how the world sees america

American Studies in Beirut: Learning to Love?

Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content.

BEIRUT - Professor Patrick McGreevy is talking about an ugly moment in American history, but his students at the American University of Beirut (AUB) keep trying to tie it to present-day politics.

McGreevy, head of the new Center for American Studies here, teaches an Introduction to American Studies course to twenty-five undergrads. Today’s class is on the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 through which America exerted paternalistic control over many of its Latin American neighbors.

McGreevy projects old American cartoons from the 1800s and early 1900s onto a white screen. Uncle Sam, tall and lean, sits at the head of a classroom schooling infantile pupils named “Cuba” and “Puerto Rico” in the ways of liberty and democracy.

“Americans didn’t like to think of themselves as colonizers,” McGreevy explains, so they called their expansionism a civilizing mission. 'Manifest Destiny' was the term -- the 'City on a Hill’s' divine mission to elevate the rest of the world to its level, justifying the subjugation of foreign publics aplenty, he says.

Maya pipes up: "It's just like Iraq today; with all [Bush's] talk of democracy!"

McGreevy responds diplomatically, “Well, one can argue that.” Then he shifts back to the screen.

Another student chimes in, “Look at Pakistan….I just heard Bolton say the U.S. should keep supporting the dictator [Pervez Musharraf].”

AUB-Main-Entrance.jpg
Inside AUB's Main Entrance.

McGreevy again responds delicately, “Well, remember Bolton doesn’t represent all Americans, or even necessarily the Bush administration right now.”

The professor’s no apologist for America’s foreign policy blunders, and he openly dislikes Bush, but right now he’s just trying to teach history. What’s a grey-haired professor with a doctorate from the University of Minnesota to do?

“They’d just talk about that sort of thing [modern politics] all day if I let them!” he says after class with a laugh.

It's noon and the students bustle off onto the winding hillside paths overlooking beige buildings and the Mediterranean below. Maya and Farah linger to talk.

“We don’t really get what we want from this class. We want to know how Americans are today, how they think.”

They have other, more advanced course offerings on current politics. But McGreevy concedes his class is not the hands-on sort of training other universities offer, which prepare students to work in the U.S. That’s not his aim. He’s in it to emphasize the liberal arts, and teach critical thinking.

So does learning this way make his students like America more or less, I ask bluntly. It's not his job to worry about that, he says. He's presenting America with its pretty eyes and its warts.

The Center was funded by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal whose money New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani refused because the prince had said America must “re-examine” its foreign policy in the Middle East. Unlike some other American Studies programs in the Middle East, AUB’s receives no U.S. State Department funding.

“They [State Department funders] wouldn’t always be happy” with what he and his students debate about America, says McGreevy. If students use facts to back up their opinions, anything goes. Recently the center made citywide news by inviting author Noam Chomsky, an outspoken critic of U.S. Middle East policy, to speak.

But the students aren’t in this to “like” America. "Americans study every aspect of our culture, even the smallest things," says one student, citing the father of Orientalist Theory, Edward Said. "Arab students need to do the same thing" so they can address the U.S. as well as their rivals, Israel implied. They need to understand Americans to engage Americans.

Because of war in 2006 and fear of more to come, job prospects are hurting here in Lebanon. Upcoming graduates like Maya and Farah worry. They're studying at AUB and want to move abroad next year for work, despite anger at certain U.S. Middle East policies.

“We need to learn about America,” they say. But they don't have to love everything about it.

Join Monthly Mailing List | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook

Comments (117)

Justin Mckay Washington:

I have never met a Middle Easterner I didn't like.

JT:

It is time for us to admit that the majority of those from the middle east do not trust or like Americans. The hatred for America is deep rooted and unlikely to change regardless of what our policies are or of any efforts we make. Even those who come to America to be educated arrive with a deep mistrust of America and leave with that same mistrust. The US must withdraw from middle eastern affairs and let the nations of the region and the UN work out the problems. American aid, troops and involvement are not the answer.

American in Indonesia:

I am interested by the varying viewpoints presented here. It is critical that readers are aware that this entire site is a series of case studies, which are interesting but rarely, if ever, representative of the whole.

The same is true about the comments coming from Americans about "what America is like." The one that goes into how "America is conflict... you are shark or food" I disagree with blatantly. But, I am a teacher. The world of business may be dog-eat-dog in America and everywhere else, but there are many other aspects.

As an American teaching abroad, I have something of a balanced perspective (I hope). The bottom line is that the issues presented here are challenging and no easy answers exist. I think this is what the professor was trying to show his students. His responses are more than diplomatic, they are reverent of the issues.

Yes, America has spilled blood and has put up many heroic stands seeking to rid the world of oppression and various evils. This very fact raises many questions. Does America have that responsibility? That right? Where is the line drawn? Are we going too far in our "policing" or not far enough?

My personal opinion on these questions matters very little, far more important is the necessity to understand the complexity therein. I love America, I do believe that it is a land of opportunity, but I am not so biased as to think it has everything right. As a Christian man, I do believe in absolute truth, but I am not arrogant enough to believe that all of my beliefs certainly align with what is absolutely true. I am convicted of my beliefs, but I will always seek to listen to and hear others beliefs about even things like faith and democracy. If, indeed, democracy is the best form of government for the world, then we should encourage others to seek the best, and let them discover democracy on their own. If its not, or if it is not "for everyone" (certainly some things are relative), then we should be helping them find what is best for them, not what is best for us.

This applies to all truths. If what I believe about God is true, I should not be afraid to truly listen to the Jew, the Muslim, the Buddhist, for if God is truth, and I am seeking truth, I only stand to gain.

In sum: I love America, I believe in most of what it stands for, but I do believe that the way we come across to the world needs to be humbled down. We have responsibility, surely, but the extent of that responsibility (and right) needs to be constantly reexamined from a global perspective.

William, San Antonio:

Alan:

I have entered the fray on another WaPo blog titled "Don't Expect Much from Annapolis" at:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/hisham_melhem/2007/11/dont_expect_much_from_annapoli/all_comments.html

If you'e interested in a little known outrage Google Noviana Malewa.

It's been a pleasure reading your posts. My best to you and yours.

Alan:

Sorry for the ommision but the events took place in Sudan. Here's the link:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071130/ap_on_re_af/sudan_british_teacher

Alan:

Newsflash

I’m compelled to write because there is pertinent information in today’s news supporting my past contention that there can’t be a one state solution. Thousands demonstrated to support the execution of an English schoolteacher for allowing her students to name a teddy bear “Muhammed”. In addition to posters, many of these “protestors” carried machetes and screamed “Death by firing squad”.

This school teacher was obviously not trying to insult Muslims. She was living in a third world country trying to educate its children, probably making very little money. She was likely an idealist trying to help out in Sudan. Although the insult is real, it was accidental.

Thousands demonstrating leads me to believe there is a strong possibility that a significant number of Sudanese would support execution in this case. I’m looking at the big picture and not relying on the words of a single cleric in a news quote. Hussein, this is an example of considering a widely held view before coming to a conclusion about the population as a whole. We're not talking about hundreds of people--this is thousands. It's probably mainstream.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that it supports my view that Jews can not accept living in a Muslim country. They wouldn’t be safe. All it takes is naming a teddy bear “Muhammed” for the locals to be whipped up into a frenzy. Imagine if the perpetrator of such a “heinous” action were Jewish, or if there were a Jewish neighborhood for the mob to attack.

Alan:

William

Thanks for pointing out the article about the al-Duras incident in 2000. I remember reading that the incident has been used to catalyze hatred against Israelis. The surprising aspect of that piece was that the Israelis were using rubber bullets to fight Palestinians using real bullets. It’s obvious that they were not trying to kill the child, who may or may not have been caught in the crossfire. For argument’s sake, let’s consider the highly unlikely possibility of a rogue soldier who actually attempted to kill the child. If this were true, why hate all of the Jews? The overwhelming majority of Israelis do not support attempted murder of children. The government of Israel has never condoned murdering children. Unlike Hamas, who honors the nice folks who blow up buses with school children.

One of the reasons that Jews in Israel should give away the West Bank and make peace is to avoid having to live in a Muslim majority country. Imagine Jews living in a Muslim country. One bad action by a single Jew would probably result in bloodshed because the Muslim community would hold all Jews responsible. Or worse, a rumor could be manufactured to whip up hatred of the Jews. The Jenin “massacre” is an example. If Shiites and Sunnis feel justified killing each other, what chance would Jews have?

Hussein, if he is legitimate, might want to look at the Arab world through Jewish eyes and ponder the apparent double standards in Arabic outrage. In my last blog, I mentioned the Danish cartoon and Abu Graib causing much more outrage than the slaughtering in Iraq or Darfur. A double standard if there ever was one. Consider this double standard as well: Where is the Arab outrage at the Assad regime, which killed 20,000 in Hama in the 1980’s? The old man may have died, but I’m sure the ophthalmologist employs the same generals responsible for that atrocity. The suffering in the West Bank, though real, pales in comparison to Muslim atrocities in Hama, Iraq and Darfur, yet Israel and the Jews are vilified. To repeat a point, the restricted movements in the West Bank only occur because Israel has to check for bombs aimed at its civilians.

Everybody knows that the checkpoints will disappear the minute the bombs disappear. Israelis would rather surf than check trucks for bombs. I’m sure the Palestinian leadership understands this as well. Perhaps they desire economic hardship in order to gain the world’s attention.

Last, I understand about projection but I don’t think you can prove such a theory in this case. Propaganda, yes. Projection, maybe.



William, San Antonio:

Alan:

You mentioned the Jenin “massacre”. In addition to its being propaganda, it’s also an example of psychological projection. Google the Hama massacre.

Propaganda and projection are all part of the Arab array of disinformation. One of the most insidious devices, the blood libel, perfected by medieval Christians is also among them. One of the most recent of which is unraveling. Please see:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=924440&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1

Alan:

William

I chose to ignore the racist comments of some of the bloggers because one can’t change the mindset of the screaming vocal minority (a majority on a blog, but a minority in the world—most people are apathetic).

Hussein, on the other hand, writes well and is intellectually challenging. He is either misinformed or intentionally propagates what he knows are lies. I can’t be judgmental about him because it is impossible to know with certainty as to which of these two possibilities are correct. I hope it’s the former because he’s smart.

Your comments enlightened me to the paradox inherent in two variations of the truth which seemingly directly contradict one another. This might explain the erroneous conclusion that suicide bombers targeting civilians deserve sympathy even if one condemns their acts. In the words of my father from Brooklyn, “ya gotta know right from wrong”. Too bad there aren’t enough folks in the Muslim world adopting this view. All of them should understand that blowing up buses with school children is wrong. Glorifying the perpetrators and their families is nefarious. Aiming missiles indiscriminately at civilians is more wrong than Israeli retaliation in which civilians non-combants are killed because the attackers choose such neighborhoods from which to launch missiles. The missile launchers need condemnation every time by everyone. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. It is encouraging that France voted for Sakozy and might be “getting it” when it comes to vilification of the U.S.

Thanks for debunking the quotes in an academic fashion. I do not possess an iota of the historical scholarship that you do. As for Hussein, he needs to try to find out truth as a whole rather than attempt to create truth based on individual quotations or single news articles written immediately after an event. Such writing is often littered with errors, as I noted in my earlier blog where I mentioned the Jenin “massacre”.

I appreciate the effort on your part, will read the texts you have outlined and will continue searching for the truth. Hopefully, someone reading these blogs will understand the viewpoint that the world needs to get Muslims to understand that intentionally targeting civilians is always abhorrent no matter what the grievances are. If they continue to be whipped up into a frenzy over cartoons or photos from Abu Graib, they will never improve their lot. As a side note, the photos from Abu Graib are revolting, but they pale in comparison to heinous acts going on everyday in Iraq. The slaughter is ignored in the Muslim world when compared to the reactions to the cartoon or photos mentioned above. Humiliation and impotence seem to be more horrifying to Arabs than beheadings of people praying in mosques in Iraq.

The Arabs need to realize that they should focus on obliterating the mindset that the end result is worth any means, because they will never achieve the end result through violence toward civilians. Eventually, as the violence escalates, they will be marginalized and ostracized.

Scholars need to stop talking about the minority hijacked by radicalism and start realizing the profoundness of widespread support for suicide bombings of innocents. They need to ask how so many of them view Osama Bin Laden as some sort of Robin Hood. I don’t know what percentage of the Arabic Middle East thinks of Bin Laden as a hero, but the last time I looked, he has a higher acceptability quotient than George Bush does in this country. This is not a minority fringe group that likes Bin Laden or accepts suicide bombings of civilians--- it’s mainstream.

If the Arab and Muslim world ever wholeheartedly repudiates the intentional killing of innocents, they will enjoy their lives much sooner. I’m hoping such enlightenment comes before more evil events occur. But I’m not deluded enough to think this will happen anytime soon.

William, San Antonio:

Alan:

Had you not taken the time to respond to Hussein in such an extraordinary manner, I would have left the field satisfied that I had accomplished what I had intended. Your effort compels me to reenter the fray. I hope very much that you will take a moment to read on.

I am a middle-aged American with a military background; and, despite some of my contentious additions to the blog, I am well educated and well read. I have also spent a considerable amount of time in different parts of the world and have been able to hold my own in several different languages. We hold at least one thing in common: Just as you revealed, I also had posted nothing publically before finding this and several other related PostGlobal blogs.

What led me to invest the effort was a complete revulsion at the tone of the vast majority of comments. There seemed to be such a complete lack of sensibility and such an unreasoned hostility toward Jews that my first inclination was to reach through my modem and start slapping people straight. I’m sure that if you have read some of my hyperbole that the exasperation is obvious. But, there is also some method behind the madness.

First, let me say that there is not a syllable of what I have written that is not accurate. My intention is purely to educate – to be challenging but absolutely factual. There most likely would have been no mention of the Nebi Musa and Yaffa riots had I not injected them into the conversation. In a few moments there will be more of the same.

Second, the unreasoned hostility toward Jews that I alluded to is becoming more and more prevalent not only here but in the broader discourse. That is intolerable. I will not stand by and allow it to go unchallenged – not on my watch. If you lie about Jews, I don’t care who you are or how it’s camouflaged, you’re an anti-Semite. I am old enough to have first-hand memories of many of the momentous events of the last century, and it appears that many of the nightmares of that era refuse to die. It is unfortunately true that most people believe that history began when they were born. Graffiti artists and one-note sambas aside persistent disinformation with complete disregard to verifiable historic records requires a response.

The main purpose of addressing you is to say that you have reaffirmed, despite the rising tide of world-wide journalistic bias, general academic malpractice and woeful public stupidity, the ability of thoughtful people to put it all aside and hold firm to what is right. My hat is off to you.

Hussein:

Many years ago I read that Islamic logic is dualistic. That is, two contradictory things in the same frame of reference can be held to be true; whereas Western logic is based upon the law of contradiction — if two things contradict, then at least one of them is false. I am most certain that this is correct and it is the kindest thing that I can say about your pseudo-eloquence.

The late Edward Said (a most important figure for he is the author of the “Palestinian narrative”) a most urbane, charming and erudite individual, once characterized all Europeans thusly: "Orientalism can say this almost without qualification – Orientalism was such a system of truths, truths in Nietzsche’s sense of the word. It is therefore correct that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric". Clearly then you are not the first to describe me as a racist. But, at least I am able to offer up quotes in context both immediate and historic.

When you say “He” as in “He clearly and unambiguously admitted…” you are referring to David Ben-Gurion and the inference is that pre-1948, he and his fellows drove hapless Arabs from their villages. The quote you reference, according to Wikipedia and numerous other sources is, however, taken from an address Moshe Dayan gave to Technion University students on March 19, 1969. From Wikipedia:

A transcription of the speech appeared in Ha'aretz on April 4, 1969. In answer to a student's question suggesting that Israel adopt a policy of punishing Arabs who commit crimes in the West Bank by deportation to Jordan, Dayan answers that he is vehemently opposed to this idea, insisting that the answer to the longstanding Arab-Israeli problem is to learn to live together with Arab neighbors. He goes on to say:

“We came to a region that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In many places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages. You don't even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don't blame you, because those geography books aren't around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren't around...”

Dayan's conclusion was that the solution to the Arab-Israeli problem is to learn to coexist with them.

A cursory check of information available on the Internet reveals that there may be deeper problems besides context. The quote becomes problematic because it appears that (referencing the full quote) Dayan grew up virtually across the road from Mahlul at Nahlal and therefore should have known that Nahlal did not arise in the place of Mahlul. It appears that the two villages, the best I am able to discern, co-existed until1948. In fact, look at:

http://www.palestineremembered.com/Nazareth/Ma'lul/index.html#Town%20Statistics%20&%20Facts

This “Palestinian” site appears to confirm my case.

Now to confuse the situation even further, the official Website of Ilan Pappé conjectures that “Dayan was probably quoting Ben Gurion from the 'The Jewish Paradox'”. However, it looks like “The Jewish Paradox” wasn’t written until 1979 and Dayan’s speech was given in 1969. The widespread misuse of this quote recycled again and again through the propaganda mill could, by itself, be the subject of a lengthy article.

It is necessary to restate that the implied purpose of using the quote was to claim that pre-1948 Palestinian Jews copiously expropriated Palestinian Arab lands – something that it clearly does not. If you choose to continue along these lines, we will have to have a lengthy discussion with its centerpiece as the map of Palestine when the San Remo Conference decided on April 24, 1920 to assign the Mandate for Palestine under the League of Nations to Britain. Then we will continue with Britain’s subsequent subdivisions of that mandated area.

Now I want to inspect another Ben-Gurion quote that is misused in an even more sinister way. Also from Wikipedia:

“We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places. “
Letter to his son Amos (5 October 1937), as quoted in Fabricating Israeli History: The 'New Historians (2000) by Efraim Karsh

This was extensively quoted as "[We] must expel Arabs and take their places" after appearing in this form in The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949 (1987) by Benny Morris, p. 25.

The immediate lesson is that Benny Morris, Ilan Pappé, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and Simha Flapan (all Jews, by the way), the so-called New Historians, are highly suspect and widely used for propaganda purposes. The broader lesson is that so-called quotes, as we all should know, are valueless unless broadened by both immediate and historic context.

Another quote that you use:

"If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter"

Is easily understood as deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect when completed by:

“for before us lies not only the numbers of these children but the historical reckoning of the people of Israel.” Attributed to Ben-Gurion by Martin Gilbert in "Israel was everything" in The New York Times (21 June 1987)

Finally, because disentangling all of your unctuous Saidian verbiage is hard work, I want to end, but end with a recommendation. Your efforts are not unappreciated. You serve as a literal “teaching moment” for my “racist” ruminations. Please continue.

Alan:

Hussein

I’ll address your letter in order of the items that you listed them. First, I’m not comfortable giving my location on this type of blog. Mean people could be reading this. Suffice to say that I’m one of the 10 million people living in the greater LA region.

It is apparent that there are two opinions regarding the initial immigrants in Israel. One states that the Jews bought their properties at first, with help from Jews in wealthy countries. When they were attacked, riots and battles resulted in population shifts. The other states that the Arabs were kicked out of their homes from the beginning. It seems pointless to debate this issue because we’ll never come to agreement on it.

I lived in Israel and I can tell you first hand that the majority of people are not racist. Yes, you’ll find quotes from people who are racist, but this is not true for the majority. I have black friends, however, who believe that everybody is a little racist down deep, so I am open minded to the possibility of subtle racism. The racism on the side of Palestinians is not subtle. It is state sponsored and includes television programs geared to ignite Arabic children to hate Jews.

As far as Israeli hate crimes are concerned, the courts usually do a good job prosecuting these cases. I’m sure you can find several examples suggesting otherwise, but these are the exception and not the rule. But finding an example to support your views is not the same as finding out what goes on most of the time. I remember the first reports of the Israeli “massacre” in Jenin, in which numerous reputable news providers quoted Jenin residents who saw hundreds of dead people. When the UN checked this out, the number was around 13 noncombatant deaths, if I remember correctly. The point is that it might not be advisable to trust newspapers or television broadcasts soon after such an event.

