Monday, August 23, 2010

Will Palestinian cult of death destroy hope of peace?

As many others were in the early 1990s, I was optimistic that peace would come to Israelis and Palestinians with the signing of the Oslo Accords. I was woken from my reverie by the attack in which Alisa was murdered. It took several years more for mainstream folks to understand the implications of what the late Israeli Prime Minister personally told my wife and I,
"Yassir Arafat was a terrorist, is a terrorist, will always be a terrorist, and is surrounded by terrorists."
With the so-called "direct negotiations" about to take place between the two sides, the recently made threats by Jibril Rajoub and Ahmed Qurei to renew attacks against Israeli civilians, must thoroughly dampen, if not eliminate, any optimism that this new round of negotiations will have the desired result.

We previously wrote about the naming of a square in a Palestinian city after a mass murderer. They've just done that again. This worship of murderers is sick and I can think of no other society that does it so well. How do you reconcile yourself with people who glorify those who killed your children?

It says on the Jerusalem Post editorial page,
The Israeli government, with mainstream support, has signalled that it will consider the painful concessions necessary for a viable accord – provided that the PA, for the first time, both internalizes Israel’s sovereign legitimacy and emphasizes that legitimacy to its own people, creating the climate for mutual compromise and long-term reconciliation.
If only the Palestinian leadership will meet them half-way.

That's what I think.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tom Friedman - let's try some constructive criticism

In case you missed Tom Friedman's column in the Sunday Times, read it now.

I've long been an admirer of Israeli filmmakers. They have an ability to touch the heart of an issue without melodrama and without finger pointing. So, when Friedman writes about a film, "Precious Life," he got my curiosity up.

The film is a documentary about Israeli medical efforts to save the life of a young Palestinian child from Gaza. From there, the story gets more interesting and I want you to read Friedman's column to get the gist of the movie.

I have been to Israeli hospitals. And I have seen first hand that they treat all patients-- Jews, Arabs, Christians, Muslims, Druze and all others-- with equanimity and first rate medical care. It's a far cry from medical treatment in other Middle Eastern countries. All that Friedman writes about medical care is true.

What disturbs Friedman today is the lack of constructive criticism when speaking of Israel and he raises one key point-- everyone there is open to it.

But there are two kinds of criticism. Constructive criticism starts by making clear: “I know what world you are living in.” I know the Middle East is a place where Sunnis massacre Shiites in Iraq, Iran kills its own voters, Syria allegedly kills the prime minister next door, Turkey hammers the Kurds, and Hamas engages in indiscriminate shelling and refuses to recognize Israel. I know all of that. But Israel’s behavior, at times, only makes matters worse — for Palestinians and Israelis. If you convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in, and then criticize, they’ll listen.

As Friedman explains,

Destructive criticism closes Israeli ears. It says to Israelis: There is no context that could explain your behavior, and your wrongs are so uniquely wrong that they overshadow all others. Destructive critics dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided — after Israel unilaterally left Gaza — to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too. Destructive criticism only empowers the most destructive elements in Israel to argue that nothing Israel does matters, so why change?

How about everybody take a deep breath, pop a copy of “Precious Life” into your DVD players, watch this documentary about the real Middle East, and if you still want to be a critic (as I do), be a constructive one. A lot more Israelis and Palestinians will listen to you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

U.S. Muslim leaders turn-in wannabe terrorists

14 people have been indicted by the U.S. for

“funneling “money, personnel and services” to the Shabab, the Islamist terrorist group fighting an insurgency in Somalia.”
According to The NY Times,
“The newly unsealed indictments included charges against two women arrested Thursday in Rochester, Minn., who are accused of raising money and sending it to the Shabab, as well as charges against Omar Hammami, an Alabama man who has appeared in videos promoting the group and is believed to have become a crucial Shabab figure.”

What’s interesting about the news is the high level of cooperation between Muslim leaders and U.S. law enforcement officials.

According to IPT News,

“Federal law enforcement officials are praising Somali-Americans for their help in an investigation which resulted in the indictment Thursday of 14 people on charges of providing money, services and personnel to the terrorist organization al-Shabaab. A large part of the credit goes to Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali community leader in Minneapolis who persevered despite opposition from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and hostile mosque leaders.”
That’s welcome news because it shows that there are Muslim leaders who don’t fall under the sway of CAIR.

Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr. said,

“The indictments unsealed today shed further light on a deadly pipeline that has routed funding and fighters to the Al Shabab terror organization from cities across the United States. These arrests and charges should serve as an unmistakable warning to others considering joining terrorist groups like Al Shabab — if you choose this route, you can expect to find yourself in a U.S. jail cell or a casualty on the battlefield in Somalia.”
Strong words from Mr. holder, let’s see if they hold up.

For more on Al Shabab, go here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

There's no room for a double standard on anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism, not "the occupation, lies at the root of terrorism directed at Jews in Israel and around the world. So what happens when a Hollywood player, Oliver Stone, reveals his anti-Semitism?

Jeff Jacoby, writing in the Boston Globe and on his website compares the reaction to Mel Gibson's tirade against Jews to Oliver Stone's. He asks, "is there a double standard?"
LATE IN JULY, a Hollywood honcho uncorks a blast of anti-Semitic bile, the sort of malignant stereotype about Jews one might expect from David Duke or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is that newsworthy?
It certainly was in 2006, when Mel Gibson, arrested in Malibu for drunken driving, demanded to know whether the arresting deputy was Jewish, and then launched into an anti-Semitic rant: "F-----g Jews," he raged. "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world."
Calls went out for folks to boycott Gibson movies and to never work with him again. More than 1,000 news items were filed in the week after the incident.

Now, turn to Oliver Stone, the most recent prominent Hollywood figure to blame Jews for the world's ills and "Jewish domination of the media". One week later, less than 150 items have been posted. "On ABC, CBS, and NBC, the news shows completely ignored the story. The New York Times restricted its coverage to two short items in its "Arts, Briefly" section -- and few other papers ran even that much.

No widespread calls for a boycott of Stone and his work.

So, Jacoby wonders,
Gibson and Stone are both guilty of indulging in rank anti-Semitism (for which both promptly "apologized"), but only Gibson was buried under a newsroom avalanche of outrage and disgust. What explains that glaring difference? Surely the media don't think Jew-baiting is intolerable only when it comes from a right-wing Christian like Gibson. Surely they wouldn't overlook Stone's noxious rant just because he is a pluperfect left-wing activist.

Surely that can't be the explanation for so disgraceful a double standard.

Can it?

Oh, yes it can. And that's what I think.