Obama and the Middle East

Well, the US election is over and Senator Barack Obama has prevailed. Many people all over the world have let out a deep sigh of relief that the man who sang the words ‘bomb, bomb, bomb Iran’ when asked about how to deal with the putative “nuclear standoff” with Iran is not going to the White House. What more, Sarah Palin will not be in Washington either, which while an equally huge relief, will not please Alaska’s long suffering Moose population.

Anyway, since this is a Middle East blog, I will set aside my other thoughts on Barak Obama and focus the point of this brief post on exploring the question of what Obama’s election might mean for the Middle East. The commentary regarding US foreign policy toward the Middle East  will take shape over the next few days but here a few pieces to get things started. Colin Hallinan, “Terminating the National Security State: A New Foreign Policy” in CounterPunch provides a useful list of suggestions of how to shift US foreign policy in the Middle East towards a more constructive relationship. Hallinan speaks to Obama in the hope that an Obama administration will be open to change. Hallinan’s optimism in Obama might come mainly from the fact that Obama is not Bush or McCain but there is very little Obama has said on the Middle East that would suggest a shift in US attitude. This is why Steven Zunes in “Barack in the Middle East” is more circumspect that Hallinan, expecting that the contours of US policy toward the Middle East will not change, but does expect that Obama will move beyond the crude militarism of the Bush “regime”.

Zunes considers Obama just as Hawkish in regards to Israel-Palestine and that the unqualified, uncritical, unreserved support of Israel’s Middle East policy will probably remain a part of Obama’s platform on the Middle East. Obama explained  during a speech he gave on race relations earlier this year that it was wrong for Rev. Jeremiah Wright to have a view that “sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam”. Criticism of Israel, or US support for Israel, remains a taboo subject in US politics.

This election campaign has clearly shown once more that in the US questioning Israel and US support for Israel is perceived by candidates as political suicide, and no-one ever willingly commits political suicide . A Washington Post editorial from June 7, 2008 makes the point that in terms of the Middle East Barack Obama is clearly, in policy terms, far from radical. Obama’s policies on the Middle East as put forward by the Washington Post, especially on key issues such as Israel-Palestine and Iran could have been written by Benjamin Netanyanu.  Overall, it seems that there is a belief that Obama is a man of change and that his hard-line position on Israel and Iran issues was just political strategy and not long held conviction. Certainly, the Zionist lobby in the US have expressed this fear as demonstrated in their solid support and campaigning for John McCain, fears that are expressed in pieces such as “Barack Obama and Israel” by Ed Lansky of American Thinker.

Over the next few days we will be able to gauge the sentiment from the Middle East, especially from Israel and Iran which will give us a clearer picture of how the press and people of the Middle East see the election of Obama as US president. The concern now is that the Bush administration realising time is up and that the Democrats will take over soon decide to launch a strike against Iran, an option John Bolton predicted might be on the Bush agenda if Obama defeats McCain. If sanity prevails and Bush just bides his time, maybe, just maybe, Obama can demonstrate what constructive dialogue and negotiation can achieve. Its been a long time since we have be able to use the phrase constructive dialogue (and sanity) in the same sentence as US foreign policy to the Middle East, but maybe this is the beginning of a shift in this direction. Even if there is no transformation in US foreign policy during a Obama presidency, we can still believe in and speculate on change, at least for a little while.

Noah Bassil


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50 Responses to Obama and the Middle East

  1. Rob says:

    Don’t get too excited with one of the most liberal senators in Washington winning the Presidency. There is more to the United States support for the freest democracy in the Middle East than the thought of ‘committing political suicide’ by not supporting Israel.

    How about the belief that 4 million people surrounded by tens of millions of enemies who have tried, time and time again to exterminate them, have the right to live in peace? Whether or not you believe the Jews should have retaken their homeland in 1948, deal with the present facts. Zionism is not going anywhere. The Israeli’s aren’t going to let numerically larger opponents who can’t even govern themselves come into their country and exploit the democratic system to wreck everything they have worked so hard to build and defend over the last 60 years.

    Biden in particular will moderate Obama:
    “If I were a Jew, I’d be a Zionist. In fact, I am a Zionist. I believe that the well-being of the Jewish people around the world depends on the existence of Israel, and Israel in turn is the beacon that allows guys like me to make the case to go into the Balkans to save Muslims from genocide.”

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1222017544755&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

    Obama’s moral compass in his support of Israel won’t be as far off as you hope. The Jewish race will continue to be protected with the existence of Israel, an ideal the new Vice President of the United States so strongly believes. “Israel is a commitment born out of a moral obligation that is felt by people like me, and my support starts in my gut, goes up to my heart and then to my brain”.

  2. Raffe says:

    I can’t tell you how relieved, and happy, I was that Barack Obama won this election. Besides the fact that Sarah Palin, a heartbeat away from the presidency, scared the living hell out of me i’m hoping for a new start to the peace process.

    I previously blogged about this topic myself:

    http://www.socialmusing.com/Social_Musing/Delve_into_the_unknown/Entries/2008/9/3_Barack_Obama_will_be_Amazing_for_Israel.html

    I’m more than happy to see an end to Bush’s evangelic, almost fetish, support for Israel. Bush lost all credibility in the Arab world a long time ago and we’re in need of an invigorating President that can get all sides to the table.

    I don’t believe there will be any talks until at least February next year when Israel goes to the polls. If Kadima is voted in then we’ll see the US and Israel willing to talk, with only the Palestinians to work out their own internal struggle, however if Likud is voted in then we’ll see expansions of settlements and a stonewall when the word ‘talks’ are uttered.

    I’m hoping that Tzipi will bring Israel to the table; because America has just taken a seat.

  3. Noah Bassil says:

    Rob, my excitement comes from the belief that the moral compass of the American people voted for change, change at home and abroad embodied in Obama’s struggle against discrimination to reach the highest political post in the US.

    What I anticipate and desire is that the next American president through this example promotes dialogue and understanding and hopefully one day reconciliation. It is only when this happens that the people of Israel, all people, Jewish and non-Jewish alike will be able to live in peace.

    By the way I support Israel, but an Israel that adheres to a higher levels of human rights and equality than the US has held it to in the past. Israel has been responsible for grave human rights abuses against Palestinians and the Lebanese people which is possible because of US silence. US government silence on human rights abuses in the Middle East not only applies to Israel but has allowed the government’s of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey, its other Middle Eastern allies to continue to ignore the basic human rights of many of its citizens.

    The problems of human rights abuses are endemic in the Middle East and the tens of million of enemies you talk about, are enemies of injustice and hypocrisy not enemies of the Jewish people. My hope is that as President of the US, Barack Obama holds all governments in the Middle East accountable for their actions, that all governments will have to answer for cruelty and injustice including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. Today I am far more hopeful that this change is possible thanks to the emphatic victory of Obama and the American people’s repudiation of the Bush doctrine and the neo-conservative world view.

    Noah

  4. Rosalyn says:

    Noah I’m not quite sure how much of a ‘repudiation’ the election of Obama represents especially when he has just appointed a neocon as his cheif of staff. please see: http://www.realliberalchristianchurch.org/wordpress/2008/11/06/barack-obama-picks-rahm-emanuel-neocon-democrat-who-has-accepted-as-chief-of-staff.html
    and also: http://www.counterpunch.org/whitbeck11072008.html
    This certainly does not bode well for peace in the ME region.

    I’m also not really all that sure why most people have marked the election of Obama with so much euphoria. I can understand it the excitment over the end of the Bush era, and the defeat of McCain/Palin. But why is everyone so overjoyed about ‘the first black president’ when, during his campaign, Obama went to a great lengths to remove the imprint of his ‘blackness’. This is, as I am sure many of you will be quick to point out, a strategy of campaigning but I don’t think you can dismiss it so easily as if things will change now that Obama has secured his seat.

