Archive for March, 2010

Israel blamed for US Armenian genocide resolution

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

News item:

Jewish lobbyists contrived a U.S. congressional vote that labeled the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper claimed on Saturday.

Pro-Israel lobbyists had previously backed Turkey on the issue but changed tack in retaliation for Turkish condemnation of Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip, the Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily said in an editorial, according to Israel Radio reports…

In his leading article, Al-Quds Al-Arabi editor Abd al-Bari Atwan urged Erdogan not to give in to the Jewish lobby’s “extortion” tactics.

You may remember that back in 2007 a similar resolution escaped the Foreign Relations Committee, although it did not survive to become law due to pressure from the Bush Administration. At that time, Turkey threatened to cool relations with Israel, and even hinted that it might not be able to protect Turkish Jews against antisemitic reactions if the resolution passed.

In what can only be called an antisemitic failure to understand the relationship between Israel, American Jews and the US government, the Turks seemed to think that Israel could order American Jews and Jewish organizations to apply irresistible pressure against the resolution — because, as everyone knows, US Jews take orders from Jerusalem and control their government!

When the ADL, which had originally opposed the resolution, more or less reversed its position as a result of an outcry that it was unthinkable for a Jewish group to be on the wrong side of this kind of issue, the outraged Turkish government complained to Israel.

Now the Armenian Genocide resolution has reared its head yet again, but diplomatic sources in Israel claim that this time the Turks have not turned to Israel for help. It’s not surprising; the ‘special relationship’ between Israel and Turkey is badly strained these days.

Turkish PM Erdoğan seems to have decided that Turkey’s future lies elsewhere than the Western bloc. His Islamist AKP party has pushed it closer to Iran and Syria and away from the US and Israel. He’s bashed Israel unmercifully over alleged ‘crimes’ in Gaza, and even walked out of a panel with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos, Switzerland, in simulated dudgeon.

In 2007, Israel  and its supporters were sharply attacked by Armenian and liberal groups for their coolness to the genocide resolution. Then, Israel was threatened by Turkey when Jewish groups didn’t ‘follow orders’ to oppose it. Finally, in 2010 when Israel stayed out of the fray — after taking massive abuse from the Turkish PM — it’s criticized for conspiring to ‘contrive’ the issue!

It would probably be best for Israel and Jews to simply take the moral point of view and go on record as recognizing the genocide. Probably neither the Turkish nor the Armenian side — not to mention Al-Quds Al-Arabi — can be expected to join the pro-Israel camp no matter what Israel does.

I’ve written quite a number of posts on this subject over the years, which you can find here.

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Age isn’t paranoid, Youth is blind

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Today a friend directed my attention to an op-ed in the Boston Globe, “The New American Jew on Israel” by Jesse Singal. Singal asks why Jewish college students are less supportive of Israel than in the past, in the context of a talk at Harvard’s Hillel house by J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami. He does not discuss the question of J Street’s lack of legitimacy as a pro-Israel organization, its funding from sources that are anything but pro-Israel, or its recent embarrassment when Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren refused to attend its convention because he found J Street’s policies to be damaging to Israeli interests.

But according to Singal, its position meshes closely with that of many students. Here’s one horrifying example:

…when asked about the prospect of Iran destroying Israel, Harvard Divinity School student Kenan Jaffe, 26, said he thought it was “unlikely.’’

“I also don’t think it’s directly related to the Palestinian question,’’ he said, “and it is only to the extent that if Israel comes to a final status solution with the Palestinians, Iran will have nothing to say about Israel and no reason to make threats against it.’’

Whether or not the Iranian regime will succeed in its oft-stated goal of bringing about an end to the Jewish state by means of its Lebanese and Palestinian proxies or even directly is certainly moot — it won’t happen if Israel has anything to say about it — but the idea that a ‘solution’ of the argument with the Palestinian Arabs, if such were possible, would end the Iranian threat is ludicrous. Iran’s quarrel with Israel has to do with its desire to push out Western influence from the region, its desire to dominate the conservative Sunni states (and their oil), and to unify the Mideast under a Shiite caliphate. There’s clearly no room for a Jewish political entity in this picture.

The students are “less likely to see Israel as threatened by its neighbors, and therefore less worried about Israel’s security”, says Singal, and quotes the glib Ben-Ami:

If you’ve had personal experience – if not you [then] at least your parents – with the destruction of your people, you’re more likely to take it as a possibility that it could happen again,’’ he said. “If you have grown up here in complete comfort and safety and no one you know in an immediate sense has been through that, I do think [you’re] going to have a very fundamental[ly] different view, a different take, on how you view the Iran threat.

