The Egyptian revolution is coming– to the U.S.A.

Israel/Palestine
on 270 Comments

The Egyptian revolution is sure to have a great victory within days: the ouster of Mubarak. But a greater victory even than that will be the liberation of American thinking from the crude paradigms about the Middle East that have held our political imagination in such thrall for 50 years. I speak as someone who for all my liberalism was also captured by those paradigms, who so doubted the Arab world I would never have dared to imagine what is happening in Cairo.

But today the darers and dreamers of Tahrir Square hold up signs in English because they know they are leading me too. cat

The liberation of American thinking is evident all around us but nowhere so much as in the sudden and utterly-deserved stardom of blogger Mona Eltahaway and academic Tarek Masoud. These people have become our guides. Brian Lehrer of WNYC features Eltahawy on the ad for his show, and NPR this morning questioned Masoud about Islamism. No doubt, uninformed people like Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post will continue to get a platform in the MSM to spout cliches about Islam. But you now hear Fawaz Gerges on the radio, and Lawrence Wilkerson too. The best example of this shift in culture was on Fareed Zakaria’s panel Sunday. He gathered three Establishment types, former ambassador Martin Indyk and the Council on Foreign Relations’ Richard Haas and Steven Cook, but Masoud was there, and he led the conversation. He said that the U.S. has been on the wrong side of history for years, that it has prized stability not democracy, or by implication justice, for 50 years. The pleasure and amazement was watching Cook and Indyk agree with him, even defer to Masoud’s understanding, because he is so smart and reasonable. Though, yes, Haas had a long face.

Years ago Adam Horowitz told me that Arabs and Palestinians must lead our understanding of these issues. I resisted this understanding because no one likes to cede cultural/political influence, even a blogger, but these days are showing Horowitz to be right. The Egyptian revolution was predicted by none of our seers. We– and here I include myself among the privileged– did not think Those people capable of that. My own reasoning had to do with patriarchal culture and education levels in Egypt. And to be shown that we are wrong, well, this is a shattering moment in intellectual culture.

Masoud and Eltahawy and Gerges and Wilkerson all bring progressive ideas about Palestinian freedom; and so I believe that everyone in U.S. political culture will begin to walk the road that I have here at this site, at first doubtfully, then heartfelt– that the Palestinian solidarity for which this site now stands will be more and more widely reflected in American intellectual and then political culture. You simply cannot honor the Egyptian revolution (and even neocons are having to say they favor democracy) without acknowledging three inevitable consequences of it:

–the Muslim Brotherhood represents real elements of Egyptian society just as the rightwing evangelical movement in American politics represented real elements. It must be included.

–the people of Gaza are not so different from the people we celebrate in Tahrir Square, and they also deserve … DIGNITY and RESPECT.

–the absence of Islamism in the Egyptian revolution is a reflection of American non-interference. When you attack people, humiliate them, diminish them, they naturally retreat into a religious corner.

These truths will cause political convulsions in the U.S. They mean that before long Andrea Mitchell will not be able to interview Martin Indyk, as she did yesterday, and speak about Mubarak’s good value in shutting down the flow of weapons into Gaza, without some other perspective being voiced. When Egypt is liberated, the Egyptian government will insist that what is happening in Gaza is one of the most unspeakable episodes of recent history: 1.5 million people live in a prison, all aspiration is snuffed out by an occupying power, children are shot as they scrounge for scrap metal. This horror will stain American and Jewish history books; and we will look back on Brian Baird and Keith Ellison’s calls for a Berlin airlift to help those people as heroic.

The democratic movement in Egypt exposes the 3 vicious truths of the pax Americana in the Middle East. As Steve Walt states so clearly, it has been based on 1, dictatorship, 2, indifference to Palestinian suffering, and 3, unconditional support for a rightwing, racist occupying Israel.

A pax Americana based on such principles is not good for the U.S. or anyone else, but here too the people of Egypt are leading us. I think it was Wolf Blitzer yesterday who expressed fears about the anti-American feeling in the crowd then showed a poster done in glitter saying “US We Hate Your Hypocrisy.” Well I don’t think that’s anti-American. It’s constructive criticism. The goddanged sign was in English and in sequins. And our hypocrisy? We have stood by a dictator for years, as even Ed Henry of CNN acknowledged a day back. And two years ago, nearly 400 children were wantonly slaughtered in Gaza, and Mr. Change President said nothing. 

I know the disappearance of the old order is terrifying to people. On the cable stations they are obsessed with the consequences to the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Martin Indyk just reassured Andrea Mitchell that the Egyptian military won’t let the treaty go, and Dan Fleshler writes that it has “prevented a major military conflagration that would have slaughtered Arabs and Jews alike.” I’m not for any war, but I must point out that the peace treaty included the stipulation of reaching a just peace with the Palestinians, and all that the Palestinians have seen for more than 30 years is humiliation and dispossession– and every other day a Palestinian is killed by Israelis in the occupation without consequences. As Daniel Levy writes at FP, the U.S. “should not demand that Egypt continue to be the loyal servant of a thoroughly discredited peace process.”

That thoroughly-discredited process, and indeed the general problem of Palestinian statelessness, is the achievement of the Israel lobby. The inability of the Palestinians to gain sovereignty, apart from some bogus “economic peace” that Indyk tried to promote on MSNBC and that American revolutionaries once held tea parties to reject, while the Kosovars and Pakistanis and Uzbekistanis have all gotten states is the simple outcome of the power of the Israel lobby in Washington. When Walt and Mearsheimer explained this 5 years ago, Richard Cohen in the Washington Post said their book left him singing the Hatikvah. Well today Cohen says that Egyptian democracy is a nightmare. Who is expressing your values?

But the Washington Post cannot escape the American revolution that Egypt is producing. Yesterday the Post featured Hossam el-Hamalawy, writing that ElBaradei will diffuse the revolution, not take it forward! From the paper that gives us Krauthammer and Cohen and Rubin– utterly transformative. Ahmed Moor makes a similar point at our site.

The young protesters in Egypt often sound like a human potential movement, and they are unleashing American potential: long-suppressed diversity in our political culture. Day by day the cable networks have more Arab and Arab-American pundits speaking. The other day in the LA Times Saree Makdisi called the P.A. collaborators with colonialists.

By listening at last to the deep understanding that Arabs have developed of these issues over 50 years, Americans cannot help but come to respect Arabs, as we did black leaders and Jewish leaders, and we will even be led by them. It can’t be long before Al Jazeera is at last broadcast in the U.S.

Americans must be as willing to dream as the people in Tahrir Square. We must dare to step outside our old understandings and our old fears.

P.S. I know this is fearful to many of my Jewish friends because of what we think we might lose in this process. And I insist on bringing in Jewishness because it is so important in American public life. Most of the pundits I’ve cited above, from Indyk to Mitchell to Cook to Haas to Blitzer, are Jewish (the Council on Foreign Relations has basically a Jewish roster on these issues). We’re there because in the 70s and 80s we gained status as the liberal leaders of east coast American political culture. And today we have failed in that job because of an attachment to Zionism. Richard Cohen’s description of the Egyptian demonstrators as a “mob in the streets” borders on bigotry. And so does Alan Dershowitz’s support for Mubarak’s tyranny. These men’s political values have been corrupted by their attachment to an old ideal, a democratic Jewish state in Israel. 

But that too is the power of the Egyptian revolution: Liberalism will be called upon again in the Jewish spirit, and Jews will answer. Politicians will note the change in the weather. Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Howard Berman made halfway decent statements yesterday, Schumer was OK on Sunday. Before long, we will have a battle at last inside the Jewish institutions; and more and more Jews who believe in democracy will speak up for democracy in Israel and take on the strains of We-are-smarter and Is-it-good-for-the-Jews? that have dominated organized Jewish life.

Unquestionably a certain sort of social and political power will be lost in this revolution– fewer Indyks and Dennis Ross’s and Jennifer Rubins and Richard Cohens in the DC turrets–but a great Jewish tradition that has never gone away will be reclaimed. Arendt, Magnes, Chomsky, Finkelstein all have led the way. The NY Review of Books can be proud that it published Tony Judt’s vision of a 21st century binational Israel/Palestine eight years ago. And today Jerry Haber, Medea Benjamin, Naomi Klein, and Jewish Voice for Peace are leaders in a conversation that transcends the Jewish community. I’m saying that Jews also have heroes in this struggle, and when Fawaz Gerges says the Egyptian revolution is about human rights and international law, there is no better example of those values than Richard Goldstone, who committed himself to those principles in the face of excommunication, and whose report making claims for the dignity of Gazans is still alive. 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

270 Responses

  1. Oscar
    February 1, 2011, 10:22 am

    Phil, very simply the best column you’ve ever written on the site — a clear-eyed, pitch-perfect analysis of the consequences of this historical moment. It all comes together now, going forward, the watershed moment Mondoweiss has been anticipating since its inception.

  2. yourstruly
    February 1, 2011, 10:36 am

    from egypt to america with love

    the future

    racing towards us

    enjoy

  3. eee
    February 1, 2011, 10:44 am

    Phil,

    As usual, you are jumping the gun. Let’s wait a few years and see what the offspring of this revolution are. If it is a blossoming democracy in which the Muslim Brotherhood participate constructively that will vindicate your point of view. If it is something akin to what Cohen describes in the WaPo then the Palestinian issue will be in even a worse position because of Hamas.

    What the future holds is not clear, but the Egyptians now carry the burden of proof for all your assertions. That is a strategic mistake on your end. You are putting all your eggs in one basket. If the Egyptian revolution produces an Islamic hell, and that is a distinct possibility, your strategy will harm the Palestinians significantly.

    You are just repeating the same mistake the Palestinians have made throughout the years, hoping that the Arabs will bail them out. Do they really want their future to be wed to the outcome of the Egyptian revolution over which they have no control?

    • Chaos4700
      February 1, 2011, 11:04 am

      You are just repeating the same mistake the Palestinians have made throughout the years, hoping that the Arabs will bail them out.

      Actually, it seems to me that the real mistake Palestinians have made throughout the years is believing that Israel isn’t monstrous enough seize foreign aid through piracy, bomb hospitals, attack ambulances, firebomb schools, assault UN personnel or deliberately deprive their children of school supplies, food, clean water, etc. through a combination of siege and salting the earth with air strikes and mortar fire.

    • Chu
      February 1, 2011, 12:53 pm

      If the Egyptian revolution produces an Islamic hell , your strategy will harm the Palestinians significantly.

      Man, like they can be harmed any further from Israel. They next stage for them is expulsion or death. Cast lead killed 1500 and another 276 post Cast Lead.

    • Citizen
      February 2, 2011, 4:16 am

      Pay no attention to eee, who is just worried that once the Americans start looking closely at Egypt they will also start looking at our foreign aid to Egypt and its really hard to do that without looking at our annual blank dole (and UN SC vote) to Israel right or wrong. It’s about time. Israel, tear down that wall! And stop those settlements!

  4. crone
    February 1, 2011, 10:52 am

    Hello – I have been lurking for eons… just registered a few days ago. By way of introduction let me say that I am a Southern white ol’ lady living in the woods in South Carolina, USA… spending my days rattling cages for peace and justice. So that y’all know my bias, I am a liberal…

    Phil, I have admired your writings and the comments of others for some time now… most especially, I admire the community rules for civility…

    This piece is by far the best I have ever read on the ME… and I read quite a bit… you bring a brilliant light to a very complex situation. These are exciting times, fraught with anxiousness for those in the Middle East and indeed across the planet. I hope I have your permission to spam your words across cyberspace…

    Peace and blessings to all here, and our brothers and sisters in Egypt… may they raise their votes today in the manner to which our democracy ascribes … and may they be ‘heard’ in the manner they deserve… there courage is boundless, unprecedented in my 7 decades (imho)

    Namaste,

    Crone

    • Taxi
      February 1, 2011, 12:40 pm

      Welcome.

    • annie
      February 1, 2011, 12:45 pm

      good to see you here crone, as well as that other blog we frequent.

      as always you put a smile on my face ;)

    • Citizen
      February 2, 2011, 4:21 am

      Welcome, Crone. I have some close relatives in South Carolina, a family of transplants (like me, in Florida) who are raising two of my nieces there. Near Spartanberg.

  5. Jim Haygood
    February 1, 2011, 10:52 am

    I can only second what Oscar said — Phil’s take on the broader implications of Egypt’s transformation is early, prescient, and lyrical: one for the blogging Hall of Fame.

    Global Rev: from Mubarak to our Barack!

  6. pabelmont
    February 1, 2011, 10:54 am

    Steve Walt’s article says: “In fact, this is one of those fortunate moments when the United States does not face a clear tradeoff between its moral sympathies and its strategic imperatives. For starters, Egypt is not a major oil producer like Saudi Arabia, so a shift in regime in Cairo will not imperil our vital interest in ensuring that Middle East oil continues to flow to world markets.”

    Sad, tho, to learn that we must support Saudi Arabia BECAUSE it has oil. What I would ask Walt is this: what does he think ANY government of S.A. would do with its oil, if not sell it on world markets? Would a democratic gov’t withhold ALL oil, for 10 years? Withhold some oil for 1 month to raise prices? I wish he would spell out the risk that he perceives? Aren’t the Saudis also “realists”? Don’t they see GLOBAL WARMING coming and want to sell their oil while people are still buying?

    • yourstruly
      February 1, 2011, 11:14 am

      cheer up, pabelmont, no way the revolution will bypass the saudis

      • Avi
        February 1, 2011, 11:42 am

        yourstruly February 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

        cheer up, pabelmont, no way the revolution will bypass the saudis

        Gripped with fear after last week’s demonstrations throughout Jordan — where only several thousand people took to the streets — today, Jordan’s king Abdullah sacked the entire cabinet so as to ameliorate tensions and cushion the people’s reactions.

        That act alone is indicative of the pressure and the fear that US/Israeli-backed dictators and monarchs throughout the Middle East now face.

        What will happen in the Arabian peninsula, including Yemen, the various emirates and the Gulf states, will be determined by events in Egypt.

      • Taxi
        February 1, 2011, 12:23 pm

        And apparently the relatives of the deceased Shah of Iran are scrambling to have his bones removed from Cairo and relocated to a safer resting place – according to the AngryArab site:

        link to angryarab.blogspot.com

      • Chu
        February 1, 2011, 12:43 pm

        The US will have 2 dilemmas to deal with, Egypt & Saudi Arabia.

        the Kingdom would have to reconsider selling oil at another currency that the dollar.

      • Walid
        February 1, 2011, 12:49 pm

        Yourstruly, last Friday there was a minute demonstration held by 50 people in Jeddah protesting the lousy infrastructure work after the severe damage from the floods. 50 people may not be much but for Jeddah this is monumental. Maybe there is something starting to brew there.

        Phil, great essay; thanks.

  7. Taxi
    February 1, 2011, 11:05 am

    Really, Phil?

    You never knew Arabs had cultured dignity and reason till now?

    • VR
      February 1, 2011, 2:15 pm

      Interesting question Taxi, I am still trying to figure out what this means –

      “…the absence of Islamism in the Egyptian revolution is a reflection of American non-interference.”

      I agree with this in light of “Islamism” (whatever that means) meaning there is diversity (as there always has been in Egypt , apparently some are not aware of this), but to say there has been “American non-interference” is a whitewash of what has occurred in Egypt. Perhaps Mr Weiss means we did not physically attack Egypt like some other countries, but if he means there is no “American interference” that is a really queer statement. America does not need to attack in the neocolonial model, but it is as if it had attacked by its murderous proxies and support of dictatorships. Does he mean as long as we do not physically attack a people that everything is fine?

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 4:29 am

        Perhaps Phil means that because the Egyptian government has been willingly and obviously supported heavily by the US for as long as the majority of Egyptians have been alive, the Egyptian Street is less attracted to direct scapecoating?

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2011, 2:21 pm

      I think there should be birthright type Egypt trips . For that extra bit of perspective. Have those young American Jews take a shisha tufaah in Cafe Fishawi in Khan el Khalili . Nothing like it and far better than listening to the Shin Bet.

  8. Woody Tanaka
    February 1, 2011, 11:14 am

    “Richard Cohen’s description of the Egyptian demonstrators as a “mob in the streets” borders on bigotry. And so does Alan Dershowitz’s support for Mubarak’s tyranny.”

    Not “borders on,” this is flat-out bigotry. (As one would expect from these two.) To suggest that others aren’t entitled to the same rights as you or your favored group, is the abdication of principle.

