Thursday, July 29, 2010

More on exploiting the Palestinian cause at the expense of actual Palestinians

A couple of years ago, a Palestinian refugee camp was encircled and laid siege to by an army of tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers. Attacks initiated by Palestinian militants triggered an overwhelming response from the army that took the life of almost 500 people, including many civilians. International organizations struggled to send aid to the refugee camps, where the inhabitants were left without basic amenities like electricity and running water. During the conflict, six U.N. personnel were killed when their car was bombed.
Government ministers and spokesmen tried to explain to the international community that the Palestinian militants were backed by Syria and global jihadist elements. Al Qaeda condemned the government and the army, declaring that the attack was part of a "crusade" against their Palestinian brothers.
At the time, there was little international outcry. No world leader decried the "prison camps" in Lebanon. No demonstrations took place around the world; no U.N. investigation panels were created and little media attention was attracted. In fact, the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon garners very little attention internationally.
Today, there are more than 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon who are deprived of their most basic rights. The Lebanese government has a list of tens of professions that a Palestinian is forbidden from being engaged in, including professions such as medicine, law and engineering. Palestinians are forbidden from owning property and need a special permit to leave their towns. Unlike all other foreign nationals in Lebanon, they are denied access to the health-care system. According to Amnesty international, the Palestinians in Lebanon suffer from "discrimination and marginalization" and are treated like "second class citizens" and "denied their full range of human rights."
Amnesty also states that most Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have little choice but to live in overcrowded and deteriorating camps and informal gatherings that lack basic infrastructure.
In view of the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon, it is the height of irony that a Lebanese flotilla is organizing to leave the port of Tripoli in the next few days to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. According to one of the organizers, the participants are "united by a feeling of stark injustice."
This attitude exposes the dishonesty of the whole flotilla exercise. Whether it is from Turkey, Ireland or Cyprus, those that participate in these flotillas reek of hypocrisy. There are currently 100 armed conflicts and dozens of territorial disputes around the world. There have been millions of people killed and hundreds of millions live in abject poverty without access to basic staples. And yet hundreds of high-minded "humanitarian activists" are spending millions of dollars to reach Gaza and hand money to Hamas that will never reach the innocent civilians of Gaza.

Read the rest: "The Flotilla Farce," Danny Ayalon. Wall Street Journal. July 29, 2010.


Lee Smith follows up on the predictable rage generated by his column last week

Lee Smith follows up on the predictable rage generated by his column last week:

"Playing With Fire," Lee Smith. Tablet Magazine. July 29, 2010.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Israel: a nation of laws, not men

Ladies and gentleman, this is what "rule of law" looks like:

"IDF punishes Yair Netanyahu for tardiness," Hanan Greenberg. Yediot Aharanoth. July 28, 2010.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Turkey working to prevent Lebanese sail to Gaza,"  Itamar Eichner. Yediot Aharanoth. July 27, 2010.
Officials in Jerusalem were surprised to learn that Turkey is working to prevent Lebanese ships from attempting to sail to Gaza in violation of an Israeli blockade on the Hamas-run territory, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday.

Israeli officials estimate that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who visited Damascus and Beirut last week, asked the Lebanese government to prevent the flotilla's departure as part of Ankara's efforts to ease tensions with Israel.

Methinks Erdogan and his party bit off more than they can chew, both internationally and domestically, with their flotilla demagoguery.  Perhaps they even realize it. From what I understand, many Turks are not impressed with the direction he's taking their nation. There has been much speculation that the flotilla business was manufactured, at least in part, as a stunt to boost his party's standing before upcoming elections. He thought the time was right to solidify the Islamicization of Turkey, with that necessary element of any good Islamicist movement, an orgy of public Jew-bashing. Has Erdogan's scheme backfired? Am I jumping to wishful conclusions?

