Sunday, December 31, 2006

LGF catch-up

Finally sat down and went through the December LGF archive. Here are some great articles:

Why they deny the Holocaust by Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Los Angeles Times

The Big Lie About the Middle East By Lisa Beyer - Time Magazine (subtitle: "Tell James Baker: Arab nations don't care about the Palestinians")

An Interview With Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh by Pierre Heumann - World Politics Watch (read in this one how Sheikh blames Israel for all the ills of the world, and if only Israel would be wiped off the map, everything in the world would be fixed.)

Yeah. Sure. Right. I wonder if that was on the list of job requirements for the position?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

JPost: IDF ethicist: Restraint policy is legit

IDF ethicist: Restraint policy is legit
Matthew Wagner, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 28, 2006

The government's policy of restraint regarding Kassam rocket launchings from Gaza is legitimate from an ethical perspective, Prof. Asa Kasher said this week in an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post.

"The chances that a Kassam rocket will kill are relatively low compared to a suicide bombing," said Kasher, co-author of the IDF code of ethics.

"Therefore, use of targeted killings to prevent terrorist attacks that threaten the lives of dozens of Israelis is an obligation of the state that has nothing to do with political policy decisions. But the decision to exercise restraint against Kassam rocket launchings is a legitimate policy decision."

Kasher, professor of professional ethics at Tel Aviv University and academic adviser at the IDF College of National Defense, added, however, that each Kassam rocket that landed on Israeli territory was an attack on the State of Israel. He also said the government had a moral responsibility to combat the fears of its residents in the south who were threatened by the Kassam rockets.

Kasher who, together with head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin authored the IDF's doctrine on the war against terror which is taught to high-ranking officers in the IDF College of National Defense, commented on the recent Supreme Court decision on targeted killings and other issues involving military ethics and the war against terrorism.

Is the IDF too careful?
There was a case a few years ago in which seven members of Hamas's military arm were together in one place. But they were in a residential building. So we shot a missile through the window instead of destroying the entire building. The missile blew up the wrong room and they all got away. You have to calculate how many Israelis were killed because we did not kill those terrorists. How many people were killed because we were compassionate with the neighbors of those Hamas terrorists?

Do these mistakes happen often?


Is there any contradiction between last week's Supreme Court decision on targeted killings and the ethical code you and Yadlin wrote?

No. We analyzed the issue from an ethical and moral perspective while [former president of the Supreme Court] Aharon Barak and the Supreme Court used legal criteria. But we reached the same conclusions.

What are your conclusions?

We said that as long as a person, whether he is a civilian or a soldier, is endangering me and is involved in enlisting terrorists, gathering explosives, giving orders to other terrorists, he is considered someone directly involved in the war effort and can be killed.

What about the inadvertent killing of civilians?

I have to try very hard not to hurt civilians. If necessary I will delay the targeted killing if I can do it later in a way that will not harm civilians or at least in a way that will reduce collateral damage to civilians.

Research is done to determine what is possible to minimize collateral damage. People in operation research sit and plan exactly how to kill the terrorist. What type of bomb or missile to use, whether to shoot from a helicopter or a drone, what angle to send it in, at what time of day, whether to destroy the whole building or only the room where the terrorist is, whether to send the missile through the window etc.

Barak mentions in his decision the necessity to refrain from using targeted killings if it is possible to arrest the terrorist. Does the IDF code also demand this?

Yes it does. Arrest is better for two reasons, first, because you refrain from killing in recognition of his human dignity. That is what the right to human dignity means - that I cannot kill him unless he is endangering me. We need very good reasons to carry out a targeted killing. Keeping him alive is in itself a value.

Second, keeping him alive allows you to interrogate the terrorist and gain important information.

What about endangering the lives of soldiers to arrest him instead of killing him? Are you obligated from an ethical perspective to do that?

No. He is a terrorist. He is in the process of planning a terrorist attack. He is endangering me right now. I do not have to endanger my own soldiers to protect his right to human dignity.

Barak says in his decision that the killing must meet the criteria of proportionality. Does the IDF have the same demand?

The most problematic criterion when deliberating a targeted killing is proportionality. What benefit do I derive from a military attack as opposed to the damage I cause? It is very difficult to compare the benefit to the damage.

In our article we write that the state is more responsible to its own citizens morally speaking than it is to citizens of other countries.

That point does not come across in the Supreme Court decision.

True. The Supreme Court does not mention this point. But the decision does not challenge this assumption. We learn this principle from the accepted practice of states. We see that the state has a special responsibility to its own citizens in times of famine, epidemics etc. When Israel buys medication against a certain disease and there is a shortage you don't see Israel passing out the medication to citizens of Italy or some other foreign country before it gives to its own people. When you are in a tragic situation where you have to choose between the lives of your own people and the lives of others, you choose Israeli citizens first.

Does that mean that in theory it is morally acceptable to stage a targeted killing even if more civilians are killed on the Palestinian side than the number of Israelis that would have been killed by that terrorist?

Yes. But the reality is much different. We have reached the point where in most cases the civilians that are inadvertently killed in a targeted killing are fewer than the number of Israeli citizens that would have been killed if that terrorist was not stopped. We are talking about no more than a few people who are killed together with the terrorist in most cases.

JPost / AP: Gazans fear radio will lead them to civil war

A radio broadcaster can be dangerous in the wrong hands. You don't even need to go back to World War II - barely more than 10 years ago, radio stations were used to further the Rwandan genocide. Keep this in mind when reading the following article.

Gazans fear radio will lead them to civil war
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 29, 2006

The recent fighting between Hamas and Fatah did not just play out in the streets of the Gaza Strip. The rival groups also pummeled each other over the airwaves, calling each other's fighters "mercenary death squads," "child killers" and even "Zionists."

The harsh rhetoric, coupled with the stations' ability to quickly rally their armed supporters in the streets, has led to fears that the local disc jockeys could fan the flames of the recent violence into a full-blown of civil war.

"If we wanted, we could burn down Gaza," said a smiling Ibrahim Daher, director of Aksa Radio, the voice in Gaza of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Hamas and Fatah have been locked in a power struggle since the Islamic group won legislative elections last January, gaining control of most of the Palestinian government from the long-ruling Fatah. The tensions have routinely erupted into fighting, most recently earlier this month after a drive-by shooting killed the children of a senior security official loyal Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah. That round of fighting killed 17 people.

During two weeks of violence, Hamas' Aksa Radio and Fatah's Radio Shabab enraptured listeners as they reported fierce clashes and angry marches, and gave airtime for their respective leaders to abuse their opponents. Callers routinely incited loyalists against rivals.

On Radio Shabab, callers described Hamas gunmen as "child killers" - a reference to the drive-by shooting - or as "the mullahs" - a barbed jab at the Islamic group's close ties to Shi'ite Iran.

Hamas' Aksa Radio rarely reported aggression by Hamas gunmen, despite deadly assaults on Fatah targets. The broadcasts regularly labeled opponents as "mercenary death squads" and "coup plotters."

One senior Hamas official called his rivals "Zionists" - a virtual death sentence in Gaza's militantly anti-Israel society. In another report, an Aksa correspondent reported - falsely - that Fatah gunmen were firing at their own supporters in the southern town of Khan Younis.

"Radios play at incitement," said Daher. "There's no neutral radio in Gaza, it's all factional."

Even so, Daher and all the other stations said they tried not to incite people against each other.

Ibrahim Abu Naja, head of a mediation committee that got Hamas and Fatah to halt fighting, saw things differently, saying radio was capable of inflaming passions to the point of civil war. Many times, Abu Naja said, he demanded that radio stations tone down their rhetoric.

"We are aware of how major a role radio plays in creating tensions and provoking fighting," he said.

The medium had traditionally played a far different role in radio-crazy Gaza, where 15 stations vie for the ears of 1.4 million Palestinians living on a narrow strip of Mediterranean coastline. The programs go beyond the traditional music and news shows, providing crucial services in Palestinian society.

One of the most popular shows is a call-in program for families of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails. The programs link families with their imprisoned relatives, and the conversations are often heart wrenching. Children tell their imprisoned fathers they're behaving well. Tearful mothers remind their sons to dress warmly, while gravelly voiced fathers send greetings. The conversations often bring the radio hosts to tears.

More recently, radio has also become an effective weapon in the battle against Israel. In November, after Israel ordered a Hamas commander to evacuate his house, saying it would be bombed in 15 minutes, Aksa Radio came to the rescue.

It called on people to flock to the house to prevent the bombing. Crowds gathered on the roof, and the house was saved. The tactic was used to save four other targeted houses.

With a lull in the recent infighting, the radio stations have toned down as well. But with no political solution in sight, the radios may yet wage another battle.
"Radio is in every house, every car and every street. It can cause a revolution or quell one. That's a dangerous role," said Salah al-Masri, director of Al-Quds Radio, funded by the radical Islamic Jihad.

"I bet you, in a few hours, I can orchestrate a protest. The question is what kind. We can launch a protest against the Israeli occupation, or at (Abbas), or fire rockets," he said.

