Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The following excerpt from Time Magazine, 20 March 1978, describes the attack:
... last week a Palestinian suicide mission left a grisly trail of carnage along Israel's main coastal highway from Haifa to Tel Aviv.
Slipping ashore from the Mediterranean on the afternoon of the Sabbath, the terrorists hijacked two buses filled with tourists and sightseers, took them on a wild ride down the road toward Tel Aviv, shooting along the way at everyone in sight, and finally destroyed one bus in an orgy of fire and death.
Official statistics put the dead at 37 (all but a few of them civilians, among them at least 10 children) and 76 wounded—a toll that exceeded the 1972 Munich massacre (11 dead) and the slaughter at a Ma'alot school in 1974 (26).
It was the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history [at the time of publication: 20 March 1978 - SL]....
Many of the newly-elected members of Fatah's Central Committee may be younger than their ousted predecessors, but that does not necessarily mean that they are more reform-minded or less corrupt.
Nor does the election of the young guard representatives signal a shift toward moderation. Fatah must be given credit for getting rid of many old guard figures whose names have become synonymous with embezzlement, financial corruption and abuse of power. But who said that the new members of the Central Committee are any better?
The assumption that Muhammad Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, Marwan Barghouti and Tawfik Tirawi are more moderate than old-timers like Ahmed Qurei, Nabil Sha'ath and Hani al-Hassan is completely mistaken.
Fatah's strongman in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Aynain, who was also elected as member of the committee, is being described by some media outlets as one of Fatah's "fresh faces." But Fatah insiders say Abu al-Aynain is known as a "ruthless thug who does not hesitate to liquidate anyone who stands in his way."
In fact, all the newly-elected Central Committee members voted during the Fatah convention in Bethlehem last week in favor of a political platform that does not rule out the armed struggle option against Israel.
The young guard members also voted in favor of a series of hard-line resolutions that were brought before the conference, including one that endorses Fatah's armed militia, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, as an official organ of the faction, and another that states that the Palestinians will never relinquish the "right of return" for refugees to Israel proper and that they are willing to make "sacrifices" to liberate Jerusalem.
...Even if Barghouti, Dahlan and Rajoub wanted to adopt a more moderate approach in peace talks with Israel, they would face fierce opposition from the Fatah General Assembly. The assembly has actually tied the hands of the Fatah leadership by setting a series of "red lines" that no Palestinian - not even Mahmoud Abbas - is entitled to cross.
Fatah has said quite loudly and clearly that it's either 100 percent or nothing. Israel must
- withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, including from all of the eastern part of Jerusalem,
- allow Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes inside Israel,
- dismantle all the settlements, including ones built in Jerusalem such as Pisgat Ze'ev and Ramot, and
- evict all settlers living there and in the West Bank.
Only then, according to Fatah, will there be a chance for peace with Israel. Barghouti, Dahlan and Rajoub neither have the will nor the mandate to cross any of these red lines.
Fatah's young guard operatives may be popular among the faction's 2,200 delegates who met in Bethlehem over the past week, but there is much doubt as to the extent of the support they enjoy among the larger Palestinian public.
Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in Israeli prison, was the head of the Fatah list that lost to Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary election. The fact that he was in prison back then did not prevent a majority of Palestinians from casting their ballots for the rival Hamas movement.
Dahlan, Rajoub and Tirawi are all former security commanders who served as Yasser Arafat's henchmen and enforcers after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 2004. The three men can be described as anything but reformists and moderates. They are best remembered for building detention centers, prisons, big villas and a casino for the Palestinians. The main task of the security forces they presided over was to suppress and intimidate political opponents, human rights workers, journalists and anyone who dared to challenge Fatah's corruption-riddled regime.
Moreover, one of the trio's missions was to hunt down Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel, many of whom were later executed by firing squad. At one stage, Tirawi's men kidnapped and murdered a number of Palestinians from Jerusalem who were suspected of selling land and houses to Jews.
...The power struggle between the old and new guards in Fatah has never been over ideology or the future of the peace process...Rather, it's a power struggle between a camp that for two decades denied young guard activists a larger say in decision-making and access to public funds and jobs, and those younger activists.
What's certain is that the change of guard does not necessarily mean that Fatah is about to regain the confidence of a majority of disillusioned Palestinians. Nor does it show that Fatah is on its way to reforming itself or softening its policies.
At the Fatah Congress meeting in Bethlehem, eighteen people were elected to the Central Committee of the group which rules the Palestinian Authority and will determine if there is going to be peace with Israel.
