Tag Archives: pro-Palestinian

Apartheid activists unmask themselves

Once again, anti-Israel activists are busy organizing their annual “Israel Apartheid Week” hullabaloo, which they apparently hope to stretch out over some three weeks from mid-February to early March.

It is a pathetically undignified spectacle – indeed, if the intention was to discredit the Palestinian cause, it wouldn’t be all that easy to come up with something more embarrassing.

As Professor Gideon Shimoni, who authored a book about the Jewish community in apartheid South Africa, has pointed out, it is utterly disingenuous to transform “the term ‘apartheid’ from the description of a singular historical phenomenon in a particular time and place – South Africa from about 1948 to 1994 – into a generic concept. This deceptive device functions much like use of the term ‘holocaust’ to describe any and all human disasters.”

Shimoni also emphasized that there can be no comparison between the conduct of the African National Congress (ANC) and the PLO and other Palestinian factions:

“In South Africa the blacks started with a tradition of non-violent resistance. They tried in every peaceful way to argue their case, only turning to violence as a last resort, because the other side refused to negotiate. Even when the African National Congress (ANC) turned to violence, its nature was incomparable with the barbarically indiscriminate practice not only of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad but even of the PLO. […] Comparing the Palestinian struggle to that of the ANC is an absolute insult to the latter’s historical record.”

Moreover, Shimoni argued that

the Israel=apartheid fallacy can serve as a litmus test for distinguishing between those who are hostile to Israel’s very existence and those who are conscientious critics of the policies and actions of Israel’s governments and public.

This is a crucial point, because all the activist verbiage about “legitimate” Palestinian rights, justice and equality cannot obscure the fact that those who have made a career of demonizing Israel as an apartheid state plainly share the Iranian president’s view that Palestinian “rights” will only be fully realized in a “world without Zionism.” In other words, this view posits that the realization of Palestinian rights requires the denial of the Jewish right to self-determination and the abolition of the Jewish state.

But professional demonizers of Israel like Ali Abunimah tend to tailor their message. When Abunimah addresses a broader audience, he will emphasize “Palestinian rights and international law,” but when he addresses primarily his faithful fan club, he will leave no doubt that “apartheid”-activists like him have no interest in a Palestinian state alongside Israel:

As these tweets demonstrate nicely, Israel doesn’t have to do anything to be demonized: the fantasies of Ali Abunimah are enough to get him going.

In the screenshot above, you also see a retweet from benabyad, aka Ben White, a fellow-blogger at Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada and author of a book on “Israeli Apartheid.” White tweeted his pride in being quoted in a Knesset debate by MK Hannen Zoabi, who contributed a Foreword to his most recent book – which is in itself a splendid illustration of “Israeli Apartheid:” an Arab – excuse me: Palestinian – MK who, with impunity, spends a lot of time engaging in activities designed to undermine the state in whose parliament she is serving, all the while complaining about discrimination… Where else in the Middle East could she do this?

Ben White is of course also convinced that there shouldn’t be a Jewish state in any borders – indeed, his CV consists only of anti-Israel activism – but he often prefers to put it in a less than straightforward way. For example, when he was recently interviewed on the website Jadaliyya, he was asked what audience he was trying to reach with his new book and what impact he hoped for:

I hope that this book can be a useful resource for university students, and also for human rights/solidarity activists, seeking to have a better grasp of Israel’s discriminatory policies towards Palestinian citizens. But I also would like this to be read by those people who have an interest in the issue or region as a whole, and who have never had a chance to seriously unpack the implications of Israel’s definition as a “Jewish and democratic” state. There are insights here, I believe, that are crucial for an approach to the conflict that realistically appreciates what it will take to reach a settlement.

As is evident from all of Ben White’s writings, the “approach” he hopes to popularize is one that demands the abolition of Israel as a Jewish state.

The interview is followed by a short excerpt of Ben White’s new book, which starts with these assertions:

The Negev, or al-Naqab in Arabic, is an area that has been consistently targeted by Israeli governments, along with agencies like the Jewish National Fund (JNF), for so-called “development,” i.e. Judaization. In parallel to the indigenous Bedouin Palestinians being expelled and forcibly relocated (see Chapter Two), private resources have been mobilized in order to “settle” the Negev with Jews.