    There have been other black Americans in positions of power before – Colin Powell and Condalezza Rice for examples. Powell didn’t even have the strength to publically object to the Iraq war and its only since he’s been out of office that he has had a few things to say. In recent weeks he was the only one to speak out about the Muslim bashing during the campaign. In every instance that Obama was ‘accused’ of being a Muslim he merely distanced himself from it, repeated that he was a Christain but never questioned the underlying assumption that if you were a Muslim you couldn’t be an American. But this is precisely what Powell did do:

    “Insinuating that Obama should be rejected because his middle name is Hussein, he is secretly Muslim or Arab, or that he has Arab friends like the Palestinian scholar Rashid Khalidi is bad enough to start with. The worst part of this vicious and disgraceful side of American life is that very, very few people spoke up in public to say that being Arab or Muslim is not in itself an evil or a crime.

    General Colin Powell was the most prominent American who publicly said that being a Muslim and being an American are not contradictory, and he should be commended for doing so, despite his legacy of political complicity and personal cowardice in being a major supporting prop for George W. Bush’s wasteful and destructive war in Iraq. Powell found his political courage late in life, but he found it, which most other American public figures have not.”
    (Rami Khouri. Pride and shame in American politics http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=97382&categ_id=5)

    It’s striking to me that Powell’s courage only came out in retirement when really it could have come out in the lead up to the Iraq war, when Muslim and Arab bashing were also at a peak.

    The unfortunate truth is that very little in America has changed and the neocon agenda is not as dead and buried as we’d like to think.

  5. mkhalid says:

    Thanks for that well written and comprehensive comment, Ros. It’s just what I wanted to say but so much more eloquent. As much as people would like to think that Obama will do a bit of a u-turn now that he’s been elected, sadly that is wishful thinking and very unlikely. I’ve heard many people say “but he HAD to say xyz to get elected, he doesn’t really think that” – the problem is the very fact that he ‘had’ to conform to the existing framework. Similarly, as Ros pointed out, Colin Powell couldn’t challenge the Muslim-bashing whilst in a position of power as vocally as he did now that he is not Sec of State. It’s great that an African American has been elected, but let’s not get too excited before we look at what that actually means, and what he had to do to get the popular vote.

  6. Rosalyn says:

    mkhalid i think you should marry me!

  7. Noah Bassil says:

    Rosalyn and mkhalid,

    I understand your reluctance to get carried away but without a sense of hope then we get dragged into the same cycle of despair that has characterized the recent past. I agree with the skepticism because it is clear that the US under Obama will still be a global power with global interests and a global foreign policy which will be ultimately reliant on military power. But the US was become far more aggressive in the Bush period because of the neo-conservative FP and the loss of “soft power” or legitimacy, most evident in the failure of the US to drag many of its allies into Iraq in 2002/3. With Obama there is a chance that the US will regain some of that legitimacy. The significance of this is that in international relations it might not be that the US changes but that other countries relate to Obama differently and change the US this way. This is a big if, but not beyond the realms of possibility.

    Also, the major shift that has occurred and where genuine hope springs lies in the collapse of the neo-liberal framework, for three decades the dominant economic ideology of US foreign policy, and now discredited. Therefore, we not only have a new president but a president looking for a new international framework on which to project US hegemony. What this means is that change is upon us, what shape it takes only time will tell.

    Noah

  8. llwynn says:

    After reading all the comments here, I think I want to marry Noah and Raffe. ;) Oh, except that I’m already married to a man who’s also in love with Obama. So it’s a happy little bizarre love triangle.

  9. Raffe says:

    Rosalyn,

    The Americans and Israeli’s are allies because of shared ideologies and strategic reasons. I would hardly call Rahm Emanuel a ‘neocon’. His book ‘The Plan’ was progressive to say the least and if they could implement only half the suggestions in that book then American would change for the better.

    In relation to the claims of Obama being a Muslim. I totally agree with Colin Powell. It was disgusting the way that Islam was seen as a negative and i’m glad to see it did not affect the final outcome of the election. The Republicans based their campaign, as they always have, on fear; in this case the fear of the unknown. I was glad to see Gen. Powell’s comments and his support of President-Elect Obama and to see someone, finally, refuting what we all knew…that anyone can achieve anything regardless of their race, religion, sexual preference or ethnicity.

  10. Raffe says:

    Lisa,

    I’m touched… truly. But my parents would kill me if i married a goy :P

  11. mustafa ramadan says:

    To Lisa

    12 Nov 2008

    What kind of marriages are you talking about ? I understand that a normal marriage happens between one man and one woman ? Are you talking figuratively ? Anyway, we need a Freudian psychologist to explain this wished or “repressed” desire.

    Since you are an anthropologist and must have studied psychology, please reply and enlighten me.

    Regards

    Mustafa

  12. llwynn says:

    Hi Mustafa,

    We’re just joking around. See, Rosalyn likes to leave comments suggesting that people whose points of view she disagrees with should go marry each other. I believe that in the past she’s suggested, for example, that Raffe go marry Alan Dershowitz and Benny Morris. It’s her way of using humor to signal their affinity of perspective. It’s also a big insult coming from Rosalyn! Here we’re playing on her past matchmaker tactics of critique and turning them upside down to signal not insult but our own affinities of perspective over what Obama’s election means to the world.

    But I think you understand all that and I’m explaining needlessly. I’d love to hear you riff on this talk of marriage and Freudian desire. Come, analyse it all for us!

    And no I’ve never studied psychology, I’m afraid. I’ve only studied anthropological critiques of Freud ,and I find Lacanian anthropologists to be largely incomprehensible — but then that’s because I have a simple mind.

    all best
    Lisa

  13. I am thrilled about the presidency of Barack at one level. However, I do not see how he offers much for a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Especially given his speech at AIPAC this year. Details of my perspective is at:

    http://palestineisraelbarackobama.blogspot.com/

    Yes we can! – Changing the President’s position on Israel and Palestine

    1. The significance of the Palestinian-Israeli-Arab conflict

    I have great hope in Barack Obama. I like so many was moved by the magnitude of his election as the President of United States of America. I will never forget the tears coming down from Jesse Jackson’s eyes at the announcement of Barack’s victory and the joy of seeing the Obama and Biden family coming together on the stage a symbol of the new future for America. However, Obama despite his messianic qualities is a mortal and must still be held accountable for his political positions. Yes, even though many of us just want to focus on the positives and celebrate his win – we still need to continue to be grounded in the humanity of the man. One position that Barack needs to be questioned on his position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Sadly, from my perspective Barack Obama (1) seriously underestimates the detrimental impact that US relations to Israel and the occupied Palestinian people has on the global Islamic community (2) fails to appreciate the link between terrorism and the failure to resolve this conflict and (3) fails to acknowledge the link between US bias towards Israel and the perpetuation of the conflict….

    Other headings include:

    2. US bias towards Israel destabilizes the region and the globe
    3. Israeli and Palestinian violence – no level playing field
    4. Occupation as a source of terrorism
    5. America at war
    6. Reframing the Palestinian-Israeli-Arab conflict
    7. European pogroms and the Holocaust
    8. The Common sense reason for the war of 1948
    9. Obama’s AIPAC speech
    10. Obama and Rahm Emanuel

    I’ve put together a bunch of links that might be useful for people.

    Still working on it…

    Stewart

  14. mustafa ramadan says:

    To Rob
    12 Nov 2008

    Who are the 4 million people you talked about ? Where did they come from originally ? Whom did they displace brutally ? Why should the victims be your friends, not enemies ? What a simpleton you are !!!
    Like all fanatic Zionists, you mention one tenth of the truth, but you say nothing about usurping Palestine from its original inhabitants who have been there for thousands of years.