Four more will be appointed by PLO and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, who will also serve as the committee's chief. Only two (three when Abbas is added) who will continue from the old Committee. So indeed this is a generational transition and a transition from returnees who were in Tunis to indigenous West Bank people.
The fact that only one member is from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip--though that area contains almost half of all Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority--will no doubt cause trouble later.
We will be told two things about this election:
- that this is a peace-oriented leadership (not true) and
- that this is a great victory for the Young Guard (misleading).
- ... there is no unified "Young Guard." In fact, it might be said that there are no more than three people who belong to any given faction capable of coordination.
- ...while this is almost a wholly new committee, at least 15 of the 22 members will be old-style leaders ...
- ...it's true that Marwan Barghouti, leader of the Fatah grassroots' group on the West Bank, was elected. But not a single one of his followers was added to the committee
- ... there are at least four members of the 18 who are capable of leading a war on Israel
- Another four--including Fatah's probable future leaders--are extremely hardline.
At the same time, though, there are also a number of individuals who have many Israeli contacts and who can pick up a phone and call or be called by counterparts.
...This is neither a group that will make peace with Israel nor one which will ally with Hamas. In other words, this is a group which Israel can work with on status quo issues but not on a comprehensive agreement.
But there is one aspect of this result so dangerous that it might outweigh everything else. At number one with two-thirds of the vote--a remarkable sign of popularity--is Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim. He is increasingly being spoken of as Abbas's successor.
Ghuneim is an unrepentant hardliner, an open opponent of the Oslo agreement. If he becomes the leader of Fatah--and hence of the PA and PLO--you can forget about peace. Violent conflict becomes far more likely. Watch this man: he is the future of the Palestinian movement.
The people everyone will be watching are the four guys with their own base of support, three security agency heads--
- Muhammad Dahlan,
- Jibril Rajoub,
- Tawfiq Tarawi--and
- West Bank grassroots' leader Marwan Barghouti. Since Barghouti is in an Israeli prison, however, he will probably play a smaller role.
It is easy to call these three leaders of a Young Guard but remember they are all personal rivals, and that's what's most important.
There are four real hardliners:
- Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim,
- Salim al-Zanoun,
- Abbas Zaki, and
- Nasser Kidra.
Zanoun is the former head of the Palestine National Council who rejected changing the Charter to accept Israel's existence; Zaki is an old-style Arab nationalist. Kidra is seen as representing the legacy of his uncle Yasir Arafat.
There are two who can be called moderate:
- Nabil Shaath and
- Muhammad Shtayyeh.
Then there are Abbas's supporters:
- Saib Erikat,
- Hassan al-Sheikh,
- Tawfiq al-Tirawi,
- Othman Abu Gharbyeh, and
- probably Muhammad al-Madani.
- ... presumably ...Nabil Shaath.
This is not a group which will be eager to make concessions to get Hamas into a partnership. A Fatah-Hamas reconciliation is not going to happen.
Is this a group that will return to armed struggle? This is possible though they are not eager to do so. Dahlan and Rajoub are realistic about Palestinian military weakness, though Barghouti is probably more eager for confrontation. If Ghaneim becomes the leader, however, Fatah could revert to the Arafat era.
Mahmoud Abbas will head the committee.
1. Abd al-Mahir Ghuneim, 1338 votes. Reelected
2. Muhammad al-A'loul, 1112 votes.
3. Marwan Barghouti, 1063 votes, 50 years old, imprisoned leader of West Bank grassroots group
4. Nasser Kidra, Arafat's nephew and former ambassador to UN, and PA foreign minister
5. Selim al-Zanoun, hardliner, head of Palestinian National Council. Reelected
6. Jibril Rajoub, 56 years old, former head of Preventive Security West Bank and national security advisor of Mahmoud Abbas.
7. Tawfiq al-Tirawi, head of General Intelligence. He has his own website.
8. Saib Erikat, Jericho notable who has been the PA's chief negotiator
9. Othman Abu Gharbyeh, 854 votes, old guard, close to Abbas
10. Muhammad Dahlan, former head of Preventive Security, Gaza Strip, badly defeated by Hamas in that group's takeover of the territory. This is reportedly about 50 percent of the Gaza vote. On one hand, this reflects his representing that sector but on the other hand many are angry for his mishandling of the war with Hamas.