"The 'Never Again' Convention"

Editor's Notes: A terrible silence
David Horovitz, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 28, 2006

The record, says Irwin Cotler, is shameful.In 1948, chastened by the abject failure of the international community to prevent Hitler's mass murder of the Jews, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This imposed a responsibility among the signatories to punish not only the crime of genocide but also "conspiracy to commit genocide" and "direct and public incitement to genocide."

If the title was a mite unwieldy, there was an easier way to remember the law: It was, in short, the "Never Again" convention. But it has proved to be the most criminal of dead letters, and its easy-to-remember nickname the most despicable of misnomers.

"On no occasion has the UN acted to prevent a genocide," says Cotler, the former Canadian minister of justice and attorney general, a generally calm man whose voice rises involuntarily at the outrageous ineptitude. "Regrettably, we've had genocide again and again," he rails. "Either action has come too late or there has been no intervention at all."

Darfur, he elaborates, "is a genocide in the making. The media is still using the 2002 figure of 200,000 dead. Actually, 450,000 have already died. The media is still reporting 2.5 million displaced people. It's 4 million according to the UN's former humanitarian aid coordinator. There are mass atrocities - mass rape, forced expulsions, the bombing and burning of villages. In 2005, the UN passed a resolution banning Sudanese offensive flights. It has not been enforced. In August, the Security Council mandated the establishment of a multi-national protection force. It has not been established.

"In Darfur, the world knows and it is not acting. In Rwanda, the world knew and didn't act and 800,000 people were killed."

And then we come to Iran, which, incidentally, signed on to that "Never Again" convention in 1949 and ratified it in 1956.

"Ahmadinejad's genocidal criminality is as clear and compelling as any I've ever seen," says Cotler, who then delivers a sentence he has plainly polished many times over, and one that is all the more powerful for it: "This is advocacy of the most horrific of crimes, genocide; embedded in the most virulent of hatreds, anti-Semitism; propelled by a publicly avowed intent to acquire nuclear weapons for that purpose, and dramatized by the parading in the streets of Teheran of Shihab-3 missiles draped in the emblem "Wipe Israel Off the Map."

The remedies are ready. In the face of such blatant culpability, the worldwide purported commitment to humane values and the rule of law has provided no shortage of avenues designed to avert genocide and bring its would-be perpetrators to justice.

Cotler recites them with weary familiarity: punishment via that "Never Again" convention, which enables the UN to impose all manner of sanctions on the Iranian regime; debate and action initiated personally by the UN secretary-general, who has the UN Charter-enshrined authority to refer any matter that threatens international peace and security to the Security Council; UN or state-initiated referrals to the International Court of Justice (as employed over Israel's West Bank security barrier); criminal prosecution of Ahmadinejad at the International Criminal Court; all the way down to the immediate placing of Ahmadinejad and other suspects on watch lists that would bar their entry to concerned countries.

The route to genocide prevention is clearly signposted and wide open. But where is the will to follow it?

COTLER IS a frequent visitor to Israel and one of the driving forces behind a group - including fellow law professor Alan Dershowitz - now bidding to galvanize legal measures against Ahmadinejad's genocidal plans for the Jewish state.

He says firmly that his home nation intends to take action. "I have spoken to the Canadian foreign minister and the prime minister. They are looking to exercise one of the remedies. They said to me that they will."

He has been in discussion with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee. He has held talks with the Hungarian government, which is looking into the matter, and with the Argentineans, who just weeks ago issued arrest warrants for former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani and other Iranian officials found responsible for masterminding the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center building in Buenos Aires in 1994. And he has, he says, "high hopes that Germany" - which should, of course, know best of all about the need for action - "will either go it alone or at the helm of the European Union from January 1." He has written to the new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who branded Ahmadinejad's statements unacceptable on the very day he was sworn in.

But what, you may ask, of Israel, the nation so explicitly and relentlessly targeted? Cotler has been meeting with the Israeli government, too. He held talks here back in September.

"I don't know why Israel isn't acting," he sighs. "Israel could and should exercise some of these remedies, particularly since it is the threatened party, although international peace and security are threatened too."

Presumably - though Cotler does not say this - Israel's defeatist ambivalence about invoking the mechanisms of international law is a factor.

And it may be, Cotler allows, that Israel doesn't want to take the lead - doesn't want this turned into a head-to-head, wants the rest of the international community to internalize the full, wide, terrifying scale of the threat and address it. "But at the very least," he says, "Israel should be pressing other nations to act responsibly."

Because the sorry, demonstrable fact is that nations don't recognize, don't even know of, their obligations.
In 2004, when he was minister of justice, Cotler vouchsafes, "I can tell you that three [fellow] justice ministers in the G8 were truly unaware of the genocide-by-attrition taking place in Darfur.

"People live in bubbles. We have to bring this to their attention and sound the alarm."

Last June, the Iranians sent a delegation to the first meeting of the new (and obsessively Israel-bashing) UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that included a Teheran prosecutor named Saeed Mortazavi.

Mortazavi has been implicated in the illegal arrest, torture and murder of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. Canada asked that he be arrested. Mortazavi didn't hang around to see whether the Swiss would take action. He fled Geneva.

"This shows what you can do if the will is there," says Cotler.

Three months later, by contrast, terrorist-training, would-be Israel-eliminating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew to the United States. No watch list entry prevented his admission. No indictment for inciting and conspiring to commit genocide awaited him. He was free to pontificate duplicitously about how to achieve "peace, tranquility and well-being for all" in a world beset by "military domination… and the spread of terrorism" to a rapt audience at the General Assembly of United Nations - a body ostensibly dedicated to prohibiting the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. The irony was evidently lost on his hosts. It was probably not lost on Ahmadinejad.

Iran's recent Holocaust denial shindig prompted vast waves of outraged spluttering. Cotler isn't complaining. But why, he wonders, when so much concern is rightly directed at the misrepresentation of a past genocide, is so little devoted to preventing a new one? Neither the United Nations Security Council, nor the General Assembly, he notes, has ever so much as debated the Iranian president's avowed intent to destroy the Jewish state.

Ahmadinejad has laughed off his UN hosts' belated, anemic anti-nuclear sanctions package, swaggering that nothing and nobody is going to stop Iran's power drive. Why would he think any differently, when "never again" has become an empty slogan?

Cartoon Catch-up

I've been in Italy for the past three weeks (will write about my trip later) and thus am now playing catch-up. By the way, in case anybody's interested, I passed all my classes in Fall 2006, though my average would have been better if I didn't have to deal with the anti-Semitic bull**** on campus.

I would suggest clicking on this cartoon in particular - lots of good information on the current state of Holocaust Denial:

Some other good ones:

And one completely off topic, but still important, as the balance of power is still changing in the US Congress

JPost: Derfner interviews Neturei Karta's Hirsch

Don't even get me started...

O brother where art thou?

Shoah was God's punishment against the Jews for Zionism. But how do you get from that ideology to Iran's Holocaust deniers' fest?

Sitting at the oilcloth-covered dining room table in his Mea She'arim home, Yisrael Hirsch, leader of the Israeli branch of Natorei Karta, says he is in favor of Iran's drive to become a nuclear power.

"Certainly I'm in favor of it. [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad needs nuclear weapons to create a balance of power with Israel and the other countries in the region," says Hirsch, 51, looking like a bearded haredi version of Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz with his frizzy peyot, or sidecurls, sticking out of the sides of his head.

So the thought of a nuclear Iran doesn't worry him?

"No, I'm only worried Israel will use something like a nuclear bomb to attack Iran's facilities, and then we'll get hit back," says American-born Hirsch, wearing old-fashioned plastic-frame glasses, an unbuttoned white shirt under a dark blue sweater, and black, three-quarter-length gabardine pants meant to be tucked into long black stockings.

Hirsch, whose ailing father, Moshe, bequeathed him the role of Natorei Karta's unofficial "foreign minister," was not able to join the seven Natorei Karta delegates from England, the US and Austria who attended the recent Holocaust denial conference in Teheran, because Iran does not grant visas to Israelis.

But Hirsch spoke to the delegates frequently by telephone, and the reports he got were excellent. "They were very impressed by Ahmadinejad," he says. "They say he is a very, very, very wise man."

During our interview, Hirsch's manner is genial, and he brings me tea and tissues for my cold. Though he is a native speaker, he says he doesn't like to give interviews to the Hebrew-language media because "they always twist what I say." Otherwise, he takes every opportunity to talk to the media "to further our campaign to reduce the world's hatred for the Jews, which exists because of the crimes of the Zionists."

But he won't let me accompany him on his daily rounds - which he says he spends "praying, researching, distributing the books we publish, collecting for charity" - because he doesn't want to be seen in the company of a reporter or photographer, as followers of Natorei Karta "hate the media."

Hirsch is very practiced at talking to reporters. At first he gestures easily with his hands, but as my questions become more pointed, he folds them across his chest, and his expression says he's growing tired of this latest public relations exercise.

