Saturday, April 30, 2005
Ethnic Cleansers Trot Out Same Ol' Canards
Foreign Jews immigrated to Palestine beginning in the late nineteenth century with the express purpose of creating a Jewish state in Palestine. Problem was, with apologies to Golda Meir, it was not "a land without a people." Before, during, and after 1948, Jews ethnically cleansed the indigenous population to ensure Jewish supremacy. It's a matter of historical record that the Arabs didn't intervene until Jews started carrying out massacres to scare the Palestinians into leaving. In Lod and Ramle Jews put the Arabs on trucks and they were deported. Israeli historian Benny Morris writes about Plan Dalet, the systematic plan initiated to rid the area of its Arab inhabitants. All of this information is easily available. Providing a forum for Daniel Coultoff's pernicious propaganda merely facilitates U.S. citizens' appalling ignorance, and ensures that billions of our tax dollars will continue to pay for razing Palestinian houses, for providing bullets so that Israel soldiers can shoot kids in the head and the heart, for bombing apartment complexes with sleeping children, for uprooting olive trees thousands of years old, for humiliating Palestinians daily, and for a host of other human rights violations heaped upon the Palestinians for fifty-seven years with the sole purpose of maintaining Jewish supremacy in Palestine.
Ray Hanania ultimately reaches the correct conclusion that the Palestinians have to give up the so-called right of return to Israel in order to secure a state living peacefully with the democratic, Jewish state of Israel.
However, Hanania distorts the historical record to excoriate Israel for refugees created by the 1948 War for Independence. That war started because the Arabs did not accept the U.N. Partition Plan and invaded Israel with armies from five countries to "drive the Jews into the sea." The Palestinian leader, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was indicted at Nuremberg for his alliance with Hitler.
In his 1992 memoir, the former prime minister of Syria, Khalid al-Azm, squarely placed blame for the refugee problem with the Arabs: "Since 1948 it is we who have demanded return for the refugees . . . while it is we who made them leave . . . then we exploited them in executing crimes of murder, arson, and throwing bombs upon . . . men, women and children."
Hanania also does not mention the 900,000 Jewish refugees forced to leave Arab countries after 1948, nor that Arabs remaining in Israel are citizens while despotic Arab states elect to deny Palestinians citizenship and encourage their squalor. In short, the refugee issue, especially when it is used for one-sided excoriation of Israel without acknowledgment of Arab culpability, has been used as a tactic to delegitimize Israel and scuttle any peace settlement.
Thankfully, Hanania states that the "right of return" should be dropped for the sake of peace; too bad many lives were lost due to the needs of dictators and Islamic extremists.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Good Friday Message
For those who would tell the Palestinians to speak out against racism be it of the Palestinian or Israeli variety, I think that one needs to live amongst them to realize that no one and nothing is preparation for the reality of the life that they lead. Most importantly one will realize how little they care what the outside world thinks of them or wants to do for them. Please forgive my bluntness, but the Palestinians that I know do not actually care who blames them for passiveness or otherwise, and who supports them in rhetoric and who does not (and that includes their Arab brothers as well). They actually do not give a nickel either way, and they have many reasons to make them feel this way.
First, let me say that they realize, more than any outsider does,
that politicians like [Mustapha] Bargouthy are just ambitious politicians, who
say what is expected of a politician. When he addresses his own
people he says things for local consumption which he would not say
to an American, Western or Israeli audience. The bottom line is that all
politicians do stand in the wings waiting for foreign approval and
ready for their turn to try their hands on the wheel of power, and
when they start to show up on western podiums it means that their future
seats might be pending, but most assuredly is already reserved.
Bargouthy is also duplicated by others who do not even call
themselves moderates as he does. Still their hawkish approach
to the Palestinian issue is as questionable as that of moderates.
The fact is that no one who gains access to western podiums
stands a chance of representing a majority of Palestinians in a fair
and democratic election. All of the elections so far, as in all of Arabia, have been mere facades, fabricated and then forcefully shoved down people's throats. They only serve as proxies for foreign interests, and even many of these proxies do in fact advocate what some Palestinian sympathizers call the right weapon for victory over Zionism, i.e., exposing its racism.
Ordinary Palestinians do not even consider this option a
weapon. Had it been one, it should have worked a long time ago when the
U.N. decided Israel was actually a racist state. It was not enough;
the resolution remained ink on paper, as we say in Arabic, but the
same U.N., after decades of non action, changed its verdict as
reality proved the whole world including the U.N. itself was
incapable of acting upon the resolution and holding Israel
accountable for its racism. Israel talks, nobody walks, so says the U.S. superpower.
Why are the Palestinians indifferent to presenting Israel in all its racism? Actually, the Palestinian scene is so complicated and nightmarish any judgment
passed on it is inevitably hasty and flawed at best, ignorant or ill-
intended at worst, and more so when judgment comes from those who
have the luxury and comfort of safe lives, never having to go through
the living hell of life under occupation. Who says being a refugee
many times over in one's own homeland is normal enough to be judged
by normal standards of politics, or even intellectual activism?
For decades on end, there has been nothing normal in the daily
lives of Palestinians. Fathers do not go to work; children do not go
to schools; moms do not stay home to cook, and no one gets to
live happily ever after. The sky rains fire. The soil is made to
bury trees not grow them. Homes are razed to the ground the moment that
they pop up on the ruins of the previous ones. Israeli army
snipers practice on Palestinian children even when they do not throw
stones. Palestinian women give birth to future stonethrowers in the streets at Israeli checkpoints. School girls drink drugged water that makes them infertile so that they do not give birth any more to stone throwers. Every family has multiple tragedies to tell. Volumes could not start to convey the morbid realities Palestinians face on the hour every hour.
There are no proper elections to produce representatives of
all this; there are no civil society channels to which to voice
dismay, and unrest gets crushed by vicious power. Finally, the people's true wishes become a source of despair. How could it not after decades of such a downslide of affairs that does not seem to even have a rock bottom to hit, ever?
Outsiders count the lashes; Palestinians get them . That is an
old saying that I have twisted and applied here to show that Palestinians
believe outsiders neither will nor can do anything for them. Regardless what world public opinion thinks, or a what a crippled international legitimacy says on paper, one must be a Palestinian living in the inferno of Palestine to understand why these people are beyond any mere western-culture-oriented
intellectual argument. Not that western-cultured-activists and
politicians do not exist, but how much weight or power or means do
the ones that advocate dismantling the state of Israel over its
racism have in reality, or in practical applicable measures? Those whose daily lives are simply grotesquely surreal under siege, humiliation, house raids, checkpoints, assassinations, demolition of houses; warfare methods of combating public unrest, to mention only a few ugly realities, also realize that they may only count on their stones, and their cottage economy, and on their mass production of stone throwers, not on computer activists. Palestinians do not even know that they exist. Neither may they depend upon demonstrations in foreign cities that ease the conscience of activists who want to make right what their governments make wrong, nor on U.N. resolutions; they know rats nibble on them in U.N. storage basements, nor on petitions that never freed an inch of land. All the good intentions in the world so far did not ease the pain of one Palestinian mother whose child came home a
corpse when he stepped out to buy something across the street.
What Palestinians have learned to count on is their stones, and passing the
tale, one generation to the other, keeping the dream alive.
Dismantling Israel will always be the sole quest of Palestinian nationals; regardless what anybody says to the contrary. They do not
compromise on the Arab character of Palestine, and utterly reject
any foreign identity of statehood, Jewish or otherwise; even if it
would miraculously turn humane towards Arabs. It is like rejecting
the American occupation of Iraq. It is like previous Arab struggles
against European colonialism. Foreigners who occupy Palestinian
houses and cultivate Palestinian land are the enemy even if they are
secular. To oppose original Jewish existence in Palestine is
racism; to oppose the existence of foreign Jews who came from all
over the world and did not have historic roots in Palestine is the
issue. It is voiced loud and clear for any one who cares to listen
carefully. Listen; that is, not to the likes of politicians mentioned in your debate, nor to the likes of Palestinians who gave you the wrong impression, but to the nation at large, in their refugee camps, in their besieged cities, in their Friday and Sunday prayers, and yes away from western podiums extended to
Dismantling Israel is not achievable in the here and now, but
what is doable in the here and now is to keep the concept alive and to
wait for history to make its turns and cycles in due time.
That is the issue, and that is the message, and if Palestinian
sympathizers in the U.S. and elsewhere would like to help the
suppressed Palestinians, and actually do something tangible about a
grossly complicated existential struggle, they are advised to kindly
try to stop American apaches from occupying Palestinian skies, the
American Army fighting for Israeli interests, and American governments
financing and supporting the most expensive statehood in the world
in Israel with their tax money, and American Congress legislating tailor-
made laws to fit Israeli interests. At the same time, educate the majority of the
American people who do not even care to know the geography of the
world, let alone its history that geography and history are like
karma--what goes around comes around.
For those activists who mean well, speak of what you think you should
do to help Palestine, and not what Palestine should do to help
itself become free and independent, for even love is rejected when it
This is a nation weary and desperate for a break to breath air, not
death and humiliation, a nation that suffers from total loss of
faith in its own leadership, in its own politicians, in Arab
brothers, in the international legitimacy, and in foreign and outside
support. Personally, I think that it is daring and even insulting to ask
of this traumatized nation to do better than try to find a shelter
for their children and food to put on the table although this same
nation performs miracles; they hold on to their constant principle of the
Arab identity of their homeland and they are dying for it daily.
