Writing in the Asia Times, columnist Chan Akya makes the following observation:
In the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the protagonist lists the problems of his country as “economic, social and Jew”. The phrase is a post-ironic view of anti-Semitism that was followed across the Soviet bloc and then religiously adopted by the independent Central Asian republics, highlighting the sheer irrelevant world view used by leaders to stay in power around the world.
For all the recent shenanigans on view across Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, the film could have well been set in the South Asia region, with “Indian” replacing “Jew”. India itself is no paragon of virtue, as the frequent cry of an omni-sinister “foreign hand” behind every terrorist outrage by Indian politicians over-eager to cover up their own incompetence and corruption. In the case of other South Asian nations, the idea of a hegemonistic India wreaking havoc across their countries for its own selfish aims is well grounded enough to be considered factual on the street.
In a previous article, I wrote how the State of Israel would have to be invented if it didn’t exist, for the express purpose of keeping unctuous Arab leaders in power. Parallels to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi governments are difficult to ignore from here, with both using the India card to explain away their own incompetence. The two recent instances involving the subversion of democracy in Bangladesh and the judicial system in Pakistan generated enough protests, but these will fizzle out once security considerations are aired more directly: to wit, the view that the regional hegemon will invariably take advantage of fractious political behavior at home will likely dull protests and push back any reforms that might otherwise have come about from persevering. Indian conspiracy theorists – and the country has a particularly large supply of these folks, perhaps an inevitable result of broad education and exposure to US media – point to the role of the ruling Congress party itself in the recent explosions on the Friendship Express (a train that runs between India and Pakistan), as politicians attempted to divert public attention from the sharp rise in inflation that had put the government’s popularity on a sharp nosedive before crucial state elections.
(1) We’re responsible for the London bombings: Syrian Minister of Culture Riyadh Na’san Agha declares, “Take, for example, the London bombings, of which Muslims have been accused. Who are they? Has anyone announced their names? Has anyone said who they were? They were forgotten, just like in all the bombings that took place in Europe. The truth is that the people who do this are the agents of the U.S., with its new anti-Islamic policy, and the agents of Zionism and the Mossad. Unfortunately, our media in some Islamic countries follows the Zionist media machine and repeats what it is says.”
(2) Our Plans for Middle East Domination: A top Iranian army official warned Arab states against a “Zionist suicide attack” in the summer. He predicted that an Israeli attack would start from Lebanon and Syria and proceed to Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The plan is aimed at preventing the United States from withdrawing its forces from Iraq and the Middle East. “The American poeple, senate and congress have realized their interests are being sacrificed to Zionists’ evil, and decided to pull out US forces from the region,” he said.
Norman Finkelstein was invited to give a talk at the University of Pennsylvania, prompting the usual round of protests and counter-protests. But, what made this appearance unusual was that Finkelstein’s lecture was partially subsidized by two academic departments: The Middle East Center and the political science department.
In an editorial appearing in the Daily Pennsylvanian, the chair of the political science department defended the decision as “upholding academic freedom”:
“Finkelstein earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and is currently an Assistant Professor at DePaul. He has published books and articles that address important issues about which scholars and public intellectuals sharply disagree…Regardless of what one thinks about the persuasiveness of Finkelstein’s published work, it is viewed by others as serious and worthy of discussion.
Perhaps it would be helpful for me to be specific about the types of co-sponsoring requests that I routinely reject. I turn down requests from groups who seek co-sponsorship to bring a political candidate or interest group to campus to recruit supporters.”
My, how reasonable. Yet, I think it evades the question as to why academic departments would knowingly choose to sponsor bomb-throwers like Finkelstein, when there are dozens of other speakers who can offer more sober (and far less obnoxious) critiques of Israel. As I’ve noted before, for all the talk of academic freedom, these speakers never enlighten the Middle East debate on campuses, they only end up dividing them.
