Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This does read like a fake interview

"“By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor,” Taliban operative Zabihullah tells NEWSWEEK. (Like many Afghans, he uses a single name.) “It’s providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support.”" (thanks Fahd)

Lebanon versus the US

"“Ground Zero” for Lebanon is an ever expanding, never ending, open wound that never heals.   "So what now Newt?    Should you expect the Lebanese to allow a synagogue to be built on their Ground Zero, in the aftermath of a 9/11 that occurred 5 years after ours and which, “proportionately” speaking, was 30 times the size of ours?   Well guess what you hateful, misguided, twit?   THEY DID.  In the process of re-building Beirut yet again, in 2008, renovations began and have now been completed on the Maghden Abraham Synagogue located in the middle of newly renovated downtown Beirut in an area known as the “Solidere" which has become the focal point and showcase of Lebanon’s rebirth.""

Can you imagine if Hizbullah flew planes over Israel? The Security Council would have convened

"The Lebanese Army command detailing violations of Lebanese airspace by Israeli drones on Monday. A statement said at 7:30 am on Monday an Israeli reconnaissance plane violated Lebanese airspace over the southern village of Rmeish, and then flew over the towns of Riaq, Baalbeck, Hermel, and south Lebanon. It left at 12:10 pm over the southern village of Alma Shaab. At 10:47 am, two Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles reportedly breached the airspace near the border village of Naqoura and conducted a circular flight over Lebanese territories. The jet left at 12:30 pm above the southern village of Rmeish."

security structures for fuels

"“In the years ahead energy security, economic security and national security will be inextricably linked. If we want to ensure that we can keep the lights on in Britain then we need to develop a comprehensive energy strategy. It is simply a matter of risk management. Such a strategy will need to have three components: diversity in the type of fuels we use; diversity in the geographical sources of those fuels; and the security structures that will guarantee the safe transport of these fuels.”" (thanks Steve)

Where is PETA?

"Scientists are allegedly carrying out cruel and unnecessary experiments on cats at the Tel Aviv University medical school. This came to light after photographs of two frightened, abandoned kittens in Tel Aviv University's animal laboratory reached Behind Closed Doors, a non-profit organization that advocates the rights of animals used in experiments in Israel."

Chief PA Buffoon seeks approval of Israelis

You have to watch him.  He out did himself.  (thanks Ziyaad)

When the puppets are embarrassed

"The Palestinian security chief, Diab el-Ali, rejected that in a recent interview, saying that the Israeli raids were an embarrassment and that he wanted them to stop. He said the Palestinians were capable of providing full security."  The sentence is incomplete.  It should read: ...providing full security for Israel. (thanks Sarah)


"As for violence, Hamas has inflicted a fraction of the harm on Israeli civilians that Israel inflicts on Palestinian civilians. If violence disqualifies Hamas, surely much greater violence should disqualify the Israelis?"

Yasser `Abd Rabbu seeks approval of Israelis

This is as pathetic as it can get, really. (thanks Hussam)

Martin Indyk's racism: only Jewish lives count. Notice he provides no count for Palestinian casualties in the same period

"These efforts, combined with more effective Israeli security measures, have meant that the number of Israeli civilians killed in terrorist attacks has dropped from an intifada high of 452 in 2002 to 6 last year and only 2 so far this year."

Five Ethiopians die in Saudi deportation centre: from overcrowding

""The five died in the deportation centre in the southern Red Sea port of Jizan of "asphyxiation due to overcrowding," according to a local police official, the newspaper said."" (thanks anonymous)

Wahhabi institutes

""...In my opinion Yemen has lost a whole generation because of the type of education that was provided through what were called “scientific institutes.” These institutes were religious institutes preaching a salafi and wahabi interpretation, which is extremist and pro jihad. We lost this generation also because this type of school came within a context when North and South Yemen were competing against each other. At the same time, North Yemen and Saudi Arabia were trying to combat the communist ideology of the South of Yemen. So now we have a generation that is more or less formed by the extremist ideology of wahabism..." (thanks Nu`man)

Israel is stealing the land and its resources and they are chasing sheep thieves

"Palestinian Authority police detained four suspected of stealing 14 sheep from a farm in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, a report read." (thanks Olivia)

Why Israel's years are numbered

"Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who looked into the appointment process, concluded that officers who currently hold senior military posts did not undergo sufficient training, and that top appointments are affected by personal ties with the army chief and defense minister.  The IDF does not meet its own criteria for appointing senior officers ranked lieutenant colonel to brigadier general, often designating officers possessing insufficient experience and knowledge for top jobs, the comptroller said."  I wonder if Orientalists refer to Wasta in Israel as Wasta.

"Franz Schurmann, Cold War Expert on China, Dies at 84"

"Franz Schurmann, an expert on China during the cold war and a globe-trotting professor who helped found the Pacific News Service, a provider of news and commentary about Asia, died on Aug. 20 at his home in San Francisco. He was 84. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, his wife, Sandy Close, said.  Mr. Schurmann, who was fluent in as many as 12 languages and read a variety of foreign papers daily, taught history and sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, for nearly four decades. But his life was far more adventurous than that sounds, and he referred to himself not as an academic but as an explorer-journalist.  The son of working-class immigrants, he developed early on the charisma and intellectual heft to attract famous and powerful company. He spent graduate school summers with the family of the German expatriate playwright Bertolt Brecht, whose son Stefan he had met in the Army. At Brecht’s Southern California dinner table he encountered Thomas Mann and other German intellectuals in exile.  An opponent of the Vietnam War and a founder of the Berkeley Faculty Peace Committee in 1964, he toured Hanoi with the writer Mary McCarthy in 1968. An inveterate traveler, especially in Asia but also in Russia and other parts of Europe, he became used to drawing conclusions more from firsthand observations than from secondhand accounts by scholars and journalists.""  I met Franz and his wife Sandy more than 10 years ago.  They wanted to publicize my radical perspective on the Middle East on KPFA in Berkeley and in the Pacific News Service.  He was a most brilliant man and I did a few radio shows with him.  When you read about his language skills, you better believe it.   This Asian expert later in life worked on other languages, like Arabic.  He told me that he got in to the habit of reading Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat daily.  I would try to convince him to read another Arabic newspaper to no avail: it was part of his daily routine and he was all aware of the nature and mission of the paper but felt that he needed to see that Saudi perspective.   He gave me one of his classic studies of China and I will now begin reading it.   I met him when he was in his seventies and back then his mind was sharp and memory meticulous.  I take this public opportunity to send my condolences to Sandy and the family.

Monday, August 30, 2010

This is Zionism

"An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday."

Lebanon is number one. Watch. An-Nahar will now brag

"Here are ten places Uncle Sam urges Americans to avoid, ranked in order of the degree to which each country's GDP depends upon tourism revenue." (thanks Daniel)

Read this article, now

By the way, read Laleh Khalili's article "The Location of Palestine in Global Counterinsurgencies" in IJMES.  I read it as manuscript and loved it.

Censorship in Ramallah mini-republic-under-occupation

A reader who does not want to be identified sent me this--he/she fears retribution.   "You might be interested to know that the Arabic translation of the recent book\interview with George Habash (Al-Thawriyyun la Yamutun Abadan, published by Dar A-Ssaki 2009) is possibly censored in the Palestinian Authority. While I was reading the copy I bought in Ramallah I discovered that page 258 was all blank. I thought it was normal since it was surely a bootleg edition. But when I found a copy from a street vendor in Jerusalem I opened on page 258 which  did exist in this one; it was the only page where Habash refers to the Palestinian Authority and the corruption there (Israel, of course, did not bother to censor it; by the way, it happens quite often that Palestinians in West Bank ask Palestinian Jerusalemites or Palestinians 48, who are under direct Israeli occupation, to bring them books the PA prohibit in its territories)."