    People around here have the expression “PEP” but I think that is a misnomer because as long there is an exception, the initial “P” has to be questioned. These people are not “Progressives except for Palestine”, but “Alleged Progressives as evidence by their views on Palestine.” Not as pity, but more accurate.

    If Cohen and Dershowitz can’t apply their alleged progressive values to themselves and their favored people, then they don’t actually have those values, and it would be an insult to progressives to include them in the brotherhood.

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Dershowitz is no progressive. He’s a bigot.

    • Citizen
      February 2, 2011, 4:34 am

      But PEP captures so well the double standard used because, except for Israel, PEP peeps are usually progressive in most other areas; they do not believe “what’s good for the American goose is good for the Israeli gander.” Why? Because the goose is not threatened with immediate extinction, but the gander is–it’s axiomatic.

  9. pabelmont
    February 1, 2011, 11:15 am

    Phil: thank you for this, especially: “A pax Americana based on such principles is not good for the U.S. or anyone else, but here too the people of Egypt are leading us. I think it was Wolf Blitzer yesterday who expressed fears about the anti-American feeling in the crowd then showed a poster done in glitter saying “US We Hate Your Hypocrisy.” Well I don’t think that’s anti-American. It’s constructive criticism. The goddanged sign was in English and in sequins. And our hypocrisy? We have stood by a dictator for years, as even Ed Henry of CNN acknowledged a day back. And two years ago, nearly 400 children were wantonly slaughtered in Gaza, and Mr. Change President said nothing. ”

    BTW, The MB leader said, basically, “We love Americans and hate USA Government policy.” Well, me too! And, as to democracy, USA has allowed itself to be captured by the oligarchs who then direct USA to imprison Egyptians and others.

  10. Surcouf
    February 1, 2011, 11:22 am

    Bravo Phil and thank you!

    Am I the only one to think that the end of the Jim Crow-like policies Palestinian Israelis are subjected to, and the Apartheid-like conditions OPT Palestinians are condemned to, is closer than we thought?

  11. Avi
    February 1, 2011, 11:23 am

    –the Muslim Brotherhood represents real elements of Egyptian society just as the rightwing evangelical movement in American politics represented real elements. It must be included.

    In no way shape or form does the Muslim Brotherhood resemble in its ideology, organization or dogma the same RIGHTWING politics that dominate the evangelical movement.

    • yonira
      February 1, 2011, 11:44 am

      They both believe are religiously based groups who believe in conservative values. How can you NOT compare the two?

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:27 pm

        If that’s the case, why not compare the Republican Party with it’s “Christian values” and its desire to decide where houses of worship can and can’t be built and the ruling party in Iran, which legislates religion just as closely?

        Or are you not willing to carry this discussion into self examination?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 2:37 pm

        can you quit with the diversion? Your 4 line run-on sentence made zero sense, but I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with my comparison of MB and rightwing conservatives in the US.

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 4:36 am

        Glem Beck dismisses the comparison as a sick joke, yonira. CNN just inteviewed a 50 yr old Egyptian woman camping out on the square with a bunch of relatives. She says she wants the Americans to know that there are many like her, who have a nice job and home, and are not starving or poor, but they want for Egypt to control its own destiny; she elaborates, telling the American audience that Muburak cares less for his own people than anyone would care for their animals; Murbarak represents all that’s been politically wrong with Egypt, the regime has been ignoring its own people and doing the American government’s bidding in behalf Israel. Time for Egyptians to look after themselves, rich and poor alike. Egyptians are not Americans nor Israelis. Egypt First.

  12. Jim Haygood
    February 1, 2011, 11:39 am

    ‘The young protesters in Egypt … are unleashing American potential: long-suppressed diversity in our political culture. Day by day the cable networks have more Arab and Arab-American pundits speaking.

    ‘By listening at last to the deep understanding that Arabs have developed of these issues over 50 years, Americans cannot help but come to respect Arabs, as we did black leaders and Jewish leaders, and we will even be led by them. It can’t be long before Al Jazeera is at last broadcast in the U.S.’

    Richard Norton-Taylor, the Guardian’s security correspondent, has just posted an essay making a similar point:

    ————

    Secret intelligence services, naturally enough, want to emphasise secret intelligence – a product which only they, in their special and privileged role, can offer. As a result, they have seriously underestimated what can be gleaned from “open sources”. It was a fault brutally identified in the Franks report into the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands in 1982. More accurate and timely information could be gleaned about the Argentinian junta’s intentions from local newspapers than from British secret agents in Latin America, it said.

    Britain’s diplomats and spooks who, in common with all western intelligence agencies, also spectacularly failed to foresee the fall of the Berlin wall, must in future pay much more attention to “open sources”, what they can hear on the Arab street, and what they can read, notably on the internet.

    link to guardian.co.uk

    ————

    It wasn’t that the information about foment in the Arab world wasn’t out there. Rather, our insular, Israel-centric government/media culture left the US living in a self-imposed bubble. Our view of the world resembled one of those distorted maps at worldmapper.org [example linked below], in which the size of countries is scaled to an attribute other than their land area. From Washington, flyspeck Israel with its seven million people loomed larger than the entire Islamic world with close to a billion.

    link to worldmapper.org

    America’s zionist-skewed perception didn’t just compromise our values; it left us blinded and flat-footed when the world changed. Like Egypt’s state TV, still desperately trying to spin a self-serving narrative, the US mainstream media presented a one-sided, pro-Israel interpretation of US interests and policies. As in Egypt, here too it’s time to open up the US media’s closed, crony-dominated club to a diverse range of voices.

  13. David Samel
    February 1, 2011, 11:45 am

    Decades ago, there were many more dictatorships around the world, from Argentina and Chile to Guatemala and El Salvador to Spain and Greece and Eastern Europe to Zaire and the Philippines. Those countries’ populations were properly viewed as victims of tyranny rather than being inherently unable to handle concepts such as freedom and democracy. But with Arab dictatorships, that has always been more of an underlying racist assumption, that Arabs are not free because they prefer dictators. It is long past time to put that notion to rest.

    One glaring omission at the end of Phil’s piece, obviously the product of modesty. Surely he and Adam deserve a place on the roster of Jewish individuals and entities who are leading the way in the West to shred the stubbornly clinging vestiges of this last remaining acceptable racism.

    • sherbrsi
      February 1, 2011, 12:18 pm

      But with Arab dictatorships, that has always been more of an underlying racist assumption, that Arabs are not free because they prefer dictators.

      And the very same people, who indicted Arabs for “preferring” dictators and wrote them off as the tyranny of the desert to Israel’s “democratic oasis,” are the ones most worried that the status quo has been severely upset and the power balance will shift onto the Arab street (or become “unstable.)”

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 4:53 am

        Hey, they “never lose an opportunity to lose an opportunity.” Tunisia, now Egypt et al. Oops. So now the opportunists are not the massive popular uprising, but the secret Muslim Brotherhood hand behind them–see how quickly the oliarchy moves the goal posts? Ya jess kaint give em freedom down on the farm; they needs lookin’ after fer dair own gud.

    • Donald
      February 1, 2011, 4:45 pm

      “Argentina and Chile to Guatemala and El Salvador to Spain and Greece and Eastern Europe to Zaire and the Philippines. Those countries’ populations were properly viewed as victims of tyranny rather than being inherently unable to handle concepts such as freedom and democracy.”

      In fairness to American imperialists, David, I don’t think that’s true. My recollection is that in the Cold War there was almost as much condescension and contempt for the victims of our allied dictators in Latin America, for instance, as there is for Arabs today. That’s part of what Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s authoritarian-totalitarian distinction was really about–the people living under authoritarian regimes (i.e., under thugs we supported) had the best government they could reasonably expect to have given their level of social development, according to her.

      The rule was simple–people living under communist oppression deserved democracy (true enough). People living under our rightwing pals with death squads should be grateful they weren’t living under communism and they weren’t capable of democracy anyways. When Reagan allowed Marcos to be toppled that was the beginnings of a shift in opinion, and then the Soviet Union toppled and all the old Cold War propagandizing about rightwing dictators being necessary went out of fashion. Except, of course, with respect to the Arab world. Islamic fundamentalists have replaced commies as the new bogeymen, and so that, along with the Israel lobby’s influence, is why we still have people like Cohen defending dictatorships the way Kirkpatrick did 30 years ago.

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 4:56 am

        Well, Glen Beck is courageously and zealously combining the Islamic fundies with the old Cold War propagandizing, with the commies. He’s got two guns blazing, dripping with sweat, the neoCaliphate and the Reds.

  14. CK MacLeod
    February 1, 2011, 11:57 am

    I’m glad that I was registered at the site in time to offer my praise for this post.

    However, I’d like to introduce one element of caution about a certain rhetorical approach: Authentic freedom, justice, and peace rarely come without great cost, before and after. Once upon a time, this was as much a Jewish insight as a dialectical one, and it was the Jewish messianic understanding, a foundation of Jewish morality and what it meant to be a Jew, to accept and even seek to pay the cost (I feel compelled here to state that, despite my goyische name, I am of Jewish heritage). Much of the scaremongering about the Muslim Brotherhood and the erosion of the US-Israeli security position – itself a kind of “Dual Covenant” Judeo-Christian perversion – can be understood in connection to Jefferson’s famous statement regarding America and slavery: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

    Feelings of insecurity and fear are in this sense realistic. It is wise to recognize them. It just isn’t morally supportable to give in to them. In the meantime, optimism is justified, but let it be optimism about the right things.

    • Avi
      February 1, 2011, 12:41 pm

      The leadership of the Moslem Brotherhood party has already stated that it seeks to participate in a future government, not dominate it. It has also stated that it seeks to be inclusive of all Egyptians, regardless of race, creed, religion, ethnicity or sect.

      What many in the west, including yourself, Phil and others are doing is applying the assumption that “Muslim Brotherhood” equals “Theocracy”. And from that launching point the Muslim Brotherhood is already pigeon-holed into a mental box wherein all the assumptions and stereotypes involving Islam reside. In other words, the aforementioned opinions are not objective or empirical, but instead they are tainted by preconceived notions.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 12:47 pm

        According to the group’s founding document, it is “an international Muslim Body, which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion.” The current chairman of the group is Mohamed Badie.

        Read more: link to cbc.ca

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:52 pm

        And that’s different from Israel as “the Jewish state,” or US politicians declaring the US a “Christian nation…” how exactly?

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 5:10 am

        From Wiki:
        The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”.[3] Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals,[4][5] with some exceptions such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to overthrow secular Ba’athist dictators in Syria where they were routinely massacred (see Hama massacre). Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, says “Unlike the jihadis, it does not believe it is at war with the West. It is conservative and non-violent,” [6] and “untested in government and poorly understood – especially in the West” [7]. This position has been questioned, particularly by the Nationalist Secularist NDP Egyptian government currently headed by Hosni Mubarak, which accused the group of a campaign of killings in Egypt after World War II to oppose British rule.[6]
        The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, and members have been arrested for their participation in it.[7] As a means of circumventing the ban, supporters run for office as independents.[8]
        The Brotherhood condemned terrorism and the 9/11 attacks,[9][10] but whether or not it has ties to terrorism is a matter of dispute.[11] Its position on violence has also caused disputes within the movement, with advocates of violence at times breaking away to form groups such as the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Excommunication and Migration).[12]

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 1:22 pm

        I think you misread my point – at any rate I agree with you about how the stereotypes tend to function.

        From a philosophical standpoint – as Chaos4700’s comment implies – it’s questionable whether the term “theocracy” has much meaning anyway, but from my reading of the MB they’re all in favor of it to the extent it does. It’s not scaremongering to recognize that the MB is anti-Zionist. It probably is scaremongering, or anyway undemocratic, to presume that being anti-Zionist, or for that matter believing in some form of “theocracy,” requires your exclusion from political dialogue. I personally see in the MB a Mixed Bag- if I didn’t, I’d try to figure out how to join up! The dialogue with MB ideology must take place sooner or later – and will take place “on the ground” whether or not those in Israel and the West prefer to avoid conducting it in words.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 1:54 pm

        Thanks you, CK MacLeod, and a warm welcome to the comment section. Muslim Brotherhood thinking has been in flux, and the events of the past week will only stimulate it more.
        For now, I think that those of us who are not Egyptian should simply remind people who are learning about the Brotherhood for the first time that:
        * They have advocated and practiced nonviolence for decades.
        * Thousands of them have been jailed and tortured for their beliefs.
        * Their universal human rights should have been respected, (whether they supported violence or not).
        * They have conducted a vigorous critique of Al-Qaeda, which should block efforts to lump them together.
        Over the past few days, I have been active in trying to rebut efforts on this site to slander the Brotherhood. Many visitors here, and the Western public at large, are becoming aware of them for the first time — in part due to years of failure by the mainstream media.
        Once these fundamental points are made, I agree that we can look into their social/economic/religious program, with the humility that a) we are not Egyptian, and b) most of us ignored them while Mubarak tortured them.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 2:15 pm

        Welcome appreciated, Mr. North. I think your overall approach is sound, but, as you suggest, even at a site like this one, pre-conceptions, assumptions, and prejudices may prevent us from ever getting to “stage two.” Out in the “mainstream,” even more on the American right, the difficulties are, to say the least, much greater. I think that for our purposes in the West, acknowledging the “dark side” of the MB’s history, and conceding the presence within such a large, transnational organization of divergent and dissonant voices, even in leadership roles, may be necessary. There are tremendous biases to correct, but I doubt that responding to a one-sided double-barreled assault on the MB coming from the American and Israeli right can successfully take the form of a one-sided defense. Why not instead insist that the same standards of judgment and also of forgiveness apply to the MB that apply to major political actors in the West?

      • kapok
        February 1, 2011, 4:12 pm

        I have a problem with the name. Why “muslim”? and “brotherhood”. Tends to exclude a lot. Perhaps in Arabic “brotherhood” in this context includes females. But “muslim” tends to clash with those of us who question Mohamad’s claim for the source of the voice he heard.

        Nevertheless, if MB can lead Egyptians to a life of greater dignity, then for as long as they can, they should lead.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 1:36 pm

        Thank you, Avi.

        What many in the west. . . are tainted by preconceived notions.

        Philip Giraldi (ex-CIA) said the same thing the other day on on antiwar radio
        link to antiwar.com

        Few Americans know (certainly Witty and yonira) that the Muslim Brotherhood has been one-third of the Egyptian parliament for decades. The MB didn’t start this revolution. It was Mubarak trying to foist his son on Egypt as a successor.

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 2:14 pm

        Part of an interview of Abdal Hakim Murad (aka Tim Winter) of Cambridge University talking aboutthese modern Islamist movements. This was done in 2004 but it is very relevant to the discussion about the MB and Egypts future. Interview was conducted by John Cleary:
        —————————————————–
        John Cleary: One of the elements of the polarisation that’s pushed even in semi-serious Christian circles is a theological issue, and that is the critique that ultimately Islam in the way it is taught, in the majority of places, has at its heart, a notion of theocracy, which is fundamentally incompatible, and I use ‘fundamentally’ quite deliberately there, incompatible with any notion of secular pluralism.

        Tim Winter: Well clearly, religion in any traditional sense is going to adopt a position of prophetic criticism of the structures of liberal consumer society. There are many aspects of the modern world and globalisation, the degradation of the environment, the control exercised over the planet by the corporations, media moguls etc., that I think people in all religions really want to criticise very sharply, and Islam is certainly not different in that respect. The issue of religion and politics, you have to remember that before say the 18th century, all religious assumed that the two were two ways of expressing the same thing, that the head of the church was the head of the State, and in Christendom, as in the Islamic world, the two were very much elided. But the Muslim tradition is actually to keep the institutions of religion very separate from the institutions of State. The men of the sword are not the men of the pen, to use the traditional language. In the Ottoman Empire the traditional Moghul Empire and elsewhere, while the Sultan, the Caliph claimed some kind of general aura of religious legitimacy, he didn’t legislate, and he had no control over religion. And religion had no formal control over him. What’s happening in modern fundamentalism, is that the tradition Sultan or Caliph figure is being abolished, because the Royal Family has become too decadent, as in the case of pre-revolutionary Iran, for instance, and the ‘clergy’ think that it’s their responsibility now really for the first time in Islamic history, to step into the vacuum and try and put things right. So what we’re seeing now, the sort of theocratic model, the Islamic republican model in many parts of the Islamic world, is something that’s radically new and doesn’t really represent our traditions.

