In the following video produced by Jerusalem U, Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, explains the egregious double standards in media coverage of Israel during the recent Gaza conflict.
An official Guardian editorial on January 1, 2014, titled ‘Israel-Palestinian talks: perpetual motion‘, which predictably blamed Israel for the lack of progress in talks between the two parties up until that time, included this brief comment on US special envoy to the negotiations, Martin Indyk:
Mr Kerry has made a new start but he has made it with advisers like Martin Indyk, who lean toward the Israeli view
This throwaway line about Indyk – who previously served several diplomatic roles under Bill Clinton – struck us as a bizarre allegation given Indyk’s political sympathies and past statements. These include his enthusiastic support for New Israel Fund – an NGO which funds groups engaging in BDS and other delegitimization campaigns – and comments he reportedly made that ‘Israeli intransigence’ was contributing to US military casualties in Afghanistan. In 2004, Indyk also publicly urged the Israeli government to cede the Golan Heights to Syria in order to achieve ‘peace’.
More recently, Indyk has been identified as the anonymous source in a report by Yedioth Aharonoth columnist Nahum Barnea last week in which an unnamed American official slammed Israel for allegedly sabotaging peace talks.
Here are a few of the comments by the official believed to be Indyk:
Settlements are to blame
“There are a lot of reasons for the peace effort’s failure, but people in Israel shouldn’t ignore the bitter truth – the primary sabotage came from the settlements. The Palestinians don’t believe that Israel really intends to let them found a state when, at the same time, it is building settlements on the territory meant for that state. We’re talking about the announcement of 14,000 housing units, no less. Only now, after talks blew up, did we learn that this is also about expropriating land on a large-scale. That does not reconcile with the agreement.
‘We need another intifada’
“At the end of a war there is a sense of urgency,” they said. And then one of them added bitterly: “I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress.
The Jewish people are supposed to be smart; it is true that they’re also considered a stubborn nation. You’re supposed to know how to read the map: In the 21st century, the world will not keep tolerating the Israeli occupation. The occupation threatens Israel’s status in the world and threatens Israel as a Jewish state.”
So, according to Indyk: the settlements (and Jewish stubbornness) were the primary reasons the negotiations failed, and only a new violent intifada would create the circumstances by which talks could succeed.
Tell us: Does this sound like the musings of an American diplomat “who leans toward the Israeli view”, as the Guardian claimed?
- Senior Israeli official slams Indyk’s ‘hypocrisy’ (timesofisrael.com)
- Obama Administration Special Envoy Continues to Attack Israel (freebeacon.com)
A guest post by Green Glenwald
As part of my ongoing series about the way the CIA, the Mossad, the Zionists, the Obama administration, MSNBC, The New York Times, the Washington Post and the little green people under your bed are controlling your lives, this revelation should finally lay any doubts you might have to rest.
The CIA is reading your mail!
Yes – the CIA, not content with sending drones from Afghanistan to Mali to kill innocent civilians, are using them to intercept the letters you should have received that contain tips for dodging their illegal activities and keeping your RPGs and human shields safe!
Without a doubt this represents the most outrageous proof of the prima facie illegal, warrantless mail-tapping, contrary to the Geneva conventions and international law (which only applies to the USA and Israel) that is one of the disgusting hallmarks of this administration and its relentless attempts to keep America insecure by creating thousands of new terrorist postmen.
This is happening under the direct management, right from the top, of the most evil administration this country has known. Wikileaks revealed, and now we have proof, that there are weekly meetings at the White House in what the people running this program call “the mailroom” (something they find amusing, no doubt) where the President himself selects the mail that will be intercepted and read.
A source on an unknown Internet TV channel where I appear weekly (we keep it secret so that the CIA and others cannot watch it and I can post little videos of myself talking to myself in this column) has revealed that Obama’s poor performance during the first debate with Mitt Romney was due to the fact that he was not trying to read his talking points, as many have assumed, but debating with himself as to which envelope he should open first.
As I learned in law school:
… any person who—
…. knows, or has reason to know, that such device or any component thereof has been sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce; or
(iv) such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or
(v) such person acts in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States;
The President (who live in the District of Columbia, in case you did not know that) is clearly in violation of allowing al Qaeda to continue its regular business operations pursuant to the very laws he is sworn to uphold and should be impeached.
Following publication of this article, I was asked for advice on how to defeat this program.