The Returnee

If you want to read about transmigration of the souls (as a concept of course--not that i believe in souls) in literature, read Khalil Taqiyy Ad-Din's Al-`a'id (The Returnee).  

Can you imagine the American uproar if this was a Muslim cleric speaking about Jews? I mean, the UN Security Council would have met, and US Congress would have issued a resolution

""Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this earth," Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual head of the religious Shas party in Israel's government, said in a sermon late on Saturday, using Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's popular name.  "God should strike them and these Palestinians -- evil haters of Israel -- with a plague," the 89-year-old rabbi said in his weekly address to the faithful, excerpts of which were broadcast on Israeli radio on Sunday."

Hamas and Fatah agree--on torturing their prisoners

At least they found common grounds.

Look how casual Israeli racism is in their media

"An American businessman who travels often to the Persian Gulf (where he removes his kippah) recently told me that leaders of the ruling families in the oil empires are setting their sights on Israel with great desire to cooperate with the Jewish State. Jewish brains and Arab money – what could be better?"  Yes, Arabs don't have brains, only Israelis are born with them. (thanks Hussein)

Worst show on TV

"His attitude is patently patronizing — he is distributing largess from the donor-supported Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, to the poor Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. [They are definitely poor -- a bill was passed in the Lebanese Parliament only last week, that finally allowed Palestinian refugees who have in Lebanon for over 30 years or more to be able to seek work, although they have no residency status and no official papers.]  The money comes from the Palestine Investment Fund [!].
Tonight’s episode was filmed in Beddawi refugee camp. One lady said she was from “Bared” — and the journalist quickly asks her if she was from Nahr al-Bared, which was in part destroyed during a Lebanese Army assault several years ago on militants who were said to be part of a group called “Fatah al-Islam”, which the Palestinian representative in Lebanon quickly denounced. That lady said that she and her large family were still being sheltered in a garage. “What can we do?”, she asked plaintively." (thanks M.)

Praising Zionist crimes in Israel

"The Education Ministry is rewriting the country's main civics textbook, and the chairman of the ministry's pedagogical secretariat will begin publishing updates on the ministry's Web site as early as the upcoming school year.  The main contention of the chairman - Zvi Zameret - is that the textbook dwells too much on criticism of the state, sources in the Education Ministry who took part with Zameret in discussions on the book told Haaretz." (thanks Olivia)

Moroccan women

"Recently, however, two Gulf countries – Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – have provoked Morocco's ire. The Kuwaiti channel, al-Watan, has apologised to Moroccans for the animated comedy series Bu Qatada and Bu Nabeel, which sparked outrage for its improper depiction of Moroccan women as scheming witches plotting to ensnare rich Kuwaiti husbands by casting spells on them.  Last month, in another, rather under-reported incident, Saudi Arabia banned Moroccan women "of a certain age" from umra (the lesser pilgrimage), for fear they would abuse theirs visas "for other purposes" even when they are accompanied by male relatives." (thanks Aghyan)

Sa`d Ad-Din Ibrahim now supports the candidacy of Jamal Bubarak

Since Nasser, this man supported every president who ruled Egypt (although he later changed his mind about them).  I like what he said: he said that if Jamal is elected, it wont be "tawrith" (giving the post of president to the son as inheritance), as if the "election" of Jamal would be free and as if the machinery and resources of the state won't be utilized for that effort.  (thanks Hicham)

5195 books confiscated in Saudi Arabia

While Condoleezza Rice praised "reforms" in Saudi Arabia, the country confiscated 5195 books dealing with religion and politics.  This is based on official Saudi sources.

protest in Saudi Arabia; let us hope that they dont get beheaded

"Some 200 unemployed Saudi university graduates staged a rare protest in the capital Riyadh demanding the Gulf Arab state give them jobs, Saudi media said on Sunday."

arrest of a rape victim in Lebanon

A woman was raped in Lebanon, so the Lebanese police arrested her for entering the country illegally.  I am not making this up.

Syrian workers in Lebanon

A Syrian worker fell to his death in Lebanon, and others were attacked in their home.  (thanks Farah)

The ideology of hostility against Islam in the US

"One of the most under-reported political stories is the  increasingly vehement, nationwide movement -- far from Ground Zero -- to  oppose new mosques and Islamic community centers.  These ugly campaigns are found across the country, in every region, and extend far beyond the warped extremists who are doing things such as sponsoring "Burn a Quran Day."  And now, from CBS News last night, we have this:" (thanks Layali)

Humor of the day: Adam Ereli cares about human rights in Bahrain. oh yeah

"Opposition leaders have also accused the United States of turning a blind eye. “Bahrain is important to the United States for security issues,” the American ambassador, J. Adam Ereli, said in a telephone interview. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t raise human rights issues as well.”"  Ereli is one of the most fanatic Zionists at the US Department of State and he thinks that he is qualified in Middle East studies because he is 1) fanatic about his love of Israeli wars; 2) because he can say shukran in broken Arabic.

NYT's translation

The New York Times' caption reads:  "Three women in head scarves and black abayas surged into the main atrium of the Seef Mall at 11 pm the other night, unfurling a banner outside the Next clothing boutique that read, “It is forbidden to arbitrarily arrest and detain people.”"  It should read: It is forbidden to arbitrarily arrest and detain AND EXILE people."

Thus spoke comrade Bassam Haddad

"“We are seeing changes,” said Bassam Haddad, director of the Middle East studies program at George Mason University. “The number of associations that are emerging is increasing. The number of concerns that are allowed to become public is also increasing. The whole process is blessed by the government. It has good intentions but built-in structural limitations.”  Professor Haddad said that in the 1990s, during a similar embrace of civil society groups, activists knew the changes were cosmetic but assumed that the very existence of new groups might hasten change. Few people have those illusions today, he said.  “I think the first thing that Syrians need to see is an end to arbitrary rulings that put away people based on their viewpoints,” he said. “That is something that stifles any kind of public debate about the important issues.”" (thanks Bassam)

Jubran Khalil Jubran

Jubran Dayah is a meticulous researcher and knows more about the early phase of Arab press than anyone else. He writes in the publications of SSNP and has many books to his name.  I am reading his Lakum Jubranukum wa Liya Jubrani: and he has done so much research and is perhaps the most reliable authority on the life and writings of Jubran, especially names, dates, etc.

Kamal Jumblat

There is a really good (albeit uncritical) portrait of Kamal Jumblat in Muhsin Dallul's book on him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

US Congress

I am certain that the US Congress would cover up and cover any war crime that Israel may take, no matter how massive or how heinous.

Read this

First, read the title that the sleazy Saudi website has given to my today's article in Al-Akhbar, and read the comment under it.  (thanks Zainab)

If this was in a Muslim country, it would have been a front page story in US newspapers

"A singer who performed in front of a “mixed audience” of men and women was lashed 39 times to make him “repent,” after a ruling by a self-described rabbinic court on Wednesday.  Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak, founder of the Shofar organization aimed at bringing Jews “back to religion” (hazara betshuva), has made it his recent mission to fight against musical performances for both men and women." (thanks Arwa)

Nazir Rashid

I don't understand the controversy over the book by Nazir Rashid (former head of Jordanian intelligence).  As is known, the book was banned by the Jordanian government shortly after its release.  I brought a copy from Lebanon and found the book boring and useless.

Kamal Salibi on Israel

In his interesting (and angry) interview in the last issue of the journal, Al-Mustaqbal Al-`Arabi, Kamal Salibi said this of Israel:  "Israel: its situation has been exposed.  A racist shop (dukkan) that will be closed sooner or later, provided we don't offer her services." (p. 130).

Arab public attitudes toward Arab nationalism

In the last issue (August, 2010) of the journal, Al-Mustaqbal Al-`Arabi,  there is an important study of Arab public attitudes towards Arab identity.   `Ali As`ad Watfah, a professor of sociology at Kuwait university, finds evidence of increased attachment to Arab identity among Kuwaiti students.  Some 72 percent of students desire Arab unity "in the near future." (p. 17).  The study also finds evidence or rising sentiments in other Arab countries.

