Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back to Canaanism

1. Quick. Name the only country on earth where loyalty and
patriotism to that country are regarded by that country's own legislature
as a form of racism!

Well, if you said Israel, you win two points and a two-fer-one coupon to

The Knesset yesterday rejected a proposed law that would require people to
sign a loyalty oath in order to vote or sit in the parliament of Israel
(see ). The proposal was
the initiative of the National Union Party.

"Racism" is suddenly all the concern of Israel's Caring Left. In the
past few days, there have been negotiations between Olmert's people and
Avigdor Lieberman's party to see if the latter will join the coalition.
That triggered soiled panties among hordes of Israel's Caring Left. These
folks regard Lieberman as a "racist". Among those who regard Lieberman
as a racist are open anti-Semites, cheerleaders for terror, fans of
Holocaust Deniers, supporters of Iran, and people who openly demand that
Israel be destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Left has been denouncing the proposal for a "loyalty oath"
yet as another form of blatant Jewish racism against Arabs. After all, we
all know that many Israeli Arabs and also many Arab Knesset Members in
Israel's parliament are disloyal enemies of their own country, seeking its
destruction and cheering on genocidal terrorists. Azmi Bishara is
perhaps the most open about it, but lots of others, including many Arab
students enjoying subsidized classes at state-financed universities, hold
exactly the same political positions. So clearly asking such people to
sign a loyalty oath before allowing them into the voting booths or the
Knesset restrooms would violate their delicate sensitivities and offend
their sense of being as "The Other".

The majority of Jewish Knesset Members agree that it would be racist to
ask voters to swear allegiance to their own country. Really.

2. The Rwanda solution to the problem of the existence of Israel is
once again being raised by Israel's Caring Left. Indeed, it is the theme
of a long Op-Ed today in Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in

The Rwanda solution is where Israel would cease to exist at all and
instead would be folded into a new state with an Arab majority, covering
all of Israel and "Palestine" west of the Jordan river, and governed by a
democratic secular regime composed of genocidal Hamas and Jihad
terrorists. That new state would then solve all remaining demographic
issues the same way they were dealt with in Rwanda.

The Rwanda Solution, known by the Caring Left as the "One-State Solution"
(and no . by that they do NOT mean that all "Palestinian" or Israeli Arabs
be invited Kahane-style to move to some of those 22 Arab countries), is
being openly touted in Haaretz. Today's call for the annihilation of
Israel comes from one Aharon Amir. (Available only in Hebrew, at ).

Amir is a member of the Israeli Literary Left, and once got the Israel
Prize for translation. He was a leader in the so-called "Canaanite"
movement, a flaky movement of Jewish "intellectuals" in the 1950s who
wanted to see a new non-Jewish Israeli emerge, a new "nationality" that
would transcend Jewishness and Arabness and so guarantee peace. You will
not be surprised to hear that the movement never had any Arab members, and
THAT fact - in and of itself - explains why its "ideas" were absurd.
Curiously, Amir was a member of a group in the 70s that wanted to annex the
"occupied territories", but not out of Zionist zealotry; rather, it was
out of anti-Zionist determination to see Israeli Jewishness drowned out,
producing those nice new mongrel "Canaanites". Here is a sample, in
and also ).
His article in Haaretz today has pretty much the same agenda in mind.

He is so wacky that he is even celebrated on the official web site of the
Israeli Ministry of Education

3. The Columbia Madrassah:

4. How French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah.
Camera Obscura
by Richard Landes


On September 30, 2000, images of 12-year-old Mohammed Al Durah and his
father--cowering behind a barrel at Netzarim Junction, in the Gaza
Strip--circulated globally, along with a claim that they had been the
targeted victims of Israeli fire. If Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple
Mount two days earlier had sparked riots, these images triggered all-out
war. The ensuing horror and outrage swept away any questions about its
reliability. Indignant observers dismissed any Israeli attempt to deny
responsibility as "blaming the victim."

