I’m leaving town to spend Rosh Hashanah with family, so I won’t be blogging for a few days.
Best wishes for the New Year!
John Dugard is the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights in the Palestinian territories–and he’s no fan of Israel. As the ADL reported a year ago, “Dugard presents personal convictions as fact, and goes well beyond reporting to an incendiary call for action by the international community against Israel, writing that ‘Israel’s defiance of international law poses a threat not only to the international legal order but to the international order itself. This is no time for appeasement on the part of the international community.’”
Also one year ago, the ADL notes that Dugard presented as fact his opinion of Israel’s plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip, stating that “In reality, Israel does not plan to relinquish its grasp on the Gaza Strip.” (Ooops!)
Well, Dugard has just issued another report, and his command of the facts hasn’t improved much.
For instance, we’re told that, in recent months, “There have been over 200 attacks by non-State Palestinian actors against Israeli targets but few casualties have resulted from such
attacks.” (According to Haaretz: “Since September 29, 2004, 56 Israelis and foreigners have been killed. There have been six suicide bombings, killing 14 Israelis, and Palestinians have fired about 1,450 mortar shells and Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip in the past year.” Gee, those nonstate actors seem rather heavily armed…)
And here’s what he writes about Jerusalem and the security fence: “Jerusalem is an historical city of great beauty. The wall has done much to disfigure the city. Those responsible for planning and constructing the wall in Jerusalem have done so with complete disregard for the environment.” (Hey, you know who else had complete disregard for Jerusalem’s “evironment”? The terrorists who perpetrated 90 attacks that killed 170 people and injured 1,500 in Jerusalem.)
But here’s the corker: “Interlocutors within both Israel and the West Bank warned the Special Rapporteur that with the two-State solution becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, consideration should be given to the establishment of a binational Palestinian State. The demography of the region increasingly points to such an outcome.”
Yep, you read that correctly…a UN official has just endorsed dissolving Israel and forming a binational Palestinian state. I’d dearly like to know the identity of the Israeli “interlocutors” who stated this position. Perhaps the same ones who told Dugard that Israel “does not plan to relinquish its grasp on the Gaza Strip.”
The Indepundit (Hat tip: Harry’s Place) reports how yet another anti-war protest descended into rabid anti-Israelism:
Jamal Kanj, a fiery Palestinian from a group called Al-Awda, takes the podium. “We Palestinians,” he begins, “have been subjected to GENOCIDE at the hands of the Israelis for generations.” He rants on. “In 1948, they forced us out of our homes, and today we must DRIVE THE JEWS FROM PALESTINE!”
Suddenly, a middle-aged man wearing a black “F the President” T-shirt rushes the stage, screaming at Kanj, “I’m TIRED of this CRAP! You people keep bringing this up! This is supposed to be an ANTI-WAR rally, not an ANTI-ISRAEL rally!”
You can read the full text of Kanj’s speech here.
Among the highlights: In an earlier post, I cited an ADL report about how white supremacists had incorporated Hurricane Katrina into their hateful rhetoric that Jews are controlling the government to use African-Americans to destroy the white race. Well, now it appears that Israel-bashers have found a way to incorporate Hurricane Katrina into their rhetoric as well. Kanj declares:
Do you know that in addition to the more than $5 billion of our tax money per year, Israel just requested a special package of $2.2 billion from our Government to compensate the settlers for up to $400,000 per family for stealing land from Palestinians in Gaza? How many of our fellow taxpayers who are now refugees as a result of Katrina, have received $400,000? Actually our President is asking our citizens to mortgage their homes if they want to build new homes in New Orleans and Biloxi…our law-abiding citizens in Louisiana and Mississippi deserve compensation, not illegal Israeli settlers.”
Curiously, although Kanj spends part of his speech critiquing Bush’s support for Cairo’s authoritarian government (“Mubarak has been president for 24 years, and now was elected for another 6 years, even kings don’t last this long!”), he fails to mention the billions of dollars sent each year to Egypt instead of, presumably, to “our law-abiding citizens in Louisiana and Mississippi.”
But, hey, what can you expect from an organization whose founder, Yale University professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, spouts such canards as “The foreign policy of the only remaining superpower was hijacked by Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon’s clones in DC (Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Wurmser and other neoconservatives). They are content to lead us into endless preemptive’wars for securing the (Israeli) realm.”
Not that Al-Awda condones anti-semitism. Their Website informs us they condemn and do not tolerate “any kind of racism and religious bigotry.” Al-Awda then goes on to clarify that “While anti-Jewish acts are sometimes labeled ‘anti-Semitism’, the usage of the term is inaccurate since most Ashkenazi Jews are not Semites.”
Nice to know that the millions of Ashkenazi Jews who perished during the Holocaust were not victims of anti-semitism. These are the types of people the anti-war Left chooses to march with? No wonder the guy in the “F the President” t-shirt lost his cool. I’m tired of this crap, too.
In a 2003 interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram, George Galloway hammers Israel as an imperialist creation:
“You make a monster for your own use and then you discover that actually it is beyond your control. They [the West] found this with Zionism, which they encouraged and helped and made powerful to serve their interests in the Middle
East and now they have discovered that it does not obey orders. “
I wonder whether Galloway’s version of history ever considered this report [pdf], published by the leftist Nation magazine (yes, that Nation) in 1948, titled “The British Record on Partition as revealed in British Military Intelligence and other Official Sources.”
“This British sabotage [of partition] was deliberately undertaken in order to insure British base rights in Palestine in perpetuity, as well as to safeguard British oil and trade and military interests in the Middle East…So intent are the British upon destroying partition that they have shown themselves oblivious to the fact that with it they may destroy the authority of the United Nations, and even the peace of the world.”