I ask him if he or any other Natorei Karta member would accept an invitation to a conference sponsored by Meretz ("no"), Likud ("no"), the National Religious Party ("no") or even United Torah Judaism ("no"). "These are all Jews who deny what a Jew is," he says, "so we cannot cooperate with them."

But when asked if he would like to meet and talk things over with Osama bin Laden, he smiles and says, "The whole world wants to find him and nobody has yet. It's hard for me to say what his intentions are, but certainly, yes, I'd like to explain our views to him, and I believe that if I could talk to him, I could make him understand."

NATOREI KARTA'S followers in Israel "certainly number in the thousands," Hirsch says, adding that there are additional thousands in London, Antwerp, Vienna, outside Montreal and in New York's haredi enclaves of Williamsburg, Monsey and Monroe.

But Bar-Ilan University Prof. Menachem Friedman, a leading expert on haredi society, puts the number of Natorei Karta adherents at somewhere between 200 and 300 worldwide. And even a majority of them, while still being fiercely anti-Zionist, keep their distance from the likes of Hirsch and the delegates to Teheran.

These furthest-out Natorei Karta types, says Friedman, number "only a few dozen" in Israel, living in Mea She'arim and other haredi sections of Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ramat Beit Shemesh and Ashdod. In the whole world, there are "fewer than 100" of them, he says.

Few as they are, they've achieved a mighty high profile, carving out a unique niche in the international oddball file: The Jews whose best friends, and maybe only friends, are the world's most notorious anti-Semites.

For the last quarter-century, a shifting line-up of a half-dozen to a dozen Natorei Karta "notables" have been meeting with Palestinian leaders. Hirsch's father Moshe even got to be "minister of Jewish affairs" in Yasser Arafat's cabinet. And the sect's connection with Iran, says Friedman, goes back to the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, who conquered the country for Islam in 1979.

But the pilgrimage to the Holocaust denial conference in Teheran was probably the most outrageous move Natorei Karta has ever made. It's bad enough to side with Israel's enemies in the name of anti-Zionism, but to take part in a conference dedicated to showing up the "myth" of the Holocaust, as Ahmadinejad puts it - that goes beyond anti-Zionism or even collaboration with Israel's enemies. Lending a hand to Holocaust denial - and a Jewish hand at that - is helping to do Hitler's work.

Natorei Karta was condemned throughout the haredi world. Rabbi Aharon Cohen, one of the delegates, required police protection upon returning home to Manchester after his mainly Orthodox Jewish neighbors threw hundreds of eggs at his house. In Jerusalem, the haredi Badatz, or religious court, distributed flyers reading: "We strongly denounce the participation of people calling themselves ultra-Orthodox Jews... who joined Jew-hating gentiles to commit an awful desecration of God throughout the world."

The radically anti-Zionist Satmar sect, which is closest on the haredi map to Natorei Karta, pronounced a herem, or excommunication, on the delegates to the Teheran conference, accusing them of "acts of insanity," of "walking hand in hand with the Arabs and giving the certificate of approval to those who spill Jewish blood."

NEVERTHELESS, HIRSCH says that neither he nor any other Natorei Karta follower in Mea She'arim has been harassed either physically or verbally since the conference.

Not even a threatening telephone call?

"Nothing," he says. "It was a bigger deal for the Israeli media than it was for anybody around here."

He lives with his wife and six children on Rehov Honi Hama'agel, just inside one of the stone tunnels, or "gates," that leads from Rehov Slonim into the narrow, impoverished alleys of Mea She'arim. Mounted above the tunnel on the Slonim side is a sign that reads, "Jews are not Zionists. Zionists are not Jews, only racists. We pray to God for an immediate end of Zionism and their occupation." The sign, which Hirsch takes credit for, is painted in red, black, green and white - the colors of the Palestinian flag.

A few blocks into Mea She'arim, where the grimy walls are covered with layers of pashkovilim, or haredi denunciation posters, the graffiti across from Natorei Karta's two tiny synagogues, Ohel Sarah and Beit Baruch, read "Palestinian territory," and "Death to the Zionists."

When I found Hirsch's address, I went up to the open front door on the ground floor and asked for him. Without looking at me, a bundled-up, visibly burdened woman standing in the doorway replied dryly, "Who is he?" I asked a young man standing inside the apartment where I could find Hirsch, and he glanced at me quickly, turned away and pointed his finger upward. Hirsch was right - on Natorei Karta's turf, the people aren't very forthcoming to reporters.

Glued to the door of Hirsch's second-floor apartment is a sticker that reads: "A Jew, not a Zionist" - which is the same sticker, only in Hebrew, that the Natorei Karta delegates in Teheran wore for the cameras.

The exterior of his apartment, with its gleaming new stone tiles and wood awning, presents a sharp contrast to most of the shabby surrounding homes. The dining room looks old-fashioned European, but the walls appear newly and elaborately textured; there is no trace of poverty here.

Money is a touchy subject with Natorei Karta. When the IDF confiscated Yasser Arafat's documents in a 2002 raid, they found records of payments totalling $55,000 from the Palestinian Authority to Moshe Hirsch, minister of Jewish affairs.

Some of Natorei Karta's critics assume Iran is paying off the sect's "notables," too. Yisrael Hirsch, however, denies that his father ever got money from Arafat, or that anybody in Natorei Karta receives money from Iran. He dismisses such talk as "incitement." Asked how he and his fellow sect members support themselves, he replies, "Contributions."

In fact, Natorei Karta did once receive contributions from an anonymous "Jewish millionaire," Friedman says, but that source has dried up.

NATOREI KARTA, Aramaic for "Guardians of the City," first surfaced in the late 1930s when a group of Jerusalem haredim identified themselves by that name in a petition against the Zionist leadership's tax on city residents for protection against Arab assailants. The movement argued that Zionism was bringing the Arabs' wrath down on them, which remains the heart of Natorei Karta's politics today.

The movement made the leap from virulent anti-Zionism to high-profile conscription into the ranks of Israel's leading enemies, as well as the world's most outspoken anti-Semites, around 1980. Friedman attributes the escalation to the void in leadership left by the deaths of Natorei Karta's two dominant figures, Rabbis Amram Blau and Aharon Katznelbogen, in the 1970s. "This touched off an internal leadership battle, and one of the factions, mainly the younger people, went toward the extreme trend," he says.

But why would these haredim disgrace themselves in the eyes of the whole Jewish world by enlisting not only in the cause of terror-driven Palestinian nationalism, not only behind the most violent, anti-Semitic kinds of Islamism, but even in the service of Holocaust denial?

"They realize they are so marginal, so negligible that they have no other way of getting noticed except through outrage and sensationalism. Otherwise nobody would know they exist," Friedman says.

Hirsch, of course, traces the development of Natorei Karta's foreign policy differently. "About 30 years ago there were buses in Jerusalem being blown up [by Palestinian terrorists] and among those getting killed were haredim. The situation was terrible, and people felt helpless. So my father got the idea - which I also agreed with - that the Palestinians weren't distinguishing between Jews, so we should go to their leaders and explain to them that we [haredim] are not part of the conflict, that we're not Zionists."

He hastens to add that Natorei Karta did not tell the Palestinians that it was all right to kill non-haredi Jews, saying, "We have always spoken against it."

Soon Hirsch's father was Arafat's court Jew, and Natorei Karta became the PLO's Jewish rejectionist front, arguing not for a Palestinian state alongside Israel but for a Palestinian state in Israel's place.

Hirsch remembers meeting the late Palestinian leader several times. "He was a very wise, thoughtful, polished statesman," he recalls. "He had the Palestinian national interest at heart, of course, but he also understood our concerns."

Hirsch says he has also met with various prominent Hamas figures, including Abdel Aziz Rantisi before he was killed in a 2004 Israeli air strike.

In New York, Natorei Karta members have met with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who, before he started watching his tongue, incited huge audiences with the crudest, most incendiary sort of Jew-baiting.

Still, Hirsch maintains that "Farrakhan is not an anti-Semite. He talks about Jews, but he means Zionists. It's the battle between Jews and Palestinians that's caused the problem."

EARLY THIS year in London, Natorei Karta Rabbi Yosef Goldstein testified in defense of a local mosque preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was ultimately sentenced to seven years in prison for inciting his congregation to murder non-Muslims. During the trial, Masri testified that Jews were "blasphemous, treacherous and dirty" and were the reason "why Hitler was sent into the world." Goldstein, taking the stand on Masri's behalf, testified to their "friendly and cordial relationship."

I asked Hirsch: If Ahmadinejad isn't an anti-Semite, and Louis Farrakhan isn't an anti-Semite, and none of the other militant Islamists in the Middle East or the West are anti-Semites, then who, other than the Zionists and their gentile supporters, of course, is an anti-Semite?

"I can't name a single one," he replies.

What about neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan?

"They're influenced only by the Zionists' crimes, not because of hatred of the Jews. In this generation, the only anti-Semitism that exists was caused by Zionist crimes against the Palestinians," he says.

