Archive for September, 2010

It ain’t funny, Ray

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

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Ray Hanania is a Palestinian-American standup comedian.

Lately he claims to be getting serious about peace. But his ‘serious’ comments are absurd enough that one wonders if he thinks that he can make up facts like he does jokes.

For example, he said,

To Israel, the issue is security and being recognized as a “Jewish state.”

The fact is Palestinians have recognized Israel’s right to exist. That is not only inherent in their repeated declarations but also in the fact that Palestinians are sitting down and negotiating two states.

Palestinian Arabs have been rejecting the right of Jews to have a state in the Middle East since 1948. He doesn’t seem to know that they violently rejected the presence of Jews at all in 1920, 1929, 1936-39, or that they started the war that became Israel’s War of Independence in 1947.

I explain the the Arab ‘recognition’ of Israel like this: you are walking in the woods and you come upon a bear sitting in the middle of the trail. Of course you recognize that there is bear there. But even though you have to admit that he’s sitting there, you don’t have to recognize his right to do so. Or agree that he can stay there, once you go back and get your gun.

The fact that they won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state seems, on the face of it, silly. Why do they care what Israel is when the negotiations are supposedly to create Palestine, which is to be a state for them?

The answer that has been given over and over again, recently by Israeli citizen Haneen Zouabi, is that the Palestinian Arabs are the owners of all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, so there can’t be a Jewish state there. Palestinian Authority negotiator Nabil Shaath recently said the same thing, adding that a Jewish state would preclude the ‘return’ of millions of Arab ‘refugees’. Indeed it would!

Hanania says they are “negotiating two states” — but the two states are the Jew-free Arab state of ‘Palestine’, and the other one, called ‘Israel’ until the ‘return’ is accomplished. Then it too can become an Arab state.

I think he believes what he writes. But despite his Arab ethnicity, he’s still intellectually a Westerner, who can’t understand why peace — which by his principles is in the interest of both sides — really isn’t the goal of the Arab leadership.

He makes a lot of jokes about being married to a Jew. He doesn’t have a problem understanding Jews. It’s Arabs that he doesn’t get.

If Ray Hanania wants to be more than a comedian, here’s one place for him to start.

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Stupid about his daughters, stupid about settlements

Sunday, September 12th, 2010
Tevye complaining about settlements.

Tevye complaining about settlements.

Theodore Bikel, the 86-year old Jewish acting and musical legend, who starred as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, is quoted in the Forward thus:

Anyone who has strong feelings for Israel like I do, and that believes it is an absolute necessity to strive for peace, understands that the single most obvious obstacle are the settlements. [my emphasis]

The article goes on to explain that this is why Bikel signed a petition urging Israeli artists to not perform in settlements, and then quotes far-left actor Ed Asner,

“I would like to see this kind of courage among American actors,” Asner said in a telephone interview with the Forward. The eight-time Emmy Award winner praised the Israeli actors for “taking a stand on an issue that no one else wants to touch.”

No one else wants to touch it? Give us a break. These ‘courageous’ actors are on the same side as the Israeli academic and media establishment, the European Union, Barack Obama and the entire Arab and Muslim world!

Anyway, I don’t doubt Bikel’s love of Israel or his Zionist credentials, but he’s wrong. Here are five simple reasons why settlements are not “the single most obvious obstacle to peace.” Then I will reveal what it really is  (it won’t be a surprise to regular readers).

  1. The presence of settlements east of the 1949 armistice line is a matter for negotiation, as is the location of the future border. The 2000 Clinton-Barak proposals that were rejected by Yasser Arafat implied that settlements in areas that would become ‘Palestine’ would be removed. But saying that “[all] settlements are an obstacle” prejudges the outcome of negotiations. Are East Jerusalem neighborhoods ‘settlements’? Which ones? What about Gush Etzion, El Kana, Modi’in Illit?
  2. If settlements are “the single most obvious obstacle” then one would think that removing them might reduce conflict. But the total removal of settlements from Gaza was associated with an increase in terrorism and ultimately war. What reason do those calling for the end of the settlements east of the line have to think it would be different there?
  3. Palestinian Arab terrorism just since 2000 has killed more than 1000 Israeli Jewish civilians and injured thousands more. Doesn’t it make more sense to think that murder is a greater obstacle to peace than a few towns whose presence Israel is prepared to negotiate?
  4. Hamas makes no secret of its desire to commit genocide and controls the area where 40% of the Palestinian Arab population lives. It is more popular than the PLO/Fatah regime in Judea/Samaria. Doesn’t it make more sense to think that Hamas is a greater obstacle to peace than the settlements?
  5. The Palestinian Authority, with whom Israel is negotiating, continues to feed its population — especially young people — the vilest antisemitic incitement, which clearly advocates the murder of Jews. Doesn’t it make sense to think that incitement is a greater obstacle to peace than the settlements?

