-semitic! After all, it was claimed only that some Jews wrote it, not all of them, and it was not a religious text but a political one. Some Jews, like perhaps Seth Freedman himself, never accepted the Protocols as guiding his life, so by (his) definition, it is simply a forgery, nothing at all to do with anti-semitism.

And when some otherwise good people claim that Jews control the worldwide banking industry to the detriment of "goyim," that isn't anti-semitic - because clearly not all Jews are bankers, only a very small percentage.

Jews controlling the media? Please! Even the biggest anti-semite knows that many Jews aren't in the news business. (Like the ones in Hollywood, for example.)

Jews having big noses and flat feet? Guess what - people who convert to Judaism don't have those genetic characteristics, so people who say it cannot possibly be Jew-haters! and the Torah says nothing about big noses, so it cannot be anti-semitic!

People who mistranslate the Talmud to accuse Jews of raping little girls? Well, most Jews today don't have the foggiest idea of what the Talmud is, so they cannot possibly be considered victims of that acusation, and therefore it cannot be anti-semitic!

Once again, Freedman is trying oh-so-hard to prove that he isn't one of "those" Jews. He is setting the groundwork for his own future. Because when "itbach al-Yahud" is changed (out loud) to "kill the Zionists," he wants to make sure that he isn't one of the targets.


Freedman then goes on to write one of the dumber statements he ever made:
Given the paucity of hard facts provided in the Aftonbladet report and its author's shortcomings when it comes to adhering to journalistic standards, the story is in all likelihood a complete fabrication, and the Israeli authorities ought to be able to easily prove the army's innocence.
Um, Seth - it is impossible to prove a negative. Even if every single dead Palestinian Arab is dug up and opened up in front of a world tribunal, counting their organs, people will believe the accusations anyway. And this is exactly why the accusation is so pernicious - it means that a single journalist can unleash torrents of latent hate by writing a single lie. Characterizing it as simply "bad journalism" is disingenuous.

But it is consistent with Freedman's worldview.

CORRECTION: I was taken in by "folk logic" about the impossibility to prove a negative. The argument should have been that the people who want to believe these sorts of things will not be swayed by any amount of proof, as the nature of conspiracy theories implies that the evidence is being carefully hidden, so in this and similar cases it is extraordinarily difficult if not impossible to prove that Israel is not guilty of whatever arbitrary crime it is being accused of.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Saudi women: "My guardian knows the best for me"

From the Arab News:
RIYADH: Describing themselves as activists, a number of Saudi women have launched a campaign supporting the Kingdom's male guardianship system.

As part of the campaign — entitled “My Guardian Knows The Best For Me” — the women have written a letter to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in which they confirmed their full support for an Islamic approach in administering the Kingdom.

The campaign has been launched to counter calls to abandon the Kingdom's guardianship or wali system. In a statement published on the Internet, Rawdah Al-Yousif, the campaign's supervisor and organizer, wrote about “her dismay at the efforts of some who have liberal demands that do not comply with Islamic law (Shariah) or with the Kingdom's traditions and customs.”

Al-Yousif also pointed out in her statement that the campaign’s mission is to promote the voices of Saudi women who reject the “ignorant and vexatious demands” of liberals to do away with the guardianship system. She said guardians protect women and the stipulation that women can only travel with their walis’ approval is in their interests, giving them protection.

Al-Yousif said the campaign is supported by Saudi women belonging to all sections of society and it is currently working to collect votes on its website.

But did Rawdah Al-Yousif's guardian tell her to make this website?

And do the the women who sign up at the website rely on their all-knowing male guardians to tell them how to vote?

A new, old honor killing?

Palestine Today reports on an 86-year old man who murdered his 50-year old daughter in his house in Tulkarem.

Maybe he thought she was talking to a man on the phone.

The 2009 PalArab self-death count is at 169.

Another step towards Hamastan

Hamas has denied repeatedly that they want to turn Gaza into an Islamist regime. For example, in this interview last year with Hamas senior advisor Ahmed Yousef:
Q: Some people have claimed that Hamas is trying to establish an Islamic emirate and is about to impose Sharia law in the territories under its control. Is this true?