I am jealous: we need that in the Arab world

"Advertising agency Muckmouth, Auckland, New Zealand created a blasphemous campaign for Eshe Streatwear. The campaign includes four posters posted all over the streets of Auckland, branded skateboards and t-shirts.  Advertising is known to break taboos since before the scandalous Benetton campaigns breaking down the taboos of race, sex and politics. This campaign is now taking a stab at religion and picking on widely publicised scandals around it, such as pedophilia in the Catholic church and tele-evangelists making fortunes by commercialising religion. According to Wikipedia church attendance in New Zealand is around 15% and it must be even lower among the young population. So, it's safe to say the campaign will not be opposed by too many down under."  (thanks Nader who dedicates the post to the Obscurantist Center for Catholic Disinformation in Lebanon).

Oman ban

"Oman’s Telecom Regulation Authority (TRA) has made a call for Public Consultation/Opinion on a regulation to be made a law that will prohibit the use of Virtual Private Networks for individuals in Oman.
The proposed law imposes a fine of 500 Omani Rial (almost 1,300 USD) on individuals and 1,000 Omani Rial on companies without the proper permit." (thanks Ali)

who needs the training? I feel that the Jordanian employers are the ones who need training and orientation

"“At the moment we are considering an option to allocate an embassy official to receive workers at the airport and escort them to the embassy’s premises where they would take a short course on Jordanian culture and how to do their jobs properly," Noor told The Jordan Times yesterday.  Ministry of Labour Secretary General Mazen Odeh said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries stipulates that Indonesian helpers are to undergo an orientation programme on Jordanian culture before they arrive in the Kingdom." (thanks Mar)

who is selling whom?

"Egyptian daily "Al Shaab" reports that the Egyptian government is seeking to buy back 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas sold to Israel as part of the deal signed in 2005, under US pressure, and whose price per cubic meter was set at a level that in retrospect was significantly lower than the market price.  Anonymous sources told "Al Shaab" that internal discussions at Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources determined that at least half the natural gas sold to Israel under the deal would have to be repurchased at $14 billion, even though it was sold for $2 billion".

Obama's Undeclared War in Yemen

"A missile strike on December 17 in Yemen last year that killed 41 people including 21 children and 14 women was most likely the result of a US cruise missile strike — an opening shot in a US military campaign that began without notice and has never been officially confirmed.  Amnesty International says it has obtained photographs apparently showing the remnants of missiles known to be held only by U.S. forces at the site of the air strike against al Qaeda suspects.  “The Yemeni authorities have a duty to ensure public safety and to bring to justice those engaged in attacks that deliberately target members of the public, but when doing so they must abide by international law,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme. “Enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions are never permissible, and the Yemeni authorities must immediately cease these violations.”"

Mahmud Shurayh versus Fathi Al-Biss

There is no author that successfully devastated and mocked another author, and with few words, like Mahmud Shurayh in his booklet, The Impairment of Memory.  He intends the book to responds to the book by Fathi Al-Biss in which he recounts his experiences in Fath in Beirut and AUB during the war.  It is a fun read.

Sectarianism of An-Nahar (the dying paper)

I wrote this passage on my FB regarding this lousy article from An-Nahar:  Let me explain: I believe that people who want to fast should fast, and those who want to drink should drink. I don't think that non-religious people should be sensitive to religious people especially because religious people are never sensitive to non-religious people. But what is outrageous about this article is that it is not coming from a secular (or anti-religious) point of view. It is coming from a racist and sectarian (and blatantly anti-islamic) newspaper. I mean, the secularism of the paper is only an opportunity to dig at Islam, when the paper is a mere tool of the church. So it is selective and hypocritical and fake secularism.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nasrallah's speech

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Nasrallah's Speech and the Embracing Environment"

Israeli threats to Lebanon (or to other countries) always go unnoticed

"An senior advisor to US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has threatened Lebanese army commander, Jean Kahwajim that should his army initiate additional fire exchanges with Israel, the IDF would annihilate his military within four hours, Lebanese newspaper al-Liwa reported Friday."  Notice that a Hariri rag, Al-Liwa' carried the threat. (thanks Olivia)

Prince Salman's Mouthpiece

The rag of Prince Salman and his sons carries an article against Israeli "concessions."  (thanks Ahmad)

Basam Abu Sharif

You know that I dont think highly of Bassam Abu Sharif.  The first time I met him I was barely 15 and the first impression was unfavorable and it only got more unfavorable over the years.  So I had very low expectations about his new book on Beirut.  But I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It is a really well-written and interesting book and contains good insights about decision making of the PLO during the siege of Beirut (there is a good book on that by Rashid Khalidi titled Under Siege).  You really get a good portrait of Arafat, who was at his best during those days (not politically, but in terms of the management of the crisis under siege).  So yeah, I recommend this book.  Of course, typically, his role is wildly exaggerated and his rise within the PFLP was largely due to his injuries.  His love for and obsession with AUB is really sickening.  This guy once told AUB students that "only Al-Hakim and I understand" within the PFLP leadership bec "we both are AUB graduates.

Indyk hearts Dahlan armed gangs

"Today, the Palestinian Authority is policing its West Bank territory to prevent violent attacks on Israelis and to prove its reliability as a negotiating partner." (thanks Sameer)

taking care of friends (or legal bribery)

""The former Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, who was so close to the President George H.W. Bush that he referred to himself as 'Bandar Bush,' acknowledged the relationship between how a government official behaves while in office and how well he will be rewarded when he leaves office. "If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office, you'd be surprised how much better friends you have when they are just coming into office," the lawyer wrote."  But the notion that the Saudi lobby is more powerful than the Israeli lobby is ludicrous.  In fact, the Saudi Lobby now serves as a mere arm of the Israeli lobby.  Just notice that the mega arms sale worth $60 billion to Saudi Arabia stirred not one whisper from from the Israeli lobby--which has to approve by US law all arms sales to Arab and Islamic countries.

Zionist racist segregation

"Several months ago, a religious school in the illegal Israeli settlement of Immanuel was criticized for segregating white Jewish students from non-white Jewish students in classes.  Originally, the school was fined for this policy of racial segregation, because the school was state funded. Now, the Israeli education ministry has agreed with the white parents' request to allow the school to continue with its racial discrimination under private funding." (thanks Farah)

My appearance on Aljazeera regarding the Islamic Center in NYC

Arwa kindly translated my comments from Aljazeera this Tuesday:

Interviewer: Let me move to Professor As’ad Abu Khalil in San Francisco. As’ad, is this campaign the result of political maneuvering, the Republicans wanting to regain control of Congress, or the result of ignorance or deep-seated hostility to Islam and Muslims?
 Abu Khalil: The matter is much deeper than that. It transcends the ongoing discussion, beyond the Islamic center. It goes beyond the current administration. This is why I disagreed with you, brother Muhammad, when you expressed nostalgia for Bush, who had visited mosques once or twice. You should’ve added that he visited mosques while his bombs and missiles were falling on Muslims civilians’ heads, both moderate and extremist, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
 This is a multi-faceted issue. We should acknowledge that there is a system of contempt towards Islam in this country just as there was Nazi contempt for Jews. This exceeds the reactionary right-wing’s embrace of this hostility. Instead, this prejudice penetrates the essence of political and popular culture in this country.
 During the introduction we should have added that there are liberal voices like Howard Dean, who are among the most liberal personas in the Democratic Party, who opposed Muslims’ right to build this mosque. I believe there are several issues aside this Islamic center. The center’s imam, Abdul Rauf, bears responsibility for idiotic idea, which has fueled islamophobia on official and popular levels.
 However, Obama bears the brunt of responsibility before he was even sworn in as president because he failed to defend Muslims’ right to live as equal citizens in this country. He distanced himself from that entirely.
 Finally, I’d like to say in response to American politicians who talk to us on television screens and say to us in Arabic “assalamu alaikum” (peace be upon you) in broken Arabic, thinking that they’re fooling us. I tell the Arab audience that is listening that this is not part of a vibrant dialogue in a democratic society. Does Mr. Hussein dare claim that anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany used to be part of a vibrant dialogue?
 Interviewer: Thank you for the clarification, brother As’ad. I wasn’t being nostalgic to the Bush administration. Instead, I was referring to what someone wrote in the New York Times. Also, Imam Abdul Rauf is not with us, so we can’t call his idea idiotic. Khalil, Ron Paul said something to the effect of your ideas. He issued a strongly worded statement and accused his Republican colleagues of playing with fire and accused the Neocons of working to keep conflict with Muslims ignited. Do you believe there is in fact a conspiracy to keep America in an ongoing battle with the Muslim world?
 Abu Khalil: No, the matter is much deeper and complicated than that. I disagree with focusing on certain elements within the Republican Party. That’s because the current Democratic administration bears significant responsibility for failing to respond to islamophobia during the electoral campaign. It also distances itself from defending believers’ and non-believers’ constitutional rights as per the First Amendment. This week alone, President Obama issued a statement this week reminding the United States that he follows the Christian faith. This is proof that when he is called a Muslim, it’s an accusation, contrary to Mr. Hussein’s assertion that he is unaware of the extent of hostility towards Islam and Muslims in this country.
 Interviewer: Do you believe the current economic crisis plays a role in this?
 Abu Khalil: No doubt, difficult economic times propel people to scapegoat a certain group of people such as African-Americans or Mexicans, or Arab and Muslims these days. The American administration could’ve eviscerated this growing campaign from the American political system. But Barack Obama’s equivocation clearly indicated that no American politician can bear the political cost of supporting an American sub-community’s constitutional right. In addition, over 60% of the American people, who are not all Republican, oppose the idea of establishing the Islamic center in New York.
 Interviewer: Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is thought to have pressured Obama to back out of his iftar dinner … Let us listen to the imam of this controversial center Mr. Abdul Rauf, leader of Cordoba, which title was changed after pressure.
 Abdul Rauf: The Cordoba initiative aims to improve relations between the Islamic nation and the West and non-Islamic religions. House of Cordoba’s projects started before 9/11, to be honest. I’ve been here in America for 45 years. I’ve noticed there is a need for a center, a cultural center, that provides an alternative curriculum to those commonly found in mosques. Here in America we need to establish a Muslim-American community. We know that its proximity to Ground Zero would make the location known. We expected that. But we didn’t expect the violence of the backlash. First of all, this is not a mosque. It’s a community center … generally speaking. Second, it’s not located at Ground Zero. Ground Zero is two blocks away. To call it the “Ground Zero Mosque” is inaccurate. There is much ignorance in the United States towards Islam. What is Islam? Who are Muslims? Does Islam promote tolerance? What happened was unislamic. Those are our goals, to explain to people what Islam is and who Muslims are.
 Interviewer: As’ad, this imam has been marketed, and now he’s doing a tour representing the Department of State to demonstrate Islam’s moderate, Sufi, peaceful side. Despite that, nobody from the government defended when he came under attack although it spends to improve the USA’s image in the Islamic world.
 Abu Khalil: I’m almost tempted to say [Abdul Rauf] deserves the vicious attack he’s facing for the reckless, thoughtless idea, which has led to the deterioration of Muslims’ status in this country. This is not to undermine …
 Interviewer (interrupting): Doesn’t he have the right to …
 Abu Khalil: Of course, of course …
 Interviewer: … to build the center? They own the building, so why not?
 Abu Khalil: I was going to discuss that in the rest of my sentence. This is not to undermine the right of any Muslim to establish a mosque anywhere in this country. However, considering the cultural climate, which has been hostile towards Muslims since 9/11, the Muslim and Arab community should have been consulted about this. In that clip, [Abdul Rauf] refers to improving relations with the West, Christians and Jews in this country. I ask him, did this lead to improvement of the relationship or deterioration?
 Second, he says the idea aimed for bringing religions together. The problem we face in this country is the public’s connection between terrorism and 9/11 and Muslims. This man came along and said “I’ll establish a mosque for you meters away from the World Trade Center,” as if to fuel islamophobia in this country. That’s what happened.
 Furthermore, I’ve lived in this country for about 30 years. I know every activist who works for Palestine. I’ve never heard of this man in my life. Also, the New York Times has mentioned that he considers himself a supporter of Israel.
 Interviewer: And they showed him no mercy despite that. He’s seized the attention of all media outlets … I’ll direct the last question to As’ad in San Francisco. As’ad, don’t you think the average American, notwithstanding his ignorance about Islam, may be willing to listen? History has shown that he has reconciled with African-Americans, Latinos and women. Do you think Muslims just need to explain their cause to find the greatest support in the average American citizen?
 Abu Khalil: I don’t think so. That’s an exaggeration about Americans. What the other guest said about a distinction between ignorance and hatred, is unsustainable because ignorance and hatred fuel each other. I am of the opinion that Americans on an individual level may be willing to listen. But not on a social level. Also, with regard to Americans’ reconciliation with various groups they had oppressed, and there have been many including women and others. But there is an arrogant aspect of American nationalism that refuses to acknowledge this country’s shameful history. In addition, Muslims are excluded from national reconciliation in this country.
 Interviewer: Thank you, As’ad. "

This is typical Zionist racist line here

"Jonathan Spyer: Absolutely. They aren’t naïve people by any means. On the contrary. But they find it very hard to accept the irrational and ideological elements in Middle East politics. They themselves are not irrational or ideological. They’re extremely rational, and they assume everyone else is, as well. And so they make massive errors."  But when I read Zionists writing that stuff, I wonder to myself (ever since I came to the US back in 1983), if you are the rational ones, how come you sound so dumb?  Where is the evidence of your rationality?  I mean, I live in an age when Lebanese police--Lebanese police for potato's sake--is defeating the Mossad in Lebanon.  Enough said.

At least the Arabs tried to make him face the truth

"MJT: They said I’m a stupid American who knows nothing of the Middle East, but they’re in denial." Is it too hard to accept that you are indeed a stupid American who knows nothing of the Middle East? I mean, it is the truth though. I mean, do you know how much mockery me and people I know derive from such writings? I mean, it is hilarious, especially when he goes from a silly little anecdote to a larger generalization about the Middle East as a whole.

When the dumb couple talk about Syria

Here they go again.  "With Hezbollah, it’s different. They’ve managed to hook into the pathologies of much of the Arab world. And I’m sorry to say it’s not just a product of the regimes on top with sophisticated and cynical people below like in Poland and perhaps in Iran. The Arab world, I’m sorry to say, is not really like that. The people believe in this stuff just as much as the big men on top do.
MJT: They do. There’s lots of support in Syria for the government’s campaign of resistance.
Jonathan Spyer: Yes. Neither of us have been to Syria, but you and I both know someone who has."
And the person they know who visited Syria is a fellow Zionist who wrote a book on Arab culture without knowing Arabic.

Michael Totten found someone as ignorant as he is about Lebanon

I mean, when people sent me this interview, it was mostly for humor and to mock both of those guys.  I mean, when they talk about South Lebanon and the southern suburbs of Beirut, you don't recognize them from the description.  As if they talking about somewhere else.  They claim that there are no Lebanese flags in South Lebanon, for example--I wish if that is true because I can't stand the cedar flag.  Look how dumb they sound here:
"MJT: It’s totalitarian down there in South Lebanon.
Jonathan Spyer: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MJT: There’s no other word for it. It’s not just authoritarian.
Iran itself isn’t even totalitarian anymore. It used to be, and the government wants it to be, but it has to contend with massive unrest and civil disobedience now."
You read this and realize: they really have not been there.  They were too scared to visit so they conjure up images from their worst fears and Zionist fantasies. (thanks David)

Kamal Salibi

You have to read the fascinating interview with Kamal Salibi in the last issue (August) of the journal, Al-Mustaqbal Al-`Arabi.  He is rather pesky in the interview and sharp but it is most interesting and revealing.  