No, settlements are not the single most obvious obstacle to peace. The biggest obstacle is the Palestinian narrative, which insists that the Palestinians cannot accept anything less than complete surrender to all of their demands:

  • No acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state,
  • No Jewish presence east of the 1949 lines,
  • No demilitarization, even temporary, of ‘Palestine’
  • A ‘right of return’ for Palestinian ‘refugees’ into Israel.

All this is combined with the principle that Israel bears all the responsibility for the conflict!

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Untitled

Saturday, September 11th, 2010
Click for higher resolution version

Click for higher resolution version

Muslims use dual strategy to silence critics

Friday, September 10th, 2010

This morning I heard an interview with Fresno’s own Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, the director of the Islamic Cultural Center here, on a national NPR newscast. Abu Shamsieh discussed his mosque’s decision to not hold a carnival marking Eid al-Fitr on September 11.

We didn’t want any extremists out there to exploit the pain of our country by saying that Muslims are celebrating 9/11… locally a mosque was attacked. Out of fear for our, for the safety of our community, we decided not to have huge public gatherings.

The interviewer asked about the ‘attack’. Abu-Shamsieh responded,

The Madera mosque, which is about 25 minutes drive away from Fresno was vandalized three times in one week. At one time a brick was tossed through the window of the mosque, two signs were placed inside the compound, one was placed outside — that refers to the mosque in New York — and labeling the Muslim community as a terrorist community… Muslims are concerned [about their safety] every time we approach 9/11. That’s something that’s understandable. However, what we really don’t understand is the ongoing rhetoric that is being placed on [the] airwaves, especially during the month of Ramadan. We welcome the questions about our faith, but the comments that really put down our faith — that’s unwelcome.

A few things:

The ‘attack’ on the Madera mosque was not quite what Abu Shamsieh describes. The Fresno Bee reported that “a brick nearly smashed a window”. Several cardboard signs were placed on the property, but nothing was damaged — the ‘vandals’ didn’t even spray-paint graffiti on the property, as they often do to my back fence. Nothing is mentioned about anyone seeing the brick thrown, so it’s possible that a better description of the event is that “a brick was found near a window.”

Sheriff's deputy with Madera mosque signs. Courtesy Fresno Bee.

Sheriff's deputy with Madera mosque signs. Courtesy Fresno Bee.

Do I have to say that such acts are despicable? But its interesting that when worse vandalism has been perpetrated against Jewish institutions in the area, the reaction has been to play down, not exaggerate the threat. Why is this?

As I wrote recently,

There is a campaign underway to define all speech critical of programs, projects or activities of Muslims as anti-religious hate speech, which is out of bounds.

Abu-Shamsieh wants to make it appear that criticism of the Ground Zero mosque plan, for example, is hate speech, the verbal equivalent of the brick that was [in some alternate reality] thrown through the window in Madera. And he wants everyone who objects to the behavior of Muslims or even the political platform of radical Islamism, to shut up.

Etymologically, the word ‘Islamophobia’ should mean ‘fear of Muslims’, but Abu-Shamsieh and others use it to mean ‘hatred of Muslims’, analogous to racism or antisemitism. Muslim groups are presently making a big deal about the massive ‘threat’ posed by Islamophobia in the latter sense. But they are quite happy to create fear, because fear is an excellent tool to silence criticism.

So the Quran-burning affair — not that it constitutes legitimate criticism — is presented as a possible trigger for anti-American violence around the world, including against American troops in Afghanistan. The Iranian Foreign Minister says that if they had succeeded in murdering Salman Rushdie or the Danish cartoonists, maybe the infidels wouldn’t be burning Qurans today. Of course they are trying to kill Americans in Afghanistan every day, not to mention burning our flags almost everywhere there are Muslims, but that’s to be expected.

In fact, Mr. Abu-Shamsieh himself participated in an attempt to intimidate critics by fear. In early 2009, the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno was the main sponsor of a huge pro-Hamas demonstration here in Fresno.  They brought in literally hundreds of Muslim students from out of town who occupied three of four corners of a major intersection.