See also: 
"An Open Letter to Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," IPT News, July 1, 2010

Ceki Gülcü's blog "Erdogan and the next election"

Each time the Turkish PM Erdogan picks a fight with Israel, his approval ratings go up by several points. On January 2009, at a panel on the Middle-east at Davos (Switzerland), Erdogan had very harsh words towards Israeli President Shimon Peres, calling him an expert-assassin and a baby-killer. Erdogan, talking in Turkish, addressed President Peres in the colloquial "Sen"-form instead of the more polite "Siz"-form. The "Sen"-form when addressing a foreign statesman is unheard of in Turkish politics. On his return to Turkey, Erdogan was greeted as a hero by a huge crowd. Anti-jewish and anti-western sentiment is very strong in Turkey, especially within the least educated parts of society. The West in general and the Jews in particular are routinely blamed for a variety of ills ranging from AIDS to the economic difficulties facing the country. Two months after Davos, in April 2009, the AKP (Erdogan's party) won the elections by a 20% margin. The race was expected to be much closer before Erdogan's intervention at Davos.

Standing up to Israel has so far been a winning strategy for Erdogan and the AKP. The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 2010. According to several polls, if elections were held today, Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi or CHP (Republican People's Party), the leading opposition party, would prevail by a 10% margin. These polls predate the Gaza flotilla operation, mounted with the help and full-knowledge of the Turkish government.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

And while we're talking about John Mearsheimer...

Let's check in with his most recent ramblings about THE LOBBY.

From The Judeosphere, "Another Weird John Mearsheimer Speech"

The Israelis can do almost anything and get away with it….If I went to the Middle East, and visited Israel, and I was killed, somebody shot me, do you think there would be any accountability? Seriously. If any of you went to the Middle East and were killed, do you think there would be accountability? There wouldn’t be. This is how outrageous this situation is. Just think about the [USS] Liberty, think about Rachel Corrie, think about this Turkish-American who was just killed on the flotilla.

The lobby believes it can finesse any issue. They’ve never seen an issue that they can’t finesse…..America’s interests and Israel’s interests are going to continue to diverge. And the end result of that, back here in the United States, is that the lobby is going to have to work overtime to cover that up and make it look like everything is hunky-dory when in fact it’s not.

As the Judeosphere puts it,"Yes, he’s now fantasizing that the Israelis would shoot him and the Lobby would cover it up. Paranoid narcissism, thy name is Mearsheimer."

See also Pejman Yousefzadeh's critique of Mearsheimer's argument in this speech that Israel shouldn't have nukes.


Pejman Yousefzadeh at The New Ledger on the shameless Jew-baiting of Walt and Mearsheimer

Pejman Yousefzadeh, a lawyer blogging at The New Ledger, writes this in response to the predictable outrage of Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Phillip Weiss over Lee Smith's recent article arguing that their blogs are "Mainstreaming Hate." A former student of both Walt and Mearsheimer when he was at the University of Chicago, Yousefzadeh has nothing but praise for the education he received from them. He has nothing but disgust for what they've become. Below is just a quick glimpse. The whole thing is worth reading.

Walt has become exceedingly irresponsible in his rhetoric since the time that I knew him. His argument–and that of his cohorts–that bloggers are not responsible for what their commenters write is a somewhat appealing one, but at the end of the day, that’s a rather facile response to a serious issue. Writing about Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the status of the Palestinians, and the Middle East as a whole is an enterprise fraught with emotion, anger, outrage, and ancient grievances. Those who engage in these discussions owe it to others to keep their heads level so as not to fan the flames of an already inflammatory subject. They also owe it to others to try to keep the heads of their supporters level. If that means repeatedly denouncing those supporters who take one’s contentions and extend them to despicable levels, then so be it. That means that Zionists have to denounce–repeatedly, if need be–people who think that Baruch Goldstein was a swell guy, and that means that people like Stephen Walt, Philip Weiss, Andrew Sullivan, and Glenn Greenwald have to denounce–repeatedly, if need be–those who latch on to their arguments to openly preach anti-Semitism, and anti-Zionism that is nothing more than thinly-disguised anti-Semitism.

That’s taxing work, to be sure. But those who complain about having to do that work won’t win any sympathy from me, and shouldn’t win any sympathy from anyone else. Want to gain respect and credibility in writing about Israel and the Middle East? Make it clear–crystal clear–that you will have nothing to do with the crazies who use your arguments to propagate their own racist rantings. If you say “oh, it goes without saying that I am not a racist, and don’t believe what the racists say,” and think that this will be enough, well, get ready to find out that it won’t be enough. If all of this is too much work for your fragile, little self, stop blogging about the Middle East.