People who live in glass houses…
From the heart of the Bible Belt, an Alabama-based rabbi weighs in on the debate over intelligent design:
“But rabbi,” you may ask, “What do we do about the words of the Torah? Are they not true?” This is an especially easy question to answer. Of course they are true, but they are not facts…Modern Jews have always seen the Torah as a reflection of God’s reality, and not a history book or a science textbook. The rabbis embrace the multitude of meanings in their tradition of Midrash. There is a greater meaning, a meaning behind the meaning, and even greater layers of meaning to those who can imagine and interpret Torah. This is our strength and the source of our faith. It is not the words of Torah, but the imagination of our people in relationship to God and Torah that enables us to live in the world of religion and science, at the same time, and not be afraid. We can use the Torah as metaphor, and not as science, and it can be true for us.
Our being faithful does not negate our wisdom, but rather it should enhance it. We reject the concept of simple faith because it is, well, how should I best say it?–simple. Faith is complicated and reason is complicated and they are two sides of the same reality. So I reject Intelligent Design on two grounds, because it is bad science and it is bad religion.
And Rabbi Gerald L. Zelizer offers a Solomonic solution to the debate: “Can intelligent design and evolution reside in the same school building? Yes. In the same curriculum? No. Intelligent design belongs in history or social science class. Evolution belongs in science class.”
Karl Rove’s brain must be short-circuiting as he ponders this story: Jews and Evangelical Christians have come together to form a group, called the Noah Alliance, which aims to prevent sweeping revisions of the Endangered Species Act in Congress. (They’re running a series of ads under the heading, “What Would Noah Do?”)
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:
The coming-together of theologically diverse thinkers underscores a growing practice: faith-based groups striving to influence political debates about ecology while more environmentalists are casting conservation issues in moral terms.
It also highlights a schism among Christians over their role in environmental causes and provides an emerging area for church-and-state watchdogs to target. “There is heaven by and by, but God has given us a marvelous creation and we are supposed to take care of it,” said Mike Mooring, a member of the Noah Alliance and a biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. “It’s a moral obligation.”
In conservative Christian quarters, the environmental movement long has been suspect as a heathen undertaking that ignores souls for the sake of species. “Environmentalism – the term itself has a certain liability in our movement,” said Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, D.C. Cizik and others are using a new term: creation care.
Jewish leaders, who claim a long tradition of environmental engagement, this week welcomed Protestant support for defending the species law and the plants and animals it aims to protect. “We should not destroy what we cannot create,” said Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz.
Meanwhile, over at American Conservative magazine (published by everyone’s favorite paleocon, Pat Buchanan), Matthew Scully–who until recently served as special assistant and deputy director of speechwriting to President George W. Bush–makes the compassionate conservative case against factory farms:
We cannot just take from these creatures, we must give them something in return. We owe them a merciful death, and we owe them a merciful life. And when human beings cannot do something humanely, without degrading both the creatures and ourselves, then we should not do it at all.
Faith-based environmentalism…a new fissure in the GOP base? Stay tuned.
President Bush delivered a speech before the Republic Jewish Coalition (RJC) today. Feh, they deserve each other. I’ve never been a fan of the RJC, especially after they ran a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth-style smear campaign against Howard Dean when he became chair of the Democratic National Committee.
The RJC ad campaign featured a photo of Hamas suicide bombers topped by a September 2003 quote from Dean, “It’s not our place to take sides.” But, as the Forward reported, the RJC took some liberties with that quote:
In fact, [Dean's] “don’t take sides” statement — seen in its now-forgotten context —was a reasonable response to a specific question about whether and how to encourage Israeli-Palestinian dialogue at a time of resurgent terrorism. Two weeks earlier, a devastating Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem had claimed 22 lives and shattered a summer-long cease-fire. Israelis were furiously debating whether to continue relations with the fledgling Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas. By mid-September the government of Ariel Sharon had decided to cut off dialogue. Abbas quit in disgust soon after.
Within weeks a host of top Israelis began stepping forward to demand, in terms far more sweeping than Dean’s, that Israel reach out to the Palestinian side…All this while the American political system was frantically working to stamp out any hint of original Middle East thinking in this country.
The new GOP ads recall nothing so much as the placards depicting Yitzhak Rabin in an Arab headdress, which were brandished by the Israeli right in the months before Rabin was assassinated.With tempers in Israeli and American Jewish circles approaching the boiling point in advance of the planned Gaza withdrawal, that sort of inflammatory imagery should be off limits. The Republican coalition should withdraw the ad and apologize.
So, yeah, they’re classy guys. But, back to Bush’s speech. Always fun to read these, since they’re frequently trial balloons for new rhetorical flourishes and political buzzwords. For instance, we heard for the first time Bush’s new seven-word motto for Iraqification: “As Iraqis stand up, we stand down.”
Also, for those wondering how Bush plans to change the subject from the Katrina debacle back to the war on terror, behold this deft rhetorical pirouette:
“You know, something we — I’ve been thinking a lot about how America has responded [to Hurricane Katrina] , and it’s clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They’re the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We’re in a war against these people. It’s a war on terror. These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. And they’ve continued to kill.”
Bush also told the crowd how impressed he was with Sharon. “He decided to withdraw from Gaza. I’ll never forget when he came and told me that. My immediate reaction was, this is a bold step for peace, Mr. Prime Minister, and I support you. (Applause.) “
As it turns out, that support is being marked down. The cost of rebuilding New Orleans has put a bit of a dent in Israel’s plans to seek special U.S. funding to help cover the costs of its Gaza pullout.
Bush didn’t mention that to the RJC. I guess it wouldn’t have garnered nearly as much applause.