Well, could there be anything more outrageous than Israel planning to develop part of the state’s underdeveloped territory???

Notice also that the Bedouin are now “Bedouin Palestinians” – and what should we make of the fact that Ben White is so utterly opposed to having Jews moving to the Negev? Sounds like he’s in favor of a Jew-free Negev, or maybe some kind of apartheid???

But what is perhaps particularly ridiculous is that Ben White hopes that his book will be read by people “who have an interest in the issue or region as a whole.” Follow benabyad’s (oh, the spell-check would prefer beanbag…) tweets for a few days, and you’ll see that he has absolutely no interest in the “region as a whole.” The region doesn’t exist for him, even the Palestinians exist only insofar as their affairs can be related to Israel – Ben White is truly a one-trick-pony, and for him, it’s all about the Jewish state.

So no, Ben White wouldn’t know a thing about the Bedouins in the Sinai, and since they are probably not “Bedouin Palestinians” and it would be tricky to blame any of their grievances on Israel, Ben White couldn’t care less. Oh boy, what he is missing – of course there could be an Israeli angle! As Amr Yossef explained in a Foreign Affairs article last September:

Ever since 1982, when Egypt restored its control over the Sinai Peninsula after 15 years of Israeli occupation, the Bedouin majority who live there have been framed by the government in Cairo as outlaws. They are culturally and ethnically apart from Egyptians of the Nile Valley and share largely nomadic and clan-based social connections that extend beyond national borders. Bedouins were also long suspected of being collaborators during the Israeli occupation, accused of taking jobs with Israeli companies and starting new businesses under Israeli control.

As a result, Sinai Bedouins have long faced state discrimination: Almost a fifth are refused Egyptian citizenship, and all are denied the right to own land for fear that they would resell it to Israelis. Bedouins are also excluded from Egypt’s mandatory conscription, prohibited from joining police or military academies or from holding key positions in Sinai’s two governorates.

These discriminatory policies have been compounded by economic marginalization. Only a tiny fraction of Bedouins were able to find work in Egypt’s tourism industry, the country’s largest economic sector. In fact, many Bedouins believe that they were better off in terms of employment, education, and medical services under Israeli administration.

No doubt, the Sinai Bedouins are desperately in need of being educated by Ben White. So here’s a worthy cause for the activist networks he relies on: organize a Sinai book tour for Ben White!!! But of course, he would consider this only if Israel re-occupied the Sinai…

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Cross-posted from my JPost blog

Same message, different mufti: the rhetoric of the 1940s in 2012

When Sheik Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, who is the Palestinian Authority’s senior religious official, recently recited a traditional Islamic text urging Muslims to “fight and kill the Jews” during a ceremony celebrating the 47th anniversary of Fatah’s establishment, he unintentionally revealed how little the messages of Palestinian religious leaders have changed since the days of another Palestinian mufti by the name of Husseini.

This deplorable rhetorical continuity also serves as a timely reminder that words are usually spoken to inspire deeds. Palestinians, eagerly echoed by many of their world-wide supporters, like to claim that they had no part whatsoever in the Holocaust, and that they should indeed be seen as indirect victims of the Jews who fled Europe.

This “narrative,” which seems particularly popular among Germany’s progressive elites, requires that the historical record of Amin Al-Husseini – the predecessor of the current Palestinian mufti – is ignored. While both muftis call for killing the Jews, Husseini sought and seized the opportunity to contribute to the Nazi’s genocidal undertaking to kill as many Jews as possible.