It is part of Natorei Karta's doctrine that the Holocaust was God's punishment against the Jews for Zionism. To Hirsch's credit, he did use the expression "may his name be erased" after mentioning Hitler.

It also must be understood that the adherents of Natorei Karta are not themselves Holocaust deniers. Rabbi Aharon Cohen, the one from Manchester, was quoted in Teheran as saying the facts of the Holocaust are not in doubt, and that it would be "a terrible affront to the memory of those who perished to belittle the guilt [sic] of the crime in any way."

The delegation's purpose at the conference, said Rabbi Yisrael David Weiss of Monsey, was "to reveal to the world the use that the Zionists make of the Holocaust." Furthermore, said Cohen, the Zionist idea that the Jews must depend on themselves to prevent a second Holocaust, and not necessarily on God, is heretical to Judaism.

But while they are not Holocaust deniers, the Natorei Karta delegates in Teheran and their colleagues, like Hirsch, are obviously collaborators with Holocaust denial. When I suggest this to Hirsch, he acknowledges that the Teheran conference hall was filled with people who claim the Holocaust is a figment of Jewish propaganda.

"But that's not my affair," he maintains. "If they want to deny the Holocaust, the Torah does not require me to change their minds. If they want to accept it, they can accept it; if they want to deny it, they can deny it."

Inside the conference hall, the Natorei Karta delegates and the Holocaust deniers chatted with each other. "We told them," says Hirsch, "that the Zionists cynically exploit the Holocaust."

Representatives of the sect first met Ahmadinejad in Iran in March. They renewed their acquaintance in September when they visited him at his hotel in New York when he was there for the UN General Assembly. Hirsch wasn't part of the New York delegation, but again, he was filled in on the details.

"The meeting lasted about an hour," he says. "Ahmadinejad's aides kept telling him his plane was waiting, but he would say, 'I'm in no rush.'"

And if that's not proof enough of Ahmadinejad's sincere regard for Natorei Karta, Hirsch goes on to tell a little story about the gold plant the New York delegation gave the Iranian leader as a gift. When some of those New York delegates met Ahmadinejad again in his Teheran office during the Holocaust denial conference, Hirsch says, "they saw that he had all these gifts from different heads of state and other important people lined up on display - and the gold plant we gave him was third from the front."

IN THE SAGA of Natorei Karta's hook-ups with the likes of Ahmadinejad, Farrakhan, Arafat and Rantisi, there is one little conundrum: These Muslim leaders are not so ignorant as to think their Jewish admirers represent any larger body of Jewish opinion. They must know that Natorei Karta is the lunatic fringe of the fringe.

Hirsch, however, maintains that he, his father, the seven fellows who went to Teheran and the various other Natorei Karta emissaries have won their hosts' respect for being authentic religious leaders.

"The Arabs are convinced," he says. "They know that we are the ones who represent true Judaism."

In Friedman's view, though, the Islamic warriors, Holocaust deniers and other anti-Semites who host Natorei Karta have no regard for these Jews whatsoever, but they realize what this minuscule sect has to offer them. After all, how many people out there know that these grinning haredim, who were swarmed over by the media in Teheran, represent no more than a few dozen of the world's 13 million Jews? How many people know that the informed Jewish world considers them anathema?

"The Iranians know what a valuable asset they are," says Friedman. "There are a lot of idiots in the world, and Ahmadinejad can use Natorei Karta when he denies the Holocaust to say, 'You see? Even the Jews admit it.' And in the end, a lot of people will believe him."

Dershowitz: "Appropriate labeling" of "anti-Semites of Jewish heritage"

Jews for Ahmadinejad
Alan Dershowitz, THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 24, 2006

The following is the first post of a new blog featuring leading American attorney and stalwart defender of Israel Alan Dershowitz

By this time, everyone knows that Jews for Jesus are not really Jews. They are Christians using the cover of their Jewish origin to fool people into coming to their proselytizing services. But many people still think that the seven bearded enemies of Israel - members of an extreme cult called Neturei Karta - who accepted an invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to come to Iran's Holocaust denial festival, are also real Jews.

Still others believe that supporters of Hizbullah and Holocaust minimizers like Norman Finkelstein - who uses his Jewish birth to cover for his anti-Semitism - are real Jews. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I now propose a new vocabulary for describing these imposters. From now on, the Neturei Karta should be known as Jews for Ahmadinejad, and Norman Finkelstein and his ilk should be known now as Jews for Hizbullah.

The Neturei Karta describe themselves as part of the "Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism." In reality, they are a tiny sect that is unwilling to recognize Israel's right to exist as a secular state. According to the Neturei Karta, Jews may not reoccupy Jerusalem until the Messiah arrives and God explicitly allows the establishment of a Jewish nation grounded in halacha, or Jewish religious law.

The Neturei Karta are so incensed by a secular Israel that their principal mission is to align themselves with people and organizations such as Yasser Arafat, Hizbullah, and Ahmadinejad in order to do whatever they can to help eliminate Israel. They number no more than a few thousand people.

Noam Chomsky probably deserves a category all his own. In light of his having written an introduction to a book by Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson - who also spoke at the Iranian hate-fest - Chomsky should now be known as a Jew for Holocaust Deniers. Chomsky has claimed that he was only defending Faurisson's freedom of speech, but that defense rings hollow.

In the first place, Chomsky is not remotely a civil libertarian. Civil libertarians defend everyone's freedom of speech and conscience, whether they agree with the content of that speech or not. Chomsky, on the other hand, defends only those with whom he agrees.

Second, Chomsky did, in fact, defend the substance of Faurisson's Holocaust denial. He called Faurisson as "a sort of relatively apolitical liberal," praised his "extensive historical research," and characterized his assertions about the Holocaust as historical "findings." He also said that he did not see any "hint of anti-Semitic implications" in Faurisson's claim that the so-called Holocaust was a fraud perpetrated by the Jewish people.

Finkelstein's wholehearted hatred of Jews and support for Hizbullah is well documented and easily accessible. He is a denouncer of all Holocaust victims -calling survivors "frauds" and "hucksters" - while appropriating Nazi language himself when he characterizes American Jews as "parasites." He wears his vileness on his sleeve. For a quick overview of his positions, please see a chapter of my book The Case for Peace.

Just like consumers of food and tobacco products must be warned by labels, so too, consumers of propaganda should be warned by appropriate labeling. And just as a person can renounce his citizenship by deed or word, so too can a person renounce his ethnicity in the same manner. I hope my labeling of anti-Semites of Jewish heritage will put to rest any misconceptions that these fringe hate-mongers are representative of or speak for anyone but themselves.

Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. His most recent book is Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways (Norton, 2006).

JPost book review: "Enemies of the state"

The Jerusalem Post just published a review of a book on anti-Zionist Haredi Jews. This paragraph especially stood out:

Worse is the attempt made by these circles to blame Zionism for the Holocaust. The author should be applauded for not hiding this, but he is content to cite their justifications without pointing out that their assertions are bad theology and worse history. To assume the Holocaust was divine punishment for Jewish wrongdoing is to remove the moral burden for mass murder from Hitler and his gang and to place it on the shoulders of the victims. To pretend to know just what Jews did wrong to bring the death camps into being is arrogant and presumptuous.

And this sentence from the conclusion is especially interesting:

The academic fad of presenting almost any view, no matter how outlandish, under the cloak of "discourse" and therefore exempt from critical analysis is a bad thing and should be discouraged.

By the way, for those of you scratching your heads as to what a "Haredi Jew" is: Wikipedia's take on Haredi Judaism, though take it with a grain of salt.

The whole article:

Enemies of the state

A Threat from Within
Yakov M. Rabkin
Zed Books
261 pages

In a recent review of a work surveying mainly left-wing Jewish opponents to Zionism, I noted that haredi opposition to the Jewish state had been entirely overlooked. "Where is Natorei Karta in all this?" I asked. No sooner was the review published than I received an e-mail from Yakov Rabkin, professor of the history of science at the University of Montreal, telling me that he had written a book that would enlighten me as to just where Natorei Karta was in all this.

It was an offer I could not refuse. I am glad I didn't, even though I have to report that I found the book as depressing, in its own way, as the earlier work.

At least Rabkin has good intentions. According to his own lights, he has tried to give voice to haredi groups who find it difficult to obtain a fair hearing in the media. He is anxious to get over the message that not all Jews are Zionists, and that traditional "Judaic" philosophy (the author's term) is profoundly opposed to Zionism.

This is perhaps not news to most of us here, but Rabkin does quote chapter and verse from various rabbis to demonstrate their unswerving opposition to Zionism, and illustrates the various grounds for their opposition, including a fear of messianism, a rejection of the secular, nationalist philosophies that won over many Jews in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and a desire to keep a low profile and not provoke the gentiles.

He becomes interesting when he traces the Russian origins of the early Zionists and assesses the impact that the ideological currents of the period had on the Jews there. But otherwise he lets his unabashed sympathies for the "Judaic" viewpoint get the better of him, and he leaves almost unexamined areas that cry out for scholarly analysis.