        John Cleary: Some people have also compared it to the Cromwellian period in British history, that is once one overturns one mode of government, one necessarily goes through a sort of theological Puritanism in order to sort things out, but Cromwell didn’t last all that long in England and his legacy is regarded as very mixed.

        Tim Winter: Yes, I think that’s an interesting precedent. The Anglo Saxon world has, as it were, worked through the experiment of religiously zealous government, and found that it didn’t particularly deliver even religiously. One of the consequences of Cromwell’s period was the unleashing of a long tradition of English scepticism about religion, that it had behaved so badly when in power because of its well-meaning desire to drag everybody into heaven by the scruff of their necks, that many people reacted in the normal human way, by wanting to run away from religion. If you force it down people’s throats, then the danger is many of them will want to vomit it up again. And we’re seeing that in many parts of the Islamic world. If you look at the Iranian experience, after 25 years of Islamic rule, their Ministry of Religious Guidance recently published figures that show that only 3% of Iranians now attend Friday prayers. Before the revolution, it was almost 50%. So what kind of Islamic reformation and revival has that actually delivered? Religion is now identified with a kind of prison, the pan-optican idea of the man at the centre of the State looking at everybody, Calvin’s city of glass, nobody being able to misbehave in a way that annoys the clerics or the mullahs without calling down on them, not just the sanction of heaven, but the repressive capacities of the modern corporate State. So I think that there’s a dawning awareness in the Islamic world that the totalitarian model of Islamic government doesn’t actually deliver, even on its own terms, and it may well be that many Muslim countries have to work through that experience by themselves, that the West should actually let the Algerians, the Egyptians, the Yemenis, the Pakistanis and other people, experiment with the model that many of the people clearly want, and after 20 years perhaps they’ll come down to earth and they’ll see that perhaps there’s a more convivial, more sort of compromising, more real politik style of integrating religion with politics that’s more open to the outside world and ultimately more humane. But it may take a long time.
        —————————
        link to abc.net.au

        Just to clarify, Tim winter does not mean that Islamist orginizations are actually run by the “clergy”. In another interview, he clarifies : “Bin Laden is an engineer, Zawahiri is a medic. The typical profile of the radical Islamist is not that he is an expert on Islam, rather it is that he is somebody with a Western technical type of education who is sufficiently incensed by Western policies that he is using an Islamic language misunderstood to justify what is essentially a temper tantrum.”

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Just to clarify, Tim winter does not mean that Islamist orginizations are actually run by the “clergy”. In another interview, he clarifies : “Bin Laden is an engineer, Zawahiri is a medic. The typical profile of the radical Islamist is not that he is an expert on Islam, rather it is that he is somebody with a Western technical type of education who is sufficiently incensed by Western policies that he is using an Islamic language misunderstood to justify what is essentially a temper tantrum.”

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 2:41 pm

        Thanks, Olive – that’s good material, and I look forward to reading the entire Winter interview later on. Are you familiar with Olivier Roy’s work? For example:

        It is a mistake to think that the phenomena of religious radicalism (Salafism) and political radicalism (Al Qaeda) are mere imports of the cultures and conflicts of the Middle East. It is above all a consequence of the globalization and Westernization of Islam. Today’s religious revival is first and foremost marked by the uncoupling of culture and religion, whatever the religion may be. This explains the affinities between American Protestant fundamentalism and Islamic Salafism: both reject culture, philosophy, and even theology in favour of a scriptural reading of the sacred texts and an immediate understanding of truth through individual faith, to the detriment of educational and religious institutions.

        link to eurozine.com

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 3:11 pm

        Hi Ck,
        Yes I am familiar some of Olivier Roy’s work . His quote that you are sharing is spot on. Of course, both “Western” zealots and Muslim zealots will deny that Islamism’s roots ultimately lay in European revolutionary utopianism.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 3:42 pm

        I agree that it’s impossible to understand Islamism apart from the Islamic world’s multi-leveled and devastatingly concrete encounter with the West and with globalism, but I think it’s essential at the same time to acknowledge that Islamic scriptural fundamentalism – likewise “Sharia” as widely interpreted and applied – has deep historical, theological, and philosophical roots. For that matter, European revolutionary utopianism didn’t emerge from the historical void either. The theological discussion seems very distant from today’s headlines – and yet is ever-present within them.

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 4:02 pm

        I think there might be a misunderstanding of terms such as “Shariah”, “Islamism”, and “fundementalism”. this is not suprising since i doubt that even pundits on TV know what these terms mean when they are thrown around.

        Without being too spammy on my part, let us have Shaykh faraz Rabbani define the Shariah as understood by traditional Sunni scholars
        —————————————-
        In Arabic, Shariah means the clear, well-trodden path to water. Islamically, it is used to refer to the matters of religion that God has legislated for His servants. The linguistic meaning of Shariah reverberates in its technical usage: just as water is vital to human life so the clarity and uprightness of Shariah is the means of life for souls and minds.

        Throughout history, God has sent messengers to people all over the world, to guide them to the straight path that would lead them to happiness in this world and the one to follow. All messengers taught the same message about belief (the Qur�an teaches that all messengers called people to the worship of the One God), but the specific prescriptions of the divine laws regulating people�s lives varied according to the needs of his people and time.

        The Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and give him peace) was the final messenger and his Shariah represents the ultimate manifestation of the divine mercy. �Today I have perfected your way of life (din) for you, and completed My favour upon you, and have chosen Islam as your way of life.� (Qur�an, 5: 3) The Prophet (pbuh) himself was told that, �We have only sent you are a mercy for all creation.� (Qur�an, 21: 179)

        Legal Rulings
        The Shariah regulates all human actions and puts them into five categories: obligatory, recommended, permitted, disliked or forbidden.

        Obligatory actions must be performed and when performed with good intentions are rewarded. Its opposite is the forbidden. Recommended action is that which should be done. Its opposite is the disliked. Permitted action is that which is neither encouraged nor discouraged. Most human actions fall in this last category.

        The ultimate worth of actions is based on intention and sincerity, as mentioned by the Prophet (pbuh), who said, �Actions are by intentions, and one shall only get that which one intended.�

        Life under the Shariah
        The Shariah covers all aspects of human life. Classical Shariah manuals are often divided into four parts: laws relating to personal acts of worship, laws relating to commercial dealings, laws relating to marriage and divorce, and penal laws.

        Legal Philosophy
        God sent prophets and books to humanity to show them the way to happiness in this life, and success in the hereafter. This is encapsulated in the believer�s prayer, stated in the Qur�an, �Our Lord, give us good in this life and good in the next, and save us from the punishment of the Fire.� (2: 201)

        The legal philosophers of Islam, such as Ghazali, Shatibi, and Shah Wali Allah explain that the aim of Shariah is to promote human welfare. This is evident in the Qur�an, and teachings of the Prophet (pbuh).

        The scholars explain that the welfare of humans is based on the fulfillment of necessities, needs, and comforts.

        Necessities
        Necessities are matters that worldly and religious life depend upon. Their omission leads to unbearable hardship in this life, or punishment in the next. There are five necessities: preservation of religion, life, intellect, lineage, and wealth. These ensure individual and social welfare in this life and the hereafter.

        The Shariah protects these necessities in two ways: firstly by ensuring their establishment and then by preserving them.

        1.Religion: To ensure the establishment of religion, God Most High has made belief and worship obligatory. To ensure its preservation, the rulings relating to the obligation of learning and conveying the religion were legislated.

        2.Life: To ensure the preservation of human life, God Most high legislated for marriage, healthy eating and living, and forbid the taking of life and laid down punishments for doing so.

        3.Intellect: God has permitted that sound intellect and knowledge be promoted, and forbidden that which corrupts or weakens it, such as alcohol and drugs. He has also imposed preventative punishments in order that people stay away from them, because a sound intellect is the basis of the moral responsibility that humans were given.

        4.Lineage: marriage was legislated for the preservation of lineage, and sex outside marriage was forbidden. Punitive laws were put in placed in order to ensure the preservation of lineage and the continuation of human life.

        5.Wealth: God has made it obligatory to support oneself and those one is responsible for, and placed laws to regulate the commerce and transactions between people, in order to ensure fair dealing, economic justice, and to prevent oppression and dispute. (the entire explanation can be read here: link to qa.sunnipath.com)
        —————————————–
        As for Islamism, Dr. Faruq Abdullah explains:
        ————————————————–
        “Islamist” should not be confused with “Islamic” or “extremist.” I use it to refer to various highly politicized twentieth-century revivalist movements with essentialist interpretations of Islam, generally advocating particular state and party ends as Islam’s chief or virtually unique focus. Islamists tend toward literalism but selectively retrieve the texts they follow, often contravening well-established interpretations within Islam’s scholarly tradition. As culturally predatory as they often are regarding traditional Islamic and modern humanistic culture, their general attitude toward culture entails the grave oversight of looking upon modern technology as “culturally” neutral without addressing its sociological underpinnings, especially the implications of the skills, assumptions, and expectations required to produce it.
        ————————

        I was planning on also providing a definition of what makes a “Wahabi” but I will stop here for now in the interest of not making my post too long.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 4:14 pm

        Thanks for that description Olive.

        I sense that spirituality is important to you, and respect that much.

        I personally cannot digest the assertion that

        “The Prophet Muhammad (God bless him and give him peace) was the final messenger and his Shariah represents the ultimate manifestation of the divine mercy. �Today I have perfected your way of life (din) for you, and completed My favour upon you, and have chosen Islam as your way of life.”

        Do you relate to that literally? Or principles applied?

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 4:24 pm

        Thanks for the kind words Richard (although I am not deserving of them). As one of my teachers said, a person truly realized in spirituality is some who is realized in three basic realities:

        1.) You
        2.) God
        3.) Your grave

        So we should all be scrupulous in standing up for justice and not oppressing others because wicked deeds are not things that one wants to bring with him to his grave….

        As for your questions, my answer is yes to both.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 5:35 pm

        Olive, Dr. Faruq Abdullah’s description is in my opinion useful and accurate, but includes a theoretical fallacy: Any so-called “literalism” always implies “selective… retrieval.” The literalist eventually relies on a flawed theory of language that typically involves a reification of the sacred text as something other than a text – the attribution of a talismanic significance to the word or the book as an object rather than as signs, a fetish with magical or miraculous properties rather than a message that is inherently a matter of ever-changing interpretation. When ca. 1,000 years ago, at the arguable height of Islamic culture, the “Gates of Ijtihad” were declared closed, and the “philosophers” declared “incoherent,” a susceptibility to scriptural fundamentalism or literalism was itself inscribed into the Islamic tradition. This problematic is not in my opinion unique to Islam: The other two main monotheistic faith traditions each put their own obstacles in the way of the absolute unity of humankind that is the proper and inherent counterpart of belief in God as the unique and eternal being, and that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam each proclaim. One is left with the poet’s prayer, “Forgive them, Lord, that they say ‘mine.'”

        But this is a discussion perhaps for a different context and a different time.

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 6:01 pm

        CK, the Sunni Legal tradition has something called “usul al fiqh” which translates as “Methodological principles of jurisprudence” which is a set of objective principles used to interpret the primary texts of Islam . The differences between the Four Sunni school of law stem from their different methodologies in extracting law from the primary texts. Thus, when a new question that arises in our modern age (ex. genetic engineering of foods), the jurists use the Methodological principles of their school of law to solve these problems. Many modern reform movements (Islamists included) seem to prefer a “Potestant” approach to interpreting texts, instead.

        As for the “Gates of Ijtihad” being closed; they are only closed to those without they keys to go through them (i.e unqualified people).

        As for the “Incoherence of the Philosopher”, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (in a speech given a while ago) explains why Imam al Ghazali wrote this book:
        “Tahafut al-falasifa [Incoherence of the Philosophers] and he also did a great favour because he went through philosophy, he defined six branches of philosophy. He said out of six branches, five branches are actually fine, they are not really a problem. Politics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. Ethics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. Mathematics is not a problem, that is an Islamic science. He said these are all fine but when we get into metaphysics, we have a problem and then he identified 20 problems with metaphysics in philosophy and from those 20 problems, he identified three problems in particular and he wrote that in his Tahafut al-falasifa that the philosophers are a problem because they believe in the eternity of the world. They do not believe that the bodies are resurrected and they do not believe that Allah knows particulars. They believe He knows universals. So he refuted why and he did it using logic because that is also one of the branches of philosophy. ”

        But, CK, you are correct in saying that this discussion is probably not appropriate to this blog.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 6:31 pm

        Olive, I wish I had had you around earlier last year when a few of us, originally inspired by the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, were discussing these questions intensively. I remain more sympathetic to the Incoherence of the Incoherence than to the Incoherence, but regret that I have thusfar been able to familiarize myself with the arguments only through secondary sources and criticisms. I intend at some point to look into the aborted dialogue more closely, as I do not know, for instance, whether Ibn Rushd addressed the logical difficulty of completely separating metaphysics from ethics and politics (or even from mathematics), or whether he or anyone else has attempted for Islam the kind of idealization that Kant and Hegel attempted in relation to Christianity or that Hermann Cohen performed in relation to Judaism. From what I do know about Ibn Rushd, he at least represents that direction historically. To me, the yearning for and necessity of a synthesis or convergence along such lines drive contemporary history, and will eventually have to be articulated between the Abrahamic and non-Abrahamic faiths as well. In the meantime, I remain, I think, very open to the possibility of the kind of evolution Winter describes, but it won’t – cannot and need not – happen in a vacuum.

        Thanks for the thoughtful and interesting exchange.

      • olive
        February 1, 2011, 7:51 pm

        The pleasure is all mine, Ck.

      • Saleema
        February 1, 2011, 10:47 pm

        Mashallah, you know so much. :)

  15. Ellen
    February 1, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Well articulated lay of the land. Change in the mindset will come rapidly. However, I do not know if it is fair to write: “Americans must be as willing to dream as the people in Tahrir Square. We must dare to step outside our old understandings and our old fears.”

    People are afraid when they are taught to be afraid. Fear keeps a population in better control. For the last 40 years our media and government has created this fear, but not all Americans succumbed to it — many never fell into the trap of racist fear mongering and actively resisted it ordinary daily life. So I felt of tinge of “please do not speak for me” reading those words.

    ” Liberalism will be called upon again in the Jewish spirit, and Jews will answer. “Can move beyond tribal identification

    Those who promote it on the airwaves and cling to it are looking more and more ridiculous — even ugly — everyday.

    Yes, the winds are changing. Thank you.

  16. Richard Witty
    February 1, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I think its too early to tell what will be the result.

    I am pleased that the demonstrations have been non-violent (from the demonstrators mostly), and that there has been a minimum of hateful content.

    I still worry about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, that patiently and calmly propose some things that I admire (social services, spirituality, humility), and other things that I more than oppose.

    Specifically, they still regard the obligation of non-violence and respect as critical, but they have their except….

    And, the except is for Israel. Also specifically, they do advocate for an undifferentiated Islamic realm, from East Asia to North Africa (and even Spain), and an Islamic world (as a heart valve, meaning that the process is designed to go one way, expansion).

    I love their dedication to monotheism, and many orthodox Jews that I’ve spoken with speak of a feeling of kindred with that, that most are serious about it.

    But, there is always the except…

    And, I agree that it was a moving post. And, at the same time, I feel that you have gotten a bit intoxicated by a theme that I consider dangerous, that of the momentum of it. I am not convinced that it is a democratic momentum when it comes to Israel, that the movement will seek democracy and majority rule everywhere except….

    And, that will be a repeat of the worst of history for Jews, always except….

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 1, 2011, 12:23 pm

      ” I am not convinced that it is a democratic momentum when it comes to Israel, that the movement will seek democracy and majority rule everywhere except….”

      It’s a shame then that the Jews of Israel have been denying democratic governance and human rights to the Arabs throughout Palestine since ’67 (and ’47 in some places). Had they done things differently, they might not look like hypocrites when someone proposes stripping democratic and human rights from them.

    • Chaos4700
      February 1, 2011, 12:24 pm

      And, that will be a repeat of the worst of history for Jews, always except….

      We must ethnically cleanse them over there before they ethnically cleanse us over here, huh? Why don’t you love the American ideal of multiculturalism, Witty? Why do you think ethnicities must live separated?

