Thursday, June 28, 2007
Finkelstein's Islamofascist Groupies
2. Islamofascists rushing to defend Finkelstein:
3. Rabbi Woodstock Conducting Acts Prohibited by the Torah with CAIR
4. Being circulated by Middle East Forum:
BECOME A MIDDLE EAST/ISLAM EXPERT AND EARN BIG BUCKS!
Dear Career Counselor:
I am in bad shape. I cannot get a job or support myself. I want to
be rich and famous and powerful but I have no idea what to do. Can you
suggest a powerful, prestigious, high-paying field where I need do no
study or training? Signed, Destitute and Dumb
I.m so glad you wrote me as I have the perfect solution: become an
expert on the Middle East and Islam. It.s easy, painless (for you, though
many others will pay for it with their lives), and profitable. Just look
at these examples:
Stephen Mearsheimer and John Walt. Sure they were tenured professors
but they hadn.t produced anything of note in years. Then they had an idea.
Write a paper attacking the power of the Jewish lobby. Years of study?
Intensive research? Nah. A few hours by a grad student on the internet.
Result: Fame, a huge book contract, invitations to speak, largely
respectful media coverage! Within months.
Or how about Bob Leiken. A washed-up Latin American expert, former
Marxist revolutionary. The left hated him because he was an instrument of
Oliver North in supporting the Nicaraguan Contras. Even North made fun of
him. Things got so bad he had to sell his house and move his family into
an apartment. Things looked dim. And then, presto! A grant from
Smith-Richardson, another grant from the CIA, two articles in Foreign
Affairs, a contract with Oxford University Press. All this within about a
year. Invited to brief the State Department. Why? Because he decided to be
an instant Middle East expert. Did he take courses, learn languages, spend
hours reading texts? Nope. Just sat in a room with some radical Islamists.
They told him they were moderates. He wrote it down.
And like the great language expert, the rival of Henry Higgins,
who in .My Fair Lady. proclaims that the flowerseller Eliza Doolittle is a
Hungarian princess of royal blood, Leiken proclaims that the radical
Islamists are really moderates who the United States can engage. Wow says
Condi Rice. Do tell, asks the State Department.
Has he read their extremist statements in Arabic? Nope, who
needs Arabic. How about the translations and academic papers on the
subject? Waste of time. Study of Koranic and Islamic sources? That.s for
wimps and suckers. All you have to do is talk to them and then you know.
Because hardline supporters of terrorism who cheer the murder of people by
kidnappers and suicide bombers wouldn.t lie to you, would they?
Or how about Mary Habeck? A military historian, lost her job at
Yale. Hey, why is everyone else having all the fun! I.ll be an expert on
the Middle East and on Islam too! So she loaded up the truck and took a
brief trip to Iraq. Next thing you know she.s got a book, testifies to
Congress, is briefing Hilary Clinton, and being consulted by the great and
powerful. Does she know anything about Islam? She thinks that jihad is an
inner struggle, not having much to do with smiting infidels and conquering
lands. But what.s the difference? If you don.t want to do so you don.t
have to see the dead bodies produced by your advice.
So what are you waiting for? How could you NOT decide to be a
Middle East expert or a sage about Islam? You.d have to be crazy not to do
it. Operators are standing by.
By the way, all of the above is completely true.and other
examples could be cited. But if not cast in the form of a satire, who.d
believe it? And remember: it isn't as if the fate of Western
civilization, freedom, and democracy were at stake or anything important
Professor Barry Rubin,
Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor, Turkish Studies
4. New Republic on the Pestilinians:
THIS THE END OF PALESTINE?
by Martin Peretz The New Republic
Post date 06.25.07 | Issue date 07.02.07 Discuss this article (30)
Think back two years. Ariel Sharon was not only alive but healthy and
staking his place in history on an idea he had never truly believed: that
the Arabs of Palestine might be ready for peace with the Jewish state.
This idea may have run against both his deepest convictions and his basic
instincts. But somehow he carried many of his old comrades with him:
comrades from Israel's old wars and comrades from the political
right--where, after a brief parliamentary stint on the left, he had
Carrying comrades to a place they had not been before also entailed making
enemies, and Sharon's enemies were bitter and vindictive. Nonetheless, he
carried out the withdrawal of all 8,000 or so Israelis from Gaza
unconditionally and without making explicit demands on the
Palestinians--or inexplicit ones, for that matter. He also dismantled four
settlements in the West Bank, from what he and his friends called Samaria.