That is far beyond heroism; it deserves unconditional support and
genuine efforts to identify with their peculiar and specific
realities, not what we imagine them to be.
As for the diaspora Palestinians who do not speak up especially in
the U.S., I think that after being stateless and homeless for so long that it is
only human to fear consequences of opposing host countries.
Palestinians have been this road before; they know that not even Arab
countries were gracious hosts. Such a question neglects the fact that the U.S. and the West are not friendly places towards Arabs and Muslims, even less so
after September 11. How could the U.S. in particular be fair towards Arabs when it passed the Patriot Act, which limits the freedom of its own peoples, and
then the American public itself, a long time mature democracy, does
nothing about its own loss of freedoms?
Palestinians Must Accept Reality of 'Right of Return': My Response
Oppressed people attain a dignity that is denied to those of us who are more worried about what latest hot video we're going to rent. They also develop heartbreakingly poignant symbols which sustain them from the world's indifference. The symbol of the Palestinian refugee is the cartoon character, Handala, the ten year old refugee child, created by Naji Al-Ali. Handala is a symbol of "bitterness." Handala is frozen in time and his late creator, who was expelled from his homeland when he was ten, says that Handala will "start growing up," when he returns. Handala has his hands "clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way," said Al Ali.
"His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself," said Al-Ali. "Things will become normal again when the homeland returns."
There is nothing "extreme" or "ideological" in rejecting racism and insisting upon an "inalienable" right. What is extreme is facilitating an injustice that has not been righted for fifty-seven years. What is extreme is that Jewish self-determination created and continues to create homelessness for Palestinians. What is extreme is that Jewish self-determination arose from forcibly, illegally, and systematically expelling the indigenous population because they weren't Jewish.
If you are not morally swayed consider the feasiblity of return. Research by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta shows that today seventy-eight percent of the Jewish population resides on fifteen percent of the land. The five hundred and thirty one Palestinian villages that those Jews in search of self-determination demolished remain largely uninhabited. The "reality" is that racism is rejected by civilized people. The reality is that Jewish self-determination that comes at the expense of Palestinians' human rights is a mirage.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Right of Return Must Not Be Compromised
RE: Palestinians must accept reality of the 'right of return'
Ray Hanania is supposed to be a comedian- but I do not find the idea of encouraging ethnic cleansing & genocide very funny at all.
Is Hanania even aware that Israel's Knesset has already openly discussed transfer of Arab Israelis, as in removing the remaining Palestinians from their homes and land inside Israel proper - for the "good" of the state of course, and "transferring" them out.
Transfer is not return. Transfer is ethnic cleansing.
Hanania is advocating what can only be called a prison camp- not a viable state- for the non-Jewish population of Israel, encouraging Israel to escalate an ethnic cleansing already started with Israel's racist refusal to respect U.N Resolution 194 from 1948, the Palestinian refugees inalienable right of return.
Israeli racism dictates that non-Jews are to be feared and hated. Imagine if instead of abolishing our own racist Jim Crow laws we had expanded them, limiting real freedom, justice and democracy to only whites.
Will Jews-only Israel stop with this? Will this insane "compromise" bring peace ? I sincerely doubt it. Once rid of all remaining Arab voices and votes, Israel will have only it most racist self to listen to... Israel will be completely free to continue demonizing Arabs and Muslims and looking for ways to make life miserable for vulnerable non-Jewish men, women and children so that mighty Israel can accuse them of being terrorists and then drop more 1 ton bombs on Palestinian apartment buildings- killing sleeping babies.
Anne Selden Annab
Palestinians must accept reality of the 'right of return'
By Ray Hanania | Special to the Sentinel
Posted April 27, 2005
In Arabic, the term "Al-Awda" means "the return," and it symbolizes the dreams and hopes of millions of Christian and Muslim Palestinians forced into exile as refugees by Israel in 1948.
It's the essence of the Palestine-Israel conflict.
In order to create a Jewish state, Jews had to increase their population through immigration. When the notion of a Jewish homeland was embraced in 1917, there were about 85,000 Jews and 650,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians. That changed 30 years later to 614,000 Jews and 1.4 million Palestinians.
They were still short of what they needed. The United Nations proposed a partition plan to create a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state." But the "Jewish state" had as many non-Jews as Jews. The proposed "Arab state" was overwhelmingly non-Jewish.
Israel was faced with a harsh reality. It had to forcibly expel the non-Jews. The 1947 war sent more than 700,000 Palestinians into exile. Israel also occupied half of the "Arab state," leaving Arabs with the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, about 22 percent of the original land.
That population change has stymied all progress toward peace.
To remain a Jewish state, Israel cannot take the refugees back. Yet how do you reconcile refugee rights, which are supported by clear and irrefutable international laws?
It is such a difficult issue that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat could not accept Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's plan because it brushed off refugee rights and failed to provide a real sharing of Jerusalem.
For years, Palestinian refugees have been fed endless empty promises from the Arab countries that they will someday return. It's the main reason most have lived and died in refugee camps rather than relocate and assimilate into the Arab world.
The problem has also created a powerful movement called Al-Awda, which is run by uncompromising ideologues and extremists who use the right of return as a political bludgeon to prevent Palestinian moderates from compromise with Israel.
The newly formed American Task Force on Palestine, an advocacy group based in the nation's capital, became one of the first Palestinian organizations to publicly define a moderate approach, writing:
"Implementation of the right of return cannot obviate the logic of a resolution based on two states. The challenge for the Israeli and Palestinian national leaderships is to arrive at a formula that recognizes refugee rights but which does not contradict the basis of a two-state solution and an end to the conflict."
The ATFP was immediately denounced as "traitors" by the Al-Awda movement, even though compromising on the right of return is fundamental to achieving a two-state solution. The Palestinian refugees have a legal and moral right to return to their lands. But the reality of the world today is not the reality of 1947, when the conflict forced the refugees into camps.
More than a half-century later, Palestinians have no choice but to accept a compromise, which Israel has yet to embrace. That compromise must include compensation and, more important, Israel's acknowledgment of its role in causing their plight.
Surveys show that despite the uncompromising Al-Awda movement, most refugees do not expect to return to their original homes or lands. So what's the real problem?
The Al-Awda movement's rejection of compromise is based on generations of suffering that are easy to exploit. But it is the height of irresponsibility for any Arab group to tell the refugees that they should sit tight because one day they will return to the hills and valleys of 1947 Palestine.
It is never going to happen.
The Al-Awda activists, who rallied this past week at the University of California in Los Angeles, insist no one has a right to negotiate away the right of return.
That is not true. In fact, when a people turn to democracy and elect a government, as Palestinians have done twice, the government has a greater right to act above the individual interest and preserve the more important national interest.
The refugees deserve the truth, not more lies. Some may be able to return as a part of a negotiated deal with Israel. The rest will live in a smaller Palestine, compensated by their memories.
To save Palestine, the bulk of the refugees must accept that reality. A negotiated Palestine state will be their final homeland.
Organizations like Al-Awda are well intentioned but are doing a great national disservice to Palestinians by insisting on the "legal right of return" while irresponsibly ignoring the reality of the return.
Ray Hanania is an author and former national President of the Palestinian American Congress. He is managing editor of TheArabStreet.com. He can be reached at RayHanania@aol.com.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Rabbi: MSU Finds Their "Jew"
For Rabbi Seidler-Feller to imply that MSU found their "Jew"["Using rabbi against Jews is disrespectful attack"] is silly considering that the students could have found any number of Jews who support UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 which reaffirms "the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted."
Had time and circumstance permitted I am sure that several Jews among the one hundred and eighty-four signatories to "Righteous Jews," several rabbis among them, would have shown up to speak alongside the speaker. Rabbi Seidler-Feller smears him as the "ultra-orthodox fundamentalist" rabbi, but the rabbi at the MSU gathering seems to entertain more enlightened views when it comes equality and justice than Rabbi Seidler-Feller. Indeed, many Jews believe that Palestinians are "deserving of being treated equally with all other people in the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, one country with equal citizenship for all."
These righteous Jews include Albert Einstein, Rabbi Dovid Feldman, Rabbi Ahron Cohen, Rabbi Elmer Berger, Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Meron Benvenisti, Yehudi Menuhin, and Nurit Peled Elhanan. The"humiliation" and "insult" is Rabbi Seidler-Feller's assumption that all Jews support inequality and racism.
Using rabbi against Jews is disrespectful attack
By featuring an ultra-orthodox fundamentalist as one of their speakers on Tuesday evening, the Muslim Students Association has chosen to pursue a path of humiliation and insult.
Any time one group uses a representative of the opposition to denounce those very opponents, they are engaging in a hurtful and disrespectful assault, as if to say, "We got you with one of your own."
Furthermore, by selecting a rabbi as their spokesperson, the students have, unfortunately, transformed a modern political conflict into a medieval religious disputation.
This rabbi, in fact, espoused views that are Jewishly marginal but consistent with those of the MSA. Muslim students have succeeded in finding "their Jew" but, contrary to their stated motives, not in learning what Judaism teaches regarding Zionism.