Ben-Ami seems to be saying that it’s all about the Holocaust, and that older Jews are psychologically scarred by either remembering the time or by hearing firsthand accounts. So they react in a way which is understandable, but according to Ben-Ami, inappropriate. But this is very misleading (and insulting).

What is different about the young Jews, as Ami Isseroff recently said,  is that they have grown up without ever knowing a world without a Jewish state. There has always been an Israel for them; the idea that it could disappear is unthinkable. After all, hasn’t Israel won all of its wars? 62 years is longer than the parents of today’s college students have been around, although in geopolitical terms it’s not very long. Israel and its partisans quite naturally try to present an image of success and permanence, so it’s not surprising that it’s hard for young people to see its very real vulnerability.

Indeed, pro-Arab propaganda always emphasizes the underdog status of the Palestinians, always opposing them to the relatively mighty Israel, while leaving out the relative size of Israel vs. the Arab nations and Iran, and ignoring the military capabilities of all of Israel’s enemies.

While Ben-Ami attributes the difference in attitude to a psychologically damaged older generation, it’s more correct to say that it is caused by a perceptual inadequacy in the younger one.  It’s not that Age is paranoid; rather, Youth is blind. So whose impressions are closer to the truth?

Singal goes on to distill the students’ position, with which he clearly agrees, as follows:

…they were worried about the grim prospects that face Israel if it can’t make peace with the Palestinians. Given the region’s demographic patterns, absent a two-state solution, Israel will soon have to choose between being a Jewish state and a democratic one.

This presupposes that an additional partition of Israel would actually end the conflict, rather than simply provide a platform for more effective attacks against Israel. But there are plenty of indications that this is false. The refusal of Fatah to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and its demand for a right of return for Arab ‘refugees’ is one; the continued incitement to hate Israel and Jews coming from the Palestinian Authority despite its alleged participation in a ‘peace process’ is another; the preeminence of hardliners in Fatah is another; and the fact that at its convention last summer,  rather than moderating its charter which calls for the violent destruction of the Jewish state, Fatah chose to reaffirm it, is yet another. And I haven’t even mentioned Hamas yet!

Saying that the creation of a Palestinian state under the control of Fatah (at best) would provide a solution to the conflict is like saying that a fleet of flying pigs carrying mail would fix the postal service. Perhaps in theory — an entirely uninformed and highly imaginative theory — it would.

The reality is much more difficult, and therefore unpalatable. It’s necessary for Israel to keep doing what it has been doing since 1948, fighting for its existence while trying to maintain its democracy and Jewish character. It wasn’t easy and it doesn’t promise to be easy in the future. But wishing can’t make things so.

The message of J Street is highly dangerous: don’t worry, Israel isn’t in danger (or if there are dangers, Israel shouldn’t defend herself against them in any real way), go to almost any length (i.e., make all the concessions the Arabs demand) to ‘make peace’ (i.e., to weaken Israel and strengthen its enemies).

Both the message and the messenger are suspect.

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The wisdom of Ahmadinejad

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Some recent wisdom from the Iranian President:

Existence of Zionist regime an insult to humanity, president

Tehran, Feb 28, IRNA — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to the entire humanity.

Addressing International Conference on ‘National and Islamic Solidarity for Future of Palestine’, he said that it is well-known for all that the Zionist regime’s mission is threat, violence and beating drums of war.

Supporters of the Zionist regime who are shouting slogans of human rights and anti-terrorism, support systematic crimes of the occupying regime, the president said.

He said that everybody knows that the regime is seeking hegemony over the world.

He said that the Zionist regime is the origin of all the wars, genocide, terrors and crimes against humanity and that they are the racist group not respecting the human principles.

President: Iranian foreign policy focuses on divine values, justice

Tehran, March 3, IRNA — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Iran’s foreign policy is based on divine values.

Addressing foreign-based Iranian diplomats and heads of Iranian missions abroad, he said that without establishment of a global ruling system on the basis of justice and monotheism, peace and security will not be materialized.

“Iran’s diplomacy seeks such an international government,” he said…

Ahmadinejad referred to sincerity and spirituality as the other focus of Iranian foreign policy and said that an Iranian envoy should advocate spirituality, sincerity and justice.

“Iran favors forging ties with all the countries except for the Zionist regime, which is illegitimate,” he said.

Issuing 29,000 billion counterfeit dollars by US is biggest theft

Tehran, March 3, IRNA, — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said issuance of 29,000 billion counterfeit dollars by US Federal Reserve is the biggest theft in the history of human kind…

He added the fact that US has 14,000 billion dollars budget deficit and has issued over 29,000 billion counterfeit dollars during the past 30 years and has bought goods with it, is the biggest theft in the history of human kind.

He was probably out taking hostages on the day they studied treasury securities in Economics class.

