Wednesday, October 01, 2014

 Golda Meir on Jerusalem 
Here is an excerpt from  Oriana Fallaci’s interview Golda Meir, as she recorded in her 1974 book  “Interview With History“:

Oriana Fallaci: Mrs. Meir, when will there be peace in the Middle East? Will we be able to see this peace in our lifetimes?
Golda Meir: You will, I think. Maybe…I certainly won’t. I think the war in the Middle East will go on for many, many years. And I’ll tell you why. Because of the indifference with which the Arab leaders send their people off to die, because of the low estimate in which they hold human life, because of the inability of the Arab people to rebel and say enough. 
Do you remember when Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes during the Twentieth Communist Congress? A voice was raised at the back of the hall, saying, “And where were you, Comrade Khrushchev?” Khrushchev scrutinized the faces before him, found no one, and said, “Who spoke up?” No one answered. “Who spoke up?” Khrushchev exclaimed. And again no one answered. Then Khrushchev exclaimed “Comrade, I was where you are now.” Well, the Arab people are just where Khrushchev was, where the man was who reproached him without having the courage to show his face. 
We can only arrive at peace with the Arabs through an evolution on their part that includes democracy. But wherever I turn by eyes to look, I don’t see a shadow of democracy. I see only dictatorial regimes. And a dictator doesn’t have to account to his people for a peace he doesn’t make. He doesn’t even have to account for the dead. Who’s ever found out how many Egyptian soldiers died in the last two wars? Only the mothers, sisters, wives, relatives who didn’t see them come back.Their leaders aren’t even concerned to know where they’re buried, if they’re buried. While we… 
Fallaci: While you?… 
Meir: Look at these five volumes. they contain the photograph and biography of every man and woman solider who died in the war. For us, every single death is a tragedy. We don’t like to make war, even when we win. After the last one, there was no joy in our streets. No dancing, no songs, no festivities. And you should have seen our soldiers coming back victorious. Each one was a picture of sadness. Not only because they had seen their brothers die, but because they had had to kill their enemies. Many locked themselves in their rooms and wouldn’t speak. Or when they opened their mouths, it was to repeat a refrain: “I had to shoot, I killed.” Just the opposite of the Arabs. After the war we offered the Egyptians an exchange of prisoners. Seventy of theirs for ten of ours, The answered, “but yours are officers, ours are fellahin! It’s impossible.” Fellahin, peasants. I’m afraid… 
Fallaci: Will you ever give up Jerusalem, Mrs. Meir? 
Meir: No. Never. No. Jerusalem no. Jerusalem never. Inadmissible. Jerusalem is out of the question. We won’t even agree to discuss Jerusalem. 
Fallaci: Would you give up the West Bank of the Jordan? 
Meir: On this point there are differences of opinion in Israel. So it’s possible that we’d be ready to negotiate about the West Bank. Let me make myself clearer. I believe the majority of Israelis would never ask the Knesset to give up the West Bank completely. However, if we should come to negotiate with Hussein, the majority of Israelis would be ready to hand back part of the West Bank… 
Fallaci: And Gaza? Would you give up Gaza, Mrs. Meir? 
Meir: I say that Gaza must, should be part of Israel. Yes, that’s my opinion. Our opinion, in fact. However, to start negotiating, I don’t ask Hussein or Sadat to agree with me on any point… 
Fallaci: And the Golan Heights? 
Meir: It’s more or less the same idea. The Syrians would like us to come down from the Golan Heights so that they can shoot down at us as they did before. Needless to say, we have not intention of doing so, we’ll never come down from the plateau. Nevertheless, we’re ready to negotiate with the Syrians too. 
Fallaci: And the Sinai? 
Meir: We’ve never said that we wanted the whole Sinai or most of the Sinai. We don’t want the whole Sinai. We want control of Sharm El Sheikh and part of the desert, let’s say a strip of the desert, connecting Israel with Sharm El Sheikh. Is that clear? Must I repeat it?… 
Fallaci: And so it’s obvious you’ll never go back to your old borders. 
Meir: Never. And when I say never, it’s not because we mean to annex new territory. It’s because we mean to ensure our defense, our survival. If there’s any possibility of reaching the peace you spoke of in the beginning, this is the only way. There’d never be peace if the Syrians were to return to the Golan Heights, if the Egyptians were to take back the whole Sinai, if we were to re-establish our 1967 borders with Hussein. In 1967, the distance to Natanya and the sea was barely ten miles, fifteen kilometers, IF we give Hussein the possibility of covering those fifteen kilometers, Israel risks being cut in two and…They accuse us of being expansionist, but believe me, we’re not interested in expanding. We’re only interested in new borders. And look, these Arabs want to go back to the 1967 borders. IF those borders were the right ones, why did they destroy them? 
Fallaci: But since the 1967 cease-fire, the war in the Middle East has taken on a new face: the face of terror, of terrorism. What do you think of this war and the men who are conducting it? OF Arafat, for instance, of Habash, of the Black September leaders? 
Meir: I simply think they’re not men. I don’t even consider them human beings, and the worst thing you can say of a man is that he’s not a human being. It’s like saying he’s an animal, isn’t it? But how can you call what they’re doing “a war”? Don’t you remember what Habash said when he had a bus full of Israeli children blown up? “It’s best to kill the Iseaelis while they’re still children.” 
Come on, what they’re doing isn’t a war. It’s not even a revolutionary movement because a movement that only wants to kill can’t be called revolutionary. Look, at the beginning of the century in Russia, in the revolutionary movement that rose up to overthrow the czar, there was one party that considered terror the only means of struggle. One day a man from this party was sent with a bomb to a street corner where the carriage of one of the czar’s high officials was supposed to pass. The carriage went by at the expected time, but the official was not alone, he was accompanied by his wife and children. 
So what did this true revolutionary do? He didn’t throw the bomb. He let it go off in his hand and was blown to pieces. Look, we too had our terrorist groups during the War of Independence: the Stern, the Irgun. And I was opposed to them, I was always opposed to them. But neither of them ever covered itself with such infamy as the Arabs have done with us. Neither of them ever put bombs in supermarkets or dynamite in school buses. Neither of them ever provoked tragedies like Munich or Lod airport. 
Fallaci: And how can one fight such terrorism, Mrs. Meir? Do you really think it helps to bomb Lebanese villages? 
Meir: …Maybe more than any other Arab country, Lebanon is offering hospitality to the terrorists. The Japanese who carried out the Lod massacre came from Lebanon, The girls who tried to hijack the Sabena plane in Tel Aviv had been trained in Lebanon. Are we supposed to sit here with our hands folded, praying and murmuring, “Let’s hope that nothing happens”? Praying doesn’t help. What helps is to counterattack. With all possible means, including means that we don’t necessarily like. Certainly we’d rather fight them in the open, but since that’s not possible…