There certainly is a better way to make the case for their cause. And if they were truly confident in the justice of their claims and desired further understanding, some members of MSA might even consider a dialogue with their Zionist antagonists. This is UCLA, after all, and not the Middle East.
Rabbi and director of UCLA Hillel
Monday, April 25, 2005
A Palestinian grandmother in Ramallah holds a picture of one of the eight thousand incarcerated Palestinian political prisoners and Yehudith Harel's reflection at Pesach, "How can we celebrate our Festival of Freedom while we put 3.5 million people under closure? While we enslave a whole society for decades??? And even if we did not impose the closure - just knowing what life "over there" is like - with the Wall and the barbed wire separation barrier and the checkpoints all over. This is no life. Even our cats and dogs have a better life." Yehudith Harel
Palestinian scout in Jerusalem. No, I'm not going to do a story on the history of the Boy Scouts in Palestine. Needless to say, it is a very long one because my uncles and probably my dad were scouts; they are always marching on holidays. I watched a parade in Bethlehem on Orthodox Christmas in 1977. Anyway, the ignorant minions at Little Green Footballs, who consist of Americans and Israelis, were just falling all over themselves today after finding this picture on Yahoo news. They were incredulous that there were scouts in Palestine and were almost to a person convinced that the scouting movement just arrived in Palestine. This, as is every post, and they are considerable, that they have on Palestine, is accompanied by hundreds of racist comments. Their favorite derogatory term for a Palestinian is "Pali." I guess that's better than not acknowledging that they exist as a people at all. How could a supposedly reputable outfit like washingtonpost.com permit a site like this to be nominated and then win for a blog award? There is a lot of hate out there.
Palestinian Orthodox protest Greek Patriarch Irenious for involvement in sale of Church property to high rolling Jews. [Reuters]
Sunday, April 24, 2005
A little Palestinian boy on Orthodox Palm Sunday, which is today, at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Reuters photo).
Saturday, April 23, 2005
It's Not Good For Princeton 'To Have Someone Like That'
Some of the Daily Princetonian readers are probably too young to remember a film with Gregory Peck, Gentleman's Agreement, which dealt with Gentiles efforts to exclude Jews from clubs, etc. Nowadays, if a teacher has Palestinian ethnicity and doesn't follow a Zionist script, I'd recommend a field other than education unless he or she is prepared for a smear campaign, which is currently being launched against Dr. Rashid Khalidi, in hopes of precluding a possible Princeton appointment.
Some Princeton alumni and students [ Daily Princetonian, April 22] have joined David Horowitz and Martin Kramer in this effort. Princeton alumnus Arlene Pedovich says, "Some Princeton alumni are very concerned about the possibility of Princeton Univeristy hiring an individual who has a political agenda rather than a scholarly approach to history."
Pedovich offers absolutely no evidence that Khalidi has anything other than a "scholarly approach to history," but this doesn't seem to bother her. According to the writer, Pedovich "fears that the appointment of Khalidi would renew the image of Princeton as a school hostile to Jews." Does Pedovich feel that hiring a German might give the perception that Princeton is a school hostile to Jews?
Pedovich continues, "Many alumni and students are concerned that a potential appointment of Professor Khalidi will be used as an excuse to describe Princeton as anti-Semitic again."
Echoing Pedovich student Jonathan Elist (07) "thinks the University should consider more than just scholarship in this case." Like what? Ethnicity? Whether a candidate has signed in blood that Israel has a right to exist? He says, "On a perception level it's not good for Princeton to have someone like that on their faculty."
Someone like that? The statements of Pedovich and Elist are almost comical, but unfortunately in this neo-McCarthy era not easily dismissed.
David Corn Shakes Hand With Devil Twice
And that is exactly what Horowitz did, the national campus director of his organization, Students for Academic Freedom, Sara Dogan, wrote a letter to the university on behalf of Corn.
Corn acknowledges the letter and does not do anything to disassociate himself from this organization, thus lending it legitimacy. In fact, in the same post entitled "Shaking Hands With the Devil," he professes guilt for shaking hands with Paul Wolfowitz. Is the irony lost on Corn?
On April 22, Horowitz wrote the following screed on his blog regarding Professor Rashid Khalidi's application to work at Princeton. "Indications are that Rashid Khalidi may be following Farrrakhan fawner and Shartpon [sic] adviser Cornel West to Princeton. Princetonians are already concerned that this may revive the school's long buried reputation for anti-Semitism, earned in an era (which I remember well) when no Jews needed to apply to the school."
It would appear that Corn has sullied his hand more than once.
In recent weeks, Jewish students and alumni have voiced their concern to Nassau Hall about the candidacy of Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi for a new position on Princeton's faculty.
Nearly a month ago, Columbia released a 24-page report concerning allegations of anti-Semitism on its campus. Though Khalidi was not the subject of the report, he has been associated with the professors who were being investigated, and he has been a centerpiece of the politicized battle over Middle Eastern studies at Columbia.
Khalidi's critics portray him as a staunch pro-Palestinian advocate, and they fear that he would push his purported views in the classroom.
"Some Princeton alumni are very concerned about the possibility of Princeton University hiring an individual who has a political agenda rather than a scholarly approach to history," said Arlene Pedovitch '80, interim director of the Center for Jewish Life (CJL).
"I've told Nassau Hall, the administration, that I'm getting a lot of phone calls and emails from alumni," Pedovitch added, though she couldn't specify the quantity. "I know that the University as well as the development office likes to be made aware of such contact."
"Alumni have also been contacting administration officials directly, Pedovitch said. "Princeton alumni are not shy about sharing their views."
Pedovitch also fears that the appointment of Khalidi would renew the image of Princeton as a school hostile to Jews. In the 1950s, Jewish students faced discrimination on parts of campus, and even during the 1990s some expressed concern about the numeric decline of Jewish students admitted.
"Many alumni and students are concerned that a potential appointment of Professor Khalidi will be used as an excuse to describe Princeton as anti-Semitic again," Pedovitch said. "But this University is a wonderful place for Jewish students."
Jonathan Elist '07 considered organizing a petition against Khalidi's possible appointment but concluded that would not be the best strategy. He also said, though, that "it's going to be a problem come admissions" if Khalidi is chosen.
The controversy at Columbia and the concerns about Khalidi have reignited the debate about the role of academics' political views in shaping scholarship.
"We make all of our appointments on the basis of academic merit and scholarship," history chair Adelman said. "And what people's political persuasions might be are immaterial."
Elist, however, thinks the University should consider more than just scholarship in this case. While he acknowledges that Khalidi is a "very appealing" scholar, he worries that "on a perception level, it's not good for Princeton to have someone like that on their faculty."
Friday, April 22, 2005
Little Green Footballs Has Reason For Concern
Evidently, a person who calls him/herself LAChica visited the Al-Awda Third Annual International Convention held on the UCLA campus April 15-17. Charles Johnson prefaces the web page he assembled for LaChica's report: "A Convergence of mornonic Marxists and idiotic Islamists." Well, I am a contributer to Al-Awda Media and I am Syrian Orthodox; Zahi Damuni, president of Al-Awda, San Diego, is Christian, as is Elias Rashmawi. Mazin Qumsiyeh, one of the leaders of the grassroots organization is also Christian, as is Dr. George Bisharat, professor at University of California Hastings Law School, who was one of the speakers. If one goes to the Al-Awda homepage, one will not find any references to Marxists or any links to Marxist groups.
LAChica reports that there were only "85 attendees at the main session in the morning." She does not specify which morning session. Al-Awda reports that "hundreds" attended the three day event. The opening session for the convention occurred in the evening.
She also reports that "the rhetoric of the speakers was noticeably subdued," and that "the event was an exercise in euphemisms, calling for the destruction of Israel but not saying it in exactly those words." I wonder how LAChica determined that the speakers' rhetoric was subdued. What is her basis of comparison? Is she privy to personal discourse with Dr. Bisharat? Has she bothered to read Dr. Bisharat's moving story about Villa Harun ar-Rahid, the Jerusalem house confiscated from his family? Was she expecting the highly educated participants to engage in the racial slurs that compose most of the content of the site for which she was spying? Five hundred and sixty-seven comments (last count) are appended to the LGF story, although after the first one hundred, the line of thought turns to unintelligible meandering. Some of the more egregious comments: "What a bunch of effin psychos." "[expletive] You splodeydopes." "I support the Palestinian Right of Return . . . to Jordan and Eygpt [sic], and that includes their rabble rousers living abroad.
"It is [sic] me or does it is [sic] true that whenever you dig into a lib gathering or organization you find at the heart communists and or [sic] anti-Semetites." [sic]
"The Arabs in these pictures should be deported. They're terrorists or supporters of terrorism. The Americans in these pictures are fools. The [sic] should be neutered so as not to reproduce."
"The Paleos have ZERO to offer. They only have demands. There is absolutely no reason to sit down with them in a final meeting at all."
"The Left, in its utter intellectual bankruptcy and revolutionary fantasy, has now latched onto militant Islam."
"Given their proclivity to violence, I think the only sane way to deal with them is to crush them and break them down so far the only demand they want to make anymore is 'Please stop.'"
"What they're fighting for is the elimination of Israel and simply because they've invented a theology where killing Jews (and genocide) is holy sacrement [sic]. That's been explicit for a while now and ethnic cleansing does not equal liberation even when it has a religious basis."