    If aliens come to your home and want to take it and kill you, do you welcome them ?
    Wake up, man !

    Mustafa

  15. mustafa ramadan says:

    To Lisa,
    12-12-08

    In order to be able to riff, I need to sit with you all for some time and watch your looks and body language.

    For the time being, I’d prefer to be away and smile at the ….. feminine language and exchanges on this site.

    God bless you

    Mustafa

  16. mustafa ramadan says:

    Sorry
    This is a revised version of my comment above.

    Mustafa
    13 Nov 2008
    The American-Israeli Alliance

    In his article on this site above, Mr. Noah Bassil said, “Criticism of Israel, or US support for Israel, remains a taboo subject in US politics.” Similar statements were said by countless free thinkers and by the writers of the book “The Israel Lobby”.

    Raffe “the greatest” said, “The Americans and Israelis are allies because of shared ideologies and strategic reasons.” It’s true. It’s true regarding Iraq, Palestine, Iran and Lebanon. The shared ideology is oppressing and reducing others and kill or displace hundreds of thousands, just to please and protect Israel. What about the legitimate interests and aspirations of the people of those countries ? To the West, this is worthless rubbish. If the USA and Israel are real democracies as they claim, why don’t they hold public transparent referendums in those countries to know what their people want ? Why is democracy confined to the Knesset, the Congress, and Western and pro-Western parliaments ?

    Both statements said by Noah and Raffe are right and have been so for the last 60 years, simply because both America and Israel were established on the skulls of the original inhabitants of America and Palestine. This is something that they have in common and one of their infamous achievements that they should be ashamed of . Pogroms, holocausts, daily grabbing of land, oppression and killing are still going on in Palestine in the 21st century and today, not in the Dark Ages. Where are the Super powers and the advocates of freedom and democracy ? “Might is right” and the jungle law still prevails. European politicians are big liars and hypocrites, just like the “big mouth” …. Condoleeza. All are partners in oppressing, humiliating and exploiting poor peoples and lying to them. This is what past and present history tells us.

    Weak nations are worthless insects crushed under the feet of ruthless powers who claim to be the protectors of freedom, democracy and humanity. Many counties in Asia, Africa and South America were occupied by European empires and kingdoms and robbed of their wealths and resources because they were weak and ignorant.

    It was the American President Harry Truman, along with his victorious Allies and European winners of the Second World War, who founded the State of Israel when the Arabs were weak and helpless. Does the establishment of Israel conform to the simplest principles of justice ? Was it fair to destroy the Palestinian people and displace them and give their land to alien Jews from all over the world, simply because Hitler gassed them and other European countries oppressed them ? What kind of logic is this ? Is this behavior expected of civilized nations and governments ?

    In the 20th and 21st centuries, most American presidents have been made by the Israel Lobby in the USA. Before American congressmen and senators or state governors become presidency candidates, they are surrounded by the LOBBY and initiated to it. From Clinton to Bush and Obama, they had to wear the Jewish skull cap and visit AIPAC and declare that they are more Zionist than the Israelis themselves. They must BEG, BEG and Beg for Jewish support and blessing. What kind of elections are these ???!!! Then the candidate election campaigns are funded overtly or covertly by known and unknown American Jews and other Christian Zionists. Yea, this happens in the 21st century, the age of freedom, democracy, globalization and transparency.

    Like other American presidents, Obama WILL NOT able to be much different from his predecessors. He cannot change the American institution and the intricate visible and invisible diabolic network of interests and powers of the American Empire. We’ve heard too much talk and too many promises from American presidents and diplomats about doing minimal justice to the Palestinians since Kennedy. What did Reagan Clinton and the two notorious Bushes do for the poor Palestinians ? They all proved to have been powerless puppets moved by secret hands.

    It’s pitiful and sad that the conscience of most Western and American politicians and rulers “wakes up” only after they leave office and lose authority and power. Tony Blair, Madeline Albright and Jimmy Carter are living examples. True leaders need to free themselves from the Zionist yoke before trying to solve world problems.

    As for poor weak peoples and nations, they need to rely on themselves and forge their own destiny and future. They need the support of free souls all over the globe. On the other hand, I hope that misled and ill-advised people will revise their beliefs and opinions.

    Mustafa

  17. Mustafa,

    I will be the first to agree with you of the gross injustice inflicted on Palestinian Arabs and their descendants following the declaration of the state of Israel.

    http://palestineisraellettersdershowitz.blogspot.com/

    I too agree that Barack Obama will not offer much for Palestinian people in the way of a just peace.

    http://palestineisraelbarackobama.blogspot.com/

    However, I would encourage you to be cautious of using the term Holocaust in the manner you have just used it as to me it belittles the significance of the European Holocaust. With all due respect the European Holocaust of Jewish People deserves absolute disdain and needs to be kept separate from equivalence with modern conflicts unless there is a comparable situation. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not the same. Yes, there may be some similarities, but not enough to use a word that should be reserved for a comparable situation. That is not to deny the carnage that is being inflicted on Palestinian people the breach of Geneva Conventions, the daily abuse, assassinations, shootings of school children. I just am concerned to respect the significance of the Holocaust within a broad historical view.

    The systematic nature of the Nazi process of bringing people to camps where they were mass executed is so grossly abhorrent that I would encourage people to not seek to equate atrocities committed against Palestinian people today or in the recent past as a Holocaust.

    That said the idea to create a Jewish nationalist state in a region which had not had a Jewish majority for over two thousand years without the consent of the indigenous population typified European and Western arrogance towards the inhabitants of the Middle East. As Australians we too live in a country as a consequence of such imperial arrogance and we have much to make amends.

    My hope is as Australians we can learn from our ancestors own mistakes – of dispossession and occupation – and possibily help others to see a conflict from another perspective. For Jewish nationalists to see why Palestinians feels so wronged at the loss of their land and for Palestinians to acknowledge the tragedy of the Holocaust and the persecution of Jewish people.

    Stewart Mills

  18. llwynn says:

    Many thanks Stewart for your thoughtful reply. I agree wholeheartedly.

  19. Noah Bassil says:

    Stewart,

    your point is a very important one. The Holocaust is different both qualitatively and quantitatively to what the Palestinians have experienced. the horror of the gas chambers and the systematic nature of the killing of European Jews should never be forgotten Maybe once could argue that the genocide in Rwanda, Pol Pot in Cambodia, the Turkish genocide of Armenians are more accurate comparisons, but even so I believe the Holocaust remains an especially heinous moment in human history, and that all comparisons are problematic and easily read as dismissive of the horror of the extermination camps.

    Now saying that the Palestinians are not experiencing a Holocaust does not absolve or excuse the Israeli state for the dispossession and physical and moral degradation that has been afflicted on the Palestinian people. In agreement with Stewart, I also would caution against the misuse of the term Holocaust.

    Stewart’s second point that the conquest and colonisation of Palestine resembles European colonialism is a very valid point. There are a number of important similarities between the ideology behind the setting up of the Israeli state and colonialism, especially the belief in the entitlement of superior races to rule, Zionism was/is descended from the same European racism that justified the colonial project in the nineteenth century. And why shouldn’t it have been, the ideologues of the Zionist project were educated in Europe and saw the world through a European optic of the “white man’s burden”. One of the most enduring legacies of the colonial period is that of European racism which still, as Edward Said amongst many others has noted, is prevalent in the way that the US-Europe sees the south, including the Middle East. Something, Lisa has brought out in her most recent post. The only real link between Nazism and Zionism is the shared ancestry they can claim back to the European racism of the nineteenth century.

    Thanks Stewart for raising those very important issues.