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

 Michael Scheuer's  Dilemma: Which fallacy serves me best?

 1. Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are "baited" by merchants' advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, and the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items.

2.  An association fallacy is an inductive informal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion


From a conversation between CNN's Michael Smerconish and Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden desk:

SMERCONISH: Before you leave me, give me the plan. So if Michael Scheuer were dictating that which the United States should be doing, it would be what?

SCHEUER: Close the southern border so we don't end up fighting using the U.S. military inside the United States. Begin to put together the excel pipeline, build it, drill offshore, get us energy sufficient so .So if Michael Scheuer were dictating that which the United States should be doing, it would be what?

SCHEUER: Close the southern border so we don't end up fighting using the U.S. military inside the United States. Begin to put together the excel pipeline, build it, drill offshore, get us energy sufficient so we can dump those tyrants that are part of our coalition now. The Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis. They are the people that should be getting killed in this, not Americans. And finally, we need to separate ourselves from Israel. It's an enormous drag on American - it's a cancer on American foreign policy.

SMERCONISH: You know that people will hear this and find those words objectionable and say they are our only friend in the Middle East, the only democracy, the only people we can trust in that part, why would we ever turn our backs on the Israelis?

SCHEUER: I find it objectionable to send my college age kids to fight and die so Mrs. Mohammed can vote in an Afghan election and then after all of those kids died to run away and leave the country t go back to the Taliban. I'll take the abuse if people can explain what in the world this political elite is doing to our young people.