" . . . we promise to keep killing Jews because it's our national sport . . . ."
You get the idea. The racists at Little Green Footballs are upset because the people at Al-Awda are asserting their inalienable Right to Return which has a "solid legal basis. The United Nations adopted Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. Paragraph 11 states: ' . . . the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date . . . compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return. Resolution 194 was affirmed practically every year since with a universal consensus, except for Israel and the U.S. The resolution was further clarified by UN General Assembly resolution 3236 which reaffirms in Subsection 2, 'the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return.'
"The Right to Return does not derive its validity merely from UN Resolutions. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 13 reaffirms the right of every individual to leave and return to his country . . . international law demands that neither occupation nor sovereignty diminish the rights of private ownership. When the Ottomans surrendered in 1920, Palestinian ownership of the land was maintained. The land and property of 'the refugees' remains their own and they are entitled to return to it."
The racist minions who frequent Little Green Footballs and a host of other reactionary websites have every reason for concern. Al-Awda has affiliates worldwide. Al-Awda News has over one thousand members. Al-Awda is active on major college and university campuses and our letters and editorials continue to be written and published despite smear after Zionist smear. And if you don't get it, I'll reiterate: the Right of Return is "sacred." The Right of Return is codified in law. It makes not one bit of difference if each and every craven politician sides with injustice for there is not one of them who has it in his or her power to bargain away a right that is "inalienable."
Palestinians Demonstrate For Themselves
Palestinians holding a nonviolent demonstration in Bil'ein Village
Palestine News Network
Palestinians are holding a nonviolent demonstration against land confiscation for an Israeli settlement, road, and the Wall in Bil’ein Village in the occupied West Bank.
Foreigners and Israeli leftists have joined the Palestinians, bringing the number of demonstrators to around 300, according to resident Mohammad Khatib. His voice is strained and out of breath as he reports, “The Israelis are firing sound bombs, gas, bullets.”
Thursday, April 21, 2005
'If Abbas fails to take action against militants, we will be forced to do it'--starting with kindergardens
On Saturday, the Israeli troops invaded the Ateel town, north of the West Bank city of Tulkarem and were deployed in large number across the towns' streets, breaking into a number of houses, local sources said.
In the meantime, the Israeli soldiers arrested in the Tulkarem's town of Allar, Rasem Ekawi, 21 years-old, after having been broken into his house.
Also, the Israeli soldiers broke into a Palestinian-owned kindergarten in eastern West Bank city of Hebron, the kindergarten's director said.
The soldiers searched the place and held the teachers along with 80 children inside the classrooms for one hour and a half.
The soap industries of Nablus and Jaffa provided the most important manufactured export from Palestine in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The soap was and is still made from pure olive oil. In 1927 there were 24 factories in Nablus, employing an average of 5 to 6 workers each.
By Bouthaina Shaaban
Outside View Commentator
Damascus, Syria, Apr. 19 (UPI) -- The mother of 15-year-old Khalid Ghannam, one of three teenagers killed on April 9 by Israeli soldiers in Gaza, asked Bouthaina Shaaban, Syrian Minister of Expatriates, to send this letter to President Bush. In an article first published in al-Shark al-Awsat, Shaaban addresses the mother's wishes.
Dear President Bush,
On the eve of (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon's visit to your ranch in Texas, my son Khalid was playing football (soccer) near our doorsteps. In less than an hour, he was brought back in a bundle of blood. The Israeli soldiers have killed him and two other playmates of his.
While you were receiving your visitor, Mr. President, we were preparing for the children's funeral. I hoped you would condemn the killing, first as a father, and second as president of the world's greatest power.
The three children were guiltless, except for being born Palestinian in Palestine. And there I was, another bereaved mother, joining the ranks of thousands of Palestinian mothers who lost their children to the bullets or prisons of the occupation.
In spite of the grief we live, thanks to your unconditional support to the Israeli occupation, I cannot find it in my heart to wish you, or any other mother or father, the pain of loosing your child. The loss is too grave to be endured; it shatters your soul and heart, it could drive one insane.
Your discussions of the "issues" were irrelevant to my pain. The issue, Mr. President, is not withdrawal from Gaza, or evacuating the settlers from Gaza. Once (former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak) Rabin said it all loud and clear -- as you might remember -- when he wished he would wake up one day "to find that Gaza had been swallowed by the sea."
The core issue, Mr. President, is occupation and settlement. Two roads towards one goal: depriving us of our lands and waters, after killing some and forcing the rest out. When you describe our struggle for freedom as terrorism, and Israeli crimes as kin to your war on terrorism, you are entrapping Americans in an unjust war. You are abolishing the legitimate Palestinian rights to state and freedom. You are allowing Sharon to kill Palestinians wherever and whenever he wants, even if they were only few children playing football.
I watched on hoping for a stand against the settlements, where immigrants are being imported to consume Palestinian space. I hoped you would ask for dismantling -- not freezing -- them, as the U.N. Security Council Resolutions demand. Incidentally, Mr. President, there are no legitimate and illegitimate settlements. Settlements -- i.e., Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands -- are only illegitimate, as all international norms dictate. Occupation is a breach to the human rights and freedom you proselytize for media consumption when other countries are concerned.
I hoped you would express anger at the Israeli apartheid wall (the separation barrier). Do you not in your speeches call for "building bridges" between people?
I hoped for more anger at the Israeli tampering with the identity of Jerusalem. Is it not the holy city of all three monotheistic religions, where no one can exclude the other?
I wished the walk around your ranch would inspire an objection to Israelis uprooting our olive trees, poisoning our water wells, or shooting our livestock. We live on those things Mr. President; you only take pleasure in your ranch.
I swallowed my pain, hoping for a word to set the hearts of Palestinian mothers at peace, and reassure them that Sharon will no longer assassinate their children. The longer I watched, the more it seemed that I wouldn't be the last Palestinian mother to loose her child to an Israeli bullet, just as I was not the first.
I wondered if you had seen the assassination of the child Muhammad al-Durra on TV five years ago. Ever since, the Israeli troops have assassinated hundreds of Palestinian children and thousands of Palestinian men and women. You can't have seen any of those killings, otherwise you would have condemned the crimes.
Consumed in my wishful thinking, I woke up to your cordial grin presenting Sharon with a box of chocolate wrapped up in an Israeli flag. Sharon has deprived my child of life, myself of joy, and my fellow Palestinians of freedom and independence. Why do you still furnish him with financial and political support, Apache helicopters, and now chocolate?
Mr. President, I hear you calling for freedom and democracy, why don't you call for Palestinian freedom and democracy too? What prompts your indifference? Our human tragedy, Mr. President, is one of the cruelest in the 20th century.
Khalid, my son, and his friends were killed just because the Israeli government wanted the lands of their fathers and forefathers. They were not even resisting; they were just playing football.
(Bouthaina Shaaban is Syrian minister of expatriates.)
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
"Once the current show draws to a close on 21 April, organisers suspect it could be curtains for the exhibition."
Two New York legislators, George Oros and Jim Maisano, protesting fundraising "called the exhibition "a promotion of terrorism and anti-Israel and well as anti-American.
"Assemblyman Ryan Karben called on county executives to cancel the fundraiser, because the artists' works promoted terrorism and violence.
"We are dealing with immense ignorance here and it's unfortunate that people have one image of Palestinians and automatically deny anything created by the Palestinian people," Harithas told Aljazeera.net.
Beery on the Good, Khalidi and the Bad, Massad, Arabs
Beery takes Issa Mikel to task for his April 14 editorial in the Columbia Spectator, "Criticism and Propaganda," citing Mikel for "intellectual laziness" for concluding that Beery has targeted both professors Rashid Khalidi and Joseph Massad. Beery wants to make it clear; however, that there are good Arabs and bad Arabs, Khalidi falling into the former category.
Hard to tell from Beery's blog from May 7, 2003, in which he referred to Professor Khalidi as a "demagogue," and a "racist."
"I don't know how to break it to you, Rashid, but Iraqis don't care much about the whole Palestinian problem. Traditionally, relations between Iraq's Muslim and Jewish communities couldn't have been better, and to automatically assume that all Arabs must hate Jews is, well, racist and ignorant.
"If Rashid were a political scientist and not a demagogue, maybe he would catch up on the research into democratization and know that democracy dosn't come with a bang.
"Rashid wouldn't be bending the facts to suit his politics, would he?"
Beery says again in his "good" Arab, "bad" Arab manner that [referring to Khalidi]"one is teaching, the other is indoctrination." [we already know to whom Beery refers here]
Beery didn't think so highly of Khalid's teaching in the not so distant past, but true to form, is unusually stuck on his own intellectual prowess:
"Just think, if I, an undergraduate student, can so easily poke holes in his articles, how good a professor can he be?"
Beery, in an effort to distance himself from Charles Jacobs, his patron from Project David, who got a little out of hand at Beery's Columbians for Academic Justice forum, attempts to show that just as there are "good" Arabs and "bad" Arabs, there are also "good" Zionists and "bad" Zionists. Beery, of course, the savior of Gaza youth, puts himself in the former category.
Three Good Stories in Columbia Spectator
"Strikers also pointed to this year’s MEALAC controversy as another example of unfair treatment of teaching professionals at Columbia. Brenda Coughlin, a sixth-year sociology graduate student spoke on the administration’s treatment of Joseph Massad after Columbia Unbecoming, saying it reflects their treatment of graduate students.