In a review of a book by Klaus Gensicke about Husseini’s collaboration with the Nazis, John Rosenthal emphasized that the mufti did not only collaborate with the Nazis by contributing to propaganda activities aimed at Arab speakers and by organizing the Muslim SS division “Handzar” in Bosnia:

Indeed, perhaps the most shocking finding of Gensicke’s research concerns the repeated efforts of the mufti after 1943 to ensure that no European Jews should elude the camps […] Thus, for example, Bulgarian plans to permit some 4,000 Jewish children and 500 adult companions to immigrate to Palestine provoked a letter from the mufti to the Bulgarian foreign minister, pleading for the operation to be stopped. In the letter, dated May 6, 1943, Husseini invoked a “Jewish danger for the whole world and especially for the countries where Jews live.” […]

One week later, the mufti sent additional “protest letters” to both the Italian and German Foreign Ministries, appealing for them to intervene in the matter. The German Foreign Ministry promptly sent off a cable to the German ambassador in Sofia stressing “the common German-Arab interest in preventing the rescue operation.” Indeed, according to the post-War recollections of a Foreign Ministry official, “The Mufti turned up all over the place making protests: in the Minister’s office, in the waiting room of the Deputy Minister and in other sections: for example, Interior, the Press Office, the Broadcast service, and also the SS.” “The Mufti was a sworn enemy of the Jews,” the official concluded, “and he made no secret of the fact that he would have preferred to see them all killed.” […]

In late June, both the Romanian and Hungarian Foreign Ministers would be recipients of similar appeals from the mufti. The Romanian government had been planning to allow some 75,000 to 80,000 Jews to immigrate to the Middle East, and Hungary — which had become a refuge for Jews escaping persecution elsewhere in Europe — was reportedly preparing to allow some 900 Jewish children and their parents to immigrate as well. The mufti repeated his counsel that the Jews should be sent rather to Poland, where they could be kept under “active surveillance.” “It is especially monstrous,” Gensicke concludes, “that el-Husseini objected to even those few cases in which the National Socialists were prepared, for whatever reasons, to permit Jews to emigrate. . . . For him, only deportation to Poland was acceptable, since he knew fully well that there would be no escape for the Jews from there.”

Inevitably, some people will be inclined to argue that Husseini was only defending the national interest of the Palestinian Arabs when he tried to prevent any Jewish emigration from Europe. But as Gensicke has shown, Husseini was convinced that there was a “Jewish danger for the whole world and especially for the countries where Jews live,” and in May 1943, he also expressed this view in a letter.

Soon after Husseini had written these words, Arab regimes proceeded to demonstrate that they shared this view. The Arab League drafted Nuremberg-style laws designed to disenfranchise and dispossess Jews, and Arab states began to encourage the ethnic cleansing of the ancient Jewish communities that had existed for millenia all over the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of the Jews who had to flee from Arab countries found refuge in the fledgling Jewish state that the Arabs vowed, and tried, to wipe out.

Back then, the motives may have been rooted in Arab nationalism, but as the recent remarks by the Palestinian mufti illustrate, there is a long and – according to the mufti, “noble” – tradition of Jew-hatred in Islam that up to this day is regularly invoked to present the Arab and Palestinian refusal to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state as part of a fight against Jews that is an integral component of Muslim identity.

Nazi-like rhetoric about Jews is nowadays mostly expressed in Arabic and Farsi, and just like 70 years ago, there is widespread reluctance to confront this rhetoric and face the fact that it is meant as incitement to deadly deeds.

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Cross-posted from my JPost blog.

Quote of the day

It is a cynical but time-honoured practice in Middle Eastern politics: the statesmen who decry the political and humanitarian crisis of the approximately 3.9 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza ignore the plight of an estimated 4.6 million Palestinians who live in Arab countries. For decades, Arab governments have justified their decision to maintain millions of stateless Palestinians as refugees in squalid camps as a means of applying pressure to Israel. […]

After 60 years of failed wars, and failed peace, it is time to put politics aside and to insist that the basic rights of the Palestinian refugees in Arab countries be respected – whether or not their children’s children return to Haifa anytime soon. While Saudi Arabia may not wish to host Israeli tourists, it can easily afford to integrate the estimated 240,000 Palestinian refugees who already live in the kingdom – just as Egypt, which has received close to $60bn in US aid, and has a population of 81 million, can grant legal rights to an estimated 70,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants. One can only imagine the outrage that the world community would rightly visit upon Israel if Israeli Arabs were subject to the vile discriminatory laws applied to Palestinians living in Arab countries. Surely, Palestinian Arabs can keep their own national dream alive in the countries where they were born, while also enjoying the freedom to work, vote and own property?