AY: It's totally false, and from the time of the Hamas takeover of Gaza I don't think any Palestinian observed any change in daily life. This claim is used just for propaganda to satisfy Israel and maybe some of the American agenda. We live the same life here, and we are facing the same problems with sanctions, occupation and isolation. Nothing has changed. It is the same life. People can wear a head scarf or not wear it and nobody will force anyone to abide by Islamic law. Life here is very democratic and we hope to stay like this.
Since then, Hamas has forced female lawyers to put on a headscarf in court, it started inspecting the luggage of visitors and confiscating alcohol, it cracked down on lingerie shops with immodestly clad mannequins, and Hamas police on horseback started enforcing modesty rules on the beaches.

Now, Hamas has added one more:
Hamas has instructed schoolgirls in the Gaza Strip to wear the jilbab (Islamic long-sleeved dress) and head scarves or face being expelled from school.

The cases are seen in the context of Hamas's efforts to enforce strict Islamic laws throughout the Strip.

A veteran journalist in the Gaza Strip said that most girls who returned to
schools that reopened on Sunday were seen dressed in traditional Islamic clothes.

He noted, for instance, that at the Maghazi Girls Secondary School in the center of the Gaza Strip, "about 95 percent" of the girls showed up wearing jilbabs.

"The few who came to school wearing jeans were warned that they would be expelled if they did not wear jilbabs," the journalist told The Jerusalem Post.

So why exactly do people who pretend to be liberal and pro-human rights support Hamas again?

Notable commenter blogs

Two commenters have interesting blogs of their own.

The Definition of a Horse (not sure if I have permission to say who writes it) is a new blog that goes in depth on a number of topics, in more detail than I do, and with copious footnotes. It is definitely worth checking out.

Also, Charlie H. Ettinson brings us Thoughts: A Buck Each, which also has some nice original essays.

Check them out!

Golden Oldie: Psychological History of Palestinian Arabs, part 13

Since I am (probably) unavailable, here is another classic from a previous August, this one two years ago. This was the most recent of my series on Palestinian Arab history. I would change a little of what I wrote since then, but it is pretty much on target. Feel free to read the earlier chapters.


The stateless Palestinian Arabs became more and more fragmented as the 1960s dawned. As their numbers increased, so did their value to the ever-growing number of Arab leaders who wanted to act as their leaders.

The Arab world at this time was far from unified. By 1960, there were at least three major players bidding for leadership of the Arab world: Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan and Abd al-Karim Qasim of Iraq. Each of them tried to out-do the others in claiming to be the leader of the hapless Palestinian Arabs, now numbering over a million.

Qasim opposed Nasser's plan for a pan-Arab state with himself as leader, pushing instead for a looser confederation of Arab states. He proposed a Palestinian Arab republic in the West Bank and Gaza, directly challenging Nasser's non-stop rhetoric claiming to help the Palestinians as well as Jordan's annexation of the West Bank.

Nasser, who was now head of the United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria, responded by setting up a "Voice of Palestine" radio station and a newspaper called "Akhbar Filastin." In addition, Nasser set up a pseudo "Palestinian army" in Gaza and formed a quasi-government in Gaza that recalled the ill-fated Gaza government of 1949. Qasim responded by setting up his own "Palestinian Liberation regiment" in Iraq.

King Hussein, for his part, offered citizenship to any Palestinian Arab, not just the ones in Jordan, as he wanted to equate Jordan and Palestine and was against all attempts to establish an independent Palestinian Arab state.

Meanwhile, the clashes within the Arab world were not only confined to the Palestinian Arab problem. Coups and assassinations happened often - Jordan and Iraq were allied until the 1958 coup and assassination of King Faisal that brought Qasim to power, and Qasim was overthrown and killed himself in 1963 from a Baathist coup (in which 5000 were killed over two days.) There were many assassination attempts against King Hussein. Egypt became embroiled in a civil war in Yemen in 1962.

It is no wonder that these leaders tried to use the Palestinian issue to their advantage. Claiming to support Palestinian Arabs against Israel was an easy way to score political points, as the one thing that all Arabs could agree on was the need to destroy the Zionist state.

The Palestinian Arabs themselves were fragmenting into four major groups:

The Gazans were in many ways in the worst shape of all Palestinian Arabs. Completely dependent on UNRWA handouts and completely immersed in Egyptian Nasserite propaganda, they tended to support Nasser wholeheartedly even as he would use them purely for political points.

The fatalists were the ones who stayed in refugee camps, even more than a decade past their leaving Palestine and with little intention of leaving. They were happy to be living on the UNRWA dole, getting free education, medical care and food. They tended to support Nasser as well, and his vision of a pan-Arab nation in which they would become equal citizens again with their Arab brethren took strong hold of their imagination.