The next point you make concerns Ariel Sharon. He is no more responsible for civilian deaths than are countless other persons around the world who lead in times of war. Armies going through civilian areas can result in dead noncombatants. Israel at least issues regrets when such tragedies occur. Did Nasrallah issue such regrets? If Israel wanted to kill civilians, they could kill a boatload. It would be easy to blow up an entire neighborhood looking for someone with a missile but the Isreali leaders choose not to go this route. I’m not talking about the occasional military bomb gone astray. Israel sends its soldiers on dangerous missions when they could instead send their airforce and kill hundreds. Israel even takes an extra step to avoid civilian casualties. When they bombed Lebanese towns from which numerous missiles were being launched, they preceded such action by dropping leaflets telling the residents (and missile launchers!) when to expect the bombing. Did Putin do this in Grozny? I suggest the Muslim world would be better off complaining about his complete destruction of Grozny before pointing fingers at Israel. How would China or America react to missiles being launched onto their cities? My guess would be with a lot more force and no warnings for residents. Regardless, condemnation should be reserved for Hizballah choosing to launch missiles from civilian regions.

Now to suicide bombings. The “violent” occupation for the most part involves traffic checks that result in time inconveniences to residents and economic hardship for businesses. These checkpoints are established to search for bombs aimed at civilians. For several years in the 1990’s there were very few of these checkpoints, which had to be reestablished once suicide bombings became so popular. I like your clarification that civilian targets are unacceptable. Any government that would encourage targeting civilians intentionally and honor those who kill children should be ostracized by the world community. Until Hamas pulls down the posters honoring those who have killed children, they should be ostracized. The Muslim world needs to repudiate intentional killing of innocents under any circumstances. I mentioned Darfur and Iraq in my last blog as being non-controversial in the Muslim world when compared to that obscure Danish cartoon. This needs to change.

Now for the “radical quote”. “Radical” to me means that it is acceptable to kill civilians to achieve a political or religious goal. Jewish radicals in Israel are a tiny minority. Compare this with the 50-75% of the Palestinians who support suicide bombings against civilian targets in poll after poll. We’re not talking about a people who’ve been hijacked by a few radicals. Targeting civilians is mainstream in the Palestinian collective mindset.

Regarding two states versus one state. You mentioned that there were periods of time that Jews have lived safely among Muslims before Israel was a country. Jews should never be forced to live within a Muslim majority because all it takes is rumor and a crazy cleric to whip the mindset of the locals into attacking Jewish civilians. You and I both know there have been a lot more Arabic mob killings than vice versa. Jewish synagogues have been attacked in Muslim communities and Jews were not allowed to pray in Jerusalem when Jordan was in control. To revisit the “living peacefully side by side in the 1910’s” concept, I believe Shiites and Sunnis lived side by side in Iraq until a few years ago. Israelis seeing the lack of condemnation in the Arab world to such slaughter would be naïve to think that this could never happen to them in the context of a Muslim state.

The solution is two states. The Palestinians should finally be let out of their refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. They should be allowed to settle in the West Bank and Gaza. All of these regions share the same language and religion. Palestinians already make up a large portion of Jordan. Together, these areas are probably ten times the size of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israelis might not want to negotiate. This might have something to do with the fact that they pulled out of Lebanon completely in 2000 but were still attacked. Until the Muslim world repudiates anti-Semitism and terrorism, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about peace.

Finally, I sincerely hope you stop finding sympathy for would-be suicide bombers. It would be better to find sympathy instead for those suffering economic hardship due to the occupation of the West Bank, which is a result of the Israelis searching for bombs. Would be suicide bombers who would like to target civilians should be condemned on every occasion by everyone around the world. I respectfully request that you clarify your position on this last point.

On a side note, what do you think of the Hamas preamble quotation presented by “anonymous”?

Regards:

PS---

William

Thanks for the subtle warning to take care. Also, I like the Texas line about lies traveling halfway around the world before the truth can get it pants on. I would say that the Jenin "massacre" is a classic example.


Anonymous:

RE: Hamas and its founder.

As I have posted in earlier comments, the preamble to the Hamas charter states "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." As for Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (killed by Hellfire missiles on March 22, 2004) he stated that "reconciliation with the Jews is a crime." (Filastin al-Muslimah (London), March 1995.)

Yassin suggested to the New York Times that Hamas had become more violent primarily because they now have more sophisticated and destructive weapons: "The Palestinian people are not the same as they were in 1967. At that time, nobody knew how to make explosives... but now, everybody knows, and Israel will never be the same." (New York Times, April 4, 2002.)

The Boston Globe reported that after a Palestinian attack, which left four Jewish seminary students dead, "Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin told 30,000 supporters at a rally... 'Resistance will move forward. Jihad will continue, and martyrdom operations will continue until the full liberation of Palestine.'" (December 28, 2002.)

William, San Antonio:

Alan:

I have been checking Hussein’s “quotes”. They are either highly problematic or ripped violently out of context. I will comment on them later; but, with the sheer volume of garbage that’s being spewed and the time it takes to bust it, I can only say that a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on. The recent links he posted epitomize the old moral equivalence game – pure taqiyya.

And most importantly, I am compelled to say that Daniel Pearl did not fall into the hands of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed because he (Pearl) was a complete fool, but because he was completely fooled. Please take care.

Hussein, AUB:

Alan:

Well, first things first. Which part of LA are you in? I was there in the summer, visiting a relative who had just graduated from UCLA. Not half-bad, just not for me.
This is my 8th year in Lebanon, and you can say that I’m quite religious- just not in the classical sense.

Now back to politics. First of all, I think it’s imperative for us to distinguish between the inherent racism in developed countries against peoples of different races or religions (and of all people, the Jews can attest to this), and the Palestinian reaction to the illegal immigration of the ‘20s. The violent responses were not because of their ‘insecurity’ or anti-Semitism, but because hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants were being forcefully shipped into the territories without their consent, and without having any homes to accommodate them.

The ‘legal purchases’ you are referring to account for less than 5% of the land the Israelis now occupy. It’s like saying that your house is legally mine because I purchased your patio, roughly speaking. You can’t evict the local population and actual owners because of the fact that you’ve been subjected to centuries of oppression- as tempting as that can be; just ‘getting away’ from all that racism and going back to the ‘Promised Land’. The only thing you’re actually doing is compensating for one injustice with another- which is just as unacceptable.

You mention the widespread anti-Semitism among the Arab masses, and I agree: there is quite a lot, and this will require years of healing for it to go away. But saying that this prejudice is one-sided and that most Jews don’t share this racism is an illusion in itself. All you have to do is check Yediot Ahronot, Maariv, WorldNetDaily, Camera.org, DEBKa files, and countless other outlets that represent the opinions of so many Jewish people and just reek of racism.

Now when you talk about ‘unjustifiable’ crimes (when you referred to suicide bombings), I’m sure you’re aware of the several hate crimes and lynches that occurred around the time of the Gaza disengagement two years back, when a half-dozen Palestinians were murdered in cold blood by disgruntled settlers. One 7 year old was stabbed 21 times by an angry Jewish mob, and died simply because he was ‘in the wrong place, at the wrong time’.

You also evoke the event of “(…) a Palestinian mob lynching two Israelis soldiers and dragging their carcasses around the city streets”
Here’s an example of the ‘honorable soldiers’ you were grieving for.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Middle-East-Conflict/Soldiers-regularly-desecrate-bodies-Israeli-paper-says/2004/11/18/1100748141463.html?from=moreStories

And here’s another story about a poor 13-year old girl whose already lifeless body was riddled with 15 bullets by an army officer, who- by the way- walked without charges.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Middle-East-Conflict/Army-wants-to-exhume-body-of-Palestinian-girl/2004/11/18/1100748148068.html?from=moreStories

The Sydney Morning Herald website is just one I stumbled upon, I can find you many others- if, for some reason, you find this one unreliable.

As for Ariel Sharon, he is just as responsible for civilian murders (if not more) than any of the elected Hamas politicians. Haniya- the Palestinian PM- has virtually no blood on his hands, and is much, much more pragmatic than most Palestinian leaders (he is even more reasonable than many Fatah officials). Shunning him is one the West’s- and Israel’s- biggest gaffes and I still think that no peace can be achieved while relying on Abbas alone.

Now regarding the point you made about ‘sympathizing with’ suicide bombings, I have two things to say. First, sympathy for would-be suicide bombers is NOT the same as sympathy for, or acceptance of, the act itself. I feel bad both for those who have been put in such a position, and their Israeli victims. Second, suicide bombings are not an absolute, reprehensible evil that ‘is in no way acceptable’. Suicide bombings are a violent means like any other, and I condemn suicide bombings not for the method employed, but because of the targets often involved.

Saying ‘suicide bombings are wrong’ is just the same as saying that ‘guns’, ‘missiles’, or ‘tanks’ are “wrong” because the latter can cause much, much more indiscriminate damage. Striking Israeli targets is not something I would favor, but I’d be a liar if I were to tell you that I feel even the slightest speck of sympathy for downed Israeli soldiers participating in a violent occupation or incursion. It IS interesting to note, however, that despite Hamas’ terrorism, they have killed less people in total (approx. 400) than Israel has CHILDREN IN THE PAST 6 YEARS (over 2,000). What’s even more ‘surprising’ is that the Israelis have more accurate weapons and more reliable intelligence- go figure!

Note: whoever is going to try to claim that ‘human shields’ are being used by the Palestinians save it, because that is definitely not true, and I can dig up many Israeli Army statements confirming this. Not that the terrorists are good people, just that this isn’t one of the horrible acts that they’ve undertaken. Waiting until the rocket launchers retreat to the city and striking them when they are in populated areas is not ‘collateral damage’; it’s intentional collective punishment.

As for your last point about ‘Jews feeling insecure’, I can absolutely understand where this is coming from. After all, the Jews survived centuries of persecution only to be herded to a land where they weren’t wanted, in one part of the world, and nearly simultaneously subjected to a mass extermination in another. However, this paranoia- although justified- is not reason enough to defend the current status quo. Fact of the matter is that the only thing blocking peace right now is an Israeli refusal of sharing Historic Palestine (I say Historic Palestine not out of affection, but because I’m referring to both the Territories and modern-day Israel). The Jews lived in peace alongside their Palestinian neighbors prior to the tragic chain of events that began in the late 1910’s, and they may do so again- hopefully as soon as both parties are given a chance to heal. An Islamic, Christian, or Jewish state is not an acceptable option. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Hamas’ original founder, had even staged talks with a local settler leader in the late 1990’s- early 2000’s. I can’t remember the direct quote, but one of the most memorable things he had said went along the lines of ‘you and I, we can solve this issue in five minutes. But it’s the radicals on both sides that use the banners of religion and nationalism to subjugate our people’. I should definitely find the exact quote, though.

A two-state solution will never work. No matter how you look at it, both sides would be getting a raw deal (although Palestinians will admittedly be worse off than the Israelis in such a settlement). It’s up to the realists on both sides to acknowledge this, and you may just be surprised by the allies Israel would stumble upon. That being said, I am certain that this won’t happen any time soon- especially with both current authorities (the PA and Likud/Kadima/Labor) in place. And with Abbas re-arming and Yisrael Beitenu gaining clout, the prospects of an actual solution are dimming by the minute.

We can only hope that both peoples become aware of the bitter reality they are facing before the only solution they reach is a ‘final solution’.

Rgds

Alan:

Hussein:

Thank you for posting another well written reply. Since you’ve shared some of your background, I’ll share some of mine. I’m Jewish, not religious, live in Los Angeles, and I’ve never posted comments on a news blog. I lived in Israel for a year to attend a university exchange. I was embarrassed about my lack of understanding of these issues during that year in Jerusalem, especially so when I interacted with the Arab students, who represented about a quarter of my dormitory floor. I have since tried to educate myself about the country, its neighbors, and its history. The reason I’ve continued to post is that your arguments are understandable and not racist or hateful.

I also understand why the typical Palestinian man would have been angry in the early part of the 20th century, when he saw his neighborhood change due to a huge influx of members of another religion. This anger is typical everywhere in the world that immigrants cause change. It happened in the United States as a reaction to Irish immigrants, followed by anger toward Italian and Jewish immigrants. It’s happening in France and Germany right now. I believe that anger caused by large scale immigration stems either from fear of change or from being forced to change one’s lifestyle. In the U.S., we have a giant Hispanic migration going on right now. One hundred years ago, there probably would have been lynchings. Now, most of us look at immigrants as bringing their heritage to enrich our own. We’ve are less racist--same thing with Israelis.

There are a few things you mentioned that I think are erroneous. First, you can’t judge today’s typical Israeli based on the sayings of Ben Gurion 60 years ago. People have progressed and values have changed. Most of the Israelis that I know are not racist and sincerely hope for peace. I never heard racist comments first hand at the Hebrew University. Contrast that to the “Jews are pigs and dogs” Arabic television shows that you can find on youtube.

The Israelis who do not want peace primarily fall into two categories, the religious ones and the right wing non-religious people. The religious people simply believe God gave them their country. Forget about changing that minority—it’s hopeless, but at least it’s a minority. The secular Israelis who do not like the idea of peace usually come to the conclusion that the Arabs hate them so much that they can not be trusted. Or that if Israel offers land for peace, it means that terrorism is effective and that the Arabs will learn that terrorism pays dividends. Or finally, that any peace is not true but would instead be a hudna that will eventually result in another war or genocide.

This second group of Israelis represents the swing vote for peace, and can change their mindset. In fact, this occurred in the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, they won’t change their mindset in the near future. The reason has nothing to do with giving up land. It lies more in their trying to understand their Arab neighbors’ actions. This second group of Israelis are dismayed that Palestinians would vote for Hamas. In the Jewish mind, the fact that Palestinians would replace a corrupt government (the PA) with another that has sponsored suicide bombings of innocent civilians is horrifying. No matter what your grievances are, the response should never include killing six year olds intentionally and celebrating the “martyrs” who took such action. In short, Jews would live with corruption before allowing murderers to take office. (Please do not respond with Ariel Sharon being a murderer. He didn’t aim his weapons with the intent of killing children.)

Please don’t think that I’m implying that only Palestinians would elect murderers. We saw similar actions by Austrian citizens in the 1980’s when they elected Waldheim as their nation’s leader. To clarify, he was a Nazi who personally sent 200 Jewish children to their deaths in concentration camps. This brings us to another problem. Israelis shouldn’t trust Europeans too much. Europe’s anti-Semitism is profound. There is also negligence by Europeans when they see racism or unfairness in the treatment of Jews or Israelis. Examples of such negligence include a Germany that will trade 5.9 billion dollars with Ahmadinejad this year even though he is seeking nuclear weapons and states Israel should be wiped off the planet. Another example would be the Italian news station that apologized to Arafat for airing footage showing a Palestinian mob lynching two Israelis soldiers and dragging their carcasses around the city streets. Isrealis couldn’t believe a European news agency would cave in like that. They also wonder why there was no outrage in Italy.

The point here is that Israel is likely to refuse making major concessions not because of racism toward Arabs but rather because of their justifiable paranoia. The road to peace is therefore in the hands of the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East. Those who are truly interested in peace need to change their mindset. They need to condemn terrorism in English and in Arabic. Sesame Street on PA television should stop broadcasting homages to suicide bombings. Journalists should be allowed to condemn Hamas or PA policies. Anger should be focused on legitimate protests rather than calls for Israel’s destruction. Palestinians should stop voting for anyone who states that intentionally bombing a school bus is honorable.

I have a different version of history when it comes to Israeli immigrants last century. They purchased their land legally at first. Once families were murdered in their own homes, things changed. Battles started and populations shifted. I’m sure there were heinous actions taken by both sides but their aren’t too many examples of Israelis murdering Arabs in their homes, or Israeli mobs rampaging through Arab neighborhoods, killing whoever happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So forgive their inability to see justification for terrorism or state sponsored racism because they have never experienced that mindset, even after the Holocaust. Jews didn’t murder innocent German families.

You say that you condemn terrorism but understand it. There should be no reason whatsoever for understanding terrorism. It should be no different than pedophilia. I understand that a person who was sexually abused as a child is likely to become a sexual abuser but I condemn it harshly and would never remotely be sympathetic to a pedophile. Your “understanding” of terrorism smacks of sympathy. Blowing up a bus filled with children is unthinkable to Jews, who could have performed such actions in Germany or in Israeli Arabic neighborhoods but would never commit such atrocities. Most Israelis understand that their Arab neighbors don’t feel the same way. They look at the slaughtering going on in Iraq and Darfur and can’t understand the world wide Moslem outrage at an obscure Danish cartoon but no such outrage when their coreligionists are killed in mosques in Iraq. Moreover, they see that if Sunni’s and Shiites have no problems killing children, then what chance would Jews have in a Moslem country?

For these reasons, they are rightfully concerned about their right to live in a Jewish nation. In Israel, Moslems can freely worship, as can Christians, Bahai, and probably scientologists, for all I know. In contrast, Jews were restricted from praying in Jerusalem by Jordan before 1967 and they can’t even visit Saudi Arabia, much less pray there. Israelis would give back most of the land to avoid having to live in a majority Moslem community because of the possibility of being mob killed or being unable to practice their religion. Their actions have nothing to do with racism. This is not to say that there are no racist Jews, it’s just that they are a small minority. Your quotations of racist comments from individual Israelis are misleading because most Israelis are not racist.

So what will happen to the Palestinians? For one thing, the three Palestinian “States” of the West Bank, Jordan, and Gaza will dwarf Israel in size. But the only way they will obtain their own country will be when they reject terrorism. The Palestinians should be absorbed by the countries that they fled to, such as Jordan and Lebanon. Such population shifts have occurred numerous times around the world so this would be nothing new. Palestinians should be free to move to the West Bank and elect leaders who will lead responsibly and stop blaming the Jews for their problems as a means of keeping their power. The checkpoints and barriers are there to prevent terrorism, not to exert racist subjugation. I would suggest that you avoid condemning the humiliating checkpoints in the West Bank and start condemning the terrorism that caused their erection instead.

I hope I’ve given you some insight into the mindset of many Israelis and Jews. I am impressed that you read Haaretz. But when you do read that newspaper, I wish you ask yourself what most Israelis are thinking, rather than looking for individual quotes to support your conclusions. You would understand us a lot better.

Regards


Alan:

Hussein:

Thank you for posting another well written reply. Since you’ve shared some of your background, I’ll share some of mine. I’m Jewish, not religious, live in Los Angeles, and I’ve never posted comments on a news blog. I lived in Israel for a year to attend a university exchange. I was embarrassed about my lack of understanding of these issues during that year in Jerusalem, especially so when I interacted with the Arab students, who represented about a quarter of my dormitory floor. I have since tried to educate myself about the country, its neighbors, and its history. The reason I’ve continued to post is that your arguments are understandable and not racist or hateful.

I also understand why the typical Palestinian man would have been angry in the early part of the 20th century, when he saw his neighborhood change due to a huge influx of members of another religion. This anger is typical everywhere in the world that immigrants cause change. It happened in the United States as a reaction to Irish immigrants, followed by anger toward Italian and Jewish immigrants. It’s happening in France and Germany right now. I believe that anger caused by large scale immigration stems either from fear of change or from being forced to change one’s lifestyle. In the U.S., we have a giant Hispanic migration going on right now. One hundred years ago, there probably would have been lynchings. Now, most of us look at immigrants as bringing their heritage to enrich our own. We’ve are less racist--same thing with Israelis.

There are a few things you mentioned that I think are erroneous. First, you can’t judge today’s typical Israeli based on the sayings of Ben Gurion 60 years ago. People have progressed and values have changed. Most of the Israelis that I know are not racist and sincerely hope for peace. I never heard racist comments first hand at the Hebrew University. Contrast that to the “Jews are pigs and dogs” Arabic television shows that you can find on youtube.

The Israelis who do not want peace primarily fall into two categories, the religious ones and the right wing non-religious people. The religious people simply believe God gave them their country. Forget about changing that minority—it’s hopeless, but at least it’s a minority. The secular Israelis who do not like the idea of peace usually come to the conclusion that the Arabs hate them so much that they can not be trusted. Or that if Israel offers land for peace, it means that terrorism is effective and that the Arabs will learn that terrorism pays dividends. Or finally, that any peace is not true but would instead be a hudna that will eventually result in another war or genocide.

This second group of Israelis represents the swing vote for peace, and can change their mindset. In fact, this occurred in the late 1990’s. Unfortunately, they won’t change their mindset in the near future. The reason has nothing to do with giving up land. It lies more in their trying to understand their Arab neighbors’ actions. This second group of Israelis are dismayed that Palestinians would vote for Hamas. In the Jewish mind, the fact that Palestinians would replace a corrupt government (the PA) with another that has sponsored suicide bombings of innocent civilians is horrifying. No matter what your grievances are, the response should never include killing six year olds intentionally and celebrating the “martyrs” who took such action. In short, Jews would live with corruption before allowing murderers to take office. (Please do not respond with Ariel Sharon being a murderer. He didn’t aim his weapons with the intent of killing children.)