    • James North
      February 1, 2011, 12:25 pm

      Even more characteristic sloppiness from Richard. Most posts and comments on this site have so many links that it makes your head spin. But he has failed to provide a single one that shows that the Muslim Brotherhood advocates “violence” toward Israel.
      Instead, he continues to repeat unsubstantiated slander.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:29 pm

        Of course. He has to “catapult the propaganda,” after all. Notice how he and yonira work in double team?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 12:34 pm

        2 million is obviously a inaccurate estimate. That is all we are saying.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:37 pm

        So is David Duke, although the number he attacks is somewhat larger.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 12:46 pm

        what does that even mean Chaos?

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:55 pm

        Playing stupid? Well, if the shoe fits, I suppose.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 2:13 pm

        Give it up, Yonira. What was it you said last week? If it didn’t work in Iran it wouldn’t work in Egypt, was it?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 2:31 pm

        I don’t believe so seafoid, i said something along the lines of a dictatorship is only as powerful as their secret police.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 4:32 pm

        No you didn’t. You said it didn’t work in Iran. It won’t work in Egypt.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:53 pm

        I’d like to hear yonira deny it just one more time, and then we should go fetch the link. It would make my day.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 6:02 pm

        I have it on my computer at work.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 7:41 pm

        Seafoid,

        I apologize, here is what I said:

        If Iran’s regime didn’t fall last spring, Egypt’s won’t fall now.

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 8:31 pm

        so what’s your logic in stating the regime won’t fall because iran’s didn’t? egypt isn’t iran.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 8:53 pm

        I was wrong Annie and that is what I was saying above.

        The regime hasn’t fallen yet but I do pray there isn’t a crackdown down like in Iran. Hopefully Mubarak will admit his defeat and step down.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 9:09 pm

        oh thanks.

        i’d rather you say you were wrong ever using the term pallywood.

        pretty please ;) i’ll forgive you ever using it in a split second. (except i have to run out for a couple hrs)

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 12:29 pm

        I don’t think I stated that the Muslim Brotherhood advocates violence towards Israel actively.

        Their status, objectives, morality is NOT clear. You haven’t made it more clear.

        You are apparently not concerned about the except…. So much so that you attack questions even being articulated. Others of us are.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 12:34 pm

        Their status, objectives, morality is NOT clear.

        This is just another example of Witty pretending that something that is perfectly easy to find out is vague because he’s too lazy (or too bigoted) to seek the information at its source.

        You haven’t made it more clear.

        And this is both a straw man and an ad hominem. Nobody is responsible for answering your inquisition, Witty. We already know you’ll burn the “witch,” every time, no matter what evidence is presented to you.

        This “Arabs are violent until proven otherwise” dovetails nicely with your friend yonira’s “Arabs are lying until proven otherwise.”

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 12:37 pm

        where did I say anything about Arabs lying Chaos?

        According to the group’s founding document, it is “an international Muslim Body, which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion.” The current chairman of the group is Mohamed Badie.

        Read more: link to cbc.ca

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 12:51 pm

        I defy anyone to read Richard’s post at 12:12 pm above and not conclude he is insinuating that the Brotherhood advocates violence against Israel.
        Now, at 12:29 pm, he admits that the Brotherhood does not promote “violence towards Israel actively.”
        More sly insinuation. Is he saying the MB encourages violence “passively?” What does that mean?
        If Richard wants to learn more about the Brotherhood, I included link to ikhwanweb.com to their English-language website a few days ago. There’s a wealth of material there which should keep him busy for awhile.
        Just yesterday, he sloppily accused the Brothers of assassinating Nasser — quite an achievement, as Nasser died peacefully of a heart attack. He later “clarified” that he meant the alleged attempted assassination. . . in 1954.
        Richard poses as an advocate of peace and love, asking innocent questions because he simply wants to know. In fact, he is slyly thowing mud at the Brotherhood, hoping that we are all so distracted by the great events in Egypt that we don’t have time to clean some of it off.

      • eljay
        February 1, 2011, 1:00 pm

        >> Richard poses as an advocate of peace and love…

        An “advocate of peace and love for Israel”, maybe. His assertion that ethnic cleansing was necessary – as though something that immoral could ever be justified as necessary – disqualifies him as an advocate for universal peace and love.

        Thankfully, however, he does believe that ethnic cleansing is “currently not necessary”, except…

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 1:03 pm

        yes james, and he can’t help himself from inserting the routine assignment of hatred towards his adversaries even when he’s ‘generous’ (“there has been a minimum of hateful content” it’s always there lurking).

        btw, @ FP today helena’s makes some excellent points re MB in her article The men of Qasr el-Aini Street.

        wrt witty, i just tend to scroll thru most of it, there’s only so many hrs in my day to navigate negative contradicting slippery wordsmithing.

      • Surcouf
        February 1, 2011, 1:05 pm

        Thanks James for clarifying.
        I have not been posting on this site for very long but I’ve been following it for over 2 years. What I’ve learned though, and that I am sure, is that the only person Richard has been able to fool is himself.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 1:11 pm

        Eljay,
        I wish that I was a person in power, that could influence a more humane Israel, and a more humane Jewish community.

        I ALWAYS remember that the Palestinians exist, are human beings deserving legal and moral human rights, and have the potential to be in a good neighbor relationship with their Israeli neighbors.

        I also ALWAYS remember that Israelis exist, are human beings deserving legal and moral human rights, and have the potential be good neighbors to their Palestinian neighbors.

        It is a dual narrative, a dual awareness, sometimes resulting in the need to make temporarily uncomfortable decisions or observations (in this case about events that occurred 6 years before I was born).

        Where I can, where I actually can, I choose to make uncomfortable decisions that humanize others, in the present.

        Its a perspective deserving of respect, not of condemnation, the choice to continue to be concerned, rather than slink away in reactive cynicism.

        Read my own blog, to determine my own independant views. Taking a single quote out of context, is misrepresentative in my case.

        I sincerely regard the present as the territory that we work with, and I sincerely regard mutual peace as the goal.

        Live AND let live.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 1:20 pm

        Nobody wants to read your blog, stop plugging it. We could care less about your page rank and the fact that nobody would pay attention to the word salad if they could make it unavoidable.

      • eljay
        February 1, 2011, 1:33 pm

        >> Eljay,
        >> I wish that I was a person in power, that could influence a more humane Israel, and a more humane Jewish community.

        Maybe you would, and maybe you wouldn’t. It’s hard to know for sure:
        >> I cannot consistently say that “ethnic cleansing is never necessary”.
        >> If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.

        (Link to thread: If Obama saw what white phosphorus did to the kids’ rehab room at Al Quds Hospital in Gaza, maybe he would become a decider?)

        >> Taking a single quote out of context, is misrepresentative in my case.

        We’ve done the dance before. There’s no misrepresentation involved – there’s just your own damning words, in their original context. Here they are again:
        ———————————————
        Chaos4700 September 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm
        … Then why was it necessary for Jewish immigrants to ethnically cleanse massive swaths of the Palestinian country side? …

        Richard Witty September 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm
        “Then why was it necessary for Jewish immigrants to ethnically cleanse massive swaths of the Palestinian country side?”

        Currently its not necessary. Its a stupid choice, that can be influenced by those with a better argument. …
        ———————————————

        (Link to thread: If Obama saw what white phosphorus did to the kids’ rehab room at Al Quds Hospital in Gaza, maybe he would become a decider?)

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 2:10 pm

        James North,

        Witty has swallowed wholesale the former in Phil’s framing of an issue looming within Jewish American life: Jews…take on the strains of We-are-smarter and Is-it-good-for-the-Jews? that have dominated organized Jewish life.

        Witty’s curlycues are an attempt to pass himself off as a wise Jewish philosopher, stroking his beard, fostering the concepts of dialogue, correctly placed fear, peace, love, proper argumentation, etcetera, etcetera., not that there is anything inherently wrong with these things. But Witty insults us here by assuming that he is smarter than the rest of us. Which he is not. He hasn’t changed his point of view in years, he doesn’t look up links, he refuses to engage on the facts, he never apologizes. He just takes up inches with his own issues, and tries to make every thread he participates in about him. The latter is my complaint.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 2:16 pm

        I don’t make every thread about me. I make single comments on topic, that are attacked personally, and in that way become about me.

        I don’t assume that I am smarter than anyone else, nor stupider. I assert my perspective honestly and clearly as I can in a moment.

        I haven’t changed my view of Live AND let live, in 45 years.

        I’m proud of that.

        Those of us that do identify malevolent comment with the implication of physical and political threat if followed through on, do always think of what is best for Israel. Those of us that are liberal and concerned about others’ well-being, include what is best for others as well.

        Thats what constructs peace. Intersection of interests and concerns – humanization of the other. The selection of ONLY singular interests constructs war (always driven by self-interest multiplied by ideology).

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 2:18 pm

        What’s wrong with a bit of incoming violence once in a while, Richard? Or is the right to violence reserved for Israeli Jews only ?

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 2:21 pm

        “Currently its not necessary.”

        You do know the meaning of the term “currently”, as in the present.

        You want to alienate current commitment in favor of the “politically correct” opinion on an event that occurred 7 years before my birth?

        What is that?

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 1, 2011, 2:46 pm

        “You want to alienate current commitment in favor of the ‘politically correct’ opinion on an event that occurred 7 years before my birth?”

        The “politically correct” opinion is the measure of your opinion. The only way we can take a measure of a person is through the opinions he or she holds.

        You profess to be proud of holding a “live and let live” attitude, but refuse to forthright and unconditionally condemn an act of ethnic cleansing – a crime against humanity. It is the complete negation of the attitude you profess to believe, yet you appear to hold both as valid at the same time. There is something very wrong in that, don’t you see?

        And the fact that an-Nakba happened 7 years before you were born is irrelevant. What would you think of me if I refused to condemn the Holocaust because it occurred decades before I was born?

      • eljay
        February 1, 2011, 3:02 pm

        >> You want to alienate current commitment in favor of the “politically correct” opinion on an event that occurred 7 years before my birth?

        It is not “politically correct” to denounce ethnic cleansing – past, present or future – as immoral. It is, however, disturbing to hear anyone, especially a self-professed “humanist”:
        i) coldly declare that the past ethnic cleansing of Palestinians was “necessary” (as though such immorality can ever be considered necessary);
        ii) downplay the issue of past ethnic cleansing by stating that it is “currently not necessary” (rather than “never necessary and always abhorrent”); and
        iii) disturbingly conclude that he “cannot consistently say that ‘ethnic cleansing is never necessary'”.

        The third point clearly indicates that your “live AND let live” philosophy is valid only until such time as you feel the need for ethnic cleansing to be “necessary” once again. (Sure, you’ll have to “hold your nose”, but you’ll do just fine.)

        You can play the “misunderstood ‘humanist'” all you like, but your own words damn you as anything but misunderstood or humanist. And if you can’t see that, you truly are blind and insensitive.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 3:08 pm

        You “defy”.

        Here is a quote from wikipedia on the original stated goals of the Muslim Brotherhood per its reported founder.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        “In the group’s belief, the Quran and Sunnah constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretching from Spain to Indonesia.”

        Its enough to make me question. Not you?

        You read prejudicially James.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 3:18 pm

        Here is a terrific example of Richard producing more Orientalist rubbish — the idea that Muslims have a timeless, unchanging essence. Hassan al-Banna died in 1949, (assassinated by King Farouk’s secret police). Sixty-one years have passed since then, and the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved, as even some quick online research would show.
        Would Richard like to remind us what Israel’s founders Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were saying — and more importantly doing — in the same time frame? Did he use their (terrorist) actions back then to later discredit them when they became prime ministers of Israel?

      • tree
        February 1, 2011, 3:38 pm

        where did I say anything about Arabs lying Chaos?

        You might want to refrain from using the term “Pallywood” if you are so concerned about people thinking you subscribe to “Arabs are lying until proven otherwise” meme. The term reeks of that attitude. Do you not know this?

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 3:52 pm

        Its the basis of MY questioning.

        You got a question, and instead of rising to answer the question calmly and confidently, you decided that ‘shoot the messenger’ was a more representative approach.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 3:56 pm

        Begin? Shamir? Will Richard answer my question “calmly” and “confidently?”

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 3:59 pm

        “Here is a terrific example of Richard producing more Orientalist rubbish — the idea that Muslims have a timeless, unchanging essence. Hassan al-Banna died in 1949, (assassinated by King Farouk’s secret police). Sixty-one years have passed since then, and the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved, as even some quick online research would show.”

        So, you could have just as easily stated, “that was the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is DIFFERENT now”.

        Is it? How did you know? A link perhaps?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 4:00 pm

        So someone says Pallywood and that automatically means that said person thinks all Arabs are liars, great logic.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 4:11 pm

        I repeat my question to Richard:
        Begin? Shamir? Will Richard answer my question “calmly” and “confidently?”

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 4:16 pm

        Begin – terrorist should have been disqualified from running, though he renounced terror to be a politician.

        Shamir – terrorist who should have been disqualified from running.

        Whats your point? I asked you questions for clarification, not for polemic advocacy.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:43 pm

        I think our point is you accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of having to answer for something decades ago, whereas you will forever forgive Israel when they are violent today. I think the point, Witty, is that your overt racism makes your arguments illegitimate.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 4:47 pm

        FFS Richard. Does everything have to be a Shoah ? I mean aren’t there interim punishments? Couldn’t they all be herded into a strip 35km long by 5 km wide and left to live off international food aid, for example ?

      • tree
        February 1, 2011, 4:59 pm

        So someone says Pallywood and that automatically means that said person thinks all Arabs are liars, great logic.

        This kind of thinking , i.e., ““Arabs are lying until proven otherwise” . permeates most of your postings here. Using the term “Pallywood”, which you have done repeatedly, is just one indicator of your attitude.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 5:33 pm

        So, you could have just as easily stated, “that was the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it is DIFFERENT now”.

        Is it? How did you know? A link perhaps?

        today FP blog

        During the interview, Abul-Futouh was adamant that, despite the repression that the regime sustained against MB leaders and organizers, the movement as a whole was determined not to see any of its members pushed over the line into the use of violence. “The Brotherhood strategically chose nonviolence in 1984, and it was after that, that we entered Parliament and the unions and so on,” he said.

        In the Egyptian parliamentary elections of November 2005, the MB was allowed to field candidates nationwide. They were not allowed to run explicitly in the organization’s name (though everyone knew who they were.) They were also subjected to significant logistical discrimination from election officials — but MB candidates won 88 of the parliament’s 444 seats that year. Then, in 2006, in the aftermath of the victory that the MB’s sister-organization Hamas won in elections in the Palestinian territories, President Mubarak rolled back even the modest democratic opening of 2005. (And during the country’s most recent parliamentary “elections” last November, the goons from Mubarak’s ruling party, the “National Democratic Party”, engaged in such blatant electoral violence and intimidation that, though the MB took part in the first round of elections, they refused to take part in the runoffs.)

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 5:44 pm

        Thanks for the link, annie. Richard himself is not really interested, but our tens of thousands of other visitors will benefit.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 5:48 pm

        gotta get this link up on the front page james. it’s just so hard to choose 3 paragraphs out of it. fair use and all that.

        i’ll see what i can do tho, essential reading.

      • Chu
        February 1, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Richard has been blowing smoke for years now. Why anyone stays in the room debating him is another question.

        Oh yeah, he wont leave and now one can stop him. What a disaster he is for this site, and a reminder of the type of sly witted sludge that defends this tribe.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 8:16 pm

        yonira, why are you consulting canadian broadcasting to make a point about the MB when they do a very good job of describing who they are at their own site? can you find a relevant link for today confirming whatever the groups founding document stated in 1928 has not transformed over time. if you scroll down the page @ the link you can find:

        Our Testimony, Issued in 1994 In 2010, still true to our word.
        This testimony was issued by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1994, and it addresses various issues clearly and without ambiguity. Ikhwanweb decided to post part of this testimony in order to rebut some of the claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has not yet clarified its stance on certain issues like violence, terrorism, and commitment to democracy.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 8:22 pm

        So someone says Pallywood and that automatically means that said person thinks all Arabs are liars, great logic.

        it’s racist. it means people exposing what’s going on wrt the suffering of the oppressed in palestine are exploiting the audience for nefarious gain. it implies we are not telling the truth so yes, it basically claims what’s being related is not true, a lie.

        it’s a gross racist term used and perpetuated by racists.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 8:34 pm

        I get it now Annie, you’ll be the first to question anything which doesn’t demonize Israel, but will believe everything w/out question that does demonize Israel.

        it’s anti-semitic. (well not really, but calling me a racist for using the term Pallywood months ago is about as ridiculous)

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 8:58 pm

        i didn’t call you a racist. i said the term was racist and it’s used and perpetuated by racists, which it is. if the shoe fits wear it.

        hey, i’m willing to accept one realizes how wrong and rude they were perpetuating this slander which escalated after the gaza massacre by people wishing to lesson the stain on israel’s reputation. why are you defending it w/this whining So someone says Pallywood and that automatically means bla bla bla bla. it’s racist, don’t make excuses for it or go into this ‘automatically means’ crap. it’s racist. it’s as racist as calling hollywood jewywood. how would you like it if i said

        ‘oh jewywood just came out w/another holocaust movie and guess who’s the victim’?

        huh? well guess what, hollywood wasn’t making holocaust movies during the holocaust. but if they were and we called them jewywood movies would you think it was racist? exploiting the pain of the jews? would you complain they were making those movies by joking about them?

        no i didn’t think so, in fact it might have saved some lives by making people aware of the genocide. now what if one defended the use of the term by saying So someone says jewywood and that automatically means that said person thinks all jews are liars, great logic.

        what would you say? would you say it was antisemitic? me too. that’s why i said the term pallywood is racist. and you’re going to dig yourself out of this mess by claiming i believe everything w/out question that demonizes Israel and i’m an anti semite?

        g.e.t. a. g.r.i.p.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 9:02 pm

        “Pallywood! You’re an ANTI-SEMITE! Photos of dead children are fake! You leftists are all loonies!”