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turkey (the government) still hearts Israel

"Senior Turkish officials in Washington reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining friendly relations with Israel, Turkish media reported Thursday."

A lousy writer for a lousy newspaper

Of course, An-Nahar does not complain about the religious police of the Maronite church in Lebanon.   "“The shock of the [surreptitious] suggestion was stronger than the initial rejection. [It was] commercial malice [under the pretense of] coexistence and respect for Muslims’ feelings. We simply refused the “forbidden bribery” and [said that] we would either have the wine in its [regular] glasses or we would leave the restaurant. Surprisingly, his response to our desire to leave was a strange one: “You don’t understand while all the foreign clients do?” He was right. We do not understand…"  (thanks Nicholas)

Attack on women's rights in Tunisia

"Today, though, Tunisian women are not spared from the long and ruthless war on freedom of expression and association, of a kind unseen even under the French protectorate and which can no longer be camouflaged by the personal status code or Ben Ali's "achievements" or by western public relations firms.
The launch of this dirty war in the early 1990s coincided with new amendments to the personal status code and more rhetoric about Ben Ali's trumpeted commitment to women's rights, widely seen as an "attempt to project an image of modernity and democracy" while hiding another part of Tunisia's picture. The raging war at that time in neighbouring Algeria (between the military-backed government and armed groups infuriated by the cancellation in 1992 of the results of legislative elections the Islamists were poised to win) led many to overlook the merciless repression in Tunisia.  The first victims among women were scores of alleged supporters of two banned political opposition parties. They were jailed or held for interrogation, intimidated and threatened with prosecution and rape at police stations and the interior ministry, according to local and international groups. Most of them were close to or related to the jailed or exiled activists of the Islamist an-Nahda movement. A few others have been accused of supporting the Tunisian Workers' Communist party. None of the thousands of prisoners used violence or advocated the use of force to achieve their political goals."

Saudi fatwawawas

"A Saudi scholar has broken the official rule restricting the issuing of fatwas to senior clerics and called for a boycott of a supermarket chain that has hired female cashiers, local media reports on Wednesday."

Racism/classism in a Lebanese news site

This is from the `Awni site:  "يضيف الحاج: "طوني بطرس بقي يصادر المنزل وكان يرتداد الى البيت حبشيات بأغلبيتهم من "فلاشا". هذا الأمر كان واضحاً للجميع، لأنّ نوعية الحبشيات لم تكن كاللواتي يعملن في المنازل، ما يجعلك ان ترتاب منه أو تشك به".
(thanks Rana)

MEMRI, again

Right after I posted the item below this on MEMRI, I received a MEMRI TV clip (with subtitles) from my Tuesday appearance on Aljazeera on Tuesday.   Typically, the clip is out of context and without what I said before and after this segment.

When MEMRI brags

When Ghazi Qusaybi died, MEMRI sent out a special bulletin saying that it had played a role in his recall from UK as ambassador of Saudi Arabia.  But MEMRI should have added that it suspiciously did not campaign against Prince Turki (Usamah Bin Ladin's best friend and sponsor) when he was appointed ambassador of Saudi Arabia to UK and US.

"Scum state": too kind a description for Israel

"BERLIN – The head of Amnesty International’s Finnish branch, Frank Johansson, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he stands by his statement that Israel is a “scum state.”"

Spying on Free Speech Nearly At Cold War Level

"The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released numerous reports of increased government spying on American citizens. Once upon an unhappy time, U.S. law enforcement agencies, from the FBI to local police, had a history of political spying during the Cold War. The ACLU said that the old political spying tendencies are running high again. Individuals and groups are being monitored and harassed for "little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights."" (thanks Olivia)

The ideal Republic of Salam Fayyad

"Crowds started to arrive at the Protestant church hall in downtown Ramallah in the West Bank shortly after midday Wednesday to attend an anti-negotiations conference. They were responding to a call by local Palestinian leaders opposed to plans by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations with Israel before the latter halts all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  To the surprise of the attendees, dozens of young Palestinians, believed to be members of Abbas’ Fatah movement and his security forces, moved in waving pictures of Abbas and chanting his name, disrupting the meeting even before it had started.  Their entrance and the disruption was clearly premeditated, according to the organizers of the conference, and their purpose was to make sure the conference will not be held. When the organizers, mainly leaders of left-wing Palestinian factions, realized that it would be impossible to proceed with their conference, they took to the streets of Ramallah in a protest march and to let the public know their views on the negotiations.  Palestinian police intervened to stop the march, charging that the protestors did not have a permit. Stunned by the developments, the organizers of the conference, some of them members of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, which on Friday voted to start direct negotiations with Israel on Sept. 2 in ceremonies to be held in Washington, then took their meeting to a local TV station, where they held a news conference."

Prince Al-Walid bin Talal

"Stewart showed clips from his show last week, in which he mocked Fox News for playing a dangerous game of association based on speculation, and wherein Fox continued to mention a nameless man with ties to Imam Rauf through the "Kingdom Foundation." It turns out the man they are referring to but never name is Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the biggest shareholders of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp." (thanks Samer)

CIA Red Cell Memorandum on United States "exporting terrorism", 2 Feb 2010

"The report looks at a number cases of US exported terrorism, including attacks by US based or financed Jewish, Muslim and Irish-nationalism terrorists. It concludes that foreign perceptions of the US as an "Exporter of Terrorism" together with US double standards in international law, may lead to noncooperation in renditions (including the arrest of CIA officers) and the decision to not share terrorism related intelligence with the United States." (thanks Ali)

US and the Taliban

"The US commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday said he supported efforts to broker a settlement with the Taliban and that the United States had helped promote dialogue with militants in some “isolated cases”." (thanks Nabeel)

Maid 'tortured' with nails

"A Sri Lankan housemaid with nails embedded in her body is to undergo surgery, her doctors said.
LP Ariyawathie, 49, said her employer in Saudi Arabia inflicted the injuries as a punishment, according to medics at Kamburupitiya Hospital, Sri Lanka.  "She was brought in complaining her Saudi employer drove nails into her body," said hospital director Prabath Gajadeera.  "X-rays showed that there were 24 nails and a needle."
The nails were up to two inches (5cm) long, said Mr Gajadeera." (thanks Farah)

The destruction of Nahr Al-Barid camp

"The army has already proved its usefulness — to both Lebanon and the West — in other ways. In the summer of 2007, it fought Fatah al Islam, a militant group linked to Al Qaeda, in a Palestinianrefugee camp in northern Lebanon."

This is so true

"What American politicians often fail to understand is that even pro-Western Lebanese tend to regard Israel — which has repeatedly invaded and bombed its northern neighbor — as a hostile force. "

Lebanese Army command

"The army is still largely commanded by Christian generals who were trained in the United States."  This is no more true, of course.  The command now has members from other sects, and he deputy director of Army intelligence (a Shi`ite) is probably more powerful than his boss (a Maronite).

Pro-Western factions

"The alternative, Lebanon’s pro-Western factions say, is much worse."  The pro-Western factions of March 14 movement include those Sunni fundamentalists (like Khalid Dahir and Mufti Al-Mays and others) who recruited Jihadist fighters for Al-Qa`idah in Iraq.  Pro-western my potato.  So when the conservative Sunni fundamentalists were pro-Saudi and anti-Nasser during the Cold War, they also were pro-Western.  