Please don’t think that I’m implying that only Palestinians would elect murderers. We saw similar actions by Austrian citizens in the 1980’s when they elected Waldheim as their nation’s leader. To clarify, he was a Nazi who personally sent 200 Jewish children to their deaths in concentration camps. This brings us to another problem. Israelis shouldn’t trust Europeans too much. Europe’s anti-Semitism is profound. There is also negligence by Europeans when they see racism or unfairness in the treatment of Jews or Israelis. Examples of such negligence include a Germany that will trade 5.9 billion dollars with Ahmadinejad this year even though he is seeking nuclear weapons and states Israel should be wiped off the planet. Another example would be the Italian news station that apologized to Arafat for airing footage showing a Palestinian mob lynching two Israelis soldiers and dragging their carcasses around the city streets. Isrealis couldn’t believe a European news agency would cave in like that. They also wonder why there was no outrage in Italy.

The point here is that Israel is likely to refuse making major concessions not because of racism toward Arabs but rather because of their justifiable paranoia. The road to peace is therefore in the hands of the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East. Those who are truly interested in peace need to change their mindset. They need to condemn terrorism in English and in Arabic. Sesame Street on PA television should stop broadcasting homages to suicide bombings. Journalists should be allowed to condemn Hamas or PA policies. Anger should be focused on legitimate protests rather than calls for Israel’s destruction. Palestinians should stop voting for anyone who states that intentionally bombing a school bus is honorable.

I have a different version of history when it comes to Israeli immigrants last century. They purchased their land legally at first. Once families were murdered in their own homes, things changed. Battles started and populations shifted. I’m sure there were heinous actions taken by both sides but their aren’t too many examples of Israelis murdering Arabs in their homes, or Israeli mobs rampaging through Arab neighborhoods, killing whoever happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. So forgive their inability to see justification for terrorism or state sponsored racism because they have never experienced that mindset, even after the Holocaust. Jews didn’t murder innocent German families.

You say that you condemn terrorism but understand it. There should be no reason whatsoever for understanding terrorism. It should be no different than pedophilia. I understand that a person who was sexually abused as a child is likely to become a sexual abuser but I condemn it harshly and would never remotely be sympathetic to a pedophile. Your “understanding” of terrorism smacks of sympathy. Blowing up a bus filled with children is unthinkable to Jews, who could have performed such actions in Germany or in Israeli Arabic neighborhoods but would never commit such atrocities. Most Israelis understand that their Arab neighbors don’t feel the same way. They look at the slaughtering going on in Iraq and Darfur and can’t understand the world wide Moslem outrage at an obscure Danish cartoon but no such outrage when their coreligionists are killed in mosques in Iraq. Moreover, they see that if Sunni’s and Shiites have no problems killing children, then what chance would Jews have in a Moslem country?

For these reasons, they are rightfully concerned about their right to live in a Jewish nation. In Israel, Moslems can freely worship, as can Christians, Bahai, and probably scientologists, for all I know. In contrast, Jews were restricted from praying in Jerusalem by Jordan before 1967 and they can’t even visit Saudi Arabia, much less pray there. Israelis would give back most of the land to avoid having to live in a majority Moslem community because of the possibility of being mob killed or being unable to practice their religion. Their actions have nothing to do with racism. This is not to say that there are no racist Jews, it’s just that they are a small minority. Your quotations of racist comments from individual Israelis are misleading because most Israelis are not racist.

So what will happen to the Palestinians? For one thing, the three Palestinian “States” of the West Bank, Jordan, and Gaza will dwarf Israel in size. But the only way they will obtain their own country will be when they reject terrorism. The Palestinians should be absorbed by the countries that they fled to, such as Jordan and Lebanon. Such population shifts have occurred numerous times around the world so this would be nothing new. Palestinians should be free to move to the West Bank and elect leaders who will lead responsibly and stop blaming the Jews for their problems as a means of keeping their power. The checkpoints and barriers are there to prevent terrorism, not to exert racist subjugation. I would suggest that you avoid condemning the humiliating checkpoints in the West Bank and start condemning the terrorism that caused their erection instead.

I hope I’ve given you some insight into the mindset of many Israelis and Jews. I am impressed that you read Haaretz. But when you do read that newspaper, I wish you ask yourself what most Israelis are thinking, rather than looking for individual quotes to support your conclusions. You would understand us a lot better.


Hussein, AUB:

First, let's start with William:

I've seriously given up hope on replying to your posts. One racist comment too many. Just for a heads up, though, a lot of the 'facts' in camera.org are verifiably false, so don't get too happy with it. You'd think '.org' would make it more credible, lol.

Alan:

To start off, I just want to go on the record and actually say that I am absolutely against any discrimination (be it murder, recrimination, or even plain old racism) against a certain people, religion or belief. That being said, understanding something and agreeing with it are two completely separate issues. I honestly understand why people choose to become suicide bombers- especially in the territories. I've personally met scores of 'militant officers' who truly believed what they are doing is just. And you can't blame them: their entire life has been molded and disfigured by this entity known to them solely as 'Israel', and all they know is that their parents and forefathers were once living in bliss in a land that was literally robbed from them.

If you want to refer to the original riots in the 1920's, then the least you can do is acknowledge that these acts were out of frustration- not that this makes these criminal acts rational, or justifiable. Looking at it on a personal level: if I am uneducated, and find that, despite my objections and rights, an entire people has decided to move into my country (or 'legally owned territory' for whoever wants to try to lob a 'there is no Palestine' fastball at me), then I would most definitely resort to violence. Peaceful protests and various legal actions took place; all to no avail. Add to that the fact that the Arab leaders were too corrupt, and the British were too indifferent to the local population's demands, and you can certainly see where this frustration was stemming from. Mass illegal immigration was expropriating the actual owners of a territory from their very livelihood, and when faced with a clear-cut choice between a violent survival or a peaceful extermination, I would definitely choose the former- thank you very much. The ultimate losers at the time, though, were the illegal Jewish immigrants; they had just fled the Holocaust- by far one of the worst tragedies in modern History- and were being herded into a land that most of them thought was uninhabited. And there are so many statements, made by early Jewish activist leaders, that this intentional nuance was to play on the Jewish population's fears and ship them to the 'land of salvation'.

"If I knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England, and only half by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter"
- David Ben Gurion, quote taken from 'Ben Gurion' by Shabtai Teveth

David Ben Gurion, for the record, was Israel's first Prime Minister (this isn't for you, Alan, because you obviously know who he is. I'm just clarifying this for anyone else who may be reading this post). He clearly and unambiguously admitted that every now-Jewish piece of land in Israel was, in fact, taken from the local inhabitants- Palestinian Arabs and Jews.

In Nahum Goldmann's "Le Paradoxe Juif"(The Jewish Paradox) he quotes Ben Gurion as saying: "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages.
You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because [the relevant] geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either; Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul, Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta, Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis, and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."

I just thought this would give people a little bit of perspective on the issue. But let's leave the past where it belongs, and discuss the 'peaceful solution' we've been unsuccessfully trying to debate on this forum.

I'm assuming we both agree that laying blame is not going to do us any good at the moment, regardless of me believing that justice has and will never be served to those who were wronged throughout the course of History. What do you suggest is an actual solution to this issue? I mean, I obviously know the minimum requirements to make it work on the Palestinian side, based on personal experience as well as my interaction with both Palestinian intellectuals and refugees. The Annapolis conference might yield results, but neither side is going to be happy. Abbas is going to ignite a civil war very soon, specifically the moment he gives up the Right of Return, and any Israeli relinquishment of Jerusalem will surely be met with a wave of angry riots in Israel. The reason why the Annapolis conference is taking place so soon is that both Israel's and the PA's clocks are ticking, each for a different reason. The beginning of the PA's end has effectively begun, with people finally waking up to its corruption and manipulation of the public. Hamas is not a GOOD solution, I'll give you that, but it's a BETTER one (internally, at least). Israel's years as a predominantly Jewish state are also limited, ceteris paribus, because in the next couple of decades, the Christian, Muslim and Druze populations will account for over 50% of 'Israelis'. Not that this will change life in Israel as they know it, just that the racist establishment that's currently in place will not accept a 'non-Jewish majority' in 'THE Jewish homeland'. I personally don't see why the Israelis are so keen on making more settlements and forcefulling expelling non-Jews in the near future. It's not like the Palestinians were the ones who persecuted them in the past.

As our buddy Ben Gurion once said:

"There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was it their fault?

They see but one thing: that we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?"
- also from Goldmann's 'Le Paradoxe Juif'.

What do you think?
Regards.

Alan:

Hussein, AUB

I read your second to last entry and would like to comment. Your analysis of the Nebi Mussa and Yafa riots illustrates one example of why Jews are concerned about their Arab neighbors. You’re obviously well educated and your writing skills are impressive. If your first language is Arabic, the fact that you can write so well is remarkable. You’re also aware of American life and culture, as evidenced by your references to the Wizard of Oz and Brooklyn. This being the case, it is disappointing to read your letters because of flaws in your reasoning. If you’re incapable of understanding the Jewish viewpoint, then who among your brethren can?

The most glaring example is your reduction of the Nebi Musa and Yaffa riots in the 1920’s to a mere protest. I’d never heard of these events until reading this board. My Wikipedia search showed that these events were not protests. Nobody carried signs and chanted “we shall overcome”. These were not riots against police, which is occasionally defensible. No, the Nebi Musa and Yaffa events were vicious attacks against random Jewish residents carried out by Arab mobs. A mob attacking innocent civilians because of their race or religion is abhorrent. Your justification that such “protests” are legitimate is sad because you are educated and still can’t, or won’t, come to such a conclusion.

I sincerely hope that you realize that most Jews can not understand this mindset. When was the last time Jewish mobs numbering in the thousands attacked random people? I’m not talking about the occasional lunatic acting on his own (Baruch Goldstein) or the miniscule number of Israeli freaks who support such actions.

I have to add that I wonder why you chose to include Nebi Musa and Yaffa in your argument but neglected to mention the third and most heinous of the three events, namely the Hebron massacre in 1929. Was this a deliberate obfuscation?

I am going to save you some time and ask that you do not respond to these points with Deir Yassin. Soldiers allegedly acting in a heinous fashion on a single occasion is not the same as a city populace attacking random individuals on multiple occasions. Moreover, very few Jews would support terrorism against Palestinian women and children as a means of political expression. The converse, unfortunately, is not true, as evidenced by Palestinians treating suicide bombers and their families as national heroes.

I look forward to the day when terrorism is rejected completely by Muslim residents of the Middle East. Not a rejection by a few academics but a sea change in the thought processes of everybody. I’m not deluded enough to think that this will occur in the near future. Even if it were to occur, most Israelis will never be able to conclude that such a change in thought about terrorism would be real. The rejection and suppression of such violence has, to this date, never been more than a temporary phenomenon that can change in an instant. When Jews look at the slaughtering of innocents in Iraq by Sunnis and Shiites, they are skeptical of making peace.

William, San Antonio:

Hussein:

Thanks for the tip about Camera.org. I looked at it for over an hour and it appears to be a worthwhile site.

http://camera.org/index.asp

As a final thought and staying on topic, the article says that Professor McGreevy’s new Center for American Studies is funded by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. Alwaleed has McGreevy bought and paid for – something he failed to do with Giuliani. But, wait, I knew that I’d seen Alwaleed’s name somewhere else recently. Please see:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/12/business/air.php

It says in part:
“Putting an end to months of speculation, Airbus announced Monday that the Saudi billionaire had become the first VIP customer for the A380 superjumbo jet, the winged colossus that the European plane maker lists for just over $300 million. Prince Alwaleed, who currently makes do with a customized Boeing 747-400, signed the contract for his new "flying palace" at a ceremony with senior Airbus executives at the Dubai air show.”
And:
“Prince Alwaleed reportedly travels with an average entourage of around 50 people - far less than the nearly 900 seats that can be squeezed into an A380 with an all-economy class configuration.”

My poor old “BS propagada [sic]” mind (also with a BS in mathematics) just couldn’t stay focused. I began to wonder: At 900 “Palestinians” per trip, how long would it take Alwaleed’s Airbus to single-handedly solve the “Palestinian” problem?

Hussein, AUB:

Will:

I think it's sad that this debate has stooped to this level, for two reasons mainly:

a) Because the article had nothing to do with the Middle Eastern conflict, and yet the discussion was diverted to this end in order to propagate a certain side's BS propagada.

and b) Because whenever I do try to turn this into an actual debate, all I get in return is recycled, Camera.org-influenced, unsubstantiated babbling.

I guess neither 'Westerner' (who is probably a Brooklyn Jew, lol) nor yourself are willing to actually talk about anything relevant or debatable.

Either way,

All the best.

Westerner:

Logic and reasoning went out a long time ago in this debate.

Props to William for the support. And keep on with the taquiyah busting!

Happy 60th Anniversary Israel!

William, San Antonio:

Hussein:

Thank you for the link that you posted - it is a perfect example of my assertions. Previously I referenced the “Wizard of Oz” and, now, I will use it again. After the link, you say, “Note the entirely unrelated photo”; and, I say that the photo goes directly to the heart of the matter. If there were no deadly hostility aimed at the Jew, there would be no security barrier and no dead “Palestinians”. Effectively, what you are saying is, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” But, I say that the man behind the curtain, the photo, is everything. It is Islam.

Islam produces an incurable, murderous rage against anything or anyone who humiliates it or denies its tenets. It is that simple.

So, I am just “…as simple-minded…” as my “…posts would suggest...” I am simple enough to know those who value life and the freedom to live it and I am simple enough to know those who would deny that freedom. And, I trust that I will always “disappoint” you because my freedom is not up for debate. In the most simple terms, I am simple enough to know my friends from my enemies.

Hussein, AUB:

William, you never fail to disappoint me:

"The Muslim mind's propensity for double-think is a wonder of nature."

"Al-Husayni, Arafat, Ahmedinajad, Abu Abdallah (aka the Lion Sheik, aka Osama), et al. are not alluding to the "Wizard of Oz" when they justify their barbaric behaviors. The basis for their deformed thinking is Islam in toto."

Unil now the only thing that you've helped clarify is your willingness to bark prefabricated stereotypes without backing them with, well, anything concrete whatsoever. Not only do you fail to refute anything I've put up for debate, you seem content on refuting my arguments for the sake of refutation itself, not because you necessarily have a valid point in mind. I am not Shiite, but something the Khalif Ali once said comes to mind. I don't remember the exact quote, only that it went something like: "I've never entered a debate with a wise man and ended up losing- even if I lose the debate itself. And I've never entered a debate with an ignorant man, and expected to win."

Let's just say I'll leave it at that.

I am 100% sure that you're not as simple-minded as your posts would suggest, but then again, I'm sure if you actually had something you could reply with you wouldn't be begging the question so much.

You mention the Nebi Musa and Yafa riots in the 1920's. All I'll say is that protesting the illegal immigration of foreigners (especially non-Middle Easterner Jews who are unable to even claim ever having any ties to the Holy Land) attempting to forcefully impose themselves on a community is not a reprehensible act- by all means, it's self-preservation. Before you even start to think about replying to this point, here is exactly what Israel has done yesterday for people it wrongfully suspected (re-read those last two words) of attempting to enter Israeli territory.

Here's the link: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/927482.html
PS: Note the entirely unrelated photo of the mock Palestinian toy soldier at the beginning of the page. Talk about manipulative propaganda.

One last word:
When I said that 'Jews' would be entitled to Judea and Samaria, I was being diplomatic. If you want to be technical, what I meant was 'would have access'. Why? Because entitlement presupposes ownership of the place in question. I'm curious: pre-illegal immigration, was it 4 or 5 % of all of Historic Palestine that was legally owned by the Jews at the time? Of all people, you should know.

Furthermore, how is a religion entitled to a geographic location? I mean, correct me if I'm mistaken, but the only 'Jews' entitled to the land are the ones who are either originally Middle Eastern, or the ones who resided in Historic Palestine before the illegal immigration period of the early 1900's. PEOPLE own lands, not their religion. Saying that 'Jews, by religion', are entitled to the land of Historic Palestine because of the presence of Western Jerusalem is exactly the same as claiming that 'Muslims are entitled to the land because of the holy site's eastern bloc', or that 'all Christians are entitled to that same spec of territory because of the presence of the Church of Nativity'. God forbid that the world's 3.6 billion Christians and Muslims all suddenly feel the urge to cash in on this claim, and someday all move into Israel and the territories. But due to their small numbers, and because they've been living off the memory of the Holocaust tragedy, Jews have somehow attempted to prove that this makes sense.
Du n'importe quoi (bullsh*t).

PPS: I'm still waiting for that alleged 'Sura' and verse.

Regards

Allen:

Lebanon strange government was set up by the French when they ruled the country. The various Christian sects were a larger percentage of the total population. To maintain the equality of influence between the different Christian and Muslin groups the French assigned different political offices to different groups. Hence is the situation we see there today.

Now they have the population percentiles of their component groups changed because of immigration, emigration, and birthrates differentials. There are calls for one group or collation of groups to have more power than others. From what I have read the current situation is not so much now a struggle between Christian and Muslim, but a contest for individual influence in that small country.

Maybe their constitution or what ever ruling document they have should have should 1) Not give any one office to any group, 2) Maintain the Official state as a Secular one that has had various influences from different religions and branches of these religions, 3) Laws will not favor any one group or religion over others, 4) Provide a way for individuals and groups to legally contest infringements on the above. Even if this is all done I don't believe the current PLAYERS would support it because it would mean giving up their dreams and maybe power to. America, which I see as a guide, fought the Civil War to keep the country together. Sometimes you must fight, but it takes stronger men and women to talk, to provide solutions, and to finally make them work. Too often in our human history leaders and followers do not come together for the greater good.

As for the Palestinian/Israeli question, I do not feel a one state solution will work due to the history the Jews have gone through. It is hard to trust those who have tried to kill you. The same can be said for the Palestinians on the other side, which see the Jews as trying to take all of the area west of the Jordan. Maybe a federated two state solution will work in the future but not now. It is not really working in Bosnia area either.

Both sides are going to have to give up something. One is the right of return. Two, is the settlements (this the Israelis have done very little). There will probably be a land swap for some but most will go. Three, while there will probably be some sort of joint administrative control of the OLD CITY I would not expect it security and ownership to be given totally to one group. This partly because when Jordan controlled it they did not let the Israelis go there. The regional powers must agree to the peace while disarming the factions and nations involved. Maybe there will need to be international forces on the dividing lines with the ability to stop intrusions.

In addition to these things, the Palestinian and Israeli populations MUST be permitted to vote on what the final peace will be. The armed groups that are now dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state will have to disarm (this has been the Palestinian greatest failing). Will they if majorities in both countries vote for peace? I have my doubts. Frankly, I would like to see a secular state that gives freedom to all and those whom I do not agree with. I do not see that occurring in either the Palestinian or Jewish areas where many see their guidance, authority, and right coming from GOD.

I can not address you last comment on the percentage of the Arab Israelis being not proportionately represented the Knesset. I would have to know from official sources how the MPs are chosen. Is it based on areas with the number of people roughly evenly divided in the areas? Remember, just because there are an equal number of people, or adults, or potential voters in each group does not mean that they will all vote. I read something that the Israeli Arabs do not vote as much as others. That would give them a smaller proportionately representation than others. I do not have any official date to say that there is high percentage of non-voting Arabs than other groups, or that there is not this disparity.

Last, lets address the causes of the Arab Jewish conflict. From what I have read these troubles stated before WWI, when the land was ruled by the Ottomans. These sources have indicated that the original trouble was not a religious or land based thing but was because of the differences in the way of life, governance, and economic success some of the new Jewish immigrants had. Some of the current rulers and landlords were threatened by this, as their people wondered why they could live the life like the Jews. So they organized attacks and started riots to stop the Jewish immigration. It must be remembered that before the 1930s there was a much smaller Jewish percentage in the land and most of their land was bought or given to them. Later, the Jews had their terror groups and drove the residents off of their lands. Some of them left willingly in '48 but not all. But I really do not care who started it.

Now homes are occupied, land changed from farm land to city, and much more done. The former residents will have to be absorbed mostly into the Palestinian or Arab world. They must be given rights of citizens in the countries that they are in or go to. Some will go to Israel proper, only if they forswear the destruction of Israel.