11. Muhammad al-Madani, Bethlehem mayor
12. Jamal Mheisan,
13. Hasan al-Shaykh, secretary-general of Fatah in the West Bank
14. Azzam al-Ahmad
15. Sultan Abu al-Einen
16. Nabil Sha'th, businessman and former foreign minister of the PA, moderate
17. Abbas Zaki (Sharif Ali Mashal), long-time PLO director of Arab world relations and now Fatah’s representative in Lebanon. Hardline. Reelected
18. Muhammad Shtayyeh, 638 votes, former director-general of PECDAR, private businessman, honest technocrat. Watch him: he is cast in the role of "watchdog" to oppose corruption and lack of transparency.
19. Tayib Abu Rahman, 637 votes, Arafat's veteran office director
20. Ahmad Qurieyeh (Abu Ala), 636, relatively dovish former PLO negotiator
*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Dear Mrs. Robinson,
...If you are to receive this medal, the American people are entitled to know precisely what the issues are.
I. Your Role at Durban
...As you know, the Durban conference degenerated into an unprecedented international platform for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli hatred,...
...The late Tom Lantos, founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and a respected defender of human rights for all...published an essay in the Fletcher Forum for World Affairs that amounts to a stinging indictment of your role in the events leading up to the conference, including at the fateful preparatory meetings in Tehran and Geneva, with your acts of omission and commission described as “a major contributing factor to the debacle in Durban.”
... you have no choice but to address his charges. ...Lantos never denied that at Durban you stood up to condemn anti-Semitic pamphlets distributed by the Arab Lawyers Union, or that you rejected the viciously anti-Israel NGO declaration. Rather, citing one instance after another, he made a compelling case that throughout the year of lead-up meetings you continuously fanned the flames of anti-Israel prejudice, only to cry “Fire!” once they rose up into a great conflagration.
I urge you to respond to Lantos’ detailed charges concerning your actions during three key moments, in Tehran, Geneva, and Durban:
1. That You Condoned the Tehran Hatred of February 2001
In February 2001, when the Tehran preparatory meeting of Asian states adopted a text condemning only one country — demonizing Israel as a country guilty of a “new kind of apartheid, a crime against humanity,” and calling Zionism a “racist and violent movement based on racist and discriminatory ideas” — your response was to congratulate the Tehran delegates for their “high degree of consensus.”..... at the moment when the Islamic states injected the toxic language that would eventually poison the entire Durban process, your actions encouraged it.
Mrs. Robinson, will you respond to this charge?
2. That You Opposed the U.S. at the Geneva Pre-Conference of August 2001
Lantos detailed your actions during the emergency Geneva meeting of August 2001, a last-minute attempt to stave off the impending disaster. “Mrs. Robinson’s intervention with the assembled delegates later in the same day left our delegation deeply shocked and saddened. In her remarks, she advocated precisely the opposite course to the one Secretary [Colin] Powell and I had urged her to take. Namely, she refused to reject the twisted notion that the wrong done to the Jews in the Holocaust was equivalent to the pain suffered by the Palestinians in the Middle East. Instead, she discussed ‘the historical wounds of anti-Semitism and of the Holocaust on the one hand, and…the accumulated wounds of displacement and military occupation on the other.’ Thus, instead of condemning the attempt to usurp the conference, she legitimized it.”...
3. That You Opposed the U.S. at the Durban Endgame in September 2001
Finally, at the endgame in Durban, Lantos documents your counter-productive role: “As the U.S. pressed its case, Robinson seemed to be working to stymie our efforts. In her public and private statements, as was the case in Geneva, she insisted that the conference had to recognize the suffering of the Palestinian people. In a meeting on Sunday, September 2, with [U.S.] Ambassador Southwick, she lashed out at him, characterizing the U.S. threat to pull out if the Norwegian language was not accepted as ‘warped, strange and undemocratic.’”
“In a meeting I had with Commissioner Robinson later that same day… [I] told her that the U.S. government was extremely displeased with the way she had handled the conference, and we indicated that we held her responsible for her actions that contributed to its failure.”
....Let’s face it: Tom Lantos never “misunderstood” your role. Known as “Mr. Human Rights,” he was a veteran lawmaker on U.N. affairs who directly engaged with you on the issues in Washington, Geneva, and Durban. He knew exactly what measures of influence and responsibility you exercised over the process as Secretary-General, and it was on that nuanced basis that he denounced your record...