Robert Worth's definitions

"Hezbollah, the Shiite movement that is committed to Israel’s destruction."  I mean, if that is the case, why would not Worth identifies Israel as the "Jewish state that is committed to the destruction of Hizbullah, Hamas, PFLP, and various other Arab organizations and Iran as well?  Or the destructive urges of Israel can't be reported because that would reflect negatively on the image of the terrorist Israeli state?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do u know that since the US commander in Afghanistan declared a policy of minimizing civilian casualties, the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has increased?

"Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it was aware of the charges by some Afghan officials that its soldiers had killed civilians during a raid against extremist rebels in the northern province of Baghlan.   “On Sunday we saw 11 helicopters coming,” Mohammad Ismail, the district chief for Tala Wa Barfak, where the incident took place, told AFP.  “Some of the helicopters landed deploying troops. They carried out attacks there. They killed eight people, all civilians,” he said."

That "unknown source": he keeps killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan

"U.S. troops fired warning shots to disperse a protest in eastern Afghanistan over the arrest of a religious leader suspected of a rocket attack, NATO said Tuesday.  The alliance said no civilian injuries were reported from the protest Monday, but Gen. Faqir Ahmad, the deputy police chief of Parwan province, said one civilian was killed by shots fired from an unknown source." (thanks Olivia)

Religious sensitivity

"Here's a new twist in the U.S. military's Islamic sensitivity effort in the prison camps for suspected terrorists at the Guantánamo Bay Navy base:   Military medical staff are force-feeding a secret number of prisoners on hunger strike between dusk and dawn during the Muslim fasting holiday of Ramadan.  The prison camps spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Bradley Fagan, says it is U.S. Southern Command policy to no longer reveal the exact number of detainees being shackled by guards into restraint chairs for twice daily feedings."

Muqtada As-Sadr

I read the Muqtada As-Sadr threatened to leave Iran and to relocate to Lebanon. Yes, that is what Lebanon needs.  Anther impetuous and fiery cleric.

Lebanese police versus the Mossad

I must say that one of the biggest pleasures of my life has been watching the Mossad becoming the laughing stock of the Arab world.  Hahahahaha.  "Lebanese police probing an Israeli spy ring are quizzing an employee of the Telecommunications Ministry, more than two weeks after another employee was charged with spying for Mossad, a security source said Tuesday."

Pro-US Democratic forces in Somalia

These are the pro-US (democratic--always, pro-US forces are labeled as "democratic", like the House of Saud) forces dragging the dead boy of one of the Shabab militia members.   This should confirm the democratic credentials of US foreign policy.  (Al-Quds Al-`Arabi)

The clash between Hizbullah and Ahbash in Beirut yesterday

The armed clash between Hizbullah and Ahbash in Burj Abi Haydar in Beirut was most bizarre and criminal.  What Talleyrand once said applies here:  "“This is worse than a crime, it's a blunder”."  (The quote is often mistakenly attributed to others.  In fact, Talleyrand said about about the murder of the Duc d’Enghien by Napoleon I.)

Victims in Lebanon: foreign maids and Syrian workers

A foreign maid (of unidentified African nationality) was taken to the hospital after she consumed a poisonous material and a maid from the Philippines "fell" from a balcony and police said that she fell while she was cleaning. And various attacks on Syrian workers. (thanks Farah)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My appearance on Aljazeera today

Here is a tape.  (thank "Crazy Bear")

Islamic Center

I will appear on Aljazeera Arabic this evening (Beirut Time) on Min Washington program and I will say that the Islamic Center near Ground Zero is the dumbest idea there is.  The more I think about it the more angry I get at that Imam Abdul Rauf, who identifies himself as a "supporter of Israel."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hizbullah and the Iraq situation: ambiguity

"وهكذا يظل قول د. أبو خليل إن "حزب الله يتعامل مع الموضوع العراقي بكثير من الالتباس والإبهام والتكتم والتقية" مدخلا لرموز وقوى إسلامية وعربية، رسمية وغير رسمية، لكي تناهض الحزب، ليس بسبب انتمائه الطائفي، بل بسبب السقف الطائفي الذي يحكم موقف الحزب عمليا من احتلال العراق"

Complaint of torture and sexual maltreatment of a minor detained in Etzion Station

"On behalf of our juvenile client, Mr. A. (I.D. *********) from Beit Ummar (hereinafter the complainant) we hereby approach you with a request to open a criminal investigation of the complaint according to which he was subjected to mental and physical torture and sexual maltreatment while in lawful detention at Etzion Police Station, as arises from his statement given on 27/05/2010 to Advc. Iyad Misk on behalf of Defence for Children International DCI. Attached herewith a power of attorney." (thanks Olivia)

cancer patients at Ben-Gurion Airport (to be renamed Ghassan Kanafani airport after liberation)

"The humiliating treatment experienced by cancer patients at Ben-Gurion International Airport darkened a trip that was supposed to help them forget their suffering for a while." (thanks Farah)

King PlayStation as pious

Look at him.  If this does not turn you away from religion, nothing will. (AFP)

Four maids died

In three days, four foreign maids died in Lebanon.  As usual, the Lebanese police reports that they "fell" from balconies.



Combat brigades in Iraq under different name

"As the final convoy of the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., entered Kuwait early Thursday, a different Stryker brigade remained in Iraq.  Soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division are deployed in Iraq as members of an Advise and Assist Brigade, the Army’s designation for brigades selected to conduct security force assistance.  So while the “last full U.S. combat brigade” have left Iraq, just under 50,000 soldiers from specially trained heavy, infantry and Stryker brigades will stay, as well as two combat aviation brigades."

Balfour Declaration

"According to Schneer, the Arabs were as invisible to the early Zionists as Africans had been to Boers in South Africa, or Indians to the French and English colonists in North America. But in fact, some of the first Zionists were well aware of the Arabs’ vehement objection to their national aspirations. As early as 1899, Theodore Herzl himself, the father of political Zionism, corresponded with the Arab mayor of Jerusalem, Yusuf Dia al-Khalidi, who urged him to find a national home for the Jews somewhere else in the world. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to have had its origins at the very beginning of Zionism."

Thomas Friedman's aphorisms

"I love that line: “We have to surprise them.” I was watching the movie on an airplane and scribbled that line down on my napkin because it summarizes what is missing today in so many places..."  I bet you love that line.  You like everything that is superficial, shallow, and vapid.  I bet that you scribbled that silly line from a silly movie.  That is your level of analysis and observations.  You are somebody whose mind is only formed by silly anecdotes and popular cultures, and not by books or big ideas.  And you not only scribbled that silly line: you also scribbled other silly line on that plane ride of your because you cite other silly lines from that silly movie.  I mean, you have been writing for years and I can't for the life of me remember one original idea that you came up with on any subject.  You think that silly catch phrases take the place of ideas, and some silly readers agree with you because they like to not use their brains.   Lastly, tell me your position on the Iraq war: that is your only achievement.  How you went from wholeheartedly endorsing the American invasion of Iraq, to pretending that you were a critic of the way, only when it became clear that your original idea was so dumb.  At least stick to a position: aside from consistently serving Zionist interests.


This is a succinct critique of the operational mode of Hariri Inc by comrade Khaled.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


"Stoning is not practiced only among Muslims, nor did it begin with Islam. Human rights groups say a young girl was stoned to death in 2007 in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Yazidi community, which practices an ancient Kurdish religion. The Old Testament includes an episode in which Moses arranges for a man who violated the Sabbath to be stoned, and stoning probably took place among Jewish communities in the ancient Near East. Rabbinic law, which was composed starting in the first century A.D., specifies stoning as the penalty for a variety of crimes, with elaborate instructions for how it should be carried out."


"known collectively as “hud” after the Arabic word for limits".  You mean hudud.


"Rather than speaking the community’s conscience, the ADC has applauded enemies of humanity for crumbs they have thrown to Arab and Muslim causes. For example"...

1/3rd of yachts of the world

New TV reported that one third of all yachts in the world are owned by Gulf Arabs. Enjoy.