South Africa is probably the best example of how a nation can heal itself. They gave all on both sides a chance to state for the record what was done. Clemency was granted if they did that. A White South African leader was prosecuted for not joining in the process. Maybe this is what all on both sides should do. There is no reason to kill children in school unless genocide is desired by the other side. May the healing begin, finally.

This is my last post here. I wish Maya & Farah the best of luck where ever they end up at.

William, San Antonio:

Westerner says it all.

But, for the confused, your taqiyya has to be refuted. The Muslim mind's propensity for double-think is a wonder of nature.

RE: "...surprised to hear that Arafat had been saying something similar..."

The tune may change, but the words are always the same.

RE: "…give me the Sura and verse…"

Al-Husayni, Arafat, Ahmedinajad, Abu Abdallah (aka the Lion Sheik, aka Osama), et al. are not alluding to the "Wizard of Oz" when they justify their barbaric behaviors. The basis for their deformed thinking is Islam in toto.

RE: "The Stern, Haganah and Irgun gangs were the first to begin racially and religiously-motivated attacks against the other party."

The simple facts are that riots instigated by Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni with the tacit approval of the British authorities caused the Jews in very small numbers to take up arms because of:

The Nebi Musa riots in April of 1920.

The Jaffa riots of May of 1921.

The Hebron Massacre in 1929.

The 1936 Arab riots which were the first stage of the "Arab Revolt" lasting until 1939.

The Muslim mind does not recognize cause and effect, only affect.

RE: "…Jews would be entitled to Judea and Samaria…”

That the Jews would be entitled to Judea is a tautology. The very word "Jew" is derived from the word "Judea". But, as for your "solution", it is not at all clear and am I am not optimistic that your "solution" would, in the end, be any different from Hitler’s "final solution".

Hussein, AUB:

To 'Westerner':

Way to go, buddy. All that logic, reasoning and debating lost on an individual like yourself.

Honestly, what a waste of air. You must be proud.

Westerner:

The jews are not occupying anything. They won the land when the Israelis kicked muslim butt in 1948 and again in 1967 and again in 1973. When people usually fight over land and win it they get to keep it, why should the rules change just because muslim arabs lost? The Israelis also gave up land they won, and I thought that was stupid. It made them look weak to muslims. The Israelis are celebrating 60 years of nationhood. I wish them 600 years more.

Hussein, AUB:

To William:

First of all, regarding the agorot: I was quite surprised to hear that Arafat had been saying something similar, but obviously this was something that instantly caught my eye. The reason it caught my eye was because it just seemed insolent; in a new currency that had been printed long after the 1967 war, annexation and partition, the last thing you want to see is an overtly symbolic 'map' of greater Israel on the country's official currency. That being said, whether it was influenced by some similar currency that was present 100, 1000 or 10000 years ago is irrelevant. There is/was a reason why this map was on there, and don't think for a minute anyone is buying that 'it was a coincidence or innocent mistake' excuse.

Second of all, regarding the Quran. Apparently Internet Explorer couldn't find once instance in which Abu Alim refers to any concrete examples of the alleged verses you are criticizing. Either give me the Sura and verse, or don't bother bringing it up in the first place. It's sad that this discussion has been diverted- by both you and Abu Alim, into a 'whose religion is better' contest. But, for my part, I'm not necessarily going to turn a blind eye to it.

Allen: I am all for peace in the region. I even have some Israeli and Jewish friends (I am Palestinian, by the way, to illustrate why this is relevant).

Virtually no acts of prejudice or hate-crimes took place in the Holy Land before the mass Jewish immigration that began in the 1920's. The Stern, Haganah and Irgun gangs were the first to begin racially and religiously-motivated attacks against the other party. Thousands died in the ensuing attacks and reprisals. The fact that the British Occupiers heavily favored (initially) the Jewish immigrants is the main contributor to the current status quo. Not to stray too far from the point, what I mean to say is that anti-Semitism had never been inherent in Palestinian culture, given that a significant percentage (around 10%) were, in fact, Jewish and the inhabitants co-existed peacefully. The motivated WW1 Jewish veterans that founded the aformentioned gangs inexplicably reasoned that the Palestinians were unworthy of the land they were inhabiting, and figured that Herzl's primary Zionist goal (a land without a people for a people without a land) was the solution.

Of course, with that in mind, the anti-Jewish repercussions across the Middle East were heinous, reprehensible reactions. Blaming all Jews for the 'Nakba'- or Palestinian massacre and diaspora- is in a sense similar to the blaming of all Muslims for 9/11 (or all Christians for the Holocaust). Do I agree with this reasoning? Of course not. If blame must be placed on a party, I personally would hold the Hashemite and various other oppressive Arab regimes just as responsible as the illegal immigrants and their facilitators (then-colonialist Britain). There was no 'single party' to blame, and I agree: blaming 'the Jews' for all the Middle East's problems would be extremely misleading.

But enough about the past. Regarding the partition or one-state solution. I personally cannot, at all, envision how a two-state solution could hold. What would happen to the 8+ million displaced Palestinian refugees in the region? Most of them do not want to be assimilated, neither do the governments that are 'accomodating' them. Would Israel allow a 'Right of Return'? Probably not, despite the fact that many, many Palestinians still hold the now-obsolete documents that prove their ownership of lands in modern-day Israel. + What would Israel do with its current citizens, many of whom are descendants of earlier immigrants? Expulsing them to give way for a Palestinian return is both unfair and infeasible. The refugees cannot go back to the post-67 Palestinian borders either(especially not if the settlements remain in place), because there simply is no room in Gaza or half of Judea and Samaria ( I say 50% because I'm taking into account the settlements, 'buffer zones', land seized by the 'security fence', and 'off-limits-to-Palestinians' roads in the West Bank that carve out around 40% of the territory). The only possible solution, in my view, is for each party to swallow their pride and acknowledge that neither is going away (despite President Ahmedinajad's humorous outbursts).

Jerusalem would be shared, Jews would be entitled to Judea and Samaria, and the Palestinians would finally find justice after decades (or even centuries) of joint Jewish, Arab and Turkish oppression and deceit.

A small sidenote: the Arab Israelis are definitely not proportionately represented in Knesset, since out of a total of 120 MKs, only 12 are Arab (10%), while the Arabs account for over 20% of all Israelis. The Orthodox Jews, who- as was mentioned in a previous post- have a higher birthrate than their Arab counterparts, are more proportionately represented despite having a higher percentage of children (who are, obviously, ineligible to vote) in their numbers. And so claiming that this discrepancy is due to a high percentage of non-voting Arabs is simply not true.

As for the Lebanese President: what is it with this obsession that the President has to be maronite? I mean, this 'rule' was placed in the constitution by the French in 1943 exactly because they knew that the maronites would not be a majority for long. Dividing political parties among religious lines (while playing on followers' religious allegiance) and putting religious quotas and restrictions on the country's core politicians (Maronite President, Sunni PM, Shiite Head of Parliament, etc) is the reason why this country is fundamentally corrupt in the first place. I wouldn't mind having another maronite Christian president, I just don't want to HAVE to exclusively choose from men of a specific faith for the rest of my life- especially if the members of this faith account for less than 15% of the population.

Allen:

Maya & Farah,

Who would suggest the your country picks as president and why? I do not know much about the potential leaders of your country. I would like to know what you think.

Allen:

Having a one state solution would be OK if it was a secular state where each was free to practice his own religion. Now it will not occur because the movers and shakers on both sides want their religion to be on top. Also, the resent history of the Jews in the Islamic and Christian worlds has left them distrustful putting their security in the hands of others. This is why a one state solution is not likely.

Hussein, AUB, You state that Israel is not a true democracy because the "Israeli Arabs vote more vigorously than their Jewish counterparts, and yet have a very small quota of seats in the Knesset." Please understand that democracy is not a quota system. Representatives are elected based on the number of votes as a percentage of the whole or in a area (however that area is defined). Now because the Israeli Arabs do vote, I believe they do have 10 to 15 members in the Knesset. In general they are as influential as the Libertarians now are in the US or as the Greens were in Europe 30 years ago. When things are close in the number of votes between the other Israeli parties they have courted the Israeli Arabs. This then gives them more strength than their numbers indicate. Can you show me an Islamic nation that has Jews or Christians with a sizable number in the representative government?

Part of the problem with the Israeli Arabs is that the Israeli Jews don't trust them. This can be seen in the various forms of discrimination that takes place. But the Israeli Arabs also do much to hold themselves separate from the majority population.

Lets for a moment put the blame aside for who is at fault in Israelis and Palestinians. What do you all propose as workable solution to these problems? A solution to this, to Lebanon, or Iraq will not occur while we are trying to place blame for what has occurred. People who have courage and vision must be willing to go forth in search of peace for the good of our peoples. Then we will compete in economics, not war. Then good women like Maya and Farah will not have to leave their homes when thugs on both sides see death as the only solution. Can you all really give workable solutions that do not deal death or displacement to millions, given where things are today 11/23/2007? Or are you all just another instransable thug?

If the people demand peace and are willing to make their leaders and fighters toe it, then there will be peace. Let the historians fix the blame for this mess. I know that all have a share in it. What Christ said about the prostitute holds true here, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

William, San Antonio:

To Hussein AUB, Hussein AUB:

The only thing that I can say is that I find your arguments unconvincing, unconvincing. I’ll just have to take my chances on being boiled in excrement by a Jew. As for the 10 Agorot libel, the coin you reference was patterned after one issued in 37 – 40 B.C., by Mattathias Antigonus II, the last Hasmonean King. Your slander was also used was by that well known man of peace Yasser Arafat. You keep good company but his taqiyya is bigger than your taqiyya.

I defer to my friend Abu Alim (see above) on the Quran. Because it written from longest sura to shortest and devoid of any chronological order, it seems well suited for the Arab mind. That’s why all of my doctors are Jewish. I prefer to be inoculated before being exposed to a disease rather than vice versa.

To Alan: Thank you and my apologies to Rodney.

Hussein, AUB:

Well, let's start with you, William:

1) Could you please cite the 'violence-filled verses of the Quran' that you've been babbling about??? And please, don't take them out of context and use them as 'proofs'.

2) Judaism and Christianity are not as openly violent?

Here are a few footnotes from the Talmud:

Erubin 21b. Whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being boiled in hot excrement in hell.

Mo'ed Kattan 17a . If a Jew is tempted to do evil he should go to a city where he is not known and do the evil there.

'Non-Jews are Not Human', 'Jews are allowed to cheat, lie to, rob and kill gentiles (non-Jews)'.. There are many, many more, but these are the most amusing ones I could find- being a gentile and all.

As for the Bible and Testaments, don't get me started:

Deuteronomy, Chapter 13:
"15) Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

16) And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever"

Samuel, Chapter 15:
"3) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."


I'll leave it at that. So please spare me the 'Islam is evil' speech, Will.

Now about Israel limiting its struggle to our beloved 'New Jersey-sized' piece of land. I have with me a '10 agorot' coin (an agorot is to a shekel what a cent is to a dollar). It's interesting to look at: it's not that old, 20 years give or take. But what's interesting is the inscription on it. There's a realistic map, with a menorah in the forefront (the Jewish 'manwara', or candle). But it isn't just Israel in the map. It's actually Greater Israel, which has parts of modern-day Lebanon, Saudi, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and the Territories. No boundaries, no borders, nothing. Greater Israel, ON THE CURRENCY. I mean, if that's not a quite overt statement about what 'settlement' they believe in, I don't know what is. If the Right Wingers had the chance, those poor '13 million Jews' would occupy 99% of the Near East. What a peaceful bunch indeed.

As for the illusion of "Israeli democracy", I'm not even trying to compare it with the hopeless Arab regimes. I agree, they are arguably more 'democratic'. That doesn't mean I don't have the right to criticize them: Israeli Arabs vote more vigorously than their Jewish counterparts, and yet have a very small quota of seats in the Knesset, which effectively limits their participation in politics. In addition, the Jews in Israel are very, very leniently prosecuted: so many cases have passed in the last 2 years before Israeli military courts, with little to no jail time for MURDER. 2005: The Druze general that emptied two dozen bullets into the lifeless body of a pre-adolescent girl- after having killed her- got NO time. Nor did the settler that was caught on tape stoning a Palestinian in Hebron to death. I have the tape, if you really want to vainly try to discredit what I'm saying.

The Palestinian legal system isn't much better, but then again, they have no state!

One last thing: correct me if I'm wrong, Will, but you're saying that 'why don't the Palestinians, who are Arabs, go and reside in any of the huge, underpopulated Arab countries and leave this Jewish state alone'. This argument is flawed on so many levels it's scary. a) Playing the innocent victim by saying that 'well, we did take it by force but don't you think we've suffered enough before you take it back' is simply unacceptale. It's deceptive, it's manipulative, and it lacks any solid basis of logic. Second of all, saying that 'the Palestinian Arabs' should go somewhere else because they HAVE somewhere else to go easily backfires: the 'Jews' you refer to are the furthest thing from a unified bunch. Among them are Iranians (no, not 'Persians', Iranians), Ethiopians, North Africans, and Europeans. And correct me if I'm mistaken, but Europe, Africa, and Iran are HUGE. In the same way that you're suggesting the Palestinians should go and move in with their 'fellow Arabs', I'm suggesting that the Israelis do the same and re-enact the diaspora. Do I believe that is a solution? Absolutely not, that's why your 'suggestion' is so much more appalling.

What IS it with the Israelis' reservations about a one-state solution. I mean, if 'fairness' is the issue, then that is the only possible solution. If finding an agreement is what's important, that's probably the only way to go about it as well. It's a very simple decision: No peace, no Arab citizens' rights, and a 'pure' Jewish state, or a diverse state with a feasible solution for us all? It really is that simple.

Hussein, AUB:

Well, let's start with you, William:

1) Could you please cite the 'violence-filled verses of the Quran' that you've been babbling about??? And please, don't take them out of context and use them as 'proofs'.

2) Judaism and Christianity are not as openly violent?

Here are a few footnotes from the Talmud:

Erubin 21b. Whosoever disobeys the rabbis deserves death and will be punished by being boiled in hot excrement in hell.

Mo'ed Kattan 17a . If a Jew is tempted to do evil he should go to a city where he is not known and do the evil there.

'Non-Jews are Not Human', 'Jews are allowed to cheat, lie to, rob and kill gentiles (non-Jews)'.. There are many, many more, but these are the most amusing ones I could find- being a gentile and all.

As for the Bible and Testaments, don't get me started:

Deuteronomy, Chapter 13:
"15) Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

16) And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever"

Samuel, Chapter 15:
"3) Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."


I'll leave it at that. So please spare me the 'Islam is evil' speech, Will.

Now about Israel limiting its struggle to our beloved 'New Jersey-sized' piece of land. I have with me a '10 agorot' coin (an agorot is to a shekel what a cent is to a dollar). It's interesting to look at: it's not that old, 20 years give or take. But what's interesting is the inscription on it. There's a realistic map, with a menorah in the forefront (the Jewish 'manwara', or candle). But it isn't just Israel in the map. It's actually Greater Israel, which has parts of modern-day Lebanon, Saudi, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and the Territories. No boundaries, no borders, nothing. Greater Israel, ON THE CURRENCY. I mean, if that's not a quite overt statement about what 'settlement' they believe in, I don't know what is. If the Right Wingers had the chance, those poor '13 million Jews' would occupy 99% of the Near East. What a peaceful bunch indeed.

As for the illusion of "Israeli democracy", I'm not even trying to compare it with the hopeless Arab regimes. I agree, they are arguably more 'democratic'. That doesn't mean I don't have the right to criticize them: Israeli Arabs vote more vigorously than their Jewish counterparts, and yet have a very small quota of seats in the Knesset, which effectively limits their participation in politics. In addition, the Jews in Israel are very, very leniently prosecuted: so many cases have passed in the last 2 years before Israeli military courts, with little to no jail time for MURDER. 2005: The Druze general that emptied two dozen bullets into the lifeless body of a pre-adolescent girl- after having killed her- got NO time. Nor did the settler that was caught on tape stoning a Palestinian in Hebron to death. I have the tape, if you really want to vainly try to discredit what I'm saying.

The Palestinian legal system isn't much better, but then again, they have no state!

One last thing: correct me if I'm wrong, Will, but you're saying that 'why don't the Palestinians, who are Arabs, go and reside in any of the huge, underpopulated Arab countries and leave this Jewish state alone'. This argument is flawed on so many levels it's scary. a) Playing the innocent victim by saying that 'well, we did take it by force but don't you think we've suffered enough before you take it back' is simply unacceptale. It's deceptive, it's manipulative, and it lacks any solid basis of logic. Second of all, saying that 'the Palestinian Arabs' should go somewhere else because they HAVE somewhere else to go easily backfires: the 'Jews' you refer to are the furthest thing from a unified bunch. Among them are Iranians (no, not 'Persians', Iranians), Ethiopians, North Africans, and Europeans. And correct me if I'm mistaken, but Europe, Africa, and Iran are HUGE. In the same way that you're suggesting the Palestinians should go and move in with their 'fellow Arabs', I'm suggesting that the Israelis do the same and re-enact the diaspora. Do I believe that is a solution? Absolutely not, that's why your 'suggestion' is so much more appalling.

What IS it with the Israelis' reservations about a one-state solution. I mean, if 'fairness' is the issue, then that is the only possible solution. If finding an agreement is what's important, that's probably the only way to go about it as well. It's a very simple decision: No peace, no Arab citizens' rights, and a 'pure' Jewish state, or a diverse state with a feasible solution for us all? It really is that simple.

Alan:

William from San Antonio

Your arguments are persuasive. Only one error. I believe that Rodney King's true quote was "Can't we all get along."

Thanks for your thoughts.

William, San Antonio:

To clarify certain historical points and counter various comments:

The American Thinker identifies Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni as a Nazi collaborator which he most certainly was. He spent most of World War II in Germany (hiding from the British Authorities) and in his memoirs after the war, Husayni noted that "Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: 'The Jews are yours'.” Al-Husayni, as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was one of the most influential Arabs in the history of the Middle East instigating five Arab governments to invade Israel in 1948 for the purpose of completing Hitler’s work.

On the other hand Yitzhak Shamir during that era was part of an organization called Lehi which is a Hebrew acronym for Lohamei Herut Israel aka the Stern Gang. After the Arab revolt of 1936 – 1939 and the Chamberlain led British government’s imposition of severe restrictions on Jewish immigration in contravention of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Lehi countered by attacking and assassinating British authorities. They further offered to more actively oppose the British in support of the German war effort in return for facilitating Jewish refugees fleeing Europe. That plan never materialized and the Stern Gang eventually disbanded. As a group Lehi never had over a few hundred members. As an historical aside, Neville Chamberlain’s cowardly appeasement of the Nazis in Europe is well known. His cowardly appeasement of the Arabs in this matter, although not widely known, only serves to underscore the costs of acceding to either Nazi or Arab demands.

Israel is a democracy in every sense of the word. All of its citizens, including over 1 million Muslims may vote and are eligible for educational and social services. Israeli Muslims are, however, generally exempted from military service for security reasons. Oddly, there are no complaints raised over that blatant inequity. Now, where are the Arab democracies? In Lebanon, perhaps, where its legislators cower in fear of Syrian murderers or Hezbollah threats? In Iraq, perhaps? That would be a most interesting discussion if that topic were expanded.

Come to think of it, on the topic of minorities, where are the Jewish minorities that once thrived in Arab countries despite living in inferior status as dhemmis? We rarely hear of the approximately one million Jews that fled Arab countries throughout the Mideast and Africa in 1948 – fled for their very lives. Where are all of those people? That’s a topic that needs to be more fully developed. Would any Arab apologists care to tackle this one? I would be very interested to hear the spin on this rarely discussed issue.

The demographic issue in Israel is a matter of contention. Arabs who comprise slightly less that 20% of the population have a higher birthrate that Israeli Jews although both rates are declining. Orthodox Jews, however, have a birthrate over twice as high as either Israeli Arabs or the remaining Jewish population. Jewish immigration varies from year to year and adds to the Jewish population growth. What the future holds is far from certain in this matter.

The influence of the Quran in imperialistic warfare can neither be denied nor minimized. Its teachings and the example of Muhammad are directly responsible for aggressive wars of expansion westward from Arabia to modern day Spain and Austria and eastward to Samarkand and India. Islamic teachings divide the world into dar al-Islam, the world of peace, and dar al-harb, the house of war. Those teachings put into practice by Muhammad persist to the present day in mosques from Jakarta to Riyadh to London to Dearborn. In contrast, the holy wars of Judaism have been confined to an area the size of New Jersey. While Christians have most certainly engaged in warfare since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine, some of it most egregious, there is not a single sentence in the Christian texts that advocates aggressive warfare. The Quran, however, is playbook for worldwide Islamic terrorism. It is the cement that binds the mujahedin in perpetual jihad.