    Noah Bassil

  20. Raffe says:

    Stewart,

    I thank you profusely for your remarks regarding the holocaust and it’s place in history. I say that as both a Jew and as someone who lost a significant number of family members to the Nazi gas chambers.

    I understand your reasoning regarding Israel as a modern colonialist and am sure that you could find more examples and compare the two. How I see the founding of Israel as different from the 18th Century colonial ambitions of the European powers.

    The colonialist arrived in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and considered themselves biologically superior to the natives through the now discredited notion of social darwinism. They believed whole-heartedly that African/Arab/Asian population was there to serve the interests of White Europe and that the resources automatically belonged to them. They then proceeded to enslave the populace and worked them to death producing a variety of products that would then be sold back home.

    My view of Israel, and of Zionism, is of a people returning to a land which they have felt a continued presence since their expulsion thousands of years prior. The continual link is evident in the phrase ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ which concludes the Yom Kippur services every year in Jewish homes world wide.

    I’m not a religious Jew and am often falling asleep within moments of any religious activity yet the term ‘next year in Jerusalem’ resonates with me simply because it is evidence of a people who fought for so long, and suffered so much, to reclaim the right to their homeland.

  21. mustafa ramadan says:

    Raffe
    18-11-08

    What kind of logic is this ??? !!!
    Mere repetition of the expresssion or wish “next year in Jerusalem” does not give the Jews the right to occupay Palestine forcibly and expel their people.

    If the phrase resonates with you, it doesn’t resonate with justice and with billions of other people. Also, considering the phrase as evidence of …….” This can’t be acceptable or reasonable to any average educated person, not to say to intellectuals or scholars. This is poor reasoning, Raffe.

    Finally, the long suffering of the Jews doesn’t give them the right to usurp the land of others. Wake up man!!!

    Mustafa

    Mustafa

  22. mustafa ramadan says:

    Revised copy
    To Stuart & Noah
    18-11-08

    I have always appreciated what you both write because you are high-calibre free thinkers.
    In regard to your advice to me not to use the word (holocaust) when referring to crimes committed by the Zionists against the Palestinians, I’d like to say the following:

    In fact I was quite aware of what I said in my previous comment about holocaust. I used the word (holocaust) with small (h), which means as in Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, ” a situation in which many things are destroyed and many people killed, especially because of a war or a fire.” This applies to what the Zionists did to the Palestinians.
    As for (the Holocaust) with capital (H), the meaning is “the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s.”

    The Holocaust was a horrible crime that I strongly condemn. But the Jews and pro-Zionists always and intentionally ignore and don’t mention the Holocaust afflicted on the Gypsies, gays, Poles and deformed or handicapped Germans by the Nazis.

    Anyway, it’s ludicrous that holocaust and genocide, which the Jews learnt from the Nazis, have become the specialty of Zionists and pro-Zionists against the Palestinians and the Lebanese. This is collective displacement of aggression practiced by the IOF and the Zionist gangs. They couldn’t reach and harm their real oppressors such as Hitler, the Germans, the Russians, the Inquisition in Spain and other Europeans, so they discharged all kinds of revenge and hatred on powerless Palestinians. So it’s the Palestinians and the Arabs who paid the price of Hitler’s crimes against the Jews. Funny history !!!

    Hence, all Jews should realize this and help the Zionists and pro-Zionists to atone for their crimes and become normal peaceful human beings.

    Mustafa

  23. Thanks Raffe,

    I understand your concern for not choosing to see the conflict through a colonial-post-colonial lens. Yes, Israel is the ancestral home of Jewish people. Yes, there is a powerful spiritual, cultural and political tradition that is expressed it through prayer and song (such as L’shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim! – Next year in Jerusalem! Sung at the end of the Pesach (Passover) Seder each year).

    But what then about the spiritual, cultural, political and legal claims of the Palestinian Arab people? A claim that is made within the living generation of Palestinian people
    – unlike the Jewish nationalist claim separated in time by a period of two thousand years. True it is important to remember the indigenous Jewish community living in Ottoman Palestine. However, why not remember the indigenous Jewish community in 1851 was just 4 percent of the total population of Ottoman Palestine, that is there were just 13,000 Ottoman Jewish residents of Bilad al-Sham compared to 327,000 Ottoman Palestinian Arabs (Justin McCarthy, The Population of Palestine, 1990).

    I have put together a perspective on colonization on the following link

    http://palestineisraelviewingtheconflict.blogspot.com/

    Hi Mustafa,

    My perspective is even use of lowercase h for holocaust is potentially damaging to communicate your perspective as the obvious association with the uppercase European Holocaust (Shoah).

    To give an example of the outrage and confusion of such a term consider what Israel’s
    deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai said on 29 February. He warned his country was close to launching a huge military operation in Gaza and said Palestinians would bring on themselves a “bigger shoah,” using the Hebrew word usually reserved for the Holocaust.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/01/israelandthepalestinians1

    I never got to the bottom of the consequences to Vilnai for what he said or the response from the Jewish community in Australia to what he said. But it just goes to show why care is needed when using such a term.

    There are plenty of other terms that could be used to describe Israeli military operations like collective punishment, reference to the Nakba and the population transfers, assassinations, shooting of unarmed civilians, breaking of Palestininan protestors bones (eg First Intifada) etc. etc. There are also the massacres of Deir Yassin (1947), Kfar Kassem (1956), Khan Younis, Gaza (1957), Rafah, Gaza (1957), Sabra and Shatilla, Lebanon (1982) [an act committed by Phalangists and allowed by the Israeli Defence Ministry], and Qana, Lebanon (1996).

    As shameful and outrageous the situation is for the Palestinian people I still believe care should be used not to compare what has happened to Palestinian Arabs since 1948 as a Holocaust or holocaust. Given the special significance of the word.

    Stewart Mills

  24. mustafa ramadan says:

    Raffe
    19-11-08
    Proofread copy of above

    What kind of logic is this ??? !!!
    Mere repetition of the expression or wish “next year in Jerusalem” does not give the Jews the right to occupy Palestine forcibly and expel its people.

    If the phrase resonates with you, it doesn’t resonate with justice and with billions of other people. Also, considering the phrase as evidence of …….” This can’t be acceptable or reasonable to any average educated person, not to say to intellectuals or scholars. This is poor reasoning, Raffe.

    Finally, the long suffering of the Jews doesn’t give them the right to usurp the land of others. Wake up man!!!

    Mustafa

  25. Raffe says:

    Stewart,

    As i’ve said on a number of occasions I support, quite strongly, the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. An economically viable Palestine will lead to two prosperous neighbours living side by side; imagine the possibilities.

    I skimmed through your post on Israel/Colonization and I intend to read it in greater detail but i’m afraid the upcoming exams have kept me away from anything that’s not related to my area of study. As soon as i’m free from the burden I look forward to debating you.

  26. Best of luck with the exams Raffe!

    When you get a chance I have also added a very draft reflection on Sir Isaac Isaacs perspective. He like Judah Magnes, Martin Buber and Elmer Berger had an attitude quite different to mainstream contemporary Judaism. There religious experience of Judaism did not seek to create a Jewish nationalist state.

    I am trying to put together the great debates between Isaacs and Julius Stone during the 1940s. Quite controversial stuff back then and still today in certain sectors.

    It is 60 years since Isaac Isaacs death. http://isaacisaacs.blogspot.com/

    Mustafa,

    I know it makes perfect sense to you how illogical the significance of ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ seems. However, from the mainstream Jewish point of view this is a critical part of their cultural and religious tradition. The thing is what is not often talked about is there are two schools of thought in how to view the text. Those who look at it literally and those who look at it metaphorically. Here lies the tension. Religiously inspired Fundamentalism vs Religiously inspired Humanism. From my perspective when we start reading our religion as the literal truth this is when humans start killing each other and this is when I say we have got our religion wrong.