In case your envelope has been intercepted, here are a couple of tips from one that made it past the CIA’s illegal mail-tapping that have proven useful:
The document includes advice such as “hide under thick trees” (believed to be bin Laden’s contribution), and instructions for setting up a “fake gathering” using dolls to “mislead the enemy”.
If dolls are not available in your cave or under your tree, make use of the local population – local women and children are convincing alternatives you should use to keep yourself safe.
This is cross posted by Bataween at the blog, Point of No Return
If there was an Oscar awarded for ‘chutzpah’ (cheek), Nushin Arbabzadah’s article yesterday on the Guardian ‘s website Comment is Free would probably win it hands-down.
The ‘story of the Afghan Jews is one of remarkable tolerance’ belongs in the realm of fiction, rather than on a newspaper of record. You might as well say water is not wet. Hitler was not evil. There was no historic antisemitism in Afghanistan.
The author builds a fantasy that Jews were pretty much like other Afghans – conservative, patriarchal. Because of their cosy isolation, Afghan Jews were shielded from antisemitism. Antisemitism was something, Nushin implies, that came from the ouside.
The piece begins with the author’s own personal experience of Jews during the era of the Soviet occupation, a time when only a few hundred Jews still lived in Afghanistan. Nushin had a clever, blond Jewish classmate whose household was accused of immorality for letting a man into the home (presumably a Shabbat goy) on Shabbat. The inference is that such religious bigotry had suddenly sprung out of nowhere to prepare the ground for the fundamentalist era of the Taliban.
Then Nushin drops the bombshell: the Afghan antisemitism she witnessed was not representative.
“From a historical perspective, the story of the Afghan Jews is a tale of remarkable tolerance. It may seem hard to believe today, but historically it was Afghanistan to which Jews turned to when escaping religious persecution in Iran and central Asia. It was in the dusty, ancient cities of Herat and Kabul, to the west and the east of Afghanistan, that they found freedom to practise their faith without getting murdered in the process. A community of leather and karakul merchants, poor people and money lenders alike, the large Jewish families mostly lived in the border city of Herat, while the families’ patriarchs travelled back and forth on trading trips, moving between Iran, Afghanistan, India and central Asia on the ancient silk road.”
Thankfully, a few Guardian commenters are quick to point out that as dhimmis, Jews had wear black turbans distinguishing them from Muslims and were subject to the usual strictures of sharia law, paying the jizya or poll tax in order to buy the protection of the authorities. Although Jews have lived in Afghanistan for 2,500 years, arriving as part of the Babylonian diaspora, they were wiped out in the 13th century by the Mongols and were never in Afghanistan in great numbers. Iman Allah Khan (1919 – 1929) worked to break the power of the religious authorities, but it was only under the relatively enlightened Nadir Shah (1929 – 33) that the jizya and discriminatory signs were abolished.
There was one brief demonstration of ‘remarkable tolerance’ in the 19th century: Nushin is correct that there was a short term influx of Jews fleeing from Persia, where the Muslim authorities had begun to aggressively persecute them and forcibly convert the Jews of Meshed to Islam, quickly bringing Afghanistan’s Jewish population up to 40,000. But all this changed in 1870 when many Jews left Afghanistan and the Muslim authorities enacted anti-Jewish measures.
Nushin then drops another bombshell:
“The Afghans’ isolation from the rest of the world was a blessing in disguise for the Jewish community because being cut off from global political trends meant that ordinary Afghans were untouched by the raging, European-led, antisemitism of the early 20th century. Even at the height of the Nazi influence in Kabul of the 1930s, it was Afghan nationalism rather than antisemitism that led the government to introduce economic measures that bankrupted Jewish money-lending families.”
In 1933, following the assassination of Nadir Shah there was an anti-Jewish backlash and Jews were banished from most Afghan cities, limiting them to Kabul, Balkh or Herat. It is true that Nazi-inspired nationalism victimised the Jews in the Thirties (stripping them of citizenship, preventing them from settling in the north, and imposing swingeing taxes), but there is only one way to describe the Sh’ite riots in Herat in 1935 and other violence against the Jews until 1944, accompanied by incitement by Musim clerics, forced conversions to Islam, rape of women, girls and boys:
Good old-fashioned antisemitism, much of it religiously-inspired.
“The laws affecting the Jewish community were soon removed and in the following decades Afghanistan was the only Muslim country that allowed Jewish families to immigrate without revoking their citizenship first. When Afghan Jews left the country en masse in the 1960s, their exile to New York and Tel Aviv was motivated by a search for a better life but not because of religious persecution.”