The pragmatists were the ones who left the camps and settled their families in Jordan, taking jobs and living in honor. They tended to be more supportive of the King and they didn't agitate nearly as much for a return to Palestine.

Finally, there were the ambitious Palestinian Arabs. This group tended to move further away from old Palestine and make their own way in life. In many ways, these were the spiritual and sometimes literal descendants of the hundreds of thousands who moved to Palestine in the first half of the century for purely economic reasons. Most of them moved to the Gulf states that were beginning to reap the benefits of the oil boom, although a significant number moved to Central and South America.

By the tens of thousands they moved to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Dubai, taking jobs. The Kuwaiti economy and infrastructure was built to a large degree by Palestinian Arabs. They tended to be more educated, more highly-skilled and harder-working than their other Arab counterparts. Even so, they were not allowed become citizens of these nations that they were helping so much.

Starting in the late 1950s, some of these former residents of Palestine and their supporters started forming small groups dedicated to defeating Israel by force. Fatah was founded by Khaled Yashruti (born in Acre) and Yasir Arafat (born in Cairo) in this time period, and as early as 1959 it was publishing manifestos relying heavily on Arab concepts of honor and shame as their motivation:

The youth of the catastrophe (shibab al-nakba) are dispersed... Life in the tent has become as miserable as death... [T]o die for our beloved Fatherland is better and more honorable than life, which forces us to eat our daily bread under humiliations or to receive it as charity at the cost of our honour... We, the sons of the catastrophe, are no longer willing to live this dirty, despicable life, this life which has destroyed our cultural, moral and political existence and destroyed our human dignity.

The members of Fatah were mostly living in the Gulf states, as well as Algeria, and were not living in the camps that they so eloquently describe. They and the other nascent Palestinian Arab leaders were just as willing to use the Palestinian Arab masses as pawns for their own purposes as the Arab national leaders were.

In addition, in 1960, something called the "Palestine Liberation Army" that was based in the UNRWA camps engaged in terror acts against Israel, although it is unclear whether it was a home-grown Palestinian Arab group or one that was sponsored by an Arab country. (This is different than the Palestinian Liberation Army, created a few years later as a military wing of the PLO.)

Although Fatah styled itself early on as a "liberation movement" it did not start off with any aspirations to create a new independent Palestine, rather, its initial goal was simply the destruction of Israel for pan-Arab purposes. It initially intended to be completely independent of Arab governments that it mistrusted in the wake of 1948 and the refugees, however by 1964 it was effectively taken over by Syria in exchange for military training and weapons.

Meanwhile, other terror attacks against Israel continued. Most of these were also state-sponsored, usually from Egypt or Syria although often from Jordan as well. At this point the fedayeen trained by the Arab nations were much more deadly and brutal than Fatah - even as early as 1954 Jordanian terrorists shot each passenger in an Israeli bus point-blank, killing eleven of them. No matter what the methods or effectiveness, the goals were always the same: the eradication of Israel (and not necessarily the establishment of an Arab state in its place.)

The Palestine Liberation Organization was launched in 1964. Ostensibly, it was formed as a result of a meeting of the "Palestinian National Council" that held its first meeting only a few days beforehand, but in fact it was created by the Arab League in its Cairo meeting in June of that year. The PNC itself is a more subtle example of Arabs using Palestinian Arabs as pawns in their plans - the vast majority of delegates to the PNC are from the Palestinian "disapora," not from those who are actually suffering in camps.

The first leader of the PLO was Ahmad Shukairy, who was born in Lebanon. He drafted the "Palestinian National Charter" in 1964 with an eye towards Nasser-style pan-Arabism, not an independent Palestinian Arab state. The original charter itself denies the legality of the UN partition plan and indeed any British or international declaration that gave any land at all to Jews anywhere in the world, and it denies as well any Jewish connection to Israel:

Article 18: The Balfour Declaration, the Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void.The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood. Judaism, because it is a divine religion, is not a nationality with independent existence. Furthermore, the Jews are not one people with an independent personality because they are citizens to their states.

The Charter also betrays the thinking of the Arab leadership on exactly what being a "Palestinian" means. It strongly implies that identifying people as "Palestinian" is not a statement of fact, but rather one of convenience in the efforts to rid the Middle East of a Jewish state, as can be seen in the following sections:

Article 5: The Palestinian personality is a permanent and genuine characteristic that does not disappear. It is transferred from fathers to sons.