        Yonira, the broken record.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 9:38 pm

        North,
        Does the quote about non-violence apply towards Israel?

        Or, is that an except…

        It is a real question, in which some clear answer would be helpful, for the “tens of thousands”.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 9:40 pm

        Annie, your link was to the home page of the Muslim Brotherhood, not to the quote that you referred.

      • annie
        February 2, 2011, 12:22 am

        did you follow the instructions?

        if you scroll down the page @ the link you can find:

        because it works fine for me.

      • annie
        February 2, 2011, 12:28 am

        also richard. on all the pages there is a red stripe on the page above the updates which contains options/ like ‘statements’ ‘interviews’ ‘issues’ ‘opinions’ etc w/dropdowns. try one. every single page starts out w/the updates, you have to scroll past the updates on every page to find what you’re looking for.

      • tree
        February 2, 2011, 12:32 am

        Geez, what incompetence. The quote that annie posted is right there ON THE HOME PAGE, Richard. Try reading for once.

      • RoHa
        February 2, 2011, 4:59 am

        Why do so many people have such difficulty spelling “independEnt”?

      • James North
        February 2, 2011, 9:19 am

        Incompetence, sloppiness, or deliberate laziness? Richard wants us to sit next to him as if he were a 4-year-old.

      • Richard Witty
        February 2, 2011, 9:23 am

        And you James.

        The links that I was able to find did not express acceptance of Israel, just willingness to not use violence themselves.

        You are arguing a straw dog, again. Arguing with what the mass media presents, and attributing that to my questions, my doubts.

        And, still, you FAIL to provide even your understanding of their change of views. What is your understanding of their views?

      • James North
        February 2, 2011, 9:53 am

        A newcomer to this site might believe that Richard is some kind of pacifist. Instead of someone who had next to nothing to say about Israeli piracy against the Mavi Marmara, and who continues to justify the attack on Gaza that killed 1400 people.

        His concern for violence is highly selective.

      • Richard Witty
        February 2, 2011, 10:30 am

        Is that all you respond?

        You can disagree with my MIXED assessment of both the Mari Mavmara, and the Operation Cast Lead.

        I am an avid critic of both (if you read my independant posts on it), and I am an avid critic of the gullible apology for Hamas actions in late 2008, and dissenters claims to non-violent civil disobedience on the Mari Mavmara.

        You are a partisan James. I’m definitely not. I support the effort for peace, NOT the effort for less than non-violent resistance.

        Why do you FAIL to provide your understanding of the MB philosophy, actions, goals?

        That is the content of the discussion, no? Or are you just looking to identify enemies?

        It would be wonderful if you just humbly stated, “I misinterpreted your comments on MB.” rather than defending your misjudgment and go into attack mode, like likudniks do.

        You can still disagree with me.

      • Chaos4700
        February 2, 2011, 1:29 pm

        The problem, Witty, is that the Hague disagrees with your interpretation.

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 5:11 pm

        JN, we regulars here agree with your thumbnail portrait of Mister Witty; you describe his regular pattern here over the years very well. Apparently Phil allows him to keep commenting here despite this regular pattern because they were brought up in the same insular environment and at the same time, that is, for sentimental reasons–Phil obviously has rebelled against such deep insularity and smug hypocrisy. Mister Witty, on the other hand, is very comfy in his American bought, paid for, and protected niche, the perfect niche the better to spin his liberal zionist daydreams of his beloved Israel. Unfortunately that adds up to a lot of time wasted here countering Mister Witty’s (he thinks) sly innuendo and inferences, which as you say, are always (weakly) masked with his patented naive peace guru personna. If nobody responds to Witty’s (usually asbstract) babble, curious passerby peeps lacking real data on the subjects discussed on this blog might be mislead. The other hasbara bots here come and go over time, but Mister Witty remains. He has his own blog, as perhaps you know–it’s a pedantic lark. I doubt Phil ever even checked it out, except, perhaps, for a few seconds.

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 5:26 pm

        “What would you think of me if I refused to condemn the Holocaust because it occurred decades before I was born?”

        Can’t wait for Dick Witty’s response to that question; I’m sure he will commit full mental and moral integrity.

    • sherbrsi
      February 1, 2011, 12:30 pm

      Your worries against Israel are justified Witty, and Israel has earned this uncertainty for itself.

      If Israel had formulated policy for peace in the long-term, they would have sided with the people of Egypt, NOT their oppressors, torturers and murderers. Even now, when the Mubarak regime is breathing its last, they can do nothing but hope that the largely peaceful protestors (as you yourself identify) be quashed, and criticism of the dictator be curbed.

      Israel had 30 years to make peace, and instead they made their choice clear.

      All will not be lost, however, if the Israelis similarly change course as the Egyptians have, rather than unsuccessfully hoping for further compliance in fundamentally unsustainable and inhumane policies such as the Gaza blockade.

      • James
        February 1, 2011, 12:36 pm

        i can’t see that happening in israel with the huge rise in the orthodox religions numbers… these folks are more fanatical now then they appeared to be 30 years ago… i would like to be wrong though.. however israels actions towards gaza in particular suggest they will continue on in the racist manner they accuse others of regularly…

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 2:14 pm

        James,

        i can’t see that happening in israel with the huge rise in the orthodox religions numbers

        I agree. Behavior creates the culture, and culture rewires the brain. (Neuroscience proven via MRIs in the past 10 years.) Netanyahu has neither the power nor the intelligence to figure out how to change the behavior. Israel is doomed.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 12:43 pm

        Israel has been going down the wrong road for 40 years.

      • Surcouf
        February 1, 2011, 12:44 pm

        sherbrsi – in support of your comment.
        In today’s Haaretz editorial:

        1) This view (support for dictatorial stability) led Israel to disregard the citizens of neighboring countries, viewing them as devoid of political influence in the best case and as hostile Israel-haters in the worst case. Israel viewed itself as a Western outpost and displayed no interest in the language, culture and public opinion of its immediate surroundings. Integration into the Middle East seemed like a trivial, if not a downright harmful, fantasy. As a result, Israel never prepared for the changes that were occurring behind the sclerotic facade of these countries’ rulers.

        2) The time has come to start preparing for a new regional order. Instead of clinging to the old, collapsing order, Netanyahu must seek peace agreements with both the Palestinians and with Syria in order to make Israel a more welcome and desirable neighbor.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 12:53 pm

        surcouf, Yuval Ben-Ami @ 972 responds to haartz article in Can Israel survive only in a dictatorial Middle East?

        What is the value of our so called democracy if it can only flourish when its neighbors aren’t democracies? We have been told for years that occupation techniques such as the construction of the separation barrier are necessary to ensure the survival of “the Middle East’s only democracy.” We learned to accept that our democracy is dependent on human rights infringements. Now we learn that the scale of these infringements must be fantastically greater.

        For 30 years Israel enjoyed the status quo with Egypt, while Egyptians suffered from tyranny, lacked freedom of speech and could not affect their own destiny. What message is Israel sending now? Does it truly imply that only a dictatorial Middle East will permit it to survive as a Jewish state?

        Is this Jewish state such a fragile fantasy, that an entire region of the world must be kept imprisoned in order for it to thrive? How many children are in the basement? Four million Palestinians? Eighty million Egyptians? How many more? How many people must be deprived of liberty so we can have ours? Can we only have our liberty by maintaining absolute dictators as allies? Are we really that scared?

      • Surcouf
        February 1, 2011, 12:56 pm

        Thanks annie for pointing this out! Much appreciated.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 12:57 pm

        I know quite a few orthodox now. They definitely have influences urging them towards a blindness to Palestinians’ humanity.

        And, I’ve also met many that regard Israel as skew to their religious convictions, that they are still bound to “love thy neighbor as thyself”, and that they understand Torah as prohibiting forced or opportunistic taking of land. I week ago, I asked a close orthodox friend what he thought of the idea that the Palestinians are being equated with Amalek (biblical barbaric enemies of post-exodus Israel).

        He stated that the assertion that Palestinians are Amalek, was frankly racist (his language).

        The willingness to form prejudicial attitudes about orthodox is itself a renunciation of the progressive effort.

        The progressive effort that appeals to compassion, rather than ideology is flexible, effective, world-changing, big tent.

        The vindictive approach only attracts the vain or prejudicial.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 1:35 pm

        a pleasure Surcouf, i love that blog btw. always awesome insight coming out of the free thinkers in israel. the ‘within’ crowd. i’ve got their homepage bookmarked.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 4:50 pm

        Israeli democracy was already in serious trouble before Hosni started to wobble. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a military coup at some stage. Especially if the pressure comes on to pull out of key settlements like “Kiryat Arba” or “Maaleh Adumim”.

        I think Masada is more than just a tourist site.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 8:38 pm

        I think Masada is more than just a tourist site.

        Modern day Israel is a little armed than the Zealots @ Masada.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 8:56 pm

        But not altogether that different in attitude. Or tactics, vis-a-vis political assassinations.

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 5:44 pm

        Great catch, Annie–so much to the point.

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 5:49 pm

        Yes, remember “the Samson Option?” Remember Golda Meir blatently arming missile with nuclear warheads (So Dick Nixon couldn’t miss it) back during the Yom Kipper war when the IDF discovered it was just a bunch of tyrant cops, completely out of the water in a real war?

    • Ellen
      February 1, 2011, 12:32 pm

      “I still worry about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood,…” Good golly can’t you guys give this mantra up? It seems to be the talking point beamed. The fear of the MB is repeated everywhere (on the BBC, CNN, etc.) and repeated over and over by the same group of people.

      This FEAR is never backed up with anything more than bogey man talk. The facts are that the Egyptian people are looking for Mubarek to be gone, for a transitional government and for elections. And the MB does not have all that much support anyway.

      It is the dictatorship that has kept the MB alive. If there were an open and free society the MB probably would not even exist.

      Keep fear alive, Richard. When it is gone, the Zionist game have no cards left.

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Rest in comfort Richard Witty; Glen Beck is on mass TV right now, telling his gullible audience that the MB, HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Code Pink just want to kill all the Jews and enslave the rest of the world with cheap tricks. Glen’s closer: “Stand Guard America, Against the hatred that comes from within these groups.” He sees the radical lefties of the USA mid-60’s and Mao, and Che as moved by the identical hating spirit, responsible for the death of millions. Muslim want to kill the hiding Jew.

    • Jim Haygood
      February 1, 2011, 12:43 pm

      ‘they do advocate for an undifferentiated Islamic realm, from East Asia to North Africa (and even Spain)’

      Yep, there he goes again, making wild unsubstantiated assertions. But in the remote event that this unlikely claim were true … so what? Was the formation of the European Community a dire threat to humanity? Of course not.

      Uniting the Islamic world sounds like a harmless pipe dream that would take a hundred years, if it ever happened. But asserting it as a criticism plays on ingrained prejudice that all Muslims harbor evil, violent intent. It’s made to sound sinister when it isn’t.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 1:12 pm

        Jim Haygood is right. Richard’s assertion here is unsubstantiated Orientalist rubbish, which would be too low for even Bernard Lewis or Daniel Pipes to sink.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 1:42 pm

        ‘they do advocate for an undifferentiated Islamic realm, from East Asia to North Africa (and even Spain)’
        …….
        jim: But in the remote event that this unlikely claim were true … so what? Was the formation of the European Community a dire threat to humanity? Of course not.

        check this out

        I asked him about the fears many Americans have concerning the MB’s stated goal of “restoring the Islamic Caliphate”: Shouldn’t we in the West be concerned about that, I asked?
        “If different Islamic states want to come together and make a political union, why shouldn’t they?” he replied. “If it’s okay for the Europeans to come together, and before that, the various north American states came together and made a union– why shouldn’t the Islamic states do it, too?” But maybe you’ll want to come and extend your Caliphate over our countries, as well, I said.

        No, no! Islamic understandings make it haram [religiously forbidden] to overcome others by force. But anyway, why do you speak of this fear of being overcome by us when it is you who have overcome our countries. You’re occupying our countries and controlling so many aspects of our lives here! So it is foolish for you to speak of a fear of being overcome by us.

        helena interviews MB

      • Jim Haygood
        February 1, 2011, 2:00 pm

        Thanks, annie. It’s early days yet for Phil’s ‘liberation of American thinking from the crude paradigms about the Middle East that have held our political imagination in such thrall for 50 years.’

      • Citizen
        February 3, 2011, 6:00 pm

        I don’t think Glen Beck got your memo here, Annie. He’s been peddling fear of the new Caliphate all week at 5PM EST.

    • eljay
      February 1, 2011, 12:47 pm

      >> And, that will be a repeat of the worst of history for Jews, always except….

      Wow, how poignant, how tragic, except…

      …it’s not convincing. Israel has made, and continues to make, it very clear to its neighbours that it is an aggressor, oppressor, thief, colonizer, destroyer and killer. Until it mends its evil ways and becomes a sincere partner in a sincere and equitable peace, with full accountability for past and on-going crimes committed – the only “intoxication” around here is the Zio-supremacist intoxication resulting from too much aggressor-victimhood.

      So, come on, Israel, start making those “better wheels”!!

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 1:00 pm

        Israel must mend its ways.

        It must mature.

        Thinking in terms in any way of denying 5.5 million self-governance at all, whether a conviction or just a speculation, is pretty damn intoxicated in my book.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 1:11 pm

        Israel has had sixty years to change its ways. It is now run by Netanyahu and Lieberman.

        Enjoy it while it lasted, Witty.

    • Citizen
      February 2, 2011, 5:31 am

      Israel is obviously not convinced of its own “democratic momentum.” Richard, what will Israel do if the Tunisia spark affects the Palestinians?

  17. Les
    February 1, 2011, 12:21 pm

    I agree and then some. Amy Goodman raised the issue of Al Jazeera English not being available on US cable systems. That different viewpoint gets the focus away from “radical Islam” which receives about 1001% coverage of our neo-con media. Al Jazeera English on US cable systems and the end of the Western Wall on the Gaza Concentration Camp are two things I look forward to. Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel will stay but without support for occupation and ethnic cleansing. I was just reminded that Sadat’s foreign minister resigned when the treaty with Israel was signed, a reminder that Mubarak, Sadat’s Vice-President, is a carry over of the same regime. That is now over and done with.

    A question for Phil: Does you think our media will become more open to reporting that there is Jewish opposition to what Israel does by American Jews?

    • Psychopathic god
      February 1, 2011, 12:40 pm

      A question for Phil: Does you think our media will become more open to reporting that there is Jewish opposition to what Israel does by American Jews?

      why did that sentence make me think of the character in the Dickens play when he says, “Please, sir, may I have some more [sausage].”

      pretty please, (bow, scrape) could we have accurate journalism, if it’s not too much trouble?

    • Ellen
      February 1, 2011, 12:49 pm

      The media would not report on that because it would require too much thought and analysis.

      If there is violent uprising to the Muzzling of fellow Americans, including Jews, the media MIGHT report on it.

      There is always the fear that it would encourage the real Anti Jewish bigots and give them a voice. That is understandable, but a strong society and group is not threatened by the bigots who will always be among us. Repression does not make them go away, it increases their resentment and the pressure.