"'If the University cannot protect such a fine scholar, what can the graduate students expect?' she said."
In "Let A Thousand Grievances Bloom," Chris Anderson asks, "Does the nearly universal teaching of free market economics in our nation’s business schools constitute the abuse of professorial power in the pursuit of political ends?"
And finally student Deena Guzder, in the editorial, "The Masked Marauder: Charles Jacob," writes "Jacobs goes on to make the utterly laughable argument that 'the teachings of Edward Said function as a gag order.' What in the world did Jacobs mean when he stated, 'Professors and students influenced by Said are under pressure to speak no criticism of anything done by Arabs or Muslims?'"
History will record that they, the Israelis, invented one thing: the world's biggest prisons. They build prisons on people -- literally over them. The life that Israel has imposed upon Palestinians is impossible to live, and there will come a day, it isn't far away, when the prisons will be destroyed. God alone gifted us with the mental power, the fortitude and stamina, to endure under enormous pressure and in impossible circumstances.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Rishmawi: 'No Peace with Zionist Israel'
The question is all the time, Is Israel ready for Peace? When will Israel be ready for Peace with the Palestinians?
I believe that Peace is very very hard with Zionist Israel and our only choice is to continue the struggle for Justice and against Zionism.
Travel and Encounter
Holy Land Trust
The story by Khaled Amayreh also deals with Israel's resumption of its us of the "naked spy machine," in Gaza.
Won "Saddest" Picture. Their fifteen year old brother was killed in a raid in Rafah. Nothing new. Israel has been bombing refugee camps for years. Naji Al-Ali, creator of Handala, wrote about the bombing of Ain Al-Hilweh, where he grew up.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Dr. Ala Khazendar on Symmetry
Dr. Ala Khaendar's letter from the March 26 Guardian.
David Grossman beautifully describes writing as individual defiance to the situation of conflict in the Middle East ("To see ourselves", March 12). In the process, he resorts to what is increasingly becoming a fashionable tool for many well-meaning Israeli and western commentators: the creation of false moral equivalence between the two sides of the conflict. The act of writing for an Israeli, in his triumphant, dominant society, is one of choice, at its best, a taking of responsibility for the deeds of one's own - a " j'accuse! " For a Palestinian, it is an act of survival, the affirmation of a humanity trampled on every day - an anguished " j'existe! " If you look at reality from the eyes of your enemies, you will perhaps see that this conflict has no symmetry.
Dr Ala Khazendar
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Palestine Prisoner Solidarity Day. Ibtisam Khaleyleh and her eight children; whose father Yaser, has been held without charges in an Israeli prison for one and one half years. Sign the petition.
E-Mail ICRC (For sample letter, click on headline)
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Herman, SPME or From the Sublime to the Slime
"We are in another period of escalating attacks on civil liberties, with the Patriot Act, a lawless rightwing administration, open threats to retaliate against judicial failures to follow rightwing dictates, and perpetual aggression to create the justification for repressive policies at home. An important additional factor is the steadily increasing aggressiveness of pro-Zionist forces, both in the United States and elsewhere, who have fought to contain criticism of Israeli policies by any means, including harassment, intimidation, threats, boycotts, claims of "anti-semitism," occasional resort to violence, and other forms of pressure.
"Attacks on critics of Israel are of long standing. Individuals like Edward Said and Noam Chomsky have been vilified and threatened for years, and both frequently needed police protection at speech venues, at work or at home. The situation has worsened in the Bush-2 era, in good part because of the cultivated hysteria of the "war on terror" and congenial environment provided by Bush, the strengthening of the rightwing media, and the demands imposed by Israeli policies.
"On the latter point, it has long been noted that increased Israeli violence and land seizure, which causes greater international hostility to Israel, induces a new protective response by "defenders of Israel." In recent years nobody who criticizes Israeli policies has escaped attack--not attack by intellectual argument, but by ad hominem assault, spam invasions, the use of stolen addresses to embarrass, threats, and campaigns to discredit and silence.
"The Bush-Sharon era has witnessed the emergence of McCarthyite institutions like Campus Watch and the David Project, designed to police academic Middle East studies for un-Israeli-patriotic thoughts, putting pressure on academics and administrators to intellectually cleanse, and providing targets for vigilantism.
"There are even current proposals to legislate for "balance" and "fairness" in Middle East studies both at the state and federal level. These vigilante efforts and attempts to politicize the university pose serious threats to free speech, academic freedom, and the independence of the university. They are also threats to integrity and truth, with the main target criticism of Israeli policy and with the aim of making the official Israeli version of history the sole legitimate narrative."
Some of the recommendations from the thought police, to wit, the Scholars for Middle East Peace
They want a committee to look into "allegations of breeches of academic integrity in curricular, course offerings, syllabi, and reading assignments"
"As members of the Columbia faculty, we have, over the course of the past 3 years, witnessed:
1. Systematic anti-Israel bias and breaches of academic integrity in curricula and course offerings,
2. Intimidation and humiliation of students because of their opinions regarding Israel, and
3. Abuse of the classroom as a platform for political propaganda and pressure."
They also feel it's important to state, "Several faculty and former faculty members also have incidents to report but have refused to appear in the film or to file formal complaints because of fears for their careers."
And the stasi at SPME criticize the Ad Hoc Committee Report criticising teachers who have encouraged their students to patrol their teachers: "The report [Columbia's Ad Hoc Committee] also criticizes faculty for "encouraging students to report to the committee a fellow-professor's classroom statements."
Israel on Campus Coalition
Friday, April 15, 2005
Just Another Zionist For Peace: Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
The peace we seek in the Middle East is consistent both with Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state within safe and secure borders, and with the rights and legitimate aspirations of her neighbors.
Our mission is to inform, motivate, and encourage faculty to use their academic skills and disciplines on campus, in classrooms, and in academic publications to develop effective responses to the ideological distortions, including antisemitic and anti-Zionist slanders, that poison debate and work against peace.
[How could one possibly slander Zionism? That's like slandering "slavery," or "apartheid," or "racial supremacy." Well, at least they haven't equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Yet.]
SPME believes there is room for negotiation.
[How white of you.]
SPME is trying to counterbalance the well-documented and increasing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic forces that have made their way to the college campuses today, as SPME believes they do not contribute to peace for anyone affected.
SPME agrees with Thomas L. Friedman who wrote, "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest." Campus Hypocrisy
[Ah, that's right, it should be treated as was treated Iraq for violating one UN resolution, and just unilaterally go in and export democracy and international legality... but should first send the gas masks to the Palestinians, who will need them.](thanks,cutter)
On September 17, 2002, Harvard President Lawrence Summers said, "....Where anti-Semitism and views that are profoundly anti-Israeli have traditionally been the primary preserve of poorly educated right-wing populists, profoundly anti-Israel views are increasingly finding support in progressive intellectual communities. Serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent."
[Lawrence Summers is a college president? "Poorly educated right-wing populists" don't know the difference between Palestine and Pakistan, and comprise the bulk of the looney Christian Zionists that advocate annihilating Palestinians to facilitate their longed for rapture. " . . . In their effect if not their intent"? What anti-Semitic "result" has been effected? To what specifically is he referring? The purpose of this drivel is to confuse and obfuscate.]
On October 7, 2002, an ad appeared in the New York Times signed by over 300 College Presidents decrying anti-Semitism on campus and calling for ethnically "intimidation free" campuses.
On November 8, 2002, Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger criticized a faculty-sponsored petition calling for the university to divest from Israel. "The petition alleges human rights abuses and compares Israel to South Africa at the time of apartheid, an analogy I believe is both grotesque and offensive, Bollinger said in a statement. As president of Columbia ... I want to state clearly that I will not lend any support to this proposal."
[Money talks. Boycott ended apartheid in South Africa, and South African activists attest that conditions in the occupied territories are worse than in apartheid South Africa Of course, since Palestinians are terrorists, since Palestinians don't love their children, since Palestinians aren't Palestinians because there's no such thing as a Palestinian it's O.K. to deny them their human rights.]
On November 13, 2002 the United Nations Security Council condemned "acts of terror" against Israeli targets in Kenya and deplored the claims of responsibility by the Al-Qaida terrorist network.
By a vote of 14-1, the council urged all 191 UN member nations "to cooperate in efforts to find and bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks.
Commenting on Martin Luther King's view of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Dr. Seymour Martin Lipset, the noted sociologist and political analyst, wrote in "The Socialism of Fools: The Left, the Jews and Israel," a booklet published by The Anti-Defamation League in 1969 wrote: "Shortly before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Boston on a fund-raising mission, and I had the good fortune to attend a dinner which was given for him in Cambridge...He wanted to find out what the Negro students at Harvard and other parts of the Boston area were thinking about various issues,...One of the young men present happened to make some remark against the Zionists. Dr. King snapped at him and said, "Don't talk like that! When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking 'anti-Semitism!' " "
[O.K., I think that this statement by King has been discredited, and I'll look for documentation. But in the meantime so what? It's wrong no matter who said it. It's an old propaganda ploy to have the support of a famous person no matter what the message is.]