A small portion of the pro-Hamas demonstrators in Fresno, January 2009

A small portion of the pro-Hamas demonstrators in Fresno, January 2009

One of their signs. Courtesy KMPH-TV.

One of their signs. Courtesy KMPH-TV.

A pro-Hamas demonstrator wrests Israeli flag from counter-demonstrator.  Courtesy Fresno Bee.

A pro-Hamas demonstrator wrests Israeli flag from counter-demonstrator. Courtesy Fresno Bee.

No more than 25 counter-demonstrators stood on the remaining corner, as waves of pro-Hamas students crossed the street, often threatening them verbally and sometimes physically. At one point when it appeared that verbal confrontations might escalate to violence, I called the police, to be told that ‘everything was under control’ (there were no officers visible). Apparently the Islamic Center had made an agreement with the police that they would prevent violence, and soon one of their marshals appeared on the scene and restrained the more aggressive students. But it was made clear to us that our safety was entirely in their hands.

What I see is a two-pronged strategy to make it impossible to criticize Muslims:

  • Define criticism of Muslims, their actions or politics as bigotry akin to burning crosses; and if that doesn’t work,
  • scare the hell out of the critics.

This is why they want everyone to think there is a large amount of bigoted Muslim-hatred out there (although FBI figures show that the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes is less than one-tenth the number of anti-Jewish ones), while at the same time doing their best to create a healthy fear of the consequences of saying things that Muslims don’t like.

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Short takes: Iranian craziness, Palestinian personality disorders

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Iranian craziness

I suppose you are not surprised to find out that the evil forces behind Pastor Terry Jones and his plan to burn Qurans on Saturday are… Israel and George W. Bush! Who else would be ‘devilish’ enough?

Tehran, September 9, IRNA — Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday severely warned against the outrageous bid of an American priest [sic] to burn copies of the Holy Quran to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks…

Mottaki strongly criticized the plan and said such an irrational act is rooted in the minds of extremists who try to impose their opinion on others while Islam invites all to logical dialogue in order to promote peace, justice, kindness and humanity.

Condemning the American priest’s disgusting bid, the Iranian foreign minister said that if decisive measures had been taken against apostate author Salam Rushdi or the European caricaturist who had insulted the prophet of Islam under the guise of freedom of speech, we would have never witnessed re-occurrence of such sacrilegious acts.

Warning those masterminding such conspiracies, he said there is no doubt that the failed policies of former US president George W. Bush to fan the flames of sectarian war following the September 11th incident, will be responded by the Muslim world and true followers of other divine religions, Mottaki underlined…

The recent move is now regarded as a plot hatched by the Zionist regime to make good on its humiliating defeats in its struggle with Muslims, Mottaki underlined.

So, in other words, if Muslims who want to “promote peace, justice, kindness and humanity” had succeeded in murdering Salman Rushdie or the cartoonists responsible for the notorious Danish cartoons, then the infidels would have learned to be more respectful in the future!

This is the regime that is about to become a nuclear power!

Palestinian personality disorders

This quote encapsulates absolutely everything you need to know about why the present peace negotiations will go nowhere:

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat released a statement on Thursday in which he alleged that his televised address to Israelis asking that they be his “peace partner” was altered, according to a Palestinian news agency Ma’an report.

“Unfortunately, my statements were altered and interpreted as if I were apologizing to the Israeli nation. This is the opposite to what I said. I was speaking as a negotiator and I meant that, as Palestinian and Israeli negotiators, we hand been unable to come up with a solution after many years,” Erekat said about the video promoting the Geneva Initiative.

He continued, “I never intended to apologize to the Israeli nation, they are the ones who should apologize for what they have done to the Palestinians and all the actions that have humiliated our nation. Palestinians are the nation who deserve an apology.”

God forbid we should think a Palestinian Arab is sorry for anything! From the pogroms and war incited by the Nazi Mufti, through the headline-grabbing terrorism of Arafat, to the recent murderous drive-bys, the long, long list of atrocities they’ve committed — they aren’t sorry. It’s all somebody else’s fault. They are victims of Israel, the West, etc. They deserve an apology! Doesn’t it sound like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with a touch of Antisocial Personality Disorder thrown in?

Just to make sure we understand that Palestinian honor demands that we give everything and they give nothing, PA negotiators have made it clear that they won’t give a centimeter on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state or the removal of ‘Jewish occupiers’, and that they will not give up the “right of return” for Arab ‘refugees’ to Israel.

If you don’t think that there are psychological issues in Arab and Muslim culture, consider the unbelievable horror of honor killings.

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