Visiting Israel and Yemen

A reader who shall remain anonymous sent me this (I cite with her permission):  "My boss's husband (an American) succeeded in easily getting a Yemeni visa on his passport that has multiple Israeli stamps. He was of course doubtful that he will get the visa and was prepared to get a new passport but the Yemeni embassy in the US said its ok. My boss commented "It's very new that they are going easy on Israeli stamps in this country" (given that she has lived here for 25 years)  Also, like other Arab countries, Yemen is now requesting that Palestinians apply for a visa at least 1 month before entering the country (ind u, 2 months ago, Palestinians needed NO VISA to come to Yemen). So, as an international organization, we have failed to bring our Palestinian colleagues to Yemen to attend meetings."

American liberators at work

"Afghanistan's embattled president Hamid Karzai said on Sunday that U.S. taxpayers were indirectly funding "mafia-like groups" and terrorist activities with the American government's support of private contractors inside his country." (thanks Olivia)

George Will

"Asad Abukhalil has already nailed Will for getting the date of the Peel Commission report wrong. It was 1937, not 1936. And the Arab Revolt broke out in Palestine before the Peel Commission introduced its findings. I would also add that David Ben Gurion privately accepted the Peel Commission’s recommendations because he saw them as the basis for a later partition that would gift the Zionist settler minority with major port cities like Jaffa and Haifa and throw the Palestinian Arabs back to the hinterlands."  Max is right. Ben Gurion only grudgingly accepted the Peel in the hope of later change.  And as he wrote to his son (see Shabtai Teveth, Ben Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs) he talked about population exchange when he talked about whole sale expulsion of Arabs (the trade off was between more than 100,00 in Jewish designated areas in return for no more than 3000 Jews in Arab designated areas).   (thanks Nadine)

Chutzpah: this is from a state with an arsenal of nuclear weapons

"Israel: Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant totally unacceptable"

Only a Zionist would say that

"Israelis and Palestinians have suffered for far too long."


A reader in Jordan asks me: is my blog banned in Jordan now? let me know.

Dar Al-Adab

For those who have been asking me, volume one of my book, Al-Bawh Al-Ghadib (Angry Revelation) is now available from Dar Al-Adab and is available in Beirut bookstores, like Bisan Bookshop in Hamra.

So this guy also hearts Israel

So Imam Abdul Rauf, who I have never ever heard of before, said this:  "“I am a supporter of the state of Israel.”" (thanks many)

Haykal Show on Aljazeera

I take it back.  Kamal Khalaf At-Tawil was right when he kept insisting to me that the Haykal show on Aljazeera is wroth watching.  I started early on and he was too far back in history for me to be interested and i mocked the show.  I have been critical of Haykal's political roles, especially as a close adviser to Answar Sadat who helped the latter in consolidating his power (before Sadat got rid of him), but I have been watching recent episodes and they are great TV.  Haykal comes to the show extremely prepared and he is most articulate with a large reservoir of anecdotes and Arabic poetry.  He speaks in full sentences and full paragraphs.  I saw the one about the Egyptian ban on Radio Palestine after Nasser accepted the Rogers Plan.  And it was quite interesting.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The West's favorite collaborationist these days

"The ascent of Mr Fayyad, whose party won only two of the Palestinian parliament’s 132 seats in that election, has taught other aspirants that the ballot box is not the only way to the top." (thanks Khelil)

The Mosque near Ground Zero

I will appear on Aljazeera Arabic next Tuesday on the From Washington program live from San Francisco (10:00AM Pacific Time).  I am personally against the construction of the mosque (just as I abhor the racist and bigoted reactions against it): but I am against it for a different reason.  It will stand as a symbol to remind Americans and others of the association (in Western minds) between Islam and terrorism.   A gesture intended to appease the mainstream culture received a slap on the face.  Predictable though.  I mean, many in the American associate Sep. 11 with Islam, so this silly project will only serve as a permanent reminder.  Cordoba my potato.  Sects and religions are not coexisting peacefully: neither here nor there in Muslim lands.

Oil exploration in Somalia

"The Puntland delegation went ahead anyways, returned to Dubai and signed an agreement on August 30th, 2005 at the Hilton Dubai with Consort Private forexclusive rights to explore and drill for oil in the Nogal and Dharoor blocks. Two days prior to this, the Somali Prime Minister sent a warning to non-Somali companies that any oil deals would have to go through the federal government, not any state government (this despite the fact that Puntland was and is independent of the federal government in all but name).[2]  While the details of the deal are known only to the four men who signed it, what is known is that following the deal, a number of Puntland ministers were added to the board of directors, and the government of Puntland by extension must have a sizeable (perhaps even controlling) share in Consort Private.   Not to be put off so easily, Somali TFG President Abdullahi Yusuf, in an interview with the BBC on September 9, 2005, says that legally "natural resources belonging to the nation is the responsibility of the federal government". A few weeks later on September 29, 2005 a delegation from Puntland composed of ministers and businessmen travelled to the TFG's interim capital at Jowhar to led by finance minister Mohamed Yusuf "Gaagaab" to unsuccessfully negotiate again for Yusuf's signature on the deal." (thanks Abdirahman)

Lebanon actually bowed to Israeli threats and pressures while lying about it

"Lebanon refuses to bow to Israel's warning against granting clearance to an all-women aid boat which plans to sail to blockaded Gaza this weekend, the transport minister said on Friday."

The tales and fables of Joumana Haddad

When will this woman (whose connection to feminism is what resistance is to Muhammad Dahlan) stop weaving her tales and fables about her suffering at the hand of imagined oppressors?  She talks about her country hating her.  The headline should have been: nobody knows who I am.  I mean, really.  There is no danger to her sleazy magazine, Jasad, which sells very well in Gulf countries, and Lebanon has become quite hospitable in recent years to various forms of sleazy and pornographic publications.  So no one is oppressing her if they know who she is, and she remains the editor of the weakest and dumbest culture section of any daily newspaper in Lebanon.  I think the few who know of her (like me) dont react to her ideas (because she has none), not to her literature (because what she puts out in Arabic does not amount to literature or even to trash culture although because she promotes herself (very well) in Western countries to people who can't read Arabic as an Arab women who suffer from sexism, they take her seriously and they even translate what she writes although no one who deals with Arabic literature consider what she writes in any light.  This interview is a good example.  Look at the fibs she tells:  "The first year that Joumana Haddad took her new magazine to the Beirut book fair, her posters were torn down, there were bitter complaints to the director and Hezbollah, whose stall was directly opposite hers, tried to close her down."  Lebanon is a country where the slightest incidence of repression and oppression get widely reported because various sides are just watching each other and wanting to scare points, and no one ever reported that Hizbullah or Hizb of Potato ever bothered with her silly little magazine (which sells very well in Gulf countries).  And then demanding more sympathy and awards she adds this:  "They hack into her website and fill her inbox with threats of rape and murder and stoning, call her debauched, immoral, criminal and wicked, a bleak litany she appears to accept as an unavoidable consequence of what she does."  I mean, i receive daily (literally) threats and hateful messages but I dont see me running to the White Man demanding sympathy.  And I must confess that did it for me is this line:  "I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of An Angry Arab Woman."  She does not at all deserve to lable herself as Angry Arab Woman.  If Joumana Haddad is an Angry Arab Woman, please count me as the Most Docile Arab Man there is.   And then she writes these deep philosophical observations:  ""The Arab mind is in crisis. And because of this it wants everyone to be in crisis with it … The Arab mind cannot handle questions, because questions can hurt and upset the murky calm of the swamp.""  I mean, Raphael Patai did much better than this, come on.  And then she has to mention that she knows eight languages (I wish to test her):  "she also speaks French, Arabic, Armenian, Spanish and Italian."  Wait.  She is missing one language.  She has been saying that she is fluent in seven languages and she is studying an eight language.  I mean, by the quality of her (native) Arabic, I have been desperately looking for a proof.  Than this:  "equality is incredibly important to her, but so is femininity, a power and danger to be enjoyed to the hilt, along with more cerebral achievements." What are her achievements, aside from a great skill of self-promotion in Western countries where there is high demand for an Arab woman telling them: please, help me.  I am liberated and Western and they hate me over there.  Lastly, it figures that Saqi books would be interested in publishing this babble.   I wrote about her before here. (thanks Arun)