    Stewart

  27. Best of luck with the exams Raffe!

    When you get a chance I have also added a very draft reflection (http://isaacisaacs.blogspot.com/) on Sir Isaac Isaacs perspective. He like Judah Magnes, Martin Buber and Elmer Berger had an attitude quite different to mainstream contemporary Judaism. There religious experience of Judaism did not seek to create a Jewish nationalist state.

    I am trying to put together the great debates between Isaacs and Julius Stone during the 1940s. Quite controversial stuff back then and still today in certain sectors.

    It is 60 years since Isaac Isaacs death.

    Mustafa,

    I know it makes perfect sense to you how illogical the significance of ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ seems. However, from the mainstream Jewish point of view this is a critical part of their cultural and religious tradition. The thing is what is not often talked about is there are two schools of thought in how to view the text. Those who look at it literally and those who look at it metaphorically. Here lies the tension. Religiously inspired Fundamentalism vs Religiously inspired Humanism. From my perspective when we start reading our religion as the literal truth this is when humans start killing each other and this is when I say we have got our religion wrong.

    Stewart

  28. Raffe says:

    Stewart,

    There are many arguments for and against the creation of a Jewish state. Isaacs was not the first and i’m sure he won’t be the last. Some, like the Naturi Kata group, have a religious objection to it whilst others are against it because they believe in the separation between Church and State.

    A Jewish State was created in order to protect those Jews who had suffered under the anti-Semitic governments of Russia, Germany, Spain, England and countless other countries where Jews had resided.

  29. Raffe,

    The bitter sad irony is that the forcible creation of a Jewish State has done little to improve security for Jewish people living in the Middle East. Ironically it is safer to live in the West as a Jew than in the Middle East.

    Take for instance the effect of:

    1. Compulsory military service and active duty in the Occupied Territories increases an Israeli Jewish individuals chance of death, injury or psychological trauma. Think of the tens of thousands of young people every year that are forced to serve at great risk to their personal well-being. The average American or Australian is not forced into such a horrible situation yet if a Jewish person is born in Israel or chooses to serve their then they will face such a risk, that many in the West will never face.

    2. Living within the state of Israel itself carries with it the added burden of potential attack from external threats both genuine and perceived. While ever a state is based on a mono-ethnic nationality and ignores the multi-ethnic nature of the region and a just peace is not settled [that is agreed on by all major parties] conflict will continue in the short-term and long-term. How then does the forcible creation of a Jewish State in this region protect the Jewish community living in that region.

    3. The Jewish community in the West is endangered because of the continued failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as typified by an increase in attacks on members of the Jewish community (a) because of the failure to resolve the conflict eg September 11, Bali bombing or (b) following disturbances in the Middle East. For example after Israel’s war in Lebanon in 2006

    Gandhi hit the nail on the head when he said we should ensure the life and liberty of members of the Jewish community should be universally protected wherever they are born. True our world is not there yet. However, the world of 2008 is far different to Herzl’s world of 1897 or Brandeis’s world of 1916 or Ben Gurion’s world of 1948. The Jewish community has strong civil protections within the Western world. More Jews live in the United States than they do in Israel and in many ways are less likely to experience war than those living in Israel.

    My hopes are for a common state solution. My concern is that the past 60 years have demonstrated that dividing the land is considered to be so repulsive by some that violence is used in response. How then to end the violence?

    Step 1 Address the underlying cause of the conflict eg the creation of a state based on ethnicity (i.e. a Jewish State) as opposed to a state of citizens

    The basis for statehood should not favour one religious group or ethnicity. A Jewish state is not a solution to countering anti-semitism. A Jewish State has the opposite effect of inflaming tensions between Jews and non-Jews especially when non-Jewish people feel that they have been dispossessed or lost loved ones due to violence as a result of this dispossession.

    Sir Isaac Isaacs realized this situation would occur over 60 years ago and said “Nevertheless, the Zionist movement as a whole, passing by these recorded facts, now places its own unwarranted interpretation on the Balfour Declaration, and makes demands that are arousing the antagonism of the Moslem world of nearly 400 millions, thereby menacing the safety of our Empire, endangering world peace and imperiling some of the most sacred associations of the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem faiths. Besides their inherent injustice to others these demands would, I believe, seriously and detrimentally affect the general position of Jews throughout the world.”

    Step 2 Seek to build civil, religious, economic and political institutions that set up structures that:
    (i) encourage national ideologies based on common humanity and citizenship rather than limiting it to religious or ethnic affiliations,
    (ii) acknowledge past injustices from all sides,
    (iii) offer compensation for victims of land dispossession and loss of loved ones
    (iv) develop educational schemes to encourage the human beings in this region to learn to live as a community of human beings and not limit themselves to living as to the dictates of one religious group or ethnic group.

    Isaac Isaacs. Palestine: Peace and Prosperity or War and Destruction? Political Zionism: Undemocratic, Unjust, Dangerous. (Ramsay Ware Publishing) 1946, p 8-9.

    Stewart

  30. Raffe says:

    Mustafa,

    The closest thing to the Holocaust today would be the Second Congo War. In the last ten years more than five million people have been slaughtered in civil strife from disease, starvation and tens of millions more have been displaced.

  31. Raffe says:

    Stewart,

    Apologies for not answering soon enough.

    Your first two points refer to the danger of living in the Middle East. This is true; living in Israel carries the burden of military service and the risk of suicide bombings or rocket attacks.

    These problems would have been resolved had the Palestinians agreed to the 1947 resolutions which would have created a Palestinian state alongside the newly-formed State of Israel. Even if Arafat had accepted the 2000 Camp David peace proposal then the blood that had been shed over the last eight years would have been avoided and we would have an economically viable state.

    You’ve spoken of a one state solution as the dividing of land leads to violence. My fear is that the one state solution would lead to an end to a democratic country in the Middle East. We’ve seen how the autocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia or HAMAS run Gaza have destroyed any semblance of civil liberties or freedom of religion as was demonstrated with HAMAS beating Muslim pilgrims.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1227702364190&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    I do not believe that the creation of the State of Israel would lead to the end of anti-Semitism. An ideology that has been around for 2000 years will not go away in a mere 60 years. Rather we have seen an evolution of anti-Semitism to the more acceptable hardline, extreme anti-Zionism.

    I do not believe that mere criticism of Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic and I have long stated this (on this and other blogs). However the obsessive criticism on Israel, whilst ignoring the multitude of human rights abuses committed by Israel’s immediate Arab neighbors and the many other conflicts such as Russia’s occupation of Chechnya or China’s occupation of Tibet which have led to many more deaths.

  32. Raffe,

    1. The need to criticise human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, China, Russia, Burma, Zimababwe…the US, Australia and the like

    I absolutely agree that we as a community need to keep governments accountable for human rights abuses – across the board.

    The practical issue is balancing time, energy, money, passion, ability and opportunities to succeed in making a difference. For me I need to focus firstly on my family and friends and work commitments. With the remainder time I then do my best for what I can for others.

    If I had more time, energy,money, passion and ability and opportunities to encourage change on the plight of minority groups in other countries I would.

    Unfortunately, I have made a strategic (self-preservation) choice that my primary social activist focus will be encouraging opportunities for Palestinian and members of the Jewish community to see each other with fresh eyes and look at new possibilities of a future as fellow human beings. Out of this I hope religious Christians, Muslims and Jews will learn from this experience and accordingly encourgae for mutual respect and freedoms across the world. This is part of peacebuilding through interfaith cooperation process. My hope is for our international community can minimise our military spending so we can spend focus our national economies to social and environmental restoration rather than war.