      Letting them vent shows the primitive and vapid voice they are. Just listen to the anti Arab bigots on the US airwaves now. They are hurting their own racist causes the more they talk.

    • Les
      February 1, 2011, 2:09 pm

      Sorry about that “Does you think” not taken care of in rewrite. Calling Ben Hecht.

  18. Chu
    February 1, 2011, 12:25 pm

    “But that too is the power of the Egyptian revolution: Liberalism will be called upon again in the Jewish spirit, and Jews will answer. “

    ~ I though this was the revolution of the Egyptians?
    (Not the revolution of liberalism and the Jewish spirit…)

    “The Egyptian revolution was predicted by none of our seers. We– and here I include myself among the privileged– did not think Those people capable of that. My own reasoning had to do with patriarchal culture and education levels in Egypt. And to be shown that we are wrong, well, this is a shattering moment in intellectual culture.”

    ~How elitist of you! Nice that Adam is there to set you straight.

  19. annie
    February 1, 2011, 12:27 pm

    out of the ballpark. you’re a leader phil. an unsung hero.

  20. James
    February 1, 2011, 12:32 pm

    great post phil… thanks!

    regarding this quote of yours “And to be shown that we are wrong, well, this is a shattering moment in intellectual culture.”

    here’s to more of these movements…. i read the black swan by taleb and it is all about learning to stop expecting the expected and consider some other possibilities.. these changes in egypt speak directly to our thinking we know something when in fact we don’t..

    • MRW
      February 1, 2011, 1:16 pm

      The Black Swan was also about intellectual hubris, and the debilitating power of labeling the misunderstanding of others and their motives and their knowledge as conspiracy theories.

  21. seafoid
    February 1, 2011, 12:42 pm

    “The NY Review of Books can be proud that it published Tony Judt’s vision of a 21st century binational Israel/Palestine eight years ago.”

    It published Malley and Agha last week

    link to nybooks.com

    “It would imperil its effort to build the institutions of a proto-state, which is its most important international selling point, and would threaten the economic and security progress that has become its most potent argument.
    Much the same could be said of nonviolent forms of resistance to the Israeli occupation such as peaceful demonstrations that—notwithstanding periodic expressions of support from the PA leadership—at heart are incompatible with a West Bank strategy that hinges on Israeli goodwill. The occupied territories are far from enjoying quiet or normalcy. But for the most part and for the time being, they convey the appearance of both. Palestinians have looked for other nonviolent options. It’s a curious list: unilaterally declaring statehood, obtaining UN recognition, dissolving the PA, or walking away from the idea of negotiated partition altogether and calling for a single, binational state. Not one of these ideas has been well thought out, debated, or genuinely considered as a strategic choice, which, of course, is not their point. They are essentially attempts to show that Palestinians have alternatives to negotiation with Israel even as the proposals’ lack of seriousness demonstrably establishes that they currently have none.”

    The NY Review needs to take off those Zionist glasses.

  22. Richard Witty
    February 1, 2011, 12:43 pm

    “I dare you to criticize the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Not all that progressive a worldview. Progressive and realist means seeing clearly, beauty and warts.

    If there is no permission to question, then there is no permission to think.

    Also, please read my own blog to determine my independant views. There is no way that the abusive characterization of me here is representative.

    I’m baffled why a serious dissenter like James would be so adverse to impressions and questions.

    • Chaos4700
      February 1, 2011, 1:02 pm

      Progressive and realist means seeing clearly, beauty and warts.

      How long did it take before you would even admit that we weren’t lying about schools and UN personnel being attacked by the IDF in Operation Cast Lead? How long were you bashing the Goldstone Report before even reading it?

      How often do you condemn ethnic integration, of all things? You wouldn’t know Progressivism even if it were the doormat you wipe your dirty feet on every day. Which is pretty much how you actually treat it.

    • tree
      February 1, 2011, 3:28 pm

      “I dare you to criticize the Muslim Brotherhood.”

      Richard, you’ve been asked not to do this myriad times. You are putting something in quotes as if someone had actually said that. I can’t find that quote anywhere on this thread. If you are actually quoting from someone, please indicate who. If not, then please stop doing this. It is cheap and dishonest.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 3:42 pm

        Just more sloppiness? Or dishonesty?

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 3:54 pm

        Sloppiness. I should have used a single quote, to distinguish that I am summarizing how I understand what you are communicating.

        What are you doing James? Did that represent your tone and behavior?

      • tree
        February 1, 2011, 4:09 pm

        You did the very thing you accuse others of doing, Richard. Rather than ask, if it was unclear to you, if that was James North’s attitude, you did not question but instead wildly assumed. But what mad it worse in your case was that you put your wild assumption in quotes as if James had actually said that when he did not. Really, Richard, try applying some of your criticism of others to yourself as well. You need to head your own criticism.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 4:18 pm

        Substantively Tree,
        Do you think that questions about the Muslim Brotherhood should be attacked, rather than answered?

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 4:35 pm

        Accusing the Muslim Brotherhood today of violence is bearing false witness against your neighbor, a violation of the 9th Commandment.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:35 pm

        Please. As if you don’t dodge questions that make you uncomfortable, Witty. I’m still waiting to hear what you have to say about Jerusalem vis-a-vis the ongoing ethnic cleansing and your claim to support 2 states on the Green Line.

      • tree
        February 1, 2011, 5:03 pm

        Substantively, Richard, you are ignoring my point, and your questions are not being attacked, its your dishonesty and prejudice that are being criticized. Yet again you are failing to heed your own admonitions and criticism.

      • James North
        February 1, 2011, 6:52 pm

        Richard has skulked off again. He will pop up on another thread, another day, and raise the same sly insinuations as if all the exchanges above had never taken place.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 9:43 pm

        “skulked off again”. I have other responsibilities in my life. I’m here more frequently today because of the snow.

        I didn’t raise insinuations. I quoted posts indicating at least an historical advocacy of violence. If they changed, perhaps you can responsibly describe and document that change, or at least describe how you came to understand their views and actions.

        I’m much more curious than condemnatory. You are just knee-jerking (for a change).

  23. seafoid
    February 1, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Taking Zionism’s cold dead hands off the levers of power in the US is going to need far more than a change of government in Cairo

    • MRW
      February 1, 2011, 1:04 pm

      seafoid,

      As I wrote an hour ago on another thread here, look at a map. Look at the arc from Nigeria to Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey, and follow it to Iraq and Afghanistan. The other ‘stans to the left of China said ta-ta to the US a few years ago.

      You want to know who is helping to fuel and fix the infrastructure in the African countries without cruel, deceitful World Bank/IMF-style loans? China. Africa has one billion people in it, and the natural resources to create entire new clean energy industries (which China is going to rule because Americans missed their chance to nab them in the past three years). As the incredible Zambian economist and Oxford PhD Dambisa Moyo said the other day on BBC: there are more poor in China than Africa. There are more poor in India than Africa.

      The change of government in Cairo is going to reverberate all throughout the continent of Africa, just as the change in government in the Sudan reverberated throughout Egypt (but Americans wouldn’t know that because we don’t have decent journalistic coverage here; hell, we don’t even have the brains in the halls of the MSM to figure it out).

      This revolution has been brewing for some time.

  24. yourstruly
    February 1, 2011, 12:50 pm

    2011, a year for revolution

    as out of the blue

    everyone having a say

    egypt leads the way

  25. MRW
    February 1, 2011, 12:51 pm

    The thing I’ve liked about you, Phil, ever since you started this blog at The Observer (the original Mondo Weiss), then hauled it over here to create philipweiss.org after that mission-creep owner fired you for not being Zionist enough and now, the mondoweiss site morphing into god-knows-what, the thing I’ve liked about you through all this time, and it’s been a few years, is your willingness to prop a mirror up on top of your screen, and every once in a while stare at your unshaven face and say, Shit I Was Wrong, and Here’s Why, and Here’s What I Was Afraid Was Going to Happen.

    I can’t remember the quote about the ‘unexamined man’ or who said it, but its point was how it was the bane of so-called civilization, and the civilized people who create it. You’re not in that category.

    • Sumud
      February 2, 2011, 2:28 am

      MRW ~ the quote I think you mean was from Socrates:

      The unexamined life is not worth living

      …that, or for those that need a pop culture “in”, one of Madonna’s songs from the early 90s Dick Tracy soundtrack (about half way through the track):

      Madonna – Now I’m Following You, Pt. 2

      I’m gonna presume it’s Socrates you have in mind :-)

      I agree that one of the nice things about Phil’s writing is his willingness to look at and talk about the evolution of his thinking. Even on this thread he cops some flak for it (or appears to) but I don’t think the power of such disclosures should be underestimated. I see it as a generous reaching back to people, “I was there too once, but not anymore, come on ~ yallah! don’t be scared!”

  26. DICKERSON3870
    February 1, 2011, 12:53 pm

    RE: “The Egyptian revolution was predicted by none of our seers. We…did not think Those people capable of that.” – Weiss
    BUMPER STICKER OF THE YEAR: Be Nice to America or We’ll Bring Democracy to Your Country
    JPEG IMAGE – link to facebook.com

    RE: “…Jews also have heroes in this struggle, and …there is no better example…than Richard Goldstone…” -Weiss
    A PERTINENT FACEBOOK GROUP
    Name – Richard J. Goldstone: Integrity Personified
    Category – Common Interest, Beliefs & Causes
    Description – A group for individuals who respect Justice Goldstone and admire his integrity.
    LINK – link to facebook.com

  27. bijou
    February 1, 2011, 12:59 pm

    Somewhat off topic but intriguing and noteworthy:

    Hillary Clinton calls historic meet for all US ambassadors (all must fly home to attend in person)

    • Jim Haygood
      February 1, 2011, 1:16 pm

      Whoa — sounds like a diplomatic Woodstock!

      To paraphrase the Mubarak joke that’s making the rounds … Hillary is advised that she needs to prepare a farewell message to the US diplomatic corps.

      ‘Why?’ she asks in surprise. “Where are they all going?’

      • bijou
        February 1, 2011, 1:35 pm

        That’s an adaptation on a joke I heard about Mubarak:

        Mubarak is on his death bed, and some of his loyal supporters come to pay their last respects and bid him farewell. “Why?” he asks. “Where are they going?”

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 2:39 am

        bijou ~ a variation of that which one of Al Jazeera’s correspondents said was circulating Meydan Tahrir last night:

        Mubarak is said to have asked Egypt Air to prepare jets to fly the Egyptian people to Saudi Arabia…

    • Ellen
      February 1, 2011, 1:21 pm

      Maybe she will advise them to get out of their bubbles and stop being afraid. Have you ever walked past a US Embassy or Consulate in the last years since 2000? They are disgusting fortresses of fear in capitals around the world. Not nice places.

    • MRW
      February 1, 2011, 2:22 pm

      It’s a post-Wikileaks moment, that’s all.

  28. MHughes976
    February 1, 2011, 1:07 pm

    Plato in The Apology of Socrates says that the unexamined life is not worth living.
    I agree with all those who are saying or implying that all of us in the West owe a great debt to those courageous Jewish thinkers, Phil very much among them, who decided to examine the presuppositions of Zionism objectively. The current state of opinion would have been quite impossible without them.
    Shlomo Sand, another important force of enlightenment, is speaking at the London Review Bookshop on the 11th – I hope to be there.

    • Taxi
      February 1, 2011, 4:43 pm

      Let us know how the Shlomo Sand’s speaking engagement goes, MHughes.

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 5:49 am

        I second Taxi’s request, MHughes.

  29. yourstruly
    February 1, 2011, 1:39 pm

    too soon for self-congratulations

    when?

    when the walls come tumbling down

  30. Richard Witty
    February 1, 2011, 2:13 pm

    link to ikhwanweb.com

    MB affirms it will respect Egypt’s international treaties New

    This is good news.

    • MRW
      February 1, 2011, 2:23 pm

      They said it a week ago.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 2:43 pm

        Look at their website, looks pretty new to me MRW.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 3:55 pm

        Who gives a shit if they said it a week ago. I’m thankful now.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 3:56 pm

        Listen to NPR. It was on NPR.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:36 pm

        Do you honestly think Witty and yonira listen to NPR?

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 5:36 pm

        Of course you, Witty, which makes your remarks about the Muslim Brotherhood above moot as a result of ignorance of the facts and failure to keep up with the news.

      • Richard Witty
        February 1, 2011, 9:43 pm

        You’ve got to be kidding, MRW.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 2:48 am

        It’s not new, I came across it maybe a year ago.

        A quick search at the Internet Archive indicates it’s been online since 2005:

        link to web.archive.org

        It took me less than 10 seconds to do that yonira. But this is what it’s come to for the hasbarist: Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt (FUD: Fear, uncertainty and doubt) is the only weapon you’ve got left. Really, it’s the only weapon you ever had, it was just easier to use it in a less vicious way in the old days.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 2:59 am

        *Note to webmaster – something kooky in your CMS: when I tried to put that link in the sentence via ‘a href’ HTML it did something very strange. To illustrate, as I originally wrote the sentence, the section in bold was meant to be the hyperlink to Internet Archive:

        A quick search at the Internet Archive indicates it’s been online since 2005.

        And now if I insert the HTML link is does this:

        A quick search at the Internet Archive indicates it’s been online since 2005.

        Maybe it’s the asterisk in the URL – of the presence of two links within one URL? I really know less about HTML than it sounds… Anyway, FYI.

  31. Jim Haygood
    February 1, 2011, 2:18 pm

    From a June 30, 2009 news report:

    Egypt received $310 million in supplemental appropriations from the U.S. House of Representatives, currently controlled by Obama’s Democratic party. At the same time, 2009 State Department funding for the promotion of democratic initiatives in Egypt was cut from $50 million to $20 million. In addition, the U.S. has agreed not to give any of the pro-democracy funds to organizations that are not approved by the Mubarak regime. In the year 2007, Egypt received a total of $2.4 billion.

    link to israelnationalnews.com

    This report is dated 26 days after Obama’s Cairo speech on 4 June 2009.
    So much for the claims that the US has been pressing for liberalization for years. Looks more like Obama went there and kowtowed to the dictator.

    Global Rev: from Mubarak to our Barack.

  32. Dan Crowther
    February 1, 2011, 2:35 pm

    I dont think the Indyks and Dershowitz’s of the world are going to go quietly. They have to be ramping up for Iran at breakneck speed at this point – I expect one last salvo from the Zionists

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2011, 4:53 pm

      I expect them to string it out until the bond vigilantes arrive .

  33. Todd
    February 1, 2011, 2:50 pm

    “Really, Phil?
    You never knew Arabs had cultured dignity and reason till now?”
    I caught that, too.

    I really liked this part:
    “The Egyptian revolution was predicted by none of our seers. We– and here I include myself among the privileged– did not think Those people capable of that.”

    What? Who didn’t know that Egypt is unstable and held together by a police state and American bribes? Even if Mubarak weren’t overthrown, he’s pretty damn old. How long has there been speculation about what comes after Mubarak. Who believed that his son is the answer? Clearly, the idea of an Egypt without Hosni Mubarak has been considered.

    Stop with the priveleged, intellectual and mental superiority talk already! The Jewish elites have failed miserably. I’m not even worried about the damage they have done in the Middle East. I’m worried about the damage these narrow-minded, bigoted and self-inflated fools have done at home.

    And this part is a screamer!
    “–the Muslim Brotherhood represents real elements of Egyptian society just as the rightwing evangelical movement in American politics represented real elements. It must be included.”

    I’m sure the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Evangelicals are happy to hear that grant them status as real elements of their respective societies! I know many Evangelicals, and I don’t put much stock in the religion. But I very much recognize their deep roots in America. I think people like Phil don’t really understand middle America, and much of what they believe is often based on bigotry, hearsay, group animus and stereotyping. I can’t say that I believe that the Evangelicals that I know/have known have supported more harmful actions than people who hold the opinions that Phil claims to no longer hold.

    • tree
      February 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

      “Really, Phil?
      You never knew Arabs had cultured dignity and reason till now?”
      I caught that, too.

      Obviously Phil didn’t read this:
      A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt

      The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair. So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt. Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.

      * “I am so impressed at how articulate Egyptians are.” Does this sound familiar? Imagine saying this about a Latino or African American? You don’t say it. So don’t say it about Egyptians. Gee, thank you oh great person who is of limited experience and human contact for recognizing that out of 80 million people some could be articulate, educated and speak many languages. Not cool. Don’t say it. You may think it, but it makes you sound like a dumb ass.

      * “This is so sad”: No, sad were the thirty years of oppression, repression and torture.