Remind yourself that this man heads a nation of about 74,000,000 people, in area the second largest state in the Middle East (after Saudi Arabia), and with a GNP of $820 billion, second only to Turkey. The powerful nations of the world have pretty much agreed that it’s OK for him to have nuclear weapons.

Why do you think he’s so afraid of the tiny country of the “Zionist regime”?

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Antisemitism and anti-Zionism, joined at the hip

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Recent anti-Israel propaganda seems, more and more, to be mixed with traditional antisemitic images and themes.

[Louis] Farrakhan, speaking to a crowd of 20,000 followers at Chicago’s United Center on Sunday, said that Obama’s political problems began when he, according to the Chicago Sun Times report, stood up to the Jewish lobby during a White House meeting. When they left the White House, his problems began,” Farrakhan said, adding that “the Zionists are in control of the Congress.”

Minister Farrakhan also referred to the U.S. president’s chief economical advisors, Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson and Larry Summers, asking “Who does he have around him? The people from Goldman Sachs.” [Geithner and Paulson are not Jewish — ed.] The leader of the Nation of Islam added that “bloodsuckers of the poor” were rewarded with a bailout…

Further on in his address, Farrakhan also reiterated his claims that the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was “an inside thing…”

At one point during his address, Farrakhan implied that the validity of Holocaust records should be open to debate. “[You] can’t even engage in constructive argument over the veracity of the figures of the Holocaust. We know something happened, sure, but you can’t talk about [it]. In certain cities in Europe they arrest you and put you in prison for denying such.”

“There’s not a vote that the pro-Israeli lobby wants that doesn’t get bipartisan support,” Farrakhan said. “Why? Because the Israeli lobby controls the government of the United States of America.” — Ha’aretz

There’s more, but you get the idea. He hits all the buttons. Abe Foxman of the ADL criticized Farrakhan harshly, saying

Louis Farrakhan is at it again … After his near-silence on Jews over the last several years, we thought Minister Farrakhan had put his long history of anti-Semitism and racism behind him, or at least had held his views in check. Apparently, that was wishful thinking. Once again he is clearly comfortable with putting his bigotry on display, unfettered and unhidden for his supporters and the world to see.

Farrakhan isn’t the only one who finds himself “comfortable” expressing antisemitic views today:

Israel lodged a formal complaint with Spain on Sunday, charging certain individuals in Spanish schools of promoting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideas among young children. The letter comes after Israel’s ambassador to Spain, Rafi Shotz, recently received dozens of anti-Semitic postcards from Spanish elementary school students.

The postcards bore statements including “Jews kill for money,” “Leave the country to the Palestinians” and “Go somewhere where they will accept you.” A Foreign Ministry official said the handwriting appears typical of children six to nine years old. — Ha’aretz

How adorable. “Now children, today we are going to do a special project and write to those bloodthirsty Zionist pigs and tell them to go to Hell.”

Keeping to the program of mixing anti-Zionist sentiments with antisemitic imagery, here’s a picture displayed this week in an anti-Israel exhibition in Cologne, Germany:

Antisemitic imagery in Cologne, Germany

Antisemitic imagery in Cologne, Germany

There really does seem to be an increase in antisemitic expression lately. Antisemitic websites are flush with visitors. Here are a pair of examples:

Alexa statistics for stormfront.org

Alexa statistics for rense.com

Alexa statistics for rense.com

What’s going on? It’s clear that the economic meltdown and the Gaza war have been seized upon by antisemites as proof of Jewish turpitude, but the sudden jump in the middle of 2009 is strange. Operation Cast Lead seems to have no immediate effect; compare, for example, Al Jazeera:

Alexa statistics for aljazeera.net

Alexa statistics for aljazeera.net

The huge peak around January, of course, was the war.  Now look at some anti-Zionist sites:

Alexa statistics for electronicintifada.net

Alexa statistics for electronicintifada.net

Here we see the same peak at the time of the war; but look also at the strong growth starting around the middle of the year.

“Mondoweiss” is one of my ‘favorite’ sites because it lives on the interface between anti-Zionism and antisemitism (and, of course, its owners are of Jewish extraction):

Alexa statistics for mondoweiss.net

Alexa statistics for mondoweiss.net

Wow! he didn’t even move the needle until June. What happened?

So what do I conclude from this highly non-rigorous ‘research’? Not a lot:

  • There is an increase in antisemitic expression recently, and it is closely associated with anti-Zionism.
  • Something seems to have energized the antisemites (yes, I include “mondoweiss” in that category) around June 2008. Suggestions?
  • Anti-Zionist sites are becoming more popular.
  • If you write a good blog that nobody reads, don’t look at Alexa.

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