I don't visit this site often, but just came across Sami Sulaiman's article and thought I'd post a comment. The article is quite good, but adding a few points wouldn't hurt.
To begin with, Palestinians and their supporters mustn't feel compelled to acknowledge the Armenian genocide simply because many Armenians today sympathize with Palestinian suffering, as though striking some sort of barter agreement, but rather because it actually happened.
As for the dispiriting USCMO statement on what befell Ottoman Armenians during the First World War, I would point out to its signatories and supporters that it is ironic to refuse to call those events a "genocide," given that Raphael Lemkin said that they are what prompted him to study several instances of the historical phenomenon of mass murder to which he would later apply this term, which he coined in 1943.
Also, "proper investigation of these events by independent historians" has already been undertaken. Just check out books by the likes of Richard Hovannisian, Taner Akcam, Raymond Kevorkian, Ara Sarafian, Fatma Muge Gocek, and Peter Balakian.
Works by the above authors include many contemporary or near-contemporary accounts by eyewitnesses, some of which can be obtained separately. Let me mention a lesser-known one: "Martyred Armenia," by Fa'iz El-Ghusein. The author, a Muslim Arab who had served as an Ottoman official for many years, wrote this booklet in Arabic in 1916. Here is a link to the translated and slightly abridged English-language version, which has entered the public domain: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19986/19986-h/19986-h.htm
"Yes what about the virgin birth, the parting of the Red Sea, the angel staying the binding of Issac, the burning bush, the slaying of the first sons.... All true?"
But that's precisely the point. Lots of people criticize or mock stories in both the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New. Bill Maher often does so himself -- see his film "Religulous," for example. And Jeffrey Taylor, who is also discussed in the above article, writes, "Not just belief in the Koran leads to mayhem, though," before going on to tackle passages in both the Old and New Testaments that he finds objectionable: http://www.salon.com/2014/10/25/reza_aslans_atheism_problem_fundamentalist_atheists_arent_the_issue_apologists_for_religions_are/
In light of this reality, it would be inconsistent to make criticizing or mocking Islamic scripture off-limits.
As for Rula Jebreal, she made some good points. (Not the one about a gay identity being acceptable in Gaza, though.) For example: "To say that the rise of ISIS is Islamic is simply wrong. There is a theology that's wrong and needs to be reformed."
I'm not sure who gets to decide if a theology is "wrong," let alone reform it, but she's right about misguided or malicious people's attempts to collapse the length and breadth of Islam into terrorism.
Her next sentence, though, strikes me as problematic: "But also, unfortunately, the rise of ISIS is a byproduct of the Iraq War and the terrible way that Iraq was administrated."
This seems to me only partly true. There is nothing foreordained about the way a human being will react to marginalization or oppression, which is what the Sunni Arabs of Iraq have suffered under a succession of sectarian Shiite governments enabled by the US and then backed by Iran. If you choose to resist, and even if you choose violent resistance, it does not have to be Islamist in orientation, let alone of the ISIS variety. For example, you could decide to fight under the banner of a secular ideology, one that would deny the majority religious denomination in your country the right to transform the state into its image and discriminate against or persecute your and other minority communities.
But there's something else to keep in mind when discussing ISIS. The ISIS phenomenon is much bigger than a resistance movement against the Shiite-dominated government. For example, the group has made clear that it opposes the way Shiites worship, irrespective of their political affiliation. As a result, it hasn't just executed captured Shiite soldiers, but blown up Shiite mosques and husseiniyyas in areas it has cleared of Iraqi troops. ISIS has also sought to turn Christians into second-class citizens. And why has the group been harder on Yazidis than Christians? Because, in its view, Yazidis (unlike Christians) are not "people of the book" deserving of Muslims' protection so long as they accept second-class status.
In other words, it's a pretty big leap to go from wanting to resist the Shiite government that's oppressing you to considering Shiite rituals (and even Shiite Islam itself) unacceptable, relegating Christians to an inferior legal status, and presenting Yazidis with the choice of converting to Islam or facing execution. For this reason, coupled with the group's harsh rule in areas it has taken over, many if not most Iraqi Sunni Arabs oppose ISIS. Those who join or support it are not doing something "inevitable," but exercising their free will, either because for them the fact that ISIS fights the Shiite-dominated government trumps its ideological fanaticism and its violence against innocent people, or because they buy into the whole ideological package and attendant violent practices.
Israel's initial green light for the mosque led to communal discord, and yes, one might question the reason behind the decision.
Lots of outside powers, including the Vatican -- as you say -- but also Saudi Arabia, maintained that there was no need for a mosque in Nazareth to be built in front of the Church of the Annunciation. Eventually, Israel relented. The point is that in order to halt the groundwork for construction of the mosque, Palestinian Christians had to call in the Israeli authorities, because ties between the Christian and Muslim communities (or large sections thereof) had become so strained that they could not resolve the issue among themselves.
P.S. I'm not sure what you mean by Nazareth "never" having been recognized as part of Israel. I suspect you mean it "shouldn't have been" recognized as part of Israel by most countries of the world, because the city was not part of the Jewish state envisioned in the UN Partition Plan of 1947. Of course, Nazareth has nevertheless been part of Israel since the country's birth in 1948, and its inhabitants -- Palestinian Muslims and Christians -- hold Israeli citizenship. In fact, like most Israeli Palestinians, they would likely oppose any plan -- such as an expansion of Avigdor Lieberman's proposal -- to transfer their city to the Palestinian state should a two-state solution ever come to pass.
I won't be commenting any more on this thread, or visiting Mondoweiss until after the new year. Merry Christmas to all.
Israel's discrimination against Israeli Palestinian Christians who want to put up Christmas trees in public places is distressing, but this should never lead one to deny that native-born Christians are persecuted in countries across the Muslim world, with the situation being especially bad in Iraq and Pakistan. (Muslim converts to Christianity, of course, are persecuted in virtually all majority Muslim countries.) Even where Christians are not persecuted, they are often discriminated against legally and otherwise in several ways, as in Egypt and even secular Turkey.
One of the sadder aspects of the Islamization of Palestinian political culture is that it has led to tensions between Palestinian Muslims and Christians -- with the latter invariably getting the worst of the fallout where this has happened in Gaza and the West Bank, as they are the minority.
Meanwhile, in Israel, the Palestinian Christians of Nazareth had to turn to the Israeli authorities to prevent some of their Muslim neighbors from erecting a mosque without the city council's permission right in front of the Church of the Annunciation. (The Islamic organizations whose attempts to do this were thwarted by the Israeli authorities have since settled for a series of banners proclaiming "Allah did not have a son" and other rebukes. If they come to dominate the city council and approve construction of the mosque, it is unlikely the Israeli authorities would intervene.)
Here is a very good recent article in The Christian Science Monitor about the problems faced by Christians in the Middle East: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2013/1222/What-the-Middle-East-would-be-like-without-Christians
Amina from Tunisia is neither Western nor imperialist; she just believes that “my body belongs to me, it is not the source of anyone’s honour."
I think anyone -- Western, Muslim, or other -- who believes otherwise is an imperialist.
Women such as Amina are not being "used" by anybody. It is simply too easy, whenever an Arab or Muslim agrees with a Western feminist or gay rights group, to demonize such people by falling back on outdated leftist rhetoric.
If globalization is to be meaningful, it cannot be a one-way street. In other words, if John Smith in the US has the right to convert to Islam without being discriminated against and labeled an Islamist lackey, Amina and Muhammad and everybody else in the Arab and Muslim worlds should have the right to adopt ideas, religions, and attitudes that originate in the West without being labeled sell-outs or imperialist fellow-travelers or whatnot.