But, by 2002, two documentaries--one German, one French--raised troubling
questions. The raw footage from that day reveals pervasive staging; no
evidence (certainly not the most widely circulated tape offers evidence of
Israeli fire directed at the barrel, much less of Israelis targeting the
pair; given the angles, the Israelis could scarcely have hit the pair at
all, much less 12 times (indeed the only two bullets that hit the wall
above them came from the Palestinian side, inexplicably 90 degrees off
target); there was no sign of blood on the ground where the father and son
reportedly bled for 20 minutes; there was no footage of an ambulance
evacuation or arrival at the hospital; there was no autopsy; and none of
the dozen cameraman present filmed anything that could substantiate the
claim that the father and son had been hit, much less that the Israelis
had targeted them. These documentaries had limited exposure, in part
thanks to France2's refusal to run the one by a sister station in Germany.
But they did spark a demonstration in Paris outside the France2 offices by
citizens outraged to discover that so horrendous an image may well have
been a fake.

The demonstrations apparently ruffled feathers. Some writers lambasted
France2's coverage--most prominently Philippe Karsenty, who called for Al
Durah beat chief Charles Enderlin and France2 chief Arlette Chabot to
resign, and, in response, Enderlin and France2 itself--using the same law
invoked against Emile Zola in the Dreyfus Affair--have accused three
critics (including Karsenty) of "striking at their honor and

Now, four years later, the lawsuits are finally coming to trial in Room 17
of the Palais de Justice in Paris. The three suits (one for each
defendant) come in rapid succession--September 14, October 26, and
November 30--with judgments four weeks following each hearing. And, in at
least two of the trials, I, a medieval historian, have been asked to

I have become involved for two reasons. First of all, I noted almost
immediately that Palestinians and anti-Zionists, insisting that Israel
killed the boy on purpose, used Al Durah in a way familiar to
medievalists--as a blood libel. This was the first blood libel of the
twenty-first century, rendered global by cable and the Internet. Indeed,
within a week, crowds the world over shouted "We want Jewish blood!" and
"Death to the Jews!". For Europeans in particular, the libelous image came
as balm to a troubled soul: "This death erases, annuls that of the little
boy in the Warsaw Gherro," intoned Europe1 editorialist Catherine Nay. The
Israelis were the new Nazis.

And second, when I saw the raw footage in the summer of 2003--especially
when I saw the scene Enderlin had cut, wherein the boy(allegedly shot in
the stomach, but holding his hand over his eyes) picks up his elbow and
looks around--I realized that this was not a film of a boy dying, but a
clumsily staged scene.

On October 31, 2003, at the studios of France2 in Jerusalem in the company
of Charles Enderlin and his Israeli cameraman, I saw the raw footage of Al
Durah from the only Palestinian cameraman who actually captured the scene
on film--footage France2 still refuses to release for public examination.
I was floored. The tapes feature a long succession of obviously faked
injuries; brutal, hasty evacuation scenes; and people ducking for cover
while others stand around. One fellow grabbed his leg in agony, then, upon
seeing that no one would come to carry him away, walked away without a
limp. It was stunning. That was no cameraman's conspiracy: It was
everyone--a public secret about which news consumers had no clue.

But the real shock came when I mentioned this to Enderlin, who said he
trusted this cameraman. "They always do that," he said. "It's a cultural
style." So why wouldn't they have faked Al Durah? "They're not good
enough," he said. A year later, the higher-ups at France2 made the same
remark to three French journalists who also noted the pervasive staging:
"You know well that it's always like that," they said.

I tried unsuccessfully to interest the mainstream press in this obvious
fakery, but nobody was interested. "I don't know how much appetite there
is for this material here," one person at a major studio told me. So I
made Pallywood (Palestinian Hollywood)--a video-essay showing the
dishonesty and the still-more-astounding Western complicity in using this
footage to inform us about the Middle East. Then I made a follow-up, Al
Durah: The Making of an Icon (and soon, Icon of Hatred). I established a
website, The Second Draft, where I posted the movies along with my
evidence so that, unlike France2, people could check my sources. And now
the accused have asked me to testify.

Why did they want me? In trying to dismiss my first testimony, the
plaintiff's lawyer wondered, "what does he know about images? He's a
medievalist." Well, I know about the power of images, of narratives, and
of forgeries, and especially blood libels. And, since my first book,
Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History, was about a set of
forgeries that continued to fool historians for decades even after a
critic revealed them as fakes in the 1920s, I also know something about
the difficulty of getting specialists to acknowledge they were duped.