II. Your Role as High Commissioner
But the concerns about your actions on the Middle East are not limited to Durban. They extend to your entire 5-year tenure as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
...when it came to Israel, you effectively encouraged the Commission’s anti-Israel obsession-an obsession that epitomized the politicization and selectivity that ultimately doomed the now-defunct body.
Examples abound. To name but a small portion:
- On May 15, 1998, as we reported, you legitimized Palestinian demonstrators hurling bricks, rocks and Molotov cocktails as a “peaceful assembly.”
- On September 2000, we protested your breach of impartiality and integrity when you named Ms. Mona Rishmawi, notorious for having written articles comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, as your senior advisor. She continues to serve at the office of the High Commissioner.
- In November 2000, when you led a fact-finding mission with the cooperation of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, we noted your distinct policy of listening to the Palestinians, while asking hard questions only of the Israelis.
- The subsequent report that you published was found by UN Watch to have denounced Israeli actions without considering their cause and context, including self-defense from armed attacks, and to have presumed Israel to be the aggressor.
- In December 2001, as documented by UN Watch, you gave special support to an extremist Palestinian demonstration held on the sidelines of a gathering of Geneva Convention signatories that was convened to condemn Israel.
- At the Commission’s April 2002 special session against Israel, your speech gave more credence to Palestinian propaganda than to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which had witnessed Palestinian unloading of an explosive suicide belt from an ambulance.
Unfortunately, whenever we met with you in Geneva to raise such concerns, you rejected them out of hand.
- Last week, when Jean Ziegler was elected vice-chair of the Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee, we were reminded of your legacy. In the year 2000, it was you who invited Ziegler — the 1989 co-founder of the Moammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize – to become a U.N. human rights expert. He has since distinguished himself as the most anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel U.N. official in the history of the organization, cynically abusing his mandate.
Did your actions, however selective, at least help Palestinians? No. Your support of one-sided U.N. measures only encouraged Palestinian extremists, deterred Israelis from trusting international institutions, and promoted the futile path of feel-good unilateral censure, instead of the necessary path of dialogue and reconciliation....
...I look forward to your response, which we offer to publish in its entirety.
Israel has confirmed that its forces have bombed a smuggling tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt.
Warplanes bombed the tunnel, which is used to smuggle weapons, explosives and goods into Gaza from Egypt, in the first such air raid in two months. . . . in retaliation for a militant mortar attack on a border crossing between Gaza and Israel. The mortar strike came as emergency medical patients were being carried out of Gaza by ambulance.
The day before that, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded on the Israeli side of the border. No-one was hurt in either incident.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country is not prepared to accept continuing rocket fire into its communities and will respond to every shooting.
From Ynet News, 4/8/09, by Yitzhak Benhorin:
Democratic and Republican senators send letter to US president, saying Arab countries should consider 'dramatic gestures' toward Israel in order to show their commitment to peace, similar to steps taken by Prime Minister Netanyahu
WASHINGTON – Seventy-one senators sent a letter to US President Barack Obama on Monday, asking him to encourage and pressure Arab states to consider "dramatic gestures" toward Israel in order to show their commitment to peace with the Jewish state, similar to the steps taken by late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in his historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977.
Click here to read senators' letter
In their letter, the senators – Democrats and Republicans – detail steps taken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to signal Israel's commitment for peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world.
Israel these days is almost the only issue Democratic and Republican senators agree on. The senators who signed the letter include Harry Reid, leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, and Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, leader of the Republican minority.
"We write in support of your efforts to encourage Arab states to normalize relations with the State of Israel," the senators wrote Obama. "We agree with you and Secretary Clinton that Arab states must do more to end their isolation of Israel."
The senators added, "Over the past few months Israel has taken concrete measures to reaffirm its commitment to advancing the peace process." They mentioned Prime Minister Netanyahu's Bar Ilan speech, in which he publicly expressed support for the two-state solution and called for the immediate resumption of peace negotiations.
"We have also been encouraged by Israeli efforts to improve the daily lives of Palestinians, through measures such as removing roadblocks, assisting with economic development in the West Bank, and supporting the training of professional Palestinian Authority security personnel," the 71 senators wrote.
"These actions have demonstrated that Israel is willing to back up its words with concrete actions, even in the face of continuing threats to its security."
The senators also told the president that they expect Arab countries to take similar tangible steps to demonstrate their commitment to the peace process.