As a final note, the Arab world consists of 23 countries and territories of over 6 million square miles with a combined population of some 325 million people. The world wide Jewish population is about 13 million people of whom about 5 million live in Israel. Israel’s size is less than 10 thousand square miles. I suggest that if for no other reason than to throw all caution to the wind, in a gesture of unprecedented magnanimity, why doesn’t the Muslim world cede those paltry 10 thousand square miles to the Jews. Certainly they are not such a stingy lot that they would begrudge such a tiny plot of land to such a tiny minority of people. Where is the renowned Arab heart? Where is the celebrated Arab generosity? Can’t we just give peace a chance? I began with a comment on the American Thinker and will close by quoting a renowned American thinker, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"

Alan:

Hussein, AUB

Your letter is the first one I’ve seen that is a well written argument in favor of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, in spite of your excellent writing style, you are misinformed about a number of points you make in your letter.

Israel is a democracy. It allows all of its Christian and Arab residents the right to vote, attend university, etc. You wrote: “Or will Israeli Arabs, who will hopefully be a majority by 2038 if not sooner, be allowed to participate, as citizens, in the same way as any other Israeli?” Are you implying that Israel doesn’t allow all of its citizens the right to vote? If so, you are incorrect.

You criticize Israel for being “The Jewish State”. Everyone can worship their own religion in Israel, be they Jew, Moslem, Christian, or Bahai. Perhaps you should consider that Israel is much more tolerant of Islam than any of the Arab countries are about Judaism. Did you ever notice that fewer than 100 Jews live in any Arab country or Iran? This ethnic cleansing (greater than 99%) was not because most of the Jews thought it would be nice to try a new country. They are gone because their Arab brethren didn’t treat them very well. There used to be millions of Jews living in Arab countries and Iran. When 99% of a population leaves, there is no conclusion other than horrible treatment by the host government or neighbors. In comparison, the traffic jams and humiliating checkpoints in the West Bank are not severe. And don't forget that those restrictions take place because of suicide bombings.

Your arguments made by quoting individual Isrealis is interesting. First, it’s not representative of the people as a whole. Israel has free press, with quotes from crackpots, racists, government opponents, and more. Could a Lebanese journalist write that Nasrallah is the biggest problem in Lebanon without getting his head cut off? Could a Gazan write that Hamas is wrong to fire missiles from Gaza into Israeli towns? Ever wonder why nobody writes in the mainstream press that Nasrallah is an idiot? Is it because every journalist thinks he isn't an idiot? Or are they afraid?

A more important question begs to be asked. Does the individual Israeli racist represent the country’s viewpoints? The answer is no. Throughout the 1990’s about 2/3’s of Israelis favored peaceful withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Compare that with the repeated polls of Palestinians showing 50-67% support for suicide bombings. Individual quotes are not as important as what the population thinks as a whole.

When you can’t find a good argument to support the Palestinian cause, try not to resort to the Yitzhak Shamir is a Nazi viewpoint. It is laughable to think he supported Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jews. Compare Shamir’s actions with that of the loving Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1940’s. Not even close. But even if it were close, remember that the Mufti was a giant figure, revered by the local Arabs, whereas Shamir was a nobody.

Your last argument, namely, that Israel shouldn’t be there in the first place, would take me too long to address. Suffice it to say that the Palestinians should accept the fact they make up most of the population in the West Bank and much of the population in Jordan, which is about 10 times bigger than Israel. They already have 3 homelands-- the West Bank, Jordan, and Gaza. Together, they dwarf Israel. They should accept this and stop trying to kill the Jews. They should also stop honoring martyr’s who kill schoolchildren. Maybe then the population of Israel will trust them more and make peace.


Allen:

Yo who say Palestine was a nation should look at the historical maps. That piece of cattle turd was never free after the Jewish people were pickled by those Italinas (Romans). That is execpt for about 100 years under Jewish rule when they tossed out the Syrians. That plot of land on both sides of the Jordan river was property then of the Asyirans, Babelonions, Perians, Greeks, Syria, Ottomans, and finally the British. The British did not want another Jewish state because of MidEast oil. They did their best to stop it. Well the land had occupants Jew and Muslim who could trace roots there for many years. The Jews only about 1000 to 1500 more years before the Muslims could. Stop trying to go back in time to say who should be there. They both are and deserve to be there.

If both accept that and stop killing each then things will be better. This is the real point. STOP with the blame. Who do you think really wants peace? There are fokes on both sides that do and don't. What are you going to do? Make the Jews go back to Europe and the other Arab lands where the locals have tried to exterimate them? And do not expect the Palestinians to stay in an unwalled prison. It just will not work for either. If the Palestinians would stop trying to kill the Jews the the USA will make the Israelies give a fair and just peace to the Palestinians. Otherwise, the death count on both sides will spiral with the use of larger and deadlier weponds.

Here is a question for all to consider. Why is it acceptable for people to kill when they have been insulted, dishonored, made fools of, or otherwised belittled? Why is it fine that one group does that and another can not? Especially when they are doing it to others.

Abu Alim I have read the Quran. Like the Old Testament it has parts for peace and those for war. Its it what you choose to follow that make it peacefull or deadly. Just like those who pratice Christanity or any other religion.

Here is the simple solution to the problem that we are talking about here. The rest of the world will not sell Israel any more weponds or give it any assistance of any sort. If the nations and people around it do choose to attack it, which I believe will happen, then that small state will probably use is weponds of mass death to keep its millions from being killed by their attackers. That way the world is not responsiable for the genoside that will occure.

Hussein, AUB:

1) Avi, Habibi, if you're going to rant about 'us Arabs' and can't do anything but brag about how you 'expropriated us but still managed to defeat the odds by building an oasis in a desert of Arabs', then spare me. Your people was nothing more than a bunch of illegal immigrants that- unlike the mexicans in the US- came without the country's consent (or guilty pleasure). The very Palestinians you treat like crap on a daily basis are in just as bad a situation as you were following the Holocaust. So none of that 'moral superiority' bullsh*t is going to matter.

All I did was ask a few questions, such as 'why does Israel insist on having a purely Jewish state, on land it has been conquering since the '30s, without owning most of it'? I mean, I understand why the immigrants' descendants feel like it's unfair to be 'driven out', and that's exactly why I don't support such a move. But then again, how exactly does this work? Is the Jewish majority in Israel (80% of the population) the only one capable of making decisions or being (more than) adequately represented in Knesset? Or will Israeli Arabs, who will hopefully be a majority by 2038 if not sooner, be allowed to participate, as citizens, in the same way as any other Israeli?

Israel has never been a democracy and will probably never try to be one. The only thing it has been successful at is creating 'facts on the ground' that further strengthen its position and make it seem as if it is willing to make a compromise. But what 'compromise' is it, really, when I steal or retain something and then immediately use it as a bargaining chip. Is it mine to bargain for to begin with???

"it is the duty of the [Israeli] leadership to explain to the public a number of truths. One truth is that there is no Zionism, no settlement, and no Jewish state without evacuating Arabs, and without expropriating lands and fencing them off."- Yeshayahu Ben-Porat, to Yediot Ahronot, in 14/07/1972

"In our country there is room for only the Jews. We shall say to the Arabs: 'Get out!' If they don't agree- if they resist- we shall drive them out by force."
Ben-Zion Dinur, the first Israeli Minister of Education, in 1954

But that's besides the point, for now.

As for Jeffrey:
The mufti was never a 'Nazi'. If you're going to charge people with Nazism or Fascism, start with the Israelis (not that I'm diverting blame, I just think it's appalling that many Jews allied themselves with the ideological leaders of groups bent on their 'purging').

Yitzhak Shamir- Israel's former PM- even preached an alliance with Nazi Germany in order to accelerate the Jews' immigration to then-Palestine in 1941. Bar Zohar- an Israeli historian- spoke quite a bit about this in his book "The Armed Prophet: Ben Gurion".

Trying to blame everything on one party- although incredibly successful, on your part- is very deceptive.

Jeffrey:

RE: Hajj Amin el-Husseini

I just stumbled across the following at:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/11/clevelands_imamate_of_jew_hate.html

Hajj Amin el-Husseini, ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, and Muslim jihadist, who became, additionally, a full-fledged Nazi collaborator and ideologue in his endeavors to abort a Jewish homeland and destroy world Jewry, composed a 1943 recruitment pamphlet for Balkan Muslims entitled, "Islam and the Jews." This incendiary document was rife with antisemitic verses from the Koran, as well as Jew hating motifs from the hadith, and concluded with the apocalyptic canonical hadith describing the Jews' annihilation.

Forty-five years later the same hadith was incorporated into the 1988 Hamas Charter, making clear its own aspirations for Jew annihilation. Sheer ignorance of this history and theology are pathognomonic of much larger and more dangerous phenomena: the often willful, craven failure to examine and understand the living legacy of Islam's foundational anti-Jewish animus, or acknowledge the depth of Jew hatred that pervades contemporary Islam's clerical leadership, including within major Muslim communities of the United States.

Abu Alim:


Since it is common in the Arab world to adopt the Bedouin custom of assuming a nom de guerre then I, too, in the interests of true multiculturalism will follow this time-honored custom. I am Abu Alim and all those interested may seek a translation of my "name of war". For make no mistake, we are in a war – a world war. Those enslaved by inane moral equivalences such as "it happens on both sides" and mind-numbed politically correct expressions such as only "select extremists" commit acts of terrorism are as ludicrous as the beauty queens who swoon for "world peace".

Since the earliest days of the Republic, the threat from the Muslim world has been well understood, but largely ignored. Thomas Jefferson was one of the few who grasped the true nature of this threat. One of his lesser known quotes is "millions for defense, not one cent for tribute" – a response to the so-called Barbary pirates. Barbary “pirates” were, in reality, just normal Muslims. They saw themselves as engaged in a jihad and called themselves mujahidin. Jefferson’s (most appropriate) actions are responsible for this part of the Marine Hymn: "to the shores of Tripoli". No fair minded student of history can deny the single minded, imperialistic thrust of Islam from its bloody inception to the more recent ravings of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni (do some research), for example, is the norm in the Muslim world rather than the exception. The fact is that the so-called “Muslim extremists” swim in the cesspool of normal, everyday Islamic teaching. While it is true that only a relatively few Muslims participate in violent jihad, support for those actions is virtually monolithic within the greater Muslim community. It is only through the veneer of taqiyya, or Muslim dissimulation, and the gullibility of easily duped westerners that this façade has become pervasive. The fable that a few extremists have hijacked a “religion of peace” is part and parcel of the twin evils of Muslim propaganda and western self-deception.

Only by reading the Quran, understanding how the actions of Muhammad impact on the everyday practitioner of Islam, and grasping the bloody history of Islam as it has played out of the world stage can we hope to survive its evil intent. There is only one way to put the demented djinni back in the bottle and that is by ruthless force when Muslim terrorism expresses itself and by actively confronting those who would deny that Islam is the world view in which the terrorists thrive.

Why is it necessary to deny that it is hate speech to advocate confronting organizations like CAIR and the ISNA for their persistent refusals to categorically decry Muslim terrorism? Why should it be necessary to deny being a bigot for naming Islam as the instrument of hate and violence that it is? Islam is simply not the religious equivalent of Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism. It is not a “religion of peace”. It has not been hijacked by a few "select extremists". Islam and its adherents are responsible for the vast majority of mindless violence in the world today. They are only excelled in modern times by godless fascists and communists; but, that is yesterday’s battle won. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that the same “useful idiots” who denied the threat of fascism and communism are identical to the “useful idiots” who deny the threat of an inherently militant Islam. We cannot hope to win this war by denying the character of the enemy.

Alan:

W.J.

You and I both know that I don’t think traffic is a major issue. It’s funny that you picked that issue to debate. My point was that the Israeli occupation doesn’t resemble Hitler. I used traffic jams and military checkpoints caused by the occupation as the major issue for most people in the West Bank. I didn’t include the tragedy of people getting caught in the crossfire because it is not nearly as common as dealing with checkpoints for most residents of those areas.

Your other argument is that it takes two sides to fight and that Israel should assume responsibility. Let’s take some examples: Israel withdraws completely from Lebanon in the year 2000 but is attacked repeatedly by Hizbollah before responding in 2006. Israel withdraws completely from Gaza but is also attacked repeatedly. In both cases, the other side aims missiles at Israeli civilians. My guess is that you will argue that the Israeli response was unfair. You’ll ignore the point about who started it. I addressed these points in my earlier blogs, so read those if your going to issue a diatribe on the Israeli response.

I don’t view all Arabs as terrorists. I understand that “only” 50-75% of Palestinians in repeated polls favorably view suicide bombing of civilians. Until the Palestinians reject blowing up buses with women and children and stop honoring the “martyrs”, things won’t change. Until they stop teaching their children that Jews are evil, things won’t change. The indoctrination of racist viewpoints is strong in the Arab world, much stronger than in the U.S. or Israel. Some lunatics will be racist in both of these free countries, but at least journalists can be free to counter any argument. Imagine a Palestinian journalist arguing on Hamas state television that it is morally wrong to commit suicide bombings, that the school books teaching 6 year olds to kill the infidels should be changed. That would be one dead journalist!

It’s sad that when you can’t argue against the points that I’ve made, that you resort to saying I am manipulated by the American media rather than attacking those points. Try to attack the issues in your next blog. By the way, I read English media from many countries in Europe, Southeast Asia, Egypt, and Israel. Did you know that Israeli journalists often criticize their own government in the press? Do you think that happens in the rest of the Middle East?

Anonymous:

@ William: "I suspect that you’re just another foreign leech here for the economic opportunities that this great country provides so freely."
Wow. foreign leech. And you say that you assimilated yourself into their societies? I just want to say, even though I know at this point it really will not matter to you, but my ancestors...some came across on the Mayflower. I am your typical "white-middle-class American" when you look at me. I hardly accept a free meal when it is offered to me. And I believe in being honest in all of my actions.
My point, that I have been trying to make, is please stop classifying them as all the same. When I quoted the Constitution and Martin Luther King, I was trying to prove that every person is different but individually equal. We cannot allow ourselves to classify each person into a category and not let them move from outside those walls. To say:
"Few care if these lunatic moon worshipers want to live in the 7th century, but when they get anywhere near civilization, blood always seems to flow."
Lunatic moon worshipers? what a label. you classified an entire religious population as lunatics and demeaned their beliefs to merely worshiping a moon.
I am not in favor of those that murder and kill, and it happens on both sides is the point I am trying to convey.
The pride I am speaking of, is the pride of the normal human being. The one with the family they are trying to support. I will never be able to justify murder as it is an inexcusable act.
I try to see other's points of views, and yes, to my chagrin, I have to admit there was a time where I looked down on the Arab world, but I also knew that they were not all in on this together, that it was select extremists that exacted these actions. I cannot believe that a child is just as guilty as a terrorist merely because of their ethnic origin or religious belief, and that is what all of your railings sound as if you believe, and I honestly do not think that is true.
The Arab people attend their Christian churches, their Islamic mosques, their schools, their restaurants, their parks, and their beaches as we do. In my belief, they are entitled to the same inalienable rights that Americans are...the Normal Arab people! I speak for those who are being unjustly accused. Not those that are killing and torturing and depriving others of their right to lead a peaceful existence.
I am fighting for them, because in some of their countries, they are not allowed to express political views in public. That is a fact in even our ally countries. I am fighting for those who work hard to put in an honest days work.
But if you want to view me as unpatriotic, you go ahead, that is your right. I don't have to answer to you, a stranger to me. I just can honestly say after this exchange, I hope I never meet you. The hate you spew...I hope it doesn't land on too many people, because there is enough of it in the world. I believe in equal rights, and I see no difference in the color of my skin and that of any other person. My religious beliefs are different from many others, but I do not despise those people for it, rather I embrace their difference. World peace begins with each of us, and it can only be accomplished through a sincere attempt at acceptance. But what do I know? I barely know the English language!

William, San Antonio:

@ W.J.

Fatah and Hamas are like the Republicans and Democrats? You have to be completely mad if you expect to sell that garbage to me. I have read the PLO Charter, the Fatah Constitution and the Hamas Covenant and all of them call for the destruction of Israel. Both Hamas and Fatah are typical Arab thug-run, terrorist organizations. Hamas may be more openly religious, but they are both typical murderously competing, Arab gangs. Abu Mazen may wear a suit instead of a kafia, but he is still a bloody, holocaust-denying, Arab thug. And, I don't care if your grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War; you're not going to get away with any taqiyya with me. You surely know the meaning of taqiyya, don’t you? We call it something else down here in Texas. It polite society it could be referred to as male bovine excreta.

You can quote the Constitution, Declaration and the speeches of Martin Luther King to the wall because you clearly haven’t a clue what they really mean. You’re simply mouthing words you don’t understand. If you had any understanding of them you’d know that all of them rail against what you defend.

If you didn’t come here to be an American or if you were fortunate enough to be born here and still have such little respect for America, find another home! It’s too bad that you’re a citizen because you are certainly not assimilated because you have neither a clue what it means to be an American nor even a clear grasp of the language. I suspect that you’re just another foreign leech here for the economic opportunities that this great country provides so freely.

I’ve spent many years outside the country much of it living on the economy of the countries that I’ve visited. I learned their languages and their customs and respected their beliefs; but, all of those years only served to strengthen my love for America and the birthrights associated with it. I repeat: I respected the beliefs of countries that I visited. It’s clear that you have little respect for America, so I ask again, why do you stay?

“The maintenance of pride is far more grandiose than material possessions.” If by this you are attempting to justify murder because some group of barbarians has had its feeling hurt, you are nuts. You’re stuck in the same blood-crazed medieval mindset as they are.

“Does that not lead to terroristic crimes?” No! A maniacal, murderous, uncivilized mentality leads to terrorism. Few care if these lunatic moon worshipers want to live in the 7th century, but when they get anywhere near civilization, blood always seems to flow. Every place in the world where a pack of degenerate Muslim maniacs with a contrived grievance comes into contact with civilized people, they start cutting heads off or blowing things up. Some of these places include:

Kashmir
Maluku
Darfur
Nigeria
Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.
Philippines
Bali
Thailand
Maldives
Israel
Chechnya

Now their murderous behavior has been brought to America and the favor has been returned. I suspect that we haven’t completely learned this lesson yet. Many of us are soft and as stupid as you think I am; but, make no mistake, every time it happens, our resolve will strengthen and some day your buddies are going to be out of work, permanently. In the mean time try your taqiyya on someone else.

