Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick er uh Lustick

1. Apologies, but could not resist. First, Academic Jihadnik Juan Cole
from the University of Michigan compares Sarah Palin to an Islamic
fundamentalist in: What's the difference between Palin and Muslim
fundamentalists? Lipstick
A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.
By Juan Cole
Sep. 09, 2008
What is the difference between Juan Cole and a craven anti-Semitic
academic prostitute for Norman Finkelstein? Answer: the Lipstick er I
mean Lustick.

(Ian Lustick, University of Pennsylvania . see and )

2. This year's winner of the stupidest Israeli on the planet award goes

3. Made my day:
(ISM hooligan getting shot with rubber bullet)

4. Oy oy oy gevalt:

5. The Return of Joel Beinin:
The Return of Joel Beinin

By Cinnamon Stillwell | 9/10/2008

"The American empire is going down..

So declared history professor and former president of the Middle East
Studies Association, Joel Beinin, on the Peninsula Peace and Justice
Center (PPJC) cable television program, .Other Voices. (watch here) last
week in Palo Alto.

Following an .extended leave. from Stanford University in 2006 based on
what Beinin then described as the university.s .minimal institutional
interest in the study and teaching of the modern Middle East,. a two-year
stint as director of Middle East Studies at the American University in
Cairo (AUC), Egypt, and rumors earlier this year that he was to land a
position as director of the Middle East Studies Center at Portland State
University, Beinin is back at Stanford this Fall.

If the PPJC interview was any indication, Beinin.s anti-American,
anti-Israel venom remain intact. At the same time, he made a number of
surprisingly candid statements not often heard from Middle East studies

Beinin followed up his pronouncement about the supposed demise of the
.American empire. by conceding that the superpowers most likely to take
America.s place, China and Russia, were hardly benign or democratic in
nature, and that .people will suffer in the process.. But he seemed
pleased that the .U.S. will no longer dominate the next century,. for it
will .force Israel to make changes in the Middle East..

Accordingly, Beinin described Israel as .solely dependent on the U.S.. and
not, as some would have it, .the tail that wags the American dog.. Beinin
further skewered the Walt-Mearsheimer .Israel Lobby. hypothesis by noting
that there are a number of lobbies in the U.S. and that the process is a
legal and legitimate one.

Beinin was similarly forthright about the problems afflicting Egypt and
the tyrannical nature of the Egyptian regime, led by Hosni Mubarak. He
spoke about the struggles faced by trade unions, the .dysfunctional.
educational system, the persecution of the Baha.i, and the corruption of
law enforcement, which, as he described it, responds to citizen complaints
of any sort with arbitrary imprisonment and torture. One might wonder how
Beinin justified his prestigious stint at AUC, or as described in a 2006
interview with Egypt Today, his .comfortable life in Egypt.s capital,.
considering the oppressive nature of his patrons.

The answer lies in Beinin.s blame-America first approach. While
acknowledging the existence of Islamists and the prevalence of the
.imperialism/Zionism/capitalism. trope in Egypt, Beinin placed
responsibility for the current state of affairs upon U.S. aid to Egypt.
Egypt, as he noted, is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid next to
Israel, a fact often lost upon the Israel-obsessed crowd. The U.S. .needs
an unpopular government in Egypt. to maintain the .peace treaty with
Israel,. he concluded.

When asked by a member of the live audience who benefits from the ongoing
Arab-Israeli conflict, Beinin pointed the finger at U.S. arms dealers and
manufacturers, evangelical Christians trying to .hasten the Second
Coming,. and the Jewish people who, after suffering the .psychic trauma of
the Holocaust,. went on via the state of Israel to inflict the same abuse
upon others. The identification of Nazism with aspects of Islamist
ideology . despite its basis in reality . is an example of this
.psychological cycle,. according to Beinin.

As for the .self-destructive behavior. of the Palestinians, Beinin again
blamed psychological trauma, but this time based on .dispossession..
Beinin recognized and condemned the .terrorist outrages. of Hamas, while
also noting that the group was democratically elected and thus enjoys
popular support. He also pointed out the corruption of Fatah. Yet, he
urged Israel to negotiate with a .unified Palestinian government.
involving Fatah and Hamas, despite the acknowledged futility of such a
course of action. As Beinin put it, .each side needs to recognize the
other.s pain.. Israel retreating to the 1967 borders, abandoning all
settlements, and .ending the occupation. wouldn.t hurt either, according
to Beinin.

