I am an Arab; I can't say the letter "P", so I say Botato.
Friday, February 12, 2016
How Israel is so pathetically desperate for Hollywood celebrity endorsements: they would sell Netanyahu to get the Kardashian sisters to visit
"The new wrinkle is that Israel has decided to play the celebrity product placement game. The Israeli Tourism Ministry and a Brooklyn-based travel company run by ultra-Orthodox Jews called ExploreIsrael.com are offering a $55,000 all-expenses paid, 10-day luxury travel pack with first-class air to Tel Aviv -- "plus all the falafel you can eat." The trips are part of an effort to sell Israel as a travel destination and not a conflict zone. The offer is being extended only to the nominees in best actor/actress, best supporting and director categories, alongside presenter Chris Rock, so that’s 26 people, plus their companions. Producers, script writers, makeup and special effect gurus are not on the guest list."
" “RE/MAX is selling apartments to communities built on Palestinian land that Palestinians themselves are banned from entering without a permit, and then, only to work as laborers,” Bashi says. “These are activities that not only violate the Geneva Conventions against population transfer in occupied territory, but also the Rome Statute that specifically defines such transfers as war crimes.” "
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:45 AM
"According to testimonies collected by human rights groups, Palestinian minors routinely face physical and emotional abuse while in Israeli custody in order to force confessions or extract information. Data compiled last year by Defense for Children International–Palestine found that three out of four Palestinian children experienced physical violence after their detention by Israeli forces. Children have reported beatings, strip searches, painful stress positions, threats, sleep deprivation and solitary confinement – abuses amounting to torture."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:44 AM
"But the media has been conspicuously silent about the large sums the Clintons have raked in from paid addresses to pro-Israel organizations, including the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which directly participates in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and Bedouin citizens of Israel. An evaluation of Hillary Clinton’s public disclosures from 2001 to 2015 shows that she and Bill, and their daughter, Chelsea, have earned roughly $4 million in speaking fees from pro-Israel organizations, including JNF and organizations allied with the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The vast majority of these documented payments—$3,599,999—have gone toward the Clintons’ personal income, and up to $450,000 has been funneled into the Clinton Foundation." (thanks Amir)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:42 AM
You know more who is more idiotic than that Israeli rightwing nut who opined on the letter "P" in Arabic? Isabel Kershner of the New York Times
"But it is rare to meet an Arab who can pronounce the letter P; Pepsi is known as “Bebsi” across the Middle East." This is a correspondent in a land that is majority Arab (historically before the nakbah) and it still retains Arabs as at least half of the population of the holy land, and you would expect her living there to know something about them, and yet this is how ignorant she is. But this is the worst part: "Palestinians pronounce the name of their would-be state as “Falastin” (fah-leh-STEEN)". Their would-be state? No, Ms. Kershner. Palestinians pronounce their historic state over centuries as Filastin.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:41 AM
Thursday, February 11, 2016
But when an Egyptian reporter questioned her knowledge of Arab and North Africa films, Streep went off the deep end.
"I've played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures," Streep stated.
"There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we're all from Africa originally," she added. "Berliners, we're all Africans really."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 11:31 AM
US media did not cover the story of the fist-fights in the US-sponsored Libyan parliament. The country is by far the worse example of governance anymore. Did you read about the Libyans cheering for Qadhdhafi at a Cairo event last week? Only the US and its military intervention can make people be nostalgic for the rule of grotesque tyrants.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 11:21 AM
"Hamas devoted all its resources to digging tunnels to attack Israelis from Gaza rather than turning Gaza into Singapore". Yes, Gaza under siege and occupation, and prevented from importing building materials and pasta, and with the Israeli army determining the caloric intake of its residents, could have been a Singapore.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 11:18 AM
"sharing pictures of his family on his popular Instagram account, driving a BMW and playing indoor soccer with news photographers and cultural figures."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 11:16 AM
From Basim: ""Don't want to hire an Arab for security reasons?"