Article 6: The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian Arab father after this date, whether in Palestine or outside, is a Palestinian.

Article 11: The Palestinian people firmly believe in Arab unity, and in order to play its role in realizing this goal, it must, at this stage of its struggle, preserve its Palestinian personality and all its constituents. It must strengthen the consciousness of its existence and stance and stand against any attempt or plan that may weaken or disintegrate its personality.

Article 12: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary goals; each prepares for the attainment of the other. Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity. Working for both must go side by side.


Articles 5 and 6 attempt to arrive at a definition of "Palestinian" that is independent of self-identification. A people who truly have strong cultural and communal ties would not require such a definition, and its effect is to keep the Palestinian issue alive. By defining a Palestinian personality separate from the more general definition of Arab, the effect of the charter is to do everything possible to avoid Palestinian re-integration into Arab society.

Those two articles are effectively contradictory with Articles 11 and 12, where Arab unity is stressed right after Palestinian separateness.

Most telling is the section in Article 11 where the charter comes close to admitting that preserving what can only be described as precarious Palestinian "personality" is only important "at this stage of its struggle." This strongly implies that once Palestine is "liberated" from the grips of the Jews, the national aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs would disappear and become subsumed into a more general unified Arab state.

Putting these paragraphs together, the original purpose of the PLO and the PNC becomes clear: to keep the Palestinian Arabs from ever assimilating into the Arab world as long as they can remain useful to pressure Israel internationally. Once this usefulness disappears, so would the Palestinian people. It was not an organization that was interested in the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in need, rather it was fixated on how to use them to destroy Israel.

Another interesting paragraph in the charter seems at odds with the original Fatah viewpoint regarding the dignity of Palestinian Arabs. While Fatah decried Western aid to Palestinian refugees as an affront to Arab honor and dignity, the PLO regarded it as a right:

Article 19: Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of colonialism, is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East, in particular, and to the international community in general. Because of this, the people of Palestine are worthy of the support and sustenance of the community of nations.

This also shows that the PLO was not at all interested in Palestinian Arabs themselves and that its platform was more aligned with the Arab League than with the people it was claiming to be defending. The Arab League showed no more interest in alleviating Palestinian Arab suffering in 1964 than it did when it announced its first disastrous boycott of Jewish goods and services in 1945. And although Ahmad Shukairy's father was Palestinian, his career up to this point was being a diplomat for both Syria and Saudi Arabia as well as working for the Arab League itself.

Yet another article shows even more clearly how national aspirations were entirely absent from a "National Charter:"

Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.

The British borders of Palestine were occupied by four countries (the Himmah area is a section of Mandatory Palestine that was seized by Syria in 1948) and yet the founding national charter of the PLO was only concerned with one of them.

The second Arab summit, held in Alexandria in September 1964, endorsed the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and quickly acted to establish a Palestinian Liberation Army as a military wing to the PLO.

Fatah, not yet a part of the PLO, established its own military wing called al-Asifa in 1965. Fatah's first attack against Israel occurred that year, as they tried to bomb Israel's National Water Carrier. This was followed by a number of other (mostly unsuccessful) attempts to attack Israel's infrastructure.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Golden Oldie: Fisking an Arab News editorial

Since I am unavailable to post, check out this article from August 2006:


Normally, I see articles like this drivel in the op-ed sections of Al-Jazeerah.info or similar sites that pretty much publish anything anyone wants to say as long as it fits their agenda, facts be damned. But this is slightly more interesting because it was written by the Editor-in-Chief of the Arab News, which styles itself as a real news source. As such, it is important to, yet again, point out the half truths and outright falsehoods that characterize reasoned debate in the Arab world.

Arabs Can’t Be Anti-Semites
Khaled Almaeena, almaeena@arabnews.com
Last week I wrote about the phone call from an Italian friend who asked me whether Islam and Muslims were characterized by fascist tendencies or beliefs. His query came as a result of US President George W. Bush’s unfortunate and ill-considered use of the phrase “Islamic fascists.”

Inaccurate and incorrect as the phrase is, it was not born from the brain of Bush — or even from the brains of his speechwriters. It was first used soon after Sept. 11, 2001, by Christopher Hitchens, a former diehard Marxist who is now a mainstay of the American neocons.
As anyone with a passing familiarity with English knows, saying that a group of terrorists are "Islamic fascists" does not mean that all Muslims are fascists. calling the phrase "inaccurate and incorrect" is nonsensical, unless the author is saying that the terrorists themselves have no desire to subjugate the world to Islam.