"Such steps," they said, "could include ending the Arab League boycott of Israel, meeting openly with Israeli officials, establishing open trade relations with Israel, issuing visas to Israeli citizens, and inviting Israelis to participate in academic and professional conferences and sporting events.
"We also believe that Arab states must immediately and permanently end official propaganda campaigns which demonize Israel and Jews."
The senators' letter was sent to the White House a week after a letter signed by 226 Congress members was sent to Saudi King Abdullah, urging him to take significant steps to demonstrate his desire for peace with Israel.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The BBC on Aug. 4 revised an online news story that incorrectly described Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini as having targeted "Jewish immigrants" in British-ruled Palestine. In fact, bloody anti-Jewish attacks fomented by Husseini targeted all Jews, irrespective of whether they were immigrants or members of the ancient Jewish community in Palestine. A separate problem with the BBC piece [his Nazism] was not corrected.
...The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry's Survey of Palestine, prepared in 1945-46, describes "old established Jewish communities" being targeted during Arab riots in 1929. In August of that year, the Survey of Palestine notes, "murderous attacks were made on Jews in various parts of the country." It pointed out that "the most violent attacks were those against the old established Jewish communities at Hebron and Safad." (In Hebron alone, 67 Jewish men, woman and children were brutally murdered.)
Also discussing this attack against Hebron Jews, Mark A. Tessler, a distinguished professor of political science at Northwestern University, wrote that "Most Jews of Hebron were pious and belonged to the old Yishuv, the community being an ancient one centered on a Talmudic college" (Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict).
Another city in which Jews were targeted in 1929 was Jerusalem, the Survey of Palestine notes. Far from being a community of Jewish "immigrants," Jerusalem had a Jewish plurality already during the early part of the 19th century.
- Sir Martin Gilbert states that in 1838 there were 6,000 Jews in Jerusalem, compared to 5,000 Muslims and 3,000 Christians (Jerusalem: Rebirth of a City).
- Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1853 "assessed the Jewish population of Jerusalem in 1844 at 7,120, making them the biggest single religious group in the city" (Terence Prittie, Whose Jerusalem).
- And according to Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, "In the second half of the nineteenth century and at the end of that century, Jews comprised the majority of the population of the Old City ..." (Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century).
Husseini was also sentenced by the British for his role in violent attacks that took place in Jerusalem in April 1920. At least five Jews were killed and 211 injured. As noted above, Jerusalem was the site of a long-established Jewish community with a large number of non-immigrant Jews.
Other Problem [Nazism] Uncorrected
Although a major focus of the BBC's article is the relationship between Husseini and Nazism, the piece significantly downplays that relationship.
The article casts Husseini's alliance with the Nazis as being tied to the Palestinian leader's nationalism and opposition to Israel, and not broader ideological sympathies. Referring to that alliance, BBC News says only that Husseini
continued his campaign to oppose British plans to set up a Jewish State in Palestine, allying himself with the Nazis during World War II. He died in Lebanon in 1974.These two sentences refer only to his opposition to "a Jewish State in Palestine" and the "creation of Israel." But in fact, Husseini's own statements and actions make clear that his alliance with the Nazis was in part driven by the virulent anti-Semitism that he shared with the Third Reich. The BBC inexplicably ignores his denigration of Jews as a whole and "world Jewry."
The meeting with Hitler took place in November 1941 in Berlin, during which Husseini asked Hitler unsuccessfully to back Arab independence and publicly oppose the future creation of Israel.
Yad Vashem's International School for Holocaust Studies explains that
Husseini contributed to the Nazi war effort by setting up Bosnian Muslim battalions that were attached to the Waffen-SS. These soldiers fought Partisans in Bosnia and massacred civilians there. Husseini also tried to convince the Axis authorities to bomb Tel Aviv, and to extend the "Final Solution" to the Jews in North Africa and Palestine. When he was informed of various Nazi plans to exchange Jewish lives for goods or large sums of money, he strenuously lobbied against them.And The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum explains that
Al-Husayni spoke often of a ‘worldwide Jewish conspiracy' that controlled the British and U.S. governments and sponsored Soviet Communism. He argued that ‘world Jewry' aimed to infiltrate and subjugate Palestine, a sacred religious and cultural center of the Arab and Muslim world, as a staging ground for the seizure of all Arab lands. In his vision of the world, the Jews intended to enslave and exploit Arabs, to seize their land, to expropriate their wealth, undermine their Muslim faith and corrupt the moral fabric of their society. He labeled the Jews as the enemy of Islam, and used crude racist terminology to depict Jews and Jewish behavior, particularly as he forged a closer relationship with the SS in 1943 and 1944. He described Jews as having immutable characteristics and behaviors. On occasion, he would compare Jewishness to infectious disease and Jews to microbes or bacilli. In at least one speech attributed to him, he advocated killing Jews wherever Arabs found them. He consistently advocated ‘removing' the Jewish homeland from Palestine and, on occasion, driving every Jew out of Palestine and other Arab lands. ...