The leaflet appears to show different pricing levels based on the ethnic origin of cleaners, with an African cleaner rated at 49 shekels ($12.60; £8.70); while an East European cleaner is priced at 52 shekels without Israeli citizenship and 69 shekels ($17.75; £12.25) with full documentation."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:29 AM
"Ahead of Pakistan’s 2014 operation in North Waziristan, scores, even hundreds, of foreign fighters left the tribal areas to fight against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Tribesmen and Taliban members from the area say fighters traveled to Quetta, and then flew to Qatar. There they received new passports and passage to Turkey, from where they could cross into Syria." "It is just another reminder of Pakistan’s central involvement in creating and managing violent jihadist groups,"
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:19 AM
"A Likud lawmaker was met with derision in the Knesset plenum, after saying that that there was no such thing as a Palestinian people, since Arabic doesn't have the consonant "P." "While the lawmaker was correct in saying that Arabic doesn't have a "P" sound, the word for "Palestine" in Arabic begins with the consonant "F," the same as in Hebrew, and is pronounced: "Falastin." "
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:17 AM
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife mistreated and abused a former member of her housekeeping staff, a court ruled Wednesday, awarding the man $42,000 in damages in a decision that dealt an embarrassing blow to the country's first family." "Naftali has also claimed that Sara Netanyahu derided his ethnicity when he ordered food for them in a hotel, implying that his Middle Eastern background was somehow uncouth." (thanks Amir)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:16 AM
One of the refreshing phenomenon in the Arab world, especially on social media, is that there is now room for people to mock religion and mock clerics without fearing retribution. The trend is spreading. This popular Arabic FB page specializes in mocking clerics.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 10:10 AM
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
I don't think he should do humor: he should stick to doing what he does best: writing about human rights without really offending either Israel or US
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 1:34 PM
I swear: only a month ago the WP and other papers were writing that Russian military intervention had no impact whatsoever
"U.S. officials: Russian airstrikes have changed "calculus completely" in Syria".
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:43 AM
"Human rights groups are smuggling thumb drives with movies, TV shows and information into North Korea." Yes, very cute and funny. Would you also smuggle some of those flash drives to Saudi Arabia and other client dictatorships of the US? Let me see you do that.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:31 AM
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:20 AM
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:01 AM
“It’s a historical decision,” said Saeed Al Nazari, an Emirati who started a UAE chapter of the Global Happiness Organisation, a non-profit body that aims to promote happiness worldwide. Mr Al Nazari – whose first name, aptly, means happy – said the move was a natural progression resulting from the Government’s focus on people’s satisfaction. Mr Al Nazari said the onus also fell on individuals to work towards happiness
“I always thought I was walking toward happiness, but now I know I am walking happily.” (thanks Basim)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 6:53 AM
"The Republican candidates have seemingly been competing with one another over who would commit the gravest war crimes if elected. In recent months, one candidate or another has promised to waterboard, do a “helluva lot worse than waterboarding,” repopulate Guantánamo, engage in wars of aggression, kill families of suspected terrorists, and “carpet bomb” Middle Eastern countries until we find out if “sand can glow in the dark.” "
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 6:46 AM
"Yet Riyadh seems to believe it has become some kind of new superpower overnight which is astonishing since it has done nothing at all during the past 60 years to resolve the injustice of the Palestine-Israel conflict and has always avoided any military intervention in that situation which one would have thought should be dear to its Arab and Moslem heart."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 6:11 AM
I highly recommend the book by Betty Anderson on the American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education, published by the University of Texas Press. I only think that one chapter is missing about repression of students' rights over the decades by the administration, and the role of the university during the Cold War.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 6:05 AM
The Israeli prime minister refers to Arabs and Africans as "wild beasts": imagine the uproar if an Arab were to say that
"Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to build a 15ft fence to surround the whole of Israel, saying that the country must “protect itself from wild beasts”. The Israeli Prime Minister appeared to use the extraordinary phrase – which has also been translated as “predators” – to describe both Palestinians and the people of neighbouring Arab states." (thanks Amir)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 5:53 AM
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 5:48 AM
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 5:37 AM
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
"This is a problem for Saudi and Qatar as they have massively invested into Syria via the moderate opposition as their surrogate on the ground," said Krieg, who also serves as a consultant to the Qatari armed forces." (thanks Basim)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 8:16 AM
"while Mr. Sanders embraces a more dovish approach as the world seems to be getting more dangerous and complex."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 8:14 AM
There is no question that Russia's intervention helped to prop up the lousy Syrian regime, and to cause advances for its troops, but could it be denied that Russian bombing has certainly weakened the reach of ISIS and has has especially been effective in disrupting the fuel convoys and sales of oil by ISIS?
