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Total number of comments: 6 (since 2013-06-27 03:50:18)

I draw comics.

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  • Going veg
    • NoooOOOOOoooo! Don't do it, Phil! Next you'll be writing articles on how gross halal butchery is, or the nauseating existence of African "bush meat."


      (Seriously. 'Meat-eating is inhumane' dialogue so often gets twisted into a way to insult foreign cultures. I'm also thinking of the recent laws against kosher butchershops in Europe.)

  • Roundtable on the Palestinian solidarity movement and Alison Weir
    • While (as I commented earlier) I have big problems with some of JVP's written statements against Weir, I'll grant this about Weir's radio appearances (to use a parallel example from recent news stories): if I was out there promoting Planned Parenthood, I wouldn't go on racist radio shows that believed birth control could be used to shrink the Black population. :/ Even if I mustered up a few lines like "Well, I don't agree with you about the racism, but birth control is great, isn't it?" during the interview.

    • This is super fascinating. I was wondering when Mondoweiss would write something about this controversy.

      I haven't read through this enormous 400-comment thread and I haven't checked out the links to the interview(s) & article which led to the accusations of Anti-Semitism. I have heard the same accusations against Weir from Max Blumenthal, among other activists I respect. But I have to confess I basically haven't put in the time to look into the claims in detail and look at the evidence.

      I will say there is one thing that bothers me about JVP's June 15 statement against Weir, and that's how they take this to me uncontroversial statement by Weir as evidence of prejudice:

      "[Alison Weir] founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public."

      According to JVP, this paragraph is evidence of Anti-Semitism ("...according to Weir... only non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Palestinian, and non-Jewish voices can be trusted to speak the truth, based solely on their ethnic or religious identity. Notions of objectivity are routinely used to discredit the experiences of those most directly affected by oppression.") :/ I can't follow or accept this logic. If we're going to only admit 'subjective' voices, if we can't even pretend to "objectivity," then we're really right back where we started pitting Palestinian voices against right-wing Israeli voices. And obviously it's these right-wing Israeli voices which are vastly louder in the US. Rania Khalek (another journalist I respect) may have "objectivity is bullshit" as her Twitter desc, but objectivity is at least 1000x better in this case than listening SOLELY to the voices of oppressors... which is the default US media position. Baby steps, people.

      Furthermore, when I read IAK's website materials -- years ago before this scandal, and during my own education on Palestine -- I found Weir's basic arguments resonant and I thought she/IAK made convincing arguments that I could pass on to friends and family who weren't leftists. Needless to say it's Palestinians, not the US, who suffer under Israeli policies..... the US war machine benefits from Israel... but I don't see any problem with using arguments like "...and this ALSO sucks for the US, because of X and Y and because it's morally indefensible!" I'm a progressive liberal, not an absolute stateless internationalist super-leftist. It's possible to convince Americans to oppose Palestinian apartheid without them also having to believe that the US is a completely irredeemable agent of worldwide oppression and racism. (The key words here are "completely irredeemable"... I won't argue about the agent of worldwide oppression part... -_- )

      Whether some of Weir's work is Anti-Semitic, I don't know, and I need to dig into it and know more to answer. But I do know that some of JVP's accusations are stretching, and that her organization has done a good job of presenting a pro-Palestinian, one-state narrative that is palatable to moderate and liberal Americans. Frankly, I like Mondoweiss for the same reason.

  • CUFI Leader John Hagee confirms Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic
    • I have to say I can't see why this is a surprise (the "unconverted Jews are going to Hell" part, that is, setting aside the question of whether thinking nonbelievers will go to Hell is technically racism/Anti-Semitism, an argument I'm skeptical of). I've read like a jillion Christian Fundamentalist end-of-the-world Rapture novels (the Left Behind series, the Christ Clone Trilogy, etc.) and on top of their universally anti-Arab/anti-Islam bigotry they always assert that Jews, while "chosen" and thus deserving of some sort of pat on the head, still have to convert to Christianity in the end or else they'll burn in Hell. Jack Chick tracts are the same way. This is Fundamentalist Protestantism 101.

  • Charlie Hebdo: The sacred of the 'wretched of the Earth' and its desecration
    • Without going into the rest of the human rights content of the article, and while accepting Bouteldja's right to her viewpoint and her experiences: to me as an atheist, the appeal to "the sacred" is a complete turn-off.

      Basically, as an atheist, there's no way I'm going to be convinced by an argument which uses the word "sacrilege" or proposes creating or nurturing "sacredness" within society. This just comes off as a terrible idea. And when Westerners from an agnostic, atheist or ex-Christian background *do* decide to create a special space for the "sacred" for non-Western cultures, be it Islam or other religions, the motivation seems to almost always be primarily exoticism -- the search for "magical" religious traditions which don't seem as boring and outmoded as Western religious traditions.

      In short, this kind of religious appeal is a non-starter. Furthermore, to a Western fence-sitter, it only reinforces a damaging stereotypical impression of an essentialist gap between 'Western' and 'non-Western' mindsets, i.e.:

      "During my whole indigenous life, I have never heard anyone insult our prophet. My whole life, I swear. It is neither prohibited nor taboo. This thought does not cross our minds. This thought does not exist, period."

      >_0 Honest to the author's personal experience and feelings though they may be, these lines don't do much to convince the agnostic/atheist Westerner of an essential sameness and shared human experience. And speaking of my own personal experience and feelings, what opened my bourgeois WASP eyes to the ravages of imperialism, colonialism and the reality of anti-Arab/Muslim prejudice was ONLY the revelatory discovery of Arab authors with a strictly agnostic class-based/anti-capitalist perspective... although those selfsame authors I admire may still think I'm being a total jerk with atheistsplaining statements like this one, but atheism and denial of the sacred is a line in the sand for me politically, thanks.

  • The occupied territories are 7000 miles from New Mexico but I felt like I never left home
    • "It’s not our place to romanticize their struggle, there’s nothing romantic about it."

      Good article, but I don't get this line, or rather this sentiment.

      I mean, I get that it's useless to romanticize without *doing* anything, that it's pointless for a bunch of Westerners to sigh "Oh, poor Palestinians" without actually putting in any time or money to help. (Although in my experience, Palestinians don't even get the lip service that other minority & oppressed groups get from Western liberals.)

      But what does 'don't romanticize' mean? Does Elias Khoury's "Gate of the Sun" romanticize Palestine? :/ Does Ghassan Kanafani (despite being Palestinian) romanticize Palestine by writing stories about it with made-up or composite characters? Maybe I'm using language differently than the author, but to me the word 'romanticize' encompasses all fictionalized and 'escapist' grapplings with the topic, and yes, I think Westerners would do better to at least romantically sympathize with Palestinians, rather than the absolute disinterest and/or realpolitik anti-Palestinian justifications, if not unashamed racism, with which I usually see in the Western media and on my Facebook wall whenever Palestine is mentioned.

      Basiaclly, romanticism doesn't exclude useful action. At the very least it can sometimes open a crack for light to shine through.

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