Archive for October, 2007

Amnesty International almost gets it, but misses the point

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Amnesty International (AI), long considered to be severely biased against Israel, is starting to understand that Palestinians can oppress Palestinians. We might say that they almost get it:

The 57-page report, Occupied Palestinian Territories: Torn apart by factional strife, accuses Hamas of resorting increasingly to arbitrary detentions and torture since it took power last June in the Gaza Strip, and of allowing its forces to attack and assault peaceful demonstrators as well as journalists reporting on their protests. In the West Bank, the report blames security forces loyal to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas of arbitrarily detaining hundreds of Hamas supporters but of failing to take action against Fatah militants responsible for abductions, arson and other attacks. — AI press release

Hmm, I could have written that, except that I would have used the word ‘terrorists’. But it’s not bad. On the other hand, they continue as follows:

Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Middle East Programme Director [said] “The ongoing factional struggle between Fatah and Hamas is having a dire effect on the lives of Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, compounding and exacerbating the human rights and humanitarian crisis caused by Israeli military campaigns and blockades.” [my emphasis]

So it’s as if Israel is the cause of the problem, and Hamas/Fatah are merely guilty of making it worse! Not so smart, Smart. You are missing the point that the Palestinians have always had the option of stopping terrorist activities (as I write, missiles are falling on Sderot) and thereby putting an end to Israeli actions in self-defense.

And the outrage seems to be primarily generated when Palestinians are the victims of violence. Search the AI database for reports on the Israel and the territories, and you will find some critical of the Palestinians for their behavior towards one another, or for such things as the Alan Johnston kidnapping. You will find literally hundreds critical of Israel in the harshest possible terms (I did find one which evenhandedly criticized Israel and Hamas for civilian casualties in Gaza and Sderot, and one which criticized Hizbullah for the rocket barrage of 2006).

I’ll take AI more seriously when they recognize the long-term Arab project to destroy Israel as a human rights problem.

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All about Zionist genetic weapons

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Gen. BagherzadehSometimes stupidity becomes so overwhelming that one wants to… well, you decide:

An Iranian official has said that the U.S., assisted by Israel, is seeking to create a genetic and molecular bank to manufacture new types of unconventional weapons.

Addressing an international seminar on “The Consequences of the Use of Chemical Weapons against Iran,” Foundation for the Protection of the Values of the Sacred Defense head Gen. Mir Feysal Bagherzadeh said that the U.S., in collaboration with the Zionist regime of Israel, is forming a bank of the molecules and genes of the different world nations and peoples in pursuit of its hostile goals.

“This is not done in pursuit of humanitarian goals. Rather they are seeking to manufacture a weapon which could kill specific peoples in a limited geographical area,” he stressed.

[He said that] after the recent crash of a Thai plane, U.S. and Israeli experts searched for corpses of Iranian nationals in a bid to obtain their genes for the research. — MEMRI

To dispose of the scientific issue first, no, there can’t be such a weapon. Human genes are remarkably similar among ethnic groups. And even if there were a way to discriminate, populations — especially in the US and Israel — are very diverse. Who’s to say that the many Israeli Jews of Sephardic ancestry — like the current Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, whose mother came from Syria, or his predecessor, Dan Halutz, whose father came from Iran — are not likely to have characteristics similar to those of Syrians and Iranians?

But racists just love this kind of stuff. People who used to talk about blood now talk about genetics. The same Jewish genes that make Jews intelligent but irredeemably evil allow for targeted biological weapons, in this view! Of course, the most that can be said is that statistically one ethnic group may have a greater likelihood to possess particular characteristics than another.

Actually, what really separates peoples are things like education and features of culture. And cultures are prey to diseases caused by what one might call ‘social viruses’, of which antisemitism is a particularly contagious and virulent example.

This particular libel is, in a way, perfect. The evil Jews, evil because of their Jewish blood, use this very same blood as a talisman to protect them against a fearsome plague that they start themselves! Shades of the well-poisoners who brought the Black Death on Europe.

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Antisemitism plays well

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

I knew this was going to happen.

The Jews are now in trouble with both the Turks and the Armenians: the Turks because we are blamed for the genocide resolution’s Oct. 10 approval by the House Foreign Relations Committee, and the Armenians because several Jewish organizations opposed it.

It looks now as though the resolution will not pass the full House, thanks to Turkish threats to complicate the situation in Iraq. Does this mean that the Turks will like us? Fat chance. Antisemitism always plays well when a government wants to change the subject.

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Rockets fall, Palestinians posture

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Having just written about the International Solidarity Movement [ISM] and noted their concern for international law as well as their desire for Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank, I also note the following news item:

Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip continued to strike southern Israel on Monday, the day’s third barrage brought the total number of rocket strikes to 12.

Two rockets were fired from Gaza at the western Negev late Monday evening. Earlier, shortly after 8 p.m., a barrage of four rockets landed in open territory in the western Negev.

In the afternoon, six rockets were fired at southern Israel. No wounded or damage were reported in any of the attacks. — Jerusalem Post

If anything is forbidden by international law under any circumstances, it’s random shooting into civilian areas.

The other point is this: what do they think they are teaching Israel about the occupation? The lesson seems to be that if you stop occupying a Palestinian area, like Gaza, you will get rockets. Every day.

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Realism… or fantasy?

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

The ‘realists’ in the US foreign policy establishment continue to push for the US to deal with radical Islamic regimes like Syria and Iran, and with terrorist groups like Hamas. So does the EU, and even some US presidential candidates. But it is just the opposite of realistic.

Without illusions

by Barry Rubin

The alternative Western view of Middle East strategy–so influential in academic, media, and to some extent diplomatic circles—has a six-point program that boils down as:

Make deals with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah; ally with Muslim Brotherhoods; and split Iran and Syria.

The more extreme of those that advocate this approach are sympathetic to these forces, seeing them as more misunderstood victim than aggressive oppressor; the more moderate among them merely think the radicals can be moderated through concessions and confidence-building measures. In other words, they are not really adversaries but either already good guys or can be converted into playing that role.

By this analysis, those who claim these radical regimes and movements are dangerous due to their radical ideology, violent methods, and totalitarian goals are standing in the way of solving issues quickly, painlessly, and peacefully. They are warmongers perpetrating needless conflicts.