For example, there is little attempt to show how the haredi opposition to Zionism increased as ultra-Orthodoxy itself became more extreme in the wake of the Enlightenment: The haredi claim to represent an unbroken, unchanging and accepted Judaism is taken at face value. Rabkin postulates the opposites of peaceful tradition and violent rebellion without delving beneath the surface.

This total identification of ultra-Orthodoxy with the mainstream of Jewish Orthodox thought blinds Rabkin to the extent to which Natorei Karta and its allies represent an extreme, radical approach to the State of Israel unjustified by any "Judaic" tradition. The language used by these people ought to have lit warning lights. Zionists are routinely abused with epithets that cast doubt on the mental balance of those uttering them: "Amalek" and "Satan" are just two of the choicer examples found here.

Worse is the attempt made by these circles to blame Zionism for the Holocaust. The author should be applauded for not hiding this, but he is content to cite their justifications without pointing out that their assertions are bad theology and worse history. To assume the Holocaust was divine punishment for Jewish wrongdoing is to remove the moral burden for mass murder from Hitler and his gang and to place it on the shoulders of the victims. To pretend to know just what Jews did wrong to bring the death camps into being is arrogant and presumptuous.

At least in this book Reform Jews are not blamed: Their historic opposition to Zionism saves the day.

Wild claims that Hitler was provoked to kill six million Jews because the Zionists called for an economic boycott of Nazi Germany are nonsense: Hitler's murderous anti-Semitism ruled his mind long before he ruled Germany .

And if God was provoked by Zionism, then why did the Yishuv emerge from World War II unscathed? The absurdity of haredi claims is relevant to any assessment of their state of mind and their likely appeal to a wider Jewish audience, but to Rabkin, their every statement testifies merely to their admirable adherence to tradition.

The tragedy of European Jewry is that the time-honored low-profile policy to avert total destruction that had stood it in good stead in the past, failed when faced with the Nazis. Hitler was a phenomenon that it had never known before. Many Zionists, just because they were more attuned to the spirit of the age, realized what would happen and were able to escape in time And what of those haredim who, one way or another, have come to terms with the existence of the State of Israel?

The author devotes a chapter to them under the all-too revealing title "Collaboration and Its Limits." Needless to add, the pejorative word "collaboration" is not carelessly chosen. Yet it is these haredim who are far more closely aligned with the traditional haredi approach to unfriendly governments. They are no Zionists themselves, of course. But they practice quiet diplomacy, generally keep on the right side of the authorities, and they certainly do not side with the enemies of the state in which they live.

"A Talmudic scholar, witnessing in a Jerusalem street a Natorei Karta demonstrator decrying the very existence of the State of Israel, accused him of being a Zionist: 'In Poland or in Russia would he thus curse the authorities? Would he act like this in America?'"

Rabkin cites this conversation without drawing the obvious conclusion that Natorei Karta has departed from mainstream haredi practice, and has become a wild, isolated sect calling down the wrath of heaven on all and sundry, and openly posing with terror organizations with Jewish blood on their hands.

The author's zeal to sever any connection in the mind of his (presumably) overseas audience between an idealized, peaceful, authentic Judaism and a rebellious, radical, secular nationalism is understandable, perhaps. But it cannot come at the expense of the truth. The academic fad of presenting almost any view, no matter how outlandish, under the cloak of "discourse" and therefore exempt from critical analysis is a bad thing and should be discouraged.

A Threat from Within is a useful sourcebook depicting this cramped world, lit by the lurid flames of cruel and misplaced passion. But it is no more than that.

Friday, December 08, 2006

StandWithUs: You can help respond to Jimmy Carter's misinformation ----THROUGH EDUCATION

(Copied from StandWithUs's latest email update)

Click here to view a 12-page PDF detailing the misinformation in former President Jimmy Carter's new book on the Middle East.

Please print it out and give it to your friends and community. Attend local book signings and distribute to attendees.

Thank you in advance for helping to challenge misinformation through education!

The Board and Staff of StandWithUs

Scheduled Book Signings

Date: Mon, Dec 11, 2006
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Vroman's
Address: 695 E. Colorado Blvd
City: Pasadena
State: CA

Date: Tue, Dec 12, 2006
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Changing Hands
Address: 6428 S. McClintock
City: Tempe
State: AZ

Date: Wed, Dec 13, 2006
Time: 6:00PM
Location: Tattered Cover
Address: 1628 16th Street
City: Denver
State: CO

Date: Thu, Dec 14, 2006
Time: 10:30AM
Location: BookPeople
Address: 603 N Lamar
City: Austin
State: TX

Contact Information

Book: Among the Righteous - Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands

National Public Radio continues to show a ton of anti-Israel bias, but I have to complement them when they do something right.

Today, on their afternoon news program "All Things Considered", they interviewed the author of the book "Among the Righteous - Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands". It included a fascinating discussion into how the Holocaust is treated in Arab schools, which apparently is a mix of Holocaust Denial, cheering of Hitler, and Holocaust "Minimization" - a rather relevant term given Iran's recent Holocaust Cartoon Contest and current Holocaust Conference.

I highly recommend you listen to the interview: Click here, and then click the red "Listen" button - it'll prompt you to pick which player you want, and then will play the track.

Also NPR had the following note:

Because of intense interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, NPR makes available free transcripts of its coverage. The transcript for this story will be available soon. Please check back later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

MK Benyamin Elon: Time to Fight Back

I never thought I would side with the National Religious Party, but MK Elon seems to have the right idea.

Time to Fight Back
Zionism is not about packing our bags; a response to Yossi Beilin (link to MK Yossi Beilin's article "Time To Pack?")
MK Benyamin Elon
Published: 12.07.06, 13:03

It is no longer controversial to say that there is an axis of evil that threatens the very existence of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas have made themselves and their intentions well known.

My colleague, Dr. Beilin, believes that the best way to deal with this menacing threat is to downplay the Iranian nuclear problem and to surrender the Golan Heights as well as Judea and Samaria to those who threaten our very existence. While our enemies threaten to cut our collective throats, Dr. Beilin recommends that we expose our necks.

When leaders see a disaster approaching, they have an obligation to warn of immanent dangers in order to both prepare the public and to gather domestic and international support for countering the threat before it is too late.

Mr. Beilin describes these warnings as a “scare campaign” and a “hysterical reaction”. He states “If Berlin 1938 is here and now, then the conclusion is clear to everyone: The Jews should be packing their bags”. If Dr. Beilin were present during the London Blitz, he would have turned to Wiston Churchil and accused him of causing the disaster by provoking the Nazis with his pre-war hysteria.

No, it is not time to pack our bags; it is time to preempt the threat by fighting back against the axis of evil. Zionism is not about packing our bags and running when the going gets tough, it is about collective self-defense.

Israel is the one place in the world where Jews can defend themselves, where we don’t have to run when we are threatened, where we can face our enemies head on. Yes, we do face threats, but make no mistake about it, the State of Israel can and will overcome.

Dr. Beilin recognizes that there is a threat, but he thinks that we should deal with it by reaching peace agreements with the Syrians and the Palestinians. What he refuses to recognize is that we already attempted to reach peace agreements with both parties. These efforts failed not for lack of effort, they failed because those who have made themselves enemies of Israel do not want peace, they want to destroy us and they say so clearly.

Beilin continues to misguide Israelis

Syria continues to supply Hizbullah with long-range missiles and advanced anti-tank weapons. Hamas, who was elected by a Palestinian majority, is unwilling to even pretend that they can accept a two-state solution. Our military intelligence states that since Israel forced Jews from their homes in Gaza to make peace with the Palestinians, more than 60 long-range rockets have been smuggled from Egypt into Gaza.

These weapons now point towards our population centers, and they rained down on Sderot just a week ago. While Abbas, like Yassir Arafat before him, is at least willing to pretend that he can accept a two-state solution he is obviously unwilling to lift a finger against Hamas. Making peace with any of the above by surrendering strategic territory that is vital to our self-defense is both futile and dangerous.

Of course, we know all of this because we already attempted to make peace with our enemies, and the result was the disaster that we are still attempting to recover from. This is why Dr. Beilin doesn’t have any credibility, which he compensates for by conjuring up the legacy of “Rabin’s Vision”. This “Vision” means that despite all that has happened, we should continue to enact the same policies that Rabin attempted to enact over 10 years ago:

Stop being afraid. There is no danger that these guns will be used against us. The purpose of this ammunition for the Palestinian police is to be used in their vigilant fight against the Hamas.

They won't dream of using it against us, since they know very well that if they use these guns against us once, at that moment the Oslo Accord will be annulled and the IDF will return to all the places that have been given to them. The Oslo Accord, despite what the opposition claims, is not irrevocable.
- Yitzchak Rabin.

Politicians like Mr. Beilin don’t have the courage to admit when they are wrong. They continue to misguide the citizens of Israel through policies that inevitably bring about more bloodshed. These politicians should not be giving advice about the threat of radical Islam, especially when they cannot even see the threat themselves.