From a scathing report by Judith Miller and David Samuels, published in The Independent in October 2009 – definitely recommended reading.

I’ve selected this quote because the “pro-Palestinian” Twitterverse seems all upset about a clip that was tweeted yesterday and today by Israel supporters.

But what’s pro-Palestinian?

The interminable debate about just how much “tough love” you can show for Israel and still claim to be really truly pro-Israel could perhaps greatly benefit from a comparison with the almost absent debate about what it means to be pro-Palestinian.

One thing seems to be crystal clear: forget about anything even remotely resembling tough love when you want to be regarded as pro-Palestinian.

A good example for this attitude is the prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, who is widely regarded by his western colleagues as a voice of reason and moderation. Kuttab served for some time on the board of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP), a small Washington-based group that has deservedly gained impressive influence since its founding in 2003. ATFP defines itself as an American organization that seeks “to provide an independent voice for Palestinian-Americans and their supporters and to promote peace.” The group explicitly rejects violence and “advocates the development of a Palestinian state that is democratic, pluralistic, non-militarized and neutral in armed conflicts.”

However, Kuttab apparently came to believe that ATFP was not sufficiently pro-Palestinian. He resigned from the group and, explaining his reasons on his website, he emphasized:

The task force for Palestine has a duty to Palestine. The paternalistic attitude that Americans including American Palestinians know what is best for Palestinians and their leadership is an arrogant attitude that I can’t agree to be part of.

In another post on the same subject, Kuttab noted disapprovingly that “naturalized Palestinians are becoming more loyal to their new countries” and that this “has now become common in the US as well.”

We can only speculate how Kuttab would feel about these issues if we were not talking about Palestinians, but about Jews and Israel: would he object to the “paternalistic attitude that Americans including American Jews know what is best for Israelis”? And would he think it’s somehow wrong for naturalized Jewish US citizen to be more loyal to the US than to Israel?

We do know, however, that Israel is widely expected to appreciate even the toughest “love” from its critics as a sign of true friendship and goodwill. Clearly, Kuttab doesn’t think that the same should be expected from Palestinians.

Indeed, it seems that except for “tough love”, pretty much anything goes for pro-Palestinian activists and advocates.

Consider the example of Ali Abunimah, a US-born Palestinian American writer who co-founded the Electronic Intifada. The Institute for Middle East Understanding – which “offers journalists and editors quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources” – notes that Abunimah has written a book advocating a “one-state solution” and describes him as “a common voice as an expert commentator and debater offering insight into a range of topics regarding the Middle East. He has appeared on CNN, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPAN, Democracy Now!, and numerous NPR stations. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in the books Live from Palestine, Iraq Under Siege, and The New Intifada. Abunimah is a board member of the Arab American Action Network and a non-resident fellow at the Palestine Center.”

The fact that Abunimah opposes a two-state solution has apparently no consequences for his pro-Palestinian credentials. Abunimah, an ardent supporter of efforts to boycott Israel, is also a sought-after speaker on the topic of Israeli “apartheid” (he has no problem speaking about it even in venues like McGill’s Bronfman building).

In order to understand what Abunimah really means when he accuses Israel of “apartheid”, consider a Twitter exchange from December 24, when Abunimah was challenged by the pro-Israel group “StandWithUs” to “go on record as advocating two states for two people.” Abunimah responded: “Obviously not, I’ve written a book advocating equal rights for all citizens in a single state. I don’t support apartheid.”

In other words, as far as Abunimah is concerned, only Israel’s replacement with a bi-national “one-state-solution” will put an end to Israel’s “apartheid.”

All of this is apparently “pro-Palestinian” – and the same seems to apply to Abunimah’s recent initiative to demonize Israel by promoting a Twitter campaign with the hashtag IsraelHates. Among his most recent contributions on this topic is a tweet from December 24: “#IsraelHates Palestinian Christians so much that Bethlehem is a walled ghetto and Jerusalem a forbidden, walled apartheid hell.”