SPME has formed task forces to examine issues of:
1) anti-Semitic or anti-Israel biases in the mandatory multicultural religious and ethnic teachings on campus and in the community;
2) working to maintain "intimidation free" campuses;
3) dealing with academic integrity with respect to fabricating and falsifying data when discussing the Middle East;
4) Responding to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incidents on campus as they arise, especially in classrooms and university sponsored events. SPME is working closely with and being encouraged by major organizations such as, but not limited to:
American Association of Academics for Israel
American Jewish Congress
Anti-Semitism Task Force of American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Caravan For Democracy
International Academic Friends of Israel
Jewish National Fund
North American Jewish Students Association
United Jewish Communities of North America
MEALAC, Meet the Students
[Or Let's Have a 'Nuanced,' Dialog Unhindered by 'Emotionality']
By Jai Kasturi and Abby Deift
April 15, 2005
MEALACers ought to be very interested in reestablishing such a conciliatory, open, and dialogic environment with their students and colleagues, rather than hunkering down in a defensiveness that will only create further misunderstandings between the department and students.
Admittedly, it is a difficult time to be an educator at Columbia.
How can we tell the difference between probing questions from students who are merely trying to put recent history into perspective, and a conniving partisan hack sent to spy on us by some external lobby?
[The student writers through their use of "we" are confusing themselves with educators,which is part of the problem.]
It’s a daunting challenge indeed.
[This is not much of a challenge really; most of the time when one gives presentations about Palestine-Israel, Zionists in the crowd are easy to discern].
How do we teach controversial issues in the most constructive way possible, avoiding polarizations that inhibit dialogue?
[Well, for the meantime, anyway, although your tone is rather school marmish, you are not the one dealing with this problem although your annoying use of "we" implies that you are. What Zionists find controversial is the very mention of "equality" between Arabs and Jews in Israel and Palestine; what's controversial to some is the issue of Edward Said's identity; what's controversial to some is whether to use "youth" or "child" when reporting an Israeli murder; the issues of "equality" and "apartheid" are not controversial however unless the perpetrator of inequality and apartheid is Israel.]
These are valid questions—but they need to be asked, and asked freely and often, in order to be answered.
[And in how many departments other than MEALAC are you proposing that they be asked?].
MEALAC has not yet displayed such a constructive response. The “my department—right or wrong” crowd, both in the department and on campus, has focused thus far on two somewhat defensive responses to the crisis.
[I love the way that the "Israel-Right-Or-Wrong Crowd," using the guise of let's-have-a-nuanced-discussion, takes a term that fits them and attributes it to the opposition]
Obsessed as it is with the external groups, MEALAC does not seem to be a department prone to introspection right now.
[So, although our language is couched in conciliation, our message is that there is no organized campaign to smear and defame; the professors are "obsessed," to the point that they are overlooking the "genuine" concerns from those colleagues and students, not part of the "imagined" conspiracy, but nevertheless with reservations about the way that they conduct business in their classrooms]
But at some point (it probably has already passed) the “giant conspiracy” theory will begin to stretch past credibility.
[A "giant conspiracy?" The Jerusalem Post, The New York Times, The New York Post, the New York Daily News, The Village Voice, the Israeli government, not to mention the well funded Horowitz and Pipes outfits. Read Paul de Rooij in counterpunch about the well-funded and organized campaign that went on to defame Professor Massad before you dismiss this. Read Paul Findley if you think that this is a new phenomenon when it comes to intimidating academics.].
We know that scholarship in MEALAC has never been this shallow.
[Could this possibly be an error in editing? But, professors, please don't take offense or entertain a thought of "defending" yourselves for this unsubstantiated and quite libelous accusation; what happened to the 'language of nuance'? ]
So we’re bewildered as to why the “MEALAC do-or-die” crowd has been unable to do better than mere defensiveness.
Such a limited response has only helped fuel a highly charged and unnecessarily polarizing campus climate surrounding these valid questions.
[Who instigated this debacle? Blaming the victims, yet again for the veritable "cycle" of polarization].
An extremely powerful example of how student groups are partnering with each other is an innovative program called Project Tolerance. The Project is sponsored by a coexistence group called Towards Reconciliation and has been initiated by LionPac and Turath (Arab students’ organization)
[Is this akin to the never-ending peace process? Sort of like Columbia's own Oslo?] .
At the moment, MEALAC has a real opportunity to take charge of this crisis by inviting an open discussion of these central issues. The only way to begin to address these issues is to get to know the real and sheer diversity—intellectual and experiential—that everyone knows exists in the student body
[In other words, don't pass up this opportunity for peace like you Arabs always do].
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Boycott Everything Caterpillar!
Cindy Corrie, whose daughter Rachel was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer while she was protecting a Palestinian pharmacist and his family's home from demolition was in London for the opening of a play about her daughter. Mrs Corrie said in the Belfast Telegraph: "Stores should not be selling Caterpillar clothing and people should not be buying it because of what is happening in Israel.
"Our daughter was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer and in the last four years, a tenth of the population of the West Bank have lost their homes as a result of Cat bulldozers being used by the military."
For its part a socially conscious Caterpillar spokesman offers the following: "We have neither the legal right nor the means to police individual use of that equipment."
Action Alert From Christian Peacemaker Team-Hebron
HEBRON DISTRICT URGENT ACTION: STOP SETTLEMENT EXPANSION NEAR BEIT UMMAR
Farmers in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar are slated to lose access
to large portions of their land when a new "security" fence is constructed
around the Israeli settlement of Karme Tzur. Israeli military officials
gave notice to the farmers at a noon meeting on Friday, April 8. Farmers
were given only seven days to appeal the settlement expansion.
Although the confiscation order details only the 45 dunams (12 acres) on the
site where the actual fence will be built, an estimated 444 dunams of prime
agricultural land surrounded by the proposed fence effectively increases the
area of the settlement three-fold. Palestinian farmers will in theory be
able to access their land, only by permit, through three planned gates. The
land confiscation will affect the majority of the population of Beit Ummar,
70% of whom are small farmers. The order also impacts Palestinian farmers
in the nearby village of Halhoul.
Beit Ummar farmers have had difficulty over the past years caring for their
fruit trees and harvesting their produce because of harassment by residents
of Karme Tzur settlement. The construction of the new fence is the latest
blow to their livelihoods.
Members of a Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) delegation visited farmers in
the village on April 12 and toured the affected land. One of the farmers,
Abu Jabr Sleibi, whose fruit orchards will lie within the new fence, showed
delegates where the Israeli army had already demolished part of his orchard.
Another, Ahmed Sabarneh said sadly, "The land is gone."
The proposed settlement expansion fence around Karme Tzur is separate from
the controversial Security Wall that aims to divide the West Bank from
In conversation with CPT member Dianne Roe on April 12, a political officer
of the U.S. Consulate in West Jerusalem confirmed that the U.S. State
Department considers this land confiscation illegal. U.S. President Bush
reiterated his opposition to settlement expansion during his recent visits
with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Settlement expansion is
detrimental to implementation of the peace process known as the "Road Map."
Please fax, e-mail or send postcards to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs or
State Department and/or Prime Minister or President. Copy your Members of
Parliament or Representatives and Senators. Urge them to send a clear
message to the Israeli government that settlement expansion, including the
expansion represented by the Karme Tzur security fence, is counter to the
peace process and must stop. U.S. citizens, please express your affirmation
of the stance President Bush has taken against settlement expansion.
SAMPLE TEXT FOR MESSAGE
Please stop new Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank near Beit
Ummar. On April 12, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams visited farmers
in the village of Beit Ummar who received confiscation orders on their land
April 8. Much of the village's farmland will be taken for settlement
expansion by a planned "security" fence around the Israeli settlement of
Karme Tzur. The new fence will effectively increase the area of the
settlement three-fold and impoverish Palestinian farming families. I urge
you to investigate this settlement expansion and send a clear message to the
Israeli government that settlement expansion, including the expansion
represented by the new "security" fence around Karme Tzur, is counter to the
peace process and must stop.
[Your name and full address]
P.S. For more information on the land confiscation near Beit Ummar, you may
contact Beit Ummar farmers Ahmed and Edna Sabarneh, phone 972-2-252-0658 or
972-54-466-1204 (cell); Abdel Hadi Hantash of the Palestinian Land Defense
Committee, phone 972-599-838-180; or Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron,
phone 972-2-222-8485 or 972-54-691-3985 (cell).
Prime Minister Paul Martin, House of Commons, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew, House of Commons, Ottawa ON
You can mail you MP at the House of Commons address, or find their fax
number by looking them up at:
President George W. Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20500
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
Senator_____________, US Senate, Washington, DC 20510
Representative_________________, US House of Representatives, Washington DC
For fax numbers, go to: http://congress.org/and enter your zip code. You can also e:mail easily from this site.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Downing
Street West, London SW1A 2AL
Find contact information for your MP at
Against Great Odds Young Columbia Activists Persevere
What's In A Name, Ibrahim?
"Here’s another anti-Israel article by Associated Press Palestinian [I'm getting rather fond of Charles Jacobs of David Project's infamy adjective, "Palestinianist"] propagandist Ibrahim Barzak, with a ridiculously slanted headline: Israeli Troops Kill 3 Palestinian Teens"
This from a site which gets zillions of hits a day. I could have a field day taking this innocuous headline, which Little Green Footballs finds so "ridiculously slanted," and making it palatable to the Zionists, but I'll just pass this time. There is a method to their madness according to Paul de Rooij (see earlier post). Little Green Footballs is deliberately far-out to ease the way for the mainstream media to be more reactionary; this has certainly been born out by the New York mainstream press, several of whom want the heads of the Columbia professors. Another reason for outfits like Little Green Footballs: I wasn't impressed with Barzak's coverage; I've written about this in earlier posts. If I complain to AP, and the footballers complain AP can just throw up its hands and say, "We must be doing something right; everyone is upset with us."