The writer is a Knesset member and chairman of National Union-NRP

Relevant cartoons

A picture is still worth a thousand words. Click on the cartoons to read the related posts from Cox and Forkum:

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's going to be quiet for a little while

Sorry folks, finals take precedence even over my blogging.

Meanwhile, might I suggest you visit the links section on the right (scroll down a bit - you'll find it) to keep yourself up-to-date.

One small comment on Professor Mark Levine's take on Iran

For those of you who went to The Middle East in 2007 talk last week, for now I have one public comment:

Professor Mark Levine stated repeatedly, even under harsh questioning by a member of the audience (not me), that Iran was not a theocracy.

To which I must respond: WTF? When the unelected religious leader of a country:
- has veto power over the elected legislature and executive branches (without any ability to override that veto);
- "is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has sole power to declare war;"
- appoints "the heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Council of Guardians;"
- takes all guidance not from civil law, but scripture and scripture alone

And let's not leave out the ability of the unelected religious clerics to veto - again without any ability to override that veto - who can and who cannot run for public office...

Gee, I would call that a theocracy.

Professor Levine should correct the record and apologize for misleading students.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Fine Form

(copied from IsraellyCool)

I have long maintained that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu is one of Israel's finest PR assets (the only other Israeli who comes close is Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman).

With that in mind, check out Bibi's interview with Bill Maher on Real Time with Bill Maher. Say what you want about Bibi, but the man can speak (hat tip: Yuval).

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Breaking News: "Abuses of Power" Event 12-1 TODAY at UCI CCC


(emphasis is not mine)

[sic] Coallition discussion on the Abuses of Power and resistances here at home AND abroad.


Conference Room in the Cross Cultural Center

I wonder who is in the "coalition" and what types of "abuses of power" are they're talking about?

An easy guess is that "here at home" refers to the UCLA Tasering as I blogged about earlier this week; I'm wondering if there's something else that's on their minds.

As to "abroad", the Pope's visit to Turkey? Dunno.


A reader posed the following appropriate question:

"I wonder more about what kind of "resistances" the "coalition" recommends."

Thank you for posing that question. It is something that we must ask, as the MSU has for years now unquestioningly supported:

- Organizations whose preferred military tactic is to deliberately target innocent men, women, children, and elderly citizens simply because they happen to be Jewish

- Organizations whose main choice of weapons are suicide bombers and rockets on Jewish communities

- Organizations who specifically chose to include in their charter a quotation from their scripture that states (and this is just one of many quotations in their charter):
[t]he Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." ( - article seven)

The MSU has in the not-so-distant past published articles separating Jews from the rest of the human race, and at least one rally held up signs with a new blood libel: that Jews canned and ate the meat of Palestinian children. Even most recently as May of this year, the MSU's favorite speaker issued this threat to the Jews: "your days are numbered."

So one can only guess about what the MSU considers "beyond the pale".

To the UCI Administration:

I have seen Deans and even higher representatives at many of the MSU's events reading the placards and listening to the speeches.

We have asked you in the past and will continue to ask you to do something that has a concrete effect regarding the hateful environment on campus towards Jews.

You have tried - with my support - dialogues between the religious groups. In response, instead of softening their rhetoric, the MSU's words have hardened. So the environment has gotten worse, not better.

The MSU meeting announced above should be a wake up call that the MSU may be choosing to go beyond talk and turn their thoughts into actions. If something happens, you will be held responsible.

Consider yourselves on notice.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Audio from Nov 29, 2006 UCI discussion with Kreidie, Rahimieh, and LeVine

Posted originally June 12, 2007 10:07 PM PST

Get your headphones out - this one will probably require them.

Original announcement: Link

My comment at the time: Link

Part 1 of 3: Link

Part 2 of 3: Link

Part 3 of 3: Link

Two IsraelMatzav blog posts

I don't have time right now to copy and paste these properly, so I'm just going to include these links to two IsraelMatzav blog posts:

Lebanese army under orders not to stop weapons shipments

Desmond Tutu to head UN mission to Beit Hanun

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Interesting NewU Campus Police Log Entry

If something like this is true, then it means the campus environment is almost certainly going to go from bad to worse.

Campus Police Log Entry #4 of 13
Date & Time: 11-06-06 at 11:18 [AM]
Location: Mesa Road
Description: Caller reports second hand information of two suspicious subjects handing out Nazi pamphlets. The subjects described as two males wearing green shirts.

Found these little tidbits about Lina Kreidie and Sadullah Khan

Lina Kreidie is a Social Sciences lecturer at UCI - Click here for related blog posts

Arab Americans Lobby Reps Across Country on Lebanon Crisis
Posted on Tuesday August 1, 2006
Southern Californians Thank Congresswoman Sanchez

In Southern California, AAI NPC member Rima Nashashibi meets regularly with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-47th District). Those joining her on this occasion to thank Congresswoman Sanchez for not voting on the one-sided H. RES. 921 supporting “Israel’s right to defend itself” and share their perspectives on the situation in Lebanon included Dr. Lina Kreidie of UC Irvine, who recently returned from Lebanon and had written her doctoral dissertation on Hezbollah


Religion Has Nothing to Do With Violence
By Fakhr Ahmad
[ed: estimated date based on the URL: March 22, 2002]

Los Angeles: In the 2-hour forum titled “Islam and Violence,” organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on March 14 at Chapman University Campus, experts and scholars tried to explain to the audience through critical examples that religion itself has nothing to do with violence.

The topics included: What does the Quran say about religious violence; Poverty, foreign intervention, and lack of democracy and its impact on Muslims societies; and Preventing a clash of civilizations.

The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Peace Studies at Chapman University and the California Council for the Humanities.

Professor Lina Kreidie of University of California, Irvine (UCI)’s Department of Political Science, said Islam had been a subject of a premeditated, well-planned attack by the media to instigate hatred and bias against Muslims. She quoted the famous saying of former Secretary General of NATO forces in Europe: “It is no longer red parallel but green parallel,” giving an obvious indication to the West’s next target - Islam.

The Secretary General made those remarks following the domino demise of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

She later explained various political reasons for the ongoing violent tendencies in Muslims, which include lack of democracy, support of dictatorial regimes by the West and poverty and economic deprivation.

[sic] Kerdie, who has published many works and has interviewed members of various Islamic groups, also criticized the term suicide bomber, saying it was coined by the Western media. She said during her interviews to various organizations in Middle East, whose members actively participate in such suicide bombings, they told her suicide in Islam meant dying in hopelessness while what they are doing was dying for some cause. “They kill themselves so that their death can bring freedom and hope to others. They call themselves as martyrs.”

[ed: So, Ms. Kreidie, we should use their term and their own definition so they can escape responsibility? Get real - they commit suicide while bombing, and there is a lot of evidence that the suicide bombers are conned into doing it because of shame for some action - sometimes shame from an action forced upon them -C UCI S]

Another speaker Sadullah Khan, Executive Director and Imam of the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI), also said there was no concept of a suicide in Islam.

Khan, the author of Dimension of the Qur’an and a political activist against the former apartheid regime in South Africa, referred to various verses of the Qur’an, meaning of which were greatly twisted by the media due to lack of proper understanding of Arabic.

He said one should read the context of such verses and verses before and after.

He also gave an example of the Dutch church which had issued a decree a long time back, justifying apartheid and saying that black men were created to work for white men.

James Gelvin, Professor at UCLA’s Department of History, talked mainly on foreign intervention and its impact on Middle East and the creation of organizations such as Hizbollah.

The program was conducted by Ra’id Faraj, CAIR’s Public Relations Director.


Wednesday: The Middle East in 2007: Same Old Story Or A New Beginning?

Just got this in the mail. To quote a friend, "Of one thing I am certain -- this is going to turn into an anti-Israel fest."

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The Middle East in 2007
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 20:50:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Anteater Weekly
To: Multiple recipients of list


DATE: Wednesday, November 29, 12-2 pm

A panel featuring UCI Professors discussing the
events of the last year in the Middle East and
larger Muslim world, and likely developments in
the coming year. Panelists include:

Nasrin Rahimieh, Director of the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies, UCI

Lina Kreidie, Dept. of Political Science, UCI

Mark LeVine, Prof. of Modern Middle Eastern History, UCI

Moderator: Jon Elliott, Air America Radio host.

(Invited but not confirmed: an active duty army
sergeant who served over one year in Iraq will
discuss his experiences in the country)

This is an opportunity for students and community
members to come and discuss developments in the
last year in the Middle East and North Africa
with three UCI professors who have extensive
experience in the region. Nasrin Rahimieh will
discuss the current situation in Iran, both
internally and vis-à-vis its foreign policy
towards other Middle Eastern countries and its
nuclear stand-off with the US and Europe. Lina
Kreidie will discuss the war in Lebanon this past
summer, which she witnessed first hand. LeVine
will discuss the situation in Israel, Palestine,
and Iraq. After brief opening comments the
remainder of the time will be devoted to audience
questions. The moderator, Jon Elliott, is a
leading talk host for Air America Radio.