But this image goes beyond blood libel and anti-Semitism, beyond
blackening Israel's image and whitewashing Palestinian violence. Al Durah
became the icon not only of the Intifada, but of global jihad. Within
months of the incident, bin Laden came out with a recruiting video that
featured extensive Pallywood footage and highlighted Al Durah. Months
later, Pakistani jihadis killed Daniel Pearl, interweaving Al Durah's
image into their tape of the execution.

In 2000, anyone told of Muslim plans to Islamicize the West laughed with
scorn. It was the least of Western worries. Today, some have already given
up Europe for lost; others see it in the balance; and others are finally
awakening with shock to the radical shift in the balance of forces. And
every aspect of l'affaire Al Durah is emblematic of why: from the
Palestinian forces that staged it; to the Western mainstream press and the
NGOs that presented it as news without asking hard questions (and that
believed any subsequent Palestinian claims of Israelis killing children
and resisted efforts at correction); to the Muslim world that turned it
into an icon of hatred and a call to genocidal holy war; to the "leftist"
revolutionaries who jumped on the jihad bandwagon in Durban, South Africa;
to a public distressingly eager for "dirt" on Israel and unaware of the
forces empowered by diffusing such poisons.

Three court trials, then--in which France2 seeks to bury any serious
assessment of their coverage--are also trials of France's ability to
defend her republican values against an Islamist onslaught that it seems
ill-equipped to resist. And, as France goes, so goes Europe. (Would France
have it any other way?)

The plaintiff at the first trial, on September 14, was Philippe Karsenty of
Media-Ratings, the boldest of France2's critics. No one from France2
showed up. Its solitary lawyer had no witnesses, no questions for
Karsenty's witnesses, and no comments about the evidence damning her
clients. Her summation insisted on France2's honor and reputation, offered
a letter of praise from President Jacques Chirac, and cast aspersions on
the defense's witnesses.

Then the procureur de la republique (a court-appointed officer charged
with assessing the case in the interests of civil society) gave her
nonbinding opinion. She rebuked France2 for not addressing the evidence,
for not showing their raw footage, and for not even showing up in court.
She further admitted that, although Karsenty had impugned Enderlin's and
France2's reputations, he had offered enough evidence to make such
assertions a legitimate part of public discourse. Judgment on Karsenty's
case is Thursday. Next trial: October 26. So far, the best
coverage--surprise!--comes from the blogosphere.

Richard Landes , medieval history professor at Boston University,
established and blogs at He
is the author of Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial
Experience (forthcoming).

5. The ghost of Edward Said:

6. Anti-Semitic scum and its friends:

7. Interesting Hebrew (only) article by Prof. Asa Kasher (philosophy -
TAU), calling for the Israeli army to be LESS cautious about civilian
casualties when it operates! See,7340,L-3316557,00.html

8. "Humiliation":

9. Peace Now's latest sedition:

10. October 19, 2006

Congress to Courts:
'Get Out of the
War on Terror'

October 19, 2006; Page A18

During the bitter controversy over the military commission bill, which
President Bush signed into law on Tuesday, most of the press and the
professional punditry missed the big story. In the struggle for power
between the three branches of government, it is not the presidency that
"won." Instead, it is the judiciary that lost.

The new law is, above all, a stinging rebuke to the Supreme Court. It
strips the courts of jurisdiction to hear any habeas corpus claim filed by
any alien enemy combatant anywhere in the world. It was passed in response
to the effort by a five-justice majority in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld to take
control over terrorism policy. That majority extended judicial review to
Guantanamo Bay, threw the Bush military commissions into doubt, and tried
to extend the protections of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to
al Qaeda and Taliban detainees, overturning the traditional understanding
that Geneva does not cover terrorists, who are not signatories nor
"combatants" in an internal civil war under Article 3.