Can you imagine a similarly high-profile pro-Israel activist rejecting a two-state solution and delighting in demonizing Palestinians not being attacked from all sides for his grotesque view of what’s pro-Israel? And can you imagine such a “pro-Israel” activist being given a platform in the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs?

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Cross-posted from my JPost blog

The Islamists who stole Christmas

It’s certainly not one of the endearing Christmas traditions, but exploiting Christmas for political purposes is unfortunately becoming a sort of Christmas ritual for activists who regard themselves as pro-Palestinian – and who are, in any case, fiercely against Israel. But as so often, the relentless focus on blaming Israel reflects a cynical approach that cares little about any kind of abuse or persecution that can’t be blamed on the Jewish state.

As I’ve noted in a previous post, even though Christianity is doing very well globally, the picture in the region where it originated looks rather grim: today’s Middle East has the lowest concentration of Christians (just 4% of the population) and the smallest number of Christians (some 13 million) of any major geographic region.

Contrary to what pro-Palestinian activists like to insinuate, Palestinian Christians under Palestinian rule in Gaza and the West Bank are affected by the very same dynamics that have diminished the ancient Christian communities all over the Middle East – and before they came for the Christians, they came for the Jews.

Focusing on minorities in the Middle East, Zvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, notes in a recent op-ed:

Nearly a century after they rose on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab states have failed to cause the mosaic of ethnic, national and religious communities which form them to coalesce into nations with common goals and aspirations. Those societies have been torn by ceaseless internal and external squabbles, political and economic discrimination, revolts, civil wars and military coups – resulting in an estimated five million dead and countless wounded as well as a growing number of refugees.

But if the Arab Middle East was often hostile to its minorities while secular Arab nationalism held sway, the now emerging Islamist-ruled Middle East is already threatening even Egypt’s ancient Coptic community whose roots go back centuries before the establishment of Islam and whose very name is associated with ancient Egypt. A depressing report in the Wall Street Journal notes that “[for] decades Copts have suffered attacks by Islamists who view them as ‘kafir’—Arabic for nonbelievers. […] This year, mobs have looted and attacked Coptic churches, homes and shops throughout Egypt. Churches have been burned down, and one Copt had his ear cut off by a Muslim cleric invoking Islamic law.”

One woman quoted in the report says that she faced harassment because she did not go out veiled, and that she was openly told by a fellow-Egyptian: “We want to clean our country of you.” Hardly less alarming was her experience when a doctor who checked her 12-year-old daughter for a fever suggested that the girl should have her genitals mutilated.

Estimates by human rights groups indicate that as many as 100,000 Copts may have already fled Egypt in the wake of the “Arab Spring.”

But for Egypt’s Copts, the year had already begun with sorrow and anguish when the bombing of a church in Alexandria killed 21 and wounded nearly 100 people leaving a New Year’s Mass. One of the victims was a young woman named Mariouma Fekry who, just before attending the mass, had written on her Facebook page: “I have so many wishes in 2011 … hope they come true … plz god stay beside me & help make it all true.”

The Egyptian government eventually blamed the Gaza-based “Army of Islam” for the bombing; according to press reports, the group denied responsibility, but expressed praise for the perpetrators. This praise is hardly surprising given that also Gaza’s tiny Christian community faced violence and threats by Islamists already shortly after Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. Ever since, Gaza’s Christians have been aware that they can’t celebrate Christmas publicly. Moderate Islamism in action.

Reflections on the invention of peoples

When I recently challenged Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine about his response to Newt Gingrich’s controversial statement about the “invented” Palestinian people, he responded that his “semi-critique of nationalism is equal opportunity” and he suggested that I check out two of his relevant articles. (Twitter exchange Ibishblog – WarpedMirrorPMB December 10; the exchange began when I took issue with Ibish’s argument that “there was no Israel and no such thing as an ‘Israeli people’ before 1948. So the idea that Palestinians are ‘an invented people’ while Israelis somehow are not is historically indefensible and inaccurate;” in response, I pointed out that the “Land of Israel” as well as the “Israelites” are concepts dating back to biblical times.)