If you can stomach entering the world of racists, check out the one hundred and seventy-three comments that accompanied the story.
In the meantime, Ibrahim, have you thought about "Abe Barza" for a pen name?
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Story from Gaza About Murdered Teens
From Gaza www.palestinereport.org
Truce on a Knife Edge
by Ghazi Hamad
Published April 13, 2005 Volume 11 Number 41
ON THE morning of April 9, the peaceful days Rafah residents had gradually started getting used to again were abruptly shattered by the killing of three children near the border with Egypt.
For the past four years, Rafah residents grew accustomed to routine shelling, explosions, nightly incursions and home demolitions. But since the factions signed a declaration for a truce, much of the tension dissipated. The nights went by quietly and people began to return to the homes they fled during the fighting. Even children started moving closer and closer to the border strip. The many house demolitions there have left empty and flat tracts of land that were ideal playing fields. It became common to see children playing football over the ruins of demolished homes.
The calm was shattered in a matter of seconds. According to one eyewitness, 17-year-old Saeed, “the kids were playing ball on the southern outskirts of the Shaouth Refugee Camp. It was calm. We didn’t notice any unusual movement. Suddenly we heard shells being fired and we saw the kids screaming.”
Saeed said that although he was terrified, he still ran to the site where he found the three teenagers – Ashraf Mousa, Khaled Ghanam, and Hassan Abu Zayed, all 14 – lying bloodied on the ground.
“A security officer in the area told us the children were playing and were not posing any threat to the Israeli troops because there were no patrols or tanks in the area,” said Saeed. The officer, he continued, had told him that he and colleagues had tried to signal to the Israeli soldiers to stop shooting but they had paid no heed.
In the mourning tent, set up in the center of the Yubna Camp, Fouad Ghannam, Khaled’s father, on April 10 received hundreds of camp residents who had come to pay their respects.
“Why do they kill children in such an ugly way,” he asked, distraught and distracted. “They [the children] were used to playing over there and they thought the period of calm would protect them from the bullets and tank shells. But the occupation is treacherous and does not know the language of mercy, even toward children.”
Khaled’s father says the killing of the three children should be a lesson to all those who are deceived into thinking that Israeli promises can be trusted.
Abdel Raouf Abul Kheir, who was sitting next to Ghannam, was also pained.
“I helped carry the three boys to the Najjar Hospital and I saw what the bullets had done to them. Hassan was still alive, shrieking in pain. The others had already passed away.”
Abdel Raouf says the incident was a shock to everyone and called for revenge. “I think the resistance factions should respond harshly to this crime because the calm is as good as finished,” he said.
The three boys are the first to be killed in Rafah by the Israeli army for over two months. The killings shook the entire city, and residents took to the streets in a huge procession, with demonstrators chanting slogans against the Israeli occupation and calling for a response. Dozens of children from Rafah’s model parliament group raised photos of the three boys and slogans condemning their murder. One-hundred-and-fifty-three children have been killed in Rafah since the start of the Intifada.
The factions were more careful in their pronounced positions. They did not outright declare a retreat from the calm, but they did promise a response in statements that were distributed throughout Rafah. Hamas’ military wing, the Izzedin Qassam Brigades, lost no time and fired over 30 Qassam rockets and more than 70 mortars into Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, while the Popular Resistance Committee fired a number of mortars.
The leadership also expressed its anger at the killings, especially since Israeli authorities did not offer any explanation for the incident. President Mahmoud Abbas said the killing of the three children constituted a deliberate violation of the calm. In statements to the press, Abbas stressed that if, “Israel is concerned with the calm and the truce, it must prove this on the ground”.
Spokesperson for the interior ministry in Gaza, Tawfiq Abu Khousa, said the Palestinian Authority viewed the Israeli military escalation with “utmost gravity,” adding that the PA submitted a “strongly worded” protest to the Israeli government. The Israeli authorities, he said, finally offered an official apology for the incident.
Some analysts say the killings may not cause an annulment of the calm, but will be added to a number of violations and transgressions that may ultimately result in its collapse. Sameeh Shbeib warned in Al Ayyam on April 11 that, “we are still dealing with a fragile and weak truce, which is subject to collapse at any time.”
“What is aiding the fragility, weakness and lack of immunity for this truce is Israeli practices. There is an agreed upon truce between all the Palestinian factions but the situation [on the ground] has remained the same,” Shbeib wrote.
Talal Okal, another writer and analyst, told the Palestine Report that the incident was “deliberate and prearranged” to elicit a Palestinian response. Popular sentiment has it that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to show the US that his government is under pressure from Israelis and Palestinians, in order not to come under fire in his meetings with US President George W Bush for the continued settlements expansions in the West Bank.
“Israel knows that the state of calm, which was declared in Sharm Al Sheikh, is fragile and can be overturned at any time. They also know the Palestinians will not continue to be patient about the continuing daily violations by Israeli forces, even if these are on a lesser scale then before the truce was declared.”
In general, most analysts feel Israel’s overall policies are not helping Abbas to solidify and consolidate the truce. There is Israeli stalling in carrying out promises, whether on prisoner releases or ending arrests of Palestinian activists, and there is a continued expansion of settlements, land confiscations in addition to the construction of the wall.
According to Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’ spokesperson in Gaza, the Israeli violations are increasing daily and the resistance factions will not stand with their hands behind their backs. If Abu Zuhri is right, the truce is in danger of collapsing sooner rather than later.-Published April 13, 2005©Palestine Report
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Daniel Pipes: Sultan of Screed
"Late in June 2002, I came back to New York from a fortnight's trip to Japan to find my voicemail flooded with racist, obscene and threatening messages.
"Hey, Mr Dabashi," bellowed an angry voice, 'I read about you in today's New York Post. You stinking, terrorist Muslim pig. I hope the CIA is studying
you so we can kick you out of this country back to some filthy Arab country where you belong. You terrorist bastard.'
"I subsequently discovered that on June 25, a certain Daniel Pipes had written an article in a New York tabloid attacking me and a number of
other academics, identifying us as anti-American, anti-Israeli and pro-terrorist. Among the charges that Pipes had brought against me was that I had
cancelled one of my classes to attend a rally on behalf of the Palestinians."
This message below was played on a March 6, 2005, National Public Radio show on which Dabashi appeared. Pipes goes to town with the fact that it was the same message to which Dabashi refered in the summer of 2002. This is the "incriminating" part of the NPR show.
BROOKS: The controversy has gone well beyond the campus walls. It prompted the Israeli ambassador to the US to cancel an appearance at Columbia and a US congressman to demand that Professor Joseph Massad be fired. Massad says he has stopped teaching his course on Palestinian-Israeli politics because of harassment. And Professor Hamid Dabashi, also a critic of Israel, has stopped speaking publicly because of a rash of threatening phone calls that go way beyond academic arguments.
Unidentified Woman: (From phone) You have 64 old messages.
Unidentified Man: Mr. Dabashi, I read about you in today's New York Post. You stinking terrorist Muslim pig. I hope the CIA is studying you so it can kick you out of this country back to some filthy Arab country where you belong, you terrorist bastard.
Dabashi doesn't say on the show he's stopped speaking publicly because of the phone call that was played on the show; that's the host of the show talking. There were several participants on the show; this was not a one-on-one interview with Dabashi. And, really, so what? Pipes' screed in a tabloid (and everything he writes is a screed so I won't link to this particular one)against this man who has taught with distinction at Columbia for twenty-five years, and his listing of Dabashi on Campus Watch, is what prompted the hateful calls in the first place. And he wants to use this to show that Dabashi's a liar?
Dabashi probably had this particular tape handy for the following reasons that may be ascertained from this excerpt from his October 3, 2003, eloquent obituary (read the whole thing to find out what a brilliant man Pipes is trying to bring down) for his friend and mentor, Edward Said.
"When two years ago an infamous charlatan slandered me in a New York tabloid and created a scandalous website to malign my public stand against the criminal atrocities he supports, my voicemail was flooded with racist, obscene and threatening messages by the lunatic fringe he had let loose. Smack in the middle of these obscenities, as if miraculously, there was a message from Edward -- a breath of fresh air, refreshing, joyous, re-assuring, life-affirming: "Hamid, my dear, this is Edward . . ." Life was so amazingly beautiful. I kept listening to those obscenities just for the joy of coming to Edward's message. There was something providential in his voice -- it restored hope in humanity."
