The AP reports that more than 100 Iranian artists, scholars, and human rights activists, including the author of the best-selling memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, have denounced the country’s sponsorship of a conference that featured deniers of the Holocaust. (This is just the latest phase in the Elders’ master plan to demonize the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Well done, our Iranian minions…your checks are in the mail.)
But, some of the comrades over at the Marxist journal Political Affairs have a different spin on the conference. The journal’s book review editor, Thomas Riggins, allows that the conference “seems to have been a farce” (gee, ya think?) but nonetheless defends the attendance of the ultra-Orthodox sect Neturei Karta, since “it may have been helpful for some of the delegates to realize that not all Jews are Zionists and to hear from people that don’t deny and are not skeptical about the Holocaust. “
No doubt, David Duke was impressed! But, Riggins goes further and chastizes those who protested against Neturei Karta:
In sum, it seems that Neturei Karta is a small subset of Orthodox Jews who, for sincerely held religious reasons, reject the Zionist state and wish to relate to Arabs and other Muslims in a non-hostile matter in order to combat anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish stereotypes. That so many other people, holding different views, want to persecute this small group for holding different ideas is a sad commentary on the limits of tolerance within some sections of the pro-Zionist community. Fortunately for the members of Neturei Karta they are protected by the same Bill of Rights that allows their antagonists to protest against them.
Well, that puts me in my place. I mean, up until now I thought there was nothing wrong about criticizing an obscure Jewish sect for granting legitimacy to the largest gathering of Nazis since the Nuremberg Rallies. What the hell was I thinking?
It’s curious…The far-Left routinely praises ultra-Orthodox Jews whose fundamentalist beliefs compel them to reject the State of Israel. Yet, the far-Left has no qualms about heaping scathing criticism upon Evangelical Christians whose fundamentalist beliefs compel them to embrace the State of Israel. I guess religious fundamentalism is OK with some contemporaryMarxists, as long as it reaches the “proper” political conclusions.
This coming Sunday, there’s a conference in San Francisco– “Finding Our Voice: The Conference for Progressives Constructively Addressing Anti-Semitism”:
It is critical to the well-being of the Jewish community to maintain the ability to effectively advocate throughout the political spectrum without fear of anti-Semitism. The Jewish community has a right to participate in political discourse without prejudice, bigotry and undue or disproportional criticism of Israel. The Finding Our Voice Conference will bring together speakers and activists in support
of this position. As a real-time, skills-building seminar, it will provide participants with techniques and methodologies for constructively addressing what has become an alarming trend.
I wish them well. They have their work cut out for them.
A number of activist groups, including the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, are outraged over Amazon.com’s presentation of Carter’s book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid–and they’ve threatened a boycott of the online retailer.
Here’s their petition, which now has nearly 17,000 signatures:
Under the “Editorial Reviews” heading – a space normally used either for the publisher’s own description of a book, or for short, even-handed summaries from listing services such as Booklist and Publishers Weekly – you insist on running the complete, 20-paragraph, 1,636-word text of a review unabashedly hostile to Carter’s viewpoint. You have refused to add information shoppers should have in evaluating this review: the fact that the reviewer, Jeffrey Goldberg, is a citizen of Israel as well as the United States, and that he volunteered to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, for which he worked as a guard at a prison for Palestinian detainees.
Accordingly, if you do not, by Jan. 22, remove the Goldberg review, move it to the more appropriate “See all Editorial Reviews” page, or restore a semblance of balance by giving comparable space and prominence to a more positive evaluation of Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, we the undersigned pledge to: 1. Stop shopping at Amazon.com; 2. Completely close our accounts on your service; and 3. Encourage our friends, family, and associates to do likewise.
The petition, of course, includes such requisite comments as “Resist the Israeli lobby” and “Don’t be intimidated by the Israeli Lobby.”
I guess Amazon.com got a bit scared, because just a couple days ago they published an exclusive interview with Carter, with this fawning introduction:
The crowning achievement of Jimmy Carter’s presidency was the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, and he has continued his public and private diplomacy ever since, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his decades of work for peace, human rights, and international development. He has been a tireless author since then as well, writing bestselling books on his childhood, his faith, and American history and politics, but in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, he has returned to the Middle East and to the question of Israel’s peace with its neighbors–in particular, how Israeli sovereignty and security can coexist permanently and peacefully with Palestinian nationhood.
It’s a rare honor to ask questions of a former president, and we are grateful that President Carter was able to take the time in between his work with his wife, Rosalynn, for the Carter Center and Habitat for Humanity and his many writing projects to speak with us about his hopes for the region and his thoughts on the book.
A big thank you to President Carter for granting our request for an interview.
Wow–and you thought the “Israel Lobby” was powerful…
Much has been written about how the botched execution of Saddam Hussein further damaged U.S. credibility in the Middle East. But, here’s something I hadn’t seen: Abdul Jalil Mustafa, a correspondent for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, reports that Saddam’s demise also has turned Arab public opinion against Iran:
”We have since then felt a tangible and clear reversal in the Arab popular mood, the price of which was paid by Iran and its Arab allies, namely Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, the Palestinian Hamas group and Syria, which found themselves in an embarrassing situation,” said Oraib Rentawi, director of the Amman-based al-Quds Centre for Political Studies.
Iran joined U.S President George W Bush and Israel in hailing Saddam’s death. For the Arab world, it was a dark day to see an Arab leader being treated like a common criminal with no respect paid for his former 25-year tenure as president.
The event sparked demonstrations in several Arab capitals, including Amman where Saddam’s elder daughter, Raghad, addressed a memorial rally arranged by opposition parties and trade unions, thanking the audience for their “sympathy for the martyr.”
Clerics in several mosques of the country performed the absentee prayers on Saddam, a privilege usually given to martyrs, and blasted “Shiite traitors,” while demonstrators called for the severance of diplomatic ties with the “Persian state.” Editorialists also rebuked the Iranian government for extending support to a sectarian government in Iraq that played havoc with the Sunni community.
At least 28 lawmakers on Sunday signed a petition urging the Amman government to cut off ties with Tehran. “Iran has certainly dashed the major part of the sympathy it and Hezbollah clinched in the Arab world over the past months,” Rentawi said. “The Arab peoples have now come to realize that the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cliches against Israel have been false pretenses behind which Persian objectives lurk,” he added.
Matthew Yglesias is outraged by Roger Cohen’s editorial in the International Herald Tribune praising the Euston Manifesto. Cohen writes: “If you’re tired of sterile screaming in the wilderness, tired of the comfortably ensconced ‘hindsighters’ poring over every American error in Iraq, tired of facile anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, try the Euston road in 2007. It might actually lead somewhere.”
I don’t know how others feel about this, but I have to believe I’m not the only Jewish American who’s getting tired of constantly having vague accusations of anti-semitism smeared around in my general direction. I mean, forget the anti-semitism. Since when has anti-Zionism become such a powerful force in American politics that we need the Euston Manifesto to save us all? But of course we’re not talking about anti-semitism or anti-Zionism here. We’re just talking about ordinary political disagreement.
I sympathize with Yglesias, in that Cohen clumsily paints the anti-war movement with a rather broad brush. Many people of conscience, for reasons both moral and practical, opposed the invasion of Iraq. And, I’ve got a real problem with right-wing Zionist groups in the United States who have accused Jewish anti-war activists of endorsing anti-semitism and supporting Islamist terrorism.
Yet, I find Yglesias’s response clumsy as well, in that he conveniently overlooks the ugly strand of anti-Zionism and anti-semitism that did manifest itself in the U.S. anti-war movement. (Read all about it here, here, and here.) It was, in fact, a self-defeating mantra, since it alienated anti-war Jews who didn’t feel all that comfortable marching with the likes of anti-Zionist groups such as ANSWER. And, lest we forget, we now live in the era of Walt-Mearsheimer, where it’s become downright fashionable to smear Jewish pro-war advocates as being de facto agents of a foreign government.
Bottom line? Anti-war activists shouldn’t be demonized–but is too much to ask that they, now and then, acknowledge the demons in their own ranks?
Israelis own 10 percent of the privately owned area on the moon, according to Tom Wegner, a spokesman for Crazyshop, a company that sells plots of moon land to private individuals in Israel.
About 10,000 Israelis have purchased moon property since it became available in 2000. Of the 10 million acres sold worldwide, 1 million are owned by residents of Israel, Wegner said Wednesday.
The United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty banned states from purchasing land in space, but allowed individual citizens to purchase land, said Movshovitz.
As a result, it is possible that in the near future NASA will have to buy land from the private property owners, enabling them to demand large sums for their plots.
Don’t you see it? The moon landing hoax was actually part of a real estate scam nearly forty years in the making!!! We faked the film footage so that everyone would be suckered into thinking that the moon was a barren, lifeless rock. Then, lunar property values plummeted…and we bided our time until conditions were ripe to buy up all that choice extraterrestrial real estate at a fraction of its actual value. It’s brilliant!
Also, Henry Kissinger killed Princess Diana. I have proof.
Nuri as-Said was the prime minister of Iraq until he was assassinated during the 1958 coup. (He was shot dead and buried–but an angry crowd disinterred his body and dragged it through the streets of the capital, where it was hung up, burned, and mutilated. Remind me never to pursue a career in Iraqi politics.)
Today, I stumbled upon this intriguing historical tidbit in Time magazine’s online archive. It’s an article from August 11, 1958:
Out of Jerusalem last week came a strange story: Nuri Pasha’s only survivor may be a 16-year-old Jewish boy now living in an Israeli border kibbutz.
The boy’s mother, Nadia Maslia, told Israeli newsmen that she met Nuri’s only son, Sabah, in the early ’30s when her family of wealthy Jewish bankers in Baghdad often did business with the Pasha. Though Sabah, an Iraqi air force officer, was already married to an Egyptian heiress, he fell in love with Nadia and kept trysts with her in London and Lebanon. Finally he asked her to become his second wife. They were married at Mosul in 1939, lived in Nuri’s household in Baghdad, and fled with the rest of Nuri’s family to Palestine when a German-backed army coup momentarily toppled his government during World War II.
On their return to Baghdad, their son Ahlam was born in 1942. Though at first opposed to the marriage, Nuri Pasha used to dandle little Ahlam on his knee, kept his picture on his desk.
After World War II anti-Jewish sentiment grew in Baghdad, and Sabah’s Egyptian wife schemed successfully to get Nadia out of the house. In 1946 Nadia took her son and moved to the Jewish part of Palestine, which became Israel two years later. In Tel Aviv, where she bought a hotel and other property and sent Ahlam to a Jewish school, Nadia concealed her family connections even from her son until last week.
Nuri’s grandson, by Judaic law a Jew because his mother is Jewish, is due to be conscripted into the Israeli army within the next two years. He may well be Nuri Pasha’s only descendant left on earth.