    Secondarily, I focus my social activist energies on two thirds world poverty reduction, climate change, indigenous issues, refugees and human rights abuses in our country and other countries.

    I have worked a campaign coordinator for third world debt cancellation as a means to fight poverty alleviation and improve health and education opportunities for the two-thirds world. I work as a teacher on a casual basis in primary schools and do my best to help children to open their eyes to see how children from our own country and other parts of the planet may live. I encourage an attitude of gratitude for the things we have and to encourage ways we can help others less fortunate.

    2. Who rejected the UN General Assembly Partition Plan of November 1947 and why?

    Raffe, have you read my blog on this question? I won’t add the link because my comments have been going into the wordpress spam box every time I add a link.

    The questions I pose on this issue are:

    (i) What legitimacy did the UN General Assembly have to partition British Palestine? Especially given (a) thirty years before 87 percent of the region was not-Jewish (b) 55% of the lad was given to the Jewish community (c) There had been no Jewish majority in the region for two thousand years (d) The number of Arabs living in the Jewish state would have exceeded the number of Jews if Jaffa had not been excised and Bedouins had been included in the census.

    (ii) Why did 41% of the General Assembly not vote for the partition (13 nations rejected the partition plan and 10 nations abstained from the vote)?

    (iii) What political pressure was placed on countries like Philippines, Liberia and Haiti to vote for partition. Especially when the vote was postponed on two occasions, and the Philippines had spoken against partition.

    (iv) Why did the UN Security council in March 1948 reject the Partition plan?

    (v) What was the Jewish Agency’s response to the Security Council’s decision in March 1948 to reject the General Assembly partition plan?

    (vi) Why did the Special Session of the General Assembly in April and May 1948 debate turning British mandate Palestine into a UN trusteeship?

    3. Why would a Palestinian delegation reject the Israeli proposal at Camp David in 2000?

    Take a look at Uri Avnery’s responses. Uri is an amazing human being

    “Why did Arafat reject Barak’s ‘generous’ offer at Camp David?” Palestine remembered.

    Avnery U (2001) 12 Conventional Lies By Uri Avnery

    Gush Shalom Archives

    [I provided links in a discussion we had on Richard Falk (Khaldoun, 5 June 2008).

    4. Racism (including Anti-Semitism)

    I regard that Anti-Semitism is a form of racism.

    I realise this will be hard for some people to accept. They will say that Anti-Semitism is unique and has existed for thousands of years (and “will always continue”). I say that human beings have demonstrated throughout history their fear, suspicion and prejudice of the other. And as a consequence of this have justified discrimination, persecution and violence against that other.

    That said, I agree racism will be with us as a global community for decades, centuries to come. We can legislate against it but long-term change requires appropriate funding in education, varied direct personal positive experiences with members from different backgrounds, romantic relationships, marriage (or the various forms marriage may exist as) and relationships between different communities and appropriate role modelling etc.

  33. 5. A one, two or three state solution?

    I agree effort should be directed towards a two state solution.

    However, I have long-term questions.

    Has the level of animosity between community’s in the West Bank and Gaza (and their separate histories 1948-1967) created such a division that the Palestinian state will be divided – just as East Pakistan fought against and separated from West Pakistan?

    Will this mean a three state solution?

    What are the economic, social and security benefits of a one state solution? What are the negatives? What lessons can be learnt from the decolonization process of the British from Kenya, Rhodesia and South Africa.

  34. Raffe says:

    Stewart,

    My criticisms of selective coverage of human rights abuses was not directed at you and if you thought that it was then I do apologise. Rather it was a criticism of the whole media/world/academia that purports to fight for human rights yet ignores some of the most devastating human rights abuses to date.

    http://www.unwatch.org/site/c.bdKKISNqEmG/b.1359197/k.6748/UN_Israel__AntiSemitism.htm

    In regards to your questions about the Partition of Palestine:

    (i) Your question about the UN’s legitimacy in the division of Palestine is a good one. I can only state, and this is my opinion, is that the British who controlled Palestine at the time gave governance over to the United Nations. It was as a result of colonization which was still considered acceptable and whilst there may not have been a majority Jewish population it was left to the UN to decide what to do with the land. It’s a sad truth that much of our world has been shaped by colonialism and we still see the effects today.

    (ii) Let’s look at the 13 nations that voted against partition:

    Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.

    Of those Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen all declared war on the newly formed State so it’s pretty obvious that they would vote against it.

    I can’t say why some countries abstained and some voted for the State that previously spoke against it. I suppose you’d have to speak to historians as i doubt any of the ambassadors of the day would still be alive.

    But the State of Israel was formed legally with 58% of the vote of the UN.

    (v) I’m not aware of any special response that the Jewish Agency gave. If you could post some material about what you’re referring to then i’ll be more than happy to comment on it.

    Yasser Arafat rejected the Camp David peace talks because he wanted to get more out of Israel and the Americans. If he was serious about peace then he would have made Barak a counter offer rather than walk away. Rather he committed a grave injustice against the Palestinian people.

    In regards to a 3 state solution it may be a possibility but that would be up to internal debates between the Palestinians.

    I believe in a two state solution simply because I am a Zionist. I believe that there has to be a state with a Jewish majority considering the history, and current state, of persecution against the Jewish people.

  35. Thank you for you response Raffe. I hope your exams went well.

    Here are some further questions to consider:

    1. The legality question

    (a) What is the legality of a General Assembly vote if:

    [To consider a contemporary example]

    95% of nations present at a General Assembly in 2008 voted on
    (i) the on Applicability of Geneva Convention to Occupied Palestinian Territory?
    (ii) the issue of Israeli Settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory?
    (iii) the issue of Palestine Refugees’ Properties, Revenues

    (b) What is the legality of a General Assembly vote if a two-thirds majority is not obtained? As in the partition plan vote was 58% of those present. Especially when we are talking about the division of 100’s of thousands of people’s land.

    (c) What is the legality of a General Assembly vote if:
    (i) The Security Council rejects the resolution as the Security Council rejected the Partition Plan in March 1948.
    (ii) 43 African nations were not given a voting seat at the UN because of colonization
    (iii) Unfair political pressure was placed on poor countries to vote a certain way eg Philippines, Haiti and Liberia.

    2. The declaration of war

    In the weeks before war was declared by the nations you mentioned what happened to the people of Deir Yassin, Jaffa and Ramle? On what basis does a foreign power have to intervene following human rights abuses?

    3. The Jewish Agency’s response to rejection of the Plan and the US call for UN trusteeship

    Example:

    UN Security Council Official Records
    No. 52, 277th meeting April 1948
    p. 5 Read Mr Shertok’s response
    [Read also the response in late March 1948]

    Author: United Nations. Security Council.
    Title: Official records / Security Council.
    Database: Macquarie University Library
    Location: Serial Microform Collection (Level 3) [Not for Loan]
    Call Number: JX1977 .A515
    At this Location: 1946-1978 on microfiche

    Thanks again for your reflections.

  36. 4. Contemporary human rights abuse by Hamas, Hezbollah etc.

    As per usual I am in full agreement that contemporary human rights abuses by Hamas, Hezbollah and political terrorism initiated by the likes of the Mumbai killings and the like need an international response and condemnation.

    I am simply trying to ensure that appropriate reflection is given to understand antecedents to this whole mess.

  37. mustafa ramadan says:

    To Stewart
    5-12-08

    Thank you very much for being a real sensible human being and a free thinker. I appreciate your patience with Raffe, the Zionist, as he describes himself.

    I’d like to remind the readers of this site that the Zionists constantly use falsification and immoral means in order to reach their inhuman goals and defend themselves.