In one of the more revealing comments of the evening, Beinin noted that
.Egyptian intellectuals. were by far the most rigid and ideologically
slanted in their political views. It was the intellectuals, he pointed
out, who failed to make a distinction either between the U.S. government
and the American people or Jews and Zionists, while the .common people.
seemed to .get it..

Ironically, the same could be said for any number of intellectuals
inhabiting the ivory towers of Middle East studies academia in the U.S.,
including Beinin himself. While Beinin.s forthrightness on certain issues
is laudable, his conclusions remain highly politicized. And questions
surrounding Beinin.s scholarship and occasionally unsavory tactics

The fact that an audience member, during the question and answer period,
described Beinin admiringly as the .counterpart. of the conspiratorial and
tendentious University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole speaks
volumes. So too does Beinin.s status as a guest contributor to Cole.s
Informed Comment blog.

As Alyssa Lappen, writing about Beinin for Campus Watch in 2004, put it,
.if one individual can showcase all the flaws of Middle East Studies in
academia, Joel Beinin is that man..

Stanford students beware.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the Northern California Representative for Campus
Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at

6. Analogies:

7. Comrade Chomsky:

8. Prominent Obama Henchman attacks "Israel Lobby":,0,1685703.story

Fuad AJami's take:

The Foreign Policy Difference
September 10, 2008; Page A15

The candidacy of Barack Obama seems to have lost some of its luster of
late, and I suspect this has something to do with large questions many
Americans still harbor about his view of the dangerous world around us.
Those questions were not stilled by the choice of Joe Biden as his running

Martin Kozlowski
To be sure, the Delaware senator is a man of unfailing decency and deep
legislative experience; and his foreign policy preferences are reflective
of the liberal internationalist outlook that once prevailed in the
Democratic Party. To his honor and good name, Sen. Biden took a leading
role in pushing for the use of American military power in the Balkans when
the Muslims of Bosnia were faced with grave dangers a dozen years ago.
Patriotism does not embarrass this man in the way it does so many in the
liberal elite. But as Bob Woodward is the latest to remind us, it is
presidents, not their understudies, who shape the destiny of nations.

So the Obama candidacy must be judged on its own merits, and it can be
reckoned as the sharpest break yet with the national consensus over
American foreign policy after World War II. This is not only a matter of
Sen. Obama's own sensibility; the break with the consensus over American
exceptionalism and America's claims and burdens abroad is the choice of
the activists and elites of the Democratic Party who propelled Mr. Obama's

Though the staging in Denver was the obligatory attempt to present the
Obama Democrats as men and women of the political center, the Illinois
senator and his devotees are disaffected with American power. In their
view, we can make our way in the world without the encumbrance of "hard"
power. We would offer other nations apologies for the way we carried
ourselves in the aftermath of 9/11, and the foreign world would be glad
for a reprieve from the time of American certitude.

The starkness of the choice now before the country is fully understood
when compared to that other allegedly seminal election of 1960. But the
legend of Camelot and of the New Frontier exaggerates the differences
between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy. A bare difference of four years
separated the two men (Nixon had been born in 1913, Kennedy in 1917). Both
men had seen service in the Navy in World War II. Both were avowed Cold
Warriors. After all, Kennedy had campaigned on the missile gap -- in other
words the challenger had promised a tougher stance against the Soviet
Union. (Never mind the irony: There was a missile gap; the U.S. had 2,000
missiles, the Soviet Union a mere 67.)

The national consensus on America's role abroad, and on the great threats
facing it, was firmly implanted. No great cultural gaps had opened in it,
arugula was not on the menu, and the elites partook of the dominant
culture of the land; the universities were then at one with the dominant
national ethos. The "disuniting of America" was years away. American
liberalism was still unabashedly tethered to American nationalism.

We are at a great remove from that time and place. Globalization worked
its way through the land, postmodernism took hold of the country's
intellectual life. The belief in America's "differentness" began to give
way, and American liberalism set itself free from the call of nationalism.
American identity itself began to mutate.

The celebrated political scientist Samuel Huntington, in "Who Are We?," a
controversial book that took up this delicate question of American
identity, put forth three big conceptions of America: national, imperial
and cosmopolitan. In the first, America remains America. In the second,
America remakes the world. In the third, the world remakes America. Back
and forth, America oscillated between the nationalist and imperial
callings. The standoff between these two ideas now yields to the strength
and the claims of cosmopolitanism. It is out of this new conception of
America that the Obama phenomenon emerges.

The "aloofness" of Mr. Obama that has become part of the commentary about
him is born of this cultural matrix. Mr. Obama did not misspeak when he
described union households and poorer Americans as people clinging to
their guns and religion; he was overheard sharing these thoughts with a
like-minded audience in San Francisco.

Nor was it an accident that, in a speech at Wesleyan University, he spoke
of public service but excluded service in the military. The military does
not figure prominently in his world and that of his peers. In his
acceptance speech at the Democratic Party convention, as was the case on
the campaign trail, he spoke of his maternal grandfather's service in
Patton's army. But that experience had not been part of his own

When we elect a president, we elect a commander in chief. This remains an
imperial republic with military obligations and a military calling. That
is why Eisenhower overwhelmed Stevenson, Reagan's swagger swept Carter out
of office, Bush senior defeated Dukakis, etc.

The exception was Bill Clinton, with his twin victories over two veterans
of World War II. We had taken a holiday from history -- but 9/11 awakened
us to history's complications. Is it any wonder that Hillary Clinton
feigned the posture of a muscular American warrior, and carried the
working class with her?

The warrior's garb sits uneasily on Barack Obama's shoulders: Mr. Obama
seeks to reassure Americans that he and his supporters are heirs of
Roosevelt and Kennedy; that he, too, could order soldiers to war, stand up
to autocracies and rogue regimes. But the widespread skepticism about his
ability to do so is warranted.

The crowds in Berlin and Paris that took to him knew their man. He had
once presented his willingness to negotiate with Iran as the mark of his
diplomacy, the break with the Bush years and the Bush style. But he
stepped back from that pledge, and in a blatant echo of President Bush's
mantra on Iran, he was to say that "no options would be off the table"
when dealing with Iran. The change came on a visit to Israel, the
conversion transparent and not particularly convincing.

Mr. Obama truly believes that he can offer the world beyond America's
shores his biography, his sympathies with strangers. In the great debate
over anti-Americanism and its sources, the two candidates couldn't be more
different. Mr. Obama proceeds from the notion of American guilt: We called
up the furies, he believes. Our war on terror and our war in Iraq
triggered more animus. He proposes to repair for that, and offers himself
(again, the biography) as a bridge to the world.

Mr. McCain, well, he's not particularly articulate on this question. But
he shares the widespread attitude of broad swaths of the country that are
not consumed with worries about America's standing in foreign lands. Mr.
McCain is not eager to be loved by foreigners. In November, the country
will have a choice between a Republican candidate forged in the verities
of the 1950s, and a Democratic rival who walks out of the 1990s.

For Mr. McCain, the race seems a matter of duty and obligation. He is a
man taking up this quest after a life of military and public service, the
presidency as a capstone of a long career. Mr. McCain could speak with
more nuance about the great issues upon us. When it comes to the Islamic
world, for example, it's not enough merely to evoke the threat of radical
Islamism as the pre-eminent security challenge of our time. But his
approach and demeanor have proven their electoral appeal before.

For Mr. Obama, the race is about the claims of modernism. There is "cool,"
and the confidence of the meritocracy in him. The Obama way is glib: It
glides over the world without really taking it in. It has to it that
fluency with political and economic matters that can be acquired in a
hurry, an impatience with great moral and political complications. The
lightning overseas trip, the quick briefing, and above all a breezy
knowingness. Mr. Obama's way is the way of his peers among the liberal,
professional elite.

Once every four years, ordinary Americans go out and choose the
standard-bearer of their nationalism. Liberalism has run away with elite
culture. Nationalism may be out of fashion in Silicon Valley. But the
state -- and its citadel, the presidency -- is an altogether different

Mr. Ajami is professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Advanced
International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University. He is also an adjunct
research fellow of the Hoover Institution.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on
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