I have by now read several of the relevant articles written by Ibish, including the two he urged me to read. In my view, there is no doubt that Ibish’s thoughts on the subject are sophisticated and make for very worthwhile reading; but, for reasons I will explain below, I’m not convinced that his critique of nationalism is as even-handed as he claims.

The first article Ibish recommended to me is entitled “Fetishizing nationalism.” Living up to his claim of being an “equal opportunity”-critic of nationalism, Ibish argues right at the beginning of this piece: “All contemporary nationalisms are based on constructed and imagined narratives about history, geography, culture, ethnicity and religion.” In his concluding paragraph, Ibish again emphasizes:

“The analytical challenge is to recognize that while not all nationalist claims are necessarily equally valid (they may speak on behalf of very few people, for example, and not really have the constituency they claim), in some important senses they are, however, all equally invalid. Championing one’s own nationalism as self-evidently ‘authentic’ at the expense of a well-established, deeply-rooted and much-cherished rival identity is a particularly lowly form of self-delusion, chauvinism and fetishism.”

That last sentence has a seemingly solomonic quality, since it can be read as addressed to Palestinians and Israelis alike. Unfortunately, in the context of this particular article, it seems more likely that Ibish was admonishing those who subscribe to the “traditional Zionist narrative” that Ibish breezily summarizes in a previous paragraph.

The second article Ibish recommended is entitled “Mr. Mileikowsky and the ‘seal of Netanyahu’: the perilous encounter between modern nationalism and ancient history.” Again, at the outset of the piece, Ibish appears to be very much the “equal opportunity”-critic of nationalism he claims to be when he argues:

“the nationalist identities of Egypt or China are not more authentic or legitimate because they claim direct descent from ancient civilizations and kingdoms than is the American one which celebrates its non-ethnic, sui generis (at the time of its founding anyway), and ideological self-definition. All three are equally the products of a set of developments in global history that produced them in their present form at the current moment. The American version of nationalism based on adherence to political principles and a kind of US civic religion can’t be privileged over ethnic nationalisms either, and is also very much grounded in myth, legend and historical fantasy.”

Ibish then proceeds to take on the notion “that there is a hierarchy of legitimacy of nationalist claims and that the Israeli one is simply and obviously superior, older, more ‘authentic’ and more deeply rooted than the Palestinian one.” Continue reading

Gingrich and the Golden Rule

Once upon a time, Newt Gingrich was a professor of history, and since he is now competing to become the Republican presidential candidate, his record as a historian is being mined for clues about his political views. Needless to say, Gingrich’s professorial past doesn’t necessarily impress his critics – indeed, Gingrich has already been advised to “read a history book.” If he followed this advice, he could read one of the books he wrote

Unsurprisingly, Gingrich also got some history lessons in response to his recent observation that historically, “there was no Palestine as a state” and that the Palestinians are an “invented” people “who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community.”

Responding to Gingrich’s statement, Hussein Ibish of the American Task Force on Palestine asserted that “there was no Israel and no such thing as an ‘Israeli people’ before 1948. So the idea that Palestinians are ‘an invented people’ while Israelis somehow are not is historically indefensible and inaccurate. Such statements seem to merely reflect deep historical ignorance and an irrational hostility towards Palestinian identity and nationalism.”

While Ibish conveniently ignores the fact that the “Land of Israel” as well as the “Israelites” are of course biblical concepts, he is not entirely wrong, because – as Walter Russell Mead demonstrates in an essay devoted to Gingrich’s statement – it is indeed easy to argue that national identity is often an “invented” construct. At the same time, Mead acknowledges that Gingrich’s statement “is not factually incorrect as far as it goes;” yet, he is also sharply critical of Gingrich, arguing that his “error isn’t to say that Palestinian identity is to some degree invented; his error is to use that fact to undercut the reality and legitimacy of the Palestinian national movement.”

Mead also emphasizes that “both the US and Israel need people who can make a sober and reasoned case for the legitimacy of the Jewish state and of America’s support for it in ways that reduce international misunderstanding of and opposition to the two countries. But unfortunately remarks like Mr. Gingrich’s (to be fair, a short aside in a longer interview) make that conversation harder, not easier to have.”