No one thought that these would be the last to be vacated, no one. And
Israel's entire security establishment (army, intelligence, the diplomatic
corps) laid out various maps for discussion that were uncannily
reminiscent of the (overly generous) proposals put forward by Ehud Barak
in the waning days, the pathetic waning days, of the Clinton
administration. Condoleezza Rice even persuaded a few American Jewish
zillionaires to ante up roughly $15 million to buy, as a parting gift from
the Jews at once symbolic and practical, for the Gaza Arabs the hothouses
that had helped make local agriculture, for the first time in history, so
abundant and also valuable. Ask about the hothouses of Gaza now, and
people will laugh. Ask about the rest of Gaza, and people will cry.
They cried even before Gaza was put through the trauma of civil war. For
what was unraveling was the whole idea of the Palestine nation itself. Of
course, some said, "I told you so." (I count myself among those entitled
to say that.) I was never taken in by the dream of Palestine, although I
realized that Israeli dominion over so many Arabs did somewhat dim the
incandescence of the Zionist reality, a free Jewish people, free in
politics and in spirit, in arts and in science and above all in
literature, in law, and in the press, free from the religious coercion of
the rabbis, a nation speaking its own language at home at last.
No people moves without an elite committed to the whole. That the
Palestinian elites were and are corrupt is a historic reality, a shabby
reality. It was the Palestinian aristocracy that sold off its lands for
Jewish settlement from the very beginning of the Zionist experiment. And
the last act broadcast on television: the dismantling of the gaudy riches
of Palestine's "revolutionaries" in Gaza.
Contrast this with the secular, although economically impoverished,
aristocracy of the kibbutz, created by the early Zionists, which, as
Dorothea Krook has shown, shaped the ethos of both the movement and the
state. There was an exhilarating and learned asceticism to the Jewish
pioneers, an asceticism that has almost altogether vanished but remains as
contingent reproach. It is needed now.
Most of the Arabs of Palestine resented the Jews. But resentment is not a
foundation for a nation. In some uncanny way, Yasir Arafat grasped the
guilefulness of Palestinian peoplehood and so was always inventing new
myths (e.g., Jesus was the first Palestinian). There has been a big to-do
in academic circles over the last quarter-century about "imagined
communities" as nations. This was meant to help legitimize groups whose
coherence was incoherent. But, alas, even Benedict Anderson, in fitting
his lax definitions with history, does not refer at all to the
Palestinians. The British Communist historian Eric Hobsbawm does allude to
the Palestinians in his book on nationalism, but only to dismiss them as a
One of the harsh truths that we have learned is that terrorism may be the
prime expression of a fledgling nationalism, perhaps even its only
collective expression. But it does bring a certain dread to its
adversaries, and Palestinian terrorism has over the decades brought that
dread to Israel. A suicide bomb also makes a big and incredulous splash,
and with that comes to its instigators the sense that they can no longer
be ignored. Of course, their hapless but willing instrument is dead. Poor
man, increasingly we can also say poor woman, poor pregnant woman.
"Palestine" is not the only place where the very idea of the nation is so
weak that its violent eruptions seem to be dismal admissions of failure.
But, however impoverished the reality, it has caught the fancy of many
outside Palestine. The fact is that, had these outsiders--some cynical,
some hopelessly muddle-headed--not embraced the cause, the cause already
would have perished from its own exhaustion.
So what is Palestine? It is an improvisation from a series of rude facts.
Palestine was never anything of especial importance to the Arabs or to the
larger orbit of Muslims. Palestine was never even an integral territory of
the Ottomans but split up in sanjaks that crossed later postWorld War I
borders, a geographical and political jumble. When General Allenby
captured Jerusalem, it was a great happening for believing Christian
Europe, not a tragedy for Islam. When the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan for
Palestine was passed, envisioning a "Jewish" state and an "Arab" (not,
mind you, Palestinian) state, even the idea of a separate Arab realm was
met at best with a yawn. Though almost no Arab wanted Jewish sovereignty
in any of Palestine, virtually no Arab seemed to crave Arab sovereignty,
Foreign Arab armies did the fighting against the Haganah, and foreign
states sat for the Palestinians at the cease-fire negotiations, as they
had sat for decades at the international conferences on Palestine convened
by the powers. Palestine was being fought over to be divvied up by Cairo,
Amman, and Damascus. The Syrian army was overwhelmed by the Israelis. No
rewards there. It was different for King Farouk and Abdullah I, who got
land in reward for their soldiers' combat.