      * ” I loved Sadat”: Mubarak was made of the same cloth of Sadat. Same repression, same ill-treatment of their people, yet you were all in love with Sadat. Hmm, where and when do you think the repression started? The State Of Emergency? Sadat was not loved by the Egyptian people. Why do you love Sadat?

      * “What they did to the Mummies is horrible”: Yes, but who did it? Think, Mubarak, for years has been playing the “I am the stabilizing force”. If you see the one thing you know about Egypt, the stuff that was underground and from the past, you will be distraught and find the protestors to be disgusting. In Alexandria, the young people protected the library. Did anyone carry that story? Statement from the Director of the Alexandria Library:

      The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters. I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours. However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.

      * “The Muslim Brothers are Terrorists” Maybe you should look at their English Website, or try something easy like this link Check this out:

      The Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. It renounced violence in the 1970s and has no active militia (although a provocative martial arts demonstration in December 2006 raised some alarm that they may be regrouping a militia.)

      Nevertheless, the Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan Al Muslimun in Arabic, is frequently mentioned in relation to groups such as Hamas and Al Qaeda.

      * “The Twitter Revolution”. No, this is the Revolution of the Egyptian people. Egyptians resisted for decades. They were tortured, jailed and repressed by the Mubarak and Sadat regimes. Twitter and Facebook are tools. They did not stand in front of the water canons, or go to jail for all these years to get the credit. There were demonstrations all summer long and for a several years through out Egypt but they are rarely covered, because we are worried about what Sarah Palin said, or some moronic Imam saying something stupid. Does it sound a bit arrogant to take credit for a people’s struggle?

      * “The women are so brave”: Egyptian women have always been brave. If you want to know about Sadat’s Egypt, read Nawal El Saadawi’s memoir while in jail. Memoirs from the Women’s Prison

      * “Al Jazeera has come to it’s own”: Al Jazeera has been on it’s own, you just only noticed. . Do you think you believed the Bush administration spin about Al Jazeera? Just maybe you believed the bullshit? They must be doing something right if all the factions on the ground want to shut them down. The tyrants, the US and the Israelis. Hmm, maybe they are speaking truth to power?

      * “Mubarak kept the peace treaty”: So, what do you think, if the Egyptian people choose another government, they will go to war with Israel? Maybe they will demand a few more things from Israel in how they negotiate with the Palestinians. Maybe Gazans will get better treatment? Maybe the balance of power will not be tipped over to Israel? Egypt protests: Israel fears unrest may threaten peace treaty. Hmm, so we should support the oppression of 80 million Egyptians for a false stabilization?

      * “If they get Democracy they will elect extremists”. Imagine if the world said that about America. The Tea Party threatens world stability, as did the Bush administration. How would you like if others used that as a threat to support an autocrat who made all opposing parties illegal? In truth, US politics threaten world stability more than Egypt does. Second, the implication is that democracy is not to be trusted in the hands of “certain” nations, people and religions is offensive, racist and ignorant. You do not claim to value human rights, democracy and freedom and then you make exclusions based on race, nationality and religion. Don’t say this shit.

      * “The people are so nice”: Yes they are, it’s your ignorant self that assumed they are all terrorists and fanatics. What did you think? Glad you went to Egypt and found the Egyptians nice. After all, they do have a cosmopolitan civilization of over 5,000 years, yet you reduced them to “rag heads” , “jihadists”, “ali babas”, “terrorists”, the list is endless. Imagine saying this about African Americans? Asians? Nope. Just don’t fucking say it. It’s patronizing.

      It’s time Egyptians were heard. It’s time the pundits and “Egypt hands” (old recycled western diplomats) were retired. These people were as good at predicting the current events as our economists were in predicting the economic calamity. I am glad you all got to see things from Egypt outside your comfort zone. Maybe now, you can give Egyptians and Arabs some respect. The people in Egypt are struggling for human rights, dignity and freedom. Like the rest of us, they want the economic means to care for their families. Break down those closed ideas that dehumanize the Arab and Egyptian people in general. That is all I ask.

      But, on the other hand, I always think it is a positive when someone can finally see their own prejudices and recognize and acknowledge them as such. And I think that is what Phil is doing.

  34. MRW
    February 1, 2011, 2:52 pm

    The Egyptian revolution was predicted by none of our seers. We– and here I include myself among the privileged– did not think Those people capable of that.

    This was see-able. I was so struck by an NGO aid worker publishing an unsourced article in onlinejournal.com (or something like that) that I even sent it to you, Phil, which you said didn’t have enough authority to reprint. The guy was working in Darfur. He was reporting that all the donations for Darfur were going to the Israeli settlers — millions and millions, the whole sobbing Mia Farrow campaign — and that the people of Darfur and the Sudan knew and were angry about it. The article struck me because he mentioned the water rights that Israel wanted to nab from Darfur and the Sudan. (The NYT published a report three years ago about the massive lake of water discovered under the dust of the Darfur desert.) The Sudanese were waking up to the power and international importance of their resources. Ditto their religious differences. The leader in Khartoum, whom the Israelis bellyached about, seems to have handled the desire for a split as best as could be said. But the point is that the separation has been brewing for years (oil in the south, water in the north). It was a peaceful referendum (when was it, October 2010?), more or less, handled by a vote.

    Then came Tunisia, where the guy in the street dictated the change, and overthrew the government in 29 days. The confluence of these two events added to Mubarak announcing a few months ago that he wanted to install his son, as if he were the leader of North Korea or a king, that got this ball rolling. That Indian writer who has been posting here got it exactly right: twitter and the net had nothing to do with this. This entire thing has had regional roots and boomerangs, completely unknown to the MSM because they are mostly, now, butt-f**k stupid and uninformed — uncaring, even — and wont publish anything that isn’t flattering to Israel.

    [I keep saying this, just look at a map.]

    • yonira
      February 1, 2011, 3:28 pm

      I had trouble corroborating the story, but our old friend Rehmat sure found it worthwhile to report on. Must be legit.

      It amazes me the extent people will go to blame EVERYTHING on Israel. Exchange the word Israel or Zionist for Jew and we are back to to centuries of hate again.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 3:39 pm

        Yonira honey if you want people to love Israel again like they did in the 50s you have to stop the white phosphorous

        link to newsrescue.com

        the Gaza diet, the home demolitions
        link to palsolidarity.org

        And above all, the lies.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 3:59 pm

        Some would say the same about the Palestinians following their suicide bombing rampage of the 90s and 2000s Seafoid, or the Saudi and Egyptian Muslims following 9/11.

        If we are going to play games where we lump a group of people together and blame them for everything, based on the actions of a few, then be prepared to look in the mirror.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:38 pm

        Whatever you say, Mr. “Pallywood.”

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 5:04 pm

        It takes a nation of conscripts to run the occupation. It isn’t a few bad apples. There are half a million settlers and they are each one of them objectionable. How many Israeli Jews have tortured a prisoner or destroyed a family home, denied a pregnant woman access to medical care or humiliated a father ? How many have fought in Lebanon or Gaza ? It isn’t a few people. It runs into millions.

        How many have stood up to the madness ? Let me see. Well, there is Uri Avnery and there are breaking the silence and there is women in black and um , can you help me?

        The whole culture has to be recalibrated.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 5:19 pm

        Some would say the same about the Palestinians following their suicide bombing rampage of the 90s and 2000s Seafoid,

        that’s not logical yonira, name 3 suicide bomber who’s needs to be reformed today. or one.

        we’re talking about systematic militaristic abuse. it’s a different kettle of fish than the oppressor. i’m not agreeing w/seafoid it is as all pervasive as he says but the nature of resistance is much different since the vast majority of resistance has consistently been non violent.

        however there is a strong brave strain of courage running thru the left in israel. their voices are so loud i can hear them. they are united in a quest for peace along w/palestinians.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 5:29 pm

        but the nature of resistance is much different since the vast majority of resistance has consistently been non violent.

        Annie, that is quite true post 2003 (when you starting paying attention to I/P) but trust me, the Palestinian resistance was quite violent from around ’68, starting in earnest following the first intifada of ’87, and culminating with in the late 90’s early 2000’s with Hamas’ suicide bombing campaign.

        The suicide bombers aren’t the ones who need/needed reforming Annie, it is/was the cowards who sent them (Mashal in Syria is one of them)

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 5:36 pm

        yonira, wrt my point it is irrelevant how different resistance is today from 68. either way the vast majority of resistancd is non violent. we’re talking millions of people. obviously the majority of them do not engage in violence and never had. the same cannot be said for the idf. it is violent in nature as is the occupation.

      • annie
        February 1, 2011, 5:39 pm

        The suicide bombers aren’t the ones who need/needed reforming Annie, it is/was the cowards who sent them (Mashal in Syria is one of them)

        and what of the cowards netanyahu, livni, olmert etc?

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 1, 2011, 6:14 pm

        “but trust me, the Palestinian resistance was quite violent…”

        Of course it was, given the violence of the Israelis, which precipitated that response.

        “The suicide bombers aren’t the ones who need/needed reforming Annie, it is/was the cowards who sent them (Mashal in Syria is one of them)”

        Do you feel the same about the cowards in the Israeli political and military leadership, who send out the I”D”F cowards, criminals and terrorists to go murder and oppress the Palestinians???

      • straightline
        February 1, 2011, 7:38 pm

        I will let Avraham Burg answer this:

        “Israel, having ceased to care about the children of the Palestinians, should
        not be surprised when they come washed in hatred and blow themselves up in the centres of Israeli escapism. They consign themselves to Allah in our places of recreation, because their own lives are torture. They spill their own blood in our restaurants in order to ruin our appetites, because they have children and parents at home who are hungry and humiliated.”
        (Avraham Burg, 15 September 2003)

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 3:27 am

        Yonira honey if you want people to love Israel again like they did in the 50s you have to stop the white phosphorous

        Some would say the same about the Palestinians following their suicide bombing rampage of the 90s and 2000s Seafoid, or the Saudi and Egyptian Muslims following 9/11.

        Umm, yonira – I know it’s been a real source of heartbreak for those that live to slander, but Palestinian suicide bombing has stopped, with Hamas ending in 2005, denouncing in 2006 and the last bombing from any group being in early 2008.

        As has been noted by me and others many times here, Israel killed almost double the number of Palestinians in 22 days in Gaza that Palestinian suicide bombing did in 15 years. The B’Tselem statistics released a few months ago at the tenth anniversary of the Second Intifadah show over the last ten years Israel killed nearly TEN TIMES the number of Palestinians, as Palestinian suicide bombings killed Israelis. However misguided and reprehensible the tactic (when targeting civilians inside Israel it was terrorism), it can at least said to have been used in an attempt to throw off a long and vicious occupation. Israel’s murders – the bulk of which are civilian and also qualify as terrorism – are far more reprehensible: perpetrated merely to continue the occupation, facilitate further theft of property and resources, and make life as difficult and unpleasant as Israel could get away with. History will not be kind to zionist Israel.

        Mentioning 9/11 – an isolated incident– as a reason to dislike Saudis is just more stupid racist claptrap.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 3:35 am

        Annie, that is quite true post 2003 (when you starting paying attention to I/P) but trust me, the Palestinian resistance was quite violent from around ’68, starting in earnest following the first intifada of ’87, and culminating with in the late 90′s early 2000′s with Hamas’ suicide bombing campaign.

        Well thanks for the wonky history lesson yonira. You forgot to mention that Israelis violence was “quite violent” from 1967. Actually, on a much much smaller scale the Nakba – expulsions, massacres, village demolitions – continued well into the 50s. There were the two large massacres in Gaza in 1956 which Joe Sacco documented and explored so terrifically in “Footnotes in Gaza” book. But I digress – you were smearing Palestinians for being violent, meanwhile glossing over the point that belligerent military occupation is, in itself, daily violence perpetrated on a civilian population.

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 1, 2011, 3:54 pm

        “Exchange the word Israel or Zionist for Jew and we are back to to centuries of hate again.”

        The difference is that when someone asserts that the Israelis are acting this way or that way, the reality is that as a state, it has the power and the ability to act this way or that. The Jews of old were a hated, feared minority with no power and wrongly suffered because of that hatred and fear.

        If you exchanged “Israel” for “China” would you automatically believe the statement was driven by some anti-Chinese animus, or would would presume that the person was acting based on the actions of the Chinese government, unless proven otherwise. Why should it be any different when it comes it Israel? Why should Israel get a pass?

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Yonira,

        I had trouble corroborating the story

        What part?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 4:04 pm

        All of it MRW, I found two blogs which stated that the Save Darfur Coalition were funneling money for Israeli settlements (one on the proven racist site “Rehmat’s world). The other thing about Israel trying to get water from Sudan? Why not just try to get water from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes?

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 4:17 pm

        All of it MRW, I found two blogs
        Of course you did, because you don’t know how to do basic research.

        proven racist site “Rehmat’s world
        Proven to who? You?

        The other thing about Israel trying to get water from Sudan?
        Why don’t you try the NYT or overseas pubs?

        Here’s a hint, Einstein.
        Darfur aid dollars funding West Bank settlements
        By Thomas C. Mountain
        Online Journal Contributing Writer

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 4:33 pm

        Big deal MRW, that is the same article the blogs were referring to.

        Here is an article about the writer of the article (the one source you have)

        link to asmarino.com

        He is an obvious fraud w/ an agenda, you should read some of his other ‘conspiracies’ about the US invasion of Eriteria or the Somali pirates are a cover-up. Sounds like a stand-up journalist to me.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 4:43 pm

        I’m supposed to believe the PR of the Tesfa Delina Foundation which runs the link (asmarino.com) you cite for the government of Eritrea?

        Do you just cruise for any available information so you can apparently win an argument, or do you have a history of reading and saving articles over the years in order to make cogent decisions about what might be the truth?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 5:03 pm

        About as much as I am supposed to believe the BS you put up here MRW.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 5:32 pm

        The point:

        Sudan split.
        Tunisia broke up.
        Egypt currently in a revolution.

        I rest my case, and the point of what I wrote. Since you didn’t smell the change in the air, my BS has a better odor than yours.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 6:03 pm

        I am happy about all three MRW.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 4:05 pm

        yonira, (either you weren’t around then, or you never read it)

        From philipweiss.org August 2008:

        Does the Save Darfur Coalition Have a Hidden Pro-Israel Agenda?

        Another in a series, “How to Think About Darfur,” by James North

        When I started looking into Darfur, I said right at the start that I was suspicious that the solidarity movement, or at least some part of it, was using the conflict to attack “Arabs” and distract attention from occupied Palestine. Some readers of my posts here have had the same misgivings.

        A 2006 article [MRW: link no longer works] in the Jerusalem Post is revealing. It points out that the Save Darfur Coalition “was actually begun exclusively as an initiative of the American Jewish community;” two key founding organizations were the American Jewish World Service and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

        (In passing, I wonder if any U.S. newspaper did – or could – look at the Coalition’s origins so frankly.)

        Two of the people I most admire are I.F. Stone, the great investigative journalist (1907-1989), and Noam Chomsky. Both Stone and Chomsky believe that you should argue your case with facts: that personal attacks, speculation about the other side’s motives, only weaken your argument. I agree, but not totally. One of the great strengths of Mondoweiss is that Phil Weiss is not afraid to use his own experience to write about his complicated feelings about being Jewish in America, his sense of being an outsider, his family’s (not historically unwarranted) suspicion of Gentiles. He points out that these feelings are still widespread among American Jews, and that they contribute to the strength of the Israel lobby– with terrible consequences for Palestinians, other Arabs, Americans, and even Israelitself.

        Even though I was raised in a neighborhood in Chicago that had a large Jewish population, I don’t identify with Phil Weiss. For whatever reasons, I’ve always felt fully at home in America, and I was never taught the Nazis could come for me. So I find his fearless writing about this subject indispensable.

        I don’t think Stone and Chomsky are entirely right. You do have to start with facts: the growing number of Israeli colonists in Palestine, daily life in occupied Hebron, for example. But you also have to get personal; you have to try and analyze, why, say, Jewish Americans who are thoughtful and progressive on every other issue get defensive and go into denial when you try and talk to them about Palestine.

        Back to Darfur. My ongoing inquiry has led me to a tentative conclusion; the activists at the heart of the Save Darfur Coalition are genuine, with no hidden agenda. But you can’t say the same about some of the people cheering them on from the sidelines. And even the sincere ones should recognize that reality there has changed, and that, say, continued calls to send Western troops are irresponsible and dangerous.

        Let’s take Brian Steidle, as one example of sincerity. Steidle is a former U.S. Marine captain, who was stationed as an unarmed observer in Darfur during part of 2004, when the Khartoum regime and the janjawiid were still carrying out mass killings. His book, The Devil Came on Horseback , is a powerful eyewitness account of murder and rape.

        Or, Eric Reeves, an English professor at Smith College, who has taken leave from his academic post to work on Darfur.

        What about the principals at American Jewish World Service and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum? I don’t know them, but I think it is reasonable to assume that people more aware than most about historical mass killings would act for genuine reasons. The Holocaust Museum issued its “genocide alert” back in the spring of 2004, when the charge was much more plausible than today.

        However, I don’t think all of the noise about Darfur emanating from The New Republicis mainly based on concern for “Africans.” And I’m sure that the amount of time devoted to “Darfur” at informal conversations and social gatherings across this country over the past few years far outweighs talk of Gaza, or discussions of Palestinian political prisoners.

        Finally, sincerity and good intentions are not enough. As I will show, the international aid agencies that are actually serving the several million Darfuri refugees have had strong disagreements with the Save Darfur Coalition over the past few years, and the Coalition may have indirectly but seriously interfered with their work.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 3:39 am

        Exchange the word Israel or Zionist for Jew and we are back to to centuries of hate again.

        Exchange the word Palestinian for jew and you might begin to understand why the world has had enough of Israel’s behaviour.

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 6:05 am

        Yonira, during those referenced centuries of hate, there was no nuclear armed militant zionist state swaggering around the neighborhood for years now, supported by that bribed uncle, Uncle Sam. “We” aren’t back to centuries of irrational jew-hatred, yonira. The facts Israel produces speak for themselves; if the shoe fits, wear it. Quit pining for eternal victimhood; you embarrass yourself.

  35. seafoid
    February 1, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I wonder how much of the Jewish spirit can be salvaged at this point. Phil Weiss has made a great journey but most of US Jewry haven’t and aren’t going to turn on their parents and renounce Zionism just because umadunya had an intifada. Judaism has been well and truly hijacked by the thugs of Zionism and from the Board of Deputies in England to the Houses of Congress via the kosher lemehadrin rabbis in Israel the rot goes very, very deep. For better or worse the elites of Judaism have nailed themselves to the mast of Zionism. The memes replicate incessantly.

    • yonira
      February 1, 2011, 3:56 pm

      Some would say the exact same thing about Islam being hijacked by radical terrorists. Luckily your interpretation of Judaism and it’s hijacking is isolated to a fringe group of anti-Israel/Jewish/American progressives.

      • MRW
        February 1, 2011, 4:22 pm

        Luckily your interpretation of Judaism and it’s hijacking is isolated to a fringe group of anti-Israel/Jewish/American progressives.

        No, it’s not.

        Read, fercrissake link to acjna.org

      • Jim Haygood
        February 1, 2011, 6:27 pm

        From MRW’s link, which is a review of Yacov Rabkin’s book, A Threat From Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism:

        ————

        In late 19th century Vienna, Rabbi Moritz Gudemann predicted that the Zionists would ultimately create a Judaism of cannons and bayonets that would invert the roles of David and Goliath and would end in a perversion of Judaism, which never glorified war and never idolized warriors. Quoting from an Austrian poet, he concluded that the Zionists were following a path that leads “from humanity through nationality to bestiality.”

        When a newspaper published his intention to establish an anti-Zionist movement on his return from a trip to London, agents of the Hagganah shot [Dutch poet Jacob Israel] De Haan down as he came out into the street after prayers. … The order to ‘eliminate the traitor’ came from the highest echelons of the Zionist movement. The description of De Haan as a ‘traitor’ shed light once more on the influence of the Russian terrorist movements, much of whose rhetoric was adopted by the Zionists. Like the Bolsheviks, the Zionists considered all opposition to their political goals as illegitimate.”

        ————

        The reviewer, Allan Brownfeld, pinpoints the precise source of confusion for Zionist Jews, not to mention Bible-literalist Christian fundamentalists:

        Zionism has changed Jewish life and shifted the meaning of the word “Israel.” According to Rabbi Jacob Neusner, an American academic and one of the most prolific interpreters of Judaism, “The word ‘Israel’ today generally refers to the overseas political nation, the State of Israel. When people say, ‘I am going to Israel,’ they mean a trip to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. … But the word ‘Israel’ in Scripture and in the canonical writings of the religion, Judaism, speaks of the holy community that God has called forth through Abraham and Sarah, to which God has given the Torah (‘teaching’) at Mount Sinai … The Psalmists and the Prophets, the sages of Judaism in all ages, the prayers that Judaism teaches, all use the word ‘Israel’ to mean ‘the holy community.’ Among most Judaisms, to be ‘Israel’ means to model life in the image, after the likeness of God, who is made manifest in the Torah. Today ‘Israel’ in synagogue worship speaks of the holy community, but ‘Israel’ in Jewish community affairs means ‘the State of Israel.’”

        Rhetorical invocations of ‘Judeo-Christian culture’ in support of the state of Israel exploit this near-universal semantic fallacy. Even those aware that the modern state of Israel wasn’t established until 1948 often ascribe it to the fulfillment of a scriptural prophecy, thus conflating the two entirely different meanings.

        How terribly ironic, that the century-old, predominantly secular Zionist movement was able to so thoroughly subvert and derange two millennia-old religious traditions. Both of them must have been rather decadent for the hijacking to have occurred so quickly and so thoroughly.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 1, 2011, 6:39 pm

        How terribly ironic, that the century-old, predominantly secular Zionist movement was able to so thoroughly subvert and derange two millennia-old religious traditions.

        They had help.

        A lot of it.

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 4:40 pm

        You do say the same thing about Islam! In the past you’ve demanded that the American Muslim community must answer for 9/11 and for the “dangerous radicalism” of Islam which is supposedly one of the biggest threats to US security — according to you.

        This wolf in sheep’s clothing act is just ridiculous.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 5:36 pm

        no i didn’t Chaos, we both know that. this is my third attempt to clear that up, hope it makes it through :)

      • Chaos4700
        February 1, 2011, 8:59 pm

        That’s OK. I’ll go ahead and bookmark this and quote it right back at you the next time you rail about how Muslims need to be treated differently than anyone else.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 3:45 am

        Again w/ the “some would say” yonira? Have you heard of weasel words?

      • Citizen
        February 2, 2011, 6:07 am

        So, yonira, you believe Zionism is the real Judaism; and that’s the fringeless opinion, the main course?

  36. Taxi
    February 1, 2011, 4:57 pm

    The last Egyptian leader that the Egyptian PEOPLE worshiped was Jamal Abdel Nasser, who brought them the ‘Transistor Revolution’.

    The most recent Arab leader that the Egyptian PEOPLE cheered for his successes, was Nassrallah, head of the Lebanese resistance, when his army defeated the IDF in 2006.

    Surely that tells us that the spirit of revolution and liberation is deep within the Egyptian psyche, and the idea of Pan Arabism, which is the right of Arab countries, is a concept that’s very close to their hearts.

    Europe is now Pan Europe.

    We are the UNITED states of America.

    So why can’t Arabs aspire to Pan Arabism?

    It would certainly make it harder for isreal and the west to divide and rule them ever again.

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2011, 5:46 pm

      I think the West will ultimately regret taking Nasser down in 1967 . Pan arab secularism was strangled and political Islam took its place. The whole political trajectory of the Arabs was altered. 9/11 was one result. And now the US has lost Egypt. Plus Israel really tore the arse out of the 1967 victory , very much against its own best long term interests.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 5:55 pm

        Sadat was Nasser’s vice president while Mubarak was Sadat’s. It amazes me how the father of this lineage of dictatorship is so much more loved than the following two.

      • Taxi
        February 1, 2011, 6:12 pm

        yonira,

        Quit the hasbara BS with your Nasser was a dictator!

        Read some history your ignoramus mulch!
        link to historylearningsite.co.uk

        Scared of Arab nationalism much?

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 6:25 pm

        I could care less about Arab nationalism, I think the Egyptians should have a say though, don’t you?

        I didn’t read the part where Nasser was elected, did i miss something?

      • Taxi
        February 1, 2011, 6:33 pm

        Yeah you missed EVERYTHING!

        Unbelievable!

        Go back and read again – I ain’t telling you nothing!

      • RoHa
        February 2, 2011, 5:27 am

        Nasser is loved because he overthrew the monarchy and the pashas, drove out the British, brought self-determination to the Sudan, and carried out socialist programs of agrarian reform, universal health care, vocational schools, mixed schooling, reform of family law, and a variety of other social welfare measures. The average Egyptian saw his real income grow markedly during Nasser’s rule, and he saw an attempt to create a proud, independent, Arab world.

        Sadat won a lot of support with the 1973 war, but his economic policies did little to improve the lot of the majority, and the peace treaty with Israel was seen as a sell-out.

        Under Mubarak, the pashas were replaced by corrupt businessmen, and Egypt became an Israeli/American puppet.

      • Shmuel
        February 2, 2011, 6:00 am

        Nasser is loved because he overthrew the monarchy and the pashas, drove out the British, brought self-determination to the Sudan, and carried out socialist programs of agrarian reform, universal health care, vocational schools, mixed schooling, reform of family law, and a variety of other social welfare measures. The average Egyptian saw his real income grow markedly during Nasser’s rule, and he saw an attempt to create a proud, independent, Arab world.

        But apart from all of those things, RoHa, what did Nasser ever do for Egypt :-)

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 6:30 am

        I [think I] get your point Taxi – but I still believe that it is accurate to describe Nasser as a dictator, albeit one that was extremely popular – so much so that when he tried to leave office he was compelled to return by the outcry of Egyptians. Having said that, it’s wrong to designate Nasser a dictator without acknowledging this is very much a statement grounded in western political thinking.

        – – – – –

        Along those lines, I’m interested to see to what extent events in Tunisia and Egypt will spread to the wealthy GCC countries. I’ll be surprised if there isn’t some unrest in Saudi (rich but poorer per-capita than other GCC countries, and very conservative) but I can’t see it spreading to Qatar and UAE for example. Both countries are developing extremely fast, investing hugely in infrastructure and on the whole very generous to nationals with social services such as healthcare, education, land grants and even public sector jobs (here I’m talking about UAE – I lived/worked there for a period. I imagine the situation in Qatar is fairly similar). But there is a trade-off that has been made, essentially: ‘we are the ruling family and we’ll take very good care of you if you don’t rock the boat too much’. It’s more complicated than that though: Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai is actually loved by nationals in a way difficult for most westerners to comprehend, and the now-deceased Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi – who presided over the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 – is loved even more, even today. So the situation is a lot different than in Tunisia or Egypt.

        Right -wing demagogues love to vilify all arab leaders as dictators and tyrants but this doesn’t compute in those Gulf States. There are stress-points: Egyptians in the UAE (don’t know if it was Dubai or Abu Dhabi) organised a very small rally at the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate but it was quickly dispersed by police or CID (secret police). A reporter recounted on twitter he was told to write stories about the weather instead, or something inconsequential like that. A similar thing happened 18 months ago after the Iran election demonstrations: a small number of Iranian expats organised a candlelight vigil at the beach (hardly even political) and it was also quickly dispersed. One more incident comes to mind – limited labour strikes occurred while I was there and those responsible (migrant workers) were immediately deported. Each of those incidents involve expats, which will be treated differently to locals, obviously. It does indicate though, zero tolerance for political organising. In my limited knowledge, no Emiratis have tested the waters and tried to have political demonstrations.

        I know Emiratis who object to being told they don’t live in a democratic society, for several reasons (in no order):
        1. they respect and like the ruling family, and are treated well. If it ain’t broke…
        2. despite being absolute monarchies, there are checks on the power of the ruling sheikh, ie. the majlis (a daily meeting of the sheikh, senior advisors and others. Less so now but in the old days any member of society could come to the majlis if they needed help or assistance). If the sheikh doesn’t have the confidence of the majlis he will be deposed. It isn’t unusual for power to change hands via bloodless coup – the current sheikh of Qatar is an example, he ousted his father in the mid 90s. While there are whole new administrative bodies further down the line, the sheikh/majlis style of rule is largely unchanged from the era of pre-oil development, just 50-60 years or so ago in the UAE when the population was much smaller and lifestyle very traditional (no cars or roads, electricity or reticulated water, the majority living in housing of palm-frond huts). Because these Gulf state have developed so fast and in many cases locals are now a minority of the population there is a reasonable fear they will lose their culture – so tradition and traditional ways are very important.
        3. The succession of power is less rigid than, for example, the British royal family. The current Dubai Sheikh only became the ruler in 2006 but had been the de-facto ruler for some years before that as he gradually was given more and more responsibilities as Crown Prince. In 2008 he nominated one of his sons as Crown Prince. In England this is always strictly hereditary – first in line is the successor. Sheikh Hamdan though, is I think Sheikh Mohammed’s third or fourth son. So there is a small amount of flexibility and competition as to who becomes the next ruler.

        As much as that doesn’t resemble democracy for me, for some it is satisfactory, and for others it is not. Something I’ve been intensely bothered by (OK pissed off) about the Egypt uprising is the conceit of westerners banging on about the Muslim Brotherhood – as if they (westerners) actually should have a say in how Egyptians develop their political system. STFU! It’s called self-determination.

        Back to the Gulf, I’m not sure the traditional political structures can endure the transition from traditional to highly-interconnected industrialised/information economies. It’s very wrong though to presume that the only suitable direction for them to develop in is western liberal democracy. One of the recent Doha Debates tackled the topics of patronage versus rights. The motion was This House would prefer money to free elections and it was rejected. Anecdotally, that’s a rejection of the current political systems but it seems presumptuous to extrapolate that to the point of generalising about the aspirations of the region.

    • yonira
      February 1, 2011, 5:58 pm

      What would the Iranian or Lebanese reaction be to this Pan-Arabism? How about Jordan or Saudi Arabia? Where would Israel fit in?

      Would the Egyptian even want Pan-Arabism? I’ve read where many Egyptians consider themselves first and foremost Egyptians and secondly Arabs.

      • seafoid
        February 1, 2011, 6:15 pm

        Have you ever been to Egypt, Jordan or Saudi, Yonira?
        Do you have a passport?

        I honestly don’t know where Israel fits in. We will have to wait and see.
        Maybe as a gateway to the West. But not as a sparta with a masada complex.

      • yonira
        February 1, 2011, 6:27 pm

        I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia seafoid, have you?

      • Taxi
        February 1, 2011, 6:24 pm

        Maybe israel can join the Arab fold and embrace, yonira. Be cheaper and safer than waring them AND well, israel IS in Arab territory after all.

      • Sumud
        February 2, 2011, 6:37 am

        If by some miracle Israel accepts the Arab Peace Initiative and a two-state solution comes into existence – that is the only way it could happen now that I see – Israel should be invited to join the Arab League, and they should accept. I’m not joking…

  37. seafoid
    February 1, 2011, 5:17 pm

    “did not think those people capable of that. My own reasoning had to do with patriarchal culture and education levels in Egypt”

    This is racist thinking. What people anywhere is incapable ? The Third World is full of people who never get a fair deal. Even the most isolated tribes speak incredibly complex languages. We are ALL the same. And there are people of spirit everywhere.

  38. yourstruly
    February 1, 2011, 5:42 pm

    young folk make revolutions*

    the elders do their best

    oh what fun it is to be alive

    when the world’s being furned around

    oh, tweet, tweet, tweet

    tweet, tweet, tweet

    tweet as fast as you can

    oh what fun it is to be around

    when the world is coming alive

    *to the tune of jingle bells

    • Sumud
      February 2, 2011, 6:39 am

      yourstruly ~ you know I never comment (what would I say) on your writing but I like it. There!

    • annie
      February 2, 2011, 5:47 pm

      i’ll second sumud on that!

      very refreshing and welcome.

      ;)

  39. eljay
    February 1, 2011, 6:55 pm

    society inhales
    and in the silence
    of bated breaths can be heard
    the din of bloods pulsing
    awaiting release in jubilation
    or in disappointment
    the future is never quite so clear
    as the hope that awaits it

  40. Citizen
    February 2, 2011, 6:14 am

    Lots of talking animals in here today. That’s a good sign.

  41. Driss Moonves
    February 2, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Its good to see the idea of a “scoop” still means something in journalism. After ten years, Phil’s scoop is finally receiving some attention.

Leave a Reply