Some 4000 out of 5,000 left in 1951 shortly after the foundation of the state of Israel, not in the 1960s, as Nushin states.
What ‘remarkable tolerance': Afghanistan did not revoke emigrating Jews’ citizenship. Yet for years Jews had not been allowed to move from city to city, let alone leave the country.
The trials and tribulations of the remaining community did not cease. One can safely assume that persecution and discrimination were a key factor in their subsequent departure. In an echo of the Jizya, Jews had to pay a tax (harbiya) not because they were exempt, but because they were excluded from military service. In 1955, a young girl, Tova Shamualoff, was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. After the Six-Day War the authorities had to call out the army to protect the remaining 300 Jews. Now there is a single, solitary Jew in the country.
Call that tolerance?
This is cross posted by Kendrick MacDowell who blogs at The Prince and the Little Prince
Let us take great care with recent events, so that we are true to our best American traditions. A small church in Florida symbolically burned a Koran. Thousands of protesters in Afghanistan, ginned up by three mullahs angry about the Koran burning, stormed a UN compound and killed at least 12 people.
To be sure, words and symbolic actions have consequences. But our response to the words, the consequences, and the conclusions we draw, tests mightily how we as Americans think about speech, bigotry, religion and murder.
First, the fairly incontestable conclusions.
1. Burning a Koran, the Muslim holy scripture, is indefensible bigotry. It is a hateful condemnation of an entire religion, of many millions of people who draw inspiration, guidance and daily grounding from their holy scripture. It is a grotesque failure to appreciate the range of Islam and an ignorant obsession with a few high-profile extremists who push one violent interpretation of the Koran.
2. Violence — never mind murder — in the name of, or based upon a perceived slight against, Islam, is indefensible. What the Afghani mullahs promoted and what the protesters committed was a horrible crime. People in Afghanistan to help Afghanistan lost their lives because of irrational and indefensible rage.
This much is clear — and the rest of the more difficult conversation can only happen with people who acknowledge that this much is clear. To any who hesitate as to one or the other above conclusions, you are part of the problem, and no longer part of the dialogue. Please consider rejoining.
For the rest of us, seeking to build bridges rather than borders, I want to suggest additional fair conclusions.
1. The Koran burning “caused” the Afghanistan protests. It did not cause the violence and it did not cause the murders. Committing violence against, or killing, someone, particularly an innocent person, is an act of moral agency entirely independent from whatever prompted the anger. One may feel insulted and react passionately. Violence against innocents, and most certainly murder, is a plainly indefensible overreaction — an independent immoral decision that must be universally condemned without regard to what prompted the anger.
2. Muslim communities need to be as forthright as possible about the proper response to insult. Part of the suspicion problem in America and abroad is the notion that Islam gets a pass from what every other world religion routinely endures. Christians and Jews in America, for example, are well accustomed to frequent and repugnant insults against their beliefs, their scriptures, their icons– and the reaction is frequently passionate, but not violent, and certainly not murderous. The vast majority of Muslim-Americans embrace exactly the same calibration of protest without violence — and they need to say it.
3. Americans need to stop thinking about “Islam” and “Muslims” and the “Koran” and “sharia law” as uniform and codified “things” about which one can speak generally. Before any person presumes to speak a negative word about Islam, Muslims, the Koran, or sharia law, he or she better have a thorough understanding of each. Otherwise, confine yourself to criticisms of what you perceive to be objectionable interpretations of Islam. Then dialogue happens.
4. We have an uncommon First Amendment tradition in America. We permit the American flag to be burned, we permit a crucifix to be placed in a jar of urine and deemed “art” called “Piss Christ,” we permit atheists to accuse organized religion of all manner of vile historical and current atrocity (see #2 and #3 above). We accept these instances of sacrilege, in the American tradition, because we know that religious dispute must always be handled with words, even angry words, but never with violence. We can never return to the bygone age of settling religious dispute with violence. Every American, of every religious, non-religious, and irreligious stripe, benefits from that American commitment to freedom to be religious, in whatever way, or anti-religious, in whatever way.
5. I count Muslim-Americans — and this may be controversial abroad — as a special class of Muslims, a class of Muslims who have thrived because of American religious freedom, who are not a victim class but a success story, precisely because America respectfully lets religions be themselves. This is our shared greatness. This is how we talk with each other — on the basis of shared American values. This is how the vast majority of Muslim-Americans blend appreciatively into being Americans. And more Americans need to appreciate that.
There is a high-profile discussion now about Islamist extremism. I am hopeful that more Muslim-Americans step up and speak forthrightly in opposition to extremism and violence and in defense of both American and Islamic values. And I am hopeful that more non-Muslim Americans join that discussion respectfully, and come to see Muslim-Americans as their partners in preserving what makes this country great.
A guest post by AKUS
It would have been hard to find an American outside the 30-person congregation of Rev. Terry Jones who even knew that he burned a Koran last week. But thanks to the Internet, this nutcase was able to post a video on the Internet, with Arabic sub-titles, showing him burning a copy of the Koran.
The result, as we know, was riots in Afghanistan. The rioters in Mazar-e Shari, Afghanistan’s second largest city, left their mosque after the usual anti-Western diatribe delivered weekly from the pulpit there, and, with the assistance of Taliban exploiting the situation, attacked a UN compound killing seven of their employees. (As of this post, 20 have been killed and 80 injured as a result of the riots, a number which includes some of the rioters themselves). As far as I can tell, not one of those injured or killed was an American.
(Video of rioting. Listen at 0:57, you can hear the chant, “Mar al Yahud” – “Death to the Jews”)
In all the fuss over this, it seems to me that the press has forgotten to tell us who was killed as a result of this utterly marginal American Christian, if he deserves the appellation, burning a book. I finally found a partial list in the print edition of Sunday’s Washington Post (April 3, 2011), which I summarize below:
There were six Nepalese guards at the UN compound “who had orders not to shoot”, four of whom were killed by the violent mob. Nepalese are not generally Christians, and obviously not Americans. Their names were not given.
Others murdered, possibly Christians but definitely not Americans, once the mob broke in, were:
Joakim Dungel, a Swedish human rights worker
Lt. Col. Siri Skare, a Norwegian who was advising the police
Filaret Motco, a Romanian Political officer
Pavel Ershov, a Russian, was beaten but not killed after he persuaded the rioters by speaking Dari, their dialect, that he is a Muslim.
President Karzai has called on the US to condemn the Koran burning but has issued no statement indicating that he intends to find and punish the murderers. Western leaders have tried to balance the two acts by denouncing Jones’ act and claiming Western respect for the Koran – not likely to fool many people – while condemning the rioters.
This is all political window dressing. We see yet again that radical Islam (Islamism) is a cause for the ignorant, the duped, the easily led, and the fanatics. But more than anything, the events in Afghanistan show that adherents to this movement are extremists who are willing to kill even Nepalese because of their anger towards America – all due to the actions of one obscure American preacher.
The cringing attempts in the West to pretend that all is well, and that Islamism is simply another, albeit misunderstood, political religious movement, have to stop. The nearest example I can think of is the Spanish Inquisition and no-one would tolerate Jesuits burning unbelievers to death in this day and age.
When Islamism’s adherents believe it is right to murder people because of a cartoon, or a book burning, or anything else they deem an insult, the democratic West needs to stand up and call it out for what it is: reactionary, supremely intolerant and extremely dangerous.
H/T Challah Hu Akbar
Here’s Reuters on the savage attack of UN workers in Afghanistan:
At least eight foreign United Nations workers were killed, two of them beheaded, on Friday in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif after a demonstration against the burning of Korans by a United States preacher, a regional police spokesman said.
“Eight foreigners were killed and two were beheaded,” said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for the northern region.
Over a thousand protesters had flooded into the streets of the normally peaceful city after Friday prayers, and after two or three hours violence broke out.
Then American journalist, Luke Russert, in a perfect example of the stunning capacity of those in the West to deny moral agency to Islamists who engage in brutal violence, Tweeted the following:
Then, a bit of moral sanity form Washington Times correspondent, Eli Lake:
A guest post by Tom Wilson.
In honour of the admirable way in which the small Wiltshire market town of Wooton-Basset has received Britain’s war dead her Majesty the Queen is to bestow Royal status on this much deserving community.
Since 2007 the people of this town have with great dignity and respect been lining their high street to observe the repatriation of Britain’s fallen. Young men and women who lost their lives defending the security of not only this country but also many other European countries who have made no such similar contribution or sacrifice in the West’s struggle with global terrorism. And, of course, members of Britain’s armed forces also gave up their lives defending the safety, freedom and democracy of the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, formerly under the oppression of Saddam Hussein, formerly under the assault of the Taliban.
But what was the Guardian’s response to this?
No article of congratulation, of that at least perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. But instead the Guardian’s website simply featured Steven Bell’s despicable cartoon, mockingly titled ‘The war on language’, the town’s name pathetically changed to ‘Wooton-deathfest’, a cheap jibe to imply the people of this town have enjoyed and relished the sight of seeing men and women in their early twenties paraded through the town’s centre in wooden boxes. And in the background of all of this is a ridiculous billboard depicting Cameron with a Condom pulled over his head, now seemingly a signature mark of Bell’s childish doodlings.
Further, take a few moments to read over the comments on the website where Guardian readers, quite characteristically, have offered up their wholehearted praise for Bell’s shameless drawing.
Few would be naive enough to imagine that there’s any respect left for this country down at the offices of the Guardian, but one might have at least hoped that respect for the dead and regard for human dignity might have carried some weight with these people, but apparently not.
(Tom Wilson is studying for a PhD in Israeli politics at London’s UCL. As well as being Co-Chair of the UCL Jewish Society, Tom is also a researcher for Beyond Images and is the London representative for the conflict resolution and democracy promotion group StandforPeace.)
While I’ve never been a big fan of Christopher Hitchens’ zealous atheism, his moral clarity regarding the threat of radical Islam – especially in the days following the attacks on 9/11 (highlighted by this essay in The Propagandist) - is indeed inspiring, and stands in stark contrast to the moral equivalencies advanced by some of his political co-religionists at the time, and in subsequent years. Put simply, he is in the very best tradition of the anti-totalitarian left, and there are not many people I’d like to spend time with in a foxhole fighting the ideological scourge of our time.
Hitchens had it right, then and now.
by Lauryn Oates
In the days that followed September 11th, 2001, most of us had dizzying question marks hovering in our minds in the hazy chaos of this tragedy, as the dust was still falling, both literally and figuratively. Who did it? Why did they do it? What does it mean for the future? The world was going to change, that would be certain, but the view ahead was foggy.
But not for one person.
Christopher Hitchens was already rigorously scanning the facts and forging insights, as he poured down to the page his biting, take-no-prisoners analysis in his usual prolific output. Only one day after the towers came down, Hitchens’ pen was cutting through the fog, as well as predicting what would come next, from the hassles in airport security to the “great deal of pugnacious talk to be endured in the next few days.” On September 12, 2001, in a moving and respectful reflection he wrote in the Evening Standard,
“Much of what is said by the cable bombardiers will be worthless, or bluff. But the overused words “civilized world” seem to me appropriate. You could see the civilized world in the streets of Manhattan yesterday, as people of all faiths and shades kept calm, kept moving, kept in touch and kept up their solidarity. This is a strength that the sadists and fanatics do not possess and cannot emulate.”
In the days and months to come, he would write a multitude of articles, with predictions that would turn out to be astoundingly accurate months or years later, and with insights that are as relevant today as they were in those early post-9/11 days, if not more so now. As we continue to wade through the complexities of the post-9/11 world while more than 30 nations fight and die together in Afghanistan, and as Hitchens wages his own personal battle against cancer, I thought it timely and valuable to bring back to life excerpts from some of the best of his polemics from that winter of 2001/2002.
While commentators like Noam Chomsky, Sam Husseini, and Michael Moore quickly started sounding out the “the US brought this upon itself” line, Hitchens poignantly slaughtered their apologism-riddled arguments and reminded us in his lucid, merciless prose who the actual enemies were. In the October 8, 2001 edition of The Nation, Hitchens wrote,
“The Taliban and its surrogates are not content to immiserate their own societies in beggary and serfdom. They are condemned, and they deludedly believe that they are commanded, to spread the contagion and to visit hell upon the unrighteous. The very first step that we must take, therefore, is the acquisition of enough self-respect and self-confidence to say that we have met an enemy and that he is not us, but someone else. Someone with whom coexistence is, fortunately I think, not possible.
…the under-reaction to the Taliban by three successive United States administrations is one of the great resounding disgraces of our time. There is good reason to think that a Taliban defeat would fill the streets of Kabul with joy. But for the moment, the Bush Administration seems a hostage to the Pakistani and Saudi clients who are the sponsors and “harborers” the President claims publicly to be looking for! Yet the mainstream left, ever shuffling its feet, fears only the discomfort that might result from repudiating such an indefensible and humiliating posture. Very well then, comrades. Do not pretend that you wish to make up for America’s past crimes in the region. Here is one such crime that can be admitted and undone–the sponsorship of the Taliban could be redeemed by the demolition of its regime and the liberation of its victims. But I detect no stomach for any such project.”