W.J.:

To Mary: I applaud you and your remarks! You have beautifully phrased the real basis of what we should be focusing on. Human Life!
To Alan and William: You really believe American media don't you? Have either of you traveled outside of the U.S.? Do you both really believe that all who come to America automatically want to denounce their home country and be classified into the American stereotype? That would be an insult to them if they did.
To Alan specifically: TRAFFIC? Are you kidding me? I live in one of the largest cities in this country, and traffic is a normal thing. Middle-Easterners are not so simple that they are fighting over a little bit of a wait. Do you honestly believe this is always a one-sided initiation? It is not always Palestine starting these fights! It takes two, and Israel has done their fair share, and they continue to do so.
It appears in all of your "fact checking" you forgot to have your own opinion and seek the other side of the story, William. There are two factions in Palestine: Hamas and Fatah...They are vastly differing parties. Yes, one is seemingly pro-force while the other is not. Kind of like Republicans and Democrats, but oh wait! Did I step on a foot there? I could not have just compared those Terroristic-Towel-wearing Mongrels to the Strong, open-minded, considerate and Just Americans who would NEVER EVER do anything to someone unless they deserved it! (Please note the immense sarcasm.)
I love this country and the freedoms it offers. Some of the landscapes and opportunities provided here are definitely unmatched throughout the world. But how did such an opportunistic nation become so vile, so racist? My Grandfather fought in WWII and my brother served in the Army for many years, I am an American Citizen and as such I have the right to say that some of the American people make me writhe with their unjust mindset.
It is easy to live in a society where our ideals, beliefs, and "original" thoughts are given to us by the general consensus media. How easy to live in our materialistic society where a homeless person begs on a corner for a handout. In contrast, a less fortunate person in a "depraved" country will walk the streets selling what they can - maintaining an honor and respect that can be deliberated through their families. The maintenance of pride is far more grandiose than material possessions.
Was the real shock of 9/11 for Americans that this could happen on their soil, or that now they might be forced to care about something pertaining to emotion and life, not the tangible acquisitions that define their societal status among other self-serving members of a horrifically individual environment?
Which is more frightening? A terrorist act or someone oblivious to the seduction of diversity and who fears the slightest variance or distinction from themselves. Does that not lead to terroristic crimes?
We must look past demographic barriers for in such a fluid world this self-isolation is obscene.
STOP LABELING ALL ARABS AS TERRORISTS!!!! STOP LABELING! 9/11 was a tragedy...similar to ones that happen all too often, all over the world. Rwanda...where were we? Ignoring it. Somalia, Lebanon, countless wars, countless lives, and countless conflicts have been fought, and America doesn't blink. Yet, these people...these "terrorists" pick up their lives, pick up the pieces of their mangled, death laden lives, and keep going. How can we sit in our ivory towers and cast stones at those who have more strength, courage, and love within their beings than we have ever even be tempted with? I personally do not think I am strong enough of a person to continually rebuild my life the way that they are forced to do. They are not better than us; they are not less than us.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence)
Just because they are not American does not mean they are not entitled to these rights. We are all searching for our own happiness, our own lives, our own liberties, which are constantly tried...and as we are equal...we have no right to label an immense part of the world as all "terrorist lovers". That is not for us, not for governments to decide, but for God to decide.
“Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Vic van Meter:

This is a pretty simple issue. I've posted on it about once a weeks since I started watching these boards. So the Palestinian/Israeli conflict can be summed up thusly:

Israel's mistake was a bad idea. They've been there too long to remove. Terrorists attacking Israel are fueling the fire that burns them. Western and Fundamentalist Islamic states are pumping money into partisans on both sides and creating a proxy war. Unless Palestinians and Israeli moderates take control of their countries and come to a consensus, a lot more people are going to die. And this issue isn't going anywhere for a long time.

There. Easy to read and put together. We'll see those streets run red with blood until collaborative governments take government over divisive ones. Unfortunately, with the Israeli and Palestinian situations, both are electing their version of hardcore conservative war-hawks. So this issue isn't going to end until people end up in power who are committed to working together to end the conflict, not banking politically on its continuation.

Seriously, without the war, what will happen to Hamas and the conservative Israeli parties? Their power is based on their people living in fear of their neighbors irrational attacks.

Hey...I've heard this somewhere before. Somewhere in my hemisphere... What country was it I hear about a conservative staying in power because his country lives in a perpetual state of fear...?

Alan:

Mary

Mary

I understand that it is difficult for Palestinians to live under Israeli occupation. I’m sure it’s not fun to endure traffic jams caused by military checkpoints, occasional rude police behavior, or civilian deaths caused by Israeli retaliation to Palestinian terrorism. But your comparison of Israel to Hitler is part of the Palestinian problem. When missiles are launched from Gaza on Israeli civilians, or when suicide bombers emerge from the West Bank, the Israeli military obviously tries real hard to avoid collateral killing of civilians. If the Israelis wanted to kill Palestinian civilians, there would be a far greater number of civilian deaths. Israel has the artillery and air force capable of killing millions, but they rarely use it because they think it’s immoral. The Israelis would prefer to avoid their young soldiers having to enter the West Bank or Gaza. It would be far easier to launch bombs. However, they don’t because they would like to avoid killing civilians.

So we’re not talking Hitler here. We’re talking about a country that could kill millions but chooses not to because of morality. Israeli Jews don’t teach their children that Arabs are pigs or monkeys. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the converse. In fact, the Israelis try more than most societies to teach that racism is evil, and that genocide is abhorrent. Yes, they screw up military retaliation and kill innocents, but at least they apologize when it happens. Does Hamas apologize for trying to kill Israeli children? Until the Palestinians realize that peace is preferable to killing, and until they stop teaching that suicide bombing is an honor worthy of glory, the Palestinians should stop blaming the Jews and start adopting standards of civility that the rest of the world would respect.

Mary:

Zionsim rules....

You ignore the report of brutality of palestinian people.

I guess Hitler is wearing a different hat nowadays

Alan:

Mary

Mary

Traffic jams caused by Israeli checkpoints and occasional rude behavior by Israeli police are a small price to pay for Palestinian support of terrorism. I understand that Palestinians voted for Hamas because the P.A. is corrupt. However, most of the world would not elect leaders who have sanctioned suicide bombers to kill children on buses. Most of the world would prefer corrupt politicians to those who celebrate “martyrs” who kill innocent civilians. Most of the world would reject suicide bombing as a means of political expression. But not the Palestinians, who overwhelmingly support those actions as evidenced by repeated polls as well as elections.

Israel has tried to make peace and has left much of the West Bank in the past and are presently out of Gaza. Most of the Israelis do not want to occupy the West Bank in order to subjugate its people. They are stuck there because of terrorism. When the Palestinians reject terrorism and value their own children rather than teaching them martyrdom, Israel will gladly leave.

You mention treatment of pregnant women. Maybe the Israeli police are suspicious because of pregnant women who have been caught with suicide belts. Or Palestinian ambulances that have been used to transport bombs.

The Israelis allow its Arabic citizens the right to vote and attend university. Most Israelis are not racist, as evidenced by the fact that they allow Africans, Indians, and other minorities that practice Judaism to establish citizenship in their country. Perhaps you should consider the ethnic cleansing of Jews from nearly every Arabic country as well as from Iran. In comparison, the traffic jams and “humiliating” checkpoints are preferable. Where are the Palestinian demonstrations against genocide in Darfur? There have been several of those in Israel. Where are the gay parades? A lot of Israelis are homophobic, but they don’t arrest such people, as will be the case when Hamas and Iran grab control of the West Bank. I’m sure the females who live there will enjoy their new lives under burkas, with honor killings, and punishment if they are unfortunate enough to be raped.

When the Palestinians realize their own shortcomings and stop blaming the Jews, they will make peace and live better lives. My prediction is that this change of heart will take place---in the next 200 years.

William, San Antonio:

@Mary

How stupid do you think we are?


"Rumors of War: 'CNN used old footage to fake images of 'Palestinians dancing in the street' after the terrorist attack on the USA'" (Urban Legends Reference Pages, 2001/09/23)
"No, CNN did not air decade-old footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets. Eason Jordan, CNN's Chief News Executive, confirmed that the video used on CNN was in fact shot on Tuesday, 11 September 2001, in East Jerusalem by a Reuters TV crew, not during the Persian Gulf conflict of 1990-91... ... Reuters, the international news agency whose camera crew shot the footage, issued the following statement: "Reuters rejects as utterly baseless an allegation being circulated by e-mail and the Internet claiming that it circulated 10-year-old videotape to illustrate Palestinians celebrating in the wake of the September 11 tragedies in the United States. Reuters welcomes a statement by the Universidad Estatal de Campinas-Brasil (UNICAMP), one of whose students was the author of the original e-mail, setting the record straight. The videotape in question was shot in East Jerusalem by a Reuters camera crew on September 11 in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the United States. The footage was broadcast by CNN and other subscribers to the Reuters video news service.'"

"Whooping It Up - In Beirut, even Christians celebrated the atrocity" (Elisabetta Burba, The Wall Street Journal, 2001/09/22)
"Soon came reports of Palestinians celebrating. The BBC reporter in Jerusalem said it was only a tiny minority. Astonished, we asked some moderate Arabs if that was the case. 'Nonsense,' said one, speaking for many. "Ninety percent of the Arab world believes that Americans got what they deserved." ... Once at the mosque I donned a black chador, but our Lonely Planet guide attracted the attention of a hard-looking bearded guy all the same. "Are you Americans?" he asked in a menacing tone. Our quick denial made him relax. ... "My people have been crushed under the heel of American imperialism, which took away our land, massacred our beloved and denied our right to life. But have you seen what happened in New York City? God Almighty has drawn his sword against our enemies. God is great - Allah u Akbar," he said."

"Palestinians Suppress Coverage of Crowds Celebrating Attacks" (Lee Hockstader, The Washington Post, 2001/09/16)
"Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority is trying to suppress broadcast images and photos of Palestinians glorifying the terrorist attacks on the United States and hailing their suspected mastermind, exiled Saudi financier Osama bin Laden. Palestinian officials have told local representatives of foreign news agencies and television stations on several occasions that their employees' safety could be jeopardized if videotapes showing Palestinians celebrating the attacks were aired. Broadcast news organizations operating in the Palestinian-ruled portions of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have complied."

"Bin-Laden Poster Seen at Gaza Rally" (AP/Yahoo! News, 2001/09/14)
"About 1,500 Palestinians, many supporters of the Islamic militant group Hamas, marched in a Gaza Strip refugee camp on Friday, burning Israeli flags and carrying a large poster of Osama bin Laden, who has been named as a key suspect in this week's terror attacks in the United States. After the rally, plainclothes Palestinian policemen questioned several journalists, including staffers of foreign news agencies, and confiscated videotape and film as well as camera equipment. An Associated Press Television News video was among the materials taken, and an AP photographer was warned by officials not to publish pictures of the bin-Laden poster. ... Earlier this week, Palestinian police stopped camera teams and photographers from covering a rally in the West Bank town of Nablus in which several thousand Palestinians celebrated the attacks in the United States. Palestinian officials said the demonstration did not represent widespread Palestinian opinion."

"Palestinian leaders try to repair image - Effort includes threats to media" (Matthew Kalman, USA Today, 2001/09/13)
"Palestinian Cabinet Secretary Ahmed Abdel Rahman used tougher measures to avoid an international backlash in response to apparent Palestinian jubilation. Abdel Rahman called international news agencies and said the safety of their staff could not be guaranteed unless they withdrew the embarrassing footage of Palestinian police firing joyfully in the air. Such threats appeared to succeed in suppressing immediate release of video showing large street celebrations in Ramallah, Bethlehem and other West Bank towns."

"Rejoicing in the streets of Jenin" (Flore de Préneuf, Salon.com, 2001/09/11)
"The walls of people's homes here are covered with posters glorifying Islamic terrorists and Palestinian "martyrs." ... But Palestinian militants have never achieved terror of the magnitude seen today in the United States. When young armed Palestinians patrolling the streets of a refugee camp in Jenin heard the news from New York and Washington, they chuckled with glee. One of them thanked God for his mighty revenge against the United States, Israel's ally and main weapons supplier. Elsewhere in the West Bank and in Gaza, thousands of Palestinians applauded the devastating blows, cheering openly in the streets and distributing celebratory candy to passersby. Some shouted that they hoped Tel Aviv would be next or vowed to complete what they believe Osama bin Laden has started."

Anonymous:

William, you don't have a mature response to what I posted, so you refer to another media "lie?"
The footage they showed was old footage...

You remind me of my child when he looses an argument :-) Makes me want to take a page from his book and say:

oh yeah? well your dog is ugly, hmph

William, San Antonio:

@Mary

And I'll bet that you were really upset when the "Palestinians" danced in the streets on 9/11. Did you pass out candy, too?

Mary:

If somebody invaded your country, took over your land, and you had to flee your home with the clothes you have on, would you "settle" on a "piece" of your land. What is that? A consolation prize?

William from San Antonio, are you a patriotic individual?
Do you find this question offending?
Of course you do!

Then why do you judge Palestinian patriotics? Or is every time the word "Palestinian" or "Arab" is said, it needs to be done in a derogative manner? or maybe followed by the word "terrorist"? Is it that Americans are patriotic, and Arabs can only be fanatics?

William from San Anotnio? Have you experienced 1/10th of the deprivation, humiliation that palestinians go through? 1/100th of the inhuman treatment they are submitted to by the Israelis? Have you met anyone who has? Or is your information based on the bias media?

It is sad that the people who went through so much pain, through almost anhiliation by a crazy main by the name of Hitler, it is sad that those people who should "know better," actually submit a whole people to less than human treatment, to a horror that defies any human mind. If a person in the United States treated their dog the way some of the Israeli Army treats a Palestinian man, pregnant woman, a child, he/she would be on the first page of all major newspapers.

And you will deny it, as any other Zionist will. And you are going to call me Anti-Semitic, aren't you? It is so much easier to point fingers, and cry "racism" than it is to look truth straight in the eye. Much easier than to reflect on the cruelty of people.

If I was talking about China's human rights violation, will anyone be denying it so strongly? will anyone accuse me of being anti-chinese? If yes, then call my anti-Israeli. I have nothing against Judaism.

William, San Antonio:

@Mary

The partition plan was offered on November 29, 1947. The Arabs rejected it.

On May 14, 1948 Israel declared its independence.

The Arab League, at the instigation of Haj Amin Al-Husseini, declared war to rid Palestine of the Jews and in the ensuing weeks and months many local Arabs fled.

This is not a chicken or the egg question. Some things precede others as in 1937 and 1947 both precede 1948. As for the “right of return”, it should be considered when the one million Jews who were forced to flee Arab countries for their lives in 1948 are considered for their "right of return”. Now, are you going to assert that the Jews started the war? Or, that they should have stayed in Europe to be slaughtered? "Honestly now, do you really blame them? Or should I say: you reasonable, non-bias, non-ignorant people, can you really blame them?"

William, San Antonio:

@W.J.

Those are my initials, also; so, we do have something in common.

I use the quotations around the word Palestinian because the term came into its modern usage only in the late 1960s with the advent of the PLO. If you sift through UN documents to see when the term was first used, you find my assertion to be correct. It was used as a guise to attach nationalistic aspirations to a terrorist front – something that Abu Amar learned from the Soviets. Today, the term is used almost universally to identify Palestinian Arabs because it has been repeated so often. Prior to that time, most especially prior to the establishment of Israel, the Arabs living in that area would most certainly not have identified themselves as Palestinian but rather as an Arab living in Southern Syria or Greater Syria. In fact, only Jews living in the British Mandate at that time would have identified themselves as Palestinians. Anyone may identify themselves as anything they wish, but the term Palestinian is a recent political creation and repeating it countless times will not change that fact.

The Jews are certainly monolithic neither in thought nor ethnicity. There are communist Jews, Tory Jews, and Buddhist Jews. There are blond Jews, red-headed Jews and Black Jews. There are even anti-Jew Jews.

Now, with the exception of a handful of individuals, most of whom have death sentences hanging over their heads, the list of those Muslims (or ex-Muslims) who actively and positively denounce terrorism is painfully short. These are some of the ones I can name off of the top of my head: Nonie Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Walid Shoebat, Zak Anani and Ibrahim Abdullah. There may be a few more but they are scarcer than hen’s teeth. Even Muslim organizations in America like CAIR and the ISNA will dance around the topic of terrorism like a ballerina on a hot plate. When driven into a logical corner what comes out is that it’s the Jew’s fault.

I am certain that the “Palestinians” are a proud people and I have no intention of belittling or demeaning anyone who recognizes established fact as opposed to “feelings” or blatant propaganda. Most of what appears on this blog is utter nonsense and I would not have taken so much of my time if it had not also been so blatantly and irrationally anti-Jewish. Countering that drivel is, I believe, important. My only regret is that so few do it. If more had done it 70 years ago perhaps you wouldn’t be complaining about all of the Jews in Palestine today.

Mary:

"Jeffrey:
William is correct for anyone who is willing to check it out. The Palestinians had the chance for a country in 1937, 1947, 1967 and 2000 and said NO, NO, NO and NO. I did look it up and the settlements didn't start until after 1967. Look it up yourself."

Yes, you are both right. Palestinians refused the Israeli's version of Peace, as it also meant giving up the right to return. It means that all those palestinians who escaped Palestine during the 1948 war, their children and grand children are to give their right to return to their land.

Honestly now, do you really blame them? Or should I say: you reasonable, non-bias, non-ignorant people, can you really blame them?

W.J.:

@ William: You seem very eager to put all Palestinians into one category, and why do you say "Palestinians" and not "Jews" It is still a land of Palestine, and there are still Israeli's from Israel. "Jew" is not a nationality. Please note the distinction.
These are proud people, and you are quick to belittle their existence.
I agree with Anonymous with the idea of how would you handle living in a world where war has caused the walls of everything you know to crumble around you in dilapidated ruins of heartache and loss?
And before you think I am on the side of Nazi's or something...just know, I could have been one of the first victims of that regime if I lived during that time. I am not a master race, and neither is anyone else in this world. Deal with it! Open up your heart, open up your mind, and work towards accepting and perfecting the paradigm and the world that you know, rather than demeaning those you do not know!

William, San Antonio:

@ Whomever

On May 16, 1948, a New York Times Headline read “Jews in Grave Danger in all Muslim Lands: Nine Hundred Thousand in Africa and Asia face wrath of their foes.”

Of that almost one million, today there are less than ten thousand Jews living in Aden, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. There is 1 single Jew left in Afghanistan. This does not take into account the Jews who have escaped Iran. All of these Jews have been absorbed in Israel and other western countries. This is well documented but rarely recounted.

What “Palestinians” have been displaced either left out of panic or a made very poor political choice. A few thousand were forcibly displaced but none in the numbers that you suggest. The largest problem is that they have not been reabsorbed elsewhere as were the Jews who fled for their lives in the face of mortal danger.

The “Palestinians” continue to be used as political hostages in so-called refugee camps (which in reality are no different from any other Arab slum) to extort sympathy, guilt and money from the West. When will the curtain on the poor, poor ancient Palestinian drama come down?

anonymous:

Was that before or after they kicked out millions of palestinians out of their homes and were forced into refugee camps? Or was it after they continued to slaughter many palestinians using U.S. weapons? How would you feel if you were kicked out of your homes? Or have your home bombed and collapse on top of your family? I guess you wouldn’t know, would you?

Jeffrey:

William is correct for anyone who is willing to check it out. The Palestinians had the chance for a country in 1937, 1947, 1967 and 2000 and said NO, NO, NO and NO. I did look it up and the settlements didn't start until after 1967. Look it up yourself.

William, San Antonio:

There is no individual nor group nor organization that is safe from the mindless accusations of the anti-Jew, not even Human Rights Watch itself. Please see Franklin P. Lamb’s article: “Is Human Rights Watch Caving to the Israeli Lobby?” Lamb sounds like many of the comments posted here.

W.J. :

Nothing like a political discussion to upset everyone. As someone who is born and raised American, always enjoyed history, loves other cultures, has visited the Middle East twice, and is working on the immigration process...I have a lot to say to all the thick-headed, narrow-minded bigots that have been expressing their opinions! How dare you say that people who are interested in learning about Americans should stay out of our country? Why? Because they have an opinion about our politics? Clearly everyone in our country does! How many Americans are unhappy with the current political and economic situation in this country?
Besides, everyone in this country, save the Native Americans are descendants of people who immigrated, either willingly or by force. There is no way to brush that under the carpet, and every country has it's skeletons to deal with, but the fact of the matter is that all people want is an opportunity for a better life. And I assure you, having seen first hand, those in the Middle East have so much to offer this country! They are intelligent, loving, and peaceful people!
Because this country is so Pro-Israel, we rarely hear the real, or other side of the story of what goes on in Lebanon, or in any other Middle Eastern country. We always get the Israeli slant. How often do we hear about the villages and people killed by Israeli power as they were forcibly taking land from the Palestinians? Land that by all political rights belongs to Palestine.
Take notice of the current immigration problem in the US. How many of the Spanish immigrants (legal or illegal) have taken the time to even learn the English language? Compare that with those from the Middle East? I have seen both sides... the Spanish who have been here for ten years, and they still do not know the English language, they even refuse! Whereas, the Arabic speakers, I have met some who were fluent with the English language after only ten months of being here. They are willing and ready to learn and apply and benefit their society; however, given the poor societies which they live in, they have been unable to do anything but work 60 hour weeks for a mere $150 dollars a month, and not barely be able to provide for their families, or maintain a proper health care.
You rarely hear of Middle Easterners coming to our country illegally, I might add.
Stop viewing the Arab world as Islamic terrorists and start viewing them as a society of people with a rich history and a sincere desire for knowledge and growth. And of people who are tired of their lives being uprooted by war on their front porch, something our country really knows VERY little about!
Mayah and Farah, I welcome you whole-heartedly to this country, and I pray that the visa process goes more smoothly for you than it does for so many people.
While it is hard here, in a different sense of what those in the Middle East are accustomed to, just hold on to your sense of who you are and never let anyone here treat you differently, because as is evident by this forum, there are a lot of people in America who just cannot handle the idea of something different.

just a thought:

I don’t think its fair to “blame” a whole group of people based on stereotypes and non sense that the media puts out there. You cannot judge a whole group based on a few.
You don’t know what it’s like until you’ve been in our shoes.
Yes, we have our own problems in our countries to take care of but we’re not the only ones (yes, I’m talking about the U.S.) .
I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but discriminating against a group of people is immoral and unjust.
To Mason:
I know what you’re talking about. Palestine never had chance to form its own state and that’s mainly because Israel fell short of its promises such as continuing to build settlements in the West Bank.
To Mary:
I totally agree with you. Your words might enlighten others on this blog.

kasso:

USA can not compromised on demogracy and infact demogracy is demogracy for all who are weak,but for those who have nuclear power bush can say:"ok lets wait and see".

people go to usa because of the opporturnities at all levels which are protected by demogratic systems and values,therefore "lets wait and see" procedure is not expected from a countary like USA.

kasso:

USA can not compromised on demogracy and infact demogracy is demogracy for all who are weak,but for those who have nuclear power bush can say:"ok lets wait and see".

people go to usa because of the opporturnities at all levels which are protected by demogratic systems and values,therefore "lets wait and see" procedure is not expected from a countary like USA.

kasso:

USA can not compromised on demogracy and infact demogracy is demogracy for all who are weak,but for those who have nuclear power bush can say:"ok lets wait and see".

people go to usa because of the opporturnities at all levels which are protected by demogratic systems and values,therefore "lets wait and see" procedure is not expected from a countary like USA.