Also, the chair of the political science department declares that he turns down requests from groups who seek to bring an “interest group to campus to recruit supporters.” But Finkelstein was invited to Penn by Students for Justice in Palestine as part of their “Palestine Awareness Week.” According to one member of the group, sponsorship from the political-science department and the Middle East Center was sought in the hopes of raising the event’s profile.” So, I guess it’s ok to bring an individual to campus to recruit supporters.
A report from Pro-Wrestling Insider (which I’m sure is part of your daily reading):
Abe Coleman, 101 years old and possibly the oldest living professional wrestler, passed away yesterday in a nursing home in Flushing, New York.
A native of Zychlin, Poland, Coleman moved to the United States in 1923 and eventually landed in New York in 1941, where he resided for the rest of his life.
Coleman was discovered by local promoter Rudy Miller working out in a gym….At times, Coleman used several nicknames based around his religion including The Hebrew Hercules and Jewish Tarzan, which sometimes caused him to receive anti-Semitic reactions.
Coleman has claimed through the years that he was the creator of a move still prevalent today, the dropkick, which he stated was inspired by Kangaroos he saw while touring Australia in the 1930s…..At the age of 80, Coleman was still making a splash when two teenaged muggers attempted to rob him. Coleman knocked each out with one punch.
Well, at least that’s the current number on the State of Israel’s official MySpace site.
The site also notes that Israel is a single, female, Taurus.
Out of curiousity, I decided to check out today’s news and see how it matches Israel’s horoscope.
First the news:
UN Chief Urges Israel to Reconsider Rejection of New Palestinian Government
The U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon wrapped up a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories… Speaking at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Mr. Ban said in his talks with Israeli officials he urged them to reconsider their rejection of the new Palestinian unity government.
“I told them that the new national unity government should be given some political space for them to perform, ” he said.
Israel says it will not recognize the new Palestinian government because many of its members belong to Hamas which refuses to recognize Israel.
Mr. Olmert says as far as the Palestinians are concerned he will maintain contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and that he hopes current U.S. diplomatic efforts will result in the Palestinian government eventually agreeing to the conditions of the “road map” peace plan, which calls for dialogue and negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
And today’s horoscope for the State of Israel:
Quickie: Stand up for yourself when someone bullies you or is rude to you today.
Overview: Learn to bend and you might not have to break, especially when it comes to dealing with a head honcho type. In other words, someone’s looking for a fight, so don’t give them the chance. Stay flexible and be cool.
Hmmm…maybe there’s something to this astrology stuff after all…
A new twist on the question, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” You can’t toke up:
In bad news for its religious Jewish supporters, an Israeli pro-marijuana party announced Tuesday that pot is forbidden on Passover.
Cannabis is among the substances Jews are forbidden to consume during the week long festival, which begins Monday, said Michelle Levine, a spokeswoman for the Green Leaf party.
Biblical laws prohibit eating leavened foods during Passover, replacing bread with flat crackers called matza. Later injunctions by European rabbis extended those rules to forbid other foods like beans and corn, and more recent rulings have further expanded the ban to include hemp seeds, which today are found in some health oils—-and in marijuana.
Marvin Kalb has just published a detailed study [pdf] at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government: “The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media As A Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict.”
It’s worth checking out. Some money quotes:
If we are to collect lessons from this war, one of them would have to be that a closed society can control the image and the message that it wishes to convey to the rest of the world far more effectively than can an open society, especially one engaged in an existential struggle for survival. An open society becomes the victim of its own openness. During the war, no Hezbollah secrets were disclosed, but in Israel secrets were leaked, rumors spread like wildfire, leaders felt obliged to issue hortatory appeals often based on incomplete knowledge, and journalists were driven by the fire of competition to publish and broadcast unsubstantiated information. A closed society conveys the impression of order and discipline; an open society, buffeted by the crosswinds of reality and rumor, criticism and revelation, conveys the impression of disorder, chaos and uncertainty, but this impression can be misleading.
It was hardly an accident that Hezbollah, in this circumstance, projected a very special narrative for the world beyond its ken-—a narrative that depicted a selfless movement touched by God and blessed by a religious fervor and determination to resist the enemy, the infidel, and ultimately achieve a “divine victory,” no matter the cost in life and treasure. The narrative contained no mention of Hezbollah’s dependence upon Iran and Syria for a steady flow of arms and financial resources.