Co-sponsors include: Middle East Studies Student
Initiative, Dept. of History, and Samuel Jordan
Center for Persian Studies.

NewU: Eric Brunner: Protesters Deserved What They Got

Hopefully the last NewU article/op-ed/letter on the Yaron Brook event from a few weeks ago.

Link to article

Protesters Deserved What They Got

Paul Backus states that the police overreacted in his article, “UCIPD Went Overboard at Ayn Rand Event,” Nov. 20. I can understand his position, but he doesn’t know all the facts.

The La Rouche Youth Movement has a history of unlawful disruptions in addition to the ones at my event on our campus: At a lecture at USC on Oct. 27, they threw raw meat at the speaker’s notes, at UCLA on Oct. 26 they caused a 30 minute delay and at a three-day Objectivist conference in Boston on Oct. 20-22, 20 state troopers had to be called in. The list goes on and on. They have several crazy articles glorifying their disruptions and insane and completely unfounded conspiracy theories about the Ayn Rand Institute on the Internet. Yaron Brook has been harassed and almost threatened with violence more than once. I have been slightly harassed on campus.

People who routinely plan and act to violate property rights should be punished. Should Objectivists waste money on security for their events forever? Or should criminals be restrained?

Police officers have a high-stress job and need to be given the benefit of the doubt in most cases. The disruptors at my event have a record of disruptions. They have invited others to disrupt my event, almost threatened Brook and resisted arrest. They definitely deserved what they got.

I do not think that Iranians should be murdered or that they should commit suicide, as Shaun Cunningham suggested in his letter to the editor, “Ayn Rand Speaker Hypocritical,” Nov. 20. I also don’t literally mean that some Iranians are slaves to their state, obviously. Within the context of my statement, I meant that only people who are living in Iran and value freedom and human life are being violated by Iran.

One cannot compare Iran to the United States. Iran is a theocracy based on following the will of Allah and the United States is a country based on protecting the rights of man. In Iran, the media is controlled by the state, adulteresses are beaten and hanged and Islam is shoved down everyone’s throat. In the United States, there is freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Ayn Rand and Objectivists, including myself, are against the initiation of force and believe only in retaliatory force, as Brook stated during his lecture.

The Ayn Rand Club’s primary function is to offer a way to study Ayn Rand’s ideas to guide and benefit one’s life. To be completely clear and specific, it is I who advocates Objectivism; I don’t necessarily represent the entirety of my members.

Shaun Cunningham obviously hasn’t read Ayn Rand and also didn’t attend my event, because he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. If he honestly wishes to know what Ayn Rand actually advocates, I invite him to read her writings or attend one of my club’s meetings.

Eric Brunner
Ayn Rand Club

NewU: Huda Shaka: “Lonely Soldier” Glorifies Israelis

Here's Huda Shaka's letter to the editor on the AFI "Lonely Soldier" event which I blogged about previously

“Lonely Soldier” Glorifies Israelis

Shame on the Young Democrats for co-sponsoring the “Lonely Soldier” event with Anteaters for Israel. The fact that they chose to co-sponsor an event with a group like AFI, whose whole existence revolves around supporting and legitimizing the oppressive Israeli occupation of Palestine, is enough to discredit them. Moreover, this particular event glorified the Israeli Occupational Forces at a time when this military power is using unprecedented extreme force against a civilian population and committing atrocities on a daily basis.

It is very telling that both the Young Democrats and the College Republicans co-sponsored an event supporting the Israeli military when its brutal actions are being condemned worldwide. There is hardly any difference between the two parties when it comes to respecting human rights and truly standing up for peace, justice and freedom for all.

Huda Shaka’
Graduate student
Department of Chemistry

NewU UCLA Tasering Roundup

Link to news article

UC Irvine Community Reacts to UCLA Taser Incident
POLICE: Students comment on both sides of the issue concerning a UCLA student who was Tasered by UCPD.
By Stella Cho
Staff Writer

On Nov. 14 around 11:30 p.m. in the Powell Library at UC Los Angeles, fourth-year double major in philosophy and Middle Eastern and North African studies Mostafa Tabatabainejad was Tasered up to five times by UC police for failing to show his Bruin ID card to community service officers and refusing to leave a computer lab.

Tabatabainejad, a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent, hired civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman on Nov. 17 and filed a lawsuit against the UC Police Department for “brutal excessive force” and false arrest.

According to a Nov. 22 article in The Los Angeles Times, Yagman said on Nov. 21 that he was no longer representing Tabatabainejad. The status of the lawsuit is uncertain.

Tabatabainejad did not comply when repeatedly asked to leave the premises by CSOs performing routine ID checks. Yagman explained that his client did not leave because he felt that he was being singled out through racial profiling. The library, open 24 hours, permits only students, faculty and staff members after 11 p.m. for security purposes. When Tabatabainejad remained in the library, CSOs left and returned with four UCPD officers, one of whom used a Taser on Tabatabainejad.

The incident was recorded as a six-minute video on a student’s cell phone and released on CBS News and YouTube.

In the grainy video, Tabatabainejad is shown being Tasered as he yells, “Here’s your PATRIOT Act! Here’s your fucking abuse of power!” Police repeatedly tell him to “stand up” or “get up.”

“I got Tased for no reason,” Tabatabainejad says after he is first Tasered. “I was leaving this God-forsaken place.

Students from across the nation were outraged by the video, spawning a Facebook group called “UCLA’s UCPD Brutality” which has more than 9,000 members including approximately 150 UC Irvine students.”

“I believe what the police did … constitutes torture, since they were inflicting massive amounts of pain on a non-violent subject to force his compliance rather than just walk out of the building with him,” said Daniel Byers, fourth-year double major in music and ethnomusicology. “While the student was not cooperating with the officers, nothing he did gave the officers reason to torture him. The officers should be discharged from the force and criminal charges should be placed against them.”

“Police are well-trained to deal with people who won’t remove themselves from buildings – such as protestors – and should not have to resort to using a Taser,” said Patrick Bruso, fourth-year double major in philosophy and political science. “A Taser should only be used when someone is threatening the police with bodily harm.”

Others feel that the police officers’ actions were justified. Some such students formed another Facebook group, “The UCLA Student That Got Tasered by UCPD Deserved It.” This group is much smaller, with about 200 members, 20 of whom are UCI students.

“For [Tabatabainejad] to say it wasn’t fair is considered ridiculous,” said fourth-year double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering Christine Lee. “You got caught breaking the rule, so leave.”

“In the video, he was resisting arrest and yelling out obscenities,” said third-year biomedical engineering major Chris Clawson. “Therefore, he deserved the shocks he received. He sure had enough strength to scream out the way he did; he could get up easily.”

According to UC Irvine Police Chief Paul Henisey, a Taser “specifically affects nervous system which controls the muscles, which ceases resistance. It is used for a short amount of time to incapacitate someone for about 10 seconds. Almost all physical capabilities come back, and in most cases they’re in control about 20 seconds later.”

UCLA is the only UC campus that allows the use of Tasers on people passively resisting arrest.

UC San Diego officers used a Taser to subdue a man who pulled a switchblade on a woman in a campus parking lot.

UC Davis police used a Taser on a man who, agitated by a recent break-up with his girlfriend, fired at officers with a semiautomatic weapon.

UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz police do not use Tasers at all, and while UC Barbara officers do not carry them, city police use Tasers to help out campus officers when they must subdue someone.

Henisey said that UCIPD “uses a Taser on a violent or potentially violent individual.”

According to The Daily Bruin, UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young said that there was no way for the police to know if Tabatabainejad was a student or if he was armed.

“The advantage of a Taser gun is that there are no permanent injuries such as other alternatives like pepper spray [which] affects people for a longer period of time,” Henisey said. “Cardiac arrests [involved with Tasers] are due to the involvement of phencyclidine, cocaine and methamphetamines, which increase the heart rate.”

“The incident at UCLA seemed unfortunate, but I don’t have enough information to a make a judgment,” said Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez, who watched the video online. “Anyone who has any concern regarding our campus police, the first person I would acknowledge is our Police Chief Paul Henisey [because] he takes complete responsibility in assuring that our police are professionals and providing security and safety. It’s a very unfortunate situation and I hope it’s resolved in a quick fashion.”

Link to editorial (click to also view the NewU's cartoon on the incident)

UCLA Student Reveals Martyr Complex
By Editorial Board

On Nov. 14 at UC Los Angeles’ Powell Library, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a fourth-year philosophy and Middle Eastern and North African studies major of Iranian descent, was stunned five times with a Taser by UC police for not displaying proper identification when asked for it.

Due in large part to video captured by another student on a cell phone camera, the incident has garnered both local and worldwide media attention via YouTube.

The general opinion among students seems to be that the Tasering was excessive—a view with which we agree. According to the Los Angeles Times, Terrence Duren, the officer who Tasered Tabatabainejad, has been involved with the university’s police department for 18 years. Duren was named officer of the year in 2001, but has been involved in other questionable incidents, including shooting a homeless man.

However, whether or not the police acted excessively, no small part of the blame lies with Tabatabainejad for needlessly escalating the situation to violence.