While I would largely agree with Mead’s post, I think it’s worthwhile contemplating the notion that there is still a need to “make a sober and reasoned case for the legitimacy of the Jewish state and of America’s support for it in ways that reduce international misunderstanding of and opposition to the two countries.”

Obviously, Mead believes that it is utterly counterproductive to respond to the prevalent questioning of the Jewish state’s legitimacy by Palestinians and the larger Arab and Muslim world by pointing out the fact that the case for a Palestinian state is not based on a long-established and historically-rooted Palestinian national identity.

But I’m not sure if this really true.

As Adam Levick points out on Cif Watch, the non-existent state of Palestine is already recognized by some 125 of the 193 UN member states – while Israel, more than six decades after its acceptance as a UN member state, is still not recognized by 36 UN members, including 30 Muslim majority countries. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence showing that the UN supports a veritable “infrastructure of anti-Israel propaganda” and devotes truly disproportionate resources and energies to censuring Israel.

So while Israel and its supporters are supposed to play by the rules of fairness and to strictly observe the dictates of political correctness, the rule for the supporters of Palestine seems to be “anything goes.”

But it turns out that when the Palestinians find themselves at the receiving end of even the slightest breach of political correctness, the result could most definitely be described as a “teachable moment.”

Consider some of the Palestinian reactions to Gingrich’s statement:

Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, characterized Gingrich’s statements as “despicable,” asserting that they not only reflected “the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach” but also contributed to “the cycle of violence.”

Hanan Ashrawi, another veteran Palestinian spokesperson, described Gingrich’s remarks as “very racist” and “an invitation to further conflict rather than any contribution to peace.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, asserted that Gingrich had made “grave comments that represented an incitement for ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.”

If all these Palestinian officials familiarized themselves with the “Golden Rule” that admonishes us to “do as you would be done by,” we can look forward to a bright future in which no Palestinian – and no Arab or Muslim – will ever think of denying Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state.

Crossposted from the JPost


Abunimah loves to tweet hate

Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada notoriety seems to spend quite a bit of his time on Twitter: so far, he has posted almost 58 000 tweets. Many of his recent tweets are devoted to promoting the hashtag #IsraelHates, – which, as it turns out, was initiated by Abunimah himself.

Since Abunimah used it to spread all the anti-Israel clichés and slogans so beloved by “pro-Palestinian” activists, he quickly attracted a crowd of enthusiastic fellow-tweeters, and soon enough, Abunimah’s campaign was fired up by a frenzy of hatred for Israel that was strong enough to carry Abunimah’s hashtag into Twitter’s worldwide trends.

Reading through these tweets makes it easy to imagine the violent atmosphere of anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe or the Farhud that targeted Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community.

Abunimah didn’t mind at all, as is illustrated by the fact that he retweeted this:


#IsraelHates me , my family, my relatives, my friends, my country, Arabs, humanity!

21 hours agovia Mobile WebFavoriteRetweetReply

Retweeted by AliAbunimah and 13 others

Indeed, Abunimah was very satisfied by what he had accomplished:

@AliAbunimahAli Abunimah

Trending #IsraelHates was a beautiful thing. Thanks everyone, and remember: Israel hates us all.

22 hours agovia Twitter for Mac

People of goodwill often argue that it’s possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Ali Abunimah is clearly a widely admired pro-Palestinian activist. The hate-filled messages he elicited with his IsraelHates-hashtag will remain as a record of genuinely popular “pro-Palestinian” activism focused exclusively on denigrating and demonizing Israel.

Currently, Ali Abunimah’s most recent message triumphantly celebrates that his “hate” message managed to drown out the responses tweeted under the hashtag “Israelloves”.

@AliAbunimahAli Abunimah

Great summary by @iRevolt: #IsraelHates Leads Worldwide Trend on Twitter, While Counter-tag #IsraelLoves Lags Behind http://cynicalarab.org/2011/12/05/israelhates-leads-worldwide-trend-on-twitter-while-counter-tag-israelloves-lags-behind/

7 minutes agovia Twitter for Mac

A great victory for pro-Palestinian activism?