Please note the following two points:

1. Scheuer's description of Israel as "an enormous drag on American - it's a cancer on American foreign policy."

2. In Scheuer's response to Smerconish's question about this pronouncement, Israel disappears:

"I find it objectionable to send my college age kids to fight and die so Mrs. Mohammed can vote in an Afghan election and then after all of those kids died to run away and leave the country to go back to the Taliban."

What can be the meaning of this?

Is it a bait-and-switch deception in which  "Israel is a cancer" the bait and  "Mrs. Mohammed" of Afghanistan the switch?
Is it association fallacy, in which Afghanistan and Israel are implied to share the same inherent qualities, and the nasty characterizations of Israel as a cancer and the Afghan woman as "Mrs. Mohammed" are intended to arouse the same disgust in certain kinds of viewers? Despite the fact that these two places and entities are completely irrelevant and different to each other?
Any which way you wish to parse this odd discourse it stinks of bad faith and ill-will, either towards Israel, that is indeed as Smerconish stated, "the only people we can trust in that part," or the Afghan woman whom Scheuer sneeringly refers to as "Mrs. Mohammed" or both.   

Friday, September 12, 2014

West is the sole enemy of humanity and its bludgeon is the United States of America

It is always enlightening to climb into the mind of a bona fide Arab intellectual writing to an audience presumed to be of like-minded inclinations. This is one of those articles where it is laid out, ironically with some European garnish, without any attempt at concealing its raw message. What interests me is the contempt for international law and legitimacy openly declared here which makes it clear that those most likely to pass condemnations upon Israel presumably based on International Law are exactly those who have no use for such law.

Also interesting is the conclusion that the tyranny of non-western powers would be more tolerable because it will an nakedly honest tyranny based on unfeathered And untethered economic interests and such.

You have to read to believe:

"The late thinker Hadi al-Alawi had a negative view of the essence of the West, that is, he argued that there was something inherently “evil” and belligerent at the core of Western civilization, culture, and historical development. Alawi further described the West as “the sole enemy of humanity, whose bludgeon in its sustained assault on humanity is the United States of America.”
Reconciliation with the United States, for example, means that we should forget about Palestine and liberating it,
In the past two decades, the hegemony exercised its influence, and waged its wars and invasions under universal legal and humanitarian pretenses, which always portrayed its actions as the embodiment of international legitimacy, justice, and public interest. Naturally, many elites in the Third World reproduced these concepts about “international legitimacy” and “international community,” bought into them, and incorporated them into their own cultures and worldviews. However, with the decline of Western power, these “principles” and norms have started to unravel, in parallel with the decline of the dominant power.

The late Hadi al-Alawi assumed that the demise of Western hegemony was enough, per se, to change the course of human civilization, and open new possibilities for human life that are less materialistic and more liberal. But in line with our aversion to essentialism, we will assume that people are similar everywhere, and that there is no guarantee the new world being formed today would be better and more moral than the old world. Indeed, at some level, dealing with countries like Russia and China is not radically different from the relationship with the Western powers. The Russian, Chinese, Iranians, and others are not ultimately that different from the West in their pragmatism and quest to fulfill their interests, and in their ability to assault and do harm. But when they do so, at least, they will most probably not impose it on us in the name of justice, legitimacy, and civilization."

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Selective Radical Anarchist

  Prof. AbuKhalil admires Chomsky:

It amazed me when I came to the US in 1983 to discover that Noam Chomsky's name is far bigger outside of the US than in the US.  But then again, it is the US. 

Here he is on record as being quite pleased when  Chomsky suggested he was somewhat familiar with him:
 Saturday, February 27, 2010

Noam Chomsky on Angry Arab

Mahmood sent me this (I cite with his permission): "In case you care, a friend of mine asked Noam Chomsky what he thought of your work, and he said this: "I've read some of his work, and liked it. Didn't know about his anarchist inclinations. Should become more familiar with him." "

"Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful,[1][2] or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical[3][9][10] voluntary associations."



"I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms but for Palestine and the Palestinians, everything and anything. "

Imagine No'am Chomsky saying something like the quote, with one tiny alteration:
I don't like flags, and I don't like nationalisms but for Israel and the Jews, everything and anything.