Unfortunately, no one thought to record Tabatabainejad’s initial confrontation with community service officers, so all we have is footage of Tabatabainejad being stunned, dragged and yelling a few arbitrary accusations. It’s nearly impossible to judge the appropriateness of this response without seeing what came before.

That Tabatabainejad refused to show his identification when asked for it – a routine request of late-night library patrons – has not been disputed. After community service officers left the defiant Tabatabainejad to summon the UC Police Department, Tabatabainejad reportedly began to head toward the library’s exit, though it is unclear whether Tabatabainejad began to exit the building of his own accord after speaking with the CSOs or whether he only began to flee after seeing UCPD officers.

Tabatabainejad was grabbed by the arm by police, after which he began shouting, “Don’t touch me!” Police also report that he “went limp and refused to exit as the officers attempted to escort him out” and that he “encouraged library patrons to join his resistance.” While being Tasered, Tabatabainejad yelled, “Here’s your PATRIOT Act! Here’s your fucking abuse of power!” He also reportedly asked other students, “Am I the only martyr?”

Of course, Tabatabainejad’s passivity didn’t last very long after the actual incident—he almost immediately decided to sue police, perhaps ushering in a trend of students unwisely mouthing off to police in hopes of financial gain.

Stephen Yagman, Tabatabainejad’s attorney, claims that his client was being racially profiled when he was asked for his identification—which is why he failed to procure it. Tabatabainejad evidently suffers from some sort of martyr complex; he went into the situation looking to create a scene—which is exactly what he got.

The UCPD’s policy on Tasering allows for use of the “Drive Stun” capacity of the Taser as “pain compliance against passive resistors.” Other UC schools, including UC Irvine, only allow use of such a weapon against suspects who pose a threat to police. Whether or not this policy is just, it is clear that UCPD officers acted within their rights against Tabatabainejad as a passive resistor.

Tabatabainejad needs to choose his battles more carefully. Though Iranians may be victims of racial profiling, Tabatabainejad seems to be of the mindset that any bad thing that happens to him is a result of racial prejudice. Why else would something as innocuous as a request to see a library card be considered as such?

Taking a stand against the police is admirable in certain circumstances, but it has consequences. Tabatabainejad defied police for a stupid reason and he dealt with the consequences.

Link to commentary by Anam Siddiq

Much Still Unknown About UCLA Tasering
By Anam Siddiq

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you’ve heard about the UC Los Angeles student Mostafa Tabatabainejad, who was shot with a Taser by UCLA police on Nov. 14. Chances are that you have also seen the famous video of the incident taken with a student’s camera phone.

You may have even gone one step further and left a comment about the video stating your opinion. If you did, you joined the hundreds of students participating in fierce debates online, mainly through popular Web sites such as YouTube and Facebook. The former site, for the most part, contained viewpoints directly related to the video’s content, while the latter included several groups dedicated to arguing the issue of the police’s actions in general.

Though reading through all the comments on either of these Web sites is next to impossible, I was able to read enough to determine what these students were most concerned about.

Upon viewing the video for the first time, I would assume that anybody would be at least slightly alarmed by the effect of the Taser on the man. My first reaction was questioning why this handcuffed, defenseless and apparently non-violent student was being treated so harshly.

Several other students seemed to have the same question. Many wondered why four policemen could not simply drag out “skinny” Tabatabainejad, instead of resorting to such “brutal measures.”

Even a police officer stated on a Web site that the UCLA police officers’ actions were completely uncalled for, and physical contact or force should not have been used if the student was passively resisting.

Other students argued the effects of the multiple shocks delivered and whether or not Tabatabainejad would have been able to physically comply with the officers’ consistent demands to stand. Some even went so far as to list the precise number of seconds between each shock and compare it to the amount of time it takes for one to recover after being Tasered.

No one but Tabatabainejad knows whether or not he could have easily obeyed the officers’ orders after being shocked, but I agree the officers should not have used the Taser on him that many times, or at all for that matter.

Not only did these policemen use the Taser on Tabatabainejad, but according to several witnesses, they threatened to use it on students in the crowd who requested the officers’ badge numbers. Even if what was done to Tabatabainejad was acceptable because of his resistance, there is no law that gives the police the right to threaten innocent bystanders, especially since they were simply requesting information.

Some have said that the questioning was preventing the officers from enforcing the law against Tabatabainejad. However, one student said that he had asked for the number after Tabatabainejad had been taken away, and was still threatened.

The UC Police Department’s response to the incident primarily said that Tabatabainejad was encouraging other students to join in his resistance, although many argue that that wasn’t true, according to what they saw in the video. In order to avoid a larger crowd, the statement says it was necessary to get Tabatabainejad out of the building. However, using a Taser, which is bound to elicit painful screams, is not the most subtle way of removing a person from the area.

According to Tabatabainejad’s lawyer in a video interview on YouTube, Tabatabainejad believed himself to be a victim of racial profiling, which is why he resisted when the officers grabbed his arm. The Iranian student felt he was being singled out because of his Middle Eastern appearance. From what I have read, most people seem uncomfortable playing the race card, and prefer to focus more on what was done to this particular student rather than why.

Tabatabainejad’s actions and words were a little extreme, and may have aggravated the situation; he could have made his opinions clear in another way. However, race should not be completely set aside as a possible factor because, believe it or not, racism and prejudice still exist, a fact most recently displayed by Michael Richards’ infamous racial outburst.

Of course, there are several different issues and viewpoints that exist, half of which could never be completely settled by simply viewing the video, which we can all agree is not the most professional bit of camerawork and does not cover the entire incident.

However, several visitors to the sites which debate these topics seem certain that their opinions are ultimately correct. Some have even gone so far to show their support for the victim that they have created T-shirts with Tabatabainejad’s now well-known declaration: “Here’s your PATRIOT Act! Here’s your fucking abuse of power!” And although I may not agree with the police’s actions, I don’t think I will be buying one of these shirts, either.

Anam Siddiq is a first-year literary journalism major.

Link to Reut Cohen's op-ed piece
UCLAPD Acted Harshly
By Reut R. Cohen

Police officers repeatedly shocked a UCLA student with a Taser after he purportedly refused to leave a campus library computer lab. The student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, 23, was using the Powell Library computer lab at 11:30 p.m. and refused to show identification to a campus security officer.

UCLA policy, for public safety reasons, requires that students using library amenities show a valid student ID after 11 p.m. Eyewitnesses and a video shot from a camera phone confirm that Tabatabainejad and the police struggled for a few minutes, but that the student was Tasered multiple times after he had declared that he would leave the library.

Tabatabainejad apparently did not provide campus police with a student ID and did not leave the library after a campus police officer asked. The officer left and returned with more campus police who then proceeded to ask the student to leave “multiple times,” according to a statement by the UC Police Department.

“He continued to refuse,” said an official with the UCPD. “As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building.”

“Tabatabainejad encouraged library patrons to join his resistance,” police said. “The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser.”

The Taser was set in “drive stun” mode, which immobilizes the local area of the body where it hits, not the entire body.

Some witnesses said that Tabatabainejad had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when extra campus police arrived. When an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, according to witnesses, Tabatabainejad told the officer to let go, yelling “Get off me!” several times.

A lot has been said about whether or not the police acted appropriately in this case. While I do not want to judge these things precipitately, I believe that much is working against UCPD in this case, and for good reason.

In the video, for example, police officers repeatedly order Tabatabainejad to stand up. It is also clear that every time the student is ready to get up and shouts that he will leave, the officer Tasers him again.

Tabatabainejad, unfortunately, was not helping his case by shouting things like, “Am I the only martyr?” and condemning the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act while cursing at officers. Some of the eyewitnesses, moreover, acted a bit foolishly by trying to come between the student and police.

Following the incident, it was confirmed that Terrence Duren, the UCLA police officer who Tasered the student, had also shot a homeless man at a campus study hall room three years ago and was connected with an alleged assault on Fraternity Row. The officer has served with the UCPD for 18 years.

It is safe to say that UCLA police demonstrated tremendous incompetence when dealing with the Iranian student. Tasering a student and then threatening to Taser more students who scream “leave him alone” seems a bit much. Duren should have been released from duty long ago.

Despite the police department’s ineptitude in dealing with the student, Tabatabainejad should not have cursed at the police and should have simply left the library when he could not provide valid ID.

Asking for ID has little to do with race. This is a normal procedure at UCLA because – newsflash – Westwood is not the safest of neighborhoods. I’ve used the library facilities at UCLA and have lost track of time. When asked for ID after 11:00 p.m., I have apologized and left. I wouldn’t want to cause any controversy and be Tasered by police.

Some of the reactions of students at UCLA and other universities, moreover, have been extremely unwarranted, rash and illogical. Some students have been reporting to news agencies and Web sites that eyewitnesses not only tried to help the student, but wanted to overpower the police. I hate to break it to you, but using brute force with a police office just might result in warranted Tasering and arrests.

Reut R. Cohen is a third-year English major. She can be reached at