    What the Zionist settlers are doing in Hebron in Palestine and their killing of Palestinians and taking their homes forcibly show that they have the mentality of the stone-age primitive man and the jungle law times, but in the 21st century. This is really odd and ludicrous. The siege of Gaza is another Zionist crime and scandal and the world is doing nothing.

    What worsens the situation is that the USA, which was founded on the principles of freedom and justice, still backs Israel blindly after she had created her against all rules of justice and humanity.

    It’s only after America becomes really free and independent, that the Palestinian problem will be solved.

    Mustafa

  38. mustafa ramadan says:

    6-12-08
    Raffe,
    In your comment above dated 4 December 2008, you mentioned the “current persecution of the Jewish people.” My questions are: Where are they persecuted currently ? Who is persecuting them ?

    Maybe it was a slip of tongue on your part and you wanted to say “current persecution of the Palestinians”, which is happening currently at the hands of the Israelis.

    Raffe,
    Haven’t you seen what your settlers did in Hebron the other day ? Haven’t you seen them on TV dancing and singing and calling for plucking out the eyes of the Palestinians ? Long live Israel the “only democracy in the Middle East” !!!

    Mustafa

  39. llwynn says:

    Mustafa, your generalization in saying that “the Zionists constantly use falsification and immoral means in order to reach their inhuman goals and defend themselves” is simplistic and dehumanizing. Instead of arguing generically it would be far more compelling if you could provide a specific critique tied to specific people and acts. That sort of generic statement does not leave any room open for debate, discussion, or persuasion.

    Also, I should point out that Raffe has consistently denounced the actions of settlers like those in Hebron.

    Finally I must point out that while the USA likes to flaunt the ideals of freedom and independence, time and again her leadership has shown itself willing to invade and occupy other countries when it supports American geopolitical and economic interests. I guess that’s what being a superpower is all about. So it would be nice to imagine a day when America became “free and independent” and supported human rights instead of just flaunting the idea as a justification for invasion (ala its post-invasion arguments about saving Afghanis from the Taliban), but I’m frankly skeptical that such a day will come.

    best
    Lisa

  40. Raffe says:

    Mustafa,

    I’d love to know what my immoral means are or my inhuman goals. I’ve constantly said that my wish is for a two-state solution so both the Arabs and Israeli’s can live in peace. I didn’t know that peace was such an immoral concept for you. Also, in all of my arguments i’ve cited credible sources such as journal articles, government documents or Wikipedia yet I do not recall you ever using academic citations in your posts.

    It is the gross oversimplifications and bigotry that we’ve seen in your last post that extremists on both sides use to fan the flames of hatred and put peace further from our grasp. I challenge you to go back through the Khaldoun site or my blog and find where i’ve supported any of the settlers and I would like to thank Lisa for pointing that out in her last post.

    There was no ‘slip of the tongue’ when I mentioned that persecution of the Jews. Jews remain today one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/102301.pdf

    The US State Department produced a report earlier this year detailing a global rise in anti-Semitism in the Western and Developing worlds. Classic anti-Semitic articles such as Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the discredited Protocols of the Elders of Zion remain on the bookshelves despite their history. This, combined with government propaganda in the Arab press, creates a world in which Jews have to be careful about being openly religious.

    You’ve also criticized the United States for backing Israel blindly. Are a democratic nation such as the United States not able to support their allies without accusations of blindness? Please also remember that the United States has given financial support to many Arab nations, including a 20 billion dollar aid package to Saudi Arabia, and has saved millions of lives with free medicine and aid to some of the poorest nations in the world. If a government, or a people, disagree with your point of view please don’t consider them ignorant or ‘blind’ simply try to see the world from their perspective and hopefully soon we will have peace.

  41. mustafa ramadan says:

    Zionism & Falsification
    9 Dec 2008

    As an ideology, political movement and actual practice, Zionism has always used falsification and lies to establish itself and justify its false and unlawful claims. This has been and is being ensured and secured by its overt, covert and wide control over the Western media, the American cinema industry, and over many Western publication companies, which provides Zionism with a strong relentless propaganda machine in many parts of the world and enables Zionism to silence many undesired free voices. Sheer intellectual tyranny !

    Like any other evil ideology, state, or individuals, Zionism hates and ruthlessly fights truth and facts, and go furious and mad if exposed and uncovered. The noise made by some Zionist Australians when I spoke about Zionism as an international evil last July or August is a sufficient proof. I listed seven examples of evil acts committed by Israel and Bolt chose only three in his article, because the other four stunned and confuted him. He was bankrupt and unpersuasive. A pathetic example of Zionist selectiveness and “choosiness” ! Because those Zionists can’t control the Web and were unable to refute my arguments, they went crazy. Some resorted to mockery, because they lacked logic and facts and ability to debate.

    Now let’s list some examples of the countless Zionist falsifications.

    1-The Zionists claim that Palestine was given to them by God. Can an ancient book, the Bible, be accepted as evidence or document by modern law ? There are more than 70 versions of the Bible. Which one is authentic ? How will the Zionists and pro-Zionists react if a Muslim says that according to his holy book, the Quran, the Jews will be defeated and annihilated in Palestine before Jesus Christ returns ?

    2-If God gave Palestine to Jews, why were they able to found a state on only a part of it for only seventy or eighty years ? And why did Abraham buy the cave from a Canaanite in order to be buried there, as the Bible says ? History says that the Jews were expelled from Palestine several times and if some lived there for a long time, they were a small minority. Furthermore, does the Jews existence in Palestine as a minority give them the right to occupy it and expel its people in the 20th century and up to this hour ? If this were accepted reason, then the Romans would have the right to return to Britain and to many other parts of the world , and the Spaniards should return to the Philippines, and the English should return to China. This is utter fallacy.

    3-The Zionists believe that Abraham was a Jew. How can this be true if Judaism, as a religion, was founded by Moses many years later ?

    4-The Zionists claim that Palestine was devoid of people when they began to settle there in small numbers in the late 19th century and in large numbers in the 1930s and 1940s after the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate following the 1st World War and the British and French occupation of the Near East. If Palestine was empty of people, why did the Zionists destroy about 500 Palestinian villages and many parts of towns as they did in Jaffa and Haifa and committed massacres in countless places ?

    5-The Zionists claim that the Palestinians fled Palestine in 1948 because the Arab armies or governments asked them to do so in order to enable them to fight the Zionists and avoid casualties among the Palestinians. This is a big lie. There is no concrete proof or document to support this claim. It’s the massacres and terrorization generated by the Jewish gangs that forced the Palestinians to run away leaving their homes and properties.

    6-The Zionists claim that Arabs don’t want peace with Israel. It’s the Zionists who don’t want peace. That’s why they killed Rabin and didn’t make peace with Abbas, their man, (kissed many times by Olmert on TV) after poisoning Yasser Arafat. They and their puppets Bush and Condoleeza pledged several times to give the Palestinians a state, but all the promises evaporated. The Zionists refuse to give the Palestinians statehood, even on less than 22% of their homeland. Almost all the United Nations resolutions on Palestine were refused by Israel and the USA.

    So, who is the master of falsification and oppression in the Middle East ?
    The American-European Zionist project of creating Israel in Palestine succeeded only because of the Arabs weakness. This condition will not last for ever, because Palestine has witnessed many invaders for thousands of years. The Greeks, Romans, Persians, Mongols, Brits have all been there and left of perished. Israel will never be an exception. Wake up Jews !