This is how much Prof. AbuKhalil either admires Chomsky or understands what a genuine anarchist is. To untangle this cognitive dissonance it would be useful to read about some of AbuKhalil's fantasies:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Lies of Khaled Mashaal

Watch and learn.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Claude Lanzmann:

 "In "Tsahal" I also knew exactly what I wanted to tell: the creation an army, the construction of an army, the creation of courage. This army represents a victory of the Jewish people over themselves. There had never been a Jewish army before. My film tells how Jews took their fate into their own hands to avoid ever become victims again. I show how they overcame the victim role and overcame a mental predisposition.

In the Israeli army life is valued higher than anything else. And yet every soldier in the Tsahal is prepared to give his life. Unlike other armies of the world, the soldiers of the Tsahal do not die for the glory of their fatherland, they die for life alone. You should not forget that the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War was not just a murder of innocents. It was also a genocide of the defenceless. My film describes the path to overcome defencelessness. It describes how the Jewish people empowered themselves with weapons and it describes the psychological metamorphosis that the people had to undergo, in order to build an army like the Tsahal, in order to be able to defend themselves, to be able to kill.

For decades, young Israelis have been growing up with the insecurity of knowing that no-one can guarantee that "Israel will still exist in 2025".

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The price of truth telling is you have your ass kicked. Is Amnesty International a sacred organization whose activities are beyond ironizing? I can understand the discomfiture caused by an intemperately explicit tweet but really, to characterize it as "unconscionable" and "abhorrent" is to suggest that AI and its missions are beyond criticism. Is that really the case? Why the beatification of an organization that tends to apply the meaning of "human rights" with in-built selective pre-determined judgmentalism?

The Rooster's Crow and Kenneth Roth's Evil

Highly disturbing statement from Kenneth Roth, of HRW:

Hamas tunnels may have also been intended against civilians but they've  "caused a huge number of military fatalities" 

It is an open and declarative attempt to reverse cause and effect in the service of whitewashing Hamas. IDF inserts its soldiers between Hamas and Hamas' civilian targets, which explains why there are fallen soldiers in this war but very few civilian victims. Kenneth Roth takes this fact and re-baptizes it as "reasonable doubt" ("Hamas tunnels may have also been intended against civilians") that Hamas actually targets military personnel and not necessarily civilian population. This is the product not of a confused mind but a malevolent cynical manipulator of facts who reverses the reasonable order of cause and effect. He is turning the effect, large  proportion of fallen IDF soldiers in Israel's war toll, into an explanation of the cause: they were the intended targets.

It has the same children story illogical literary device of placing two facts in a certain proximity, correlation and order and then deliberately drawing wrong conclusions to amuse kids and stimulate their thinking. For example, the rooster crows at dawn. We have two activities going on more or less simultaneously: sunrise and the rooster's crow. The creative author may suggest that one act triggers the other: if the rooster doesn't crow, dawn will not be break. It amuses kids to be regaled with this kind of illogic, but it does not serve as a scientific explanation of the phenomenon. That's exactly the kind of device Kenneth Roth tries to employ in his attempt to cleanse Hamas of its well-recorded and unimpeachable history of targeting civilians anywhere and everywhere in Israel. He turns the numbers of dead soldiers into an apriori intent, thus removing the verifiable, scientific element from his "analysis".

And it is done not to amuse, as in the case of the children's story, but to confuse and inflict further pain upon Israeli. 

Says Paul Ricoeur:

Evil is, in the literal sense of the word, perversion, that is, a reversal of the order that requires respect for law to be placed above inclination. It is a matter of a misuse of a free choice and not of the malfeasance of desire. The propensity for evil affects the use of freedom, the capacity to act out of duty – in short, the capacity for being autonomous.”

Ricoeur speaks of law and inclination. The inclination is Hamas intent to harm civilians. The law is the presence of IDF soldiers between Hamas and Israeli civilians. To turn that lawful force that acts out of profoundly justifiable duty into the intended target of Hamas is to lie about Hamas' fully declarative inclinations and intentions. It is, simply put, evil.