Also, the phrase was not first used by Hitchens, but was used as early as 1990 by historian Malise Ruthven and also before 9/11 by Muslim historian Khalid Duran who was criticizing extremist clerics and was in turn denounced by Muslims for that.
As a neocon, Hitchens enjoys great privileges and is a member in good standing of the media group which regularly attacks Muslims and Islam. His popularity is great in both neocon and Zionist circles. Included among those he is close to are Daniel Pipes, Richard Perle, David Horowitz — all closely associated with the American administration and its destructive and internationally unpopular policies over the last few years.
By sheer coincidence, I'm sure, Almaeena only mentions "neocons" who happen to be Jewish.

The word “fascist” seems to have been used because the Bush administration and its sycophants (the neocons, evangelists, extreme right-wingers and the Zionist lobby) have this false and preposterous idea that Islam wants to take over the world. They are convinced that Muslims want to conquer the entire world by force and convert everyone to Islam by the sword!

Have they drawn this conclusion based on what they know of the terrorists’ beliefs and practices or on the beliefs and practices of the 99.99 percent of Muslims who are not terrorists? And while, as always, our Arab media focuses on trivialities, their media is slowly and insidiously planting negative ideas about Arabs and their alleged anti-Semitism.



The author says that 99.99% of Muslims are not terrorists. That may be true - there may be only 160,000 real, active Muslim terrorists on the planet out of 1.6 billion total. Perhaps he does not think that is a problem for Islam.

However, what Almaeeda is purposefully ignoring is the fact that a significant number of Muslims do support terror. One in four British Muslims felt that the 7/7 bombings were justified. If that is the number in a Western nation that was the victim of terror, it is not too hard to imagine that the numbers in Muslim nations go over 50% (or much higher.)

And, finally, can the author honestly say that the idea of re-establishing an Islamic caliphate is not seen as desirable in most of the Muslim world? Perhaps this caliphate would not take over the entire world, but the idea that people who support terror and have nuclear weapons want such sweeping political power is indeed a clear threat to the entire world.

Now we get from the naive to the stupid:

How, I wonder, can Arabs be anti-Semitic? They are in fact themselves Semites; the word derives from one of the sons of Noah — in English Shem — who was the ancestor of both Jews and Arabs. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Semite” as “people who speak a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs.” In other words, it would be highly unusual for Arabs to be anti-Semites though they might well be anti-Zionists. But that is not the same thing.
It is a pity that this editor could not trouble himself to look up the meaning of "anti-semite" in the same Oxford English Dictionary:

anti-'Semite,

one who is hostile or opposed to the Jews;
anti-Se'mitic a.

Other dictionaries say (since the author apparently believes in proof by dictionary definition):

Random House Dictionary:
an‧ti-Sem‧ite, -ˈsimaɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[an-tee-sem-ahyt, an-tahy- or, especially Brit., -see-mahyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
a person who discriminates against or is prejudiced or hostile toward Jews.

[Origin: 1880–85]
American Heritage Dictionary:
an·ti-Sem·ite (nt-smt, nt-)
n.
One who discriminates against or who is hostile toward or prejudiced against Jews.
Is the author clueless or lying?

A recent Pew Research Center study showed that in most countries, Muslims had an unfavorable impression of Jews. That is prejudice, plain and simple - which means that most Arabs are, by definition, anti-semitic, notwithstanding the etymological calisthenics that the author goes through.
In order to combat the lies and half-truths about Islam and Muslims, we need our own researchers. And we have very few indeed. We Arabs, for whatever reasons, are not known for funding or encouraging research unless we are fairly sure what the end result will be. Nor do we have enough people who are fluent in other languages. For example, how many Arabs are fluent in Hebrew? Nowhere near the number of Israeli Jews who are fluent in Arabic.

Of people who say they have doctorates from this or that university, we have many. Unfortunately, the holders of such doctorates can do little except demand special consideration because of their alleged academic excellence.

We need researchers who are able to state — and back up the statement with facts and evidence — that “Zionists are often anti-Semites.” Because that is a fact. The Zionists, by and large, are Ashkenazi Jews which means they are of Central or Eastern European descent. The great majority of Israeli Jews today are Ashkenazi and it is they who control the country and, in the past, it was they who made the rules and regulations and government policies. They do not always consider their Sephardic brothers — Jews of Spanish, Portuguese, North African or Middle Eastern descent — their equals.
Since the real-world definition of anti-semitism has nothing to do with the definition of Semite, this entire section is a crock. However, it brings up a favorite topic of Jew-haters, namely, the theory that most Ashkenazic Jews are descended from Khazars, not Israelites.