Indeed, from 1949 through 1967, what was the West Bank of Arab Palestine
was annexed--yes, annexed--by Jordan, and what was the Gaza Strip was a
captive territory of Egypt, unannexed so that Gazans had no rights as
Egyptians (whereas the West Bankers had rights as Jordanians). The
Liberation Organization, founded in 1964, was not founded to liberate
these territories. It was founded to liberate that part of Palestine held
by Israel. We are long past this history, and Israel had become
accustomed to the idea--if not exactly the precise reality--of an
independent Palestine for the Palestinians, the name of their desire. Ehud
Olmert gladly would have signed on the dotted line if the Palestinian
Authority could bring itself to realize it would get what it could get
(and perhaps even a little more) if the Palestinians would finally stop
their war against the Jews. And their rage.
But the Palestinians' war against the Jews is actually also a war against
one another. While Mahmoud Abbas probably would have settled for being
president of a cartographically realistic Palestine, there were integral
parts of Fatah, and particularly its fighting gangs, that still held out
for the grand irredentist map--if not "from the river to the sea,"
something more than was ordained in 1967. Could Abbas, in the end, rein
them in? Not when Hamas had set the terms of the intra-Palestinian
conflict as all or nothing. Those are characteristic Hamas conditions,
with other Arabs as with the Jews. It is true that Fatah men of combat
were battling for their lives. But they were not battling for peace with
The disintegration of Gaza began as soon as the Israelis departed. This
was not an issue of what Israel did or did not do. The ur-religious and
the ur-nationalist were in psychological control of the strip from the
beginning. Hamas did not shoot (many) rockets across the border into enemy
territory. But its surrogates did. Hamas did nothing about this, and Fatah
really couldn't. They couldn't, although Lieutenant General Keith Dayton,
the American coordinator in the area, assured they could, especially after
supplying arms to Fatah and persuading Olmert to supply more weapons,
which, as luck would have it, are now in Hamas's possession. The ordinary
Gazans clearly were not pleased by the chaos and the haphazard murders on
the streets. They were and are objects not subjects, victims not
victimizers. But Hamas is also bitter, embittered by its costly victory.
For them, there remains the project of Reconstruction, in the American
Civil War sense, of the souls of their neighbors.
The final fall of Gaza to Hamas puts the whole question of Palestine and
the Palestinians into a new perspective. There are now three cohorts of
Palestinians between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. (Four, if you count
the Palestinian majority under Hashemite rule.)
Let's deal first with the easiest of these to grasp: the Arabs of Israel,
citizens of Israel with freedoms--legal and social--that are unimaginable
in any Arab country. Their loyalties are always tested by kin and
undermined by the residual discriminations of the Jewish state. But their
loyalties are also the subject of an inevitable internal struggle. They
are, after all, the privileged Palestinians, the Palestinians who live in
a decent society. But one thing of which they will not hear--and that is a
perfectly logical proposal--is that some of them, together with their land
and homes, become part of whatever Palestine will be. The hostility to
this idea will, by way of compensation, radicalize these Israeli Arabs and
thus make them more and more suspect by their Jewish fellow citizens.
Then, there is the West Bank. The optimism about peace prospects there is,
at least, very much premature. And, frankly, from what I know about
locales like Jenin and Hebron, I wonder why commentators think that the
Judea and Samaria territories are so different from Gaza. In fact, these
Palestinian cities historically have been centers of Arab extremism,
although--and this is a curious characteristic of Arab extremism--this
rarely ties one locale to another. So what you have is the bane of
fanaticism without the bonds of community. Indeed, the defining loyalty
among many Palestinians is loyalty to family, clan, and tribe, not
progressive social formations, as they say. But Rashid Khalidi does not
focus on these persistences in his book Palestinian Identity, which he
optimistically subtitled The Construction of Modern National
Consciousness. In fact, the persistence of these antique ties is another
reason why the Palestinians are far from being a coherent people. But,
then, Pakistan is also not a nation, and neither is Iraq. I recall that
Palestinian embroidery differs in every town and city. That is
quaint, and it makes for pretty dresses in many styles. But it is not a
model for a nation-state.