Mason:

James

I suggested that William ask the UN and Human Rights Watch, not Kos. You must have missed that part. If you have knowledge of the ME then tell us. I'll bet you don't, which makes you just pathetic. Sheep indeed.

James:

Mason - your knowledge of the history and dynamics of the ME are laughable at best. Do yourself a favor - enroll in a local community college and work on getting that GED in order. Perhaps while you're there you can study up a bit on the consistency with which the Palestinians have rejected peace. I know you far prefer being the sheep you are and simply bleating all of the talking points you've learned in the comments section of Kos but seriously, you don't have to be an idiot all of your life. Feel free to actually think for yourself when you have a moment.

Allen:

Farah and Maya are welcome to come to my country. I would expect them, like any other resident to follow the rules and contrbute to improving the general welfare. I am sure they would have no problem doing that and bettering theirselves. Infact, I would be glad to sponsor them.

As for Mary and some of the other comments I have read. You need to stop looking for perfection. Every culture and country has is good and bad points. Some more than others. If you talk about salvery you must know that it was praticed worldwide before the Americas were discovered. Very few slaves were kidnapped by the whites. Most were originaly taken by their fellow Africans and sold. Without the African help slavery would not have been posiable to the extent it was. Here there also were Blacks that were slave owners and traders on both sides of the boarder. In Europe, Africa, and Asia. Until the New world was founded there was a strong East African ivory and slave trade to the Mid East and India. The Romans had slaves bought and sold to and from the European barbian tribes and African tribes/nations. China had it own slave culture too. Now who do you think was the first group to call for the end of slavery. It was England when they were at the height of their empire. It took the US to have the Civil War to end ours. But we did end it. Others still pratice it in Asia and Africa though it is illegal worldwide.

You don't like us getting involved in WWI or WWII? Do you really want the Nazis or Stalin's USSR to rule or be the most powerful nation? We fought to stop the North Koreans from conquring the South Koreans. We did not impose our will on the. Yes other places we have, some to the good and some to the bad. I would love to see my country not have to presure bad rulers to stop killing their own or other people if these thugs did not exist. But they do. While some are our friends, many are not. Some are friendly only the the biggest paycheck or threat. You think Burma will be free without outside pressure? I don't think so.

I think it would be great for America to pack up its military bases overseas. They should leave Japan, Korea, Germany, and every other place. These countries could then handle there onwn defense totaly. Wait a minute!!! Was that not the siduation before WW I & II. What would China think about a rearmed Japan? Would Japan go nucular (spelling) or something from their resent history? Do you forget want the state of the industrial world was like not more then 70 years? Places like Canada, Japan, Europe, Tiwan and many more have the economic progress because they do not have huge military budgets.

Don't say if America was not involved there would be peace. Stalin would have made Europe into a stalite if it was not for the US taking the leading role in NATO & the Marshal Plan. I know that we could have done better in other places.

I could go on & on but I will not. I will just close to say that the history of mankind and his evolution had been filled with the conquest of other by those who can. This had been done because of religion, trade, race, land, any excuse will do. The Native Americans did it to themselves. I am sure it they had the European technologhy then they would have been taking over other places without any pains. America has been willing to spend blood and treasure in times of need and peace to stop some oppressors. It can not do all. Why don't you tell your country that it has to develop a larger navy to stop the Somoli pirates or North Koreans selling nucs, or drugs being shiped to North America or Europe so the US can spend less on the military and more on home. But you will not do that. And without being involved in others areas we would see increased drug production, more weaponds of mass distruction, more petty thugs becoming major problems, etc. Yea, tell us that America is the source of the world problems.

Mason:

To William:

Stand by your lies all you want, it only means you are delusional. The Palestinians never had a chance to build their own state.

I prefer that you don't pollute the blog with your wannabe "expertise" on Islam and hudnas etc.. that you learned from FOX news. Israel is a terrorist country. Don't believe me, ask the UN or Human Rights Watch. They know a whole lot more than you do.

Mary:

I had to reply, especially when I read the comment regarding slavery...

"America has given its treasure and blood freely to establish itself among the nations"
You mean to establish itself as the dictator of the world, impose their values (well if they really had any)

"correct the sin of slavery'"
Duh - you mean kidnap and bring the Africans to the Americas to work as slaves, right?

"free Latin America from tyranny, save Europe twice from conflagration, keep Asia democratic"
you mean: do as I say or I will crush you... well try to crush you and fail...

"keep the governments Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in power"
you mean brown nose those that control oil?

" and remove one most despicable dictators in history."
you mean distract the people from their failure in Afghanistan by invading Iraq.... oh look something shiny....

"America also stood firm against communism for over 30 years finally defeating it and releasing Eastern Europe from its iron fist."
Wow, look at that you finally hit gold... even though, I find it hard to believe it was altruistic... oh wait, Pearl Harbor...

"America did all of this freely."
.... yes freely, kinda reminds me of all the anti-Vietnam war rallies... hmmmmm

"There is no American subjugation of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines or anywhere in Europe, Africa or the Middle East."
There is only interference in other people lives... MYOB. Really your OWN poverty, homeless population, falling economy, should I continue?

"If you sensed contempt for this "professor" you sensed correctly. His politically correct interpretation of American History deserves contempt."
Contemp for another American who does not want to face the reality of his countries outrageous foreign policy. At least he wants to hide behind the past, while the majority of Americans prefer to hide behind the lies, worse yet, be the tool for propaganda

"Finally, I'll reiterate, if these kids don't like America, go someplace else."
After all, if all non-Americans did leave the States, they'll be left with... yes, the NATIVE americans... maybe you should leave too then...

"We have enough home grown America haters we'd dearly like to export."
"Yep, even Americans hate Americans... go figure!!"

"Is that dismissive enough for you?"
In the words of a great Canadian Prime Minister... I've been called worse by better people...

Habibi:

Hussein,typical Arab. lecture the rest of us while your Arab World is a complete disaster. The Arabs want to be the center of attention and they succeed for all the wrong reasons. i.e. 9/11 and all the terror they committ day in and day out. If it was not for the fact that they have oil no one would even listen to a word they say. Make something of your socieites, ARABS. Make something other than talk and poltics all the damn time. You talk and talk and talk and talk. Its getting old. Well, got to go and listen to more of you nonsense. Do us all a favor, don't immigrate if you are so proud of your nation. What a lost cause the Arab World is!!!

Don:

stay where you are. We don't need any more experts from overseas to come here and tell us just how wrong we really are.

William, San Antonio:

Hussein:

I share your wish that all of the problems we are so concerned about are solved peacefully. That said, Ismail Haniya's statement was not given too much notice because of his answers to two following questions.

Do you recognize Israel's right to exist?

The answer is to let Israel say it will recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs.

So will you extend the present ceasefire?

I will not say yes or no. The problem is with Israel. If Israel gives us a quiet period and stops its incursions and the assassinations, then we will be able to convince our people to continue with a state of quiet.

A "state of quiet" as you well know implies a hudna which has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their own history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad re-armed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

In other words, a hudna is only a temporary, tactical ploy to gain an advantage over one’s enemies.

William, San Antonio:

@Mason

Please read Farah and Maya's post about 2 feet north in which they say in caps:

"YES WE DO WANT TO WORK IN AMERICA"

If "The Palestinians were never allowed to have there [sic] own country", how can you claim in the previous sentence that "Lebanon and Palestine are democracies"? You may want to consider actually wearing your helmet when you go skateboarding. Addled comments do not a "neo-con" killer make.

I will repeat a point from my last post. Palestinian Arabs have had the opportunity for a free and independent state on at least four different occasions since 1937 and refused each time. I stand by that statement. You won't get any extra credit for looking it up, but you can practice breathing through your nose in the process.

Finally, parroting prefabricated garbage like "Israel is a rogue state that commits atrocities every day" may convince your little brother that you're the man, but it only pollutes the blog. If you want to atone, answer via a sonnet. Hint: It's a fourteen-line rhyming poem written in iambic pentameter.

Hussein, AUB:

Well, I'd like to comment about two things.

First of all, to Avi (sorry for choosing a racist/sterotypical name, I just wanted 'habibi' to know I'm referring to him).
Anyway: I agree that a political document saying 'we have a country with x borders, and a population of y' is the definition of a 'state'. But then again, you can't possibly try to argue that the common culture, identity, and co-residency shared by the inhabitants of historic Palestine (including the original Jews that didn't flee after the romans ransacked biblical Israel) wouldn't define them as a distinct, separate people. Independent? No. But then again, and you can check your facts on this one, in (I think it was) 1583 AD, there was a proclamation stating the independence of Palestine roughly with its modern-day borders. Not that I believe this argument, but in terms of 'official states' (your reasoning) then technically there was a 'Palestine' over 1300 years after 'Israel' disappeared. So even if you don't want to refer to identity as a 'raison d'etre' for Palestine's existence, then we've still got over a thousand years of history on you, buddy.

With that in mind (and this is addressed both to you and William), I don't think that a violent solution is the way to go. I also don't think it's evitable if we choose to carve up the land and share it: the radicals on both sides (eg: Avigdor Liberman and co.) won't allow it- just look at Rabin's fate after agreeing to PEACE, let alone compromise. Personally, I truly believe in a one-state solution. That or a full-blown war are the only eventualities that are going to result, and I prefer the former. Just as the first illegal Jewish immigrants uprooted Palestinian farmers in the 1910's, 20's and 30's (till present, lol), I think it's only fair for their descendants (who have done nothing wrong) and the Palestinians to share what they both strongly cherish. But Israel's "Jewish identity" will be compromised, supposedly, and they would never allow it. Right now, I'm honestly just hoping for the best and I really do believe that the Israelis and the West are making a HUGE mistake by favoring Abbas over Hamas, to tell you the truth. The embargo isn't working, neither is the corrupt West Bank government, it's time to become disillusioned and face the bitter political reality.

As for the 'charter', I do believe that it should be changed, definitely. But how about Ismail Haniya clearly and positively stating to a number of US newspapers both a) We do not wish to drive 'them' into the sea, and b)We will readily accept a state along the 1967 borders.

You don't hear much about that in the press, sadly enough.

Mason:

William, read the article carefully. The girls didn't say they wanted to come to America. They said they wanted to go abroad. People don't have to agree with your neo-con policy or be kicked out.

As for the Arabs and Israel, you need help with your history. Lebanon and Palestine are democracies, Israel is not the only one. The Palestinians were never allowed to have there own country by Israel at any time in history. Israel is a rogue state that commits atrocities every day. Do you understand William?

William, San Antonio:

Hussein:

I understand your frustration with conditions in your part of the world in general and, more specifically, the plight of the Palestinians in the territories. But, you must understand that misstating verifiable facts does not help your case.

First, the Hamas Covenant preamble states that: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." And, in Article Eleven: "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day." That appears to an unequivocal denial that Israel has a right to exist.

Second, regarding freedom of religion in Israel, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics says that the number of Arabs in Israel is calculated as 1,413,500 people or 19.8% of the Israeli population (2006). And, according to a new poll released in January 2007 (Uzi Arad and Gal Alon, "Patriotism and Israel's National Security - Herzliya Patriotism Survey 2006,"Herzliya: Institute for Policy and Strategy, 2006), 82 percent of Israeli Arabs said it is "better to be a citizen of my country than others." I am sure that many Israeli Arabs are not altogether pleased to be yoked to a Jewish state, but it doesn’t appear that they are too eager to change places, either.

Lastly, Palestinian Arabs have had the opportunity for a free and independent state on at least four different occasions since 1937 and refused each time. Unfortunately, each time peace with Israel is rejected and a Palestinian state refused the size of any future Palestinian state shrinks. It is surely an uncomfortable and humiliating situation for all Arabs, but beyond sympathizing for your plight, I don’t know what to suggest. What would you like to see happen?

Habibi:

Jews have every right to live where ever they please. You make it sound like the Arab World today is and has been this way as far as countries are concerned hundreds if not thousands of years. The Europeans created carved out the Middle East for you since the Arabs could not do so on their ow. Kuwait in 1960, Iraq in 1932, Syria in 1947 and on and on. The only thing you have in common is that you are Arabs nothing more nothing less. You say you have corrupt leadership in your region: Well, do something about. My parents along with thousands of others came to Israel from Iraq and made something of their lives. On the other hand the rest of the Arab World has done nothing other than complain and cry like a bunch of babies. GROW UP.

Hussein, American University of Beirut:

Well, first of all I'd like to say that this whole immigration policy really is none of our business. Whether the US stops any or all immigrants is up to it and its administration.

I WOULD, however, like to hear people's views on "democracy" in the Middle East. I mean, what 'democracy' is the US supporting? 5 of the top US allies in the region are PURE and oppressive dictatorships (I won't name any, but get a map if you're geographically/politically illiterate). Second of all, what democracy are we talking about when in the Palestinian Territories, elections have cost people their livelihood? And don't give me that recycled "they want to throw the Jews into the sea" crap because even they (Hamas) have denied it. Recognizing that Israel exists and that they aren't going to go away is one thing, but saying that the 1948 exodus and repeated massacres of Palestinian civilians as well as the 60 years of oppression that ensued were a 'Jewish right' is an entirely different affair. In this sense, they do NOT have a 'right' to exist as a purely Jewish state. Enduring the Holocaust does NOT mean that certain Jewish people, leeching on the suffering and memory of their deceased brethren, are entitled to carve up any piece of land they please in the name of religion.

There's your 'Intro to MidEast politics 101' course.
Now wake up.

Alan:

Sam

I think your letter illustrates a cause for the major divide in political conceptualizations between residents of the Middle East and the United States. Many people in the Middle East fail to compare the “evil” intentions of the United States to those of the maniacal regimes in their backyards. You seem upset that Lebanon is caught in a battle between the United States and Iran. Even though you didn’t mention it in your letter, I’ll assume that most Lebanese aren’t too happy with the Asad regime’s commitment to assassinate unfavorable Lebanese politicians.

Iran subjugates Lebanon directly by supporting Hezbollah to commit atrocities in Israel. Remember, Hezbollah lobbed missiles into Israeli civilian centers with the intent of killing as many civilians as possible. The only reason Hezbollah killed so few Israelis is that the missiles were inaccurate and poorly designed. Israel responded the way any other country would have responded had missiles been sent by terrorists into their cities. Yes, they used cluster bombs, which aren’t very nice, but they didn’t start the war. In fact, according to the United Nations, their military left Lebanon years ago--so why would Hizbollah attack Israeli civilians? Moreover, why wouldn’t most Lebanese blame Hizbollah, rather than Israel?

Let’s make more unrelated comparisons here. How about comparing the U.S. to Russia or Iran? The U.S. supports Israel, which Middle Easterners feel over-retaliates when attacked by the terrorists from Hizbollah. Russia, on the other hand, committed heinous atrocities in Chechnya, yet is rarely criticized by Middle Easterners. Iran, which calls for the genocide of the Jews and is trying to build nuclear weapons to achieve this goal, is not criticized except by Sunni Moslems. By the way, the Sunnis don't consider the genocide of the Jews to be the problematic aspect of Iran. When will Middle Easterners criticize Russia or Iran to the same degree as America?

The problem in the Middle East is not the U.S. or that postage stamp sized country of Israel. Rather, the problem is that the people in the Middle East fail to see that the goals of the U.S., namely, to impose democracy and make stable markets for oil, are a lot less evil than the alternatives. Sam, you said yourself that you would hate a democracy imposed by the U.S. What’s the alternative? Tribal leaders and mullahs with police squads imposing their views of religion? The nightlife in Lebanon will not be so great if Hizbollah and Iran achieve their goals. The folks who live in Lebanon better realize that the American vision for the Middle East is preferable to the alternative visions of the Iranians, Syrians, or even the Russians, who are happy to ignite what will surely be nuclear proliferation. As a side note, the Russians know that giving Iran nuclear capabilities will cause the Saudi’s and the Egyptians to do the same. The Russians would be happy to see such weapons used so they can take care of the oil when you’re in post nuclear disarray.

So the take home message is to please compare the evil of the U.S. with the intents of those countries mentioned above. If such comparisons are made, the people who live in the Middle East will stop viewing America as the supreme enemy and start looking a little closer at their neighbors, and hopefully, themselves. When Lebanese view Hizbollah as the larger problem than Israel, or Syria/Iran as the larger problem than America, they will unshackle their minds and might be able to fight the real enemies and improve their futures.

david:

All these two girls have to do is look around and see their fellow Arab countries fail in everything they do. Not one democracy amongst 22 countries. Per capita income of less than $1000 per year. Women treated as 2nd class citizens. Mob style families in charge of governments in every one of the 22 Arab countries. Arabs, do us all a favor clean your own house before you lecture anyone.

Habibi:

They would like to know how American think of them. All they have to do is ask the thousands of immigrants residing in Dearborn among other places through out America who have come here fromm the Middle East. Don't like America do us all a favor DONT COME HERE!!!

VICTORIA:

well, we can tell ourselves that as americans our motives are so noble- if we admit that we actaully are bullies with seflish interests then alot of young men and wmen have died for nothing-

something no one in ameirca wants to speak to- but just like vietnam- eventually, someday- it will be said-
(or ive just said it)

but the fact is, as a western country- our treatment of our own population is totally dismal-

until we take care of our own- which we are not doing- at all-
we can run around all over the world and pretend we are champions- but the fact is- were just avoiding our own problems here and until we solve our own problems-

the world doesnt want our help-

its busy trying to solve its own problems- which is where our energies should be focused

Donald :

I wish all of you would take a look at our world and realize that we're lucky to be living in a historic century. Population are rising up and standing up for their rigths in the name of democracy and freedom. No more will a tyrant has the ability to persecute a population without possible consequences and so far the US is the only country that is willing to stand-up and support the weak and the hopeless.....for that it requires constant U.S interference and I don't see any other country coming foward with a rescue plan full of risks and danger. I guess it's alot easier to be a Monday morning quaterback and claim it's because of oil. No matter where you live in this world, it seems to me everyone has a dream at least to come the US because of the opportunity it offers. You don't have to come here... just stay where you are and be happy and be happy the way things are going

Walter:

I have never read so many view points at one time on one topic but I am thankful I was born and raised and work in a country where I can read all of your words.

Though I find some of the disagreement dis-heartening, I do find the depth of thought from many of you encouraging.

I do my best to have an ear to many sides of an argument. But that does not mean I believe in a closed world where only the middle counts. (though it counts for alot).

If we just look up everynight into the sky.... all of us can see an infinity that if we dared to dream, we as a world of people could stop "protecting what is mine" and start believing in THE infinite universe WHICH WE ARE IN.


Maybe if we truly believed that, we'd stop killing each other over a speck of rock in an infinite universe.

Anyone coming with me to infinity and beyond?

William, San Antonio:

@Concern

Huh?

Hello World!:

Colonialism, Slavery, Racism, World War I and II, Use of Nuclear weapon, War profiteering sponsors are USA, UK, Germany, France and Israel. Lets talk about terrorism in Korea, Vietnam, Phillipines, Panama, Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa. Where these freedom loving nations were, when Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years? Shockingly they have the mask of democracy to commit heinous crimes all over the world.

