Trying to make sense of a meshuga planet

I wish more Jews were as brave, clear-thinking and outspoken as this Bedouin

Lost in the blur of slogans

Ishmael Khaldi is deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest. He happens to be a Bedouin. Here he speaks out against the Israel Apartheid Week on campuses: 

For those who haven’t heard, the first week in March has been designated as Israel Apartheid Week by activists who are either ill intentioned or misinformed. …

So, I would like to share the following with organizers of Israel Apartheid week, for those of them who are open to dialogue and not blinded by a hateful ideology:

You are part of the problem, not part of the solution: If you are really idealistic and committed to a better world, stop with the false rhetoric. We need moderate people to come together in good faith to help find the path to relieve the human suffering on both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere.

You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself: You condemn Israel for building a security barrier to protect its citizens from suicide bombers and for striking at buildings from which missiles are launched at its cities – but you never offer an alternative. Aren’t you practicing yourself a deep form of racism by denying an entire society the right to defend itself?

Your criticism is willfully hypocritical: Do Israel’s Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage – you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available.

You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace: Your radicalism is undermining the forces for peace in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. We are working hard to move toward a peace agreement that recognizes the legitimate rights of both Israel and the Palestinian people, and you are tearing down by falsely vilifying one side.

To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say:

If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty. There are many Arabs, both within Israel and in the Palestinian territories who have taken great courage to walk the path of peace. You should stand with us, rather than against us.


March 19, 2009 Posted by | Israel, US | , , , | Leave a comment

A word from Israel’s “moderate” “peace partner”

This is Mohammed Dahlan, a senior official from Fatah, speaking in Arabic:

It is 2009, and Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel.

“I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel even today.”

Courtesy Palestinian Media Watch

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Elan Journo’s talk at Stanford

A couple weeks ago I attended Elan Journo’s talk at Stanford about the Arab-Israeli Conflict and I thought it was great. I screwed up the audio record, so making notes from memory:

  • Wars end when one side gives up.
  • Common knowledge is that the peace process failed. In reality, the process works, although it’s a mistake to call it “peace”, because in reality it is a war.
  • Moral dimension of the conflict is often ignored:
    • Israelis strive for open democratic society, individual freedoms, equal rights for women & minorities, checks & balances, independent judiciary (still imperfect)  – in this conflict they represent “good”
    • Palestinians strive for totalitarian, religiously and politically cleansed “state” in place of Israel – in this conflict they represent “evil”
  • Stopping terror is not a bargaining chip. It should stop before any negotiations take place
  • Murderers & terrorists should not be easily trusted (how many years Charles Manson would need to “behave” in order to convince the public that he’s changed? Arafat never changed.)
  • The goal of Fatah and Hamas is the same. The only difference is strategy.
  • The West/Christianity tends to side with the weak (“the meek will inherit…”)

Chanda Chisala was there, too.

Here’s Elan Journo’s own notes on a similar recent talk at Berkeley

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Arab-Israeli Conflict | , , , | Leave a comment