Here's another beautiful excerpt from Dabashi's obituary for Said:
"Edward Said's life has its most immediate bearing as an eloquent testimonial of a people much maligned and brutalized in history. His life and legacy cannot and must not be robbed of that immediacy. It is first and foremost as a Palestinian -- a disenfranchised, dispossessed, disinherited Palestinian -- that Edward Said spoke. The ordinariness of his story -- particularly in those moments when he spoke openly, frankly, innocently of his early youth, adolescence, sibling rivalries, sexual maturity, etc. -- is precisely what restores dignity to a people demonized by a succession of purposeful propaganda, dehumanized to be robbed of their homeland in the broad daylight of history. No assessment of his multifaceted achievements as a teacher, a critic, and a scholar, no laudatory endorsement of his universal humanism, no perfectly deserving appreciation of him as a musician, an essayist, a subaltern theorist, a political activist, etc. -- nothing should ever detract from his paramount significance as a Palestinian deeply wounded by the fate of what he repeatedly and wholeheartedly called 'my people.'"
In the same story in which he attacks Dabashi, Pipes, who is so indignant about Dabashi's so-called lie, perpetuates a lie promulgated by none other than the American immigrant to Israel, Justus Weiner, who in a September 1999 article about Edward Said, created a fabrication that was easily discredited. It took Weiner three years of research to produce his pack of lies. Here's Pipes again:
" Dabashi's inability to get the facts of his own life correctly emulates his mentor, Edward Said, who famously lied about his childhood, as Justus Weiner so remarkably exposed in a September 1999 article, "'My Beautiful Old House' and Other Fabrications of Edward Said."
The facts are as follows in Edward Said's own words in "Defamation, Revisionist Style." The atmosphere in the United States is so inhospitable (what a euphemism) to Palestinians that a Palestinian must PROVE that he's a Palestinian.
Given the approach of the final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians it seems worthwhile to record here the lengths to which the Israeli right-wing (Jabotinsky and Netanhayu's Revisionists) will go to further its claims on all of Palestine against those of the country's native Palestinian inhabitants who were dispossessed as an entire nation in 1948. To this very end, an article has appeared in the September issue of Commentary, a small conservative Jewish monthly, which attacks my life and story as a Palestinian by pretending to show that I am neither really Palestinian, nor ever lived in Palestine, nor that my family was evicted from Palestine in 1948. It should be remarked that this is the third such attack on me by Commentary in twenty years: the first being an enormously long critique in 1981 of my book The Question of Palestine, the second a reckless article in l988 or l989 entitled "The Professor of Terror," the third being this one, written by one Justus Weiner, an American Israeli who works for an obscure Israeli self-proclaimed "neoconservative" research center in Jerusalem. Before that he was paid by the Israeli Ministry of Justice to defend against Amnesty International. Weiner's argument is buttressed by his boast that he spent three years on his study of my life, spoke to 85 witnesses, travelled to several continents, and found many inconsistencies in what he says is "my story," which he distorts more or less at will. It seems astonishing that he obtained funding for this project, although he tactfully doesn't say why, how much, and from whom, given that it was from Michael Milken (the junk bond felon and his foundation).
The first problem is that during his three years of assiduous research Weiner never once contacted or in any way spoke to me, an extraordinary omission by a man who pretends that he is both a scholar and a journalist but actually uses the methods of neither one nor the other. He says he spoke to my assistant once: that is a straight-out lie. Another problem is that he misappropriated and falsifies a galley of my memoir, Out of Place, completed in September 1998, and to appear from Knopf next month. (Extracts from it will appear shortly in the New York Review of Books, The Observer, Harper's and Granta.) There, I scrupulously record the facts of my early life spent between Jerusalem, Cairo and Dhour el Shweir (Lebanon), making clear that being the member of a privileged class I was spared the worst ravages of the nakba. I have never claimed to have been made a refugee, but rather that my extended family, all of it -- uncles, cousins, aunts, grandparents -- in fact was. By the spring of 1948 not a single relative of mine was left in Palestine, ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces. Commentary 's Weiner does not mention that, allowing himself the preposterous claim that my memoir (for which I signed a contract in 1989, submitted several chapters in 1994, and completed in 1998) was written to refute an article by him that did not appear until late August 1999.
To make matters worse, Weiner's strenuous display of scholarly rigor is undercut by dozens of mistakes of fact. He calls Boulos Said my father's brother, whereas he was my father's cousin. Boulos's wife, Nabiha, was my father's sister. Weiner does not know that. He does not realize that the kuchan or tabo is rarely complete and that the family house was in fact a family house in the Arab sense, which meant that our families were one in ownership. I was born there in 1935; my sister Jean in 1940. Together Boulos and Wadie Said, cousins, partners, and close friends, owned the Palestine Education Company, with branches in Jerusalem and Haifa. All, plus the house, were lost to Israel in 1948. My father Wadie did not simply "retain an interest" in our Palestinian business and property: he owned 50% of it. Weiner also lies about the gutting of our main Jerusalem branch in 1947: it was intact until spring 1948 when Zionist forces captured it. Weiner says that we didn't try for reparations, thereby deliberately obfuscating two facts: that my father did in fact try to sue the Israeli government for reparations, and my cousin Yousif registered another claim in mid-1996, and second, that by l950 the law of absentee property passed by Israel had unilaterally converted all Palestinian property into Israeli property. No wonder our efforts are still unrewarded.
He says that I didn't attend St George's School. This too is an outright lie. He does not admit that the school's records end in l946, and I was there in 1947 or that my father and cousins had attended the school starting in 1906. Had he been a decent researcher he might have sought out one of my classmates, Haig Boyagian (who lives in the US now and quite coincidentally called me a week ago) and my math teacher, Michel Marmoura, a retired professor at the University of Toronto, for verification. The one classmate, David Ezra, Weiner consulted didn't remember me, though I remember him. If Weiner found him and ascertained he was at St. George's in 1947 does that mean I invented him? Weiner says that my mother was Lebanese, whereas she was only half Lebanese; her father was Palestinian. She had a Palestinian passport and in 1948 did in point of fact become a refugee. The Talbiyeh house, where my sister and I were born, was built for my family in 1932 by Sab' Samaha. Weiner gets that wrong too. The Egyptian branches of the family business were not nationalized but sold to the Nasser government; nor were they burned by "revolutionary mobs" but rather by the Muslim Brothers And so on and on.
All this from someone who claims that I have falsified the past to pretend that I am a victim. In a 1992 interview (in Edward Said, A Critical Reader ), for instance, I spoke of Cairo as where I spent much of my childhood; this had been anticipated by my "Cairo Recalled," House and Garden, 1987. Weiner deliberately ignores all this, as he does my absolute right to say that my time in Palestine was "formative." What he cannot understand, and has not been able to understand from any of my writings, is the fact that I have been moved to defend the refugees' plight precisely because I did not suffer and therefore feel obligated to relieve the sufferings of my people, less fortunate than myself. Weiner is a propagandist who like many others before him have tried to depict the dispossession of Palestinians as ideological fiction: this has been a steady theme of Zionist "information" since the 1930s. He never gives actual sources, but uses innuendos and fraudulent calculations and unsubstantiated assertions. Every piece of stationery, every shop sign, directory, and yearbook connected with our Palestinian business states that Boulos and Wadie Said were co-owners (and, obviously co-losers in 1948).
In the body of his article he does not name the people he allegedly talked to "on four continents" or the documents he consulted, or what exactly they said, when, and in answer to what question. My cousin Robert, for example, told me that when at first he refused to talk to someone who must have been Weiner (though Robert didn't remember his name), Weiner then threatened him. Weiner's attempt now may be useful as a way of discrediting all Palestinian claims to return and compensation (the subject is one of his previous "scholarly" interventions), which will be a central issue in the terminal phase of the peace process. Weiner's polemic also covers up the inequities of Israel's Law of Return, which allows any Jew anywhere to emigrate to Israel, whereas no Palestinian, even someone born there, has any such right. If someone like Edward Said is a liar, runs the argument, how can we believe all those peasants who say they were driven off their land? The Revisionist Likud argument (Weiner's) is that the land all belongs to the people of Israel given to them by God. All the other claimants are therefore prevaricators and pretenders.
Luckily several survivors of 1948 from my family are still alive and well. My oldest cousin, the last person to leave our Talbiyeh house, is eighty years old now and lives in Toronto. Why was he not contacted? As my widowed aunt's oldest son he negotiated with Martin Buber and took him to court when he refused to leave the house after his lease was up and our family returned from a year in Cairo. As for Weiner imbecilic measurements to prove that the house was too small for two families of 14 people: there were married children, children away at school, unborn children, and a deceased parent, that made an actually much smaller number the correct and quite manageable one.
What about our neighbors, other relatives, friends, members of the church community? They were never contacted. Several children of the pastor who baptised me are still alive also: they could have been contacted. Why does Weiner not discuss the house's ownership after 1948, when it was expropriated by Israel? No: what Commentary wants is not the truth but the defamation of my name and character. The irony is that a few weeks ago American newspapers carried a front page story on the revision of Israeli history schoolbooks which, thanks to the efforts of the New Israeli Historians and of course the Palestinian themselves, are beginning to acknowledge the events of 1948 as they really occurred, with the ethnic cleansing, destruction of villages, massacres, etc, which have for so long been denied. This is too much truth for Commentary, which has even been attacking Netanyahu for being too soft on the Palestinians.
I have always advocated the acknowledgement by each other of the Palestinian and Jewish peoples' past sufferings. Only in this way can they coexist peacefully together in the future. Weiner is more interested in using the past -- either an individual or collective past -- to prevent understanding and reconciliation. It is a pity that so much time, money, and venom as he has expended couldn't have been used for better purposes.
© Copyright Edward Said, 1999.