Hamdan was an unprecedented attempt by the court to rewrite the law of war
and intrude into war policy. The court must have thought its stunning
power grab would go unchallenged. After all, it has gotten away with many
broad assertions of judicial authority before. This has been because
Congress is unwilling to take a clear position on controversial issues
(like abortion, religion or race) and instead passes ambiguous laws which
breed litigation and leave the power to decide to the federal courts.

Until the Supreme Court began trying to make war policy, the writ of
habeas corpus had never been understood to benefit enemy prisoners in war.
The U.S. held millions of POWs during World War II, with none permitted to
use our civilian courts (except for a few cases of U.S. citizens captured
fighting for the Axis). Even after hostilities ended, the justices turned
away lawsuits by enemy prisoners seeking to challenge their detention. In
Johnson v. Eisentrager, the court held that it would not hear habeas
claims brought by alien enemy prisoners held outside the U.S., and refused
to interpret the Geneva Conventions to give new rights in civilian court
against the government. In the case of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the court
refrained from reviewing the operations of military commissions.

In Hamdan, the court moved to sweep aside decades of law and practice so
as to forge a grand new role for the courts to open their doors to enemy
war prisoners. Led by John Paul Stevens and abetted by Anthony Kennedy,
the majority ignored or creatively misread the court's World War II
precedents. The approach catered to the legal academy, whose tastes run to
swashbuckling assertions of judicial supremacy and radical innovations,
rather than hewing to wise but boring precedents.

Thoughtful critics point out that because the enemy fights covertly, the
risk of detaining the innocent is greater. But so is the risk of releasing
the dangerous. That's why enemy combatants who fight out of uniform, such
as wartime spies, have always been considered illegals under the law of
war, not entitled to the same protections given to soldiers on the
battlefield or ordinary POWs. Disguised suicide- bombers in an age of WMD
proliferation and virulent America-hatred are more immediately dangerous
than the furtive information-carriers of our Cold War past. We now know
that more than a dozen detainees released from Guantanamo have rejoined
the jihad. The real question is how much time, energy and money should be
diverted from winning the fight toward establishing multiple layers of
review for terrorists. Until Hamdan, nothing in the law of war ever
suggested that enemy status was anything but a military judgment.

While there may be different ways to strike a balance, this is a decision
for the president and Congress, not the courts. The Constitution gives
Congress the authority to determine the jurisdiction of federal courts in
peacetime, and also declares that habeas corpus can be suspended "in Cases
of Rebellion or Invasion" when "the public Safety may require it."
Congress's power is even greater when it is correcting the justices'
errors. Courts are ill-equipped to decide whether vast resources should be
devoted to reviewing military detentions. Or whether military personnel's
time should be consumed traveling back to the U.S. for detainee hearings.
Or whether we risk revealing information in these hearings that might
compromise the intelligence sources and methods that may allow us to win
the war.

This time, Congress and the president did not take the court's power grab
lying down. They told the courts, in effect, to get out of the war on
terror, stripped them of habeas jurisdiction over alien enemy combatants,
and said there was nothing wrong with the military commissions. It is the
first time since the New Deal that Congress had so completely divested the
courts of power over a category of cases. It is also the first time since
the Civil War that Congress saw fit to narrow the court's habeas powers in
wartime because it disagreed with its decisions.

The law goes farther. It restores to the president command over the
management of the war on terror. It directly reverses Hamdan by making
clear that the courts cannot take up the Geneva Conventions. Except for
some clearly defined war crimes, whose prosecution would also be up to
executive discretion, it leaves interpretation and enforcement of the
treaties up to the president. It even forbids courts from relying on
foreign or international legal decisions in any decisions involving
military commissions.

All this went overlooked during the fight over the bill by the media,
which focused on Sens. McCain, Graham and Warner's opposition to the
administration's proposals for the use of classified evidence at terrorist
trials and permissible interrogation methods. In its eagerness to magnify
an intra-GOP squabble, the media mostly ignored the substance of the bill,
which gave current and future administrations, whether Democrat or
Republican, the powers needed to win this war.

Mr. Yoo, professor of law at Berkeley and visiting scholar at the American
Enterprise Institute, served in the Bush Justice Department from 2001-03.
He is the author of "War By Other Means" (Grove/Atlantic 2006).

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