On December 18, 1942, Arab émigrés opened an ‘Islamic Central Institute' (Islamische Zentral-Institut) in Berlin, with al-Husayni as a senior sponsor and keynote speaker. In his speech, al-Husayni lashed out at the Jews, stating that the Koran judged the Jews ‘to be the most irreconcilable enemies of the Muslims.' He predicted that the Jews would ‘always be a subversive element on the earth [and] are inclined to craft intrigues, provoke wars, and play the nations off against one another.' Al-Husayni insisted that the Jews influenced and controlled the leadership of Great Britain, the United States, and the ‘godless communists.' With their help and support, ‘world Jewry' had, he asserted, unleashed World War II."In a Nov. 5, 1943 speech broadcast on Radio-Berlin, Husseini referred to the Jews of "the lowest race among the nations," a sentiment echoed in his diary: "The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster," he wrote. "They destroy morality in all countries ... they are like moths who eat away all the good in the countries ... they are monsters and the basis of all evil in the world ..." (Jennie Lebel, The Mufti of Jerusalem Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National Socialism, pgs 155-158).
Like Obama, I am a graduate of Harvard Law School. I too have Muslims in my family. I am black, and I was once a leftist Democrat. Since our backgrounds are somewhat similar, I perceive something in Obama's policy toward Israel which people without that background may not see.
All my life I have witnessed a strain of anti-Semitism in the black community. It has been fueled by the rise of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, but it predates that organization.
We heard it in Jesse Jackson's "HYMIE town" remark years ago during his presidential campaign. We heard it most recently in Jeremiah Wright's remark about "them Jews" not allowing Obama to speak with him. I hear it from my own Muslim family members who see the problem in the Middle East as a "Jew" problem.
Growing up in a small, predominantly black urban community in Pennsylvania, I heard the comments about Jewish shop owners. They were "greedy cheaters" who could not be trusted, according to my family and others in the neighborhood. I was too young to understand what it means to be Jewish, or know that I was hearing anti-Semitism. These people seemed nice enough to me, but others said they were "evil". Sadly, this bigotry has yet to be eradicated from the black community.
In Chicago, the anti-Jewish sentiment among black people is even more pronounced because of the direct influence of Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Most African Americans are not followers of "The Nation", but many have a quiet respect for its leader because, they say, "he speaks the truth" and "stands up for the black man". What they mean of course is that he viciously attacks the perceived "enemies" of the black community – white people and Jews. Even some self-described Christians buy into his demagoguery.
The question is whether Obama, given his Muslim roots and experience in Farrakhan's Chicago, shares this antipathy for Israel and Jewish people. Is there any evidence that he does.
First, the President was taught for twenty years by a virulent anti-Semite, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. In the black community it is called "sitting under". You don't merely attend a church, you "sit under" a Pastor to be taught and mentored by him. Obama "sat under" Wright for a very long time. He was comfortable enough with Farrakhan – Wright's friend – to attend and help organize his "Million Man March". I was on C-Span the morning of the march arguing that we must never legitimize a racist and anti-Semite, no matter what "good" he claims to be doing. Yet a future President was in the crowd giving Farrakhan his enthusiastic support.
The classic left wing view is that Israel is the oppressive occupier, and the Palestinians are Israel's victims. Obama is clearly sympathetic to this view. In speaking to the "Muslim World," he did not address the widespread Islamic hatred of Jews. Instead he attacked Israel over the growth of West Bank settlements. Surely he knows that settlements are not the crux of the problem. The absolute refusal of the Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is the insurmountable obstacle. That's where the pressure needs to be placed, but this President sees it differently. He also made the preposterous comparison of the Holocaust to Palestinian "dislocation".