MEMRI and the fake claim of combating anti-Semitism

One of the (indirect) promoters of anti-Semitism of the world have been Zionist organizations, particularly those who profess to specialize in monitoring and combating of anti-Semitism.  Yet, as is widely know, those organizations gloss over anti-Semitism produced by allies of Israeli, and monitor (or in same cases concoct) anti-Semitic manifestations by all enemies of Israel (regardless whether they are secular or religious, sensitive to anti-Semitism or insensitive).  I say this because I was just watching a hateful monologue against Jews by a senior Egyptian cleric and on an official Egyptian station.  He said, among other things, that "all Jews are enemies of all of humanity."  And he went on like that.  But I notice that MEMRI does not cover anti-Semitism in Egyptian state media anymore simply because Mubarak has become such a subservient tool of Israel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Prohibition and tabooing

My weekly article in Al-Akhbar:  "Prohibition and Tabooing: Repression and Hypocrisy"

So Iraq is free of occupation now

First, how many times have we since 2003 read about how the US is "transferring" authority and sovereignty to Iraqis.  I mean, the departure of Paul Brenner was full of pomp and fanfare (fanfare is etymologically from the Arabic farfarah, according to W.M. Watt).  So now, we are told, Iraq is free because ONLY 56,000 US occupation troops remain, in addition to the 100,000 US "contractors."


"Promotionals of Egyptian Coalition for Support of Gamal Mubarak torn out, Dakahliya, August 7, 2010. Apparently, an act showing a wide popular reaction against Mubarak Jr.'s running for presidency." (thanks Moustafa)

Saudi-Israeli conspiracy? What Saudi-Israeli conspiracy?

"One of the largest arms deals in US history, involving the sale of weaponry worth some $60bn to Saudi Arabia, is likely to go through Congress without significant objections, according to people on Capitol Hill.
The deal would include 84 Boeing F-15 fighter aircraft along with Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. People knowledgeable about the deal say a big factor smoothing its passage is Israel’s relatively relaxed position".


Whenever I hear from American correspondents in the Middle East (and I frequently hear from them in response to my critiques), they invariable request that I don't mention on my blog that they have communicated with me.  I respect their wishes of course but makes me wonder as to why communication with the mildly-named, Angry Arab, may prove to be troublesome for their editors.  The only exception has been, ironically, Ethan Bronner.

Explosive (not really): Israeli propaganda campaign in the US

"Declassified files from a Senate investigation into Israeli-funded covert public relations and lobbying activity in the United States were released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on July 23rd, 2010.  The subpoenaed documents reveal Israel's clandestine programs for "cultivation of editors," the "stimulation and placement of suitable articles in the major consumer magazines" as well as U.S. reporting about sensitive subjects such as the Dimona nuclear weapons facility.

Documents are now available for download from http://IRmep.org/ila/azc include:
Dimona (excerpt): "The nuclear reactor story inspired comment from many sources; editorial writers, columnists, science writers and cartoonists.  Most of the press seemed finally to accept the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs." http://www.irmep.org/11-121960AZC.pdf
Content placement and promotion (excerpt): "The Atlantic Monthly in its October issue carried the outstanding Martha Gellhorn piece on the Arab refugees, which made quite an impact around the country.  We arranged for the distribution of 10,000 reprints to public opinion molders in all categories… Interested friends are making arrangements with the Atlantic for another reprint of the Gellhorn article to be sent to all 53,000 persons whose names appear in Who's Who in America…Our Committee is now planning articles for the women's magazines for the trade and business publications." http://www.irmep.org/09101961AZC.pdf
Pressure campaigns (excerpt): "It can be said that the press of the nation…has by and large shown sympathy and understanding of Israel's position.  There are, of course, exceptions, notably the Scripps-Howard chain where we still need to achieve a 'break-through,' the Pulliam chain (where some progress has been made) and some locally-owned papers." http://www.irmep.org/11-121960AZC.pdf
Magazine Committee achievements (excerpt): "We cannot pinpoint all that has already been accomplished by this Committee except to say that it has been responsible for the writing and placement of articles on Israel in some of America's leading magazines...." http://www.IRmep.org/10301962_AZC.pdf
According to Grant F. Smith, director of IRmep, "It is frightening how easily some in the American news media surrendered to a foreign public relations campaign that spent the 2010 equivalent of $36 million over two years. Time has proven most of the planted content to be misleading, if not dangerous.  These historical documents hold many important lessons for Americans who have long needed—but rarely received—straight reporting on key Middle East issues."

Level of racism they have reached? the level of racism the state was founded on

""The light rail includes three stations in Shoafat. Does that present a problem for you?" the questionnaire asks. In another question: "All passengers, Jewish and Arab, enter the train freely and without the driver's inspection. Is that a problem for you?"  Respondents are asked to indicate their level of concern from 1 (not a concern ) to 5 (very concerning ).  Among those surveyed yesterday was Ofra Ben-Artzi, a left-wing activist and the sister-in-law of Sara Netanyahu, wife of the prime minister. "I told the pollster, 'Imagine this kind of question being asked in London or New York.' It testifies to the level of racism we've reached," she said."  (thanks Olivia)

about the Lebanese snake eaters

"The Lebanese authorities should immediately release Ismael Sheikh Hassan, an urban planner detained by Military Intelligence on August 18, 2010, or promptly charge him with a recognizable crime, Human Rights Watch said today.  Two of Sheikh Hassan’s friends expressed concern to Human Rights Watch that his detention may stem from an article he published in May in the Lebanese daily As-Safir, in which he criticized public authorities and the army for their handling of the reconstruction of the refugee camp destroyed in fighting between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam, an armed Islamist group, in 2007." (thanks Nadim)

PS He has since been released under public pressures and petition signings.

Lebanese Army soldiers are still eating snakes

I have been mocking the tradition of Lebanese Army soldiers (who slept for much of the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006) who in public performances see the need to bite on snakes.  To show heroism I guess.  Well, guess what? Lebanese Army soldiers were taken yesterday to a hospital suffering from poisoning after they performed the snake act in one Lebanese university.  And with snakes, Lebanon can defend its borders against Israeli attacks.  (thanks Mazen)

Justice in the kingdom of Horrors

"A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals in the country whether they could damage a man's spinal cord as punishment after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralyzing him, the brother of the victim said Thursday." (thanks Farah)

Max Rodenbeck: a fine Middle East correspondent

You want a good Middle East correspondent?  Max Rodenbeck is an excellent example.  And he writes for the best magazine there is, the Economist.  Read his review here of Berard Lewis' latest collection of speeches and pontifications:  "Take Lewis’s remark that democracies do not make war, and dictatorships do not make peace. This glib elaboration of a neoconservative mantra is easily challenged. The strongmen who ran Grenada, Panama and Iraq may have been bad guys, but there is no disputing that it was the United States that attacked them, not the other way around. The Egyptian dictator Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel, not the democratically elected Hamas party...In other words, democracies must clobber every dictator. And that’s not all. Giving a more specific nudge to policy makers, Lewis pretends to have discerned “deep roots” of democratic traditions in Iraq and Iran, of all places. Democracy might easily prevail there, he opines, and inspire others in the region, “given the chance.”
It might be argued that it is hardly Lewis’s fault if some in the Bush administration took such expert advice a little too literally. Yet Lewis himself makes his intentions pretty clear in another essay: “Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.”  I mean it is legitimate to ask why no mainstream journalist in the US dared to take Lewis to task yet.