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 8:06 AM
If Syrian rebels are advancing and if their bombs are falling over "government-held areas", this is treated as good news and great news for peace and democracy in Syria. But when regime troops advance, it is presented as a humanitarian crisis which requires not only Western assistance but urgent Western missiles and rockets. And the Western correspondents in Beirut will always find the convenient Syrian to offer them pleas for Western military support: "The few Syrians who had made it to Turkey — because of their critical injuries — expressed shock that the United States, which has called for the removal of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, was not responding more concertedly, either militarily or diplomatically."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 8:04 AM
"The wrangling was juxtaposed uneasily with the release of a report by the four-member United Nations Commission of Inquiry, which diplomats view as an authoritative record of human rights developments in Syria, saying that the government of Mr. Assad had mounted a “systematic and widespread attack” on civilians. The panel cited the arrests of tens of thousands of people who had been sent to interrogation centers and prisons, where many were tortured to death or left to die of their injuries, as part of a broader campaign of “murder, rape or other forms of sexual violence, torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearance and other inhuman acts.”" She left out, of course, that Syrian rebels were also accused of war crimes. How dishonest and unprofessional this is.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 8:01 AM
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:54 AM
"Although hard to fathom, false confessions happen surprisingly often; they are thought to play a role in up to a quarter of wrongful convictions in the US, according to the campaign group the Innocence Project." "Now a study has shed more light on how easily severe exhaustion can lead to this type of false confession." "It might seem obvious that people who are dead tired can make stupid decisions – but there is a long history of police and army interrogators using sleep deprivation as an interview technique." (thanks Amir)
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:49 AM
"in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s own jarringly clumsy political touch, left the military seeing no choice but to assume the task it had wished to avoid all along: ruling and governing at the same time. Indeed, in July 2013, when Sisi declared that Morsi was no longer president, Egypt’s prospects looked dim: the economy was flirting with disaster (foreign currency reserves were less than three months’ worth of imports), society was deeply polarized (with the president’s proponents and opponents frequently engaged in street battles), the Sinai Peninsula was rocked by terrorist attacks, and neighboring countries were imploding. To the military, the only option seemed to be to rescuing the country from catastrophic collapse by imposing order, whatever the cost."
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 7:47 AM
Monday, February 08, 2016
Having watched the first Super Bowl (I first spelled it Super Ball) ever (I think it was my second but my wife, Michele--a fanatic fan of Kansas City team--does not agree because she said that I watched one with an IPad in hand, which does not count for her), I have a few suggestions to improve the game for players and for spectators:
1) Eliminate the weirdly shaped ball and get a normal football.
2) According to the new rules, players can compete for the ball but without any physical contact of any kind. That would be better for the health of the players in retirement.
3) Eliminate the association between the game and patriotism.
4) Eliminate the association between the game and religion: Yesterday, Manning suggested that his team's victory was purely due to God's intervention on his side. And what makes you think that God understands the rules of the game to follow it that closely?
5) End once and for all the interruptions in the game. It is so slow and they stop the clock every minute. That makes it very boring. Give them two hours to play, but without any interruption whatsoever. If people violate the rules, they can be punished later.
6) We don't need to see the wealthy and famous as they watch the game.
7) End the gender segregation in the game.
8) Please eliminate cheerleaders. It is so unnecessary and stupid and seems to belong to an era decades before the women's movement.
9) to end the worship of the sports figure and the crazy intense competition for teams and between them, pay players the minimum wage, and not one cent more.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at 4:12 PM