Obama clearly has Muslim sensibilities. He sees the world and Israel from a Muslim perspective. His construct of "The Muslim World" is unique in modern diplomacy. It is said that only The Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements of the religion use that concept. It is a call to unify Muslims around the world. It is rather odd to hear an American President use it. In doing so he reveals more about his thinking than he intends. The dramatic policy reversal of joining the unrelentingly ant-Semitic, anti-Israel and pro-Islamic UN Human Rights Council is in keeping with the President's truest – albeit undeclared – sensibilities
Those who are paying attention and thinking about these issues do not find it unreasonable to consider that President Obama is influenced by a strain of anti-Semitism picked up from the black community, his leftist friends and colleagues, his Muslim associations and his long period of mentorship under Jeremiah Wright.
If this conclusion is accurate, Israel has some dark days ahead. For the first time in her history, she may find the President of the United States siding with her enemies. Those who believe as I do that Israel must be protected had better be ready for the fight. We are.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
SHEIKH ZAYED CITY, Gaza Strip — Nearly a thousand Palestinians celebrated marriage on Thursday night in a ceremony organised by Hamas in the north of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas dignitaries including Mahmud Zahar, one of the militant group's top leaders, were on hand to congratulate 450 grooms who took part in the carefully stage-managed event.
"We are saying to the world and to America that you cannot deny us joy and happiness," Zahar told the men, all of whom were dressed in identical black suits and hailed from the nearby Jabalia refugee camp.
Each groom received a present of 500 dollars from Hamas, which said its workers had also contributed five percent of their monthly salaries to add to the wedding gift.
The 450 brides shared none of the glamour, taking seats among the audience of around 1,000 party guests...
"We are presenting this wedding as a gift to our people who stood firm in the face of the siege and the war," local Hamas strongman Ibrahim Salaf said in a speech....
The 5-minute video below from LiveLeak purports to show "brides" who were as young as 5 or 6 years old. If you don't have time to see the whole video, just watch the first 30 seconds, then from 4'25" to 4'35".
UPDATE 18/8/09: However Tim Marshall, who attended the event, says the young girls seen in the photos and videos were not the brides, and that "Hamas, and the jihadists do enough terrible things without having to make things up about them."
Tim had this to say on Sky News, 4/8/09:
...Sure Hamas have cold blooded killers among them, sure they support the murder of children in Israel, sure they are cracking down on women's rights, but many of their supporters are just ordinary people. And they need a break.
...the fireworks explode, the cheering begins, and in march the Hamas scouts, bashing drums, looking every inch the future Hamas fighters many will be. Then the grooms, aged about 18 to about 28. They are holding hands with their young nieces and cousins, little girls aged from about 3 to 8, made up to the nines, wearing white wedding dresses.
...It never struck me for a moment that the little girls might later be described in the bloggersphere as the brides ...the girls weren't the brides.
... Hamas, and the jihadists do enough terrible things without having to make things up about them. ... It's as is (sic) they really beleive (sic) that because there are examples of child brides, it means all weddings are with child brides...
(Updated 16 September 2009) from a talk on January 07, 2009, by Wafa Sultan, on YouTube:
... the Fatah general conference, which convened in Bethlehem for a three-day gathering, adopted a position paper which ...states that the Palestinian national enterprise will not reach fruition until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian sovereignty....
"Fatah will continue to sacrifice victims until Jerusalem will be returned (to the Palestinians), clean of settlements and settlers,"
the paper states. According to Israel Radio, the paper does not make a distinction between the eastern and western halves of the capital, nor does it distinguish between the territories within the Israeli side of the Green Line and the areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
I don’t know anything about the controversy regarding where Barack Obama was born, but I’m surprised this issue hasn’t brought up the memory of two cases in the Middle East where birthplaces or childhood homes were misstated for political purposes.
The first of these was Yasir Arafat, founder of Fatah and leader of the Palestinian movement for many decades. Arafat always said he was born in Jerusalem....
In the end, a British journalist found Arafat’s birth certificate in Cairo, Egypt. He had been lying for years to enhance his Palestinian nationalist credentials. (Of course, that’s not the only thing Arafat lied about.) ....
...Arafat’s was not the only case of misrepresenting one’s natal and thereafter experiences. Edward Said, who turned Middle East studies from scholarship to propaganda ...patron saint of Palestinian nationalism made totally false claims in his writings about his time spent in Jerusalem.
... there are many who are taken in by such myths and misrepresentations.
When Justus Weiner carried out the research to expose Said, he was subjected to considerable abuse ...[and] treated as something of a thought criminal.
Said had told beautiful and politically useful lies and ... Who cares what really happened if it helps the cause? ...