  42. llwynn says:

    Speaking of “slips of the tongue,” Mustafa, you made a peculiar slip with your last line. “Wake up Jews!”?? Should Noam Chomsky wake up? Should Norman Finkelstein wake up? What about Tony Karon? (http://tonykaron.com/2008/05/08/israel-is-alive-zionism-is-dead-what-now/) Should our own Australian Jew, Antony Loewenstein, “wake up”? (https://khaldoun.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/time-to-honestly-debate-israelpalestine/) All of these Jews consistently have criticized the oppressive aspects of Zionist ideology. The way you so simply slip from Zionism to Judaism as if they are coterminous is alarming.

    You mention some interactions with Andrew Bolt and Australian Zionists “last July or August.” Can you provide any more specific details than that?

    thanks
    Lisa

  43. Raffe says:

    Mustafa,

    I am a Zionist and have never used any holy books as source texts. However there is archeological evidence which proves a continued Jewish presence in Israel for thousands of years.

    http://www.nswjbd.org/MintDigital.NET/NSWJBD.aspx?XmlNode=/MainNav/Israel/Historical+Jewish+Presence+in+Israel

    Abraham was a Jew and spawned his son Issac from his wife Sarah and another son out of wedlock called Ishmael. Moses did not found Judaism rather he released his people (the Jews) from bondage when they were slaves in Egypt.

    Palestinians were urged to flee by the commanders of the Arab league. It’s accepted now that whilst some villages were forcefully evacuated for military reasons by the Haganah the majority of them voluntarily left hoping to return when the Jews were pushed into the sea.

    http://www.standwithus.com/pdfs/flyers/biglies06.pdf

    If there was a concentrated and government sponsored effort to remove all presence of Arabs from the future Jewish state why are there currently more than a million Israeli-Arab citizens? If you are correct in your assumptions then it is obvious that the Zionist forces did not do a very good job.

    ‘They’ who killed Rabin are an extremist sect in Israel and are hated by all Israeli’s. ‘They’ also include mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein and everyone that is associated with that group is treated with disdain by anyone who seriously believes in peace.

    You asked yesterday whether or not Jews were being persecuted and this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald highlights yet another example of anti-Semitism in the heart of Sydney.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/technology/student-facebook-scandal/2008/12/08/1228584743284.html

    Your posts over the last few days have become increasingly erratic and borderline racist. If you are not willing to contribute academically to this board then you should seriously reconsider posting here.

  44. Mustafa,

    With respect I am not sure if you are helping the Palestinian cause or the cause for peace between Jewish and Palestinian peoples. Your style of reasoning is lumping all Jewish nationalists into one box. Such reasoning is dangerous.

    As a sign of good faith can I ask you to acknowledge those within the Jewish community (including Jewish nationalists) who have continue to actively work towards peace and justice for Jewish and Palestinian people. See the following link on Jewish Peace activists.

    http://jewishpeaceactivists.blogspot.com/

    The above link gives examples of members of the Jewish community who are Jewish nationalists and those who are not.

    Mustafa, you can see I am keen to encourage Raffe to look with fresh eyes at the events of 1948. Particularly at the Security Council’s rejection of the partition plan. However, there is much that Raffe and I are in agreement. Please can we use this blog as a way to test and further our own understanding of events rather than perpetuate mistrust and fear mongering.

  45. mustafa ramadan says:

    9-12-08
    Lisa,
    I didn’t make “a peculiar slip from … Zionism to Judaism” as you thought. I meant what I said, “Wake up Jews !” I wanted the Jews to make some effort and use their weight and influence to make the Zionists change and become fair and human. When I talked about falsification, I didn’t mention the Jews at all.

    I do respect Noam Chomsky and have two of his books on my home bookshelf. I do respect Norman Finkelstein and read his articles. I do respect and admire and read Antony Lowenstein and thanked and praised him on this site. You misunderstood me Lisa, or perhaps I didn’t make myself clear enough. I thought that my intention would be understood by intelligent readers like you.

    Raffe,
    What you mentioned about anti-Semitism in Australia can’t be compared at all with what some of the Israelis are currently doing against the Palestinians. I read the first link which spoke about immature children’s behaviors and silly acts. Anyway, it’s the Zionists acts that generate anti-Semitism around the globe. You are old enough and supposed to understand that. Nothing in life is causeless.

    I am not against Jews at all and I don’t generalize. I’m neither erratic nor racist. Please re-read my articles. I always present facts. If they don’t appeal to you, you can try to refute them. As for using or referring to links on the Web, I can do that quite easily, but I want to save the precious time of our readers. Anyway, I refer you to the Palestinian site http://electronicintifada.net/ and to the latest articles of Jihad Al Khazen in order to know how educated Arabs think. http://english.daralhayat.com/

    As for re-considering posting to this blog, khaldoun, you can ask Lisa not to publish my comments if they anger you. Nevertheless I really admire your academic spirit and patience.

    Jews, Christians and Muslims had lived peacefully in Palestine before 1948. An old Muslim diaspora Palestinian told me last month that his family had lived with a Jewish family and a Christian one in one house in old Haifa with only curtains separating them, and the families used to sit together and chat and exchange dishes. It’s the European Zionist Ashkenazim who spoiled everything and did what they did. I don’t need to re-tell the known story.

    We, Muslims, believe that Abraham was not a Jew and that Moses founded Judaism as a religion and had the Torah as the holy book of Jews. We also believe that Abraham was a great moral prophet and can’t have another wife out of wedlock as some claim. We revere all prophets and call our children after them: Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Yusef (Joseph), Ya’koub (Jacob) and Eessa (Jesus), but we don’t believe in the shameful or superstitious acts attributed to some of them in the Bible.
    Finally, Jews and Arabs are the children of Abraham. I hope they all understand the meaning of that and be fair to one another.

    Mustafa

  46. mustafa ramadan says:

    9-12-08
    Stewart,

    Thanks for the link: http://jewishpeaceactivists.blogspot.com/ which I’ve just started reading. I hope that khaldoun blog readers will browse it, too.

    I have never wanted to “perpetuate mistrust and fear mongering” as you alluded.
    In most of my comments I aimed at reminding the readers of what has been done against the Palestinians, so that they can understand their plight and tragedy and do something about it.

    Regards

    Mustafa

  47. Thanks for your clarification Mustafa.

    It is good if we can acknowledge the humanity of each other in this whole process of dialogue.

    It makes a more sustainable and meaningful dialogue if our tone and our reasoning match our hopes for peace between Jewish-Israelis, Palestinians and other Arab people.

  48. Raffe says:

    Apologies for taking such a long time to reply but I have been taking,
    what I believe to be, a long deserved vacation.

    Mustafa,

    When I cited that article from the Sydney Morning Herald regarding
    anti-Semitism on facebook it was not an attempt to compare the two
    situations. I was simply trying to show you that anti-Semitism exists
    in all countries and in a variety of forms. In this particular case it
    was a series of stupid teenagers but more often it is roving gangs
    that have been brainwashed or are lashing out at their own poverty
    (hence why I believe that ending world poverty would solve a great
    deal of racism) and we are seeing a frightening resurgence of
    anti-Semitism in the wake of the collapse of the global financial
    markets.

    You believe that the acts of the State of Israel has contributed to the rise of anti-Semitic attacks against Jews worldwide; I do not disagree with you as i’ve often bore the brunt of anti-Semitism when I state Israel’s case. However it is foolish, and dangerous, to equate Jews with Israel as there are those that disagree with the policies of the State.

    You say that Jews and Arabs lived peacefully before 1948; yet in 1929 there were the riots in Jerusalem resulting in hundreds of casualties on both the Jewish and Arab sides. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, allied with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to bring the gas chambers to Palestine and created Arab versions of the SS along with reprinting disgusting propaganda to fuel riots and pogroms against Jews.

  49. mustafa ramadan says:

    Raffe

    I understand from your comments that you are a student. What is the area of your study ? As for me, I am a translator.

  50. Raffe says:

    I’m a politics and history student.

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