There are many ways to debunk this, but I will choose two that are usually not mentioned: One is that traditional Jews have been very protective of their Kohanic/Levite status and the idea that a bunch of converts declared themselves to be Levites is absurd. The other one is that rabbinic literature, especially Jewish legal literature, is pretty comprehensive throughout the time period of the Khazar conversion to Judaism, and a mass immigration of Jews of questionable legal status would have resulted in a flood of responsa literature which simply doesn't exist. Every Jewish marriage and death in Europe would have been affected!

This is not to say that there hasn't been discrimination against Sephardim in Israel, and it is shameful. But to call it anti-semitism is a classic magician's redirection trick to distract from the serious amount of Jew-hatred in Muslim lands throughout the centuries, including their own versions of blood libels.

Also, Ashkenazim do not take up the "great majority" of Jews in Israel, though it is probably the majority. Up until the mass Russian immigration, I believe the Sephardim had a slight majority.

After World War II, the Ashkenazi Jews poured into Palestine, dreaming of a new life and brainwashed by traditional myths and legends; it was of no importance to them that the land they poured into was populated by Arab Semites who had lived there for thousands of years. At one point, during the British Mandate in Palestine, there was surprisingly only one Jewish family in Jerusalem.
This is simply a bald-faced lie. Jews lived in Jerusalem by the thousands continuously until Jordan made the Old City Judenrein in 1948. Jerusalem was majority Jewish since 1896.

Not surprisingly, he brings no source.
A British researcher, Tanya Hsu, who has done a great deal of work in this field and has suffered a lot in the process, believes that an approach using accurate information would go a long way toward opening people’s minds. “I am always surprised when talking with people in the West who do not understand that one cannot become Semitic by merely learning Hebrew,” she says. “If I speak Arabic, am I now a Semite also? Until the late 20th century, Hebrew was a dead language, revived by Zionists seeking to claim the land of Israel. Most Israeli Jews do not even appear to understand this fundamental flaw in their arguments.”
This is a red herring. No one says that learning Hebrew makes one Semitic.

And judging from at least one article, if Tanya Hsu is considered an expert in this field, then Arab scholarship is in far worse shape than Almaeena thinks.
Unless we have a credible research center to highlight all this and to focus on the forced demographic changes in Palestine because of transplanting people from the ghettoes of Europe, we will never convince the poor, gullible Americans who have fallen victim to this web of lies. As Dresden James said: “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”
Here is a classic Arab attribute of projection. I can back up my claims, Amlaeeda cannot (using his example of "only one Jewish family in Jerusalem," or his bogus definition of anti-semitism) Who is spinning a web of lies?
This unfortunately is what appears to have happened in America in the last 25-30 years. The media, Hollywood and any other means are used to create the picture of a country under attack, living in a “bad neighborhood” protecting its democracy “by having to suppress and kill women and children,” making the desert green (by stealing other people’s water) and a number of other things.
By putting the words "by having to suppress and kill women and children" in quotes, Almaeeda is implying that this is an actual quote from an Israeli. It is, of course, another lie. As is "stealing other people's water."

And, perhaps I am paranoid, but I would consider a country where rockets are being shot and terror attacks are foiled daily as a country under attack. I would not consider the 1.6 billion Muslims who can walk freely almost anywhere in the world as being under attack.

The latest attacks in Lebanon, the killing of 1,400 women and children, the callous destruction of property and infrastructure has all exposed these unsubstantiated claims and allegations for what they really are. Let our researchers do some work and expose them even more.
Wow, are we up to 1400 dead women and children already? Not a single male killed, not a single Hezbollah freedom fighter suffering a scratch? Those Israeli smart bombs must be remarkable to be able to target only women and children so accurately!

For any normal newspaper to publish such an absurd, provable lie would in itself make it lose credibility forever.

Keep in mind that this huge load of rubbish is being published in what would certainly be considered a moderate Arab publication!

So there we have it. An article directed towards an English speaking audience that is chock full of irrelevancies, half-truths and outright lies that all add up to a typical piece of Arab propaganda against Israel and (implicitly and so slyly) against Jews - for accurately accusing Arabs of hating them.