Concern:

William (San Antonio), were you smoking pot when you wrote. America removed tyranny from middle east or keep creating. I guess you are another ignorant American who doesn't understand nothing but money and oil.

From Korea to Columbia every country has suffered for four nations USA, UK, France and Israel. These countries foreign polcies are so EVIL that I feel disgusted when I even think. I wonder your politicians and people who bring them to power has any hearts and minds?

Arne:

" Lamis from Lebanon:

I would like to ask you to come to Lebanon for a visit. "

UNLESS one's passport shows a visit to Israel.

What hypocrisy to ask for dialog and then to reject the participant.

sam :

Tom u are asking about how these two students view iran's influence via hizeballah, i can't answer for them and esp for farah who is not lebanese and therefore does not have to the responsiblity of answering. as lebanese i was very disappointed during and after the 2006 war, hizeballah as a lebanese resistance movement appeared as a puppet of iran willing to sacrific and jeopradize lebanon's stablity for iranian geo-political advantage. However i don't want my country to be the battle field for america to beat iran nor the site of experimentation in democracy. i want the impossible a democracy that is not exported nor promoted by america nor any other country.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Maya and Farah. I completely do agree with Scott. You two clearly expressed great curiosity in learning about America, which should be a sign of hope to Americans, not an excuse to attack you for not agreeing with all U.S. policies (which, by the way, there is a lot of disagreement within the U.s., with many many Americans agreeing entirely with the points you raised in our conversation.) I think the important part of the video was your wanting to know what Americans thought of you as Lebanese. Please do not let the harsh comments on this board reflect all Americans in your eyes. I hope more to join in to assure you of this, and I await your email or phone call. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Scott Lucas, Birmingham, UK:

Farah and Maya,

I was moved to write by your letter above, which I think deserves a thoughtful answer.

I have been fortunate to work with colleagues at AUB, including Professor McGreevy and the Center for American Studies. Twice I have come to CASAR for conferences and discussions and students, and I am very pleased that I am returning in January for an exciting conference on engagement between the United States and the Middle East.

I applaud your attempt, in your classes and in discussions, to reach an understanding of "America", one that does not seek to label America either as undiluted evil or undiluted good but as a country with a complex record of intervention in the world.

And I suspect, though the clip above does not do you justice, that you are considering this question in relation to the complexities of life in Lebanon. I don't think you can consider Lebanese societies and policies without considering Israel, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and a lot of other countries who have interests there, but of course there are the complexities of Lebanese politics and culture.

To study and think about this is far from "anti-American". And it is certainly not, as people on this board have unfairly charged, a way just to get a job in the US.

I think your wish to learn and understand is a credit to you, to your families, and to AUB. Amidst the tension in Lebanon, I find this to be a sign of hope.

Allen:

Good luck in your quest. I would love to meet you for you both sound like some people that really care about what goes on. There are wolves in the forest, so keep your eyes and ears open. Just never accept what someone says without a bit of thought. Logic, books, religion, facts, and more are always twiste to suit a purpose more often than not.

Please do not ask for an equal chance with the different races in America. If you do come here and choose to live within our system of laws then that equal chance will be given. What you and the rest of the Lebanonese shoud be demanding is that the people of that country be given a vote on a solution to their war with Israel and the basing of forces supported by others that oppose the indenpendent peace and prosperty of Lebanon. Why does Leabnon need to be at war with their neighbors? Let them have peace then they can demand that their power brokers let the people choose a country whos laws and traditions come from different sources. Not just from the Koran, Bible, or gun as it seems now to me.

Consider this too. If America was not involved in changing the would where would all their repressive governments be? Most would still be keeping their citizens under their thumbs until overthrowen by more violence. The West, led by America, has been a force for the better as a whole. You can be critical of the poorly planed aftermath of the Iraq invasion, but should not be of the invasion its self. It just came out the Hussain was going to restart his nuc program when sanctions were lifted. Thes is from the FBI interogator's book. Also, how was he really going to be removed from power without much more missery? By a UN vote. They do not have the power to do anything unless the member governments provide the forces. And while they spend years deciding that maybe they should do something, people die. Look at Darfour in the Sudan.

You have to be realistic. The invasion of Iraq was a piece of crap. But the KILLERs there are for the most part not the Americans. The KILLERs are those who want to rule under a system of domanance based on religion or tribe. Not what is best for their nation. Many there are fighting about something that occured more than a 1000 years ago. It is really stupid like many things we dum humans do.

No one can say what is the correct religion until their dead. We can say what types of political systems give peace and general prospeity a better chance.

Last, to understand a country and culture you must know how that socity evolved. So to understand the Americans look back to parts of Europe with the Magna Charter (I probably misspelled it) and the other changes in European thought that formed the basis for liberasim. Also, look at the Christen Reformation. And take that, along with the other cultures that were here or came here, to see how and why they blended together. You can always talk about current events. Now you have a chance to see how they evolved to the present.

If you would like to coninue this discusion please write me at PO Box 29370, Columbus, OH 43229. I am sure that I could learn much from you too.

Tom Miller:

FARAH&MAYA , LEBANON: Instead of hysterically screaming in capitalized letters how about answering what you think of relevant questions for your country and the world?

"Do these students also find Iran's influence in their own country via Hezbollah a form of colonization or divine right? What about Syria's role in their country in eliminating political opposition? Is this OK?"

In the U.S. you can talk as you did about U.S. policy no matter what you think and people do regularly without concern. Can you and are you willing to discuss honestly relevant questions about your own country's situation? What would improve Lebanon? Too often I see the well-educated leave countries such as Lebanon to "make it" in the West who's only contribution to their home-country is to join in on the chorus of "all would be well without the U.S.."

Indeed there are many places to go and be happy and I've lived in many of them myself. There is no paradise on earth and that's why the U.S. is not heaven either.

So lower the tone and at least consider what is being said............ I personally wish you both the best whatever your destines. Be pleased that you are engaged and willing to discuss and think. That already makes you special.

Jim C:

I didn't know that the Monroe Doctrine was designed for the US to exert paternalistic control over the western hemisphere. I thought it was to warn Europe that after the Spanish were kicked out of these countries, the US didn't want other European powers establishing any of their disgusting colonies in the newly independent countries, which were very weak at the time. A success in my view, look what happened to Africa. Also, I think it was 1825, not 1832.

FARAH&MAYA , LEBANON:

First of all, we would like to say what Amar has mentioned in his article as direct quotes from us have been taken out from context.Never have we said that we are Anti-America, nor do we believe that it was the U.S that was backing Israel in the latest war in our county.In our interview with Amar, the subject of the latest Lebanese-Israel war never even came up. In fact, we are not affiliated with any political party in Lebanon, Hezbolla or otherwise, something you would have known had Amar reported what we really said accurately. Besides, Farah is not even Lebanese!
Second, although we mentioned that we would like a chance to work in the U.S, we never said that we are going next year after we graduate as Economics students,we are not even Economics majors, we are Human Resource Majors!
Third, the whole point we were trying to make was that we wanted an equal opportunity with other races in the U.S, in addition to wanting to know their opinion about us.
Finally, YES WE DO WANT TO WORK IN AMERICA, BUT IT`S NOT LIKE IT`S OUR ONLY HOPE...THERE ARE OTHER PLACES TO WORK IN AND PROSPER.
What started out as an innocent interview regarding American Studies courses in Lebanon turned out to be a viscious and un-called for attack on us.
IN THE END WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS HOSPITALITY, YOU HAVE SHOWN US WHY YOU ARE THE "THE GREATEST NATION".

Tom Miller:

Who knows what these students really think? This post suggests that McGreevey's students know how to keep their prof off subject by playing up to his own prejudices about his country. To compare the Monroe Doctrine with the Bush Administration's war in Iraq is an absurd comparison and should be noted as such.

Do these students also find Iran's influence in their own country via Hezbollah a form of colonization or divine right? What about Syria's role in their country in eliminating political opposition? Is this OK? Would Russia ever try to influence the politics of the countries in it's sphere of influence? :) What about China? It's all too ludicrous to talk about.

I have consistently from the beginning opposed the war in Iraq because it was predictably a costly wrong-target but to suggest that the U.S. is evil because it tolerates Musharraf who at best has tentative control of a country that harbors nuclear weapons and one of the world's leading psychos is absolutely absurd. After 911 the U.S. has the requirement to keep tabs on political developments in this country.

I believe that there is nothing wrong with America looking out for itself. It was not designed to be a charity. As an American I long for a wiser administration that understands diplomacy and has an international view of the world but I don't long for a country that apologizes a la McGreevey for defending itself or it's government.

Do I believe that the U.S. is competitive and hard working? You bet I do and I hope this continues. Many of the young who come here are the elite as these students obviously are in their country. They are used to being pampered at home, being told that they are the best, and frankly sometimes not having to work that hard. They don't have the opportunities that exist here, however, so they come and probably bring all of their prejudices with them. I suppose that it could be a rude shock when you arrive here and you find that you actually have to prove yourself instead of drawing on your family's influence back-home. Well, our country wasn't founded on royalty.

Agnostic:

For the start of the Turkish - American relations, I remember from the books I read, there were a lot of discussions on “how to survive” in the newly-established parliament during our independence war (1919-1923). Some of the representatives of the parliament think that this newly established mini-state cannot live on his own, he needs a "father". This father should not have a "hidden agenda" like Britain or Russia. Then it comes to America. They strongly defend the idea of an "American Mandate". However, the support of America for an independent Armenian and Kurdish state in the parliamentry-declared boundaries of the Turkish State (Misak-ı Milli) is used against them.

I think, "the love and hate" dilemma of the Turks (as you pointed out, USA is our friend and our foe) also works here. In spite of all the fights with West, in spite of all the glory and defeat, deep inside, we (especially the high and middle class of the society) love the West; Europe or USA. We want to be like them. We enjoy & appreciate using all the technological advancements the Western cultures created. We like to watch Western movies, soap operas. We are ready even sacrifice some of our cultural traits (we have changed our outfit, just to be like Westerners). Also we want to be “sincerely” loved & appreciated. But here starts the dilemma: We are not loved by the one we loved! In fact, we are the unwanted, the other, the barbarian... Then comes the hate and arrogance... Also, the suspicion and sometimes hopelessness. (We try to hide that with our arrogance).

And sometimes this love and hate dilemma blinds our eyes and we cannot see (or find it too difficult to accept) our own mistakes.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Today I drove from Beirut to Tripoli in a rented Toyota, to talk to an independent MP there, Mr. Ahdab, who has been hiding out in his flat there for almost six months, avoiding the assassin's bullet. He is part of the narrow majority here in Lebanon, which has been dwindling due to recent assassinations ahead of the presidential elections next week. Heated time.

It was a fascinating conversation over an intimate three-hour lunch preceded by talk with local politicians, musicians, businessmen etc. visiting the MP.

Ahdab sees himself and Lebanon caught in the Middle of a U.S.-Iran proxy war. But I just returned and can't post the piece before 6pm US time, which is my absolute latest deadline! So it will be up tomorrow morning hopefully. Just wanted to let you know.

Please do carry on the conversation as constructively as possible. Looking forward to your reactions on what's coming next.

Anonymous:

I take back everything I've ever said about you Amar. I used to think you were a cheaply veiled Islamic supremacist, but you've just made a great case for ending Muslim immigration once and for all. Good job!

VICTORIA:

mr sheehan-

i can understand your hesitance to let people into america if you fear their motives are destructive or simply opportunistic without a thought to contributing to society here-

i sometimes have the same criticsm of people coming in-

but political opinions such as the one expressed can be found in america too-

im an american and i deplore and abhor the bombing of lebanon by israel-(and the bombing of the site in syria on 9-6) and the war in iraq.

i earned the right to criticize my own government by my service to the service members for years

and i love my country- its the only one ive ever known

i cant say im ready for overt isolationism- it hasnt worked so well for usin the past, and the world is getting smaller-

criticism does not equal hate- or denote irrationality

lebanon has been run over by just about every empire there was in the history of the world, but its still standing


i generally like lebanese people theyre very passionate

vic- did you know that the syrians and lebanese settled in pittsburgh when they hit america?
thats why we have mt.lebanon (my moms from there)

unnecessary information, i know

take care of yourself amar, get well and keep writing
peace all

o thank you william , what a pleasure it was to see your kind words

Graham Sheehan:

William/Rizgar,

Absolutely right! Those who express outrage at the Iraq War and U.S. support for Israel's bombing of Lebanon in 2006 is quite clearly not rational. Indeed, I would not only prevent them from working in America, I would detain them as soon as they try to enter the country.

That's the path to "international understanding"....

Lamis from Lebanon:

I would like to ask you to come to Lebanon for a visit. Of course you will enjoy the nightlife, the fancy restaurants, and the diversity of the Lebanese people. But once you get in our feet, you will realize that young generations look up to the states as a symbol of opportunity, or economic wealth, and of freedom. These there elements that i have mentioned have been absent from the Lebanese arena for a long time. Lebanon is insecure, fragile, economically stagnant, and the wost among all, it is socially dissected following political fights and tensions. It is true that Farah and her friend would like to go to the States for work, or maybe higher education, but the only reason behind that is that the situation in Lebanon is untolerable. Have the opposite been true, not a single Lebanese will be happy to leave this beautiful piece of land and western/oriental lifestyle for anything in the world. After all that happened, the Lebanese people strongly cling to life, to happiness, and to a well determined will to prosper and flourish.
Come to Lebanon and you will see what I am talking about.. You are always welcome :)

Rizgar:

William,
Well said. American is a great country and every race of human being is represented in America. If only the Middle East People could think rational and don't blame entire world for their short commings, they would not hate America but love it.

Vic van Meter:

There's a point where you have to let your battles go, but I take my cues from Aesop here:

Yield to all, and soon you will have nothing to yield.

William, San Antonio:

@Victoria: I sense that you are a fine and generous person. It is pleasure to read your posts. Old, heinous, rational me does have a final comment: RE: "who might be deprived when i benefit". Most things in life are not zero sum commodities the most common of which are love and wealth. My best to all.

victoria:

well, i was never pauline- and was a firstborn- so i got to suck up alot of attention-
(as my little brother always reminded everyone)
probably why im at liberty to have such extreme and illogical views

i guess when you dont HAVE to compete, you can foster any philosophy to its unnatural conclusion

even in a spiritual sense william- im competing for affection and approval from the god too

so, you're right.

but im still, despite your rightness, deep in my heart- anti-competition defying all reason it seems

but on the material plane- im definitely anti-comp-

that old imitation of christ indoctrination (self imposed admittedly) still hangs on

i go through such strange mental gymnastics sometimes trying to have plan a-b-c-d-e of who might be deprived when i benefit, that it dsoes tend to be self defeating sometimes

TMI-

luckily, ive been pushed alot

strangely enough- i was on another board- onfaith (WAPO) and asking the pacifist wiccans at what point they would defend an aggressed upon victim ( i used someone killing a baby)

id definitely sacrifice health and life to protect a baby- but luckily- i havent been in that situation

but ive been in others that forced me to revise my formerly extreme pacific outlook

i can say, in america anyway- theres enough to go around.

peace william

William, San Antonio:

@Victoria: I believe that your theory has merit. But, "anti-competition", please say it isn't so. Even the American left quotes St. Paul: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race..." Children are born competitive. They compete for attention and affection and approval. I would content that healthy competition with a sound system of rewards and penalties fosters both a thriving individual and society at large.

victoria:

i was actually having a similar conversation with an immigrant(well educated and under employed-welcome to america!) who was bemoaning how hard it is to live here and how easy his country is by comparison

he had less material possesions, but less stress and ability to sustain his life there-

we have longer work weeks, and less vacation time (as a working society) than all our counterparts.

(im not complaining william- we have it good comparatively)
i have a theory that its the more ambitious and driven and aggressive people who even get to these shores- thus multiplying the competitiveness already extant here

vic- i nominate you for one of the people i want in the trenches watching my back

(but im anti-competition, so its probably a bad deal from your perspecitve)


William, San Antonio:

@Joseph: This is a pretty good forum. Please try to be a little more creative.

@Alex: RE: "...try to be balanced." Were it only so. Academia and the media are so skewed to the left that a modicum of balance would be most welcome.

@Vic: Accurate and generally well said. But, given that even the worst off in this highly competitive environment do comparatively well (in relation to the rest of the world), I would characterize virtually everyone as a winner.

Vic van Meter:

Hey, if they want to learn how to operate in America, I'll tell all of you exactly how America works. We're a land of opportunity, but not charity. A lot of people come to America thinking life is going to be nice.

America is one of the meanest places in the world to be. Sure, people will tolerate just about everything here. You've got every right to do just about whatever you want as long as you don't interfere with the rights of others. But welcome to a world where you will be fighting, tooth and nail, for every little thing that you have.

I've always said that the only thing that will ever truly belong to you is your soul, and don't sell it to anyone for anything. Nobody and nothing deserves to take away what you are from yourself. And in America, you find out VERY quickly whether you lead or you follow. We're like packs of wolves fighting for nearly everything. Jobs, neighborhoods, you name it, there are groups dedicated to supporting it and changing it.

I've often said America is conflict driven. I'm on the verge of calling conflict America's religion. If you come, be prepared for a fight, no matter who you are or what you do. Some people handle the pressure well, rise to the top of their pack, and succeed in beating off the others wanting to take what they have. Some people don't handle the pressure well and end up in a dead-end job with no way out. You can't live in America without a heart of steel, or you'll get heartbroken REAL quick.

That's why people who live in America and succeed there are almost always positive about their American experience when they talk about it. The water here is suitable for sharks, and if you aren't a shark, you're food. Sorry to sound so negative, but a lot of disilusioned people come to America and complain about the way of life here. Sure, you've got religious freedom, but religion won't pay your bills (unless you're a professional, and that's a cutthroat business). You can band together into communities that "help each other" but these communities are a lot like herds of sheep. Most never go anywhere.

I've lived, at war with my surroundings, for most of my life. Everything in America is framed in terms of conflict somehow. Me versus you. Us versus them. If you aren't with me, you're against me. It's just a viewpoint, a way to treat life. It's not always necessarily true. But if you come, keep in mind that I said this. We can be the nicest people on the planet, but make sure you always bring your A-Game to the table.

Hence the three rules to living and working in America. Opportunity is a fickle mistress, so jump her when you have the chance. All additive factors have to add up to the same, finite resources, so always understand that the larger your variable, the more of the whole pie you get.

And most importantly, the rule I can't stress enough, never EVER be stupid enough to think you've won anything. You will never win. You may succeed, but everything can change the moment you let your guard down and make a mistake. Every little success builds again on the last, but never be stupid enough to think you can win.

alex:

countries can only dream of becoming like former
"subjects" Germany, Japan, South Korea, 20th century economic industrial dynamo's. Teach em well Mcgreevey, but try to be balanced, that really is the skill of teaching critical thinking.

Joseph:

William from San Antonio, maybe our citizens in Iraq should have stayed home, too.

William, San Antonio:

America has given its treasure and blood freely to establish itself among the nations, correct the sin of slavery, free Latin America from tyranny, save Europe twice from conflagration, keep Asia democratic, keep the governments Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in power and remove one most despicable dictators in history. America also stood firm against communism for over 30 years finally defeating it and releasing Eastern Europe from its iron fist. America did all of this freely. There is no American subjugation of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines or anywhere in Europe, Africa or the Middle East. If you sensed contempt for this "professor" you sensed correctly. His politically correct interpretation of American History deserves contempt. Finally, I'll reiterate, if these kids don't like America, go someplace else. We have enough home grown America haters we'd dearly like to export. Is that dismissive enough for you?

Jeff Steele, DC:

Farah wonders what Americans really think of Arabs. The Professor wants us "to see how ordinary, diverse Americans who differ among themselves see things."

William, in the comment above, provides Farah one answer and, following the Professor, shows us one way Americans see things-dismissively. Are there other ways in play? Of course. But which way will prevail?

William, San Antonio:

So, Maya and Farah want to come to America to work despite their outrage at the Iraq War and U.S. support for Israel's bombing of Lebanon in 2006. I suggest that you stay in Beirut. Better yet, go to work in Gaza where your anti-American sympathies will be appreciated and take your grey-haired professor with a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

From Patrick McGreevy (posted by Amar):

We want to understand the US with its warts and glories. Whether students like it is just up to them. We certainly hope to introduce them to the complex dynamic reality of it, and we hope by comparison (they see that US leaders often simplify the Middle East) they will begin to see it more clearly, to see how ordinary, diverse Americans who differ among themselves see things.

Post a comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.