The initiative remains with the Gaza Palestinians, which is to say, Hamas.
It will not be tempted, as many of the journalistic prophets informed us
when the group won the parliamentary elections, to become responsible.
Rage is actually its way in the world, and it is a shrewd, if not wise,
tactic. Your adversary becomes uncertain and jittery, afraid to provoke
but loath to ignore. Rockets will continue to land in the towns and
kibbutzim of the Negev and further into Israel. More advanced weapons will
be smuggled into Gaza--alas, from Egypt, which did not, over the past
years, demonstrate either the will or the capacity to stop the running of
war materials from the Sinai to the Strip.
Israel must now make choices that will determine Egypt's responsibilities.
Given the fact that Hamas has declared war on Israel, Jerusalem could
decide to simply seal its border with Gaza. Enemies at war do not
generally supply one other with food and medical provisions, let alone gas
and electricity. What should persuade Israel to make such arrangements? To
win goodwill? Nonsense.
Of course, Egypt could assume greater responsibility, including the
shepherding of endangered Fatah Palestinians to safety. But a corollary to
that would be the obligation to truly bar weapons from being sent
underground to Hamas. So what if Israel responds to Hamas rocket and
missile assaults harshly and with the precision that its air power
permits? Is not Mubarak afraid of Hamas's cousins in the streets of Cairo,
the Muslim Brotherhood, already chafing under the regime's heavy hand?
Israel might also recapture the Philadelphia Corridor and police the Gaza
border with Egypt.
There is at least one assumption that we can make: Israel will not permit
attacks without appropriate response. The abandonment of Sderot by a third
of its population is a stain on Zionism. It will not occur again. And,
with Israel under such intense pressure from Gaza, it is hardly possible
to imagine that even Fatah will be able to resist the temptation of armed
mischief. And why do I say even Fatah? I shouldn't.
Then, of course, Hezbollah may be tempted, and Syria, too. The resulting
combination--assaults from the north, the east, and the west--would be a
peril for Israel. But the most serious near-term danger actually comes
from the West Bank. For rockets and more precise weapons aimed at the
thickly populated heart and narrow waist of Israel from almost any place
in what is now Fatah land would revive both the anxieties and military
reflexes of the state and its population. Surely that would not be good
for the Arabs.
That is why U.S. policy must not assume that there are facile ways to
render the West Bank peaceful. Almost everyone has admitted, some with
that what keeps that area of Palestine more orderly than Gaza is the
proximate presence of Israeli troops near Arab population centers.
Would that there were a mature national will among the Palestinians. It
might even be able to temper the rage of the Arabs against one another.
Not until their
sense of peoplehood conquers their rage against one another will they be
in the psychological position to think of peace with Israel. I doubt this
will happen any time soon. This is the end of Palestine, the bitter end.
Martin Peretz is editor-in-chief of The New Republic.
6. Nice piece:
Here.s a pop quiz: Before 1967, what did the Arabs in Judea and Samaria
8. I kind of liked this:
10. June 28, 2007
An Academic Hijacking
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
June 28, 2007; Page A13
When a relatively small number of British academics tried to hijack the
traditional trade union agenda of the British University and College Union
by calling for an academic boycott of Israel, they expected little
opposition. The union, after all, is British, and the nation whose
academics were to be boycotted is Israel.
Anti-Israel sentiment among left-wing academics, journalists, and
politicians in Britain is politically correct and relatively
uncontroversial (as is anti-American sentiment). Several years earlier, a
petition to boycott several Israeli universities initially passed but was
later rescinded, and the British National Union of Journalists has also
voted to boycott Israeli products. At about the same time, a British
academic journal fired two of its board members apparently because they
were Israeli Jews. Some popular British political leaders, most
notoriously, London's Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone, have made anti-Israel
statements that border on anti-Semitism, in one instance comparing a
Jewish journalist to a Nazi "war criminal."