UNIFIL was the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. It consisted of roughly 2,000 troops stationed along the Lebanese-Israeli border from 1978 until the end of the 2006 war. Its mandate required “full impartiality and objectivity.” During the war, it published information on its official website about Israeli troop movements, information that in military circles might well be regarded as “actionable intelligence.”
Take, for instance, its posting of July 25, 2006: “Yesterday and during last night, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) moved significant reinforcements, including a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The IDF advanced from that area north towards Bint Jubayl and south towards Yarun.”
Or, its posting of July 24, which disclosed that IDF forces stationed between Marun Al Ras and Bint Jubayl were “significantly reinforced during the night and this morning with a number of tanks and armored personnel carriers.”
It was part of UNIFIL’s responsibility to report violations of the ceasefire, including troop movements, to the U.N., but presumably this information was to be conveyed through confidential channels, not on the Internet, where the information in wartime could be as valuable as hard, military intelligence suddenly exposed to the light.
These postings, similar to others during the war, coincided with heavy fighting in the region. Israeli units came under severe Hezbollah attack. It is impossible for outsiders to know whether Hezbollah used the information provided by UNIFIL, which was available to anyone with a laptop, or whether Hezbollah depended primarily upon information provided by loyal local supporters. However, no UNIFIL posting during the war contained any specific information relating to Hezbollah’s military movements, perhaps because they were not visible to UNIFIL or perhaps because UNIFIL did not choose to see the movements.
Either way, Hezbollah, fighting an asymmetrical war, could easily have benefited from UNIFIL’s web postings; indeed, it would have been foolish for them not to accept UNIFIL’s gift. Israel, a democracy caught in such a guerrilla-style war, found itself unable to benefit from the daily postings, because they contained no useful intelligence about Hezbollah’s movements.
According to this entry in Wikipedia, Sweden’s Social Democratic Party is a strong supporter of “feminism, equality of all kinds, and is in strong opposition to all forms of discrimination and racism.”
So, naturally, they invited the rabidly anti-semitic Jazz musician/political activist Gilad Atzmon to speak at a seminar on Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan, which was held in Stockholm on March 18th.
According to this report in a Swedish publication, The Local, the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism (SCAA) has criticized the Social Democrats for inviting Atzmon, and called upon the party leadership to clearly distance itself from the seminar.
As was to be expected, Ulf Carmesund, international secretary of the Christian Social Democrats, rejected the allegations made by SCAA:
“Gilad Atzmon is himself a Jew, and when the Swedish Committee Against Anti-Semitism starts calling Jews anti-Semites there is a risk that they undermine the term anti-Semite and do the fight against anti-Semitism a disservice.
Atzmon is critical of the state of Israel’s politics and of Jewish organizations that support the state of Israel’s politics in the name of all Jews. Atzmon belongs to that group of Jews that refuses to be associated with the Israeli occupation and the state of Israel’s breaches of international law. He aims his criticism not at Jewishness but at the politics and ideology that lead to breaches of international law.”
Hey, thanks for that clarification, Ulf! I guess he never read that quote from Atzmon that said “We must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously.” Or maybe Ulf should have consulted with anti-Zionist Jews like Mark Elf, who concluded that Atzmon is a “liar”, a “racist,” and a “buffoon.” Or maybe Ulf could have read Atzmon’s screed against the dangerous nature of “Jewishness.”
So, here’s to Sweden’s Social Democratic Party, and their ongoing struggle against “all forms of discrimination and racism.”
Zombietime has just posted photos from the March 18th “U.S. Out of Iraq Now” Anti-War Rally in San Francisco. The usual suspects were there–revolutionary poseurs decked out in their Che Guevara t-shirts and Palestinian kaffiyehs.
Also there was our old friend, Mr. “Smash the Jewish State.” Except now, he has a new sign that declares: “AIPAC: A Hub of Evil”
Guess he’s been reading Walt-Mearsheimer….