Many of the academics who have been pushing the boycott most energetically
are members of hard-left socialist-worker groups. These radicals devote
more time and energy to international issues than to the domestic welfare
of their own members, who have suffered a serious decline in salary and
working conditions. Their pet peeve, sometimes it appears their only
peeve, is the Israeli occupation -- not of the West Bank and, before its
return, of Gaza but rather of all of Palestine, including Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem. These are not advocates of the two-state solution, but of a
one-state dissolution of Israel, with the resulting state being controlled
In a world in which dissident academics are murdered in Iran, tortured in
Egypt, imprisoned in China and fired in many other parts of the world, the
British Union decided to boycott only academics from a country with as
much academic freedom as in Britain and far more academic freedom -- and
more actual academic dissent -- than in any Arab or Muslim country.
Indeed, Arabs have more academic (and journalistic) freedom in Israel,
even in the West Bank, than in any Arab or Muslim nation.
But these union activists couldn't care less about academic freedom, or
any other kind of freedom for that matter. Nor do they care much about the
actual plight of the Palestinians. If they did, they would be supporting
the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to make peace with Israel based
on mutual compromise, rather than Hamas in its futile efforts to destroy
Israel as well as the PA.
What they care about -- and all they seem to care about -- is Israel,
which they despise, without regard to what the Jewish state actually does
or fails to do. The fact that this boycott effort is being undertaken at
precisely the time when Israel has ended the occupation of Gaza and is
reaching out to the PA, and even to Syria, in an effort to make peace
proves that the boycott is not intended to protest specific Israeli
policies or actions, but rather to delegitimize and demonize Israel as a
democratic Jewish nation. One union activist said on a BBC radio show that
"Israel is worse than Stalinist Russia."
The boycotters know that Israel, without oil or other natural resources,
lives by its universities, research centers and other academic
institutions. After the U.S., Israeli scientists hold more patents than
any nation in the world, have more start-up companies listed on Nasdaq,
and export more life-saving medical technology.
Israelis have received more Nobel and other international science prizes
than all the Arab and Muslim nations combined. Cutting Israel's academics
off from collaboration with other academics would deal a death blow to the
Israeli high-tech economy, but it would also set back research and
academic collaboration throughout the world.
Moreover, many Israeli academics, precisely those who would be boycotted,
are at the forefront in advocating peace efforts. They, perhaps more than
others, understand the "peace dividend" the world would reap if Israeli
military expenses could be cut and the money devoted to life-saving
It is for these reasons that so many American academics, of all religious,
ideological and political backgrounds, reacted so strongly to the threat
of an academic boycott against Israel. As soon as it was reported, I
helped to draft a simple petition in which signatories agreed to regard
themselves as honorary Israeli academics for purposes of any boycott and
"decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are
Working with Prof. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in physics, and Ed
Beck, the president of Scholars For Peace in the Middle East, we
circulated the petition. I expected to gather several hundred signatures.
To my surprise, we have secured nearly 6,000 signatures, including those
of 20 Nobel Prize winners, 14 university presidents as well as several
heads of academic and professional societies. Three university presidents
-- Lee Bollinger of Columbia, Robert Birgeneau of Berkeley and John Sexton
of New York University -- have issued public statements declaring that if
Israeli universities are boycotted, their American universities should be
boycotted as well. Every day, I receive emails from other academics asking
to be included as honorary Israeli academics for purposes of any boycott.
We expect to reach at least 10,000 names on our petition.
It is fair to say, therefore, that the British boycott appears to be
backfiring. British academics are on notice that if they try to isolate
Israeli academics, it is they -- the British academics -- who will end up
being isolated from some of the world's most prominent academics and
No one wants that to happen. Academics and scientists should collaborate
with each other in the interests of promoting knowledge. The hope is that
this ill-conceived boycott will be voted down by general membership of the
university and college union, and that those radicals who are pushing it
will be delegitimized in the eyes of the vast majority of British
academics who will not want to see their union hijacked by single-issue
Mr. Dershowitz is a professor at Harvard University school of law and the
author of "Blasphemy -- How The Religious Right Is Hijacking Our
Declaration of Independence" (Wiley, 2007).
URL for this article:
11. Finkelstein's Iranian Friends: